For the time being, De La Salle refuses to play more than one out-of-state game per year and strictly limits both expenses and lost class time related to that game. Eidson says he is on the verge of working out a game with Union High in Tulsa for 2006 and may one day look to talent-packed Texas for opponents. "We're not a traveling circus," says Eidson. "At the same time, I'm a competitive person. So's Bob Ladouceur. We don't want people to think that we're protecting this [streak]."
Some players admit to a fear of being the first to lose. "My brother played on the team that started it, and when I came along, all his friends would call and say 'Don't you dare blow it,'" says Alumbaugh. "Thankfully, Coach Lad keeps you so busy you don't have too much time to dwell on that stuff."
And if they do lose? Surely it would only stoke the Spartans' fire, the intensity of which is evident on this March day. Never mind that Alumbaugh, the team's off-season supervisor, has gone for the day, or that Ladouceur, the voice inside their heads, long ago left the building. Their muscles sufficiently exhausted in the weight room, the Spartans are working on pass plays. At one point, an injured sophomore defensive back drifts off to chat with someone. When he returns, he gets an earful from Gutierrez, the senior quarterback who is just doing what his brother Matt, now the quarterback at Michigan, would have done three years ago when he was at De La Salle.
Mottled gray clouds hover in a darkening blue sky. A cold rain starts to fall, and most people milling around campus scurry for cover. The football players stay. They stay because that's what the Spartans who came before them would have done. They stay because Coach Ladouceur, through sickness and health, stayed for them. They stay so they too can say what Oregon-bound receiver Colvin said to one of the many reporters who visited Concord in the past year: "I can leave here knowing I did my part to keep the Streak alive."