They expected to be here, to showcase their myriad skills, and to win it.
In a Sac-Joaquin Section championship final for the ninth consecutive season, the Folsom Bulldogs give new meaning to staying power. And prevailing with flair, fundamentals and defense.
In withstanding the relentless first-half effort of a 12-0 team eager to topple a giant, top-seeded Folsom surged with a 42-point third quarter on Saturday night at Sacramento State, cruising past No. 2 Monterey Trail 63-25 in the Division I title game.
It’s the seventh section banner this decade for coach Kris Richardson and ninth in program history, dating back to 1989.
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The program’s first two section banners came under coach Tom Doherty in repeat fashion, and Doherty as athletic director hired Richardson into the football program in the early 2000s.
Folsom’s key cogs again led the charge on Saturday, benefiting from more superb offensive line play, a unit anchored by center Kaden Richardson, son of the coach.
Kaiden Bennett passed for 368 yards and four touchdowns through three quarters, and he ran for 147 and three scores over that stretch. He and fellow starters sat the fourth quarter.
Brothers Daniyel and Joe Ngata each caught touchdown passes in the third, when Folsom outgained Monterey Trail in yards 233-10. Elijhah Badger had a 67-yard punt return for a score to make it 63-13, and Folsom’s first-string defense allowed one offensive touchdown in stalling Monterey Trail’s greatest team since opening in the Elk Grove Unified School District in 2004.
Richardson and Monterey Trail coach TJ Ewing are good friends. Richardson called Ewing, “one of this area’s all-time greats.” Ewing said Folsom “is a great, great program.”
Folsom now seeks more prizes.
The Bulldogs (12-1) find out on Sunday afternoon who it will play in a CIF Northern California Regional. Folsom also seeks its fourth CIF State title, all from this decade.
Folsom has won 12 consecutive games since falling at national powerhouse De La Salle 14-0 in Concord, and there’s no shame losing to the Spartans. On Friday, De La Salle won its 27th consecutive North Coast Section championship, blasting 12-0 Liberty of Brentwood 42-7 to extend its unbeaten streak against NorCal opponents north of Fresno to 298 games.
Heading into Hornet Stadium on Saturday, the sole focus was on Monterey Trail, not the NorCals or beyond.
“To us, it still starts with the section championship,” coach Richardson said. “This game, the section finals here, is massive. To get here nine times in a row says a lot. It’s big.
“We’ve played lights out in the playoffs, and our Group 1 defense (the starters) have played lights out.”
Zach Larrier passed for 161 yards and two touchdowns and he ran for a score and bows out as one of the school’s great football players and leaders.
Caleb Freeland led Folsom with eight tackles, Noah Jenkins had seven and Tyler Hardeman six to go with an endzone interception late in the half.
Follow The Bee’s Joe Davidson: email@example.com, @SacBee_JoeD, sacbee.com/high-school.