Earlier this week, La Mirada High School football coach Mike Mosechetti sent a Tweet out showing his followers that the Matadores’ Week 0 opponent St. John Bosco had just been ranked No. 1 in the country by a publication.
Regardless of the ranking, La Mirada knew what it was getting into when it scheduled the Braves. If St. John Bosco isn’t the No. 1 team in the country, it’s certainly in the argument. And that’s exactly how Moschetti prefers it.
“I think it’s incredible that a publication says they’re the No. 1 team in the nation and a school like us has the opportunity to play them,” Moschetti said. “As a coach and as a player, I think you see something like that (ranking) and it’s going to make you work that much harder because you know what you’re up against. That’s what these kids want and that’s what La Mirada is about.”
Whether you believe that St. John Bosco is deserving of such a ranking doesn’t change the fact La Mirada can say it has the rare distinction of preparing for and playing the top-ranked team in the country in its season opener.
More people may have issue with La Mirada biting off such a big chunk in Week 0 than where St. John Bosco is ranked. After all, last time they were seen, the Matadores were eliminated from the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs by at-large team Salesian. La Mirada was the division’s No. 2 seed.
To come right back and play a St. John Bosco program that has established itself as a Southland power over the past few seasons is awfully of ambitious of Moschetti, who also scheduled Mater Dei for later on in the nonleague.
“We don’t care what anybody thinks or says about us, Moschetti said. “As a coaching staff, we believe in these kids. These kids have worked their butts off and we’re trying to build a program. We’re not happy with where we’re at. We’ve only won one playoff game in the last three years.
“We have a chip on our shoulders. We know it’s not good enough. People in the community or other cities, it really doesn’t matter what they say.”
La Mirada lost a lot of talent to graduation. It’s leading passer and top three receivers are all gone, along with two All-Area offensive linemen. But Moschetti has picked up several elite transfers and has what might be his most athletic team yet.
The Matadores are no stranger to playing and competing well against good competition. Last season, La Mirada opened the season with a win over Tesoro. A few years before that there was competitive game with Bishop Amat.
No matter what happens in the nonleague, La Mirada is still a heavy favorite to win the Suburban League and that will likely mean another high seeding in the Southeast Division playoffs. In the meantime, Moschetti has one focus and convincing his players to be alert from now until kickoff with Bosco won’t be a problem.
“We want to play a big-time team in our first game,” Moschetti said. “Whether it’s St. John Bosco or Tesoro, or in the past it was St. Paul. I think that’s important. That makes the offseason, spring football, summer conditioning, it just makes you work that much harder playing a team like that.
“We know we have to play a perfect game and Bosco has to play a bad game for us to have a chance.”