St. John Bosco, Saint Louis set for clash

“Remarkable” and “amazing” are two words St. John Bosco coach Jason Negro used to describe his impressions of Hawaii.

The highly acclaimed football team is staying and practicing at Turtle Bay Resort in preparation for Friday’s 7:30 p.m. game at Aloha Stadium against state power St. Louis.

If the cards fall just right, maybe “remarkable” and “amazing” will be the words fans use after the contest.

The Braves, from Bellflower, Calif., are the reigning California open division champions and finished 2013 ranked No. 1 nationally by St. Louis is Hawaii’s winningest program.

A few years ago, when the scheduling was being done, the original choices for St. John Bosco, which makes a long trip once a season, were Alabama or New Jersey.

“We (as a staff) talked about it and we said, ‘Why not Hawaii,’ ” Negro said. “So we called around and at first, we couldn’t find a game. Then, one day, Saint Louis called and asked if we were interested and we jumped on it.”

In 2008, under coach Kiki Mendoza, St. John Bosco visited Hawaii and defeated Kamehameha 23-14 at the Warriors’ Kunuiakea Stadium.

The Braves have been practicing at Turtle Bay since Monday’s arrival, except for Wednesday, when they practiced on Kahuku’s field.

“We ate lunch there and the players (from both teams) were able to say hi and get acquainted,” said Jessie Christensen, St. John Bosco’s football operations manager. “It was a nice moment.”

It isn’t known whether the Braves players learned any secrets about Saint Louis from the Crusaders’ Oahu rival.

Christensen added that administrators from St. John Bosco and Saint Louis met for lunch Thursday. There was no time in the schedule for an official get-together of the opposing teams’ players.

On their visit, the Braves are doing a little of everything — visiting Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center, weightlifting, watching video of the Crusaders and schoolwork, according to Negro and Christensen.


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