News


Foothill's loss to De La Salle ends Falcons season, but is it fair?

2 inferior teams that didn't win their section advance

After holding De La Salle to its second lowest offensive output of the season, the Foothill football team saw its season end in a 35-0 loss to the Spartans in the North Coast Section Div. I finals.

But did the Falcons season have to end?

It did according to NCS. Instead of competing this weekend in the CIF State Playoffs, the Falcons will have turned in their gear and moved on. De La Salle, by virtue of its 24 straight NCS title skips right by the playoffs and goes right on into the State Open final against Centennial.

That means the runner up – Foothill this year – does not get a chance to compete despite the section having no representative in Div. I. NCS has a rule that only section champs can continue on in the process.

Initially this appeared to be a statewide policy, but other sections have seen the light and did what is best for the players.

In the Central Coast Section, two teams that lost in their section finals – St. Francis and Milpitas – are still competing and have a shot this weekend to get into a state championship game.

A case could have been made that either Foothill or Antioch, who battled to the epic 55-54 semifinal game won by the Falcons, would have deserved a spot in the State playoffs, but thanks to NCS, the loser to DLS sees their season end.

Throw in that Antioch controlled Milpitas in a 47-22 win this year and it makes it an even more glowing error.

So Foothill goes out, holds De La Salle to its lowest total since the Spartans lost 26-21 to open the season to Trinity of Euless, Texas, forced De La Salle to play their starters throughout the game and they get nothing but handshake and a second place medal.

Meanwhile two inferior teams that didn't win their section, advance. Sound fair?

It has been the age old question when it comes to high school football locally – is it fair that De La Salle is allowed to compete against the other schools in the area? There is no simple answer, so my answer will come as no surprise – yes and no.

The Spartans do have a competitive advantage by the ability to have athletes from throughout the area attend the private school, but no more so than every other private school.

I don't see schools like Moreau, Bishop O'Dowd, Salesian or St. Mary's running off 24 straight NCS titles. Ideally all private schools should compete with each other.

In my 30 years watching DLS, there are two main reasons, along with great athletes, I see for their success. One, and most obvious, coaching. You have a combination of talent and great coaching and you will see success.

Second and what I feel is the most important – commitment. Once the player gets involved with the De La Salle program, the entire family buys into the program. A year round commitment without issue.

Public schools don't have the same level of commitment, plain and simple. Sure there are some athletes and families willing to make the sacrifice, but there are far more not as enamored.

In 30 years of being around prep sports, I have seen some crazy behavior. Families take an athlete out in the middle of the season for a family trip without regards to scheduled practices or games. No commitment.

There are athletes with a series of transgressions, even during the school day. Once again, no commitment.

The coaches know this and are frustrated, but in this climate, their hands are tied. Try disciplining and parents are in the principal's office screaming and yelling.

Some may see such a commitment as intrusive on their lives and that certainly is their right, but don't criticize others who are willing to accept the rigors as it is their choice.

CAPTIONS:

courtesy Kari Dukleth

1) Ruben Mercado (1) returns a punt while Dallas Martin (10) and Josh Merryman (11) block

2) Foothill punter Jacob Guzman (15) had a solid game against De La Salle

Comments

12 people like this
Posted by john
a resident of Mission Park
on Dec 8, 2015 at 9:28 am

First of all, congrats to the DLS spartans for another NCS title....24 in a row is quite an accomplishment.

NCS has to wake up and see that they are losing respresentation in Division 1 when their champion goes to the open division....they need to relook at their bylaws and change it so the runner up will represent them in this case.

That being said, Pleasanton is very proud of our teams and would exchange them for DLS any time soon.


9 people like this
Posted by Mr. Cheney
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 8, 2015 at 10:22 am

Has this game aired on TV? Is it available on line somewhere?
It's good and bad that we play in a division that has one of the best teams in the country. Good: We have teams in P-town that have great talent and are growing to learning what commitment it will take to go on in college and beyond if they have the talent and the focus to do so. Bad: They are always going to be held at a disadvantage when a private school has the ability to recruit the talent by the offer of financial support. I'm not saying I know this as fact but it is what I believe. If I'm wrong then I'm sure someone will correct me. Great Job to Foothill on an AWESOME season.


2 people like this
Posted by Ward Sorenson
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 8, 2015 at 12:01 pm

"Public schools don't have the same level of commitment, plain and simple."

You might take a look at Centennial High School, from Corona.
That is a "public school" that has made it into the state final in over half of the past 10 years of the championship...
This year they are ranked #1 in the nation and face De La Salle one more time.
Thus far they have met 4 times and DLS has won 3.
However, Centennial is favored this year.

So, some public high schools can indeed have the absolute top team.


2 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 8, 2015 at 3:19 pm

"So, some public high schools can indeed have the absolute top team." I guess your right, Ward. To have a minimum of 9 to 11 players that excel on both sides of the line of scrimmage, playing at a level of commitment accountable to no one but themselves, is what Foothill High School does each and every year...with the best coaching available. I suspect Centennial will lose again. I have not witnessed a program who requires the best of each other...fair or not. Congratulations...Foothill High and their supporters.


2 people like this
Posted by Learning
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 8, 2015 at 3:25 pm

How about a commitment to actual education for a change? I don't think one dollar of taxpayer money should be spent on students for anything other than learning. If they want to participate in sports their family should foot the entire bill, including coaching. Or perhaps try teaching these kids about things that will help them earn a living?


2 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 8, 2015 at 4:16 pm

I can only speak for those boys who have played within the Foothill Falcons football program that I know...maybe not that many. But each and every one of them are committed to Family,Community, as Husbands, Parents and productive Citizens. Nothing is perfect.


8 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of another community
on Dec 8, 2015 at 4:45 pm

"How about a commitment to actual education for a change? .... Or perhaps try teaching these kids about things that will help them earn a living?"

Learning - Ask successful adults about the experiences in their youth that contributed to their success in life, and they will almost universally list "athletics, performing arts, community service, and other things that you may not classify as "actual education."


7 people like this
Posted by Playing Football is Learning too
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Dec 8, 2015 at 5:51 pm

Learning says "How about a commitment to actual education for a change?"

Playing football is a learning experience. Some of the best professionals I've worked with played a competitive sport at high-school and college levels. These kids learn how to think on their feet. They can take on different roles and continue to do well. They are excellent team members. Education doesn't always have to be in a classroom. It can be through books on the field - the "play book".


11 people like this
Posted by Sweendawg Fan
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Dec 8, 2015 at 6:32 pm

You must look at the number of Division 1 athletes year after year coming out of De La Salle. They draw the best athletes for football every year because of the almost guaranteed opportunity to play Division 1 college football. Public schools in the EBAL have had their fair share but nothing like the multitude that De La Salle cranks out. Secondly De La Salle is run like a college football program in high school. De La Salle football alums all agree that the commitment in the off season to weight training is their key to success. They have a state of the art weight room facility that a private school can afford with a designated strength coach. Public schools on the other hand can't afford these nice weight rooms and the one that does have a similar weight room is Cal high and is known to be the only EBAL school that can size up with De La Salle to a certain extent. Kids playing high school football at public schools have no problem quitting when the going gets tough and no repercussions for missing an off season lift. At De La Salle there is a binding commitment that is paid every month by the parents that will make sure their son doesn't quit on something the family has invested time and money into. As a former EBAL player it is time to make De La Salle compete solely against Southern California private schools and Bishop Gorman. Enough being the big fish in a little pond and pick on somebody your own size.


Like this comment
Posted by Congrats to Pleasanton
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Dec 8, 2015 at 6:35 pm

... and especially to Foothill for fielding excellence this year and raising the bar with their programs. They didn't get here without an increased level of commitment from players and families.


2 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 8, 2015 at 7:43 pm

Imagine how much better off these kids would be if all this energy were poured into a less dangerous sport? On top of that, Football is demonstrably a deeply corrupting influence on both high schools and colleges. So although the commitment of the football athletes (and their families) to doing "whatever it takes" to build up personal excellence is admirable, I would argue that it is misdirected. Let the kids at DLS go on to be disillusioned (and brain-damaged) by the insanity of college football. Let the P-town boys grow up into mature professionals in other areas.


6 people like this
Posted by Formerly Dan from BC
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Dec 8, 2015 at 8:03 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

"Imagine how much better off these kids would be if all this energy were poured into a less dangerous sport?"

Those kids CHOSE this sport anonymous!

Go play nanny somewhere else!

Geez.


4 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Foothill High School
on Dec 8, 2015 at 9:50 pm

What could possibly be fair about a private school competing in a public school system? They get to play and practice by their own rules, while everyone else is restricted.

It would be nice if we could end this nonsense and go back to the good old days where there actually was a fair competition, not just 'let's see who loses to DLS in the playoff finals this year.'


1 person likes this
Posted by Jim
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 8, 2015 at 10:16 pm

DeLasalle could start by advocating and creating an East Catholic Athletic League, instead of being a part of the EBAL. The West Catholic Athletic League is in San Jose and San Francisco.

Web Link


7 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 8, 2015 at 10:20 pm

In the movie "When the Game Stands Tall," the climactic scene was when a young man, who has the opportunity to break the TD record, instead takes a knee near the opponent's goal line, thereby showing that team is much more important than the pursuit of a selfish individual record.
With the score 35-0 and only 25 seconds on the clock and the ball on Foothill's 6 yard line, this DeLaSalle team, coming out of an injury time-out, instead of taking a knee, attempted and completed a pass play but the receiver was tackled short of the goal line.
Maybe it's time for the Spartans to read some of their own books and watch their own movie?
Coach Sweeney and his team made me (even more) proud to be from Pleasanton!


9 people like this
Posted by Karen
a resident of Valley Trails
on Dec 8, 2015 at 11:11 pm

Here's a little information that you may find interesting. De La Salle used to belong to the CAL (Catholic Athletic League). The CAL was broken up because of the overall dominance of the teams in that league compared to the surrounding leagues. Yes, DLS has an amazing football success story. Newsflash: their other athletic teams (Basketball, Soccer, Baseball, Track, etc.) have earned multiple NCS championships over the last several years as well. Most of the local families have no idea the level of commitment that these scholar athletes have. Look up the team GPA's. There aren't any basket-weaving courses at DLS. Here's another fact: the coaches are actual, dedicated teachers. Ladouceur even subs. Alumbaugh is one of the best history teachers that I know. I can understand why local fans are frustrated with constantly losing to DLS and/or the mismatched divisions. As a former Pleasanton coach, the biggest source of frustration for me was dealing with all the priorities that overshadowed the need to attend training sessions and sometimes even games (family vacations, parties, the weather is too hot, scout commitments, school dances, etc.) Not to mention the players who were participating in two sports at the same time. A team is only as strong as it's commitment level.

With that said, high school sports aren't fair. College selection processes aren't fair. Life isn't fair. We live in a very privileged community where we aren't doing enough to model commitment, service to others over self-gratification, respect and dealing with disappointment. Seems pretty shallow to focus on how our local teams are disadvantaged.


1 person likes this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Foothill High School
on Dec 8, 2015 at 11:29 pm

"With that said, high school sports aren't fair."

This isn't some law of the universe cop out. It's really quite simple. High school sports aren't fair because of organizations like DLS playing in our league.

No DLS, no problem. Bay Area high school sports can be competitive again like they were for DECADES before DLS ever entered the picture.


Like this comment
Posted by oceana11
a resident of Village High School
on Dec 9, 2015 at 3:22 am

oceana11 is a registered user.

I found this post very helpful
Thanks for Sharing! Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Julie
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 9, 2015 at 8:52 am

@Jack -

That part of the De la Salle movie was fictional.


2 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2015 at 9:15 am

@Former Dan,

The parents choose for their kids to play football, not the kids.

I too would like to see them put their energy into something else.

Web Link


8 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 9, 2015 at 12:35 pm

@ Karen
The game didn't "Stand very Tall" when the celebrated program was throwing a pass from the 6 yd line while up 35-0 in the final seconds…
I hate to quote Jed York, but I thought DeLaSalle could actually "win with class."


Like this comment
Posted by Member
a resident of Mission Park
on Dec 9, 2015 at 2:14 pm

Saint Francis is Division 2 and Milpitas is Division 3, Foothill could not play in the lower divisions. Clayton Valley is playing in the Division 1A game. Looks like they were picked over Foothill for the 2nd NCS team.


Like this comment
Posted by Senor Biggles
a resident of another community
on Dec 9, 2015 at 3:14 pm

@BobB Wow, I didn't know that my participation in Soccer, Track and Wrestling at Concord High was my parents choice, while they chose for my younger brother at DLS to join Football and Wrestling. They must have really thought that through and known that he would end up playing at a Div I College and making it into the NFL this year, despite my parents had to make this decision 8 years ago.

You obviously have no idea what goes on in scholastic athletics, other than what happens on the field/court/mat/etc.


2 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2015 at 3:28 pm

@Senor Biggles,

"I didn't know that my participation in Soccer, Track and Wrestling at Concord High was my parents choice, while they chose for my younger brother at DLS to join Football and Wrestling. "

As long as you are a minor, it is your parents choice. If they say no, you can't play. My point was with regard to football, and with what we are now learning about football related injuries, parents need to be aware of dangers before letting their kids play, especially younger kids.


5 people like this
Posted by Formerly Dan from BC
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Dec 9, 2015 at 4:36 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

BobB,

Ridiculous!

The Kids CHOOSE to play the sport. The parents ALLOW them to play the sport.

Get it?

You chose other things for your kids, GOOD FOR YOU!. That's why we have vanilla
chocolate and strawberry.

Nanny your own kids.






5 people like this
Posted by Dunnaa
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Dec 9, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Congrats to Foothill but everyone with kids who play football know you will most likely never get past a program that can recruit. With that said. I would think De La Salle would want out of EBAL. How boring is it to slaughter these teams every year? You want to prove yourself? Stay in the Catholic league. No one cares when your beating teams that don't have the same money & sponsorship behind them. And no one is impressed when your beating public schools. Foothill should be proud they had a great season that even De La Salle cannot take that away from them.


Like this comment
Posted by Sumati
a resident of Kolb Ranch Estates
on Dec 9, 2015 at 5:08 pm

"In 30 years of being around prep sports, I have seen some crazy behavior. Families take an athlete out in the middle of the season for a family trip without regards to scheduled practices or games. No commitment."

Out of 30 years of being around prep sports your example of crazy behavior is families taking their kids on a family trip? Seems like you need to get a little perspective on what crazy behavior is...


8 people like this
Posted by MTB MJG
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2015 at 7:37 pm

Dennis,
First of all I would like to congratulate Foothill High School, their coaches, players, and students on an awesome football season. These exceptional young men were truly committed to each other, the coaches and the school.

Thanks for a nice write up and acknowledgement that things are rotten in Denmark, but your article fell short of the goaline. In fact, it did not even get into the redzone. You did get it right that the NCS is screwed up and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out, run by DeLaSalle alumni. I realize that writers are afraid of being true journalists and speak the truth for fear of not being politically correct. Many of your statements about Foothill and public schools in general are ignorant and naive. Don’t be put off though, ignorance is simply the lack of education and I’m going to educate you.

I want just say up front that I am a Foothill dad of two sons throughout the years and am proud to say they were a part of the football team in the past. I have nothing but praise for the school and the coaching staff.
“Public schools don't have the same level of commitment, plain and simple.” You are a clueless wonder.

You single out DeLaSalle for commitment, well maybe they are too, but they learned it from somewhere. Foothill’s coaches and players are the most committed team I have ever had the pleasure to see. And I have played and coached a lot in my past old years, high school and college. They will start up again in about a month, lifting, running, and training. Their season lasts about 10 months. They will start up several passing leagues and go until August when the official practices start. The coaches get paid minimally as illustrated in last week’s Mercury article, and their pay is disgustingly little in comparison to the hours they put in. I’m sure this is also true of Amador and many other east bay high schools. Wonder what the DeLaSalle coaches make and if they would still be there under the same conditions. Doubt it. The Foothill coaches have also started up a youth flag league that impresses the heck out of me. My guess is all volunteer. Ya, no commitment there. At Foothill, if a player misses a day of practice, they don’t play in the game. It’s that simple. I know firsthand because my oldest, who started, wanted to attend his aunt’ wedding during the week. He informed the coaches, but was told of the consequences. He did not play that week. He never missed another practice for the rest of his football tenure. I could go on about the hours the coaches put in, but am trying to keep this short. Let’s just say an 80 hour work week is standard for these committed professionals. And don’t even question their coaching ability. One little overlooked milestone this year that came and went was the fact that coach Sweeney got his 250th win. No fanfare, no celebration, just business as usual, the Foothill way. There are very few coaches in high school, college or the pros that surpassed that number. Oh, and BTW many of them are teachers at Foothill or at other nearby schools. I guess DeLaSalle had to learn that from somewhere. A couple other stats is that Foothill does not keep stats. Their belief is the team concept and no one player is better than the rest and should not stand out above the others. There are no player names on the back of their jerseys for the same reason. I guess DeLaSalle had to learn that from someone too. Here is some real stats on the team this year as ranked by Maxpreps; #2 in NCS, #8 Norcal, #26 CA, #231 National. Not too bad for non-committed players, coaches, parents, and a public school.

“The Spartans do have a competitive advantage by the ability to have athletes from throughout the area attend the private school, but no more so than every other private school.” Masterful at understatement and very PC here.

Recruiting out of district players. Paid room, paid board, paid tuition, paid expenses. Naw, no advantage here. You say they are from out of the area, heck some of them are not from our same continent. Current tuition at DeLaSalle now at $16,450 BTW. This little nice label of competitive advantage you put on DeLaSalle translates into players that are bigger, faster, and stronger than anyone else in the bay area. The fact that they won 24 straight NCS titles does not surprise anyone, it just makes us sick. They are an out of control college team breaking every NCAA rule in the book. Or you might say they are giving scholarships to play. Either way you say it, they need to go. Public schools have strict district boundaries and you know this. About 95% of the Foothill players grew up in Pleasanton. I would wager that only 5% of the DeLaSalle players grew up in Concord and none are starters.

Dennis, if you have been around prep sports for 30 years I think I have not given you an education here. You full well know what is going on or maybe you are one of those who likes to look the other way. It’s time for the unremarkable Spartans to exit the NCS and not be allowed to play public schools in the post season.


6 people like this
Posted by Unanimous
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 9, 2015 at 8:49 pm

De La Salle is about much more than football. More than sports for that matter. De La Salle is about creating men. Freshman, entering as boys and leaving senior year as men. Accuse De La Salle all you want for "recruiting" football players. The school, ideologies and morals recruit. Thank God All Mighty, I'm a Spartan.


2 people like this
Posted by Unanimous
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 9, 2015 at 8:51 pm

By the way, you are all debating about HIGH SCHOOL football.


2 people like this
Posted by Luke
a resident of Amador Estates
on Dec 9, 2015 at 8:59 pm

Lol MTB MJG so much for keeping it short huh? Someone sounds bitter they lost. Can't relive the glory days anymore huh? Get your facts straight before you start accusing DLS of bull****. Grow up man, it's HS football.


4 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2015 at 10:20 pm

@Former Dan,

Maybe that works okay for you and your kids, but if my kids chose an activity that I didn't approve of, I would choose not to let them do it. My choice, not theirs. Kids need nannies to tell them what to do.

George Will is right; Football is a bad choice for children, and a bad choice for adults (like smoking).


3 people like this
Posted by Tara
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2015 at 11:09 pm

I am new this year watching this game. I can tell you that this was not a fair game and not just because Foothill lost or being a sore loser. I looked up the stats of these KIDS who are putting everything they have into this game. The DeLe Salle players are so out of per portion bigger which was obvious if you were at the game. I feel like watching this game would be a lot like watching DeLa Salle play professional football team and calling that fair. I feel this is more of a safety issue than a sore looser issue and obviously not fair. Two of the DeLa Salle players hit each other when the player they were trying to hit ducked under them and it took them a minute to get up from that. I don't understand why Foothill played public schools all year and ate the end played a private school. The rules and incentives should be the same for everyone playing.


Like this comment
Posted by Someone
a resident of Dublin
on Dec 10, 2015 at 6:43 am

DLS is independent and only played 2 EBAL teams this year prior to play-offs. They played out of state and top northern and California teams from out of the area, public and private. Their weight room isn't state of the art, it's beat down from how much they are in there. So.... They have to play in a playoff somewhere and they are located in the northcoast section. They will be playing a public school team that outranks them in all the polls. You guys are a bunch of sore losers that can't even get the facts straight. You all make statements that hold no fact. To make for a rational debate please make your complaints using factual statements.


Like this comment
Posted by Someone
a resident of Dublin
on Dec 10, 2015 at 6:47 am

Also a large number of the teams such as antioch and Pittsburg have larger players, centennial the team that dls will play in the state open division game ( a public school) will have larger and faster more athletic player, long beach poly who dls played earlier this year had larger and faster players.......so there goes that argument you all love to cling on to.


Like this comment
Posted by Formerly Dan from BC
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Dec 10, 2015 at 9:21 am

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

BobB,

Ahem...kids need PARENTS. Parents need NANNYS. In this case I neither need, nor want, a nanny for my kids.

You are unusually obtuse on this, Bob.

Thanks for playing.


2 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 10, 2015 at 9:45 am

Jack is a registered user.

Advice to young bloggers:
If your goal is to defend your educational institution, you might want to post sentences and paragraphs that are written above the 3rd grade level...


5 people like this
Posted by meeesterp
a resident of another community
on Dec 10, 2015 at 9:59 am

meeesterp is a registered user.

It's pretty simple actually...

The NCS administration needs to be put to rest. They've been doing this type of crap to teams AND players for the past several years. Not to take away anything from what DLS has done this year. They deserve to be where they are right now but I agree with the majority of this discussion. Foothill should also be in a NorCal Regional Bowl Game as well. Why they are not is a mystery to me. I GUARANTEE YOU if Foothill beat DLS in that game, DLS would still be playing in a NorCal regional game. Why? NCS.

Oh and by "Crap" I mean anything NOT associated with DLS.

For example, the transfer issue.

Kid transfers from another state into California? Allowed to play HS sports.
Kid transfers from another school (SoCal or NorCal) into a Norcal school? 6 week mandatory no game participation.
Kid transfer TO DLS from another school (NorCal or SoCal)? If the kid is a star athlete, no probation. Any other, 6 weeks.
Kid transfers OUT of DLS to another school? No play for the following year.

AND NOW the playoffs issue.

NCS administration is a JOKE!! Unless you go to DLS that is...


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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Nominations due by Sept. 17

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