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Folsom rolls over Vacaville 49-13 to advance to section semis

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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In what was one of their best performances of the season, Folsom High’s varsity football team dominated a talented Vacaville squad to the tune of 49-13 on Saturday night.

The Bulldogs avenged last year’s loss to Vacaville in the section championship game and advance to play host to Buhach Colony at 7 p.m. Friday in the semifinals of the Division II playoffs. Elk Grove will host Del Oro in the other semifinal with the championship game following Nov. 30 or Dec. 1.

Folsom set the tone early, jumping out to a 28-0 lead 15 minutes into the game and Vacaville couldn’t recover. In fact, Folsom led 14-0 on a 19-yard pass from Jake Browning to Troy Knox and a one-yard run by Bailey Laolagi before Vacaville had a first down, having gone three-and-out on its first two possessions.

After getting that initial first down on their third series, Elk Grove failed to convert on a third-and-nine when Chaz Arnold tackled Vacaville running back Curtis Goins for a six-yard loss to force Vacaville to punt the ball back to the Bulldogs.

“We had a pretty good effort tonight,” said Folsom linebacker Derek Stiles, who was in on nine tackles to lead the team. “We wished for a shutout but 13 points isn’t a lot. Chaz set the tempo early with that big tackle for a loss and everyone did a good job. Everyone was on the same page and once we get our momentum going we’re tough. Coach (Lou) Baiz and the staff watched hours of film and we knew what they liked to do in certain situations and we were well prepared and confident coming into the game.”

Lineman Quincy Capel was in on eight tackles, while Phillip Carter made seven and Eddie Flores and Arnold, six. Laolagi recovered a fumble, while Hunter Hast blocked an extra point.

“We wanted to leverage the football and keep it inside and everyone did their assignment,” Baiz said. “We were dominant early. This performance was one of our best of the season.”

Following Arnold’s big play on third down, Folsom scored its third touchdown on a 17-yard pass to Josiah Deguara from Browning, who threw five touchdown passes in the game. Browning hooked up with Knox for a second time with 8:57 to play in the half and Folsom led 28-0.

Vacaville put together its only solid drive of the night next, moving the ball 70 yards on 12 plays, capped off by a four-yard run from David Mewborn .

Folsom answered with its fifth touchdown in five first-half possessions with a one-yard run by Harry Lipnosky and took a 35-7 lead into halftime.

The rain started coming down hard at halftime and continued throughout the rest of the game, but except for the opening drive of the first half, it didn’t bother the Bulldogs. Vacaville got the first score of the second half, but Browning hooked up with Trace Noble for scores of 35 and 20 yards in the Bulldogs’ rout.

“The rain doesn’t bother us,” Knox said. “I love playing games in the rain. Jake was amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better quarterback.”

Folsom co-coach Troy Taylor was proud of his team’s performance and told them so after the game.

“I’ve been telling you guys all year that you’re a resilient group,” Taylor said. “Things got a little greasy there (early in the second half) and you never blinked. That’s the sign of a mature team; a championship team. The defense only allowed two scores, one on a short field, and did an outstanding job. That’s a great football team and you shut them down. Offensively, we scored on our first five possessions. Troy made a big fourth-down catch; the offensive line protected the quarterback and Jake did another great job."