The De La Salle High football team that people are used to seeing has finally arrived.
A 40-3 win over visiting San Ramon Valley on Friday had all the elements of the De La Salle dominance long felt throughout the East Bay.
The performance started under center. Bart Houston, who had yet to put together a game befitting his talent, enjoyed his best night as a senior. The Wisconsin-bound quarterback threw for 237 yards and four touchdowns, leading the offense wherever it wanted to go.
Houston's big night started with a 52-yard touchdown pass to his favorite target, Anthony Williams. It continued when he found Williams again, this time on a crossing route, and Williams bolted upfield for a 32-yard score.
Houston finished the half in style, buying time and heaving an absolute strike downfield to a wide-open Andrew Buckley. At halftime, De La Salle owned a commanding 34-3 lead.
"I haven't been having the greatest season I've ever had, especially compared to the last two years," Houston said. "I just had to go out and prove to everybody and myself that I'm the best quarterback on the field tonight. I think I did that."
Houston wasn't the only star. De La Salle (7-1, 5-0 East Bay Athletic League) dialed up the defensive intensity in a big way as well. Austin Hooper had the game of his life, registering five sacks and helping the Spartans defensive line harass Wolves star quarterback Zach Kline all night. Kline finished the game 14-of-24 passing for 153 yards.
"I knew No. 77, Jake Simonich, is a D-I tackle, so I knew if I didn't bring my 'A' game, I'd get owned all night," said Hooper, who also caught a 44-yard touchdown pass. "I knew I had to bring every single ounce I had all night."
The Spartans defense also bottled up the run, making San Ramon Valley (6-2, 4-1) one-dimensional on offense. That meant Kline had to shoulder even more of the load and let the Spartans hone in on rushing the quarterback.
"They did exactly what we thought they were going to do," Kline said. "They played a better game of football than we did. They won, we lost."
When the Spartans weren't throwing, they were finding plenty of success on the ground as well. Tiapepe Vitale returned after missing a few weeks with a leg injury and rushed for a team-high 102 yards. The Spartans outgained the Wolves 466-154.