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Pleasanton Preps: Random reflections on fall season

Original post made on Nov 5, 2019

In all my years covering prep sports, my favorite columns were ones where I wrote a series of random observations. It's time for one of those as the fall season winds down and the winter season rapidly approaches.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, November 5, 2019, 10:17 AM

Comments (13)

9 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Nov 5, 2019 at 10:27 am

I've always wondered what it would be like to play on a mercenary team like de la salle. Empty victories without honor, knowing you're winning with a patently unfair advantage. I guess the kids that load up the cheat codes on their video games would like it. Frankly, I would find zero joy in winning for such a team, unless I was playing another team of mercenary hand picked all-stars. Hollow victories.

2 people like this
Posted by Norm Guest
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 6, 2019 at 12:13 pm

Dennis...two comments. I congratulate you on your efforts to publicize local high school sports. I grew up in the Hayward area where the local paper (Hayward Daily Review) gave great coverage to the local high schools. You just don't see that anymore with the consolidation of newspapers.

In regards to public schools vs private schools...some people just don't get it...regardless of what anyone says...there is a tremendous advantage to having open enrollment in opposed to restricted boundaries and recruiting vs no recruiting.

8 people like this
Posted by T Duran
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Nov 6, 2019 at 9:46 pm

The DeLaSalle Advantage

Simply put regardless of open enrollment, no boundaries, (alleged) recruiting etc.
The outwork everybody, and not by just a little bit, but their putting in the work effort to compete at the National level.

Their goal every year is a State title, never less than that, and they get about 6 days off between the end of the season until the beginning the new season.

So if you want your child competing at the national level, try out for their team.
NCAA & NFL rosters are dotted with former Spartan players.
If your child has the potential to play college or pro ball, might as well send them to a program that is equipped to prepare them.

You could call them Football Prep if that makes you feel better but they're much more than that in academics, religion, social consciousness, community service and all around making your kid whole.

Public school have their exceptional (academic) students too, and I'm sure none of those parents begrudge how DeLaSalle gets it done because they're too busy making sure their child is on equal footing and excelling at their highest rate.

Yes Dela has their advantages, and it comes mainly from the parents that want the best for their kids. They're the ones knocking down the admission's office doors begging for their kids gaining admission. With that sort advantage, recruitment isn't necessary, it's reality. And as far as league titles, and NCS titles, I'm sure DeLa would rather bypass that too, similar to a serious youth player getting a participation trophy … uh, thanks but no thanks.

3 people like this
Posted by Fifty Years Here
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Nov 7, 2019 at 10:18 am

Fifty Years Here is a registered user.

30-35 years ago Coach Lad took over the DeLaSalle football program and built a dynasty! The book, "When the Game Stands Tall," is one of the best sports books I've ever read. The story is amazing! They put Northern California on the map, and they continue to compete at the very highest level.
The players and coaches who put in all the work, lift all those weights, do all that running, study all that film, etc., are what achievement, greatness and excellence are all about.
The jealousy and resentment toward DLS has little or nothing to do with the players, it's the bandwagon filled with parents and other chest-thumpers who never wore the Silver Helmet nor tackled or blocked anyone... Dennis wouldn't have to write columns like this one if the non-players from the DLS community learned a lesson from Lad, were a bit more humble, and admitted once in a while, "It's not fair, we do have advantages, and I just wrote a check in this deal."

1 person likes this
Posted by Coach Louie
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 9, 2019 at 10:05 pm

I'm not a coach at De La Salle. I have coached youth sports in the Livermore, Pleasanton and San Ramon Youth Leagues. I paid $120K (for 4 years for 2 kids) total to send my son to DLS and my daughter to Carondelet. When I attended parents orientations at DLS and at Carondelet, I heard the President, administrators and teachers mentioning multiple times how much they love their students (i.e., our kids). The administration and coaches at De La Salle and Carondelet demonstrated daily how much they care about their students and my kids while they were there for 4 years. It is the best $120K I have ever invested for anything.

I hate ignorance. Clearly Bill has not done any research about the De La Salle Football program. Mercenary implies that De La Salle pays top players to come to play football at their school. This could not be further from the truth. Everyone pays to attend De La Salle, but some of the financially challenge families get scholarships, but none of them are 100%, so everyone pays.

Empty victories without honor is so far from the truth; it is insulting. De La Salle prepares their players for 4 full years to compete at the highest level. When anyone plays the De La Salle Varsity football team, those players have worked extremely hard for 4 years to prepare for their victories. Their victories are foregone conclusions before they step on the field. Everyone tries to attribute their success to recruiting, which is also an insult and diminishes the work they have done. DLS makes their average players better than other teams best players through hard work. Like T Duran clearly explained, DLS doesn't need to recruit. If you have a naturally talented football player that has D1 potential, you want them to go to De La Salle to learn how to play football correctly. The people who recruit for De La Salle are the parents who tell other parents of talented kids that if you want the best for your kid in terms of Education, Ethics, Community Commitment, and Social Consciousness then De La Salle is the place to go! If you get to know the DLS football program, the coaches goal ever year is for the players to get a true team experience where selfishness and me have no place. In fact they have a special ceremony every year when the players accomplish this team goal.

De La Salle doesn't cheat to win, and they have played the best of the best High School football teams over the years never ducking anyone (They played the #1 team at the time, St Thomas Aquinas, for their 1st game this year). If in fact anyone is playing mercenary teams, it has been DLS playing St John Bosco and Mater Dei from SoCal in the State Championship Games. Some of their best players transfer back to their home school after the football season ends to graduate with their friends. This doesn't happen at DLS. De La Salle's hard work for 4 years allows them to compete at the National Level. If you don't think public schools can do this, please study Centennial Corona's football program. Matt Logan has his public school competing with the best private / Catholic schools in SoCal where he has beaten both SJB and MD at different times. Thus, public schools can compete with private schools if they work hard and are coached well, and Centennial Corona is proof.

If you run a legit program like Centennial Corona's, you will get talented players wanting to play in your program. Clearly Bill has never played football before or has only been associated with inferior programs. Bill, please do legit research before you expound such garbage in public forums. I too have been impressed with the job that Danny Jones has done. He has played DLS every year since he became head coach because he wants to compete at the highest level. I bet if you actually talked to Danny; he welcomes the challenge to play De La Salle. If you are a true competitor, you welcome this kind of challenge . I don't know why NCS abandoned the NCS Open Division, but it makes more sense for the top 4 teams in NCS to play each other with the loser eligible to compete at their normal divisions if they lose to DLS.

You want to beat DLS; you better start preparing your players as Freshman, and work hard for 4 years to prepare them. John Harbaugh was so impressed with De La Salle's football program that he wanted to hire Lad as a consultant. Yes, DLS has the advantage of not having a school boundary limiting their talent pool, but don't minimize their accomplishments because you haven't studied their program. Coaches from across the country come to DLS to learn their secret, and De La Salle openly shares their program. Why does De La Salle do this? It is because it is not about winning at DLS, but it is about teaching young men to become a team and compete at their best abilities. Bill, why would you criticize this program? You should admire it.

2 people like this
Posted by Coach Louie
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 9, 2019 at 10:29 pm

Correction: It was 49er Coach, Jim Harbaugh (not John), that wanted to hire Lad as a consultant because he was impressed with De La Salle's football program. Sorry for my typo. Also, Centennial Corona has won a D1 State Championship in 2008 beating De La Salle in the championship game i.e., a public school beating a private school. (Note: They had Vontaze Burfict, Will Sutton, and Taylor Martinez on this talented Centennial Team).

2 people like this
Posted by Coach Louie
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 9, 2019 at 10:48 pm

FYI: Joe Montana's son, Nick Montana, transferred from De La Salle because the coaches were not going to start Nick at QB his Junior year. Also, Reggie McKenzie's son, Kahlil McKenzie, transferred from De La Salle because he didn't want to participate in the team's off season training program, and he didn't want to abide by the De La Salle Rules for participation in Summer Football Exhibition Camps. Thus, De La Salle kept their same high standards for these athletes who were sons of rich, powerful and famous fathers. Thus, De La Salle has high expectations and standards for all of their players.

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Posted by Fifty Years Here
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Nov 10, 2019 at 12:27 pm

Fifty Years Here is a registered user.

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Posted by Coach Louie
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 10, 2019 at 3:46 pm

Great Question Fifty Years! De La Salle gets around 100 kids to try out for Freshman football every year. They start practicing at same time all Freshman programs start practicing. De La Salle will have one cut after about 2 weeks of practice. Most of the kids new to football will quit before cut day because of how difficult the practices are. A Varsity School Coach for Deer Valley sent his son to De La Salle. His comment after watching every practice was I can’t believe a high school football team could run so much. He said De La Salle Freshman ran more than his Varsity team. De La Salle has rules for every player at all levels that they cannot drink any alcohol or use any drugs while in the football program in season and off season. If it is discovered that a player attends a party with alcohol or drugs, they are suspended and / or kicked out of the program. De La Salle are also taught proper blocking and tackling techniques.

Thus, I believe the Freshman are so successful because they are better conditioned and are taught better fundamentals. Again, they do get some talented players because their parents want them to go to De La Salle to play football. However, this may only be a handful of players, 1 to 5. A majority of the Freshman football players have never played youth football, and are simply better conditioned than most other Freshman teams. Again, they work extremely hard, and the coaches hold them to the highest standards of behavior in personal and student lives. I also believe that they are extremely well coached in fundamentals. Come watch a Freshman practice. They are open to the public to watch, or you can ask the coaches if you can observe their practice (even video tape it if you want with their permission of course, and you can’t put it on Social Media). It is a totally different program if you take the time to learn about it!

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Posted by Fifty Years Here
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Nov 10, 2019 at 7:45 pm

Fifty Years Here is a registered user.

Coach Louie, your four lengthy posts are actually proving my first point. Lad has never thumped his chest, and among the dozens of players I've come across over the years, to a man, they are all humble and respectful. It's the parents and others who are out of control, and have fostered this resentment toward the program. You wrote a check, that's it. Let the Spartans play on the field do their talking for them...

1 person likes this
Posted by Silver Fox
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Nov 10, 2019 at 8:11 pm

I think what coach Louie wrote in his 4 lengthy posts wasn't chest thumping but rather he did a great job in explaining us the mechanics of the Delasalle process.

Similar to alternate sources of energy, for the most part people are oblivious in how it works. A hybrid car, a hydrogen engine, a Tesla .... if somebody is going to spend $100k on one certainly they're going to research it and try to understand the concepts and advantages.

That's the role I see Coach Louie playing, he's showing us the unknown foundation of Lad's system while explaining the positives of DeLaSalle.

We should be thanking him, I know my eyes have been opened!

Thank you coach Louie, I never realized how advanced and hard working those kids and dedicated coaches are, I only knew they won an awful lot!

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Posted by Coach Louie
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 10, 2019 at 8:12 pm

Sorry Fifty Years that you lump me into the group of non-football players that you dislike about the De La Salle program. I’m very proud of the young men and their tremendous work ethic and accomplishments to let ignorant people like Bill disparage their program. I’m a White Coat at De La Salle, and I respect all high school football players because they play for the love of the game and not for money, notoriety or contracts.

It has been my experience that it is parents, like yourself, that hate the De La Salle program and not the competing players. I feel I do let the Spartans play speak do their talking. You made some statements, and I tried to provide some insights. Lad never cared about accumulating wins in fact he quit coaching at 399 wins because he didn’t care about becoming the first HS coach to have 400 wins. De La never intentionally run the score with their like Folsom did just to set HS QB records. You can dislike the De La Salle football program for whatever reasons you have, and I can defend their program when people make ignorant statements. Unlike you, I have met some of this best people I know at De La with deep faith and convictions. The De La parents want the best high school experience and education for their kids, and they don’t gloat wins or like uncompetitive events. I feel sorry for you that you feel this way about people you don’t know, and like most generalizations, it is prejudice to lump us all together!

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Posted by Coach Louie
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 10, 2019 at 8:17 pm

Thank you Silver Fox for understanding my intent!

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