When the Game Stands Tall

December 12, 2013
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In De La Salle HS FootballSeptember, 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.


After all the months of practice, after all the hours of weight training, after all the regular season contests, it was finally time for De La Salle to play their first game of championship football this season.  I’m sure that on either Thursday or Friday evening, they gathered at a house, had dinner, and received a pep talk from Coach Alumbaugh (if they kept with Coach Lad’s tradition).  On Saturday night, they played California for the second time this season–this time for a sectional title.

The first game between these two teams was won by the Spartans 55-0.

The second started off in similar fashion, as senior John Velasco opened the scoring with a 28-yard touchdown run.  By the time quarterback Chris Williams added an 8-yard scoring scamper of his own to make the score 28-3, it was obvious what was going to happen in the final two quarters of action.

One more sectional title for De La Salle, making 22 in a row and 28 total for the school.

One more win against an opponent from Northern California, making 250 in a row (according to Prep2Prep).  Yes, that is not a typo.

The only suspense was going to be who the Spartans would be playing in the Northern Regional Championship.  For that, the team would have to wait until Monday.  On that day, it was announced that the final bracket in the Open Division would look like this (national rankings per USA Today are shown):

#6 De La Salle (13-0)
#29 Folsom (14-0)

Centennial (12-2)
#5 St. John Bosco (13-0)

Thus, the rematch of last year’s 49-15 whitewashing of Folsom would take place after all.  But this year’s Bulldog team looks to be significantly better than last year’s group.  Folsom fields a nationally regarded quarterback named Jake Browning and has been scoring at a prolific pace, totaling 734 points in their 14 games.  They advanced to face the Spartans by defeating Oak Grove by a score of 49-17 (the same as De La Salle, ironically).

If the Spartans are going to make a return to the State Bowl Championship in Carson, they’re going to have to earn it. But, as John Velasco put it, Coach Alumbaugh has done an excellent job with the team this year. “All the plays, all the schemes, he really put[s] us in the best position to win.”

It’s going to be a great match-up.  If you’re in the area, you might want to take this one in personally.

Final score: De La Salle 49, California 17 (win #39 in a row)
[NOTE: this is currently the 10th longest HS winning streak of all time]
Current Record: 13-0-0
Next game: Saturday 12/14 vs. Folsom (14-0), CIF Northern Regional Championship
7:30 PM PST, Diablo Valley College

(credit to MaxPreps and Prep2Prep for game information)

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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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