The teams are unscathed record wise, perfect on the surface.
But the football coaches and athletes from Granite Bay and Folsom are not entirely satisfied with the early results this season. This is a perfectionist sport, and even 5-0 teams want more.
Top-ranked Folsom visits No. 2 Granite Bay on Friday in a Sierra Foothill League contest where mistakes figure to be the difference.
Folsom looked spot-on earlier this season in beating previous No. 2-ranked Jesuit 55-9 (a week after Granite Bay was largely satisfied with a 31-21 win over Jesuit). The Bulldogs could not be stopped in a 45-29 win at Modesto Bee No. 1 Oakdale but were uncharacteristically out of sorts in the first half against No. 6 Sacramento, though they prevailed 28-19 behind junior quarterback star Kaiden Bennett and an underrated defense.
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Granite Bay’s biggest win this season was beating No. 5 Del Oro 28-21 on Friday in an SFL opener behind strong offensive line play, headed by Will Craig, and four total touchdown runs by running back Evan Tattersall and quarterback Jace Foddrill.
“I think we played sloppy, but at least we got the win,” Tattersall said, adding that 15 returning starters and the 5-0 start has the Grizzlies in the title hunt. “We’re right there with them.”
Folsom has not lost an SFL game since coming over via realignment before the 2014 season, a run of 19 games. The Bulldogs have gone 100-9 this decade with seven league titles, five Sac-Joaquin Section crowns and two CIF State banners. Since fielding its first varsity team in 1997, Granite Bay has reached the playoffs 18 times, won 10 league and five section titles, and claimed the 2012 CIF State Division I championship.
But more work is to be done.
“We’re so far away from where we need to be and where we want to be, but we’ve done some really good things and we’re battle tested and getting better,” Folsom coach Kris Richardson said. “There are always things you can do better. Linemen need to get their pad levels down, the defense needs to not make mental mistakes like jumping offside. The minute you think you’ve figured it all out, that’s when you’re in trouble and someone beats you.”
Lineman love – The mark of a team guy is when he talks about teammates more than himself.
As soon as junior running back D’Marcus Ross of Capital Christian learned that he was up for The Bee’s Prep of the Week honors, he reached out to credit his offensive line. The collection of Evan Bennett, Will Buck, Micheal De Carie, Ilaisa Gonebore, Josiah Mahnke, Juilan Lewis, Clayton Thomas and Shane Semeit led the way for Ross’ four-touchdown second half that keyed a 41-28 rally over Marysville.
Bennett is a national recruit prospect as a junior and De Carie and Gonebore are freshmen, each learning tricks of the trench trade from line coaches Dave Hoskins, Rob Haney and Jerry De Loach.
“I thank my linemen for sacrificing themselves through the tough tight trenches,” Ross said. “They continue to play all four quarters and push the team through, because without them, there’s no me.”
Stat marvels – Wayne Davis of Rio Linda leads the section with 73 tackles, averaging 14.6 for the 4-1 Knights. Kellon Gillespie has 72 tackles for El Dorado and Chalmes Brown 71 for Bradshaw Christian.
Nevada Union’s Dawson Fay leads the section in kickoff returns, averaging 50 yards per attempt with a long of 94. Deyvon Drayton of Sacramento leads the section in punt returns with 28.6 yards per attempt.
Bennett of Folsom leads the section with 20 touchdown passes and Adrian Torres of Natomas is second with 19.
Alvin Banks of Cordova leads the section with 11 touchdown receptions, and teammate Johnele Sanders leads the section with 1,729 total yards.
Alex Bohn of Bear River leads the section in special teams points with 40, including six field goals.