Jake Browning and the Folsom Bulldogs aren’t in this championship chase for the records.
They want hardware. Blue banners, slick wood plaques and gaudy rings will do just fine. The records are the gloss to the effort.
With Browning again having time to dissect a defense and the defense equally stout, The Bee’s top-ranked high school football team clobbered upstart Tracy 55-7 Saturday night at Sacramento State in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship game.
A senior quarterback with no more statistical peers in the nation, Browning passed for 387 yards and six touchdowns and ran for one while making history. In keying the Bulldogs’ third successive section title romp and second straight in D-I, Browning extended his hard-to-fathom season by breaking by one the U.S. prep record for career touchdown passes of 219 set by Maty Mauk of Kenton-Ohio from 2008 to 2011.
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Browning extended his own state single-season touchdown pass mark to 82, with perhaps as many as two more games to go. And to showhe had plenty of lift in those legs, Browning jumped into the stands to embrace family and friends after celebrating with teammates.
“Great win, and it’s a credit to the line and everyone on the team,” said Browning. “I can’t do any of this without my team. But we’re not done.”
Folsom (14-0) expects to land a spot in Friday’s Northern California Division I Regional championship game. The likely opponent is fellow regional powerhouse Grant (14-0), which beat St.Mary’s of Stockton 21-14 Friday for the D-II section title (section D-II champions move up a level in NorCal play). The 10 section commissioners from California will meet today to decide who plays in the regionals. A Folsom-Grant showdown would be at Sac State, a rematch of the 2010 section D-II title game that drew some 20,000.
Browning and his coaches downplay records and didn’t even know about the career marks until media accounts detailed them earlier this season. Saturday, he had four touchdown passes after three quarters and played in just his second fourth quarter this season as co-coaches Kris Richardson and Troy Taylor decided to get the record over with to avoid distractions this week. The touchdown mark fell when Browning hit Jake Jeffrey with a 1-yard pass with 1:05 to play.
Browning hit Jeffrey for two touchdown passes, Parker Boone for one and Cole Thompson for laser strikes of 23 and 88 yards. The 88-yarder was Folsom’s second play of the second half after a defensive stand. Browning made it 48-0 a moment later when he found Josiah Deguara for an 18-yard score.
“When you’re talking a national touchdown record, that’s a pretty big deal, really special, an unreal deal that may never be broken,” Richardson said. “It took a perfect storm, a great quarterback, a great team, and Jake’s the first to say that. What makes this so special is we played great defense, too, to beat a great team.”
As for going for the record Saturday, Richardson said, “We wanted to get it done with, move on. Tracy coaches understood it was the right thing to do.”
Folsom isn’t just a passing team, and that’s what puts these Bulldogs on the short list of any debate as to who is the section’s greatest team. To be sure, the skill players are key cogs, and linemen Jake Coveau, Cody Creason, Jonah Williams, Sam Whitney, Jerod Nooner and Will Koch are as good a group as any on the West Coast.
But what especially separates Folsom is its defense, a dominating unit with linemen Whitney and Williams and linebackers Bailey Laolagi and Sam Whittingham and a secondary that includes Thompson.