When the Game Stands Tall

November 14, 2013
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De La Salle HS FootballNext September, moviegoers around the country will be able to relive the story of a high school football team that accomplished what may never be accomplished again.  The De La Salle Spartans, out of Concord, CA, won 151 straight football games over a ten-year period, taking on some of the best teams in the country during that time. Their coach, Bob Ladocueur, stressed a game where the element of team was the main focus—and it worked in powerful ways.Although filming for the When the Game Stands Tall has wrapped up (see my on-set review here), that doesn’t mean the school has stopped playing football in real life.  Coach Lad has taken on the role of assistant coach, passing on the reins to Justin Alumbaugh, who takes his career 0-0-0 record into battle this year. Each week, we’ll take a look at how the real De La Salle does with their new coach.


In the final game against California, something happened that hasn’t occurred all season for the De La Salle Spartans.

They shut out the opposing team.

The California Grizzlies came into the season finale with a fantastic 8-1 record, but simply couldn’t get anything going on the ground or through the air.  De La Salle, on the other hand, had their power running game moving the ball at will, as evidenced by an 80-yard touchdown run by John Velasco.  He would finish the night with 184 yards.  Chris Williams added another touchdown passing the ball.

For Coach Alumbaugh, it was a wonderful ending to a perfect 10-0 regular season.  But now it’s time for the playoffs, where everyone’s records get reset to 0-0 and one loss means the season comes to an immediate end.

If you’re unfamiliar with how the football playoff system works in California, here’s a quick primer, as it’s different than most states:

* The state is divided into sections, each hosting a playoff tournament for five (5) divisions: Open, Division 1, Division 2, Division 3, and Division 4.  De La Salle falls into the Division 1 category, North Coast Section.

* Teams are selected for the playoffs by a committee.  Having an undefeated season does not mean that a team gets in the playoffs, as strength of schedule is factored in.  Thus, a two-loss team that plays tough teams can (and will) make it in over an 11-0 team that has stomped cupcake teams 60-0.

* The winner of the section tournament plays the winner of another section tournament in that part of the state.  This is classified as the Northern (or Southern) Championship Game.

* The winner of the Northern and Southern Championships then plays in what is called the State Championship Bowl, held this year at the StubHub Center (formerly the Home Depot Center) in Carson CA.

Due to their record and the fact that the 16th seeded team, Santa Rosa (2-8), chose not to participate, De La Salle gets a free pass to the second round.  They will play their first sectional game next week.  They have faced the following teams in the playoffs earlier this year:

* 3 California (Win 55-0)
* 5 James Logan (Win 49-7)
* 6 San Ramon Valley (Win 47-21)
* 9 Amador Valley (Win 63-14)

We’ll await the Spartans’ second round opponent along with the team.

Final score: De La Salle 55, California 0 (win #36 in a row)
[NOTE: this is currently the 13th longest HS winning streak of all time]
Current Record: 10-0-0
Next game: Round 2, CIF North Coast Sectional Friday 11/22 vs. winner of #9 Amador Valley/ #8 Granada

(credit to MaxPreps and Prep2Prep for game info)

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My goal is to provide you, the reader, with articles that both challenge and inspire you to consider who God is and the role He plays in a person's life. For me, meshing the faith with our culture is an important and immensely rewarding adventure. I currently live in Bakersfield CA with my wife and three daughters. Join me on Twitter @nomoreblackeyes

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