After heartbreaking section playoff losses the last two seasons, including last season at Folsom, the St. Mary’s of Stockton football team was able to capture the blue banner after a dominating 56-25 win over Folsom at Sacramento State.
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The Rams won their first CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship since 2008 by topping the four-time defending champion Bulldogs.
“It’s incredibly meaningful for our community and for our kids,” said a cold and wet Rams head coach Tony Franks after the game. “It’s not so much looking in the rear view mirror and talking about the past. It’s about this team and this year and the accomplishments that they were able to put together. This is just tremendous.”
Getting the ball first, the Rams and Bulldogs looked like the offensive track meet would be on as the Rams drove down on their first possession to make it 7-0 with a Jake Dunniway touchdown pass to Marcus Aponte and the Bulldogs would quickly counter with an 81-yard touchdown pass from Joe Curry to Joe Ngata to make it 7-6 after the missed extra point but that was as close as it would get the rest of the night as the Rams would score the game’s next 28 points to lead 35-6 midway through the second quarter.
At the end of the first half and start of the second half, Folsom scored 19 straight points to cut the deficit to 10 but that was as close as it would get. Late in the third quarter, the Bulldogs tried a fake punt from their own end zone and were unable to convert, which set the stage for a short Rams’ drive and the start of 21 straight points by St. Mary’s to end the game.
Junior RB Dusty Frampton score the game’s final three touchdowns to finish the night with 294 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries. All season, St. Mary’s fans pointed out that Frampton only got in one play when their team lost 55-16 to national powerhouse St. John Bosco (Bellflower). The Braves won the CIF Southern Section D1 title on Saturday night 42-28 over state No. 1 Mater Dei of Santa Ana, making that loss look even better.
“Dusty had a great night and we wanted to be able to run the ball,” said Franks. “Folsom has a tremendous offense and we wanted to keep the ball out of their hands.”
Jake Dunniway completed 16 of his 22 pass attempts for 268 yards and four touchdowns with Marcus Aponte (seven receptions for 120 yards) and Keaton Hampton (five receptions for 107 yards) each catching two touchdowns. Folsom QB Joe Curry ended 32 of 52 on the night for 383 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for a score.
As the field started to clear after the game, some of the fans on the St. Mary’s sideline started to chant “We want Freedom” as a reference to the Freedom of Oakley team the Rams will probably play on Friday in the NorCal D1-AA championship. That’s likely who they will get when the announcement is made by the CIF on Sunday morning.