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Bulldogs head to title showdown

Folsom’s star quarterback injured, but may still play in big game
By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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When the Folsom High Bulldogs faced off against Grant in August, ESPN was the big story, as the game was televised nationally. On Friday night at Sacramento State, the Division II Sac-Joaquin Section championship is the story and likely a berth in a state title game. Arguably the two best teams in the Sacramento area will collide for a second time and the Bulldogs hope to avenge a 49-14 beating they took on Aug. 27. Folsom (12-1) and Grant (13-0) will battle for supremacy with the kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m. “I’ve been coaching at Folsom High for 16 years and we haven’t played for a section championship,” Folsom coach Kris Richardson said. “You see the amount of people that traveled two hours to Atwater and you can see that this means a great deal to the community. It will be a great experience and I’m proud to be a part of it.” After the season-opening loss to Grant, Richardson told his team before they left the field that the goal was to reach the section championship game and get another chance at the Pacers. Now the Bulldogs have that opportunity and will have to execute better to come out on the winning end. “We’ve got to do everything better than we did before,” Folsom senior running back and defensive back Jordan Richards said. “We have to tackle better and communicate better and execute on both sides of the ball. We also have to play tough, physical football.” Richardson added, “We can’t have the mental mistakes and blown assignments we had before and a big key will be our third-down defense. We have to be able to get our defense off the field. Offensively, as always, we have to protect the quarterback and establish a little bit more of a running game, which will keep Grant’s defensive line from pinning their ears back and pressuring the quarterback.” Folsom might be without the services of starting quarterback Dano Graves, he of 3,199 passing yards and 55 touchdown passes along with 782 yards rushing and 18 scores. Graves injured his right knee in Folsom’s 55-20 win over Buhach Colony on Friday and even if he does play, he won’t be at 100 percent. Tanner Trosin will replace him at quarterback, if needed. Graves had an MRI Monday and Richardson is optimistic about the outcome, saying Graves would be a game-time decision whether he plays or not. Richardson said he’d love to have him, but he’s quite confident in Trosin behind center. “Tanner has a great understanding of the offense, has a strong arm, the ability to scramble and is a good runner,” Richardson said. “The great thing about Tanner is that we don’t have to change a thing with our offense; our game plan stays the same whether Dano is the quarterback or Tanner.” Can the Bulldogs beat Grant? Richardson believes they can, saying they’ll need to bring their “A” game and play well in every aspect of the game. Some Folsom fans agree. “I don’t think under any circumstance that the game will be like it was before,” said Tom Ward, owner of Tom’s Barber Stylist in Folsom. “Football is all about momentum and Folsom’s has built up some momentum. They haven’t just beaten teams, they’ve been thumping them.” Another Folsom resident, Tim Goodell, agrees. “I definitely think they’ll do better than before and hopefully win,” Goodell said. “It’s been a successful season already and Folsom should be proud of the team that steps on to the field on Friday night. Football’s always been a big part of the Folsom community going back to the days when the team played at P.W. Day Stadium. That’s the only thing Folsom had going on Friday nights.” * * * Folsom high vs. Grant high What: Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championships When: 7:30 p.m., Friday Where: Hornet Stadium, Sacramento State University Cost: $12 adults, $8 students and senior citizens Information: cifsjs.org