The success of Folsom High School's spread offense in recent years hasn't been based solely on the accuracy and tenacity of its quarterbacks.
It starts with the protection of the offensive line.
Despite a group of blockers with virtually no starting experience, the No. 3 Bulldogs this season are in business as usual. Folsom routed then-No. 4 Oak Ridge 49-21 in a Delta River League opener Friday night in El Dorado Hills with quarterback Jake Browning completing 37 of 48 passes for 353 yards and six touchdowns. He had no interceptions and was sacked once.
"From our first game until now, we've exceeded expectations," Folsom co-coach Kris Richardson said. "We knew we had a nice quarterback, some good skill players, but how would the line do? They've been great. We always feel that if we can protect the quarterback in our scheme, we can do good things, and Jake and the line have been outstanding."
The line consists of Mike D'Ottavio, Josh Wormley, Dalton Bledsoe, Reed Garmsen, Cody Creason and Austin Rothrock, whom Richardson calls his "sixth man."
Wormley had one start in 2011 before suffering a knee injury.
Garmsen also had just one start last fall, Bledsoe didn't play football, and D'Ottavio missed the season with a shoulder injury.
With co-coach Troy Taylor tutoring Browning and calling offensive plays, and Richardson mentoring the O-line, the Bulldogs are averaging 393 passing yards, 111 rushing yards and 46.3 points. Browning, a sophomore, has passed for 2,363 yards and 25 touchdowns. He has six interceptions in 253 attempts.
Other Folsom weapons include wide receivers Phillip Carter (10 touchdowns), Troy Knox, Rodney Ellison, Luke Owan and backs Bailey Laolagi, Harry Lipnosky and Josiah Deguara.
Bruins' uprising Bear River is 6-0 and has secured its 24th consecutive winning season. The Bruins have won three consecutive road games, including Friday's 24-14 effort over Colfax. Quarterback Dillon Smith passed for 243 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown to Tevyn Kimble, and Michael Raigoza had two of the Bruins' four interceptions.
Friday will bring a huge test at No. 5 Placer, which could be seen as the Pioneer Valley League championship game. Bear River's long successful run is a remarkable show of consistency under veteran coaches Terry Logue and Scott Savoie.
Logue shared his humorous wit while watching film Saturday.
"As I come back to reality today, and start watching Placer film, I feel sick to my stomach," he said. "Not from any postgame party but from how good they are and trying to figure out how to slow them down. The only answer I came up with is to try and sneak 12 guys out there, and that may not be enough."
Rocklin thunders It wasn't shocking that then-No. 14 Rocklin beat No. 7 Nevada Union in a Sierra Foothill League opener. That the visiting Thunder crushed the Miners 35-9 on homecoming night registers as a complete surprise.
Daniel Kniffin and Logan Webb each passed for two touchdowns, and the defense had eight sacks while allowing the Miners just 40 rushing yards on 30 attempts.
Et cetera Yuba City rushed for 440 yards and rallied to beat host Inderkum 49-42, ending the Tigers' five-year, 27-game Tri-County Conference winning streak.
Austin Brown's three rushing touchdowns in No. 9 Del Campo's 49-6 win over Casa Roble give him nine in his past three games.
THE BEE'S TOP 20
PR Previous ranking
School W-L PR
1. Elk Grove 6-0 1
2. Franklin 6-0 2
3. Folsom 6-0 5
4. Burbank 6-0 3
5. Placer 6-0 6
6. Granite Bay 3-3 8
7. Oak Ridge 5-1 4
8. Pleasant Grove 4-2 10
9. Del Campo 4-2 11
10. Rocklin 3-3 14
11. Cosumnes Oaks 5-1 12
12. Nevada Union 3-3 7
13. Yuba City 5-1
14. Inderkum 4-2 9
15. Grant 2-4 15
16. Del Oro 2-4
17. Rio Linda 5-1 16
18. Antelope 5-1 17
19. Center 5-1 20
20. Ponderosa 5-1