This wasn't supposed to happen. Talent-stuffed DeLaSalle was expected to cruise through the Class 4A quarterfinals against Becker to a semifinals matchup with No. 2-ranked Hutchinson that awaited.
"I thought they brought a college team instead of their high school team," said an impressed Becker coach Dwight Lundeen.
They may not have looked as impressive on the sidelines, but on the field the Bulldogs showed a formidable bite, using a varied passing offense and taking advantage of DeLaSalle's penchant for self-destruction to emerge with a 21-14 victory.
Tommy Benson completed 11 of 24 passes for 160 yards for Becker, whose passing game routinely frustrated the No. 1-ranked Islanders.
"We probably throw the ball more than anyone else in the state," Benson said. "I've played with my receivers for so long, I know exactly what they'll do."
Becker started the game strong, going 64 yards in 10 plays on its first possession, taking a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard run by Austen Soares.
DeLaSalle bumbled for the rest of the first half. The Islanders dropped five passes, fumbled the ball away twice, committed five penalties and had difficulty covering the Bulldogs in clutch situations.
"It was one of those games where we had breakdowns on just about every play," DeLaSalle coach Sean McMenomy said. "We just couldn't put our finger on one thing. It was a different thing every time."
Becker took a 14-0 lead into halftime on a 3-yard run by Bobby Lee, the result of a long drive that included an 8-yard conversion pass on fourth-and-7.
DeLaSalle turned things around in the third quarter. Quarterback Reid Travis cut the lead in half with a 1-yard run, and the Islanders appeared to have momentum early in the fourth quarter.
Then disaster struck. Travis telegraphed a pass in the flat that was picked off and returned for a touchdown by Shane Busch for a 21-7 lead.
"I knew the screen was coming," Busch said. "I just read it and went for it. That's the way our defense has played all year."
DeLaSalle rallied with a quick touchdown, but, fittingly, one final mistake ended the Islanders' chances when Travis had a long pass intercepted by Josh Nohner with less than four minutes left.