There’s no guarantee the De La Salle High School football team will make another appearance in the CIF Division I championship bowl game at the Home Depot Center this fall. But chances are if the Spartans win another NCS title in 2007, strength of schedule will again be in their favor as the section commissioners make their choices.
De La Salle added a home game against Loyola-L.A. for week two of the 2007 season, and a week four contest against Castlemont in Oakland. In addition to five games against BVAL opponents, the Spartans also play Serra, Palma and Mission Viejo. De La Salle will play Loyola again in L.A. in 2008.
Last year, the combined record of Castlemont, Loyola, Mission Viejo, Palma and Serra was 40-17. Loyola was actually the worst at 4-6, but the Cubs were 39-14 between 2001-05 competing in a league with Mater Dei and Santa Margarita.
Say what you will about De La Salle, but the team isn’t afraid to take on new challenges. Heck, putting together this schedule must have been a challenge in itself considering the Spartans will play seven EBAL games starting in 2008. That meant not being able to put together home-and-home games past week 3, something they’ve traditionally done with most non-East Bay teams. Getting teams to commit to 1-year deals isn’t easy.
There was even talk that the Spartans would play Grant, but that fell through after the NCS denied De La Salle its application to play a week zero game, which would have been used to play the Pacers. If it had come to pass, the Spartans would have had one of the most difficult schedules in the state. Still, few NorCal teams will be playing a slate of games this tough.
Unlike 2006, De La Salle will be a largely inexperienced team this fall. Fifteen starters will be lost to graduation, including eight on offense. But clearly the coaching staff feels they will up for the challenge.
And if they rise to it, we may be seeing the Spartans in the Home Depot Center again this December.