They expect to fill Sacramento State's football stadium for good reason on Saturday.
De La Salle (Concord)
, the king of high school football and an eight-time mythical national champion, takes on the new Northern California power on the block, Folsom
, a 2010 State Bowl champion that is rising as fast as it puts points on the board.
This should be a humdinger. De La Salle enters 12-0, is No. 10 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national rankings and is coming off its best game of the season, a 52-7 win over a very strong Logan (Union City) team
The Spartans have won the last three Open Division CIF State Bowl Games, own the national record for most consecutive wins (151 from 1992 to 2004) and currently maintain a 235-game unbeaten streak against Northern California opponents.
This year's team is led by a defense that features four Division I players, USC-bound linebacker Michael Hutchings
, Cal-bound defensive end Victor Egu
, uncommitted defensive end and tight end Austin Hooper
and uncommitted strong safety Dj Moffitt
Offensively, Tiapepe Vitale
(1,675 yards, 25 touchdowns) leads the way but first-year quarterback Chris Williams
was also stellar against Logan by completing 9 of 12 passes for 145 yards and four touchdowns, two each to Cal-bound baseball player Andrew Buckley
Said Folsom coach Kris Richardson, who played high school football about 10 miles from De La Salle: "I know all about De La Salle. Great program. We're well aware of how great they are, a national power."
Folsom arrived on the national scene when MaxPreps National Player of the Year Dano Graves led the Bulldogs to the 2010 Division II State Bowl title
, 48-20 over heavily favored Serra (Gardena).
With Richardson at the helm and some quarterback coaching help from Troy Taylor, Folsom has put up pinball numbers with a simply lethal spread attack. Graves followed his brother David Graves and last year there was Tanner Trosin, who threw for a state record 5,185 yards and 49 touchdowns. This season, sophomore
has led the remarkable system with 4,906 yards, which is two shy of second place on the all-time state single-season list. He's thrown 61 touchdown passes, two shy of tying the state mark, according to the Cal-Hi Sports Record book.
The Bulldogs are coming off a spirited 44-18 win over Elk Grove in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II final. In the pouring rain, Browning threw for three touchdowns and ran for another.
A team that is supposed to be even better next season, Folsom also runs effectively with sophomore Bailey Laolagi
i (794 yards, 13 touchdowns) and junior Harry Lipnosky
(800 yards, 7 TDs). The deep receiving core is led by junior Troy Knox
(90 catches, 1,107 yards, 13 touchdowns).
Two other receivers – Phillip Carter
and Lucas Owan
— have more than 10 TD receptions also.
"They remind me a lot of the Monte Vista and San Ramon Valley teams we face," De La Salle coach Terry Eidson said. "They have a good quarterback and receivers. They run it well. They do what they do very, very well. They hit all the creases. You have to get to the quarterback and put pressure on. But if you don't mix up your defense they'll pick you apart."
The game is being played in Folsom's front yard, where more than 20,000 fans showed for a 2010 SJS title game against Grant, a 41-20 win. The same crowd figures to show up here.
Eidson said his team doesn't mind traveling.
"We've been all over the country so a bus ride up to Sacramento is no problem at all," he said. "We're looking forward to it."
Said Richardson: "We're peaking at the right time too. We're from one of the best sections in California, and we're confident.
"It's what you hope for. Two great programs going for it."In the Freeman Rankings
, De La Salle is ranked No. 20 in the nation and No. 6 in the state. Folsom is 63rd in the nation and 13th in the state.