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.
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