Folsom ready for coming out party

Scholarship players to lead Bulldogs
By: Matt Long
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Some Sacramento area football fans might feel that Folsom has no chance to hang with Grant when the powerhouse team comes to Folsom High on Aug. 27 to open the 2010 season. However, while Grant has the edge on the Bulldogs in reputation, Folsom is no slouch. They’ve got five players who have scholarship offers and those players must be at their best for the Bulldogs to win. Folsom quarterback Dano Graves completed 75 percent of his passes for 3,882 yards and 52 touchdowns against only eight interceptions as a junior a year ago. He’s got scholarship offers from Sacramento State and Air Force and Cornell, which doesn’t offer scholarships, would love to have Folsom’s gunslinger. Graves proved last year that size isn’t all that’s important. He only stands 5’9” and weighs 175 pounds, but he’s mobile, smart, accurate with his throws, knows the offense inside and out and usually makes all the right reads. With many key players returning from last year’s 11-2 team, the Bulldogs have a small learning curve this year. All the players know the offense; it’s just a matter of improving and executing. “We have the system down and now were working on our efficiency,” Graves said. “I think our offense has gotten better from last year and so has our defense.” Graves has plenty of skill guys to get the ball to. Kori Babineaux, Tyler Trosin and Burton De Koning are available to catches passes, while Jordan Richards is a running back that caught his fair share of passes last year. All will be playing football at the next level. Babineaux has offers from Cal Poly, San Diego State, Iowa State and Wyoming, among others, and is highly interested in Oregon or possibly other schools from the Pac-10. The 6’3” 207-pound receiver caught 64 balls last year for 1,187 yards and 15 touchdowns. Since last season, Babineaux, who also stars on the basketball court, has decided that football is in his future. “I’m focused on football and spent the offseason lifting weights and getting bigger and doing a lot of running and speed workouts,” Babineaux said. “The team looks really good. The Cal camp was pure domination and I’m really excited for the season.” Trosin, a 5’11”, 180-pound receiver also had an outstanding last year. He caught 81 balls for 1,446 yards and 25 touchdowns and has scholarship offers from Washington State, Arizona State, Oregon State, Iowa State and Hawaii. He’s excited for the season because he said the team’s worked hard and has improved since last year. “We just never stop working,” Trosin said. “Our offense will be strong and our defense looks really good. We’re looking to get to state this year.” Richards has received offers from several Pac-10 schools including Stanford, Cal, Arizona, Oregon and Washington. The 5’11, 192-pounder will play the same position he did last year, lining up as a running back in the backfield with Graves, but will also see time as a slot receiver. Richards rushed for 492 yards and nine touchdowns last season and also caught 52 passes for 883 yards and nine scores. “The Monday after the loss to Del Oro (last season), we were in the weight room lifting,” Richards said. “The way the season ended was so sour that we got right back to work. We’re hungry.” Richards, Trosin and Babineaux are vital parts of the offense, but all three will also see time in the defensive backfield. De Koning will play slot receiver on offense, but is also the starting weak outside linebacker. He’s 6’2” 210 pounds and has offers on the table from Fresno State, Cal Poly, Nevada and Utah State. His broken left fibula suffered against Granite Bay in the second-round of the playoffs last year has long since healed and he’s ready for the season to start. “The team looks pretty great,” De Koning said. “We’re a step above where we were last year and we’re going to take the season one game at a time.” All five athletes attending various football camps over the summer where they performed drills and showcased their athletic ability in front of college coaches, which undoubtedly helped in the scholarship offers. To a man, all five are excited for the opportunity to play Grant to start the season, a game that will be televised on ESPN. “I’ve been counting down to this game for the last 76 days,” Graves said. “It’s a great game to prepare us for the season. No matter what happens, it’s a great opportunity.” Babineaux added, “The guys love when there’s a big crowd and for this game to be on ESPN, it’s a storybook beginning to our season. Everyone’s looking forward to this game and seeing who the best in Northern California is.” “There’s definitely a lot of hype about playing Grant,” De Koning said. “We’re going to go out and play our best and see what happens.” “It’s a huge game and there’s a lot of buzz,” Richards said. “We know we’re going to see Grant twice this year if both teams are to get where they want to go. It’s a chance for us to show that we’ve got the whole package.” “They’re one of the best programs around,” Trosin said. “If your not excited for this game, you shouldn’t be playing football.”