photos by Charlie McDonald (firstname.lastname@example.org)
by Trevor Horn (email@example.com)
As advertised, the rain fell and fell hard Saturday night, but not even the driving rain could stop the high-octane spread offense of Folsom as the Bulldogs beat Elk Grove 44-18 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship at Sacramento State.
The regional brackets will be announced on Sunday, but the overall belief is that Folsom (14-0) will play De La Salle (14-0) in the Northern California Region Open game next Saturday at Hornet Stadium.
Despite a soggy football, wet field, and receivers with water dripping off their usually reliant gloves, Folsom sophomore sensation Jake Browning continued his aerial assault, throwing for 205 yards and three touchdowns, with two touchdown passes going to receiver Troy Knox.
Pedestrian numbers for the signal caller that had entered the night with 58 touchdown, including 10 touchdowns in his varsity debut back in August.
"It was awesome to see him be successful in this game," said sophomore running back Bailey Laolagi.
The 6'0", 205-pound running back led the Bulldogs with 72 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Laolagi also got into the passing attack on a seven-yard shovel pass from his good buddy Browning, and it was that pass that gave Folsom a commanding 27-6 lead with just over five minutes left in the third quarter.
Browning now has 61 touchdown passes this season, two shy of tying the all-time state record of 63 set by Robert La Cruz of Cathedral-Los Angeles in 1999.
When asked if the rain of the stingy defense of Elk Grove bothered him Saturday, the poised sophomore simply said, "Not at all."
The section title is the fourth in Folsom's school history which includes a Division III title in 1989, and a pair of Division II titles in 1990 and 2010.
"We are going to try and enjoy this one as section champions," co-head coach Troy Taylor said.
It wasn't easy sledding for the Folsom offense early on. The Bulldogs missed an early field goal and turned the ball over on downs on their first two possessions. Folsom, notorious for not punting, did just that in the first quarter.
Thanks in part to great coverage on defense by Elk Grover cornerbacks Robert Frazier and Elijah Jones, Folsom was held scoreless in the first quarter.
But just like the rain, the Folsom offense drive and drove hard consistently for the balance of the game.
"We wore on them, and the pass rush kind of went away, and we took over and we started driving the ball and took over," said co-head coach Kris Richardson. "Guys played their rear ends off."
After Elk Grove (12-2) took a 6-0 lead on a Wadus Parker one-yard run with 10:10 left in the second quarter, Folsom went on a 34-0 run to put a stamp on a still perfect season with a dominating performance against a very good Elk Grove team.
"It was a lot of hard work in the offseason," Browning said. "We worked hard, got better every game, and executed every week. Our team fully deserves this."