Mostly clear

Ladouceur built legacy with basics

It was laughable, is what Lenny Wagner remembered. Laughable in the scary sense. Laughable at what could come next. Laughable in feeling pity for De La Salle, the best high school football program in the country.

Then the linebackers coach for Sonoma State, Wagner was at the Oakland Coliseum to see De La Salle of Concord play Pittsburg for the 1992 NCS 3A title. Now the head football coach and interim athletic director at Santa Rosa JC, Wagner was struck by the apparent mismatch about to be played out in front of him.

"In the pre-game," Wagner said, "the Pittsburg players were introduced. They were hootin' and hollerin.' Really strutting."

They had good reason. Fifteen Pittsburg players would go on to play Division I college football.

"The De La Salle players were introduced," Wagner said. "They were small. They stood at attention. They all got crew cuts. There's &‘John Smith, right guard. Billy Jones the quarterback.' Kids you never heard of."

Faceless, in other words. Nothing to look at. Not one ounce of bravado, not one hint of confidence.

"Looking at De La Salle in the pre-game," Wagner said, "you knew they were in trouble. Pittsburg was big and they were confident."

Then the game started.

"Pittsburg got killed," Wagner said.

The final score was 41-6. Another brick was added to the legend and legacy Bob Ladouceur was building. Ladouceur retired last week after coaching De La Salle for 34 years and he took with him that 399-25-3 record, those 28 NCS championships, those five state titles, that U.S. prep record of 151 consecutive victories and seven mythical national championships.

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