Coming off a 21-14 win over Serra of San Mateo in which the Padres had a chance to lead 17-7 in the fourth quarter until a missed field goal turned the tide, this time the state No. 1 De La Salle of Concord football team played more like usual during Friday night’s 40-13 win over host St. Mary’s of Stockton.
Although the team still committed three turnovers, by then the outcome wasn’t in doubt as De La Salle improved its current win streak to 28 games.
St. Mary’s entered the contest at 2-0 after a 47-27 victory over Central Catholic of Modesto. Against De La Salle and its impressive defense, especially the front four of senior Sumner Houston (6-3, 260), junior Kahlil McKenzie (6-3, 315), sophomore Boss Tagaloa (6-2, 285) and senior Larry Ross (6-2, 235), the Rams were kept at bay until the score was 33-0.
The Spartans scored on their opening drive on a six-yard run by John Velasco. They made it 14-0 on a 60-yard bomb from Chris Williams to Marquise Morris and it was 20-0 after the first play of the second quarter.
On that play, senior Jerek Rosales intercepted a St. Mary’s pass inside the 10-yard line and was able to cut back down the field to complete a 93-yard interception return. Rosales intercepted two more passes later in the quarter, but on the third one he was hit hard during the return and fumbled. Rosales did not come back to the game due to a bruised rib.
First-year De La Salle of Concord head coach Justin Alumbaugh has seen the Spartans come off of a near upset loss before during his years as an assistant under the legendary Bob Ladoucuer.
“It was Serra that woke us up,” Alumbaugh said. “To be honest, while watching the game film, when (Antoine) Custer scored our first touchdown there was just one guy celebrating. We were a soulless, gutless team. We didn’t practice well and we told the kids that we have to build through practice. I felt confident we’d play harder tonight, but didn’t know if we’d play better.”
One younger player who had a breakout night was Custer. A sophomore, Custer rushed for 118 yards on 10 carries with a nine-yard touchdown and he took a screen pass 57 yards for another score.
Velasco had another solid night as the team’s more featured back. He carried 19 times for 142 yards and scored twice.
St. Mary’s quarterback Kaleb Parrish completed 19 of 29 passes for 202 yards, but he had the three interceptions by Rosales and did not get into the end zone. The Rams also were held to 109 yards rushing with a bulk of those yards coming against non-starters.
Senior receiver Demetrius Ferguson was the leading player for St. Mary’s. He caught a 77-yard bomb from Noah Righetti and finished with nine catches for 208 yards.
De La Salle plays next week at home against Del Oro of Loomis while St. Mary’s will take a bye and then return to play at Lincoln of Stockton in two weeks.