The Spartans, who have the most MaxPreps Top 25 finishes (10) in the country since 2008, take on the Maryland power Oct. 1 in a game to be broadcast by ESPN. See De La Salle's complete schedule
St. Frances Academy, which didn't play a down in 2020-21 due to the pandemic, is 44-3 since 2016 with top 10 national finishes in 2017 (No. 5), 2018 (No. 6) and 2019 (No. 5).
"It's a great challenge with St. Frances," De La Salle coach Justin Alumbaugh said. "They are of the caliber of the teams that play for our state title, so we are looking forward to testing ourselves."
Cathedral Catholic will pose another big challenge. MaxPreps football editor Zack Poff said the Dons were right on the cusp of making the Preseason MaxPreps Top 25 after going 5-0 and outscoring opponents 223-14 during an abbreviated spring season.
"Cathedral Catholic is disciplined, physical, athletic and well coached," Alumbaugh said of the Dons. "We're looking forward to that new matchup with a great program."
Beyond the rugged East Bay Athletic League, one of the strongest in the Bay Area, the Spartans face Sac-Joaquin Section contenders St. Mary's (Stockton), Monterey Trail (Elk Grove) and Folsom, and travel to Central Coast Section power St. Francis (Mountain View).
De La Salle features four-star athlete Zeke Berry
, California's No. 28 recruit overall. He has 16 offers including Arizona, Oregon, Pittsburgh and UCLA.
The Spartans have appeared in every state large division championship game since 2006, winning a record seven times. The last four appearances have resulted in a loss, twice each to Mater Dei and St. John Bosco. Last season, De La Salle was scheduled to open at St. John Bosco, but the game was wiped out due to the pandemic.