Imagine the Folsom Bulldogs starting 0-2.
Unfathomable before the start of the high school football season, certainly, but realistic if the top-ranked Bulldogs don’t hold onto the ball against No. 2 Jesuit in this week’s top game.
Folsom lost 14-0 at national powerhouse De La Salle in Concord last week, buckling under five turnovers and the stout defense of the Spartans. The Bulldogs returned 15 starters from a 16-0 CIF State championship team that scored 770 points.
“If we don’t clean it up and play to our potential, we’ll be in trouble against Jesuit,” Folsom coach Kris Richardson said after the game. “But if we pick it up offensively and play defense like we did (against De La Salle), we could win another state championship.”
A closer look at five Friday games of note (all kickoffs between 7-7:30 p.m.):
No. 2 Jesuit (0-0) at No. 1 Folsom (0-1) — Jesuit had a 10-game winning streak last season, sandwiched by losses to Folsom, including 27-14 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs. Kaiden Bennett had his coming out party for Folsom in the first meeting, completing 18 of 24 passes for 336 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions. Bennett was not at his best against De La Salle, and he vows to up his game. Jesuit has the defensive strength and speed to apply a rush on Bennett, headed by national-recruit linebacker Laiatu Latu, and the Marauders have offensive balance with QB Hank Harvego and RB Isaiah Rutherford, who rushed for 103 yards against Folsom in the playoffs.
Vacaville (0-1) at No. 3 Oak Ridge (1-0) — This is always an emotional game for Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere, who played at Vacaville in the 1980s and tries to see as many old friends as he can before kickoff. Vacaville runs the wing-T with a bevy of backs and is coming off a 35-10 loss to NorCal-ranked Liberty of Brentwood. Oak Ridge rolled Lincoln 56-20 as Matt Jenner completed 21 of 24 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns, two to Sawyer Merrill.
No. 9 Grant (1-0) at Central (1-0) — The Pacers will find out in a hurry how good they are as they visit the top-ranked team in the Central Section by The Fresno Bee. Trent Tompkins passed for 368 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 69 and a score for Central, which is coming off of a 35-7 win over Edison. Grant beat Davis 59-28 as Xavier Johnson passed for 337 yards and five touchdowns, and Paris Warren Jr. returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score.
No. 12 Rocklin (0-1) vs. No. 20 Franklin (1-0) — Played at Cosumnes Oaks, this figures to be toss-up. Rocklin lost 24-22 on a last-play field goal to Antelope despite two touchdown passes from Cade Wyant to Liam Maya. Franklin beat McNair of Stockton 38-23 as Brandon Rundgren passed for 296 yards and a touchdown and Josiah Allen rushed for 194 yards and three scores.
Winters (0-0) at Dixon (0-0) — These storied small-school programs have played for decades. Winters, 12-1 in 2014 and 9-3 in 2015, is led by baseball/football star Daniel Carrion. Seeking its 11th consecutive playoff berth, Dixon is led by RB Tyler Boston, who rushed for 1,188 yards and 11 touchdowns last season behind returning OL earth-mover Nate Peterson (6-foot-5, 305 pounds).
This week’s schedule
Kickoffs between 7-7:30 p.m. Friday, unless noted
No. 2 Jesuit at No. 1 Folsom
Vacaville at No. 3 Oak Ridge
No. 4 Del Oro vs. Oak Grove
Whitney at No. 5 Placer
No. 6 Inderkum at American Canyon
No. 7 Monterey Trail at San Ramon Valley
Lincoln at No. 8 Antelope
No. 9 Grant at Central-Fresno
Patterson at No. 10 Capital Christian
No. 11 Granite Bay at Damonte Ranch
No. 12 Rocklin at No. 20 Franklin
Burbank at No. 13 Sheldon
No. 14 Sacramento at Chico
No. 15 River Valley at River City
No. 17 Christian Brothers vs. Pleasant Grove
El Dorado at No. 18 Bear River
No. 20 Casa Roble vs. Rio Americano at Del Campo
Cordova at Davis
Cosumnes Oaks at McNair
Durham at Bradshaw Christian
Woodcreek at Kennedy
Esparto at Foresthill
Fortuna at Galt
El Camino at Bella Vista
Liberty Ranch at Center
Laguna Creek at Natomas
Lindhurst at Highlands
Mesa Verde at Golden Sierra
Oakmont at Roseville
Pioneer at Rio Linda
Riverbank at Delta
San Juan vs. Florin at Monterey Trail
Union Mine at Argonaut
Valley at Chavez
Vista del Lago at Ponderosa
Western Sierra vs. Johnson
Maxwell at Woodland Christian
Yuba City at Pleasant Valley
Colfax at Woodland
Spanish Springs at Nevada Union
Valley Christian at Incline
Wheatland at Marysville
Winters at Dixon