By Will James
When it comes to showdowns, few will match the anticipation and expectations of Friday’s midseason confrontation of epic proportion when Sierra Foothill League rivals Folsom and Oak Ridge collide in El Dorado Hills.
The Game will be broadcast on Access Sacramento‘s Hometown Sports Game of the Week. This live telecast begins at 6:30 pm for the pre-game show, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 7pm. 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.
The teams have played brilliantly throughout their tough non-league schedules. Folsom Head Coach Paul Doherty has his top-ranked Bulldogs (4-1) playing superior football, and Casey Taylor’s 5th ranked Trojans have dominated opponents; the only exception being Folsom’s tough 17-12 road loss to Serra (San Mateo), but the Bulldogs demolished any notion they had slipped with intense victories over NorCal heavy weight Pittsburg and former nemesis and NorCal legend, De La Salle of Concord for the second time in less than a year. That marks the first time in 35 years an opposing team has claimed a pair of victories against De La Salle within a year.
Statistically, Folsom’s usually high scoring trademark has been in recession thus far; testimony to the elite defensive tenacity hurled at them. Customarily, Folsom averages about 50 points per game (ppg), but after five starts, the ‘Dogs’ scoring average is comparatively meager at 34 ppg. On defense, Folsom allows 14 ppg.
It’s a different story for the Trojans who have blasted opponents, averaging 57 ppg, while dominating even more impressively on defense. In five games, Oak Ridge has posted four shutouts, and has allowed just 10 points this season.
Visiting Folsom is riding a huge offensive wave, propelled by dazzling junior Quarterback, Austin Mack, the latest on a long list of elite Bulldogs’ quarterbacks for the past 15 years. Mack has stellar credentials, passing for 983 yards at 66% efficiency, with 14 TDs and zero interceptions for a 132 QB Rating. His favorite target is 5-star recruit and Notre Dame-bound Wide Receiver Rico Flores, who has collected 30 receptions for 480 yards and 2 TDs.
On the other side, Trojans’ QB, Maddox Varella is also riding something, but it’s not a wave. The Senior signal-caller has a QB Rating of 149 and leads the SFL in passing with 68% accuracy, having thrown for 1,082 yards and 14 TDs without an interception. His top receiver is Sebastian Sutton, with nine receptions and a TD.
Varella is riding atop a beautifully balanced offensive machine averaging 219 yards passing, and 232 yards rushing, led by a brigade of four Running Backs all having rushed for more than 200 yards.
Well, the daunting records are there, the imposing stats are there, the star power is there, and come Friday, the players themselves will have to validate their grandiose numbers with performances at equally high levels. Anticipate a record-setting overflow crowd to be in attendance at Trojan Stadium, which will likely be fully engulfed before the JV game begins. Fret not, just dial into Access Sacramento’s Hometown Sports Game of the Week and catch all the action.