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Graves surprised by success

Section touchdown mark, impressive stats never on his radar when season began
By: Matt Long
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Generously listed at 5’10” 175 pounds on MaxPreps.com, Dano Graves proves that good things come in small packages. The junior quarterback at Folsom High is dominating football games with both his arm and legs, running a Folsom offense that is averaging 46 points a game. More impressively, the 11-1 Bulldogs play host to Del Oro (9-2) in the semi-finals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs on Friday. In Friday’s 42-28 win over Granite Bay, Graves threw four touchdown passes to break the Sac-Joaquin Section record for touchdowns passes in a season. He’s thrown 49 touchdown passes in 11 games. Graves is surprised at his success this year. He set no personal goals for himself this season. In fact, before the team’s only scrimmage in August, he and sophomore Tanner Trosin were auditioning for the starting quarterback job for the team’s first game against Davis. “I never imagined any of this would be happening,” Graves said. “I don’t take any of it for granted.” Graves credits his talented group of receivers and offensive line for his success. “The line has been doing an outstanding job all year,” Graves said. “I’ve had a lot of time to throw and I trust them. I’m also blessed with such a good crew of receivers. I trust all those guys and they’re all playmakers.” Graves is obviously talented. He can make defenders miss with his legs and he’s incredibly accurate. He’s completed 75 percent of his passes for 3,540 yards and 49 touchdowns against only seven interceptions. Graves leads the state in touchdown passes and is sixth in the nation, according to MaxPreps. Graves also leads the Bulldogs in rushing yards with 714 yards and 11 touchdowns. “Dano is amazing,” junior wide receiver Jordan Richards said. “He’s exceeded everyone’s expectations, even above what his brother, Dave, did last year. He puts a lot of time in off the field watching film.” Junior wide receiver Tyler Trosin has also been impressed with Graves. “He’s just followed in the footsteps of his older brother and that’s hard to do,” Trosin said. “I’m proud of him as a friend and as a teammate. He puts a lot of work in off the field and that obviously helps him. His line does a good job of blocking for him and the skill guys catch the ball.” Graves credits former Folsom High coach and current teacher Troy Taylor, who starred at Cal and also played in the NFL, for teaching him a lot about the game. “I worked with Troy during the offseason on my mechanics and making my reads and that’s really helped me a lot,” Graves said. When asked what his strengths are, Graves didn’t say anything that had to do with throwing the ball. Instead he said his biggest strength is his leadership abilities. “I lead by example during the week, but during games I’m a vocal leader on the field,” Graves said. “That’s how I lead the team.” Graves has obviously done a good job in that area, as the Bulldogs are two wins away from a section title, something the school’s football team hasn’t done since 1990.