High School Sports

Folsom football rolls on, ushering in a new coach and era

The new coach didn’t have to create a new culture or implement a work-ethic template and all that noise that new coaches preach when they take over a program.

Paul Doherty on Friday night, before his debut in charge of the top team in the Sac-Joaquin Section, implored his Folsom Bulldogs to maintain the momentum that has been a decade of overwhelming dominance.

Block, tackle, execute, compete — and behave as if you’ve been here before.

Mission accomplished.

Top-ranked Folsom overwhelmed No. 8 Jesuit 52-12 at Sacramento State in the season opener for both storied schools.

It marks 12 consecutive wins over the Marauders, dating back to 2007, including the last three openers, but there’s no shame in any of this for Jesuit. Folsom has plowed over just about all comers to the tune of a 128-10 record this decade.

“Here, we want to be humble, score, hand the ball to the referee, and just play and say nothing,” Doherty said. “Everyone’s telling our guys how great they are, so block out that noise and just play.”

Doherty went from assistant coach to the man in charge after Kris Richardson joined another one-time Folsom coaching great in Troy Taylor at Sac State. Doherty previously was the head coach at Sacramento High and Whitney, and he has known Folsom coaches for years. His assistant head coach is Jordan Banning, a Folsom alum and longtime program coach.

This season, Doherty and Banning knew they had to break in five new offensive linemen after 10 graduated from a repeat CIF State championship team, with this tidy little reminder: if the protection breaks down, it all crumbles.

Folsom protected and produced, and its defense recorded seven sacks in three quarters. The new offensive linemen are Colby Christierson, Kian Khazeni, JJ McMahon, Easton Sorenson and Lucas Springer to go with tight ends DeShawn Lynch and Jayden Meneghetti.

The Bulldogs have another stellar group in the trenches again, one that helped new quarterback Jake Reithmeier do what Folsom passers generally do — carve up defenses. The senior rushed for a 12-yard touchdown and had a touchdown pass.

And Doherty also understands that this sport mandates you get the ball to your play-makers.

National recruits Elijhah Badger and Daniyel Ngata dazzled, as they have throughout their Folsom career. Ngata scored on hard-charging runs of 12, 17 and 4 yards.

Badger returned a kickoff 99 yards, tying him with scores of others for the longest in national prep history, and he had a 16-yard touchdown catch.

For Jesuit, Jake Peluso had a 79-yard touchdown pass to Jake Hall and a 77-yard touchdown run by Ace Saca.

Why has Folsom continued to roll to the tune of nine league, seven section and four CIF State banners this decade?

“They have great players, great coaches and a great program,” Jesuit coach Marlon Blanton said. “That’s always the key.”

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