DANVILLE — After 48 minutes of shootout football a week ago, the De La Salle High football team seemed to determined to make its Thursday night game at San Ramon Valley a one-sided affair.
The Spartans gained more than 500 yards of total offense as they rolled to a 44-7 East Bay Athletic League victory.
And in doing so, De La Salle accomplished something it hadn't done since 1997 — clinched a league championship.
After 10 seasons of playing as a semi-independent member of the Bay Valley Athletic League, the Spartans were realigned into the EBAL and became full league members for 2008.
Thursday's win clinches at least a share of the championship for De La Salle (8-1, 6-0 EBAL), and it also clinches the league's automatic berth to the North Coast Section Division I playoffs by owning tiebreakers over any team that can tie the Spartans.
"I thought we played more of a complete game. We made plays," De La Salle coach Bob Ladouceur said. "And we're league champions tonight, and that's kind of nice."
De La Salle showed a strong offensive presence from the very outset, receiving the opening kickoff and driving 70 yards on 12 plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 20-yard touchdown run by Kylan Butler, the first of two first-quarter scoring runs for Butler. The second went for 75 yards for a 14-0 lead.
San Ramon Valley (6-3, 3-3) was hoping it could replicate the kind of passing success that Monte Vista had against
But the Wolves could never get into a good rhythm with their passing game. Part of that was De La Salle consistent pressure on Boise State-bound quarterback Joe Southwick, and another part was a number of dropped passes.
"Defending Southwick is a big chore. He's very talented," Ladouceur said. "They helped us with some drops in the first half, but I thought we harassed (him) enough to put him out of his comfort zone."
De La Salle took a 20-0 lead into the half, and San Ramon Valley cut into the lead quickly as it started the second half with its best drive. Southwick led the Wolves 80 yards on six plays and capped the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Josh Madonick.
The Spartans, who have had trouble with slow starts to their second halves this season, were able to respond quickly, though. Quarterback Blake Wayne connected with tight end Carlton Walter for a 49-yard pass up the middle. Two plays later, Wayne scored on a 17-yard run.
"We drew that up at halftime," Wayne said of the pass to Walter. "That was a huge play. It was just great coaching and great play-calling."
Contact Chace Bryson at firstname.lastname@example.org