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De La Salle, Best Ive ever seen

/ Source: StudentSports

Louisiana squad comes away impressed after 27-10 loss to national No. 1 Spartans.

A player from the Evangel Christian football team said it over and over to every De La Salle player he congratulated after Fridays nationally-televised match-up at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Calif.

Youre the best high school team Ive ever seen, he said. Youre the best high school team Ive ever seen.

Despite muffing an early punt and its starting quarterback going out with a knee injury, the Spartans took on the eight-time Louisiana state champions and won, 27-10.

De La Salle, ranked No. 1 in the Student Sports Fab 50 national rankings, won its 145th straight game and probably defeated the best team it will play this season. The team from Shreveport fell to 4-3, although all three losses have been to teams that were nationally ranked.

Producers at ESPN 2 were probably hoping for a slightly closer game. De La Salle led 19-3 at halftime and could have won by more than 27-10 had head coach Bob Ladouceur not instructed quarterback Anthony Gutierrez to take a knee on the last three plays of the game from the one yard line.

De La Salles starting quarterback Kevin Lopina, like Gutierrez a junior, was hurt midway through the second quarter on a seven yard run and did not return. On the next play, Gutierrez threw a deep ball down the middle that All-American wide receiver Cameron Colvin could have caught but dropped. Still the Spartans drove for their second touchdown, which came on a five-yard run from Terrance Kelly. Kelly was voted the Player of the Game after rushing 15 times for 106 yards and two scores and was also in on several plays at linebacker.

On Evangels next possession, the Eagles drove to the Spartans 28, but quarterback Denny Duron was picked off by safety Mike Dominguez. It took the Spartans only three plays to score and they did so with 52 seconds left in the half on an 18-yard pass to wide receiver Alex Stroud. The Spartans held a 246-103 total yards advantage at the break.

On De La Salles 1st possession of the second half, they scored on a six play, 58-yard drive culminating in a one yard run by Gutierrez. The backup signal caller and younger brother of former Spartan and current Michigan quarterback Matt Gutierrez then ran in the two point conversion to go up 27-3.

Evangel was actually able to move the ball very well in the 2nd half but had the ball just two times after the break. Their first possession resulted in a 13-play drive that took the Eagles down to the Spartans two-yard line where they were stopped on downs.

On their second possession, they went on another 13 play drive culminating in a two yard touchdown run by running back Detrick James. The Spartans then recovered the ensuing onsides kick and drove to the Eagles one-yard line before taking a knee on three straight plays to run out the clock and keep the streak alive.

Player and Coachs Quotes:

We came out and tried our best but we werent as prepared as they were, Eagle defensive end Chris Bowers said. This was a great experience to come out and play.

The key to victory was our line, Spartan two-way standout Terrence Kelly said. They were real good at opening wide lanes and our defense, when they got down on the goal line, really stepped it up. That team (Evangel Christian) never gave up. They were still trying to push it in all the way to the end.

The first couple of plays were shaky but after that I felt good, Gutierrez said. I knew I would get my chance and once I did I knew all the workouts I did would pay off.

This whole experience was great for high school football and what a class program we played, Eagles head coach Dennis Dunn said. Once the streak is over, were never going to see anything like it in football again. We were hoping to be the ones to end it, but it just wasnt meant to be. They whipped us up front and won the line of scrimmage. They may not be as talented athletically as some teams weve seen, but they are the most disciplined team Ive ever seen.

We got banged up tonight, it was very physical, Ladouceur said. Its too early to tell on Lopina, but it doesnt look good. Evangel played hard and never gave up. I'm proud of the way our kids played as well against a very classy program.

"This week has been a great experience. The kids came out focused and played really well much like we have in a lot of other big games like this. We came out with a good tempo and kept it up throughout the game."

"We played a really good team on both offense and defense," Eagle junior receiver John Parker said. "Our offense was not clicking right away and that hurt us. I've never played a team as good as De La Salle in my life. They are the best by far."