State and nation's top-ranked team wins 140th straight game, but 35-0 score over Palma of Salinas doesn't give credit to the way the Cheiftains stood firm for almost three quarters.

You'll see the score, 35-0, and you'll think, "Okay it was another routine win by the De La Salle High of Concord football team."

But the Spartans' opponent on Saturday night at Owen Owens Field, Palma of Salinas, actually had a moment there in the third quarter where the game could have turned in its favor.

After De La Salle started the second half with a series of penalties and turned the ball over on a punt, Palma quarterback Chad Bozzo engineered the team's first promising drive of the game. He completed three passes for 31 yards and had a seven-yard run to get the offense inside the DLS 20-yard line. But then on a second down play, Ted Taylor fumbled and Matt Drazba of the Spartans recovered on the 10-yard line.

If Palma had gone in and scored on that drive, it would have cut the score to 14-7 with momentum on its side. But hardly anyone in high school football has the type of players who can change momentum in one play like De La Salle has. This time, it was senior Willie Glasper who did the honors.

Taking a pitch from junior quarterback Kevin Lopina just two plays after Drazba's fumble recovery, Glasper sliced through two would-be tacklers just along the line of scrimmage and then found a cut-back lane toward the opposite sideline. Glasper raced for an 83-yard touchdown and the possibility of a 14-7 game had quickly become a 21-0 score.

De La Salle coach Bob Ladouceur praised the efforts of Palma's defense to hold down his team, but also lamented about too many dropped passes and penalties.

"We knew they'd be tough like that," Ladouceur said. "We knew they'd be physical and they hit us hard.

"I thought our offensive execution was bad. The effort was there, but we've just got to get to work on those things."

Glasper finished with 116 yards rushing on 13 carries and scored three touchdowns. Other than the one play, though, Palma's defense did a nice job containing him.

"Willie's run sort of took the wind out of their sails," said Lopina, who ran for 82 yards and one TD on eight carries but struggled with his passing, at one point being 1-of-11 for 17 yards and one interception. "It was a good win, but I wish I could have completed more passes. This week, with the big crowd, I was a little nervous."

More than the usual throng of Bay Area media was present for the game as TV cameras and numerous reporters covered the game from the Salinas/Monterey area market. Some were seeing De La Salle for the first time and most were overheard talking about the team's defense, not the offense.

Palma only had the one sustained drive in the third quarter and the Chieftains ended with only 137 total yards.

"We had our opportunities, we played hard and we were with them in the first half," said Palma coach Jeff Carnazzo. "I know they don't talk a whole bunch about the streak, but that streak is going to go on for awhile. We learned what it takes to play at that level and hopefully, we'll do better next year."

Palma came into the game ranked No. 18 in the state and won its first game 48-9 over Alisal of Salinas. De La Salle, ranked No. 1 in the state and also No. 1 nationally in the Student Sports FAB 50, has now blanked its first two opponents. In the first game, the Spartans dominated Mitty of San Jose, 47-0.

Standout De La Salle senior Jackie Bates played on offense during the game after missing the opener with a foot injury. He didn't play on defense. Bates had two shifty runs that showcased his abilities, but after the second one in the third quarter he didn't return. Ladouceur said it wasn't a recurrence of the injury, but leg cramps.

Palma played much of the second half without standout WR-RB-DB Luke Lippincott, who suffered a twisted ankle.

De La Salle will go for its 141st consecutive win on Friday at home against 3-0 St. Francis of Mountain View, which last Friday ended Los Gatos' 39-0-1 unbeaten streak with a 17-7 triumph.

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