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Caleb Sanchez

Caleb Sanchez, Peyton Woodyard, Eduardo Saldaña seek titles

Four Our Esquina All-Americans seek California titles

Five years ago, Eduardo Saldaña, Caleb Sanchez and top USC commit Marcelles Williams were all teammates on a powerhouse team in Snoop Dogg’s youth football league.

With Saldaña at center, Sanchez at quarterback and Williams anchoring the defense for Whitehouse coach Max Williams, they won a Snoop League title. The boys went separate ways in high school. Sanchez and Williams enrolled in national power St. John Bosco, where they anchored a loaded freshman class featuring Our Esquina All-American Peyton Woodyard.

Saldaña enrolled at Servite, another Southern California power. All the boys are seniors now preparing to play for a California Interscholastic Federation title. Although they’ve played in the same league, they’re in different CIF Southern Section divisions for the playoffs. 

Sanchez and Woodyard will lead St. John Bosco against Mater Dei in the CIF-SS Division 1 final. They’ll play at the storied Los Angeles Coliseum in what MaxPreps rates as the top high school football game in America this weekend. Saldaña and his Servite teammates will visit Mission Viejo on Saturday for the CIF-SS Division 2 title.

Caleb Sanchez embraces big stage

“These are the games you come to Bosco to play,” Woodyard told the Press-Telegram. “I feel like we’re going to do a great job of preparing this week, and we’re going to prepare like none other. I’m excited.”

Saldaña, Sanchez and Williams were all reunited on Monday for the annual CIF football championship luncheon in Long Beach, Calif. They were sitting at tables a short shuffle pass apart as representatives for their respective schools.

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Woodyard, who is committed to Alabama, was also among St. John Bosco’s representatives at the luncheon. Defensive lineman Jesus “Zeus” Venegas, another Our Esquina All-American, will be on the other side for Mater Dei. 

Defending champion St. John Bosco (11-1) is ranked No. 3 in the country by MaxPreps. Mater Dei (11-1) is ranked No. 5. Mater Dei was ranked No. 1 until the Monarchs suffered a 28-0 loss against Sanchez, Woodyard and Williams in October. 

“Obviously to be playing last year in the Rose Bowl and this year in the Coliseum it’s really a blessing,” Caleb Sanchez told the Press-Telegram. “I’m really grateful to be where I’m at. I’m just ready to go at it with my guys.

“Mater Dei is obviously a great opponent. We played them in season and we beat them. But they’re going to come with a really great game plan, and I’m ready for a really competitive game against them.”

Eduardo Saldaña blossoms as leader

It’s been more than five years since Saldaña sent Snoop League Whitehouse coach Max Williams a direct message through Instagram asking for a tryout. Saldaña worked out with the loaded Whitehouse team for a month before securing his spot on a squad.

They went separate ways in high school.  Saldaña is a captain at Servite. Caleb Sanchez leads the St. John Bosco offense. Woodyard is one of the best cornerbacks in America with a spot waiting for him at Alabama.

Saldaña even wears the “Honor Jersey” at Servite. Sanchez waited three years behind two Division I quarterbacks before earning the starting nod as a senior this year. He is still fielding college offers. Saldaña is also weighing his college options.

More importantly, perhaps, they’re honor students at elite academic schools. They found the high schools that fit them best. Now they’re ready to fight for CIF-SS titles.

“I really enjoyed the feeling I got when I got on campus,” Saldaña said earlier this year. “I liked the unity and how the players played for each other and not for themselves.”

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