SACRAMENTO -- The De La Salle High football team brought Folsom's high-flying spread offense crashing back to earth Saturday night.
The Spartans blasted Folsom 49-15 in the California Interscholastic Federation Northern Regional Open Division final at Sacramento State to earn yet another trip to the Home Depot Center.
De La Salle (14-0) will go for its fourth consecutive Open Division state championship when it plays Centennial-Corona next Saturday in Carson.
Hyped as one of the biggest high school sporting events in Sacramento history, more than 10,000 fans packed Hornet Stadium to see Folsom (14-1) take on the Spartans. With much of the raucous crowd pulling for the underdogs from Folsom, De La Salle showed the locals why it has been the king of NorCal football for more than two decades.
Tiapepe Vitale rushed for 117 yards and three touchdowns, and a ferocious De La Salle pass rush made Folsom sophomore quarterback Jake Browning uncomfortable from the start. Led by senior defensive end Austin Hooper and USC-bound linebacker Michael Hutchings, the Spartans defense sacked Browning six times and tallied three interceptions.
"Our defense has played well all year, but to hold Folsom to (15 points) is quite a feat, I don't think anyone's come close to that," De La Salle coach Bob Ladouceur said. "We train them all year to be a state bowl contending team. We started out a little shaky, but by midseason they were playing well, we got healthy and took off. I like the way they're playing right now."
Hooper made an impact on both sides of the ball. He had two long receptions to set up short rushing scores in the first half and was responsible for three sacks on Browning.
"I told him he was playing like a beast tonight," Hutchings said about Hooper. "He was by far the best player on the field tonight and made the biggest impact. His sacks were all at huge times. He took a lot of pressure off our defense and made huge plays for our offense."
Though it was a long night for Folsom, Browning did achieve a major personal accomplishment. With 47 seconds left in the game and De La Salle up 49-7, Browning broke a California record for passing yards in a season, eclipsing the 5,185 mark set by former Folsom quarterback Tanner Trosin last year. Browning completed 38 of 64 passes for 282 yards, giving him 5,246 yards on the season.
He needed four touchdown passes to tie another state record, but the Spartans yielded only two.
"We figured if we held them to under 21, we'd win the game," De La Salle defensive coordinator Terry Eidson said.
The Spartans scored on their first two possessions, taking a 14-0 lead just five minutes into the game on rushing scores by Vitale and Das Tautalatasi, and they led 28-7 at half.
De La Salle also made the Bulldogs pay when they gambled.
Folsom went for it on fourth and 9 from its own 25 in the first quarter, but Sumner Houston sacked Browning, and the Spartans took over on downs. De La Salle went on to score when Chris Williams found Andrew Buckley alone in the end zone on fourth down for a 4-yard touchdown, making it 21-0 early in the second quarter.
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