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Bulldogs open with big win over Trojans

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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In their biggest game of the season to date, Folsom High’s varsity football team played its best game and whipped rival Oak Ridge, 49-21, in the Delta River League opener on Friday. Folsom’s offensive line protected quarterback Jake Browning and the skill players did their thing, while the defense played a strong game, allowing a powerful and efficient Oak Ridge offense only 237 yards, (137 yards passing, 100 yards rushing) and three touchdowns. Browning passed for 353 yards and six touchdowns, while Troy Knox caught 13 passes for 147 yards. Eight players caught passes for the Bulldogs with Harry Lipnosky and Phillip Carter catching two touchdown passes from Browning. Bailey Laolagi rushed for 95 yards on 15 carries. “Without a doubt, it was our best game of the season,” Folsom coach Kris Richardson said. “We played great football in every aspect of the game. We’ve defended the run well all year and one of our goals this week was to improve our third-down defense and get off the field. Coach Baiz does a great job with the run stunts and the guys did a good job of rallying to the ball.” On Saturday, the Bulldogs travel to Jesuit to face the Marauders (0-1, 4-2), who are coming off a 17-3 upset loss to Ponderosa. Richardson is not worried about his team coming out flat after the big win over Oak Ridge. “You always want to win your league opener and this year it just happened to come against Oak Ridge, but our ultimate goal is to win more than one league game,” Richardson said. “We want to continue to improve and make a great playoff run. Our kids don’t have any trouble getting up to play Jesuit. The last few times we’ve gone to Jesuit on a Saturday we’ve played some of our best football.” Folsom 49, Oak Ridge 21 Folsom turned what most thought would be a close game and blew out Oak Ridge on their home field. “Oak Ridge is a very good football team whose strength is on the lines and we were concerned coming in,” Folsom co-coach Troy Taylor said. “But our offensive line did a great job keeping Jake (Browning) up right and our defense got us some turnovers. We had the lead early and were able to run the ball in the second half to shorten the game.” Oak Ridge had hoped to beat the Bulldogs for the first time since 2006, but fell behind in the first half and weren’t able to make a comeback in the second half. “When you’re trying to play catch-up with a team that has an offense like Folsom, it’s a tough task,” Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere said. “We were outplayed tonight and out-coached. You can’t turn the ball over and fall behind Folsom and we had a chance to make some plays on defense tonight and we didn’t do it.” Folsom took a 7-0 lead on a 9-yard pass from Browning to Lipnosky, one play after Folsom converted a fourth-and-10 with a 36-yard pass to Knox. Oak Ridge tied the scored with a 6-yard pass from Jason Samuels to Tanner Hughes, but Folsom answered with another Browning-to-Lipnosky TD pass, this one from 30 yards out. Flores then picked off his first pass of the game and returned it to the Oak Ridge 31. Six plays later, Browning found Carter on a 7-yard TD pass on fourth down, which put Folsom up 21-7. Oak Ridge got as close as seven points the rest of the way when Samuels hooked up with Byron Spain on an 18-yard pass, but it was all Folsom after that. The Bulldogs scored two more times before halftime: the first one on a 3-yard pass to Laolagi and the second on an 8-yard pass to Knox, which came after Eddie Flores’ second pick of the game on a tipped pass by Laolagi. “It was great to have two interceptions tonight,” Flores said. “Those were my first picks since eighth grade. Oak Ridge is a lot bigger than us and a physical team, but we’re scrappy and handed it to them and got the win. It was a huge win because they were ranked number one in the section (by MaxPreps).” With a 35-14 lead at halftime, Folsom had the game in control. They tacked on a pair of touchdowns in the second half, the first on an 8-yard run by Josiah Deguara and the second on the second hook-up between Browning and Carter, this time from 11 yards out. Oak Ridge’s lone score of the second half was on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Samuels to Justin Priest. With the two turnovers, Folsom defense played a strong game and held their own against a powerful Oak Ridge offense. “We stepped up this week and shut them down,” linebacker Derek Stiles said. “Everyone did their jobs.” Offensively, the Folsom’s line gave Browning time to throw and when they do that, it usually means a win for the Bulldogs. “We played really well tonight,” said senior offensive tackle Mike D’Ottavio. “We had their scheme down and knew what we wanted to do and locked them down. The line came together and picked up everything they threw at us.” Folsom JV 35, Oak Ridge 7 Folsom improved to 6-0 with the lopsided victory. Calvin Gardner ran for two touchdowns and threw a pair of scoring passes to Lukas Hendricks to lead the way. Folsom’s other touchdown was a fumble recovery by offensive tackle Jake Coveau, who fell on the ball in the end zone for the score. “We had a couple of key players missing tonight and had some guys step up,” Folsom coach Jordan Banning said. “Kyle Markus and Pavin Pennel replaced Will Koch and Kyle Tham and Anthony Lopez replaced Wyatt Watson. Jeff Smith also played some good football tonight. Defensively, we were lights out tonight. It’s hard to lose when the other team can’t score.”