Football season kicks off in Trinity League

By Dan Arritt     8/24/2017

The preseason national media polls and computerized rankings have spoken and the two highest-ranked high school football teams in the nation are from the Trinity League. 

Mater Dei was ranked No. 1 in two major polls and one computerized ranking, and St. John Bosco is considered the top-ranked team in two others. 

The Monarchs emerged No. 1 in the USA Today Super 25 poll, the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 and the MaxPreps Computer rankings. 

St. John Bosco took the top spot in the USA Today Computer rankings and the High School Football America poll. Mater Dei was ranked second in both. 

Of course, who’s No. 1 can be settled on the field Oct. 13 at El Camino College, when Mater Dei and St. John Bosco meet in their annual Trinity League showdown. 

Both teams, however, will need to navigate a difficult preseason schedule and tough league opener before clashing for the third time in 12 months.  

Mater Dei opens the season at Bishop Amat on Aug. 25, then hosts Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas the following week at Santa Ana Stadium. Bishop Gorman opened the season in the top five in the five preseason polls and computerized rankings. 

After hosting La Mirada, the Monarchs play Bergen Catholic of Oradell, N.J. at Mission Viejo High School. Bergen Catholic is ranked in four of the five national polls and computerized rankings, including as high as No. 7 by the MaxPreps computer.  

Mater Dei completes its nonleague portion of its schedule by traveling to Stockton to play St. Mary’s on Sept. 23. The Monarchs then have their bye week before opening league play Oct. 6 against Santa Margarita at Laguna Hills High School. 

Then it’s St. John Bosco a week later. 

The Braves face their toughest nonleague opponent in their season opener, travelling to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to take on St. Thomas Aquinas, which landed in four of the five national polls and computerized rankings, including No. 5 in both the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 and the USA Today Super 25. 

St. John Bosco opens league play Oct. 6 against Orange Lutheran at Orange Coast College before taking on Mater Dei a week later. 

Staying undefeated heading into that matchup will be a challenge, but both teams were unbeaten heading into their league showdown last season. 

They collided Oct. 22 at Cerritos College and the Monarchs ended a six-game losing streak against the Braves with a 26-21 victory. The win also ended a 23-game league winning streak by St. John Bosco. 

The Braves earned revenge six weeks later when they beat Mater Dei 42-28 in the CIF-SS Open Division final. 

“I don’t think there’s a week or a day that goes by that I don’t remind them of that,” Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson told the USA Today. “We’re going to play Bosco in the regular season and there’s probably a strong likelihood we will play them in our section finals or semifinals. You have to prepare for that and you have to stay healthy.” 

JSerra also made its way into three of the five national polls and computer rankings. 

The Lions were ranked No. 22 by the MaxPreps Computer and No. 25 in both the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 and the USA Today Super 25. 

Mater Dei will face JSerra the week after it plays St. John Bosco.