Both teams roll in week four matchups, but for De La Salle there were anxious moments in three of its games. We'll find out Saturday if that was because the Spartans aren't quite as great this year of if that was because Poly played a terribly weak schedule.

Another anxious moment arose last week in a De La Salle of Concord football game. The No. 1 Spartans had given up a first-quarter score to La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad and were in a 7-7 tie. Granted, the moment didn't last long -- about the time it took for Maurice Drew to run back a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown and spark De La Salle to a 56-27 win -- but that's still a lot more suspense than occurred in any of No. 2 Long Beach Poly's games so far this year.

Drew also scored on runs of 29 and 9 yards and looked superb after missing the team's 14-0 triumph the week before over St. Francis of Mountain View with a sprained ankle. Willie Glasper, a junior defensive back, also starred against La Costa Canyon, which came into the game 3-0 and was No. 8 in the San Diego Section, with a fumble recovery and an interception.

The St. Francis game was only 7-0 until the third quarter and although the Lancers didn't really come close to scoring they were technically in the game until the end. It was the first time the DLS offense failed to score at least three touchdowns in the program's 129-game win streak and probably for many more games before that. The Spartans also were in a 24-14 game vs. St. Louis of Honolulu in the third quarter before they reassumed command and eventually won by 31-21. The team's other win was by 24-0 over Mitty of San Jose in its opener.

Poly, on the other hand, gave up -30 yards on defense in its first game, a 45-0 blowout vs. Westchester of Los Angeles. It was thought some difficulty might be encountered vs. Kahuku of Hawaii on Sept. 22, but the rebuilding Red Raiders committed five turnovers and got thwacked, 42-16. Poly followed up the Hawaii trip with a 34-20 win over winless Narbonne of Harbor City in a game the Jackrabbits led 34-7 and last week completely dominated Rialto 48-0.

Quarterback Leon Jackson continued to expertly run the Poly offense against Rialto with three touchdown passes to three different receivers. It was 41-0 at halftime and head coach Raul Lara substituted liberally in the second half.

Last year, Poly won its fourth game 70-0 over Fontana, but against De La Salle the Jackrabbits fell 29-15. That game featured the first-ever No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup of Student Sports FAB 50 nationally ranked teams. And since Poly didn't lose any other games, and went on to earn its fourth Southern Section Div. I title in the last five years, the result did indeed wind up being for the mythical national title.

This year's FAB 50 heading into the showdown has De La Salle at No. 1 and Poly at No. 3, sandwiched around Georgia powerhouse Parkview of Lilburn. Parkview started the season at No. 2 and has done little to deserve being dropped. But if Poly were to win by somewhat of a convincing margin vs. De La Salle it would obviously be very tough for any national ranking that does its homework not to jump the Jackrabbits over the Panthers for the No. 1 ranking.

Look for more De La Salle vs. Long Beach Poly coverage on this site throughout the week. Some of the features will be free, others will be part of our premium on-line subscription.

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