Coming in at No. 17 within the Preseason MaxPreps Top 25 high school football rankings released last week, De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) announced a formidable 2021 schedule over the weekend that has games with No. 10 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.) and San Diego power Cathedral Catholic.
The Spartans, who have the foremost MaxPreps Top 25 finishes (10) within the country since 2008, combat the Maryland power Oct. 1 during a game to be broadcast by ESPN. See De La Salle’s complete schedule here.
St. Frances Academy, which didn’t play a down in 2020-21 thanks to the pandemic, is 44-3 since 2016 with top 10 national finishes in 2017 (No. 5), 2018 (No. 6), and 2019 (No. 5).
“It’s an excellent challenge with St. Frances,” De La Salle coach Justin Alumbaugh said. “They are of the caliber of the teams that play for our state title, so we are looking forward to testing ourselves.”
Cathedral Catholic will pose another big challenge. MaxPreps football editor Zack Poff said the Dons were right on the cusp of creating the Preseason MaxPreps Top 25 after going 5-0 and outscoring opponents 223-14 during an abbreviated spring season.
“Cathedral Catholic is disciplined, physical, athletic, and well-coached,” Alumbaugh said of the Dons. “We’re looking forward thereto new matchup with an excellent program.”
Beyond the rugged East Bay Athletic League, one among the strongest within the Bay Area, the Spartans face Sac-Joaquin Section contenders St. Mary’s (Stockton), Monterey Trail (Elk Grove), and Folsom, and visit Central Coast Section power St. Francis (Mountain View).
De La Salle features four-star athlete Zeke Berry, California’s No. 28 recruits overall. He has 16 offers including Arizona, Oregon, Pittsburgh, and UCLA.
The Spartans have appeared in every state large division championship game since 2006, winning a record seven times. The last four appearances have resulted during a loss, twice each to Mater Dei and St. John Bosco. Last season, De La Salle was scheduled to open at St. John Bosco, but the sport was exhausted thanks to the pandemic.