Joe Davidson

Prep football notes: Folsom winning streak had humbling origin

Folsom High School’s football team is riding quite a streak as it prepares for its Sac-Joaquin Section championship game on Saturday.
Folsom High School’s football team is riding quite a streak as it prepares for its Sac-Joaquin Section championship game on Saturday. The Sacramento Bee

The streak had a harsh and humbling origin. Then it took hold and took off.

The Folsom Bulldogs were clobbered by Grant 49-14 in a 2010 season opener on a searing-hot day played out on a live ESPN broadcast. The Bulldogs revamped everything they did with their program from that point – how they prepared, how they practiced, how they executed.

And they haven’t lost at home since.

Folsom stretched its home streak to 43 games by outlasting St. Mary’s of Stockton 56-49 in a wild and frenetic Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinal at Prairie View Stadium as Jake Jeffrey dazzled with 352 passing yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 208 yards and two scores. It’s the second-longest such streak in regional history behind the 46-game run of Nevada Union that ended in the 1995 season opener against Davis. The streak coincided with the Miners’ city championships in 1989 and ’90 and section titles in 1993 and ’94.

Folsom avenged that Grant loss with a 41-20 triumph in 2010 at Sacramento State en route to the CIF State D-II championship. The Bulldogs have towered over area teams since then.

46Consecutive home victories by Nevada Union, an area-record streak that ended in 1995

Folsom (13-0), riding two other gaudy streaks, plays Elk Grove (13-0) on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Sac State for the D-I section banner. The Bulldogs have a state-leading 29-game overall winning streak, and their section playoff streak is 15, second longest in area history to Cordova’s 17-game run from 1976 to 1980, when the Lancers won four successive D-I championships. Cordova led the region in victories in the 1980s under coach Max Miller, and Grant led the area in wins in the 1990s and 2000s under coach Mike Alberghini, who won his seventh section title last season with the Pacers.

Since 2010, Folsom has an area-best 82-6 record with four section titles and two CIF state banners. Since 2012, Folsom is 56-2, losing only to national powerhouse De La Salle of Concord. Cordova had a 59-3 run under coach Ron Lancaster to close out the 1970s.

Folsom co-coaches Kris Richardson and Troy Taylor appreciate the winning streaks and success but dwell on none of it. They focus on the immediate, which has helped galvanize the program. And there’s another streak in play that really matters: Folsom is in a section final at Sac State for the sixth successive season, having won four.

“That home streak we have,” Richardson said, half out of breath Friday night, “that’s big time. We lost that game to Grant in 2010 and just got better. And we’ve played some great teams at home. We haven’t had a slouch schedule or league. That Grant loss, it launched us to where we are now, the work ethic, the commitment.

“We’ve got a great thing going, and the kids have done everything we’ve asked over the years – the weight room, conditioning, film study. I couldn’t be more proud.”

More streaking – Folsom’s 29-game overall winning streak is the second longest in regional history to Cordova’s 34-game run in the 1970s, when the Lancers led the nation in victories at 102-6-1.

The Bulldogs’ streak is more impressive than Cordova’s, given the rise of area football in general and addition of the NorCal and CIF rounds that began last decade. In Cordova’s era, teams rarely played out of section in nonleague games, a big trend now to test one’s mettle.

Mira Loma won 27 consecutive games in the 1960s and early ’70s, before the section playoff era, and players celebrated by throwing famed coaches Don Brown and Gerry Kundert into the school pool. Placer had a 27-game winning streak in its D-II championship run in the 1970s under coaches Bill Miller and Tom Johnson.

34 Consecutive overall wins by Cordova, a regional record, in the 1970s

Cordova won 26 consecutive games in 1985 and ’86 before losing to Christian Brothers in the playoffs. That CBS team included All-Metro linebacker Jeff Carlson, now the Elk Grove defensive coordinator tasked with solving Folsom’s prolific attack on Saturday. More fun irony: Carlson said Oak Ridge senior Ian Book is the most elusive, shifty quarterback he’s seen since Taylor quarterbacked Cordova’s 14-0 team in 1985.

Elk Grove beat Book and the Trojans 30-18 in a semifinal on Friday.

Elk Grove peeled off a 26-game winning streak in 1997 and ’98 that included back-to-back D-I section titles under co-coaches Dave Hoskins and Ed Lombardi. The offensive coordinator for those Thundering Herd teams was Chris Nixon, the program’s head coach now. Nixon has the Herd in its third section final since 2012.

Remembering Poole – Glenn Poole, the first football coach at Colfax and later at Oakmont, has died at 84.

Colfax opened in 1959, and Poole coached the football, basketball and track teams through 1964 before going to Roseville to start the sports programs at Oakmont in 1965. Poole’s first Colfax team went 0-8 and then had seasons of 6-2, 6-1-1 and 6-1-1. In 1962, Colfax snapped Wheatland’s state-leading 28-game winning streak.

At Oakmont, Poole won three Sierra Foothill League titles in the early 1970s, when he coached the program’s best player in Dan Bunz, a linebacker who went on to win two Super Bowls with the 49ers. Poole was also the Oakmont track coach, and the annual meet on campus bears his name. Poole has been inducted in the athletic Hall of Fame at Colfax and Oakmont.

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