One more to go for Folsom

Folsom co-coaches Troy Taylor (left) and Kris Richardson hold CIF NorCal D1 title plaque with players after their team beat Grant of Sacramento on Friday. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Folsom co-coaches Troy Taylor (left) and Kris Richardson hold CIF NorCal D1 title plaque with players after their team beat Grant of Sacramento on Friday. Photo: Mark Tennis.


Bulldogs blast Grant of Sacramento 52-21 in CIF NorCal Division I bowl game and will meet another unbeaten team next week. It wasn’t the passing game this time that was the difference, but the running game and the defense.

For more on Oceanside’s 37-22 victory over Edison of Fresno in the CIF SoCal Division I bowl game, CLICK HERE.

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A season that began with a convincing win over a school from the San Diego area is hopefully going to end that way for Folsom’s record-breaking football team.

With quarterback Jake Browning “only” throwing for 259 yards and three touchdowns, it was more of a balanced showing – on both sides of the ball – in a 52-21 victory by the Bulldogs over Grant of Sacramento in the CIF Northern California Division I regional bowl game held at Sacramento State.

Both teams entered the game at 14-0 and while Folsom was a clear favorite, the margin of victory – which was closer due to two late Grant touchdowns – was nonetheless a bit shocking.

Folsom, sitting at third overall in the Cal-Hi Sports state rankings, advanced to play No. 5 Oceanside (14-0) in next Friday’s CIF Division I state bowl game to be held at the StubHub Center in Carson.

Grant, which had climbed to No. 6 in the state as teams from the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoffs went down to defeats, couldn’t run the ball against Folsom’s active front seven. That enabled the Folsom offense to get the ball back and eventually to build a huge lead.

Cole Thompson needs just one TD catch in CIF D1 state final to break single-season state record. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Cole Thompson needs just one TD catch in CIF D1 state final to break single-season state record. Photo: Mark Tennis.

“Grant is very athletic, but our guys are very athletic, too,” said Folsom co-coach Kris Richardson, who took the Bulldogs down south in 2010 when they defeated Serra of Gardena for the CIF Division II state crown. “We are a lot more athletic than we get credit for. We are not just a scheme. We have a pretty big, physical front line. We’re definitely excited and can’t wait for the challenge in front of us.”

In the first half, Grant could only muster 107 yards of offense and 50 of those came on one pass play. Folsom, on the other hand, scored touchdowns on its third and fourth drives of the game and then really put the clamps on the Pacers when linebacker Bailey Laolagi picked off a pass and ran it back for an 18-yard touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 24-0 lead.

Any hope for the Pacers was lost on the first two plays of the second half. The first was mishandling the kickoff – it bounced off the helmet of one player – and the ball was recovered by Folsom at the 8-yard line. On the next play, Laolagi took a handoff ran it in for score, upping the lead to 33-0.

The only reason the score was somewhat respectable was Pacers’ QB Donovan Brown throwing 26-yard and 71-yard TD passes in the game’s last five minutes when the score was 52-7.

Brown, in fact, almost threw for as many yards as Browning. He finished 10 of 20 for 234 yards and three TDs compared to 13 of 24 for 259 and three for the Folsom QB. It was still a notable night for Browning, though, since he caught the first TD pass of his career on a five-yard throwback from Josiah Deguara.

“It feels great to be going to the state championship,” said Browning, who like most college-bound Division I quarterbacks is graduating early. “It’s my last week of high school so it’s a pretty cool feeling. We’ve got to try to treat it like every other week.”

Browning’s future home will be the University of Washington, which also is where Oceanside’s top-ranked defensive player, cornerback Jordan Miller, is going.

“I did meet him in June,” Browning said of going against a future teammate next week. “I know he’s good.”

With his TDs on Friday, Browning upped his state and national records for career TD passes to 223 and put his season total at 85. He’ll need six in his final game for the national single-season record of 91 set in 2008 by Corey Robinson from Lone Oak of Paducah, Ky.

Two of Browning’s TDs on Friday went to senior Cole Thompson, which gives him 33 TD catches for the season. Thompson thus ties the Cal-Hi Sports state record of 33 set in 2011 by Deontay Greenberry from Washington of Easton.

With everything culminating for Folsom next week in one game – a possible state title, talk of how they’d have done against the Open Division winner, Browning’s career – the trick may be for Richardson and co-coach Troy Taylor to keep the team focused and not get too emotional.

“Our kids have a great mind-set and we talk all the time about no one game being bigger than the next,” said Richardson, whose team started the season by beating Cathedral Catholic of San Diego 55-10 at an event held in San Diego. “We want to show up, compete and treat it like a business trip. We don’t need to play way above our heads.”

Yes, the way this Folsom team has been operating all season, just continuing what it’s been doing certainly can be enough.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports


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25 Comments

  1. sjs
    Posted December 13, 2014 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    In regards to next year, does Folsom have the majority of this team back? Obviously, Jake B is a titan to be replaced but if the line, defense and running game remain in tact, Folsom might be able to find itself in a very strong position and maybe vie for an Open spot?

    Lastly, seeing how Folsom dominated a Grant team some thought could give DLS a run for its money, shows you how special this team is and I would stack up against Bishop G., DLS and CC. Has the committee admitted they made a mistake to cancel the Open? This is really going for it, but I see Folsom beating Oceanside by 3 touchdowns and if so, Folsom is an incredible team who needs to play a DLS or CC. We are seeing a team that I never expected to be as dominant as they have been but we will never know because of the CIF

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 14, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      No one from CIF has ever said anything privately or publicly that they wish we still had the Open Division regional games. Folsom loses like 14 starters off of this team, but like all good programs there are kids more than ready to step up. Since the QB at Folsom the last four straight years has passed for 5,000 yards, I don’t see the next one dropping off below 4,000. Do you? I know Grant has a ton of underclass players coming back, but since this game was so one-sided I believe Folsom deserves to be No. 1 in the Sac-Joaquin Section until someone in the section actually beats them. I would give this team a chance against those other three teams you mentioned but reality is they won’t play them and it will be impossible for either Folsom or Oceanside to be ranked higher than the Open Division champ.

  2. RDADDYLOC
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Get off your high horse Bruh. Here’s the deal last season your special team got mopped up by DLS the Spartans and huskies are dominant every year your bulldogs deserve credit but why didn’t they schedule any powerhouse teams this season you act like there so dominant when the opposition is weak. Another thing is if there was an open div. game folsom would not be playing this Friday DLS too good. I tell you what we like being the under dog everyone including mark tennis has crowned folsom already bad mistake Romero is underrated and this Pirate team will shop up and show all y’all were for real and bulldogs have been inflated with hype. Might be a good time to sell those share right about know.
    Go Pirates ..!! Take that respect!!

    • sjs
      Posted December 14, 2014 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Honestly, rdaddy, first it is kind of hard to understand what you are saying, i do not understand your typing, second….Folsom has not played a weak schedule. Cathedral Catholic was not weak and nor was Grant. Grant was #6 in the state.

      Second, DLS had a weak schedule outside of Servite and I would bet Grant would give Oceanside and Servite a very good game, if not win.
      This is not the same Folsom team that lost to DLS the last two years. This is a top 5 national team. Grant has athletes on par with Oceanside and was still smacked around.

      All season long you have been talking smack about Bu
      lldogs and the date with Oceanside is here. I say Folsom wins by 18+, and wont be close. Then you will respect as you say!!

      • RDADDYLOC
        Posted December 14, 2014 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

        What I am saying to you is this. The bulldogs are a nationally ranked team why didn’t they schedule a centennial or long beach poly or bishop Gorman or chandler AZ teams that are freaking always a power. Yet u state cathedral and grant what a joke those teams don’t compare. The only thing I have against bulldogs is there dum fans who act like their so great and they could never beat DLS. My smack talking is not a personal attack on bulldogs it’s the fact that if their so great and there tuffet games are grant n cc that’s sad.

        • sjs
          Posted December 15, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

          I understand what you are saying, but the same thing can be said for De La Salle. Who did they play? Yes the played Servite (who lad 6 or 7 losses) and Byrnes (who like CC lost in the 2nd round of the playoffs, albiet by a greater margin than they lost to DLS – to a 1 or 2 loss team I believe), plus DLS plays in a weaker section and playoff series and Folsom played an extra game and now 2 after the Norcal open. Grant is far from weak – in fact, some say this Grant team is more talented than the one that beat Long Beach Poly (#2 Nationally) in 2008. Tell me who Oceanside has played that is any better than Grant or CC?

          Folsom may have tried to schedule Bishop Gorman or a Long Beach Poly but it is never a guarantee. Additionally, CC won last year’s San Diego D1 Championship. That being said, teams try to bolster their resume by scheduling out of area quality teams. Folsom probably figured they would have a tougher time than they did against CC and CN, not realizing how truly good their own team is.

          We fans are not lamenting the fact that we lost to DLS or not recognizing that we aren’t perfect, but this team is much stronger than you want to give credit or than the teams that lost to DLS. Just because the scores are lopsided does not mean Folsom is playing a weak team, it means Folsom is that much better – especially when you look at Grant and CC. Even the coach a CC said this is the best team he has faced ever.

          I guarantee you that there will be crickets on your side come this Friday. It could be a close game but I believe Folsom will win by 18+. Then you can tell me if Folsom is still weak.

          • osde
            Posted December 15, 2014 at 8:59 am | Permalink

            How much do you think your guarantee is worth once the game starts on Friday?

          • Mark Tennis
            Posted December 15, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

            Even Joe D in the press box on Friday was saying this year’s Folsom team would lose to De La Salle. I’m not saying that — it would be a great game if the two had played — but you are basing a lot of your comments that Grant was a great team. This Grant team had risen in the rankings in recent weeks, but mostly because the CIFSS Pac-5 teams beat each other. This Grant team was not as good as 2008 or 2009 or 2010. I think Folsom is going to win Friday and is better than Oside (I’ve seen both teams in person) but Oside’s passing game and offense is much more balanced, more weapons, etc. than Grant.

          • Pirate Boy
            Posted December 15, 2014 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

            Saying Grant has athletes like Oceanside, is saying big fast guys who run around. Oceanside is well coached, organized, and precise. This is not sloppy Grant, screaming before game etc. (that makes you play better?). Pirates play legit football, then add in speed etc.

          • CVHS Jim
            Posted December 16, 2014 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

            Pirate Boy, Grant may have been doing a lot of screaming, hooting and hollering before the game, but they are a very well coached team. The mistakes they made in the game were due to their inexperience as they are a young team. Coach A from Grant has instilled dislipline in all his teams and when they are beaten they do show respect, just like the Pirates coach does with his team. I have seen this over the years when the teams play each other.

    • CVHS Jim
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      I think Folsom earned a little more respect after their complete domination of Grant Friday. However, even though this Folsom team is by far their best ever and is without a doubt the most well rounded, I still feel they would lose to DLS. Just like Folsom, DLS returned a lot of starters and is much improved from last season. I take nothing away from Grant. They are a young, athletic team that learned a big lesson from playing a Folsom team that has been in their position the past two years. Grant will be a monster next year. As far as the game against RDADDYLOC’s Oceanside Pirates, I do feel this will be Folsom’s toughest test this year. Oceanside has a tremendous team and a great coach. These two teams have been in discussion to face each other for quite a while now. I have no doubt both teams will be ready to play come Friday night. Of course I am 100% behind the Bulldogs and I do think they will win, but it won’t be easy. I know RDADDYLOC has the same opinion, just in reverse order. I have no dobut he feels his Pirates will be the team to take down the Bulldogs.

      • RDADDYLOC
        Posted December 16, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        This is a classic Rocky vs Drago my man ya know it’s going to be exciting for these young men. There towns, family and friends are very proud of them. A lot of pride in both towns will show up in this game. I want people to understand that I’m not disrespecting folsom just want that to be cleared up right now. CVHS Maybe I’ll see you there and we can shoot the breeze. Good luck to both teams hope for a safe and good sportsmanship
        Go Pirates!!

  3. Jazz Bass
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Grant is athletic and fast. Oceanside is athletic and fast, but play precision football. They are not simply fast and athletic. They have x and o. They will give Folsom a better game than Grant.

  4. paul_johnson884
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Oceanside is a good program and they will compete. The Pirate LOS play is not very impressive. Folsom will roll- too much balance.

  5. Mike
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Paul, what is your opinion based off of? Oside has 2 oline and 2 dline going d1. The rest of the bunch has been solid all year.

    • paul_johnson884
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Hey Mike- I have not seen consistent good pad level from the O side lineman. at times they look good and they have talent, Folsom just impresses me more so. We will see Friday.

  6. osideomar
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    The team with the bigger ability to adjust with be the one who wins friday.

  7. Pirate Boy
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Just heard. Oceanside cancelled game. They do not want to play this NFL team.

  8. socallove
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    All the talk is about Folsom and their great qb, and coaches I thought football is a team game and thats what Oside is a team. They are balanced and quick, Folsom is the same if they blow out Oside people will be shocked as will I. Oside is loaded and Folsom is loaded. This will tell alot about both programs and where to gage Folsom if they are as good as people say and for Oside maybe they will ge some respect..

  9. CVHS Jim
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    In an interview, Oceanside coach John Carroll flinched when asked about playing Folsom. He stated, “Folsom is absolutely impressive in every phase of the game. That school is one of the best, if not the very best, I’ve ever seen on film. I’ve talked to coaches who have played Folsom live, and they said the same thing.”

    Socallove, Folsom is a lot more then Jake Browning. I know the news just highlights Browning and the passing game, but the run game and defense have been superb this year. The first string defense is only giving up 7 points a game and the running game is averaging 166 yards per game, so it is not all Jake Browning.

    • Pirate Boy
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      That is exactly why they will not even get on the bus Friday. Folsom is NFL team.

    • RDADDYLOC
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Jim I guess my issue is this. You know your going to be a power in 2014 right and the strongest scheduled game was CC. I looked up there schedule at maxpreps and it was not impressive. I’m not bragging about the pirates schedule I’m just wondering why they couldn’t schedule a few power teams Jim know what I’m sayin.

      • CVHS Jim
        Posted December 16, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        RDADDYLOC I do understand what you mean about the schedule. When the schedules were released at the start of the year, eight of ten teams Folsom were playing all made the playoffs last year. Half of them won at least ten games. Five of the ten were in the top 50 pre-season polls for this year. Unfortunately, a lot of those teams did not live up to their pre-season billing as only one of these ten teams finished in the top 50. I would love to see Folsom take on some of the teams from southern California, Arizona and of course Bishop Gorman. Hopefully now that they have developed a good, stable winning program, this can happen.

        • Jazz Bass
          Posted December 17, 2014 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          Watched film on Folsom. I sense upset. They will be surprised.

  10. RDADDYLOC
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    another cool thing about this game is browning and miller will be going to college together after school season over browning throwing and miller defending the throws so I think that’s pretty cool.

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