What: Bishop Gorman-Las Vegas
(3-1) at No. 14 De La Salle-Concord, Calif.
8 p.m. Saturday (PDT)Head coaches:
Tony Sanchez (Bishop Gorman, second season), Bob Ladouceur (De La Salle, 32nd). TV:
CBS College Sports (live). Bart Houston
was born to be a quarterback, just not De La Salle's
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound junior doesn’t fit the mold of the program’s small, athletic and quick-footed signal-callers who normally run its vaunted veer attack.
But because of his toughness, accurate and strong arm, and football lineage – his dad Guy was a college quarterback at St. Mary’s and his grandfather Fred actually coached De La Salle coach Bob Ladouceur at San Ramon Valley-Danville – Bart Houston is the program’s most highly-recruited player at the position since Matt Gutierrez
, who was recently cut by the Chicago Bears.
“Bart has been around the game,” Ladouceur said. “He knows the grind and how tough the game is. He doesn’t get down when we’re hard on him. He just behaves like a football player.”
Ladouceur is ready to put Houston in Gutierrez’ category just yet, but the two do share a similar deep-ball threat and are two of the program’s only pocket passers.
“They’re both quiet and both different type of leaders,” Ladouceur said. “Bart has the potential to go where Matt went and have a successful career like Matt.”
Houston, who played nose guard his first season in football as a 10-year-old (he played quarterback every season after), knew very little of Gutierrez until he reached De La Salle. "I knew of him, but now I know him much better," Houston said. 'We've thrown together in the summer. He's a great guy."
Coincidently, three days before De La Salle’s biggest game of the regular season against nationally-ranked Bishop Gorman-Las Vegas, Gutierrez worked out on the Concord campus with former Spartan receivers Demetrius Williams and Calvin Colvin. All three are trying to stay sharp in case they get a call from NFL teams and all three give back to the De La Salle program. .
Williams, recently cut by the Ravens, and Colvin, last cut by the 49ers and an Arena League signee, were two of the greatest receivers in school history.
Houston, considered one of the top junior quarterbacks in the state, joined in the workouts. His passes didn’t zip quite as sharply as Gutierrez on 20-yard outs, but his long balls floated in just as softy and accurately.
“Matt made it to the NFL so it’s tough, but at the same stages, yes they are comparable,” De La Salle defensive coordinator Terry Eidson said. “As far as arm strength and throwing a deep beautiful pass they both put it right on the money.”
That could be important against an aggressive Gorman secondary that comes up quickly to stop the run, which is De La Salle’s bread and butter. “We won’t be able to be one dimensional against these guys,” Ladouceur said. “Bart will need to make some good reads and mix it up.”
Said Eidson of Houston, who has completed 16 of 29 for 367 yards and four touchdowns: “He doesn’t make a lot of bad decisions. He doesn’t try to force things. He doesn't panic. He's doing great."
As far as running the option, Eidson said: "He's not a great runner, but he knows the offense. He makes the right read. He usually pitches, but when he sees an opening he takes it. He's not elusive, but he's a good decision-maker."
On being a leader, senior tailback Lucas Dunne
said Houston can be do so either by words or action. More of the latter.
"When it gets in real tough situations, he doesn't say as much. He just gets it done. He takes charge."
Eidson describes Houston's personality as "humble and down to earth. He leads by example. He's a junior and we have some strong senior leadership - guys like (Blake) Renaud
and (Dylan) Wynn
. It's their team. I think he'll be more vocal next year."
Either way, Eidson said Houston is the well-mannered kid "you'd want to date your daughter."
An excellent student, Houston said he'll study to be an engineer in college. He's considering Cal, Stanford, UCLA, Texas A&M and Purdue among other schools right now.
"Someday I'd like to learn how to build bombs," he said with a giant smile.
He'll likely get into any university he wants depending how he throws them.
So far, so good.GAME NOTES:
Since a tough 24-17 season-opening loss to No. 24 Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.)
in the Sollenberger Classic, Gorman has rattled off three straight wins by a 139-13 count. … Star junior tailback Shaquille Powell
who grew up in nearby Novato, Calif., rushed for 180 yards and four
touchdowns last week in a 63-0 win over Sierra Vista. He has 736 yards
and 10 touchdowns in the early going after rushing for more than 1,500
yards and 29 touchdowns as sophomore. "On our schedule, he's the best
running back we'll see all year," De La Salle defensive coordinator
Terry Eidson said. … De La Salle, which has gotten off to slow starts in
recent years, has been impressive in wins over Serra (45-7) and St.
Mary's-Stockton (40-14). The Spartans are led by a pair of Division I
defenders, linebacker Renaud
(Boise State-bound) and lineman Wynn
(Oregon State). Offensively, Houston
has been sharp completing 16 of
29 for 367 yards and four touchdowns. De La Salle, as usual, has run the
ball effectively though few expected Lucas Dunne
(5-8, 173) to be so explosive. He has rushed for 287 yards (12.48
average) and four touchdowns and he's caught three passes for 139 yards.
… The game will likely be won and lost at the line, where Gorman, with
five returning starters, owns a huge size advantage. Its offensive front
averages 280 pounds to about 220 for De La Salle's line. Gorman junior Ronnie Stanley
(6-7, 280) is already considered a pro prospect. Other D-I commits for Gorman are defensive end Jalen Grimble
(USC) and safety Evan Zeger