Three good quarters of football gave the De La Salle High football team a rather comfortable 42-21 win over host Monte Vista on Friday night.
But it was another incomplete win as far as the Spartans are concerned. A lackadaisical start to the second half allowed the Mustangs to pull within 14 with eight minutes to play, and had the Spartans looking for energy to close the win.
A 1-yard touchdown run by Bart Houston with 3:44 left ultimately sealed the deal for De La Salle (6-1, 4-0 East Bay Athletic League). But for most of the second half, poor tackling on defense and an inability to move the ball on offense let Monte Vista (3-4, 2-2) back in the game.
Thankfully for De La Salle, David Riopelle took another step toward becoming a very effective running back. The junior carried 19 times for 167 yards, and his 2-yard touchdown right before halftime gave De La Salle a 35-7 lead at the break.
The Spartans dominated on defense and special teams in the first half, with Michael Barton returning a punt he blocked for a touchdown and Michael Hutchings making an athletic interception to set up another score.
"I thought we started out well, especially with the blocked punt and Hutchings' interception," De La Salle coach Bob Ladouceur said. "We got on top of them quick, and that helped. It probably put them in a different offense, I don't know."
Monte Vista quarterback Jeff Lockie did his best to rally his troops, throwing two touchdown passes to tight end Mason Melin and one to Troy Johnson. Lockie finished with 268 yards passing but also threw two costly interceptions.
"The whole goal was to make them play 48 minutes and see how the scoreboard looks," Lockie said. "They definitely played good defense. They came ready to play."