Jim Noble has been afforded an up-close view of all things Folsom High School football for nearly 40 years.
He graduated from the place in 1979, kept watching the program from afar, became a coach in 1987 and has worked all levels of the program most every year since.
There were good seasons under varsity coach Tom Doherty in 1989 and ’90, punctuated by two Sac-Joaquin Section championships, and there were lean years in the 2000s when stringing together a winning record or even any sort of winning streak was celebrated.
This decade? Good living.
On Friday, the top-ranked Bulldogs added to the pedigree. In beating No. 2 Del Oro 40-0 in Loomis in a regular-season finale, Folsom won its ninth league title this decade, the last five in the Sierra Foothill League, the top conference in the section. All of this has come under the direction of current head coach Kris Richardson.
Kaiden Bennett passed for 271 yards and had touchdown passes of 45 and 15 yards to Joe Ngata, a 33-yard scoring toss to CJ Hutton and a 43-yarder to Elijhah Badger to power the Bulldogs. Daniyel Ngata rushed for scores of 34 and 4 yards, and the defense was again dominant.
Bennett has 44 touchdowns and no interceptions during Folsom’s 9-game winning streak – the 14-0 loss to open the season at De La Salle representing the team’s only blemish.
Friday marked Folsom’s 36th consecutive SFL win, and plenty of momentum to pursue more prizes. The Bulldogs (9-1) charge in the Division I playoff field as the top seed, which will be made official on Saturday afternoon when the section releases the playoff brackets.
Beyond the sectional round, Folsom seeks its fourth CIF state title this decade and second in as many seasons.
Del Oro (9-1) expects to receive a high seed in D-II, perhaps the top seed if it doesn’t go to unbeaten Inderkum or one-loss Central Catholic, which also fell to De La Salle.
Beyond the sectional round, Folsom seeks its fourth CIF state title this decade and second in as many seasons. It’s record is 122-10 this decade.
“What’s working is we have experience, great players, a hard-working coaching staff and great camaraderie,” said Noble, a varsity defensive assistant in recent seasons. “It’s been great. The kids like each other. They antagonize each other, push each other, support each other. Sometimes you need that. In the dark years, the lean years, it wasn’t like that.
“And it comes down to hard work. What Kris has done with this program is amazing. I’m living the dream.”
Folsom’s defense continued to flex its considerable muscle with Dylan George, Tyler Hardeman and Caleb Nelson leading the charge. Folsom’s starting defense have allowed two touchdowns in SFL play. The Bulldogs have outscored SFL teams 274-7 in the first half. It was 19-0 at the half this time around.
If there is a concern for the Bulldogs, it’s the kicking game. Folsom missed two extra points and had a field goal blocked. For much of the season, this unit has been on par with the offense and defense.