Bulldogs, Rams meet again in postseason

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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In what’s quickly becoming a playoff rivalry, Folsom High’s football team plays host to St. Mary’s Friday in the semifinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.

It’s the fourth straight season the teams have met deep in the postseason, the last two meetings coming in the section finals. In 2016, St. Mary’s defeated Folsom, 56-25, to win the Division I title, while Folsom avenged that loss with a 50-21 victory a year ago in the title game. The last time the teams met in the semifinal was in 2015, when Folsom held off the Rams, 56-49.

“Tony (Franks) is one of the best coaches in the section,” Folsom coach Kris Richardson said. “They’ve been deep in the playoffs for years, and he runs a great program. They have tough, hard-nosed athletes. We’re going to have to show up and execute.”

The Rams, 7-4 overall and seeded fourth in the Division I bracket, are coming off a thrilling 30-29 win over fifth-seeded Sheldon last Friday, courtesy of a game-winning touchdown pass in the final minute. The Rams are averaging 31 points per game and allowing 23, while the top-seeded Bulldogs (10-1) are scoring 50 points per game, while allowing 10.

St. Mary’s is a running team, as they have two running backs who have rushed for more than 600 yards and another who has surpassed 500 yards. Senior William Brown (635 yards) is averaging 8.4 yards per carry and has scored nine touchdowns. Sophomore Tyrei Washington (624 yards) is picking up 7.1 yards per carry and has scored 11 times, while Taj Morris (512) is averaging 6.2 yards per carry and has scored four touchdowns.

Jr. quarterback Noah May has thrown for 1,116 yards and 11 touchdowns against six interceptions. St. Mary’s only averages 15 passes per game, completing seven for just more than 100 passing yards per game. Three receivers have caught between 14-18 passes and have four touchdowns each.

“They’re a spread team, but this year they’ve focused on the run,” Richardson said. “A couple years ago they were chucking it around. They do a lot of run/pass option and screens. We’ve been doing a good job stopping the run, especially against spread teams, because our front four is so good. Our defensive line will have to be good on Friday night.”