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Samuels ready for Folsom

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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Oak Ridge senior quarterback Jason Samuels watched last year’s game against Folsom from the sideline after breaking his collarbone five weeks earlier. Now the former Folsom High student can’t wait for this year’s game. Samuels will lead the Trojan offense when the teams battle for bragging rights and first place in the Delta River League on Friday night at Oak Ridge. “For the team it’s a huge game and our first league game, but for me it’s even bigger since I used to go there,” Samuels said. “I still stay in touch with a few guys and it’s definitely a big game for me and I want to win it.” Samuels attended Folsom High as a freshman in 2009-2010 and quarterbacked the Bulldogs to a 9-1 record, including a win over Oak Ridge, but headed up the hill for his sophomore year. Samuels was on the winning side of the battle as a sophomore too, as he led the JV Trojans to a win over the Bulldogs on the way to an 8-2 season. Last year Samuels was off to a great start before injuring his shoulder in a 48-6 win over Fairfield on September 30. He didn’t return until the team’s final game of the season, a playoff loss to Granite Bay on Nov. 18. Samuels has had an outstanding senior year so far, completing 60 percent of his passes for 963 yards and 12 touchdowns against only two interceptions. He leads a potent Oak Ridge offense averaging 35 points, 193 passing yards and 140 rushing yards per game. “We’ve played very well this season and at 5-0 we’re right where we expected to be,” Samuels said. “We’re proud to be 5-0, but we’re not satisfied with our season. We’ve got a lot yet to accomplish. Individually, I feel that I’ve played well. I’ve done what the coaches have asked and I’m happy with how I’ve played. I’ve matured a lot and made good decisions and my offensive line has been awesome and have definitely contributed to my success.” Samuels, no doubt, has benefitted from a strong supporting cast. The offensive line has played well and has routinely opened big holes for running backs Josh Wellman and Blake Martin. Byron Spain is the team’s top receiver with 18 catches for 285 yards and six touchdowns. “The defense has also played extremely well,” Samuels said. “I think they only allowed seven points in our first three games and only two touchdowns against Grant and three against a very powerful Vacaville team.” The Trojans enter Friday’s game battle-tested and ready, having earned victories over winning programs at Vista del Lago, Rocklin, Grant and Vacaville. “Our schedule has helped prepare us for our league, which is one of the best in the area,” Samuels said. “We know who we are and we have confidence.” So what will it take to win Friday’s game? “We just need to keep doing what we’re doing,” Samuels said. “We have to win the turnover ratio and play smart, Oak Ridge football.” Samuels said he would like to play college football next year, but has no idea where that might be. Right now, his focus is helping Oak Ridge to win a section title, which is main goal this season. “I’m really trying to enjoy my senior year, so I haven’t really submerged myself in the process of college,” Samuels said. “If it works out, fantastic. Right now I just want to keep on winning games.” Oak Ridge vs. Folsom Oak Ridge has a sterling 5-0 record entering Friday’s Delta River League opener at home against Folsom. For as well as they’ve played so far this season, a loss Friday would be bitterly disappointing for a team that has struggled somewhat since moving into the Delta River League two years ago. The Trojans, in fact, have their best chance to get a win this week, having lost to the Bulldogs for six straight seasons. Oak Ridge narrowly lost last year, 35-31, and this year’s squad is healthier, stronger and playing better than last year’s team, but it won’t be easy. “We’ve got to try to slow them down on offense,” Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere said. “They’re a machine that eats up chunks of yards and puts points on the board. Somehow we’ve got to get them out of their rhythm. On offense we have to play our tempo and run our offense and play the Oak Ridge way. We’re obviously going to have to put the ball in the end zone too.”