There is no such thing as a high school national championship, but if there was it might be decided Friday night in LA.
Mater Dei of Santa Ana, Calif., visits St. John Bosco of Bellflower, Calif., in a meeting of the No. 1- and No. 3-ranked high school teams in the nation, and the game will very much arrives with national championship atmosphere.
Bosco will host the game at its 6,000-seat Panish Family Stadium, and tickets sold out online in all of four minutes.
“We’re a little in shock,” St. John Bosco football operations manager, Jesse Christensen told the Los Angeles Times. “Everybody was sitting at their computer. I was sitting here and watching it. It was shocking.”
The online ticket market lists a get-in price of well over $100 per seat. The game will also be televised nationally in markets carrying Bally Sports Southwest.
(Of course, this is the point where Texas, Georgia, Ohio and other states laugh and say, "Only 6,000 seats? That's cute.")
Mater Dei is led by four of the top 250 players in the country, according to the 247Sports composite rankings: cornerback Domani Jackson (No. 5), a USC commit, running back Raleek Brown (No. 32), an Oklahoma pledge, uncommitted linebacker David Bailey (No. 68), and wide receiver CJ Williams (No. 91), a Notre Dame commit. Bosco has three top-250 players in its senior class -- offensive lineman Earnest Green (No. 61), running back Rayshon Luke (No. 208) and quarterback Katin Houser (No. 217), a Michigan State commit -- as well as a whopping six players among the top 250 2023 players, led by 5-star defensive end Matayo Uiagaleilei.
Mater Dei rolls into Bellflower at 3-0, with no score closer than 42 points. The Monarchs opened the season by thrashing perennial Texas power Duncanville 45-3. Bosco is 5-0 with wins over teams from four different states, most recently a 49-0 hammering of Chesapeake Oscar Smith, the No. 1-ranked team in Virginia.
While Friday's game will have all the pomp and pageantry of a championship game, in reality it's merely Round 1 of what's expected to be a 2-part epic that will ultimately be decided in the CIF Southern Section playoffs.