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When the Game Stands Tall: The Story of the De La Salle Spartans and Football's Longest Winning Streak Hardcover – October 30, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Frog Books; FIRST EDITION, 4TH PRINTING edition (October 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583940863
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583940860
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #664,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I've never seen a better coached team at any level. I watch his teams play and can't believe it's a high school football game. He is as fine a coach as the game has ever seen."
-Former San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh

"It's the ultimate high school football program in this country, there's no doubt about that. It's unbelievable how they keep winning."
-Detroit Lions coach Steve Mariucci

About the Author

Neil Hayes is a sports columnist for the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek, CA. He has twice won national awards for enterprise reporting. He lives in Pleasant Hill, CA, with his wife Charlee and their two children, Nicholas and Riley.

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More About the Author

NEIL HAYES is an award-winning columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and the author of the acclaimed When the Game Stands Tall.

Customer Reviews

Amazing story that was very well told.
Robert Cohee
Overall I thought this was an extremely good book and I would recommend this to anyone who would enjoy a good sports history novel.
Mid-Praire Teen
Every high school football player and coach should read this.
Elaine

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By David A. York on July 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Thank you Mr. Hayes for bringing this story to print.

Nearly 20 years ago, I went to my first De La Salle football game, and they won. In fact, they did not lose for several years to come, and even then it was on a controversial play at Oakland Coliseum when running back Rob Forrester ran in a touchdown, but was ruled out of bounds... Reviews showed, he was still in bounds and scored with the football just crossing inside the pylon. However, there was no 'instant replay' and alas, DLS had an incredible win streak come to an end.

I understand they started a new streak... and it was an impressive one in its own right. However, it too found its end.

The Spartans would start yet another streak, this one even longer. I sat in the bleachers when they played La Costa Canyon near San Diego this past year. It was my first Spartan game in nearly 15 years, the last one I witnessed, they lost. They weren't to lose this game down south. In fact, I know a kid who played for La Costa that night. This "kid" is 6'4" and about 240lbs - fit. I talked to him a few weeks prior to the game. He was already concerned. The look in his eyes said this game was already over before the opponents even got there.

Missing a few key players that night, DLS won. To La Costa's credit, they played with a lot of heart.

A few weeks later, ESPN showed a match pitting DLS vs. the perennial champs of Louisiana. Louisiana was without their past QB, John Booty and DLS would lose their QB early in the game, victim to the awful turf of Diablo Valley College. The Spartans rolled - not even a close match.

What the score didn't tell you was how the 200lb linemen of DLS were destroying the 300lb lineman opposing them.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As the mother of three former high school football players who remains largely indifferent to the sport even now, I found myself surprisingly captivated by this story. Powerfully and tightly written, it early on evoked strong emotions and a growing fascination with Head Coach Ladouceur's methodology. As one of the team members said, "If you think Coach (Ladouceur) is inspiring on the football field, you ought to be in his Religion class."
The Coach is clearly unique among high school football coaches, This book is about a season of individual football games, the team players, the assistant coaches, and Coach Lad. I quickly grew to care deeply about every one of them.
As one of the boys chided a boasting parent, "Dad, it's not about winning." Indeed, it's not, not really at all, and that's what is so intriguing about this coach and this team. It's not even about football. Corny as it may sound, it's about love.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As a former student of coach Lad (not player) let me just say that you have to see it to believe it. He is a quiet, intelligent, polite, and compelling individual. Something about him makes you want to do your absolute best and never let him down. That is what he brings out in his players. He is the best type pf leader, one who doesn't need to threaten nor coddle, rather his presence alone does the job. In addition he also happens to be an offensive genius on the field. In terms of the "recruiting" comments, I must agree with the previous writers by simply saying that DLS doen't recruit nor will they ever need to recruit in the distant future. The fact of the matter is since DLS played mostly public schools in their division, and these schools could only have students who lived in their district attend the school, wheras DLS could bring in students from Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, Benicia, etc., in addition to Concord. While their talent pool may have been deeper, I would never go so far as to say that they recruited. All the HATERS are just jealous. This book really illustrates the respect Coach has from his players, his students, and the Bay Area athletic community, And I am happy to count myself among them. "St. Jean Baptist De La Salle - Pray for us!"
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Richie on November 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It's not about football. It's not about wins. It is about hard work and love. Would this book be written if De La Salle football was a .500 team? No. Would the essence of the story be valuable if De La Salle Football was a .500 team. YES! I know the appeal of "When the Game Stands Tall" will be to find the answer to the question, "How do they do it?" The deeper truth you'll find is, "How do these coaches build men out of boys?", and "How do they build a team out of individuals?"
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By BasinBictory on July 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The De La Salle Spartans of Concord, CA, are owners and stewards of perhaps the longest winning streak in sports, let alone high school football. At the beginning of the 2002 season, the Spartans have won an amazing 125 straight games. To fully understand what that means, you have to realize that a typical high school football season is a mere 10 games, with a few more playoff games for the teams good enough to make it. Running through a season undefeated is an amazing accomplishment that most schools never experience, and is usually a fortunate and timely collaboration of good coaching, solid talent, meshed with experience and an enormous amount of commitment and desire, with just a bit of plain old good luck. By the summer of 2002, De La Salle's team had just completed a run of TEN CONSECUTIVE undefeated seasons.
The 2002 Spartans, however, do not appear to have what it takes to continue "The Streak", as they are less talented, less experienced, and seemingly, less interested and committed than De La Salle teams of the past. This book chronicles the trials and travails of the 2002 season, including potential Streak-ending games versus Southern California powerhouse Long Beach Poly and 15-time Hawaiian State Champions Honolulu St. Louis.
This book delves into the mystery surrounding the origins and continuation of the Streak, the players and coaches who have contributed to it, and most of all, how unassuming and unlikely a school like De La Salle and a place like Concord could be home to the longest winning streak in football history. The story isn't as electrically charged as H.G. Bissinger's "Friday Night Lights," but it is still a teriffic read and a rousing salute to the "ordinary" young men who have, through their dedication and effort, managed to forge "The Streak."
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