Four Bulldogs receive top league football honorsBy: Matt Long, Sports Editor
Nine Folsom High football players earned all-Delta River League recognition for their play during Folsom’s 5-0 run through the league.
Four of those nine players earned a higher recognition for being players of the year. Sophomore quarterback Jake Browning was the league’s Most Valuable Player, while senior receiver Lucas Owan was the co-Offensive Player of the Year along with Oak Ridge quarterback Jason Samuels. Offensive lineman Josh Wormley and defensive lineman Quincy Capel, both seniors, were also honored as the league’s Linemen of the Year.
For Browning and Owan, their statistics speak for themselves. Browning set a state record with 5,248 passing yards and nearly set one with 63 touchdown passes, all the while completing 64 percent of his passes. Owan caught 66 balls for 1,222 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“When you talk about all-league, it’s great for a head coach to nominate a player and then just sit there and listen to all the other coaches say good things about your guys,” Folsom coach Kris Richardson said. “I threw Jake’s name out there and there was no argument, hands down. That was great.”
Browning had an outstanding first-year varsity season, but it was also a coming out party for Owan, who was a reserve player last season.
“Lucas was behind some great players last year and saw the work that they put in,” Richardson said. “He did everything we asked him to do: speed training, running routes, weight training and catching passes. I knew he was fast and could run, but I can’t say I would have predicted he would have had a 1,000-yard season. He stepped right in and had an impressive season.”
Wormley, a 6’1”, 260-pound guard and Capel, a 5’11”, 225-pound defensive tackle, led Folsom on both sides of the ball. Oftentimes, Capel couldn’t be blocked, as he had 100 tackles and 10 sacks, both impressive numbers for an interior lineman.
“The skill guys get the headlines, but for them to get those great stats the linemen have to do the dirty work,” Richardson said. “Worm is a great pass protector and was our tough guy with the nasty streak on the offensive line. Quincy was dominant on the line and led us in sacks and was near the top in tackles. He was a force inside. For me as a line coach, I was thrilled those guys were honored as linemen of the year. It’s pretty awesome for them.”
Troy Knox and Dalton Bledsoe were also recognized as all-league players on the offensive side of the ball. Knox caught 104 passes for 1,249 yards and 15 touchdowns. Bledsoe, a 6’0”, 295-pound senior lined up next to Wormley and as the center, it was his job to get Browning the ball.
“The beauty of our offense is guys like Lucas and Troy, guys that are considered undersized, can be successful,” Richardson said. “With their skill, athleticism and intelligence, they can do a lot of dynamic things.
“Dalton was one of our leaders on the offensive line. For as big as he is, he’s a great athlete with great feet and body mechanics.”
Joining Capel as all-league defenders were senior Phillip Carter and juniors Rodney Ellison and Eddie Flores. Carter and Ellison played safety, while Flores was a linebacker. Flores was in on 104 tackles, had five sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Carter made 81 tackles and also had two interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries, while Ellison made 38 tackles.
“For as tough and physical as Eddie is, we knew we had to find a spot for him and we found a perfect fit for him as our buck backer,” Richardson said. “He made a lot of tackles and is just a tough kid and a fierce competitor.
“Rodney is a big, physical kid that probably could play linebacker for us. We asked a lot of Rodney and as a great team player, he did it all. Phillip was a quiet leader and a big part of his game was his intelligence. He’s a very smart player that could come up and make a tackle and drop back and cover a guy. He could play anywhere we put him.”