Midseason report: Caleb Sanchez can be St. John Bosco's guiding force

Senior Caleb Sanchez is 4-1 as the starting quarterback to St. John Bosco.
Senior Caleb Sanchez is 4-1 as the starting quarterback to St. John Bosco. (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Caleb Sanchez waited three years to be St. John Bosco’s starting quarterback, so no matter what anyone has said via social media (sometimes it isn’t nice), he’s going to trust his skills and his coaches to keep him on a path to success.

At midseason, coach Jason Negro said Sanchez has been executing and performing at a high level through five games.

“He’s been doing a phenomenal job. I couldn’t be more pleased,” Negro said.

Sanchez has completed 78% of his passes for 1,338 yards and seven touchdowns with three interceptions against five out-of-state opponents.

The 6-foot-31/2, 220-pound senior also is a big guy in the classroom with a 4.29 grade-point average. Sanchez has lots of people pulling for him. His father is from El Salvador. His mother is from the Philippines. There are so many Filipinos in Los Angeles that Sanchez could be signing autographs for hours if he succeeds.

Even though St. John Bosco was beaten last week in Hawaii by Kahuku, Sanchez rallied the Braves from a 22-3 deficit to take a 23-22 lead before falling 30-23 in the final seconds. Sanchez threw two interceptions.

“You want to see how a guy responds to adversity,” Negro said. “By leading us back to score 20 straight points to take the lead in the fourth quarter is something we’re going to build upon.”

Said Sanchez: “It was my first loss as a starter. We rarely lose at Bosco. It sucks. All we can do is look forward.”

Trinity League play begins this week, and while most people have Oct. 13 circled on their calendar as the game to watch when Mater Dei plays at St. John Bosco, Sanchez needs every game to keep gaining experience for the Division 1 playoffs.

“Caleb is the same whether he throws a touchdown or throws an interception,” Negro said. “That leads to why he’s here as a senior. He’s had to endure a lot of challenges and obstacles and throwing an interception or two in a game is not going to derail his overall progress.”

At midseason, here’s a look at players performing at a high level:


Quarterback Elijah Brown of Mater Dei drops back to pass.
Quarterback Elijah Brown of Mater Dei has only lost twice as a starter since taking over for the Monarchs in his freshman season. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

1. Dermaricus Davis, Etiwanda, Sr.: The Washington commit has passed for 15 touchdowns in six games for unbeaten Etiwanda.

2. Elijah Brown, Mater Dei, Sr.: He's 34-1 as a starting quarterback over four years for No. 1-ranked Mater Dei.

3. Darius Curry, Long Beach Poly, Sr.: He has passed for 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns for the 4-1 Jackrabbits.

Riser: Sophomore Brady Smigiel of Newbury Park has 29 touchdown passes in five games.

Running backs

1. Cincere Rhaney, Gardena Serra, Sr.: Averaging 9.3 yards per carry, Rhaney's size and determination make him a menace for defensive players.

2. Dylan Riley, Rancho Verde, Sr.: Averaging 9.2 yards per carry, he's had three games above 200 yards rushing.

3. Aaron Forsgren, Esperanza, Sr.: He had 325 yards rushing against Dana Hills, 264 yards against Walnut and 253 yards against Placentia Valencia.

Riser: Cornell Hatcher of Corona Centennial has faced five top opponents and keeps picking up yards.


1. Trent Mosley, Santa Margarita, So.: As a receiver, wildcat quarterback and cornerback, Mosley has been a one-man wrecking crew.

2. Decker DeGraaf, Glendora, Sr.: A tight end, DeGraaf has seven touchdown receptions.

3. Kamarie Smith, Long Beach Poly, So.: Game after game, he's proving he's a standout against everyone.

Riser: Aaron Butler of Calabasas is averaging 20.9 yards per catch.

Offensive line

1. Brandon Baker, Mater Dei, Sr.: He's leading a Monarchs' offensive line that is pancaking opponents.

2. Phillip Ocon, St. Francis, Sr.: He's gone from 345 pounds to 285 pounds and hasn't allowed any sacks.

3. Shaun Torgeson, St. Bonaventure, Sr.: He plays with a mean streak and refuses to let anyone push him around.

Defensive line

1. Richard Wesley, Sierra Canyon, Fr.: This No. 99 is playing like the Rams' No. 99.

2. Carson Moore, Palos Verdes, Sr.: He's been a dominant player for a 5-0 team.

3. Jaden Williams, Mission Viejo, Jr.: Seven sacks is pretty good.

Riser: Sophomore Dutch Horisk of St. John Bosco has been active as a tackler and pass rusher.


Junior linebacker Noah Mikhail of Bonita poses for a photo.
Junior linebacker Noah Mikhail of Bonita is 6 feet 3, 220 pounds with versatility and strength. (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

1. Noah Mikhail, Bonita, Jr.: He's averaging 10.6 tackles and living up to high expectations.

2. Nasir Wyatt, Mater Dei, Jr.: Best defensive player on best defense in Southland.

3. Brandon Bryant, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, Sr.: He's a tackling machine with 50 tackles in five games.

Riser: Jackson Sievers of Capistrano Valley has more than 70 tackles.

Defensive back

Junior safety Charles Cravings of Santa Monica poses for a photo after a game.
Junior safety Charles Cravings of Santa Monica has six interceptions this season. (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

1. Marcellus Williams, St. John Bosco, Sr.: Opponents have given up trying to challenge him.

2. Charles Cravings, Santa Monica, Jr.: With six interceptions, the safety has been outstanding.

3. Tayten Beyer, Corona Centennial, Sr.: He has faced the toughest opponents and delivered.

Riser: Riley Kelley of San Clemente has five interceptions for 5-1 team.


Chaminade kicker Ryon Sayeri poses for a photo on the school's blue turf field.
Chaminade kicker Ryon Sayeri is aiming to break the state record for longest field goal at 64 yards in his senior year. (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

1. Dawit Crain, Yucaipa, Sr.: Has made all eight field-goal attempts.

2. Ryon Sayeri, Chaminade, Sr.: Averaging 50.0 yards on punts, made 53-yard field goal and converted 24 of 25 kickoffs for touchbacks.

3. Shawn Sanders, St. Francis, Fr.: Has made four of five field-goal tries.

Riser: Ashton Zamani of Sierra Canyon is automatic on kicking balls into the end zone.


1. Dustin Croick, Agoura: His team has gone from 1-9 to 5-0 with three close victories this season.

2. Guy Gardner, Palos Verdes: He has his team at 5-0 with wins over Corona del Mar and Edison.

3. Mike Christensen, Carson: After seasons of 3-5 and 6-6, Christensen has returned the Colts (5-0) to the upper echelon in City Section football.

Riser: Nick Baiz of Etiwanda has his team at 6-0.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.