D-Line Turns It ON For Folsom

Folsom players and coaches get a little excited after finishing 16-0 and scoring more than 900 points with CIF Division I state championship. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Folsom players and coaches get a little excited after finishing 16-0 and scoring more than 900 points with CIF Division I state championship. Photo: Mark Tennis.

In the Bulldogs’ 68-7 win over Oceanside for the CIF Division I state championship, there were some anxious moments early before defensive pressure led to Pirate mistakes, then the vaunted offense took over. Jake Browning ends historic season with 91 TD passes for the season (a national record tie) and 229 TD passes for career (also a national record).

For more on Folsom’s records, QB Jake Browning’s records and his place in state history, CLICK HERE.
For more on Central Catholic’s win over St. Margaret’s in D4 bowl game, CLICK HERE.

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This result could be seen from miles away, at least from the first week of the season when Folsom opened with a 55-10 win on the road in San Diego over Cathedral Catholic, which was forecast to be one of that section’s top teams this season.

That dominant outing by the Bulldogs — which prompted long-time Cathedral Catholic head coach Sean Doyle to say it was the best team he’s ever seen — combined with the California Interscholastic Federation’s decision to not play the Open Division regional bowl games anymore meant it was entirely likely that they would finish 16-0, win the CIF Division I state bowl game and not have a chance to be No. 1 in the state.

No matter what Folsom did this season – and in the end the Bulldogs did plenty – the questions will always linger how they would have done in a third matchup against legendary De La Salle of Concord.

Cody Creason was part of an unbelievable senior class at Folsom. Could this group put up a standard for all future Folsom teams much like Concord De La Salle's seniors did way back in 1992? Photo: Mark Tennis.

Cody Creason was part of an unbelievable senior class at Folsom. Could this group put up a standard for all future Folsom teams much like Concord De La Salle’s seniors did way back in 1992? Photo: Mark Tennis.

Even with Friday’s 68-7 triumph over previously unbeaten Oceanside at the StubHub Center in Carson, there’s no reason to rank Folsom ahead of De La Salle even if the Spartans (13-0) were to lose in Saturday’s Open Division championship to Centennial of Corona.

Everyone knows when the two NorCal powers did play in the last two Open Division regional games, De La Salle won 49-15 and 45-17 and had a combined six interceptions against record-breaking Folsom QB Jake Browning.

So once again, after Folsom has buried another very good opponent, it’s been a historic season for a great team, but it just could have been even better and any questions whether the Bulldogs could have beaten De La Salle would have been answered. Thanks, CIF.

To the credit of the players and coaches at Folsom, there’s only been mild wistfulness regarding how this year’s team would have done against the Spartans.

“They’re great and it would have been fun to play them again,” said Folsom co-coach Troy Taylor. “But playing them just makes you better and helped us figure some things out. Sure, it would have been nice to play them again because you always want to play the best, but we also felt we did play one of the best regardless tonight.”

“We just can’t worry about that,” said Arizona-bound Folsom offensive tackle Cody Creason. “It’d be nice to play De La Salle. This was by far the best team I’ve been on by a longshot.”

Creason, along with Browning and linebacker-fullback Bailey Laolagi, were varsity standouts as sophomores and gained Cal-Hi Sports all-state sophomore honors two years ago.

“We’ve known each other since we were little and have gone 43-2 in high school,” Creason said. “When we lost to De La Salle when we were sophomores, we thought we were the best but found out otherwise. It made us as a team work that much harder.”

Taylor, who was a quarterback himself on one of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section’s other all-time great teams (a 14-0 squad from 1985 at Cordova of Rancho Cordova), wouldn’t quite say this year’s bunch he coached at Folsom was the best in section history but he almost did.

“This has to be the greatest senior class ever with three section titles in the row and now this,” he said. “It’s got to be one of the best teams as well.”

As for Friday’s game, despite the final score, it still wasn’t as easy for the Bulldogs to take control against Oceanside as it was in their previous game against 14-0 Grant of Sacramento in the CIF NorCal Division I bowl game.

The Pirates actually took a 7-0 lead on their first series on a 8-yard scramble into the end zone by quarterback Matt Romero.

After Folsom answered with a TD drive on its first series on a 4-yard quarterback sneak by Browning in which he used nifty feet to move around the pile, Oceanside was driving again and had the ball inside the Folsom 30-yard line at the end of the first quarter.

It's another week and another trophy to raise for Folsom's Troy Taylor & Kris Richardson, this one for the CIF Division I state title. Photo: Mark Tennis.

It’s another week and another trophy to raise for Folsom’s Troy Taylor & Kris Richardson, this one for the CIF Division I state title. Photo: Mark Tennis.

It was at that point when Folsom’s defensive line – which is almost as dominant a unit as its passing game – began dominating Oceanside’s front. Two straight sacks eventually pushed the Pirates out of field goal range, then Folsom got the ball back on its own 10-yard line.

Despite having to go 90 yards, the Bulldogs still drove the field and took a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter on a 23-yard pass from Browning to Jake Morgado.

The defensive line then came through again for Folsom when Lukas Hendricks stripped the ball away from Romero and it was recovered by Austin Rothrock.

“They were getting a lot of pressure on their QB and we were able to bring some blitzes,” said Browning, who also has attended his last class at Folsom since he is graduating early and will head to the University of Washington for its spring practices. “Our o-line also did a fabulous job. This really was a team victory.”

On the next play, Browning connected with Josiah Deguara for a 23-yard TD pass and a 21-7 lead for the Bulldogs.

Another sack followed by a shanked punt set up Folsom for its third TD in four minutes. That one came on a 1-yard run by fullback-linebacker Bailey Laolagi and just like that it was 28-7 and Oceanside was never in it thereafter.

“We were banged up but it wouldn’t have made a difference,” said Oceanside head coach John Carroll, whose team also finished with three turnovers in addition to the shanked punt. “They were a better football team, an outstanding team, the best we’ve ever played. If they’re not one of the top two or three teams in the nation, I don’t know who is.”

Well, we’ll never know, either. It’s just from a rankings standpoint the winner of Saturday’s Open Division contest will have to be ranked higher.

Harold Abend contributed to this post. 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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    Posted December 20, 2014 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    CVHS Jim and SJS. Congrats on the dominating performance
    I was not expecting us to play so poorly overall.
    I was not happy with game plan but that’s a deferent topic
    You guys deserved a chance to plY DLS though this team is like Oregon ducks
    Tire you out and score. Anyway I wanted to show my respect to the 2014 bulldogs this team is one to be remembered. Pirates had a great yr. We love you guys.

    • CVHS Jim
      Posted December 20, 2014 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Thanks RDADDYLOC! Your boys have nothing to be ashamed of. They are one heck of a team and the score definitely does not show how good they truly are. They just happened to run into a buzz saw and an extremely determined Bulldog team. Your guys were able to throw the ball pretty well when they had time. As far as the Pirate defense, this is what the Bulldogs did to every team this year. They have been playing in the same system since they were little kids, so it is second nature. I do wish we could play DLS. I think it would be a good challenge for both teams. I do think it would be great if we could schedule to play each other early in the season. Have a Merry Christmas!

  2. sjs
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Thanks man! Oceanside was a huge test and a much better team than score indicated. I think Oceanside is still one of the best
    teams outside the the top 3. I do wish we had played DLS but at the end of the day, Oceanside wasnt overrated its just Folsom is one of the most complete teams nationally and then combine that with an unreal offense and it is hard to beat. Your boys deserve respect for winning SD open and making it this far. Maybe these two teams will be scheduled early next season for a non-conference game. Merry Christmas

    • Redbeard
      Posted December 20, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Obviously, Oceanside is not in the league of elites. Folsom has showed us what it takes to play with the big dogs(pun intended). Give Coach Carroll five years and he’ll have the team to be competitive and consistent to play top level ball. Congrats to Folsom.

      • CVHS Jim
        Posted December 20, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        Redbeard, I do not think Coach Carroll will need that long. Oceanside definitely deserves to be considered in the elite category. You do not make it to the state championship game three times, winning twice, if you do not have an elite program. I knew midseason our two teams would probably be meeting and looked forward to it. Like I said before, the final score does not truly show how good Oceanside really is.

  3. Jazz Bass
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Rematch for the 2015 Honor Bowl in Oceanside. New Teams, New Era, and rematch. Coach Soto should set this up.

  4. 47 Ronin
    Posted December 22, 2014 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Folsom is 3 times the school enrollment size of Oceanside. 2800 students with 100 faculty staff. Both public schools now by the time Oceanside get to State 27 kids played this long season 15 games even USC and teams in NFL can’t compete that long with 27 players and still make it to the Championship. 2 years and a row Oceanside lost QB’s to other program and still getting it done. Can any other Coaches and Coaching staff compete on Open DIV 1 can top that please let us know.

    • HSFBFan
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Ronin, Oceanside had a very good year and I commend the players in their effort. A team’s true character shows through when they have to face adversity, something I was hoping Folsom would have to face. Oceanside handled themselves with class and dignity, even as the game got more and more out of control. As for your stats, they are a bit off. According to state enrollment records Oceanside has ~2800 students and Folsom ~2000, so Oceanside is larger. Oceanside had 48 players on their roster, although I didn’t count how many were suited up in Carson. It was more than 27.

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