PLEASANT HILL -- They were physical, disciplined and ran the ball expertly. They also kept a record-setting offense out of the end zone until the fourth quarter.
The De La Salle High football team used its usual recipe for success to down Folsom 45-17 in Saturday night's CIF Northern Region Open Division final at Diablo Valley College, earning a shot at a fifth consecutive state title.
The Spartans will play highly touted St. John Bosco-Bellflower, which won its SoCal regional 70-49 over Centennial-Corona, next Saturday at the StubHub Center in Carson.
To earn another trip south, the Spartans (14-0) contained an offense that had video-game type numbers, led by record-setting quarterback Jake Browning.
De La Salle also got 144 rushing yards and four touchdowns from senior running back John Velasco and 149 yards on the ground from sophomore Antoine Custer to lead 38-3 after three quarters and force a running clock.
Browning, who set single-season state records in passing yards and touchdowns, needed until the final minute of the game to get one touchdown against De La Salle.
"I thought we were in good position almost the entire night, and I liked that when they did complete a pass we had a lot of helmets on the ball," De La Salle coach Justin Alumbaugh said.
"That wears on a team after awhile."
The star junior did throw for 336 yards on 38-of-53 passing, but he was intercepted three times -- twice by linebacker David Ortega and once on the goal line by Washington State-bound cornerback Kevin Griffin.
"Our D-line had to get to the quarterback and get pressure on the quarterback," Ortega said. "With that, it really helped the secondary."
It was the second straight year De La Salle and Folsom met in the premier NorCal game.
Last year, the Spartans rolled to a 49-15 win at Sacramento State.
This year, they again spoiled a previously perfect season by the Bulldogs (14-1).
Velasco scored twice in the span of 97 seconds to put the Spartans up 19-3 early in the second quarter.
A 50-yard completion from Chris Williams to track star Marquis Morris set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Velasco.
Folsom fumbled on the ensuing kickoff and Custer recovered. Velasco scored on a 7-yard run four plays later.
Though they were less than perfect in the first half, fumbling twice and struggling on special teams, the Spartans quickly extended their lead to 31-3 midway through the third quarter.
Velasco, the powerful 5-foot-7 running back, needs 106 yards next week to set a single-season rushing record at De La Salle.
Tiapepe Vitale, the Spartans' top back last year, holds the mark of 2,102 yards.
"In the offseason he really worked himself into being in good shape," Alumbaugh said of Velasco.
"He's one of the strongest guys we have on our team, he conditions a lot better than he did before. He worked really hard to get to this spot."
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