Bring on De La Salle (Concord)
, and bring on a bit of history in two forms.
That's the battle cry in hushed tones for the Folsom
Bulldogs, the surging new superpower in the Sac-Joaquin Section with a CIF State Division II championship in 2010 and a 14-0 romp to a D-II section crown this season after plowing past Elk Grove 44-18 in miserable wet and wind game on Saturday night at Sacramento State.
What this all means now is that baring something completely off the doppler radar, the Bulldogs will now take on longtime national super power De La Salle (Concord) in the first Northern California Regional Open game contest, on this very field next Saturday night.
De La Salle, of course, needs little introduction, except to say, "look out. The train's coming."
The Spartans (13-0) blasted a 12-1 Logan (Union City) team 52-7 on Saturday to claim their on-going record 21st consecutive North Coast Section large-school title in similarly wet and treacherous conditions in the Bay Area. See story
De La Salle's pedigree is remarkable under famed coach Bob Ladouceur, including not losing to a NorCal foe since Pittsburg in 1991. That's a run of 234 games. Not a single high school kid in America was alive when De La Salle last lost in Northern California.
The Sac-Joaquin Section has long been antsy for a shot at De La Salle, which last played a regional team in 1997, when it beat Nevada Union (Grass Valley) in a nonleague game. Now that chance arrives, and it will become official when NorCal section commissioners meet on Sunday to pick NorCal teams for the Open, D-I, II, III and IV games.
Folsom at 14-0 has a stronger resume than Granite Bay at 11-3 to play in the Open, though Granite Bay will draw no slouch in St. Ignatius (San Francisco) in the NorCal D-I game. SI is fresh off an overtime win over Bellarmine (San Jose) in the North Coast Section Open title.
"De La Salle is the real deal, unbelievable what they've done," Folsom co-coach Kris Richardson said.
Folsom's resume is also formidable, if not a bit more brief than De La Salle, which absolutely skunks every team in the state for achievement, including winning the last three Open state titles.
Folsom was last ranked NorCal No. 1 at the end of a season 50 years ago, a good many years before De La Salle was even created. That Folsom team was coached Dewey Guerra and quarterbacked by Virgil Carter, who went on to set passing records at BYU and with the Bengals in the NFL. Folsom won section titles in 1989 and '90 under coach Tom
Doherty, who like Guerra preferred a power-run game over Folsom's spread attack now.
Folsom's spread triggerman is Jake Browning
, who will challenge the De La Salle defense that is anchored by four Division I recruits.
Browning, just a sophomore, passed for 205 yards and three touchdowns against Elk Grove despite the sideways rain and wind in his face mask and an attacking, fast Elk Grove defense. Browning now has 61 touchdown passes this season, just two shy of tying the state single-season mark held by Robert De La Cruz, Los Angeles Cathedral, 1999, according to the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book.
Dano Graves of Folsom had 62 touchdown passes in 2010 when he was named the MaxPreps National Player of the Year.
For the season, Browning has passed fro 4,906 yards. He's two yards shy for second place on the all-time single-season list held by David Koral of Pacific Palisades in 1999. The state single-season record belongs to Tanner Trosin of Folsom last season with 5,185 yards.
So, any issues with the rain, wind and Thundering Herd defenders bent on bending you backward, son?
"None at all," Browning said after the game, not sounding brash by any means but insisting his team was ready for all elements and all comers.
Folsom just missed matching its game average of 47 points, and it showed again that this is not a one-man team in Browning. The offensive line was again superb, allowing no sacks - and that will be paramount against De La Salle - and runners Bailey Laolagi
went for 72 yards and a 12-yard touchdown and Harry Lipnosky
went for 61.
"We practiced in this weather this week, so it doesn't hurt us," Laolagi said. "It feels nice. It's awesome to see Jake so successful in a game like this."Joe Davidson has covered high school sports for The Sacramento Bee since 1988. Follow him on Twitter: @SacBee_JoeD, on the web on www.sacbee.com and on podcast: ESPN1320.net