St. John Bosco and Mater Dei are very similar to Division I programs

As Mater Dei began picking up more players further afield – from the Moreno Valley to the northeast, Temecula to the southeast and Los Angeles to the west – Rollinson provided vans that school staff living near these areas could drive to and from campus. weekday . As many as a dozen players drive in the vans.

Josh Hunter, a senior security officer from Temecula, 70 miles from the school, said the van was a significant factor in his choice of Mater Dei over St. John Bosco, who was even further away.

“There are definitely some bad days when you’re tired and your best friend from the neighborhood can go to school,” said Hunter, who is the son of former Atlanta Braves first baseman Brian Hunter and is considering playing both baseball and football in San Diego State. “But my goal was to go to college for free – that was the big push.”

The day before Mater Dei and St. John Bosco met, Myron Williams, a 52-year-old father, stood in an end zone at Panish Family Stadium and watched the schools’ first-year teams play. His position was strategic – during the break, parents from both sides walked past him to ask why he was not sitting on their side.

His son, Madden, a promising receiver in eighth grade who would like to play in high school, tries to choose between St. John Bosco and Mater Dei.

“It’s no different than looking at colleges,” Myron Williams said. “If you have NFL ambitions, you are not going to play at an NAIA school. As a parent, I know there is no magic pill, but it’s the best coaches and the best players, so if you have to go through it for four years, you hope to be better prepared for the chance to play in college. “

The next night gave a hint of what lies ahead for the freshmen. More than a dozen college coaches roamed along the sidelines, keeping their eyes on the prospect. Of all the elite talents on the field, it was Elijah Brown, Mater Dei’s little sophomore quarterback, who shone brightest and coolly delivered a series of throws on goal.