by Will James
Another judgement day looms ahead for the prestigious Folsom High School football program this week as the Bulldogs prepare for their fourth meeting with national powerhouse De La Salle (Concord) Friday on Access Sacramento’s Hometown Sports Game of he Week live from Folsom.
This game, however, marks the first-ever appearance by the Spartans in Sacramento County. If ever there was a high profile, marquee match-up in the region, this is it.
Access Sacramento will carry a live telecast of the game on the Hometown Sports Game of the Week beginning at 7:00 p.m. The game may be seen in Sacramento County on Comcast or Consolidated Communications Cable channel 17, and AT&T U-Verse channel 14. The game will also be streamed live from AccessSacramento.org and on the NFHS Network.
After being routed twice by the Spartans (49-15 in 2012 and 45-17 in 2013), the Bulldogs dropped last year’s intensely fierce battle 14-0, buoying hopes that this year’s confrontation would result in an emphatic payback against the seemingly invincible juggernaut (189-19-2) from Concord.
It will be a gargantuan challenge for the new-look Bulldogs, now under the leadership of first-year Head Coach, Paul Doherty, who previously served as head coach at Sacramento High School and Whitney High School.
Senior Quarterback Jake Reithmeier is now at the Bulldogs’ helm and has steered Folsom (2-0) to a pair of lopsided victories (52-12 over Jesuit and 49-13 over Antelope) while passing for seven TDs and running for two more. Running back Daniyel Ngata and wide receivers Elijah Badger and C.J. Hutton are dynamic play-makers. Defensive lineman DeShawn Lynch is a force on defense. All of them will figure prominently in Friday’s brawl.
De La Salle Head Coach Justin Alumbaugh has guided the Spartans masterfully since succeeding legendary Bob Ladouceur beginning in 2013. Now in his 7th year, Alumbaugh has compiled a stellar 77-8 record, while leading De La Salle to back-to-back CIF Open Division State Championships in 2014 and 2015, and as CIF Open Division State Finalists the other four years.
Following a breakout sophomore season featuring 12 TD passes and 6 rushing TD, Junior Quarterback Dorian Hale leads the Spartans’ vaunted Spread/Veer Offense with the poise of a crafty, veteran leader. The elegant running back tandem of Senior Shamar Garrett and Junior James Coby heads a deep corps of ball carriers. Hale’s top target among a well-stocked group of receivers is big play threat Wide Receiver Grant Daley who often draws double coverage.
The stage is set for this long awaited marquee match-up — in Sacramento County — at Folsom’s house, where the curtain will be raised at Prairie City Stadium; soon to be fully saturated with wild excitement, ever-growing anticipation and grand expectations to be sure.
For the fans planning to see the game in-person, it’s recommended that you arrive early . . . r-e-a-l early, or don’t bother to arrive at all. Should you make it inside, don’t be surprised to find yourselves in the midst of record setting attendance for the big show.