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Ngata a difference-maker for Bulldogs

By: Matt Long
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After two games, Joe Ngata had caught four passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns.

Those are OK numbers for a receiver, but not your best receiver. Folsom coach Kris Richardson knew heading into the game against Oakdale he needed to get his 6-3, 205-pound junior wide receiver more touches.

In Friday’s 45-29 win over the Mustangs, Ngata caught 12 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown, as Oakdale couldn’t defend him. The game boosted Ngata’s numbers to 16 catches for 294 yards and three touchdowns on the season.

“Joe is incredible and can do it all,” Folsom quarterback Kaiden Bennett said. “He has a big body that makes it easy to get him the ball. He’s versatile and can go anywhere on the field.”

Said Richardson, “We always want to take what’s open, but at the same time we have to feed our best player the ball. He only had four catches in the first two games, but two were for touchdowns. He was big against Oakdale.”

Ngata and the Bulldogs now have their sights set on Sacramento, the team that shockingly upset them on their home field a year ago, 32-27. That loss had the team circle Sept. 15 on the calendar this season, as they want nothing more than to avenge that defeat. Folsom travels to Sacramento City College Friday night to play the Dragons.

“We’d like to redeem ourselves,” Richardson said. “We didn’t play well in that game last year. We didn’t play well up front, we were loose with the ball, we had four turnovers and two went back the other way for touchdowns. I think we thought that would be a nice, easy game going into our league season and it turned out to be anything but that.”

Whether Folsom beats Sacramento Friday night or not remains to be seen, but if Folsom loses it won’t be because it overlooked or underestimated the Dragons.

“They have a lot of returning players from last year,” Richardson said. “They are one of the more athletic teams that we’ll see, and they’ve got high expectations for their season just like we do. They are similar to us in that they play the spread, and they’re extremely athletic on defense. We’re going to have to show up and play and compete, just like we did last week against Oakdale.”

If Folsom is to win Friday night, they will certainly have to play better than they did a year ago, as four turnovers killed them. Folsom led 14-0 and was about to make it 21-0 before a turnover at the goal line ended the drive. Two plays later, the Dragons had scored to make it 14-6. On Folsom’s next play from scrimmage, Sacramento picked off a pass and returned it for another score to cut Folsom’s lead to 14-12 and the game was on. Three of Sacramento’s five touchdowns came directly off Folsom turnovers.

The Bulldogs are coming off a big win over Oakdale, so they have some momentum and a renewed sense of the importance of competing on every play coming into Friday’s game.