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Points-a-plenty expected in Folsom

By: Eric J. Gourley, Journal Sports Writer
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The offenses are run by junior quarterbacks who have stepped in for their respective graduated brothers to exceed all expectations. Tonight’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division II semifinal showdown between No. 8 Del Oro and No. 4 Folsom promises plenty of offensive fireworks. Granite Bay is well acquainted with both teams. The Grizzlies lost an overtime thriller to the Sierra Foothill League rival Golden Eagles, then allowed the most points by a Granite Bay team in more than four years last week in a 42-28 quarterfinal loss to the Bulldogs (11-1). “In high school, typically you get your great, very accurate quarterback and you don’t have those guys that can bring it down or you have your playmakers, your great receivers, and you don’t have a guy who can get it to them,” Cooper said. That couldn’t be further from the truth in tonight’s semifinal. The Eagles (10-2) have punished teams that focused on eliminating one element of their offense. In a scheme that many thought would hinge on the success of tailback Bryce Pratt (2,036 yards, 33 touchdowns), quarterback Max Magleby has completed 68.5 percent (122 of 178) of his passes for 1,955 yards and 23 touchdowns with only four interceptions. Tight ends Spencer Butterfield (57 catches, 889 yards, 10 touchdowns) and Adrian Williams (25 catches, 480 yards, nine touchdowns), as well as wide receiver Freddie Cargile (27 catches, 365 yards, four touchdowns) have all proven their ability to turn an incompletion into a 40-yard reception. Folsom’s Dano Graves may be an undersized play-caller at 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, but he’s responsible for some of the top passing marks in the state this season with the Bulldogs’ spread offense. His 49 touchdown passes and 75.6 percent completion percentage (226 of 299) are tops in California. “The offense is designed to put up big numbers,” said Graves, who has amassed 3,540 yards through the air. “It’s definitely been working. It’s the receivers that I have. They’ve been helping me out. They’re all playmakers.” Like Magleby, Graves has three favorite targets in Tyler Trosin (75 catches, 1,355 yards, 23 touchdowns), Kori Babineaux (56 catches, 1,051 yards, 15 touchdowns) and Jordan Richards (48 catches, 769 yards, eight touchdowns). Unlike Magleby, however, Graves has demonstrated an ability to run for large gains. He’s Folsom’s leading rusher, carrying 105 times for 714 yards and 11 more touchdowns. “Both teams have put up a ton of points this year and I can see it being very similar to Del Oro’s game with St. Mary’s, a back-and-forth game,” Bulldogs’ fifth-year head coach Kris Richardson said. “I expect a very physical, hard-fought, well-coached football game. Games like this are decided usually in the fourth quarter.” Del Oro sure wouldn’t mind. Magleby orchestrated an 80-yard, game-winning drive to lead the Eagles past the top seed Rams in last week’s quarterfinal. “Obviously if we have the ball in the fourth quarter with a chance to win, we’re going to be happy,” said eighth-year head coach Casey Taylor. “We know Folsom is going to score some points, but we have a lot of faith in our defense.” That defense, particularly with Cargile, Butterfield and Kenny Andri in the secondary, frustrated a potent Rams spread in Stockton. “St. Mary’s spread is more vertical,” Taylor said. “Folsom’s got a little more West Coast feel to it, run with the fly stuff. Graves is a special player. The key for us is to tackle well.” Although the teams haven’t met since they were members of the same league briefly in the 1990s, both coaches are well aware of the established program across the field tonight. “Casey’s actually one of the guys I call in the offseason quite a bit to find out how he does things,” Richardson said. “They do a great job over there.” The teams have never battled in the postseason. Folsom seeks its third-ever section title and first since 1990. Del Oro won its last crown in 2005.