It’s a simple mandate with this team.
Get the ball to your playmakers and behold the view.
Top-ranked Folsom High School went with its leading talents on Friday night in Placer County, pulling away from upset-minded No. 2 Granite Bay 35-14 in a Sierra Foothill League showdown of 5-0 powers.
Kaiden Bennett did his thing, running and passing, and so did Joe Ngata, catching and running. And Daniyel Ngata, brother of Joe, masterfully did his duty – downfield blocking on the fly.
That combination, two costly second-half Granite Bay turnovers and another strong defensive effort boosted the Bulldogs to their 20th consecutive SFL victory since joining the strongest league in the Sac-Joaquin Section before the 2014 season.
That’s some streak, given the SFL boasts of Granite Bay, Del Oro, Oak Ridge and Rocklin.
Bennett, a junior quarterback, had a 5-yard touchdown to Joe Ngata, raced in from 73 yards for another score, darted in for a 7-yard touchdown and hit CJ Hutton for a 10-yard strike as Folsom added Granite Bay to an impressive list of victories this season to go with Jesuit, Oakdale and Sacramento.
Joe Ngata, a national recruit junior receiver, dazzled on an 80-yard reverse, directing his brother to block for the final flurry to the end zone to make it 28-14 late in the third. On Bennett’s 73-yard score, Daniyel Ngata provided key blocks some 50 yards downfield. He also showed he can run the ball at tailback – fast and effective.
“There’s an argument that we need to get Joe Ngata the ball even more; he’s a freak, just a man among boys,” Folsom coach Kris Richardson said earlier this week. “He blocks hard, plays hard, catches the ball, runs. He’s a coach’s dream. He can dominate a game blocking, like his brother. Daniyel is ultra explosive as a running back, and he’s way more comfortable with our blocking schemes.”
The setting was typical SFL fun and flavor, an overflow crowd that included retired Kings guard Doug Christie and Kings rookie De’Aaron Fox, who wondered earlier in the day via Twitter, “Wassup with the high school football games here in Sac?”
Folsom and the SFL is wassup. And Fox tweeted, “#10 from Folsom something different” with flames to punctuate his point.
That would be Joe Ngata, who also impressed Utah Utes offensive coordinator Troy Taylor, the former Folsom co-coach, was on hand to peek and recruit.
“Joe’s the first guy celebrating, and he wants everyone to do well,” Richardson said. “He’s a great leader. He’s not a rah-rah guy, but he loves the game.”
Granite Bay led 7-0 after the first quarter on a Jarad Harper 14-yard touchdown, prompting the frenzied Grizzlies rooting section known as The Tribe to chant its opinion of the Bulldogs: “Over-rated!”
Just a slow start, a credit to Granite Bay’s experience and defensive prowess.
Granite Bay has wins over then-No. 2 Jesuit (31-21) and No. 5 Del Oro (28-21), and the Grizzlies fully expect to remain in this league race. But they need someone to topple Folsom’s SFL streak.
The Bulldogs are 102-9 this decade, one in which they reached seven section championship games, winning five, and taking home two CIF State banners.
“That’s a big deal,” Richardson said of the success. “I told our guys that we’ve got to be proud of this. The losses we’ve had were to darn-good teams: De La Salle twice, St. Mary’s, Bellarmine. All great teams. We’ve got a long way to go to where we ultimately want to be, but this is a nice benchmark to pat ourselves on our backs.
“We’re not a flash-in-the-pan great team. We’ve become a year in, year out great program, and it takes a lot of work from players, coaches, the school, the parents, the volunteers. It’s everyone.”