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Lutheran's flexbone offense presents unique challenge for No. 7 St. John Bosco

Southern California showdown is one of several Super 25 games to watch involving undefeated teams



Lutheran (Orange, Calif.) coach Chuck Petersen addresses his team before last year's game against St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.), a 21-6 Bosco win.

There are 73 unbeaten high school football teams left in California and three of them are from the powerful Trinity League: No. 7 St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.); No. 28 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.); and unranked Lutheran (Orange) are all 6-0.

"Everybody likes to say we're the SEC of high school football," said Lutheran (Orange) football coach Chuck Petersen. "If so, we're Vanderbilt and Bosco is Alabama."

St. John Bosco (6-0) plays host to Lutheran (6-0) on Friday. While the Braves have nine three-star or four-star recruits in ESPN.com's rankings, Lutheran has two. Petersen, who was the offensive coordinator at Air Force, neutralizes that talent gap by running the flexbone, an option attack that is difficult to prepare for on short notice.

MORE: Super 25 Rankings | The Next 25 | Interactive Map

"The offense gives us unique advantages that allow us to be competitive in a league that maybe we wouldn't be competitive in," Petersen said. "It always did that for us at Air Force."

It's an offense that is more about timing than it is about talent.

"It's really hard to duplicate that offense in practice," Bosco coach Jason Negro said. "The look we get from our scout team is so far away from what we're going to see on Friday. In practice, we stop it like crazy and we look great on (video), but then you get in the game and it's a different story."

VIDEO: Lutheran defeats JSerra (San Juan Capistrano)

The biggest challenge for Lutheran may be stopping Bosco. Even though the Lancers have only allowed 8.0 points a game, they haven't faced a quarterback the caliber of Josh Rosen, who has passed for 1,115 yards and 13 touchdowns. He's also run for six touchdowns, with four of them coming in last week's 56-12 defeat of Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita).

VIDEO: Josh Rosen highlights

"We're getting a lot of teams putting in their goal-line package but we keep our regular offense in," Negro said. "Our offense is a zone-read offense and the quarterback plays a big role in the run game. Josh has had a few runs where he's been able to walk in uncontested."

"Offensively, they're very balanced and very explosive," Petersen said. "They try to distribute the ball in space. At the same time, Rosen is a threat to run, probably more so if the game is closer."

Massey Matchups prediction: St. John Bosco 41, Lutheran 21

There are several other big Super 25 games this week, all involving unbeaten teams:

No. 4 Katy, Texas vs. Seven Lakes (Katy), Friday: This backyard brawl has been one-sided, with Katy winning the past five matchups. However, Seven Lakes is 6-0, its best start ever. "We talk about our team like a snowball and right now that snowball is growing," Seven Lakes coach Lydell Wilson said. "Katy is going to do what they're going to do. You have to believe you are going to win the football game, you have to keep selling it." Katy's Tigers are 6-0 and have won 44 consecutive regular-season games. They are led by two backs with nearly equal numbers. Kyle Porter has rushed for 764 yards and 10 touchdowns while running back Rodney Anderson, who has missed the past two games with an injury, has rushed for 12 touchdowns and 728 yards. Seven Lakes' top offensive threat has been running back Bryan Moore, who has rushed for 523 yards and six touchdowns. The Spartans' defense, which has allowed only 8.2 points a game, has been led by safety Brian Sturges, who has three interceptions. Massey Matchups prediction: Katy 40, Seven Lakes 6.

No. 12 St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.) at No. 50 St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City), Friday: The 4-0 Green Knights have allowed only 33 points this season with the first-team defense giving up just one touchdown. The Green Knights' linebackers are particularly solid with senior Kevin Wilkins, who has said he will sign with Rutgers and junior Joseph Giles-Harris, who has four interceptions. Running back Sherman Alston, a Boston College commit, has rushed for 372 yards and eight touchdowns and quarterback Spencer Aukamp has thrown for 602 yards and six touchdowns and run for 103 yards and a touchdown for the Green Knights. The Marauders (6-0) counter with one of the top running backs in the state in Rutgers commit Jonathan Hilliman, who has rushed 103 times for 995 yards and 15 touchdowns. Marauders quarterback Brandon Wimbush has thrown for 880 yards and eight touchdowns. Linebacker Armond Cox and safety Shamir Bearfield, who has said he will sign with Temple, lead the St. Peter's defense. St. Joseph easily handled Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 49-6 on Sept. 28 while St. Peter's Prep defeated Bergen Catholic 25-18 a week later. Massey Matchups prediction: St. Joseph Regional 38, St. Peter's Prep 21.

No. 16 Jenks, Okla., at Westmoore (Oklahoma City), Friday: Both teams are 6-0. Jenks, which has won 18 in a row, won last year's meeting, 38-14, but it was 14-14 at the half. Jenks has been strong against the run this season, allowing less than 80 yards on the ground in its past two games. Westmoore has shown good offensive balance with 1,327 passing yards and 1,216 yards on the ground. Massey Matchups prediction: Jenks 39, Westmoore 13.

No. 18 Miramar, Fla., vs. Flanagan (Pembroke Pines), Friday: Both teams are 7-0. Led by quarterback Ryan Stanley, Flanagan has averaged 28.7 points a game, but Miramar's defense is allowing only 5.8 points a game, including three consecutive shutouts. Miramar quarterback Nick Jeanty has thrown nine touchdown passes in his past two games. Massey Matchups prediction: Miramar 34, Flanagan 8.

No. 21 Bellevue, Wash., vs. Mount Si (Snoqualmie), Friday: Mount Si is 6-0, but its only losses last season were to Bellevue in the regular season (49-10) and in the state 3A semifinal (37-7). The Wildcats have outscored opponents 221-66 but Bellevue (6-0) is averaging 45.7 points a game. Mount Si's top offensive weapon has been quarterback Nick Mitchell, who has thrown for 1,170 yards and 13 touchdowns. Bellevue running back Budda Baker is averaging 14.9 yards a carry. Massey Matchups prediction: Bellevue 35, Mount Si 7.

 

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