Brian Baer Special to The Bee Quarterback Tommy Arnold directs Elk Grove's run-oriented wing-T offense. Arnold also will see duty on the other side of the ball tonight.

'Other' QB to lead Elk Grove against Folsom in D-II title game

Published: Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 6C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 - 8:27 am

Tommy Arnold will be the "other" quarterback tonight, and that's fine with him because he's used to it.

The stout 5-foot-8, 215-pound Elk Grove junior mostly will hand the ball to running backs Robert Frazier (2,071 yards, 22 touchdowns), Wadus Parker (1,316 yards, 21 touchdowns) and Spencer Sheff out of the wing-T as the Thundering Herd tries to break down Folsom's defense in tonight's Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship game at Sacramento State.

Arnold will throw on occasion, but not nearly as much as his counterpart – sophomore Jake Browning, the focus of the Bulldogs' prolific spread offense.

Browning passed for 699 yards and 10 scores in his varsity debut this season against Woodcreek. He enters tonight's game with 4,763 yards and 58 touchdowns.

In comparison, Arnold has passed for 894 yards and eight touchdowns.

While he appreciates Browning's skills and achievements, Arnold insists he bows to no one.

"He plays his game really well," Arnold said with an assuring smile, "and I play mine. We don't throw much, but we're still pretty good."

Here's the twist: Arnold also will have a shot to chase down Browning. He will take a lot of snaps at linebacker and on the defensive line.

"I'll be licking my chops," Arnold said. "It'll be my turn to chase and not be chased."

Said Elk Grove coach Chris Nixon: "Tommy will come ready. He'll trade his hand-warmer on offense for some forearm pads on defense. I'll be sending the quarterback after the quarterback in a section championship game … crazy."

Arnold did not play in Elk Grove's 17-7 loss to Franklin that decided the Delta Valley Conference crown for off-the-field disciplinary reasons. It ultimately affected the seedings in D-I and D-II.

"I take responsibility for that … " Arnold said. "I heard that (Elk Grove-Franklin) game through my (bedroom) window. It killed me not to play. But I learned from it."

The 'other' backs – If Elk Grove has the star running backs, Folsom counters with runners who expect to make a difference should the rain and wind become a factor.

Unlike recent seasons when Folsom quarterbacks led the team in rushing, the Bulldogs have relied on Bailey Laolagi (694 yards, 12 touchdowns) and Harry Lipnosky (738 yards, six touchdowns). Folsom averages 140.8 rushing yards.

"It's added to our offense," Folsom co-head coach Troy Taylor said. "We've got two really good backs."

Looking ahead – Northern California section commissioners will meet Sunday to select teams for five Regionals next weekend: Open, D-I, D-II, D-III and D-IV.

The winners will advance to CIF State Bowl games Dec. 14-15 in Carson.

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