CONCORD -- After two weeks of generally good to solid play, the De La Salle High football team had a definite off night Friday against visiting St. Mary's-Stockton.
Granted, the Spartans did enough to beat the Rams 21-13 and stay unbeaten. But, with injuries piling up and ball security continuing to be an issue, there weren't many happy looks after the win.
"They played good, but we were atrocious offensively," De La Salle coach Bob Ladouceur said. "We can't keep the ball, we kill ourselves, quarterback did not play well. Just one of those nights. It's back to the drawing board."
St. Mary's (2-2) made it a one-score game with 1:10 left when Kaleb Parrish found Matt Somers for a 10-yard touchdown. The extra point cut the De La Salle lead to eight.
De La Salle's Markus Notti recovered the onside kick, but the Spartans (3-0) couldn't get a first down to ice the game. After a punt, St. Mary's last-second effort fell short when Jaelin Ratliff was tackled after making a reception in Rams territory.
Spartans quarterback Chris Williams scored on runs of 2 and 23 yards, but the real offensive star was running back Tiapepe Vitale. He rushed for 175 yards on 27 carries and scored on a 3-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
The fumble problems that plagued the Spartans one week earlier against Mullen-Denver were again present Friday. De La Salle fumbled four times, losing two. Williams also threw an interception, which set up a St. Mary's touchdown late in the first half.
De La Salle also had to deal with a night full of injuries. Highly touted defensive end Austin Hooper came off in the first quarter with a right knee injury and did not return. Several other Spartans suffered dings and dents, but the defense, though certainly far from its usual standard, ultimately made enough plays to keep the Rams at bay.
"Our defense played good. They were on the field a lot, too," Ladouceur said. "You make the mistakes we made, it's going to be a game like that. It's bad."