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September 15, 2012De La Salle dealt with offensive miscues throughout in a 21-13 win over No. 20 St. Mary's-Stockton. The Spartans, paced by 175 yards and a rushing score from Tiapepe Vitale, never developed a rhythm in moving to 3-0 while the Rams showed they shouldn't be overlooked in 2012 just yet.
It was a rough night for the De La Salle offense with a number of missed pitches, a couple of overthrows downfield which could have been possible touchdowns and a failure to convert on a high number of third downs. After going ahead 21-6 in the fourth, De La Salle had three straight 3 and outs in its attempt to close out the game.
"They played good, but we were atrocious offensively. We just can't keep the ball," De La Salle head coach Bob Ladouceur said. "We kill ourselves. The quarterback did not play well tonight. Just one of those nights."
A couple of positives going forward for this unit is it has the pieces to be a powerful running team. Vitale is a hard runner who showed his experience in the system to go with Das Tautalatasi. Quarterback Chris Williams had a rough night in his third start, but is a good athlete who is a threat to run with good footwork. On the line, juniors Sumner Houston (6-foot-3, 242 pounds) and Larry Allen Jr. (6-foot-3, 250 pounds) were tough on the right side and have intriguing size. How they work in the passing game will be key to follow.
With the offense struggling, the defense was once again counted on to stop the St. Mary's attack. The Rams had just 249 yards of total offense with 104 yards coming on the final drive and final Hail Mary play to end the game. The Rams had no success running the ball with just 68 yards on 30 carries against a stout front for the Spartans.
Junior quarterback Kaleb Parrish has good size at 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, but needs more refinement in his first full season as a starter. He went 19-for-34 for 181 yards on mostly short throws, but did have a good deep ball or two throughout the night. He was victimized by a couple of drops. The Spartans seemed content to allow the short pass and make the plays in front of them. NCP Top 50 wide receiver recruit Kaodi Dike had 56 yards on four catches, including a 38 yard grab.
The most impressive part of the night for St. Mary's was its disciple on defense against the De La Salle system. The Rams allowed very few big plays and tackled well in the box versus the run game. NCP Top 50 safety Na'im McGee was constantly around the ball and proved to be a major asset in run defense. Senior linebacker Spencer Whyte also played well in defeat.
St. Mary's, despite two straight losses, shouldn't be discounted and is a real threat to knock off No. 3 Lincoln-Stockton next week to conclude the non-league.
De La Salle will look to regroup against Granada next week in nursing key injuries. Defensive end/tight end Austin Hooper left with a right knee injury and Victor Egu didn't dress for unknown reasons.