Bellevue (Wash.) ends record 12-year streak
SEATTLE -- One hundred fifty-one football games.
De La Salle High School's 39-20 loss to Bellevue (Wash.) ended the Spartans' record winning streak Saturday night in front of 24,987 people at Qwest Field.
Senior J.R. Hasty led the Wolverines, rushing for 271 yards and scoring four touchdowns. Bellevue also got a 37-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Eric Block.
The Spartans -- from Concord, Calif., a suburban community east of San Francisco -- had not lost since falling in the North Coast Section championship game Dec. 7, 1991, when the current seniors on the team were in kindergarten.
Their average victory during the 12-season undefeated streak was by 38.2 points, and 43 of their 151 wins were shutouts. De La Salle also was crowned with five USA Today national championships during the span.
The Spartans broke the nation's previous longest winning streak at 72 games in 1997, going on to more than double it.
De La Salle coach Bob Ladouceur, who now has a 287-15-1 record in 26 years at the school, was gracious in defeat.
"The team we saw on film was not the team we played out there tonight," he said of the three-time defending state 3A championship Wolverines.
"Their coaching staff and players did a great job in every facet and gave us schemes we had never seen," he said. "We got beat by a better football team tonight. If we played them tomorrow, they'd beat us again."
De La Salle got off to a solid start, moving the ball down the field 83 yards to score with relative ease.
After the kickoff, however, Hasty, a Bellevue senior, took his first offensive touch 74 yards for a touchdown. The motivated Wolverines dominated the rest of the night on the ground.
"There were all the Internet polls, the message boards where everyone said they were going to blow us out," said Bellevue linebacker E.J. Savannah, who led his defense with nine tackles.
Bellevue head coach Butch Goncharoff, who took over the program five years ago and is the first coach in Washington history to win three straight large-school state titles, challenged his team to worker harder leading up to the game.
"This is a great feeling," he said. "We worked eight months for this. I don't think we were intimidated coming in and our kids executed. We've said the strength of this team is our offensive line, and it was tonight. They spent more time, more hours than anybody. Even De La Salle."
With 14-year-old Block making his first high school start at quarterback, Bellevue didn't attempt a pass, rushing 54 times for 463 yards.
The Spartans did not score the second half. Bellevue twice intercepted passes by senior quarterback Kevin Lopina, who has a scholarship to Oregon State.
Lopina completed 11 of 22 passes for 103 yards.
Eduardo Lopez led De La Salle with 154 rushing yards, including touchdown runs of 54 and 44 yards.
Bellevue led 30-20 at halftime and broke the game open on the 2-yard scoring run by Hasty with 8:35 remaining in the third quarter.
The Spartans' program at the private, all-boys school has inspired two books, a documentary and national telecasts of games. Last month, Sports Illustrated printed a seven-page spread about the team.
The team has regularly played the top competition from California and around the country, drawing tens of thousands of fans to see whether the streak would end.
Bay Area papers had speculated whether the Spartans could escape this season unscathed. In addition to Bellevue, the team has games scheduled against strong California teams Mission Viejo, Clovis West and Palma.
De La Salle graduated 17 starters from last season's 13-0 squad, which was one of the best in the school's history.
Ladouceur said it was just time for De La Salle to finally lose a game.
"I'm all for there being a lot of king of the hills, not just one," he said. "Bellevue represented their state well."
De La Salle suffered off-the-field heartache Aug. 12. Linebacker Terrence Kelly was shot to death in Richmond, a crime-ridden city 20 miles east of De La Salle's campus, just two days before he was to leave for the University of Oregon, where he had a full football scholarship.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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