Foothill High School's Falcons face De La Salle at 7 p.m. tonight in the NCS championship game to be played at Dublin High School.
The game follows what arguably was Foothill's hardest fought effort of the season, with the Falcons pulling off a one-for-the-ages win, beating Antioch 55-54 in the North Coast Section Div. I semifinals on Nov. 28.
In that game, it came down to an Antioch two-point conversion attempt in the final minute that the Falcons denied to grab the victory.
And for all the effort it took get there, the reward for Foothill is Saturday's date with De La Salle.
De La Salle is currently ranked No. 6 in the nation and is coming off a 70-14 win over a very good Pittsburg team in the other semifinal. The Spartans jumped out to a 35-0 lead before half of the first quarter was over.
The starting Del Salle defense has not given up a touchdown since the second week of the season.
Not enough? De La Salle (11-1) has also won 23 straight NCS titles and have 30 NCS championships overall.
Foothill (12-0) will be playing in its seventh NCS title games, the last of which was 2006 where the Falcons also won their first 12 games before falling 33-7 to De La Salle.
Under the guidance of coach Matt Sweeney, the Falcons have won four titles, the last of which came in 2000.
It is a daunting task to be sure, but after the effort the Falcons turned in against Antioch, if there is a team with the heart to take on De La Salle, it is Foothill.
Foothill had seen a 55-40 lead with just 1:48 let all but disappear after Antioch running back Najee Harris scored his sixth touchdown of the game, making it 55-54 with under a minute to play.
Antioch had gone and converted on all its previous 2-point conversion attempts and with Harris, the Alabama bound running back having racked up 390 yards rushing at that point, it seemed nearly automatic that the Panthers would take the lead.
Foothill and Sweeney had other ideas.
"We needed to change the defense but with so many of my guys playing both ways we didn't have a chance to make those changes," said Sweeney.
In one time out, Sweeney made the changes that would save the game.
Much like the rest of the two-point attempts, Harris got the ball and headed into the line. This time he was met with more resistance as Matt Gates, Dallas Martin and Brennan Gallagher made contact with Harris at the point of attack.
Harris, once the middle was shut down, slid off to the side. But again the new scheme was working as Dario Dondero and Blake Braden were waiting. The duo, as well as other members of the defense, stopped Harris less than three-feet short of the line.
"Our guys are resilient," said Sweeney. "We knew we would make the play."
Tickets for tonight's championship game are $11 general/$6 students and seniors citizens.