De La Salle’s first four-year player closed his Spartans career in dominating fashion
Boss Tagaloa has the talent, the physical attributes and all the intangibles owned by the most successful of his defensive predecessors in the storied De La Salle High program.
Yet there’s one thing he can claim that none of the former greats can. In the rich history of Spartans football, Tagaloa remains the program’s first and only four-year varsity player.
“When you talk about a program like ours that’s so steeped in tradition, that says volumes of his abilities,” long time De La Salle defensive coordinator Terry Eidson said.
Tagaloa’s first three years featured peaks and valleys as he progressed on the learning curve and battled through a broken leg during his junior year. The fourth year, however, was a season of promise fulfilled.
Starting on both lines for De La Salle, Tagaloa helped propel an offense that aver- aged nearly 350 rushing yards a game, and anchored a defense that featured a nine- game stretch in which the first team unit did not surrender a touchdown. And in the perfect career arc, the 6-foot-3, 295-pound defensive tackle saved his best quarter of football for his last quarter as a Spartan.
“That fourth quarter was one of the most dominating quarters that I’ve ever seen a De La Salle player have,” Eidson said.
It was that fourth quarter that proved to be the deciding factor in SportStars choos- ing Tagaloa as our All-NorCal Defensive Player of the Year, edging out fellow Spartan teammates Devin Asiasi and Damon Wiley (both of whom are represented on the All-NorCal Defense).
Tagaloa finished the year with 48 tackles (15 for loss), 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery over just 12 games.
“When you’re playing two ways, it’s tough on conditioning at the beginning of the year,” Eidson said. “But once he got up to game conditioning, he was set. And after awhile, he just couldn’t be stopped.
“When Boss did not want to get blocked, he did not get blocked. Toward the end of the year, that was happening all the time.”
Tagaloa finished the season as the top-ranked senior defensive tackle on the West Coast and 13th nationally by ESPN.com. Rivals.com had him ranked 15th nationally for the 2016 class of defensive tackles. After weighing various offers from all but one of the Power 5 conferences, Tagaloa narrowed his top five college choices to Cal, Michigan, USC, UCLA and Washington. He and Asiasi were expected to name their college choice live on ESPNU during National Signing Day on Feb. 3.
— Chace Bryson
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