Sacramento high school sports fans finally got a first-hand look at De La Salle's football machine on Saturday night.
They likely had to turn away.
The Spartans, making their first appearance in the state capital, dominated in every facet to post a 49-15
win over Folsom
(14-1) in the CIF North Region Open Division final before an announced crowd of 10,197 fans at Sacramento State.
De La Salle (14-0), ranked 10th in the nation by MaxPreps.com
, will go for its fourth straight State Bowl Open Division title against Centennial (Corona, Calif.)
at the Home Depot Center in Carson at 8 p.m. Saturday. Corona defeated Narbonne-Harbor City 41-34
rushed for 117 yards and three touchdowns, Das Tautalatasi
rushed for 94 yards and another score, and John Velasco
added two rushing TDs in the fourth quarter as the Spartans racked up 392 yards.
But this one belonged to the defense, which sacked record-breaking Folsom quarterback
six times, three by 6-foot-4, 247-pound defensive end Austin Hooper
. Browning had been sacked only nine times coming into the game.
"I'm extremely happy," De La Salle defensive coordinator Terry Eidson said. "We tackled well tonight. I thought our tackling was tremendous. ... We rallied to the ball really well. We wanted to keep them under 21. If we did that we felt we'd win the game."
They did largely because of the pressure they put on Browning, who was forced into three interceptions. He completed 38 passes in 64 attempts for 282 yards. He became the state's single-season record-holder with 5,188 yards.
Browning got the record, but the Spartans got the victory. Big victory. USC-bound linebacker Michael Hutchings delivered numerous big hits and added an interception.
De La Salle coach Bob Ladouceur said the defensive effort wasn't by coincidence.
"We worked hard on it," he said. "We knew that was going to be a key. You can't let that kid sit back there and pick us apart. He's a phenomenal quarterback. He really is. I've watched a lot of film on him. He's really special."
And it took a special effort to slow him down.
"We put in a good week of practice, anticipating what they would do," said Hooper, who also had two catches to set up touchdowns. "Our linebackers were calling out their plays.
"We felt you can't let him sit back there and throw. He's the ultimate 7-on-7 quarterback. Kudos to our secondary. They did a great job. Half those sacks were coverage sacks."
Folsom coach Kris Richardson said De La Salle's defensive front is something his team hadn't seen before. Or experienced.
"Most teams we play have one guy (to focus on)," Richardson said. "They have four or five. That's the difference. ... They got four beasts up front and that Hooper kid is pretty special. They sub him out and bring in the Houston (Sumner Houston) kid. That's just a great football team. ... But I'm proud of our guys. We competed and we'll be back.
It took exactly 1 minutes, 4 seconds for the fans from Sacramento to see a little of what De La Salle has been doing for three decades.
The Spartans drove 62 yards in three plays keyed by a 52-yard completion from Chris Williams
to an absolutely wide open Hooper and capped with a 3-yard TD run by Vitale.
"Coach Lad saw something in film and knew it would be open," Hooper said.
After Folsom punted for only the seventh time all season, De La Salle zoomed right back down field 64 yards finished off with a 9-yard TD run by Das Tautalatasi
making it 13-0 before all of the 10,000-plus had arrived.
With 6:58 left in the first quarter, this one already felt over.
"They got off to a really good start and we didn't," Richardson said. "We had guys open and we didn't protect and then were were times we protected and we dropped the ball."
The Spartans made it 21-0 early in the third quarter on a 4-yard TD pass from Williams to
on fourth down. Williams, who was a big question mark heading into the season, continued to look sharp after throwing four touchdown passes in a NCS title win over Logan-Union City.
Folsom showed why it came into the game undefeated with a gritty 79-yard scoring drive capped by a 2-yard pass from Browning to Phillip Carter
. But it took the normally quick-striking Bulldogs 19 plays to get there.
De La Salle stomped on any hope Folsom had by immediately driving 89 yards in eight plays, finished off with Vitale's second TD run, a 1-yard. That came just one play after Hooper took a short Williams pass and turned it into a 46-yard gain.
That made the score 28-7 with 45 seconds in the half.
Vitale scored his third touchdown, a 6-yarder with 3:20 left in the third quarter. It was Vitale's 29th rushing touchdown of the season and sixth time he's rushed for three touchdowns this season. Velasco
added a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown runs of 25 and 15 to make this win complete.
A reporter asked Ladouceur if he thought the Spartans put on a good show for all those people who wanted his team to play for the first time.
"I think they all came here to watch us lose," he said.
Asked if the coaches played up the fact this week that 90 percent of the fans would be rooting against the Spartans, Eidson was frank.
"Of course we did," he said. "We brought it up in the team meeting. We were going to play in front of a big crowd against a great team. A lot of people around here felt had we played some teams up here we might not have completed the streak (national record 151-game win streak from 1992-2004). You play for your school's tradition and dignity a little bit. Yes, you have to have pride in your section and school. That's sports."
De La Salle now goes for its fourth straight State Bowl Open Division title next week.De La Salle 49, Folsom 15
De La Salle 13 15 7 14 — 49
Folsom 0 7 0 8 — 15First quarter
DLS — Pepe Vitale 3 run (Tyler Duncan kick), 10:56
DLS — Das Tautalatasi 9 run (kick failed), 6:58Second quarter
DLS — Andrew Buckley 4 pass from Chris Williams (Tautalatasi run), 10:39
F — Phillip Carter 2 pass from Jake Browning (Ben Trumm kick), 4:09
DLS — Vitale 1 run (Duncan kick), 0:45Third quarter
DLS — Vitale 6 run (Duncan kick), 3:20Fourth quarter
DLS — John Velasco 25 run (Duncan kick), 8:55
DLS — Velasco 15 run (Marcotte kick), 4:44
F — Bailey Laolagi 4 pass from Browning (Troy Knox pass from Browning), 0:05RUSHING
De La Salle — Vitale 25-117, Tautalatasi 12-94, John Velasco 2-40, Chris Williams 5-13. Totals 45-268. Folsom — Laolagi 6-18, Browning 6-(-52). Totals 12-(-34). PASSING
De La Salle — Williams 5-11-0-124. Folsom — Browning 38-64-3-282. RECEIVING
De La Salle — Austin Hooper 2-99, Buckley 2-16, Austin Lonestar 1-9. Folsom — Rodney Ellison 12-126, Knox 7-55, Carter 6-18, Laolagi 4-26. TACKLES
De La Salle — Matt Baidacci, Michael Hutchings 7, Simba Short 5, Hooper 4. Folsom — Jake Morgado 10, Derek Stiles 8, Quincy Capel 6, Eddie Flores 6. TEAM STATISTICS
First downs: De La Salle 19, Folsom 22
Total yards: De La Salle 392, Folsom 248
Fumbles/lost: De La Salle 1/1, Folsom 0/0
Penalties: De La Salle 11-98, Folsom 1-5
Possession: De La Salle 21:19, Folsom 26:41