De La Salle’s ESPN game with East Coast powerhouse tops prep football schedule

De La Salle’s ESPN game with East Coast powerhouse tops prep football schedule

CONCORD, CA — De La Salle will host St. Frances Academy of Baltimore Oct. 1 in a nationally televised game on ESPN, highlighting the local high school football calendar this fall. MaxPreps rates it as the sixth best high school matchup this season.

De La Salle has finished in the top 25 nationally nine times since 2010, the only school in America to do so. The Spartans have played in every California State Bowl championship game since the CIF bowl series started in 2006. St. Frances didn’t play football last year during the COVID-19 shutdown but was top five nationally in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Because the pandemic-shortened fall 2020 season actually took place in spring 2021 without any playoffs in North Coast Section or State Bowl games, Clayton Valley Charter is still technically defending State 2-AA champion based on the Ugly Eagles bowl game victory in December 2019.

CVCHS has been reclassified to Division I this season based on competitive equity. The team has won NCS D-II four times since 2012.

The two Concord powerhouses will conclude their regular season Oct. 5 at De La Salle. The NCS playoffs return starting Nov. 12-13 with the semi-finals Nov. 19-20 and championship weekend Nov. 26-27. The Northern California Regionals are Dec. 3-4 and State Bowl games Dec. 10-11.

“We are excited to have Friday night lights back next school year,” De La Salle High School Vice President for Athletics Leo Lopoz said in announcing the Spartans 2021 fall football schedule. “We have an extremely competitive schedule that consists of quality local, state and nationally-ranked programs.”

Fall football practice begins Aug. 9

The Spartans are scheduled to open their season on the road at St. Mary’s of Stockton on Aug. 27. The following week, the De La Salle home schedule begins with a non-league game against Monterey Trail-Elk Grove Sept. 3.

The next two weeks, the Spartans travel to Mountain View to take on Saint Francis Sept. 10, followed by a home game against Cathedral Catholic of San Diego Sept. 17.

After a bye week, the marquee game of the season takes place against St. Frances at Owen Owens Field. The Maryland school is featured in a four-part documentary from HBO Sports by Emmy®-winning executive producer Michael Strahan. St. Frances is 10th and De La Salle 17th in pre-season national rankings by MaxPreps.

St. Frances is three-time Maryland Class A state champions. Senior quarterback John Griffith is committed to Bowling Green and leads the Panthers.

The final non-league game of the season will have De La Salle hosting Sacramento area powerhouse Folsom Oct. 8. De La Salle was 6-0 in the abbreviated spring season, its first undefeated season since 2014, coach Justin Alumbaugh’s second in charge.

Winning streak

The Spartans have won 28 consecutive Section titles and the team has not lost a game to a California team from north of Fresno since 1991, a total of 316 games.

The team will be replacing four-year quarterback Dorian Hale and Bay Area Player of the Year Lu Hearns, who will be playing for the Cal Bears. Among the top-rated players this season are senior wide receiver/defensive back Zeke Berry, who committed to Arizona this week, and lineman Beau Tagaloa.

Clayton Valley Charter will play four teams who had undefeated records last season including De La Salle, Turlock, Monterey Trail and Liberty of Bakersfield in the Honor Bowl Sept. 11 in Brentwood.

League games in the East Bay Athletic League and Diablo Athletic League run for five weeks from Oct. 8-Nov. 5. DLS and Clayton Valley Charter are in the EBAL Mountain Division. In the DAL, Concord, Mt. Diablo, Berean Christian, Ygnacio Valley and Northgate are joined by College Park in the Valley Division.

2021 Football Schedules

Note: Ygnacio Valley and Concord non-league schedules not complete.

Clayton Valley Charter (Div. 1)- 8/27 at Turlock, 9/3 at Del Oro-Loomis, 9/11 Liberty-Bakersfield (Honor Bowl) at Liberty Brentwood), 9/17 Stellar Prep-Hayward, 9/25 at Monterey Trail-Elk Grove, 10/8 at California-San Ramon, 10/15 San Ramon Valley, 10/22 Amador Valley (Homecoming), 10/29 Monte Vista, 11/5 at De La Salle.

Concord (Div. 4)– 8/27 Dougherty Valley-San Ramon, 9/3 TBA, 9/10 Tokay, 9/17 at Deer Valley, 10/8 College Park (Homecoming), 10/15 at Ygnacio Valley, 10/22 Northgate, 10/30 at Berean Christian, 11/5 Mt. Diablo.

De La Salle (Div. 1)- 8/27 at St. Mary’s-Stockton, 9/3 Monterey Trail-Elk Grove, 9/10 at Saint Francis-Mountain View, 9/17 Cathedral Catholic-San Diego, 10/1 St. Frances Academy-Baltimore, 10/8 at Folsom, 10/15 California-San Ramon, 10/22 at San Ramon Valley, 10/29 Amador Valley, 11/5 Clayton Valley Charter.

Mt. Diablo (Div. 4)- 8/27 at Lathrop, 9/3 at Albany, 9/10 American-Fremont, 9/17 at Dougherty Valley-San Ramon, 9/24 Oakland Tech, 10/8 Ygnacio Valley (Homecoming), 10/15 at Northgate, 10/23 Berean Christian, 10/29 College Park (Senior Night), 11/5 at Concord.

Northgate (Div. 3)- 8/27 at Deer Valley, 9/3 Ukiah, 9/10 at Las Lomas, 9/17 Bethel-Vallejo, 9/24 at Rodriguez-Fairfield, 10/8 Berean Christian (Homecoming), 10/15 Mt. Diablo, 10/22 at Concord, 10/29 Ygnacio Valley, 11/5 at College Park.

Ygnacio Valley (Div. 6)- 9/3 St. Patrick-St. Vincent-Vallejo, 9/10 at Rosemont (Sacramento), 9/24 at Bradshaw Christian-Sacramento, 10/1 at Stone Ridge Christian (Merced), 10/8 at Mt. Diablo, 10/15 Concord, 10/22 College Park, 10/29 at Northgate, 11/5 Berean Christian.

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Jay Bedecarré
Jay Bedecarré
Sports and Schools Editor at The Concord Clayton Pioneer | | Website

Jay Bedecarré is a long-time resident and writer in Concord and Clayton. He began his newspaper writing career while still a senior at Mt. Diablo High School and he has been part of The Pioneer since its inception in 2003. Jay also operates Bay Area Festivals, presenting events around the San Francisco Bay Area including Bay Area KidFest annually in Downtown Concord.