Unbeaten De La Salle proving doubters wrong _lowres

Advocate Photo by VERONICA DOMINACH-- De La Salle's Jabial White runs away from Clark's Clarence Williams on his way to a touchdown Thursday at Pan American Stadium.

De La Salle’s offense went scoreless in the first quarter of Thursday’s game against Clark, a rarity for one of the more explosive units in the New Orleans area.

The Cavaliers (7-0, 4-0 in District 9-3A) quickly turned that around with 31 unanswered points in the second quarter en route to a 49-0 victory over Clark in a District 9-3A game at Pan American Stadium.

De La Salle is 7-0 for the first time since 1969.

“We’re really happy, and there’s no way you can go 7-0 without good players that want to improve,” De La Salle coach Ryan Manale said. “I’m very proud of the coaching staff and the work our players have put in.”

De La Salle — ranked No. 3 in the New Orleans Advocate Small Schools Super 10 and No. 2 in the LSWA poll for Class 3A — racked up its fourth shutout with Thursday’s win, which is a major reason why they’ve outscored opponents 349-41 through seven games.

With a win next week over St. James, De La Salle would get off to the school’s first 8-0 start.

“When we got here a few years back, our focus was to build a strong and disciplined team,” Manale said. “Our offseason program has been really big in helping us get to that point, and it all comes down to the kids buying in the way they have.”

After both teams went scoreless in the first quarter, special teams gaffes by the Bulldogs (2-5, 1-3) gave De La Salle the ball inside the Clark 20-yard line on back-to-back possesions, which allowed De La Salle to open up the flood gates.

The Cavaliers took advantage of both Clark’s punting mistakes, kicking a 27-yard field goal after a failed fake punt, and Ricco Wheat punched in a 1-yard touchdown run on the next possession after a Clark punt was blocked.

De La Salle marched 50 yards on its next possession in five plays, concluding with a Jabial White 5-yard touchdown run to put his team up 17-0 with 5:09 left in the second quarter.

De La Salle quarterback Julian Gums added touchdown passes of 71 yards to Myles Ward and 11 yards to Eddie Minor to make the Cavaliers’ lead 31-0 going into halftime.

“We make sure our No. 1 thing is to never give up, no matter how we start games,” Gums said. “If the offense starts off slow, we know the defense is going to pick us up.”

De La Salle opened up the second half with a seven-play, 71-yard drive that Gums completed by dodging two tacklers and running into the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown to put the Cavaliers up 37-0 early in the third quarter.

Kendall Collins added touchdown runs of 50 and 32 yards in the second half.

Gums finished 3 of 7 passing for 126 yards with 22 yards rushing and scoring three total touchdowns. Ward finished with nine total touches for 130 yards and a touchdown.