Big fourth quarter lifts Bulldogs to 42-21 win over WoodcreekBy: Matt Long of the Telegraph
With 9:36 to play in the fourth quarter trailing 28-21, Woodcreek had Folsom right where they wanted them.
With Folsom unable to stop Woodcreek’s running game most of the night, all Woodcreek needed to do is something they had already done three times in the game: Put together a slow, methodical scoring drive, using up as much of the clock as possible. Add on a two-point conversion and Woodcreek would have handed Folsom its second upset loss in as many weeks.
The Bulldog defense, however, got the stop and turnover when they needed it most. The defense bottled up Woodcreek quarterback Matthew Gordon at the line of scrimmage and caused a fumble, which Justin Viega recovered at the Woodcreek 49-yard line. Eight plays later, Joe Curry threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Drake Stallworth to open up a 14-point lead, as Folsom went on to defeat the Timberwolves in the Sierra Foothill League opener for both teams, 42-21.
“You love to see your team compete and execute in the fourth quarter and that’s what I’m most proud of,” Folsom Coach Kris Richardson said. “The time of possession was off the charts in their advantage, but we got stops at key opportunities.”
After turnovers cost Folsom a win last week against Sacramento, turnovers played a big role in this victory. On the first play of the game, Folsom’s Shawn Johnson ripped the ball away from Woodcreek receiver Matt Willford and scampered 40 yards for a touchdown to give Folsom a big advantage, considering they had trouble stopping the running game all night. After Viega’s fumble recovery that led to the touchdown that put the game away, Folsom tacked on one more score late after Johnson caused another fumble that Keoni Zagata-Vera recovered, leading to a 37-yard touchdown reception by Stallworth from Curry.
“We played hard and battled,” Woodcreek Coach Kyle Stowers said. “We came in with the game plan of playing keep away. Kris (Richardson) does a great job here and they have a lot of talented players, so we were trying to manage the clock and keep their offense off the field. It was 21-21 at the start of the fourth quarter, but they made a nice call on blitzing the “mike” backer and we didn’t block it. They executed and we didn’t. We knew we couldn’t turn the ball over if we wanted a chance to win the game.”
Despite the loss, Woodcreek was impressive. We they executed their offensive play, Folsom could do nothing to stop it. Offensive linemen Alex Gordon, Matthew Miclat, Sedrick Luke, Jack Fitzpatrick and Peyton Elmendorf controlled the line of scrimmage and Isaiah Ajayi and Tyler England ran roughshod on the Bulldogs. Woodcreek gained three to six yards most of the time and once-in-awhile they were stopped for less or ripped off a 10-to-12 yard run.
Ajayi scored all three of the team’s touchdowns; two on one-yard runs and another from 10 yards out.
Matthew Gordon also was effective throwing his passes out to the wing and occasionally hitting an open receiver down the middle of the field.
“The offensive line is starting to gel,” Stowers said. “All those guys play both ways and I’m proud of their effort.”
Curry threw three touchdown passes in the game; two in the fourth quarter to Stallworth and one to Joe Ngata late in the first quarter. Kaiden Bennett and Brandon Rupchock also had touchdown runs for the Bulldogs. Bennett’s score with 3:11 to play in the first half put Folsom up 21-14, a lead it would hold until Ajayi scored on the first play of the fourth quarter to tie the game.
Rupchock scored on an eight-yard run up the middle with 9:36 to play to put Folsom in front for good.
While Folsom prepares to host Granite Bay next week, Woodcreek is headed to Oak Ridge for another Homecoming road game.
“There are a lot of good things to build on from this game,” Stowers said. “We haven’t been within 35 points of these guys since I’ve been here so to be tied at 21 at the start of the fourth quarter; there’s something we can take from that. The kids competed. It doesn’t get any easier in this league, so we’ll need to be ready for Oak Ridge next week.”
JV – Folsom 28, Woodcreek 7
Folsom trailed 7-0 at halftime, but scored four unanswered touchdowns in the second half to win it.
Viliami Hopoi scored on a six-yard run to tie the game, and Jacobi Bellazin put Folsom in front to stay with a 29-yard scoring run in the third quarter. Dylan Jorge found paydirt from 19 yards in the fourth quarter before Joey Washburn completed a four-yard scoring pass to Parker Clayton to end the scoring.
Carter Krupp scored Woodcreek’s only touchdown on a 77-yard run. Krupp played an all-around strong game for the Timberwolves, as he also added a fumble recovery and interception.