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Bulldogs pull out win over Sheldon, 35-32

Open playoffs at Napa next Friday
By: Matt Long
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Lady Luck was shining down on Zach MacArthur and Folsom High's varsity football team on Friday night. With starting running back and safety Tyler Trosin injured late in the first half of Folsom's home game against Sheldon, MacArthur made the most of his opportunity. MacArthur scored the winning touchdown and then sealed the deal with an interception on Sheldon's next play from scrimmage. "It's my job to pay attention at practice and know what's going on," MacArthur said. "I have confidence in myself." That said, a little luck on MacArthur's part went into the execution of the final touchdown. "When they first called the play, I was a little unsure as to what side to go to so I sort of winged it," MacArthur said. "As the play developed, I knew that I had guessed the right side. I had two blockers in front of me and all I had to do was make one guy miss." Following a 31-yard pass from David Graves to Jordan Richards, Graves rolled to his left and then quickly turned to his right and found MacArthur open on the outside screen play and MacArthur sprinted 33 yards for the winning score with 1:11 to play. "Zach was huge on both sides of the ball," Folsom coach Kris Richardson said. "He stepped up big time." The win secured Folsom's No. 2 seed in the Delta River League behind Pleasant Grove. The Bulldogs will travel to Napa next Friday to open the playoffs. For a minute or two late in the fourth quarter, however, the Bulldogs' win over Sheldon was in doubt. For the second week in the row, the Bulldogs found themselves in a battle in the fourth quarter. This time, however, Folsom executed and came away with the win. Folsom held a 21-20 lead at halftime, but failed to score on its opening possession of the third quarter, when Graves threw high to an open Andrew Benavides in the end zone on fourth and goal from the 12-yard line. Sheldon moved the ball down the field, but Folsom's defense stiffened, thanks to a big play by James Goldsmith on third down, tackling Sheldon quarterback Raymond Dickerson for a one-yard loss. On fourth down, Sheldon's Michael Correa saw his 29-yard, go-ahead field goal attempt blocked by Blake Oliaro. Folsom came down and scored on a seven-yard pass from Graves to MacArthur with nine seconds to play in the third quarter, putting Folsom up 28-20 with 12 minutes to play. The touchdown came after a big fourth-and-two conversion, when Graves hooked up with Brandon Babineaux for 11 yards. Sheldon answered with a touchdown of their own, but Justin Peterson stopped Marquis Lumford on a 2-point conversion attempt and Folsom still led 28-26. Folsom took over with 7:14 to play, but three plays into the drive, Graves' pass to Benavides tipped off his hands and was intercepted by Jesse Prunty, who returned it deep into Folsom territory before Graves ran him down and stripped him of the ball. Sheldon's Michael Corcoran recovered the ball in the end zone, though, but the 2-point conversion failed again and the Bulldogs trailed 32-28 with 5:55 to play. On the ensuing drive, however, Folsom went nowhere and Sheldon regained possession of the ball. Folsom's defense, once again, came up big, giving the offense the ball back with 2:16 to play, setting up Folsom's winning drive. Graves had a pair of touchdown runs in the first half and threw another touchdown to his brother, Dano. "It was way closer than it should have been, but we kept fighting and overcame some mistakes," Richardson said. "I'm so proud of our guys." JV Bulldogs lose season finale Folsom's defense only gave up six points to Sheldon, but the Huskies got scores on an interception return and a kickoff return to win the league title. Folsom's lone score came on a pass from Kyle Moeller to Troy Watson. "We have nothing to be ashamed of because that's a good team over there," Navone told his troops after the game. "Defensively, we did a great job. Offensively, we made some mistakes and their defense made it tough for us to execute. A couple plays go the other way and the outcome of the game would have been changed. "I'm very proud of you guys for not giving up." Navone said the future of his team is bright. "The goal at the JV level is to prepare for the varsity level. We battled through adversity all year and everyone got better. This is the most talented team I've coached, and I guarantee that a lot of you guys will be starting at the varsity level next year."