WHAT'S NEXT FOR DLS?

Most of the post-game reaction among veteran prep sportswriters after De La Salle's 28-7 victory over Long Beach Poly last Saturday at Cal's Memorial Stadium centered on the 130-game win streak and whether the darn thing will ever end.

Looking ahead to the rest of this year, the Spartans are expected to have limited competition in their five remaining regular season games. The upcoming CIF North Coast Section Class 4A playoffs should be a lot more interesting.

San Leandro, Foothill of Pleasanton and James Logan of Union City are all pretty solid teams. San Leandro has been unbeaten going into the NCS final opposite De La Salle for the last three years and if that happens again the Pirates will have a talented three-year starter in Dennis Dixon at the helm. Then there's Foothill. If the Knights get through the regular season unbeaten (they already have a tie vs. Oakland Skyline) that will mean they are a serious contender because to do that they will have beaten both Monte Vista and San Ramon Valley (both of Danville and both led by stellar QBs).

Even if San Leandro, Foothill or anyone else emerges in the next five weeks, it would still be a shock to most if De La Salle were to even come close to a loss in the playoffs. It looks fairly certain that the Spartans will be 13-0 for this year, they'll be No. 1 in the state for the ninth straight season, they'll be No. 1 in the nation for the fourth time in five years, and they'll have a 138-game winning streak heading into 2003.

Athletic director Terry Eidson confirmed once again after Saturday's game that De La Salle's schedule for 2003 is locked up. Poly is out, there is no game against anyone from Hawaii and playing the Spartans once again will be Mitty of San Jose, St. Francis of Mountain View and La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad.

The trip to northern San Diego County next fall to play LCC will be the team's only game against an opponent from outside the NCS or Central Coast Section. Going on the schedule next season will be Salinas Palma of the CCS and Foothill of Pleasanton of the NCS. Both Palma and Foothill have young, talented squads this year, but neither projects to be the type of opponent in which De La Salle will not be heavily favored to continue its winning ways.

The only possible chink in the De La Salle armor down the road could be a less talented than usual sophomore class. Almost all Spartan teams in recent years have carried between four to eight sophomores on the varsity. This year, though, the only sophomore on the varsity is quarterback Kevin Lupina.

This year's sophomore team also already has been tied, 14-14, by La Costa Canyon. If the 2004 Spartans schedule a game, perhaps, against Mater Dei of Santa Ana, a program they greatly respect, that could be a matchup to seriously watch. The Monarchs are led this year by sophomore quarterback Jason Forcier and the school's younger players are already receiving a lot of attention from college scouts.


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