Friday Night Football

Bulldogs avenge loss to Grant, win section title, 41-20

Graves throws four touchdown passes, runs for two more
By: Matt Long
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The Folsom Bulldogs had to play their best game of the year to beat Grant and they did before a sellout crowd at Hornet Stadium at Sacramento State University. The Bulldogs controlled the Pacers in the first half and pulled away in the second, humbling the favored and top-ranked team in the state, 41-20, as Folsom claimed its first football section championship in 20 years. Dano Graves’ injured knee proved to be a non-factor, as he played his normal superb game by throwing for four touchdowns, but it was his two touchdown runs that were most prominent. The first one went for 64 yards midway through the third quarter and gave the Bulldogs a commanding and comfortable 34-13 lead. The second from 25 yards out in the game’s final minute put the icing on the cake of a 41-20 victory. The Bulldogs and a handful of their fans charged onto the field after the game to celebrate. “This is the most unbelievable feeling I’ve ever had,” Folsom senior linebacker Sam Lueken said. “I’m so proud of my guys. This journey started for a lot of us when we were 8 years old playing youth football and we’re not done yet.” With the win, the Bulldogs will likely play for a state title on Dec. 18 in Carson. “We’ve been dreaming about this since we were little kids,” Tyler Trosin said. “We just played our butts off, played as a team and played together.” Jordan Richards played a huge game for the Bulldogs. He scored the team’s first touchdown on a 43-yard pass from Graves, made many key catches and tackles and also intercepted a pass late in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. “I had an opportunity to get some balls and I just wanted to step up and make plays,” Richards said. “They had a linebacker on me to start and we just exploited that until they put a defensive back on me. “It feels great to win this. For the class of 2011, we’ve been working for this since third grade.” Folsom coach Kris Richardson added, “Jordan was a monster tonight. He’s just an amazing football player whether he’s playing running back, wide receiver or defensive back.” Folsom’s defense, which gave up 49 points to Grant in the first game, held them to 20 this time, allowing only two touchdowns, two extra points and two field goals. “The offense played great, but the key tonight was that our defense stepped up and won the game,” Lueken said. “We stopped them when we needed to stop them.” Richardson added, “The defense just kept getting better each week and played with a lot of confidence tonight.” Grant jumped out to a 3-0 lead early, but Graves threw his first touchdown to Richards from 43 yards to give Folsom the lead. The Pacers answered with another field goal and after one quarter the game was tied at six. Kori Babineaux hauled in a 30-yard pass from Graves to start the second, but Grant answered quickly just 67 seconds later on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Terry Shine to Shaq Thompson. Just before the half, Tyler Trosin gave Folsom the lead for good with an acrobatic 5-yard touchdown catch from Graves and the Bulldogs took a 20-13 lead into halftime. Folsom’s defense stopped Grant on fourth-and-one from Grant’s own 43-yard line to start the second half and the Bulldogs then capitalized on a 6-yard pass from Graves to Trosin to go up 27-13. After the defense held Grant to three plays and a punt, Graves scored on a 64-yard touchdown run to essentially seal the victory with a score that put Folsom up 34-13 with 5:16 to play in the third quarter. Grant answered one final time with a touchdown pass from Shine to Ronald Johnson late in the third quarter, but the fourth belonged to Folsom. Grant failed to convert on a fourth-and-15 play and the team’s traded interceptions on consecutive possessions after that before Graves finished off the Pacers with his 25-yard touchdown run.