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California high school football: Behind sophomore Matayo Uiagalelei, St. John Bosco beats Servite 38-28 - HIGHSCORE
California high school football: Behind sophomore Matayo Uiagalelei, St. John Bosco beats Servite 38-28
In one of the biggest high school football games of the spring season in California, 2019 MaxPreps national champion St. John Bosco (Bellflower) beat Servite (Anaheim) 38-28 Friday night. The first half was a defensive battle between the Trinity League rivals with Servite carrying a 7-3 lead into halftime.

Houston Thomas scored the only touchdown on a three-yard run with 10:04 left in the second quarter.

Both offenses got on track in the second half as Katin Houser led the Braves on a six-play, 62-yard drive to begin the third quarter capped by a 26-yard touchdown pass to four-star sophomore tight end Matayo Uiagalelei.

Bosco's defense forced a three-and-out on the Friars' opening possession of the third quarter and took momentum of the game on the following drive that began at its own one-yard line. Sophomore Pierce Clarkson came in under center for the next drive as head coach Jason Negro continued to alternate quarterbacks on each possession. The result was a 99-yard drive culminated with a three-yard touchdown pass to Chedon James.
Pierce Clarkson, St. John Bosco quarterback
Photo by Louis Lopez
Pierce Clarkson, St. John Bosco quarterback
After only completing one pass in the first half, Servite's junior quarterback Noah Fifita started to find his rhythm and connected with five-star wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan four separate times on the ensuing drive after he was held without a catch in the first half.

Fifita scampered in from 11 yards out with 3:03 left in the third quarter to cut the Bosco lead to 17-14.

The Braves answered two plays later as three-star junior running back Jabari Bates took it 75 yards to the house to increase the lead to 24-14. He finished the night with 14 carries for 170 yards.

Fifita connected with McMillan on a 64-yard pass to get inside the red zone, then found the five-star receiver a couple of plays later for a three-yard score with 1:33 left in the third quarter to cut the lead to 24-21.

The biggest play of the game came on the following drive for St. John Bosco as it faced a fourth-and-eight on Servite's 12-yard line. Clarkson threw a perfect ball to the 6-foot-6, 265-pound Uiagalelei, who went up and snagged it for his second score of the night to take a 31-21 lead with 9:57 left.
Jabari Bates, St. John Bosco running back
Photo by Louis Lopez
Jabari Bates, St. John Bosco running back
On the following Servite drive, Uiagalelei showed why he is being recruited as both a defensive end and tight end, pulling down Fifita with one arm for his first sack of the night.

After three-star junior linebacker Jalen Woods intercepted Fifita, Servite's defense forced a three-and-out and got the Friars the ball back inside Bosco territory. Fifita led them on a 35-yard drive capped with a three-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 31-28 with 5:18 left.

St. John Bosco responded with a 15-yard touchdown run by Michael Hayes with 1:54 left to take a commanding 38-28 lead.

The Braves improve to 3-0 with the win while the loss drops the Friars to 2-1.

Up next for St. John Bosco is JSerra Catholic (San Juan Capistrano) on April 3. Servite will look to bounce back against state No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana).
Houston Thomas, Servite running back
Photo by Louis Lopez
Houston Thomas, Servite running back
Noah Fifita, Servite quarterback
Photo by Louis Lopez
Noah Fifita, Servite quarterback

HIGHSCORE/AVCA Player of the Week - HIGHSCORE
MaxPreps/AVCA Player of the Week
MaxPreps/AVCA High School Player of the Week
For the week of Feb. 15-21

Virginia

6'1" | Junior | OH/MH
9 Sets Played

Kills: 37
Kills/Game: 4.11
Digs: 22
Digs/Game: 2.44
Receptions: 27
Rcpt/Game: 3
Aces: 5
Blocks: 3

Washington
6'0" | Senior | MH/OH
8 Sets Played
Kills: 54
Kills/Game: 6.75
Digs: 37
Digs/Game: 4.63
Receptions: 17
Rcpt/Game: 2.13
Aces: 7
Blocks: 2

About the MaxPreps/AVCA High School Player of the Week Program:
The MaxPreps/AVCA High School Player of the Week Program is a partnership between the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and CBS MaxPreps, Inc. Each week MaxPreps and the AVCA recognize deserving student-athletes at the high school level who have demonstrated outstanding play on the court throughout the week of competition. Coaches must submit statistics to MaxPreps in order for their athletes to be considered for the program. To obtain your free access code to MaxPreps.com call (800) 329-7324 x1 or email [email protected] For more information on the AVCA, check out the AVCA website at www.avca.org
California high school sports: State officials, CIF, coaches find common ground, talks to resume next week - HIGHSCORE
California high school sports: State officials, CIF, coaches find common ground, talks to resume next week
When seven people meet on a Zoom call for the first time, to largely make decisions concerning more than 3 million young athletes, it’s good to start with some commonality.

The seven who met Thursday afternoon to discuss the return of youth sports in California got to that space early in the 62-minute call, said Serra (San Mateo, Calif.) football coach Patrick Walsh, and it led to what he called a “progressive, positive and open” dialogue.

Walsh, one of three coaches, California Interscholastic Federation Executive Director Ron Nocetti, Let Them Play co-founder Brad Hensley, and two Gov. Gavin Newsom staffers — Dr. Mark Ghaly and Jim DeBoo — planned to meet again early next week to continue talks on how to return youth and high school sports back safely and swiftly.

“There were a lot of similarities between every man on that call,” said Walsh, the organizer of the 700-member Golden State High School Football Coaches Community. “All of us have kids, all of them play sports and all of us care about sports. How do we all get to the same point in an expeditious way? The phone call did not impede that conversation.

“I felt like the aura of the call was positive. The spirit of the kids were in that room and on the call. Hopefully we can advance the ball down the field knowing that we can’t do this forever because at some point we’re going to run out of time."
Patrick Walsh (right) leads his Serra Padres into the 2019 CIF State Division 1-AA championship game against Corona del Mar.
File photo by Ming Chung
Patrick Walsh (right) leads his Serra Padres into the 2019 CIF State Division 1-AA championship game against Corona del Mar.
Part of the positive feeling came from improving COVID-19 test results throughout the state.

That led Newsom to lift mandatory at-home orders on Jan. 25, which opened high school play this week for sports slotted in the purple tier: cross country, golf, tennis, swimming and diving and cross country.

Other contact or indoor sports, such as football, volleyball and basketball, are running out of time. Lifting or altering the current tier California system would go a long way to getting other sports started and finished by the end of the school year.

On Tuesday, the National Federation of State High School Associations, the national governing body of prep sports, revised its May guidance document on the risk of COVID-19 during high school athletics, highlighted by the elimination of tiers assigned to specific sports.

NFHS REVISES COVID-19 GUIDANCE: Complete NFHS guidance

"That was awesome timing for us," De La Salle (Concord) football coach Justin Alumbaugh said. "It's not like we were saying 'we told you so.' It just supports what we've been saying and what people have been telling us. To get that information confirmed from a major institution like the NFHS was awesome."

Discussions of the tiers were mentioned Thursday, but more details will come next week Walsh said. The coaches group, which also includes Ron Gladnick, of Torrey Pines (San Diego), had met twice earlier with DeBoo, Newsom's top aide, but this was the first time they had met Ghaly, the state's Secretary of Health.

"I really liked his demeanor," Walsh said. "He's very pleasant, very thoughtful. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet the man."

Alumbaugh and Walsh said Ghaly was very receptive to the data that the Golden State and Let Them Play groups have supplied over the last three weeks, and encouraged more. Ghaly and DeBoo asked many questions, according to Alumbaugh and Walsh.

"Dr. Ghaly is a very bright man, no doubt about that," Alumbaugh said. "He understands what's going on. He's definitely aware of all the dynamics — the science, the data, statistics. He's far more of an expert that we are.

"The meeting was cooperative. It was positive. We're just trying to push the dialogue forward and they are too. Let's get this done."

Said Walsh: "I think everyone would love to come out with an announcement right now, but I did not anticipate that happening today, particularly since it was the first time we've had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Ghaly. It was a very good dialogue and discussion both ways. We're excited about setting a pathway forward."

So is Nocetti.

"Since the COVID-19 numbers have been trending in a better direction we definitely have had more frequent meetings with the California Department of Public Health and the governor's office," he said. "We feel those meetings are progressing toward a pathway to return. And we're going to continue to have those meetings."

Nocetti heads the organization that governs high school sports in the state and serves more than 800,000 athletes annually. Until this week, all California high school sports had been paused since April 3 due to the pandemic. It is one of 17 states that didn't play football in the traditional fall season.

The CIF has maintained that football's end date this spring can go as late as May 1, though some of the state's 10 sections have adopted an April 17 end date in order to prepare for the 2021 fall football season.

An earlier end date means the pressure is on to get the season going sooner. Walsh and Alumbaugh are hoping sections will be more flexible.

"You go from the end date and work backwards," Walsh said. "If we can start sometime in early March that gives us 5-8 games. I think all reasonable players and coaches would be happy with that.

"It's important that both sides know the hard ends and realize that we don't have a lot of time. Do we have some time? Yes. Do we have a lot of time? No."

Thursday's meeting came a day after Newsom addressed youth sports during a press conference at the Oakland Coliseum.

Among the topics included physical and mental health, the guidelines, football, data and even a lawsuit filed last week from two San Diego High School football players seeking an "immediate resumption of play."

In a stirring 32-minute press conference put on by the two advocacy groups on Friday, Gladnick had pleaded with Newsom to "help and engage with us," and to "work together."

Walsh said after hearing Newsom's remarks on Wednesday that he was more encouraged than ever that engagement is taking place. That was backed up with Thursday's meeting.

"I could tell he has put thought into youth sports in California and that's a great step in the right direction," Walsh said. "As we know, Gov. Newsom believes in sports and knows how much youth sports builds character, camaraderie, and self esteem.

"We are hopeful that the Governor will continue to look at the data and science presented to him and re-open the state for youth sports soon."

Here is what Newsom said Wednesday in its entirety about youth sports:

"Last week we made an announcement and that allowed for youth sports like track and field to take place. It's just the levels that we are and have provided a framework to allow certain youth sports to take shape in competition.

"That said, we have been in very direct conversations. Personally, I launched those conversations last week. My team is in constant contact, trying to work through these different tiers.

"The red tier, you'll start to see baseball. In subsequent tiers, we'll get to football. But I'll be honest with you, a lot of this is driven by football and folks wanting to get a football season in. And I am deeply sensitive to that.

"As I said, I not only have four kids who want to be educated, but they love sports. So I recognize all of the benefits — physical and mental — as well as the benefits to teachers and parents who have kids who are engaged in physical activities in terms of our responsibility to support those children as well. We want to see this happen.

"We want to do it safely and a lot of great data has been provided by the same groups that are suing us. If I was concerned about lawsuits, I would have collapsed a year ago. We receive dozens of them every week. And some of them are from folks who are very close to us. It's clarifying. It allows for focus. Some are specious, political. Others like this I think are quite legitimate in terms of what they ultimately want to achieve.

"I share that and we are processing that. I am very hopeful, very hopeful — I really mean this — I am very, very hopeful that we can find a compromise here and I believe that's possible as long as these case rates continue to move in the direction they're moving."
Pipeline to the pros: St. Thomas Aquinas of Florida leads all high school football teams with 11 alumni on NFL rosters - HIGHSCORE
Pipeline to the pros: St. Thomas Aquinas of Florida leads all high school football teams with 11 alumni on NFL rosters
It's not the most important benchmark for a high school football program, but it's not a bad place to start. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) has the most former players on current NFL rosters, and frankly, it's not even close.

The Raiders, a perennial national and Florida powerhouse, boast 11 alumni playing in the NFL this season. The next most are Allen (Texas) and Deerfield Beach (Fla.), each with six.

Seven others, including Florida schools IMG Academy (Bradenton) and Lakewood (St. Petersburg), claim five former players rostered on NFL squads.

The annual alumni report from the NFL was released last week.

The Cincinnati Bengals (Geno Atkins, Giovani Bernard and Bobby Hart) and Las Vegas Raiders (Damon Arnette, Lamarcus Joyner and Sam Young) each have three former St. Thomas Aquinas players.

The other five are Joey Bosa (Chargers), Nick Bosa (49ers), Phillip Dorsett (Seahawks), Brandon Linder (Jaguars) and James White (Patriots). The school's most famous alum is NFL Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin (Class of 1984).

All that talent has led to great success on the field. With back-to-back 7A championships starting in 2018, the Raiders have won seven state crowns in eight years, eight in 10 years and 13 overall. They've won three mythical national titles since 2010 via the MaxPreps computer rankings.

They are currently ranked third nationally in the MaxPreps Top 25 but aren't scheduled to start their season until next month due to COVID-19.

The other high schools with five former players on NFL rosters are Cass Tech (Detroit), DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), Long Beach Poly (Calif.), North Shore (Houston) and Stephenson (Stone Mountain, Ga.).
LaMarcus Joyner is one of 11 St. Thomas Aquinas alumni rostered on an NFL team this season, the most of any high school.
File photo by Lou Novick
LaMarcus Joyner is one of 11 St. Thomas Aquinas alumni rostered on an NFL team this season, the most of any high school.
HIGHSCORE/AVCA Players of the Week - HIGHSCORE
MaxPreps/AVCA Players of the Week
MaxPreps/AVCA High School Players of the Week
For the week of March 15-21.

Boys

Midwest Region
(Includes: Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota)

Junior | OH
7 Games Played
Kills: 27
Kills/Game: 3.86
Digs: 17
Digs/Game: 2.43
Receptions: 9
Rcpt/Game: 1.29
Aces: 7
Blocks: 2

Junior | S
8 Games Played
Assists: 62
Assists/Game: 7.75
Team Hitting%: 0.324
Digs: 14
Digs/Game: 1.75
Aces: 3
Blocks: 2

Northeast Region
(Includes: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington D.C.)

6'3 | Junior | OH
10 Games Played
Kills: 43
Kills/Game: 4.30
Digs: 13
Digs/Game: 1.30
Receptions: 36
Rcpt/Game: 3.60
Aces: 4

Senior | RS
9 Games Played
Kills: 31
Kills/Game: 3.444
Digs: 15
Digs/Game: 1.67
Aces: 4
Blocks: 2

South Region
(Includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas)

Senior | OH
9 Games Played
Kills: 40
Kills/Game: 4.444
Digs: 37
Digs/Game: 4.11
Receptions: 33
Rcpt/Game: 3.67
Aces: 2
Blocks: 4

Senior | S
13 Games Played
Assists: 133
Assists/Game: 10.231
Team Hitting%: 0.291
Digs: 34
Digs/Game: 2.62
Aces: 5
Blocks: 6

West Region
(Includes: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming)

Senior | S
9 Games Played
Assists: 86
Assists/Game: 9.56
Team Hitting%: 0.197
Digs: 7
Aces: 2
Blocks: 2

Senior | OH
9 Games Played
Kills: 32
Kills/Game: 3.56
Digs: 31
Digs/Game: 3.44
Receptions: 58
Rcpt/Game: 6.44
Aces: 4
Blocks: 4

Girls

Maryland
Senior | OH
10 Sets Played
Kills: 32
Kills/Game: 3.2
Digs: 30
Digs/Game: 3
Receptions: 44
Rcpt/Game: 4.4
Aces: 8
Blocks: 1

Nevada
6'0 | Senior | OH
7 Sets Played
Kills: 22
Kills/Game: 3.14
Digs: 10
Digs/Game: 1.43
Receptions: 44
Rcpt/Game: 6.29
Aces: 2
Blocks: 3

New Mexico
6'2" | Senior | MB
12 Sets Played
Kills: 59
Kills/Game: 4.92
Digs: 23
Digs/Game: 1.92
Receptions: 23
Rcpt/Game: 1.92
Aces: 11
Blocks: 18

Oregon
5'10" | Junior | OH
12 Sets Played
Kills: 48
Kills/Game: 4
Digs: 40
Digs/Game: 3.33
Receptions: 31
Rcpt/Game: 2.58
Aces: 5
Blocks: 10

Virginia
5'11" | Senior
11 Sets Played
Kills: 60
Kills/Game: 5.5
Digs: 10
Digs/Game: 0.91
Receptions: 33
Rcpt/Game: 3
Aces: 4
Blocks: 6

Washington
5'9" | Senior | OH
10 Sets Played
Kills: 66
Kills/Game: 6.6
Digs: 51
Digs/Game: 5.10
Receptions: 59
Rcpt/Game: 5.9
Aces: 4
Blocks: 3

Wisconsin
5'5" | Senior | OH/DS
9 Sets Played
Kills: 44
Kills/Game: 4.89
Digs: 43
Digs/Game: 4.78
Receptions: 29
Rcpt/Game: 3.22
Aces: 6

About the MaxPreps/AVCA High School Player of the Week Program:

The MaxPreps/AVCA High School Player of the Week Program is a partnership between the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and CBS MaxPreps, Inc. Each week MaxPreps and the AVCA recognize deserving student-athletes at the high school level who have demonstrated outstanding play on the court throughout the week of competition. Coaches must submit statistics to MaxPreps.com in order for their athletes to be considered for the program. To obtain your free access code to MaxPreps.com call (800) 329-7324 x1 or email [email protected] For more information on AVCA, check out the AVCA website at www.avca.org.