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High School Sports Blog

The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

September 21, 2009 at 7:31 AM

Defense for the ages?

De La Salle had won a national-record 151 straight games in 2004. Long Beach Poly was ranked third nationally in 2005.

Neither came away winners in Seattle against Bellevue, owners of a 3-0 all-time record against California schools entering the weekend.

That trend ended Saturday when Sacramento’s Grant Union Pacers handed the hurt and hobbled No. 2 Wolverines their first shutout in two years, 14-0.

The last time Bellevue (1-2) failed to score was in the 2007 season opener at Skyline when Jake Heaps made his first high school start. His long touchdown pass to Gino Simone (WSU) was the difference in a 6-0 Spartans win.

Sticking with the shutout theme, check this out: Grant hasn’t allowed a point since winning the CIF state bowl open division championship over top-ranked Long Beach Poly during its 14-0 campaign last year. The Pacers (3-0), with at least a half dozen future Division-1 players, beat Montgomery (Santa Rosa) 42-0 and Edison (Stockton) 27-0 the previous two weeks.

“If anybody had said that we’d have three straight shutouts to start the season, we’d have probably laughed at them,” said Grant coach Mike Alberghini, whose team plays in the CIF San Joaquin Section. “But year in and year out, we’re fast and we’re aggressive. And this team is just growing up.”

For a unit featuring just three players (juniors Faigame Lopa, Darryl Paulo and 6-3, 325-pound USC verbal commit Vei Moala) that saw any meaningful time last year and 11 new starters, Grant’s showing at Memorial Stadium was nothing short of remarkable.

The way the Pacers flew to the ball was a sight to behold. They rarely over-committed and rarely missed tackles.

This performance got me wondering: When was the last time an out-of-state high school team with a defense this fast and this disciplined played a game on Washington soil? Furthermore, how does this California defense stack up with some of our best defenses over the years?

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