The first time Kaiden Bennett met with the coaches at Folsom High School was just over three years ago, and he made his football ambitions clear.
“He said, ‘I want to be the starting quarterback here,’ and, wow, he’s done it,” Folsom assistant coach Bobby Fresques said.
He’s done it emphatically, and the most dazzling and athletic Folsom signal caller since Dano Graves in 2010 is off to a rousing start with his teammates in tow.
The junior is built in the Graves’ 6-foot, 175 pound mold: shifty, quick, poised and prolific. Bennett had six touchdown passes, strikes long and short, and he rushed for a score to propel top-ranked Folsom’s 55-9 rout of No. 3 Jesuit in a nonleague showdown expected to be a fight to the finish on Friday night at Prarie City Stadium.
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Bennett passed for 336 yards and had scoring darts of 11 yards to Parker Clayton, 77 in stride to Elijah Badger (and later, a 3-yarder), 17 and 5 to Brandon Rupchock and 28 to Joe Ngata on the last play of the half. He also scored on a 38-yard run and had 122 yards on the ground as a one-man destroyer, much like Graves, who jump-started the Folsom dynasty with a CIF State Division II championship while earning and The Bee Player of the Year and MaxPreps National Player of the Year. He is now the quarterbacks coach at Cal Poly after leading the Mustangs to the playoffs last season as a senior.
It all starts in the trenches for Folsom, and the line provided ample time for Bennett to work.
The defense has showed flashes of dominance, and the Bulldogs held Jesuit’s heralded running backs Lorenzo Burkes and Isaiah Rutherford in check. Clayton returned an interception 36 yards to give Folsom a 27-7 lead.
Fresques and head coach Kris Richardson said Bennett has all the intangibles to be the program’s next star.
“He’s already a great leader,” Fresques said. “He works hard. He’s so low key, a great smile, always happy. Everyone loves him.”
Not everyone. Jesuit defenders were left befuddled by his skills in a game played at Folsom with an 8:45 p.m. start. It was originally scheduled at Jesuit, at 4:45 p.m., when the forecast called for 111-degree temperatures. It was 94 degrees at kickoff, but the stadium was full and festive.
Jesuit (0-2) has now suffered setbacks to No. 2 Granite Bay and to Folsom to open the season heading into the Holy Bowl next week against No. 16 Christian Brothers. The Marauders twice turned it over inside the Folsom 10 in the first half.
Folsom (2-0) next plays at longtime Sac-Joaquin Section Division III power Oakdale, coming off a CIF State title.