Bulldogs look more than capable of winning a fifth straight CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title after their dominant 42-7 win over Del Oro of Loomis, which had climbed to No. 1 in the section and to No. 7 in the state.
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It’s always been a chore – going back to Dano Graves then to Tanner Trosin then to Jake Browning then to Jake Jeffrey last season – to get a record-breaking Folsom quarterback to show a little emotion after a big win.
This year’s quarterback, Joe Curry, fell right into line after he passed for six touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ 42-7 triumph on Friday at Del Oro of Loomis, which was Del Oro’s first loss of the season and will drop the Golden Eagles from their No. 1 ranking by the Sacramento Bee and for the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section.
“Our preparation all week was great and we just executed perfectly,” Curry said. “We just have to get to next week and keep getting better.”
Curry, who completed 24 of 30 passes for 322 yards, spread the ball to tight ends, running backs and Folsom’s usual collection of precise route-running receivers.
Curry’s first TD pass to sophomore Joe Ngata came on Folsom’s first series, but it was on a fourth-and-22 from the 23-yard line. If Ngata (who later left the game with an apparent knee injury) had not come down with that catch and the Del Oro defense held, it’s possible the stop could have given the Golden Eagles some momentum and made it a closer score.
Instead, the momentum stayed firmly on the Folsom side for the rest of the night. Curry later threw two scoring passes to Brad Jenner and one each to Drake Stallworth, Jack Sa and Eric Davis. Stallworth was the top receiver in the game with seven catches for 81 yards.
The Bulldog defense also enjoyed its second strong outing after giving up 32 points in that 32-27 loss to Sacramento that shook up the section and state rankings. At the time, Folsom was No. 8 in the state and Friday’s matchup would have been between two top 10 teams had the Bulldogs not been upset.
“The Sac High game was just a low point,” said Folsom head coach Kris Richardson, whose team blanked Granite Bay 42-0 last week. “We had four turnovers, two runbacks for touchdowns and 13 penalties. For us, it was how to bounce back from that. We’ve done that the last two games and it’s been a good start to the (Sierra Foothill League).”
Del Oro, which won last year’s CIF Division 2-AA state title over Camarillo, will now be the team trying to bounce back. The Golden Eagles lost one fumble that indirectly led to Folsom’s second touchdown, suffered a 12-yard loss on a fourth-down play from midfield that set up the third score and muffed a kickoff that set up the fourth one.
“We’ve got to get back to it right away with Rocklin coming up next week,” said Del Oro head coach Casey Taylor. “I was most disappointed because we played undisciplined football and we had some penalties that hurt. A lot of it just adds up and it just snowballs.”
The Golden Eagles did not score until there was 2:06 left in the game (with the running clock in effect) on a 28-yard TD pass from Stone Smartt to Justin Pagluica.
The Folsom defense, until that final play, didn’t let Del Oro into the red zone all night. It’s a unit that is led by Washington-bound linebacker Ariel Ngata and Jenner, another linebacker and another returning starter from last season.
“We’ve heard it all since the loss to Sac, from we’re not as big as we usually are to we’re not as good on offense, blah, blah, blah,” Richardson said. “But like we always say it’s just game by game. This means nothing if we lay an egg next week.”
The likelihood, however, is that Folsom won’t lose again for the rest of the regular season and will then try to go for its fifth straight SJS D1 title as either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed with St. Mary’s of Stockton being the other team also in line for the top seed.
In losing, Del Oro, like last year, may be in the SJS D2 playoffs instead of Division I. If the Golden Eagles had won Friday and then had gone on to win the SFL title, they would be forced to move up to Division 1 from Division II.
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By losing to Folsom and not winning the SFL, might be a blessing in disguise for Del Oro, and NorCal football.Although Oak Ridge and Rocklin seem to be capable of beating anyone in the SFL, Folsom should now be in the drivers seat for the SFL crown. Unless SJS changes the playoff rules the next few weeks, Del Oro should go into the SJS D2 playoffs, which I would think they should cruise through.