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TIAPEPE VITALE De La Salle – Football TIAPEPE VITALE De La Salle – Football
Despite suffering a shoulder injury on the team’s second possession of the CIF Open Division Bowl championship game, the senior tailback delivered a vintage... TIAPEPE VITALE De La Salle – Football

Despite suffering a shoulder injury on the team’s second possession of the CIF Open Division Bowl championship game, the senior tailback delivered a vintage Spartans performance. He rushed 26 times for 145 yards and four touchdowns to help lift De La Salle to a 48-28 win over Centennial-Corona, cementing the team’s fourth Open Division title in as many years. He also set the program’s single-season rushing mark with 2,099 yards.

Despite suffering a shoulder injury on the team’s second possession of the CIF Open Division Bowl championship game, the senior tailback delivered a vintage Spartans performance. He rushed 26 times for 145 yards and four touchdowns to help lift De La Salle to a 48-28 win over Centennial-Corona, cementing the team’s fourth Open Division title in as many years. He also set the program’s single-season rushing mark with 2,099 yards. 

SportStars Magazine: What happened to cause the shoulder injury?

Tiapepe Vitale:  I tried to stiff arm a defender, and he came into my body. When he tackled me, his weight and my weight combined, all of it landed on my (right) shoulder.

SSM: Were you afraid it was something more serious than a sprain?

TV: At first, yes. But after they looked at it and just told me it was something that would be sore, I was relieved I could continue playing. 

SSM: The team got off to a slow start this year with a few wins that weren’t as crisp as the team would’ve preferred. What helped you guys turn the corner?

TV: At the beginning of playoffs, and really finishing off the last game of the season, we knew as a team we really had to pick it up. We didn’t really want to keep putting ourselves in holes. Our coaches would tell us how we were always battling against ourselves and not against the other team. We needed to start playing for each other. We did that, and everybody’s individual efforts brought us together as a whole.

SSM: When you look back at your De La Salle career, what will be the first things that come to mind?

TV: A lot of things, but the main one will definitely be this year’s (CIF Bowl) win. To finish off with the record, and just winning as a senior. It was special. 

TIAPEPE’S QUICK HITS

Favorite NFL team: 49ers

Favorite class: Math

Favorite Energy Drink: Rock Star

Milan Moses — The Dublin sophomore guard scored a whopping 40 points in a 78-73 double OT loss to Clayton Valley on Dec. 15.

Ivan Rabb — The Bishop O’Dowd sophomore led the Dragons with 21 points as they beat Pacific Hills 57-53 at the Drew Gooden Invitational Showcase on Dec. 15.

Izzy Ayad — The Valley Christian-Dublin forward was named MVP of her school’s hosted tournament on Dec. 15. She scored 18 points in the championship against Berean Christian.

 
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