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Bulldogs cruise to 50-21 win over St. Mary's

Section title is program's sixth in the last eight years
By: Matt Long of the Telegraph
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Folsom shows its dominance in a lot of ways.

Essentially wrapping up a Sac-Joaquin Section championship game in the first quarter is one way. The Bulldogs led St. Mary’s 21-0 after the first quarter Saturday and less than three minutes into the second extended the lead to 28-0 on their way to a 50-21 win. Folsom avenged last year’s loss to the Rams and in doing so won their sixth section title in the last eight years.

The Bulldogs don’t always get off to a fast start, but did so today to quickly put some distance between themselves and the Rams. On the opening drive, Folsom moved the ball 80 yards in nine plays, finishing the possession with a three-yard run from Daniyel Ngata. While Ngata ran the ball five times for 28 yards on the drive, quarterback Kaiden Bennett got others involved in the offense early. Parker Clayton caught two passes for 24 yards on the drive, while CJ Hutton (19 yards) and Elijhah Badger (eight yards) also caught passes. The offense made it look easy even without utilizing their top receiver, Joe Ngata.

“Whenever we score on our first drive, that just gets us going and we get explosive,” Bennett said. “At the beginning of the game, we played really well. Everything worked and it felt awesome.”

Folsom had to overcome a formation change from what they were expecting from St. Mary’s, but it didn’t prove to be a problem.

“St. Mary’s changed their front from what they normally show, but we didn’t panic,” Folsom coach Kris Richardson said. “We adjusted and did a great job executing and that got the ball rolling for us. Dusty (Frampton) going down after that was a momentum swing for us.”

On St. Mary’s first play from scrimmage, star running back Dusty Frampton lost a yard on a run to the left. He injured his right knee on the play and did not return, an incident that without question hurt the Rams’ chances to winning, while at the same time making things easier for the Bulldogs.

The Rams eventually had to punt at the end of the drive, and on the second play of Folsom’s second drive, Bennett threw his first pass to Joe Ngata and it turned into a 42-yard touchdown catch, the first of four times the two would hook up for points in the first half.

Right before the end of the quarter, Joe Ngata caught a nine-yard screen pass for a score to make it 21-0. Folsom cornerback Richard Cornelius ended St. Mary’s next drive with an interception, and the Folsom offense only had to go 37 yards before Mark Weldy scored the team’s fourth touchdown on a six-yard run.

The Rams countered with a touchdown of their own, but two more touchdown passes from Bennett to Joe Ngata for 13 and 82 yards put Folsom up 41-7 at halftime.

Bennett was nearly perfect in the first half, passing behind an outstanding offensive line of Matt Frost, Joe Wagner, Kaden Richardson, Noah Lunday and Tucker Dunbar. Bennett completed 21 of his 23 attempts for 362 yards and four scores.

“Once we get the ball rolling, we’re tough,” Richardson said. “It was a great half of football. We played clean and very well.”

It was academic in the second half. Folsom didn’t play great, but it didn’t half too. St. Mary’s outscored the Bulldogs 14-9. Folsom’s points came from a safety from Cruz Lara when a bad snap left St. Mary’s punter with no place to go. The team’s only touchdown came from a seven-yard run from Bennett that put Folsom up 50-7. St. Mary’s later scored two unanswered touchdowns to end the scoring.

Bennett finished the game completing 28-of-35 passes for 402 yards and four scores. Joe Ngata caught eight passes for 223 and four scores, while Clayton made nine catches for 99 yards. Daniyel Ngata rushed for 117 yards and scored a touchdown.

After the game, it was time for the team to reflect on the accomplishment. Richardson simply told his team to relish in the fact that they are 14-0 section champions, an accomplishment, he told them, that not many teams have done.

Assistant coach Bobby Fresques said the section title was a team effort that everyone has worked the last 12 months to accomplish. He told the team from here on out was all gravy, meaning next week’s Nor-Cal championship game and beyond.

Bennett, wearing the Sac-Joaquin Section championship hat, summed up the team’s feeling best.

“When I put this hat on and celebrate with my team, it brings a lot of happiness because we’ve all worked so hard for it,” Bennett said.