Despite an uneven offensive effort, the De La Salle High football team continues to give its fans reason for optimism.
De La Salle unveiled its latest offensive star when Amador Valley came to visit Owen Owens Field on Friday night and the Spartans came away with a convincing 42-7 East Bay Athletic League victory.
Thanks to a series of injuries in the offensive backfield, cornerback Frankie Santelises was forced to jump in on the other side of the ball. All the diminutive Santelises did was gash the Dons (3-3, 1-2 EBAL) for 85 yards and three touchdowns on his first four carries of the season. He finished with 106 yards on six official carries, but saw a 64-yard scoring scamper called back on a holding call.
"I've always been a running back," Santelises said. "But this is the first time I've been put in and had to produce on offense. We've had some injuries. I just had to do what I could to help keep the team going."
Tiapepe Vitale, the team's feature back for much of the season, got nicked up with a leg injury in last week's win, and the Spartans (5-1, 3-0) turned to the 5-foot-7, 140-pound Santelises and counted on their bruising offensive line to give him room to work.
"Most of the time I didn't have to do much," Santelises said. "The line blocked amazingly for me. I have to give them all the credit."
The lopsided final score notwithstanding, De La Salle was less than crisp against a game Amador Valley squad. The
Still, the defense -- also keyed by Santelises, who had an interception and consistently blew up Amador Valley's fly-sweep attack on the edges -- prevented the Dons from getting untracked. Amador Valley had just five first downs and only one in the second half. De La Salle held the Dons to 164 yards of total offense, 72 of which came on one tricky halfback pass.
"We come into every week trying to put forth a perfect effort," Santelises said. "We didn't do that tonight. We made a lot of mistakes. I made a lot. We have to go into next week and work on it."