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St. John Bosco Wins Title

November 15, 2002|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

One miscue will remain embedded in the minds of the Bellflower St. John Bosco High Braves long after highlights accompanying their historic Serra League game Thursday are forgotten.

Fortunately for the Braves, the blunder was committed by Santa Ana Mater Dei.

Monarch kicker Jerry Corona pulled an extra-point attempt wide left in overtime, giving the Braves a 28-27 triumph over the Monarchs before about 6,000 at Santa Ana Stadium.

While Corona stood in disbelief, St. John Bosco players stormed the field to celebrate their first Serra League title and first victory over Mater Dei since the league was formed in 1999. The Braves (8-2, 5-0), No. 8 in The Times' rankings, will be the top entrant from the Serra League and will likely be seeded third in the Southern Section Division I playoffs next week.

"No one gave St. John Bosco a chance," Brave Coach Kiki Mendoza said defiantly. "We're a three or a four seed, worst-case scenario."

No. 9 Mater Dei (7-3, 3-2) will be the No. 2 entrant from the Serra League.

The Monarchs looked as though they were going to send the game into a second overtime when Rafael Rice scored his fourth touchdown of the game on a three-yard run to pull them within a point.

St. John Bosco scored first in overtime when Albert Butler cut right around the end of the line from five yards and tumbled into the end zone. Brian Sabian kicked what turned out to be the winning extra point. Butler and Terrance King took over the rushing load for starter Derrick Williams, who left the game with 8 minutes 47 seconds left in the third quarter because of a bruised abdomen. Butler injured his knee on the touchdown and was carried off the field by teammates.

Brave receiver Joe Cowan had three touchdown catches, the last on a 43-yard play down the sideline midway through the fourth quarter that put St. John Bosco ahead, 21-14. Cowan finished with five catches for 99 yards.

Mater Dei tied the score with 2:24 left when Rice spun into the end zone from one yard. Rice gained 90 of his 132 yards in the second half and overtime.

St. John Bosco drove to the Monarch 33-yard line with two seconds left, butJose Guzman's 50-yard field-goal attempt was short and to the left.

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