Bulldogs draw top seed in Division II playoffs
After a perfect 10-0 regular season, Folsom High’s varsity football team is ready for the postseason.
As the top seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II bracket, the Bulldogs are the team to beat, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy. Folsom will get every opponents’ best, starting with their opening round opponent on Friday night, Atwater, who enters the game with a 6-4 record.
“We like where we’re at and we’ve got experience and three home games on our side, but none of that means anything if we lose to Atwater,” Folsom coach Kris Richardson said. “We have to have the right approach to Atwater. They’re 6-4 and a tough team who’s played some tough teams. The bracket is loaded with teams we’ve played the last couple of years with Rio Linda, Vacaville and Buhach Colony and that makes me nervous because they’re some good teams, but we’ve had success against them and have had some battles with Vacaville.”
Richardson said Atwater has some big, physical players and also have some good athletes. He knows his team will have to play well to win.
“We’ve got the ability to beat anyone in the bracket, but we’ve still got to go out and play to our ability,” Richardson said. “We’re in good position, as the No. 1 seed, but now we’ve got to go out and get it done.”
The Bulldogs open the playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday.
If Folsom wins Friday, they would play the Rio Linda/Vacaville winner. Folsom beat Rio Linda 56-19 last year in the first round of the playoffs and later lost to Vacaville 39-35 in the section championship game. In 2010, the Bulldogs defeated Vacaville, 75-6 and Buhach Colony, 55-20 on their way to winning the section title and state championship.
If the Bulldogs were to advance, Antelope is the No. 4 seed and it opens with Rocklin, while No. 5 Buhach Colony faces McNair.
Yuba City is the No. 2 see on the other side of the bracket and they have a tough opener in Del Oro. Elk Grove, the third seed, opens with Ponderosa, while Del Campo (sixth seed) faces Whitney. St. Mary’s and Tracy play in the other opening round game.
Folsom 30, Pleasant Grove 14
Folsom won a state football championship two years ago, but even that team finished the season with one loss.
Folsom coach Kris Richardson said some people didn’t think too highly of this year’s team prior to the season, but the Bulldogs capped off a 10-0 regular season with a 30-14 win over Pleasant Grove on Friday night.
Jake Browning threw a pair of touchdown passing to Lucas Owan and another to Harry Lipnosky, while Ben Trumm kicked three field goals on the way to the win. Defensively, Folsom allowed some yardage, but not too many points and capped off the regular season with another fine effort.
“To be 10-0 and go undefeated in the Delta River League is amazing,” Richardson said. “I don’t think anyone predicted us to do that. This team just kept battling tonight against a well-coached and good team in Pleasant Grove. Good or bad, that’s one thing I love about this team is that they just keep playing and keep making plays.”
Folsom wasn’t its explosive self early on as the first quarter ended with a 0-0 score. The Bulldogs’ first possession ended with a punt and Browning was picked off on Folsom’s second possession. The defense, however, stopped Pleasant Grove on downs and then forced a punt before the Eagles fumbled the ball away on their third possession. Eddie Flores made the recovery and the offense turned it into seven points when Browning found Lipnosky from 13 yards out.
Ian Broom put six points on the board for the Eagles on their next possession, but Chad Phillips missed the extra point. From that point forward, the Bulldogs contained the Eagles, as their only other score came midway in the fourth quarter when the outcome was all but decided.
“We pretty much shut them down,” Folsom defensive end Chaz Arnold said. “Our defensive line and linebackers controlled them. I think they average well over 200 yards rushing and we handled them pretty well in my opinion.”
Linebacker Derek Stiles was in on 14 tackles, while Flores was in on 10. Lineman Quincy Capel was part of eight tackles, while fellow lineman Zach Bodnar was in on six and also had one sack, as did Capel and Arnold.
Following Pleasant Grove’s first score, Trumm hit the first of his field goals from 24 yards to extend the lead to 10-6. Late in the first half Browning found Owan from 16 yards out and Folsom led at the break, 17-6.
The Bulldogs opened the second half with a 32-yard field goal from Trumm, which made the score 20-6. After forcing a punt, Folsom put seven more points on the board on a 60-yard pass and catch from Browning to Owan and the rout was on. Trumm added a 27-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
“It feels great to be 10-0 and undefeated,” Owan said. “The defense worked all week on their scheme and played awesome tonight.”
JV wins 27-0
Folsom’s junior varsity team finished an undefeated season with a 9-0-1 record following a 27-0 win over Pleasant Grove. Lukas Hendricks caught three touchdown passes from Calvin Gardner from 18, 20 and 32 yards and Gardner also scored on a six-yard run.
“To have eight sophomores up on the varsity team, other players had to step up for this team and they did and that was great to see,” Folsom coach Jordan Banning said. “The kids worked their butts off all year. This class has so much talent, but they couldn’t have gone undefeated without working hard and to do it with eight sophomores up on varsity speaks volumes about this group. They’re a determined group and the future is obviously bright.”
Freshman finish 8-2
The Folsom freshman football squad completed the 2012 season with a 62-32 win over Davis on Thursday.
Folsom jumped out to a 19-0 lead after its first three possessions and never looked back. By halftime the Bulldogs led 41-14. In the second half the Bulldogs played every available player and were successful in maintaining their halftime margin.
“We wanted to come in and get the win and give every player a chance to play,” Folsom coach Terry Richards said. “We were fortunate to get the lead and that allowed the plan to work as we had hoped. They all played, no injuries, a resounding victory all add up to a great ending to an improbable season.”
The Bulldogs completed the season with a record of 8-2. They scored 379 points while surrendering 189. For a team that was 3-6 in the youth football program a year ago to averaging 38 points per game against a higher level of competition is a testament to the work ethic of these young men.
“We were always a work in progress – getting more efficient offensively, and learning to swarm and smother opponents on defense,” Richards said. “We’d love to have the Oak Ridge and San Ramon games over, as the last four weeks of the season we scored 172 points and gave up only 45, including two shutouts. We didn’t look like much getting off the bus, but once we put the pads on we will put it on you.
“It was a great group of kids, great assistant coaches and a great season. Long live the Bulldog Nation.”