CONCORD -- For the fourth time in five years, De La Salle High's football team ended Pittsburg's season in the North Coast Section Division I playoffs.
But this was not the usual Spartans playoff beatdown -- at least for a half.
De La Salle won the Division I quarterfinal game 35-13 Friday, eventually wearing down the Pirates (8-4) after a valiant first-half effort by the visitors.
The Spartans (11-0) held only a 14-7 lead at halftime before scoring 21 straight points in a dominant second half.
"Pittsburg came out fired up, they weren't intimidated," said De La Salle linebacker Michael Hutchings. "Most teams are a little timid, and we were caught off guard a little bit. They attacked us, they came out running downhill plays."
The De La Salle run defense, which had been exceptional all year, struggled to slow the Pirates early. The Spartans came into the game having held each of their previous 10 opponents to fewer than 100 rushing yards per game, but Pittsburg eclipsed that mark in the first quarter.
The Spartans defense resembled its usual self in the second half, allowing its only other score with 2:21 left and the De La Salle backups in the game.
Tiapepe Vitale paced the Spartans offense with 141 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Chris Williams added a 39-yard quarterback keeper that made the score 28-7 late in the third quarter. Williams threw for 109 yards and rushed for 79.
With the win, the
Craijon Menefee scored Pittsburg's first touchdown on a 25-yard run after Jamal Lockett's long kickoff return gave the Pirates great field position. Menefee's score tied the game at 7-7 with 3:34 left in the first quarter.
Pittsburg had a chance to go ahead early in the second quarter, but the Spartans blocked a 33-yard field goal.
Later in the quarter, a De La Salle miscue on a punt snap gave Pittsburg the ball on the Spartans' 17-yard line. But the Pirates fumbled three plays later, and De La Salle went into the locker room up by a score.
The Pirates finished with 203 rushing yards, led by Menefee's 115.