Brad Jenner reached out for a pass during Thursday’s practice at Folsom High and fell to the ground. The Bulldogs’ leading tackler and tight end got up clutching his shoulder and did not suit up Friday against Sheldon in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.
No worries for the Bulldogs and coach Kris Richardson. With one of the deepest and most talented benches in the area, finding a suitable replacement was not difficult as junior linebacker Ezra Gulewich✔ stepped in and stepped up for the top-seeded Bulldogs, who crushed the Huskies 41-14.
“Brad is one of our best players, but we’ve got great guys like Gulewich, who has played all season, and has played numerous snaps at (middle) linebacker,” Richardson said. “He’s also played defensive end and defensive tackle and he’s a guy who brings a lot to the table. It’s not like you’re lining up one linebacker to take on a whole team. It’s a team defensive scheme and there’s been times when Brad came out of game and we plugged Ezra in and kept right on going.
Gulewich had a sack and two tackles on the first defensive series for the Bulldogs. Gulewich and the defense held Sheldon to 298 yards of offense and just seven of those yards came through the air. Also, a third of those total yards came on Graylon Lindsey’s 99-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Folsom ran 24 run plays and passed just 12 times in the first half. That differential may be trending in Bulldogs Nation as the future at quarterback appears to be sophomore Kaiden Bennett, who took several direct snaps for some nice gains. He finished with 49 yards on five carries.
But the present still belongs to Joe Curry and the Bulldogs’ receiving corps. Curry threw for 229 yards and five touchdowns – three to Drake Stallworth – in leading his team to its 30th consecutive playoff game since 2008 of scoring 35 or more points.
“I think we’ll always be able to throw and catch with the best of them,” Richardson said.
First-year Huskies head coach Joe Cattolico has the program looking up. They finished 8-4 and were in contention to win the Delta League before Elk Grove handled them 35-0 two weeks ago. Elk Grove beat Turlock 42-19 and plays at Folsom next Friday at 7 p.m. in one Div. I semifinal game.
“(Folsom is) the measuring stick, which is why it’s a great opportunity for us to come out here and compete against them,” Cattolico said. “We’re in a situation where we’re trying to build something, so it’s a challenge to go up against somebody who has been building something and has built something as well as they have. Our disadvantage tonight is they’re the best program in the area and have been for a little while, and we’re in the first year starting over at Sheldon. But our advantage is we have a good group of kids who have worked really hard this year and tried to do all the things we asked them to do and got us to this spot.