SAN RAMON -- As in its past two trips to California High, the De La Salle football team couldn't get too comfortable against the Grizzlies.
But the end result Friday was the same as usual.
The Spartans withstood the Grizzlies' challenge to win 27-14 and complete an unbeaten regular season.
Tiapepe Vitale rushed for 194 yards and three touchdowns, but it was the defensive effort that stood out the most to De La Salle coach Bob Ladouceur. The Spartans allowed just 87 rushing yards to a team that averages about 40 points a game.
"Our defense looked really good tonight," Ladouceur said. "Pepe and (Das) Tautalatasi ran hard, but our offense made too many mistakes. Defense played hard, we ran the ball hard, but we were too inconsistent offensively."
The Spartans had a shutout at halftime even though Cal was often working with short fields and allowed their final score with just a minute left in the game.
Lost fumbles on two straight offensive plays by De La Salle (10-0) in the third quarter kept the game close until the final period, though. The first was a fumble in the end zone to negate a Spartans touchdown, and the second led to a Grizzlies score.
Karris Johnson capped the 28-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown that got Cal (8-2) within 14-7 with 2:23 left in the third quarter.
But the Spartans responded with Vitale carrying on four straight plays, including a 17-yard touchdown, to bump the lead back to 14
Tautalatasi scored De La Salle's other touchdown. He shook off several defenders for a dazzling 80-yard touchdown run that made the score 14-0 in the second quarter immediately following a missed 44-yard field goal attempt by Cal. Tautalatasi rushed for 119 yards.
De La Salle played without injured Andrew Buckley, the Spartans' top receiver who also plays defense and punts. He was especially missed on special teams.
"We haven't been healthy all year. We've always had guys out, and that hurts us," Ladouceur said.
Cal, which clinched an East Bay Athletic League championship last week, learned that it must share its first league championship with San Ramon Valley, which beat Monte Vista 32-28.