It’s finally official.
The book about the De La Salle High football program — “When The Game Stands Tall” — is in the midst of being filmed with a release date of early August.
As a proud alum, I will be there opening day. First, though, I urge you to read the book written by Neil Hayes, who was given access by coach Bob Ladouceur for an entire season. Hayes does a great job portraying one of the best programs in high school history. I mean, you don’t win 150 straight games without good players and good coaches.
The school takes pride certainly in the win streak, but Ladouceur’s main goal was to make his players not only better players, but better young men, and more often than not he was successful.
I had the good fortune to cover two different win streaks at De La Salle, one that lasted 30-plus games and another that lasted 40-plus games.
I remember my first phone conversation with Ladouceur, who retired in 2013 after 399 wins. I’d just taken over as prep editor of the Contra Costa Times, and I wanted to do a feature on one of his players, and could he have the player in his office at noon.
Ladouceur refused, and that was rare. Normally football coaches, or any high school coach, will bend over backwards to get publicity for his/her program.
“Darrell these guys are watching film everyday at lunch from the first day of school until the last day of the season,” he said. “You are more than welcome to watch film with us anytime.
“I’ll get them out of gassers or arrange a time if they have a free period, but their lunch hour is mine.”
It was tough to argue with that.
Ladouceur was a perfectionist, more than any high school coach I’ve dealt with in my 42 years in the business, and he expected the same from his players.
I watched his team dominate Napa one night, 20-3, and when asked for some overall thoughts on the game, he wasn’t happy with his team at all.
After I pointed out that the only time Napa got the ball past midfield was when it kicked a field goal, he amended his statement, saying that he was happy with the defense but disappointed with the offense.
People always talk about recruiting when De La Salle is brought up. I know Ladouceur was always afraid to go watch his son play Pop Warner for fear people would think he was recruiting.
De La Salle had its share of great players in Ladouceur’s career, and a few like Amani Toomer, Doug Brien and Aaron Taylor played in the NFL. The Spartans didn’t always pass the “look” test. One of the first DLS teams I covered had a 5-foot-7 160-pound nose guard by the name of Rob Wilbur, who was so quick that if you didn’t double team him, he would cause you a world of problems.
It was truly a team that played for each other each time it stepped on the field. They held themselves to high standards both on and off the field.
Former Carson High standout Josh Peacock has been playing well for the Cleveland Patriots.
In a 39-20 win last week, Peacock was credited with three pass break-ups, two interceptions, a fumble recovery and eight tackles.
The NFL released its schedule this week, and the Raiders have a pretty rough non-division schedule that includes games against the Patriots (on the road), Seattle (on the road) and San Francisco (at home). The Raiders have to travel across the pond to play the Dolphins. It’s one of three games scheduled in London this season.
The 49ers will play the NFC East this year, which means games against Dallas, Philadelphia, New York and Washington. And, the Niners also have to play at New Orleans and at Denver.
The NFL will have its usual tripleheader on Thanksgiving featuring Detroit-Chicago, Philadelphia-Dallas and San Francisco-Seattle. Somebody will have to tell me when the last time the 49ers had a game on turkey day. It has to be at least five years, I think.
Article Topics: High School FootballHigh School Football