Jr. Bulldogs continue to excel

By: Matt Long of the Telegraph
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Kris Richardson will tell you how valuable the Folsom Jr. Bulldogs youth football program has been to the success of the high school program.

Not only are the Jr. Bulldogs one reason for the success of the high school teams, but the relationship between the two organizations had also benefitted the Jr. Bulldogs, who annually are one of the strongest youth football programs in the Sacramento area.

Since 2004, the Jr. Bulldogs have won 33 league championships, including three this season at the Mighty Mite, Jr. Peewee and Jr. Midget levels.

The Jr. Bulldogs had all five teams reach the Sierra Athletic Conference championship game. The teams combined posted a record of 55 wins and five losses. League President Mike Gaide, who has run the program for the last five years and been involved with the program 28 years, including as a player, believes it’s the first time all five teams reached the championship game. He also doesn’t remember a competing football organization ever having five teams in the championship game. The Jr. Bulldogs have had great success over the years.

“I think a good deal has to be due to the strong relationship with the high school program,” Gaide said. “All of our teams are running the basics of the spread offense that they continue to run throughout their high school years. Our coaches’ dedication and focus on details is what sets up apart. We have coaches with a tremendous amount of experience that work with newer coaches to help bring them up to speed with our philosophies and what is expected. We preach perfection and hard work and push the kids to limits that far exceed what they previously thought was capable.

“We are one big family that supports our teams and the kids work extremely hard in practice, film study, and walk-throughs to perform at their very best. The kids buy into the system and work every day to better themselves.”

The Jr. Bulldogs featured 162 players on five teams this season, along with 41 coaches and 13 youth instructors, who are high school players, many of whom were former Jr. Bulldogs.

Gaide’s brother, Corey, has been a coach in the program for 21 years and served as the Vice President of Football for nine years. Other coaches with long tenures include Curt Crandall (12 years), Troy Watson (11 years), Sean Hutton (eight years) and Yonnie Langham (eight years).

“We have a long list of talented players and coaches who have moved on to the high school, college or professional level,” Gaide said. “In recent weeks, Jake Browning had sent me a message offering his encouragement to all of our teams in the playoffs, and David Graves Jr., along with his father, David Graves, Sr., who both coach at the high school, came out to rally the boys last Wednesday. I constantly get feedback from the other presidents in the league, area, even out of town, and out of state people about the program.”