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Bulldogs fall to Del Oro, 43-42

By: Matt Long
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At halftime there wasn’t a person on either side of the field at Prairie City Stadium that truly believed Folsom wouldn’t be playing the Division II championship game next Friday at UC Davis. The Bulldogs dominated the first half, leading 35-7, and could do little wrong. What a difference a half makes. Del Oro outscored the Bulldogs 36-7 in the second half, winning the game on a 2-point conversion by Bryce Pratt with 40 seconds to play. Pratt scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, all on one-yard runs, to lead the Eagles to a thrilling 43-42 come-from-behind victory. Folsom had one last chance to win the game. Following a 34-yard kickoff return by Tyler Trosin, which gave the Bulldogs the ball at their own 39-yard-line with 32 seconds to play, Folsom advanced to Del Oro’s 5-yard line with one second to play. Dillon Wessing’s 22-yard field as time expired was partially blocked and ricocheted off the crossbar and back into the end zone, sending Del Oro’s players running wildly around the field while Folsom’s fell to the turf. “It was a tale of two halves,” Folsom coach Kris Richardson said after the game. “We executed in the first half and won the turnover battle and we didn’t in the second half. My hat’s off to Casey Taylor and Del Oro, but we should have won the game.” Pratt did most of the work, but the biggest key to the comeback was the Eagles’ recovering consecutive onside kicks, which gave them the all important extra possessions they needed to finish the comeback. Down 35-7, Del Oro opened the scoring in the second half with a seemingly innocent 26-yard touchdown run by Angelo Pasquale. After forcing a Folsom punt, Del Oro scored quickly again on an 8-yard run by Max Magleby to cut the deficit to 35-21 with 5:41 to play in the third quarter. Folsom rebounded, though, and scored on a 14-yard pass from Dano Graves to Tyler Trosin, as Folsom opened up a 42-21 lead with 3:39 to play in the third quarter. When Jordan Richards intercepted a Magleby pass to end the third quarter, Folsom was well in control. Three plays later, Freddie Cargile intercepted a Graves pass, which led to another Del Oro touchdown, Pratt’s first of three one-yarders in the final quarter. Trailing 42-28, Del Oro successfully executed an onside kick, but on the next play from scrimmage Folsom’s J-Juan Muldrow intercepted Magleby’s pass and Folsom was still very much in control with 6:30 to play in the game. Just two plays later, Kori Babineaux fumbled, however, and Del Oro recovered. The Eagles then marched down the field for a score by Pratt to cut Folsom’s lead to seven, 42-35. Another onside kick recovery led to Pratt’s final touchdown, followed by the winning 2-point conversion. The comeback erased a great first half by the Bulldogs, which saw Graves run for three touchdowns and throw for two others to Trosin and Jordan Richards. Even though the loss is devastating to the Bulldogs, it was a great year for the program. “Not bad for a team that was picked to finish fourth in the Delta River League,” Richardson said.