Senior-laden DLS State Team of Year

Antoine Custer's 63-yard TD run (left) helped De La Salle's players swarm around another CIF state title trophy last Saturday. Photos: Phillip Walton/SportStars & Paul Muyskens.

Antoine Custer’s 63-yard TD run (left) helped De La Salle’s players swarm around another CIF state title trophy last Saturday. Photos: Phillip Walton/SportStars & Paul Muyskens.

The only blemish was a strange loss in the season opener almost in the middle of the night (due to weather delays) in Texas, but in the end it’s another top finish for the nation’s all-time best football program. How should the Spartans be handled coming into next season, however, with only two returning starters?

Where would this year’s De La Salle team (not to mention Centennial or St. John Bosco) rank among the greatest 50 in state history? For a look at the 50 we came up with last week, CLICK HERE.

We hope you enjoy this free feature. This is a great time to sign up for our Gold Club to see all of our great content, including just published 20,000 word feature on the 50 greatest football teams in state history. Some of the all-state football teams also will be Gold Club, including All-State Underclass. Our yearly rate has gone up, but you can now get it for just $9.99 to check it out for three months. For details, CLICK HERE.

There may now be 14 CIF state football champions in a myriad, complex system that is beginning to resemble the U.S. federal tax code, but for the sixth time in seven years and 18th time since 1992 there’s no complexity about which high school football team in California is sitting on top of the throne.

That would be head coach Justin Alumbaugh’s program at De La Salle of Concord after the wizards of Winton Avenue got past previously unbeaten Centennial of Corona 28-21 in last Saturday’s CIF Open Division state bowl game at Sacramento State.

Since the bowl games began in 2006, it hasn’t been automatic that the Division I champion (2006, 2007) or the Open Division champion (a format that began in 2008) was going to finish No. 1 in the final state rankings and be chosen as the Cal-Hi Sports State Team of the Year.

But that’s been the case the case the last few years, and even though Mission Viejo went 16-0 in winning the CIF Division I-AA state bowl game, there’s literally no one in Southern California who would rank the Diablos higher than either Centennial or the other CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division finalist, St. John Bosco of Bellflower, and there are still some who wouldn’t rank the Diablos higher than other CIFSS Pac-5 playoff teams like Mater Dei of Santa Ana or Serra of Gardena (although we will).

Due to having a loss to out-of-state Trinity of Euless, Texas, in the first game, this year’s De La Salle team was not able to match its No. 1 state finish with a mythical No. 1 national crown, which did happen for 1994, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003. Still, with its win over a Centennial team that was No. 1 in at least one national poll in a season in which three of the state’s teams (including St. John Bosco) were all in the top five nationally at various points in the season (we don’t think that’s happened before) probably puts this year’s Spartans among the best in school history and possibly in front of even last year’s team that went 14-0.

Boss Tagaloa had 10 tackles with three for loss as part of De La Salle defense. Photo: Harold Abend.

Senior Boss Tagaloa had 10 tackles with three for loss as part of rugged De La Salle defense. Photo: Harold Abend.

The other feature of this year’s DLS squad in addition to beating an opponent in the last game as highly regarded as Centennial was its senior-dominant starting lineup. All 11 starters on offense from last Saturday were seniors and there will be only two returning juniors from the defense.

One player who epitomizes the determination and skill of the DLS Class of 2016 is two-way lineman Boss Tagaloa, who was on the roster as a freshman so he got to experience three CIF state title wins in his four years.

“It’s just a blessing to be part of it,” said Tagaloa said after last Saturday’s game in which he had 10 tackles, including three for a loss. “This is the greatest program ever and this is the best way to end a four-year career.”

The only two returning starters for next year will be linebacker Logan Nonies and defensive back Tre White. It’ll be the most extreme starting lineup turnaround from one season to the next in the 35 years we’ve been following the program.

There still won’t be much thought given, however, to ranking any other team in California higher than De La Salle to start next season. The coaching staff, led by Alumbaugh and including longtime defensive coordinator Terry Eidson plus the legendary Bob Ladoucuer, has proven time and time again it knows how to reload. And when your team has only lost one game to a California team in seven years and has been No. 1 six times in those years it’s time once again to be in the position of staying No. 1 until losing to another California team.

That’s the position the Spartans were in at the start of 2013 when they hadn’t lost to a California team in five years and had won four straight CIF Open Division bowl game titles. That loss then happened in the final game of that season to St. John Bosco 20-14. The Braves were then given the same treatment in 2014 despite a loss to an out-of-state team until they fell to Centennial in the CIFSS Pac-5 championship.

Congratulations to Alumbaugh, and the other assistant coaches (Joe Aliotti, Mark Panella, Blake Tuffli, Steve Jacoby, Chris Crespi, Ned Milin, Nathan Kenion and Donald Boyce) and to all the players at De La Salle of Concord, the 2015 Cal-Hi Sports State Team of the Year.


(Last 104 years listed, but it goes back further than that to 1891 in our files, as compiled from 1891 to 2003 by the late Nelson Tennis)

Michael Hutchings had the CIF state title trophy in his lap during team photo in 2012. Photo by Scott Kurtz.

Michael Hutchings had the CIF state title trophy in his lap during team photo in 2012. Photo by Scott Kurtz.

2015 — Concord De La Salle (13-1)
2014 — Concord De La Salle (16-0)
2013 — Bellflower St. John Bosco (16-0)
2012 — Concord De La Salle (15-0)
2011 — Concord De La Salle (13-1)
2010 — Concord De La Salle (14-0)
2009 — Concord De La Salle (13-2)
2008 — Corona Centennial (15-0)
2007 — Concord De La Salle (13-0)
2006 — Westlake Village Oaks Christian (15-0)
2005 — Ventura St. Bonaventure (14-0)
2004 — Mission Viejo (14-0)
2003 — Concord De La Salle (13-0)
2002 — Concord De La Salle (13-0)
2001 — Concord De La Salle (12-0)
2000 — Concord De La Salle (13-0)
1999 — Concord De La Salle (12-0)
1998 — Concord De La Salle (12-0)
1997 — Concord De La Salle (12-0)
1996 — Concord De La Salle (12-0)
1995 — Concord De La Salle (13-0)
1994 — Concord De La Salle (13-0)
1993 — Rialto Eisenhower (14-0)
1992 — Concord De La Salle (13-0)
1991 — Santa Ana Mater Dei (13-1)
1990 — Merced (14-0)
1989 — Fontana (14-0)
1988 — Carson (12-1)
1987 — Fontana (14-0)
1986 — El Toro (14-0)
1985 — Vista (13-0)
1984 — Riverside Poly (13-1)
1983 — Mountain View St. Francis (13-0)
1982 — Anaheim Servite (11-1)
1981 — San Jose Bellarmine (12-0)
1980 — Wilmington Banning (12-0)
1979 — Huntington Beach Edison (12-2)
1978 — Visalia Mt. Whitney (13-0)
1977 — Rancho Cordova (12-0)
1976 — Wilmington Banning (12-1)
1975 — Rancho Cordova (11-0)
1974 — Vista (13-0)
1973 — Hacienda Heights Los Altos (12-1)
1972 — Santa Fe Springs St. Paul (13-0)
1971 — Carson (12-0)
1970 — La Puente Bishop Amat (12-1)
1969 — Pasadena Blair (13-0)
1968 — Alameda (9-0)
1967 — Anaheim (12-1)
1966 — Pico Rivera El Rancho (13-0)
1965 — San Jose Bellarmine (9-0)
1964 — Stockton Stagg (10-0)
1963 — Los Angeles Loyola (12-0)
1962 — Los Angeles Loyola (12-0)
1961 — Monterey (8-0)
1960 — Redwood City Sequoia (9-0)
1959 — Long Beach Poly (11-0)
1958 — Long Beach Poly (11-0-1)
1957 — Berkeley (8-0)
1956 — Downey (12-0-1)
1955 — San Diego (11-0-1)
1954 — Vallejo (9-0)
1953 — Santa Monica (10-0-1)
1952 — Santa Monica (11-0-1)
1951 — Pomona (12-0)
1950 — Compton (11-1)
1949 — Compton (10-1)
1948 — Long Beach St. Anthony (11-1-1)
1947 — L.A. Washington (8-0)
1946 — Alhambra Keppel (8-0)
1945 — Santa Ana (11-1)
1944 — Alhambra Keppel (8-0)
1943 — Redondo Beach Redondo (6-0)
1942 — La Verne Bonita (11-0)
1941 — Piedmont (9-0)
1940 — Piedmont (8-0)
1939 — Alhambra (10-0)
1938 — Stockton (8-0)
1937 — L.A. Manual Arts (8-0)
1936 — L.A. Manual Arts (8-0-1)
1935 — Long Beach Poly (9-0)
1934 — Piedmont (8-0)
1933 — S.F. Galileo (8-2-1)
1932 — Inglewood (10-2)
1931 — Santa Ana (13-0)
1930 — Berkeley (11-0-1)
1929 — Berkeley (11-0-1)
1928 — Lodi (9-0)
1927 — Bakersfield (12-0)
1926 — San Mateo (9-1-1)
1925 — Los Angeles (10-0)
1924 — Berkeley (11-0)
1923 — Bakersfield (10-0-1)
1922 — Bakersfield (10-0-1)
1921 — Bakersfield (9-0-1)
1920 — Bakersfield (9-1)
1919 — Long Beach Poly (12-0)
1918 — L.A. Manual Arts (9-0)
1917 — L.A. Manual Arts (11-1)
1916 — San Diego (12-0)
1915 — Pasadena (7-1)
1914 — Pomona Rugby (12-0)
1913 — Pomona Rugby (11-0)
1912 — Berkeley Rugby (7-2-1)
1911 — Los Angeles Rugby (9-0)
1910 — Alameda (5-0)

Corrections or comments? Email

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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  1. Mike
    Posted December 22, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Wow. Looking at this list, you would expect to see some familiar names. Amazing that Long Beach Poly with all the talent and winning hasn’t had a CA Team of the Year since 1958-59!

  2. phil60
    Posted December 22, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Cred goes to Cal Hi for not changing the rankings all season despite an out-of-state loss and so-called national polls that had Centennial and St. John Bosco ahead of De La Salle. The Spartans are always No. 1 until proven otherwise. Such media-driven rankings just don’t get it. Those late-comer (compared to Cal Hi) circuses often know little about what is really going on with California sports. They are usually proven wrong at the end of the season, especially MaxPreps ………or, should that be “Hacks”preps?

    With their great defense this year and 3-year players like Tagaloa, Asiasi, and Custer, I believe that this is surely one of the better De La Salle teams ever. Centennial gave them a battle, and for a few inches here and there, who knows? At any rate, I think that this Centennial team showed that they deserve to be ranked somewhere in the all-time top-50 for the state.

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