A look back at St. Anthony football’s classic championship moment

In this installment of The562.org’s Classics video series, we look back at the historic 2016 St. Anthony football CIF Southern Section Division 10 championship.

Head coach Mario Morales and his Saints called their shot in the preseason and delivered their first CIF title since 1948. St. Anthony started the season 3-2 but found its offensive rhythm and ripped off nine consecutive wins to reach the final.

In that game, the Saints took an early lead against Aquinas in San Bernardino and then, after the Falcons came back to pull ahead, St. Anthony pounded out a game-winning drive to clinch the victory 33-32.

“It’s awesome that these guys think the way they think,” Morales said of his excitable squad. “They set their goals high and they did it. These kids are unbelievable.”

Senior quarterback Johnny Buksa V led the Saints with three touchdowns. He completed 12 of his 22 attempts for 214 yards and rushed for a game-high 157 yards.

“We had to battle because [Aquinas] was one of the best teams we played this year,” Buksa V said. “We were in a dogfight, but we played together as a team and to win with these guys was awesome… We’ll always be CIF champions and that’s something we can take with us for the rest of our lives.”

Support our journalism.

Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.

Mike and JJ go together like mac and cheese: they’re best friends, business partners and Long Beach sports experts. They’ve been working together for over a decade covering Long Beach local sports and now run the562.org, a community-funded nonprofit media outlet.