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2017 football openers: St. John Bosco heads to Florida

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A nationally prominent contest featuring defending CIF Division 1 and State Open Division champion St. John Bosco of Bellflower highlights the opening of the 2017 football season for Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Diocese of Orange.

St. John Bosco, ranked fourth nationally in MaxPreps’ “Excellent 25” preseason poll, travels to Florida to play fifth-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas High School of Fort Lauderdale on Aug. 25 (4 p.m. Pacific time). St. Thomas Aquinas — whose alumni include tennis great Chris Evert, football star Michael Irvin and current pro golfer Jason Dufner — won Florida’s Class 7A state championship in 2016 with a 13-2 record.

Several all-Catholic contests are among the opening week’s schedule: Mater Dei (ranked No. 1 by MaxPreps) at Bishop Amat, St. Joseph (Santa Maria) at Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks), Don Bosco Tech at Mary Star (all Aug. 25), and Verbum Dei at Salesian (Aug. 26). Other games featuring Catholic teams include:

Aug. 24: St. Genevieve at Poly (Sun Valley).

Aug. 25: Oaks Christian at Chaminade (televised on Fox Prime Ticket), Arcadia at La Salle, Fairfax at Loyola, Alemany at San Fernando, Desert Pines (Las Vegas) at Bishop Diego, Santa Fe at Cathedral, St. Paul at Venice, Servite at Norco, Santa Margarita at Downey, J.Serra at Corona del Mar, Serra at Narbonne, El Camino Real at St. Bonaventure, Cantwell-Sacred Heart at Glendale, Serrano at Paraclete, Damien at Chino, Trinity Classical at Santa Clara, Webb at St. Pius X-St. Matthias.

Aug. 26: St. Bernard at Santa Clarita Christian.

The 2017 regular season continues through the weekend of Nov. 3-4, with league play starting Sept. 29-30 for larger leagues, and as late as mid-October for smaller leagues. Post-season play begins Nov. 10-11, concluding with championship games in all divisions on Dec. 1-2, state qualifying games Dec. 8-9, and state championship bowl games Dec. 15-16.

The first (preseason) CIF polls are due to be released soon. Last year’s final Division 1 rankings at the end of the regular season included Mater Dei (1), St. John Bosco (3), Serra (5), Bishop Amat (8) and Chaminade (10). Other Catholic schools ranked as follows:

Division 3: Cathedral (3),

St. Francis (5).

Division 4: Damien (8).

Division 5: Salesian (9).

Division 6: Paraclete (5).

Division 7: St. Paul (10).

Division 9: La Salle (6).

Division 10: St. Anthony (7).

Division 11: Bishop

Montgomery (5).

Division 12: St. Genevieve (6).

Division 13: Mary Star (7).

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