We’re halfway there, folks. Just 15 more days to go before El Cerrito and Mission-S.F. get the year underway by squaring off at Kezar Stadium. One day later, De La Salle will open it’s season by hosting Serra — the first of three nonleague games that will undoubtedly test the fortitude of this collection of Spartans. After Serra it’s a pair of out-of-state opponents in Don Bosco Prep (N.J.) and Lakeland (FL.). Which leads us to the obvious question:
What can we expect De La Salle’s record to look like after its first three games?
In looking at everything on paper, I think the best guess would be 2-1.
Game 1, Serra: The Spartans had a miserable time in scraping out a season-opening win against the Padres last season, but that’s essentially because Serra dominated the point of attack against a young DLS line. That definitely should not happen this season, as De La Salle will be much more skilled and experienced on both of its lines. History also comes into play here as the game is at Owen Owens Field where Serra has not played particularly well in recent matchups. Serra lost 61-13 in 2005 and 40-22 in 2007 at DLS. The Spartans will be breaking in a new QB (or two), but it shouldn’t matter as the they should be able to move the ball effectively on the ground.
Game 2, Don Bosco Prep: It would be hard to top the intensity of last year’s matchup between the Spartans and Ironmen, but it’s possible this game may do it. I haven’t ever actually heard DLS coach Bob Ladouceur say it, but I have a inkling he was more cheesed off losing to DBP than he was losing the CIF Bowl game to Centennial-Corona. That said, I don’t think there is any chance the Spartans go to the East Coast without being expertly prepared and perhaps more motivated to win than any other game they will play all season. The Ironmen will be playing their first game of the season, and will have some kinks to work out (including breaking in their own new QB). Keep in mind that as good as that DBP team was last season, it lost its first game of the year against St. Xavier (OH.). Each team’s strength will undoubtedly be defense, so it could be a very low-scoring game. The Ironmen have two Division I-commits at defensive end, two more at linebacker and a Yale-bound defensive back. I see it as a very good game, but I think it will be De La Salle’s turn to escape by a field goal.
Game 3, Lakeland: This is the game that I would predict De La Salle could fall short on. Not that they won’t give the Florida school a run for its money, but Lakeland will feature the same type of talent and speed that Centennial had last December. The Spartans will get an extra week to prepare for this game, so an immediate letdown off the DBP game isn’t likely be a factor. Jarred Haggins IS likely to be a factor. The Dreadnaughts run-and-gun QB had scholarship offers from Ohio State and half the SEC before recently committing to Florida State (where he’s most likely going to suit up as a receiver). It’s quite possible he will make Centennial’s Nebraska-bound QB Taylor Martinez from last year’s bowl game look slow. There’s no question that if the DLS defense can hang with this group, then a trip to the CIF Open Championship will be all but locked up.