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De La Salle too much for Folsom to handle; Bulldogs lose 49-15

Browning breaks Tanner Trosin's state record for most passing yards in a season
By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Folsom High’s key to offensive success in every game since switching to the spread offense years ago is protecting the quarterback.
 
If coach Kris Richardson has said it once, he’s said it 100 times. “If we protect the quarterback, I like our chances.”
 
The Bulldogs tried to do that Saturday night, but the bigger, stronger and more physical team from De La Salle manhandled the Bulldogs up front, sacking quarterback Jake Browning six times for losses of 52 yards. Folsom’s potent spread offense had little success throwing the ball downfield, instead having to rely on screens and short five-yard passes that proved to do little damage.
 
Browning completed 38 of 64 pass attempts and threw a pair of touchdown passes to Phillip Carter and Bailey Laolagi, but was intercepted three times. His 282 passing yards, however, put his season total at 5,246 yards, which is a state record, breaking Folsom’s Tanner Trosin’s mark of 5,185 set last year. Browning fell two touchdown passes shy of tying a state record, as he finished with 63 on the season.
 
The defense didn’t have it any easier, as the Spartans superior offensive line opened big holes for running backs Tiapepe Vitale and Das Tautalatasi, who picked up yardage in big chunks. When it was all said and done, De La Salle won the Nor-Cal open championship game 49-15, as Folsom’s season ended with a 14-1 record.
 
“This doesn’t take anything away from our season,” Folsom coach Kris Richardson said. “We’re still section champs. This is a great group and I love them. We couldn’t protect Jake tonight and it all starts there. We’ll study and learn from it and get back to work. De La Salle’s a big, physical team and we need to get stronger.”
 
De La Salle scored 75 seconds into the game, capping off a three-play drive with a 3-yard run from Vitale, who gained 117 yards on the ground. The Spartans quickly made it 13-0 by scoring on their second possession and increased the lead to 21-0 early in the second quarter.
 
Folsom’s best drive of the night came next, as it moved the ball 79 yards on 19 plays while chewing up 6:30 of the clock before Browning hooked up with Carter for a two-yard score with 4:09 to play in the half.
 
De La Salle scored one more time before halftime and led 28-7 at the break.
 
The Spartans scored three more touchdowns to put the game into a running clock before Folsom ended the game with its second score, a four-yard pass from Browning to Laolagi with five seconds to play. The two-point conversion from Browning to Knox finished the scoring.
 
“It’s never fun when you don’t win your last game,” Folsom coach Troy Taylor told the team after the game. “I know it hurts and that’s because you guys worked hard and had a vested interest in it. I’ll tell you, though; you lost to a great football team. Even though it didn’t end the way you wanted it, make sure you appreciate what you accomplished this season.”
 
Taylor went on to thank the seniors for their work and leadership and told the underclassmen what this game should mean to them.
 
“This game has to be a game that ignites you,” Taylor said. “Remember the team you played. They were stronger and beat us up front. What are you going to do about it? We have to get bigger and stronger. They were more physical than us. Young guys, be ready to get to work.”
 
Folsom lost the game, but not because they were intimidated or afraid of whom they were playing. They simply lost to a better team.
 
“The coaches told us all week to treat this like another game and not think about the hype about playing De La Salle and we did that,” Browning said. “We played hard, but they’re a great team. I hate losing and this just motivates me to do better. For the younger guys, we don’t want to have this feeling again.”
 
Senior Chaz Arnold, who played the game with a cast on his hand, was proud of the team’s effort.
 
“We knew they were a good team, but we stuck together and stayed loose,” Arnold said. “We’re a real team. We’re close and stuck together. They were just bigger and stronger than us.”