It was a declaration on the eve of the football season as much as it was a warning.
“We have another Jake.”
That’s what Folsom High School co-coach Troy Taylor said of the Bulldogs’ new quarterback, Jake Jeffrey. Co-coach Kris Richardson, standing nearby, grinned in approval.
If quarterback is the marquee position in football, Folsom certainly has had an all-star cast of award-winning performers who have set a new standard of prep excellence. It starts with a spread offense, protected by a sound line, with a bevy of running backs and receivers catching the ball with space to create havoc on defenses. But it only works if you have the passer to deliver the goods. Since 2010, Folsom has produced an assembly of quarterbacks who have unleashed offensive assaults unlike any in state history, including:
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▪ Dano Graves, who earned MaxPreps National Player of the Year honors in 2010 after leading the Bulldogs to a 14-1 record and a CIF State Division II championship. Graves, now at Cal Poly, accumulated a then state-record 4,696 passing yards and 85 total touchdowns.
▪ Tanner Trosin, who earned Bee Player of the Year honors in 2011, set state passing records with 5,185 yards and 6,364 total yards to go with 69 total scores. Trosin led the Bulldogs to an 11-3 record and reached the Sac-Joaquin Section finals. He’s now at Southern Oregon, the defending NAIA champion.
▪ Jake Browning, who earned Cal-Hi State Player of the Year honors in 2014, led Folsom to a 16-0 record, a CIF State D-I title and set the national high school record with 229 career touchdowns in going 44-2 with three section titles. His 16,775 career passing yards are a national record for larger-school players. Browning is a freshman starter at Washington.
1,151Jake Jeffrey’s passing yards in four games this season
Now say hello to the new Jake.
Jeffrey is cut more in the Graves’ mold at 6-foot and 175 pounds, and he shares the same attributes as his predecessors in that he takes every bit of this role personal. Jeffrey is a student of the game – studying its nuances, working with teammates and coaches, soaking in film and play sheets. He enjoys the preparation, practice, games and results.
And he invites the pressure. Top ranked by The Bee, Folsom (4-0) carries a bull’s-eye unlike any other regional team since Cordova in the 1970s. The Bulldogs’ last regular-season loss came in 2011, resulting in a state-leading 36-game non-playoff winning streak heading into a Sierra Foothill League opener Friday at No. 5 Granite Bay. Jeffrey has passed for 1,151 yards and 15 touchdowns with just two interceptions. He’s rushed for 116 yards and two scores. And like the quarterbacks who came before him, Jeffrey cares really only about one number: wins.
“It’s so fun, and this is what I love to do,” said Jeffrey, who didn’t flinch at the challenge of being Folsom’s new Jake after switching from receiver to quarterback. “I’ve always wanted to play quarterback here. I feel like I’ve really prepared for this. I knew I’d do OK, but it’s been a dream so far. Great teammates, and we’re getting better.”
Jeffrey doesn’t force plays, and his touch, arm strength, agility and instincts have wowed his coaches.
“Jake’s accurate, has an off-the-charts IQ for football, a great understanding of what we’re trying to do,” Richardson said. “He’s been spectacular. We’re thrilled with how he’s playing.”
Added Taylor: “Jake’s dynamic, hell on wheels. His demeanor is outstanding. He’s a hard guy for opposing teams to deal with.”
The entire Folsom offense is a chore to handle. The Bulldogs are more balanced than in the past, thanks to running backs Tre Green and Roger Neal. Folsom averages 278.8 passing yards a game and 147.5 rushing yards in averaging 45 points. Jeffrey credits Taylor for teaching him the game – how to approach it, how to play it, how to deal with the ups and downs.
I’m living a good life – good grades, great teammates, girlfriend. I’m very happy.
Jake Jeffrey, Folsom quarterback
“He’s amazing, and he’s made me who I am today,” Jeffrey said. “I’m hard on myself, probably too much so. Coach Taylor teaches me to get over things, to move on, that everything will be OK, that we’re human and we make mistakes.”
Jeffrey also credits his parents – Kristin and Bob – for making him so well-rounded. He said he is amused that his mother can throw a pretty football, saying: “I’m talking a tight spiral. We’d go play catch in the yard when I was younger and she can throw.”
A 4.0 GPA student, Jeffrey wants to lead Folsom to its fourth successive NorCal title game. Then he wants to play in college. He’s hoping to generate more recruiting interest, though he understands that Division I programs don’t often knock on doors of 6-footers. For now, Jeffrey is content.
“I’m living a good life – good grades, great teammates, girlfriend,” Jeffrey said. “I’m very happy.”
High school football coverage
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Area’s top guns
The Bee’s Joe Davidson analyzes 10 area senior quarterbacks:
Marcus Ante, Placer: Effective in the wing-T as a runner and passer; Hillmen (4-0) covet a section championship in Division III or IV.
Ian Book, Oak Ridge: The Notre Dame commit has 1,201 passing yards, 15 touchdowns, one interception for the Trojans (3-1), eying the SFL title.
William Floyd, Rocklin: Pressed into duty because of an injury last season, Floyd has won games with short passes and bombs for the Thunder (3-1).
Jake Jeffrey, Folsom: After catching 14 touchdown passes as a receiver, Jeffrey has passed for 15 TDs and 1,151 yards for the top-ranked Bulldogs (4-0).
Kyle Kraft, Granite Bay: Filling in for injured starter Brad Fina, Kraft has emerged for the Grizzlies (3-0), moving over from receiver.
Unique Perez, Cordova: Named by his mother because she thought he was indeed unique, Perez is the best Lancers quarterback in years.
Ben Purcell, Del Campo: Cerebral and tough, Purcell has worked tirelessly to improve his game for the Cougars (2-1).
Hunter Rodrigues, Whitney: Healthy after a frustrating one-win season in 2014, Rodrigues has been on a tear as a dual threat for the revived Wildcats (2-1).
Isaiah Tenette, Highlands: Able to throw with touch, Tenette is also a terrific runner, setting a regional record with 465 rushing yards for the Scots (3-1).
Caden Voges, Sacramento: Three-year starter has scores of Metropolitan Conference records and craves a section title after reaching 2014 final.