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Folsom avoids the heat, but stays hot against Jesuit

By: Nick Pecoraro
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The venue may have helped a little bit, but the result indicates that the location of the game may not have mattered much.

The Folsom Bulldogs bulldozed through the Jesuit Marauders in Week 2 of the high school football season by a score of 55-9 on Friday night.

Technically a home game for the Marauders (0-2), this was a game originally slated for a 4:45 p.m. start time at Jesuit High School. Game times were pushed back later in an attempt to avoid triple-digit temperatures that have consumed the Sacramento area this past week, and since Jesuit’s football field does not have lights, the game was moved to Prairie City Stadium at Folsom High.

Kaiden Bennett kept the heat on the Marauders. He provided offense early and often for Folsom. The junior quarterback played a part in all of the Bulldogs’ offensive scoring with seven total touchdowns by tallying varsity career-highs of 277 passing yards and six touchdown throws.

“We’ve seen this coming for a long time,” said Folsom Coach Kris Richardson of Bennett. “Kaiden is a dynamic athlete that also can play quarterback. As well as he throws it, he’s always one play away from taking it for a big run.”

And run, he did. Fourteen times for 116 yards, also career-highs, to be exact.

After firing an 11-yard strike to the corner of the end zone to Parker Clayton to open up the scoring, Bennett took a broken fourth-down play 38 yards to the house three minutes later for Folsom’s second score. After Tanner Ward recovered a Jesuit fumble late in the first, Folsom struck again with a 77-yard TD toss from Bennett to Elijhah Badger to give Folsom a 20-0 first-quarter cushion.

Clayton later took a pick-six 35 yards to the end zone, and Joe Ngata caught a 28-yard TD pass from Bennett as the final seconds of the first half ticked away. Folsom went into the locker room up 41-9.

Badger scored twice and caught 109 yards-worth of passes and Brandon Rupchock also had a pair of receiving touchdowns.

“Sometimes it feels like everything is open,” Richardson said.

The Bulldogs (2-0) held two of the top running backs in all the region in Jesuit’s Lorenzo Burkes and Isaiah Rutherford to just 75 total yards. The backfield tandem accounted for more than 2,000 rushing yards and 30 total touchdowns last season, including scores in last year’s meeting with Folsom, a 42-28 victory for the Bulldogs.

“We just grind,” said Ngata. “Our goal is to win across the board. Everyone did their job with their assignments. Everyone on this team is playing with a steady mindset.”

Jesuit entered Friday seeking to rebound from a 31-21 loss at Granite Bay in a showdown between two early season favorites. Rutherford (13 rushes and 137 yards) and Burkes (eight carries for 50 yards) accounted for all three Jesuit touchdowns against the Grizzlies.

“We knew about the two backs, but we felt if we did our job up front and stayed committed to stopping the run and make their quarterback beat us, we felt like we could get them in long-yardage situations and get the ball back to our offense,” said Richardson.

Next Friday, the Bulldogs head down to face the perennial Division III powerhouse Oakdale Mustangs. The game is scheduled, as of Friday, for a 7 p.m. kickoff.