It might be a non-league game, but don’t think for a second that the Folsom-Oak Ridge football game doesn’t mean anything.
Many of the players know each other and some are even friends, but when the teams get on the gridiron, they want to win the game as badly as any.
On Friday night, it was Folsom’s third straight victory in the series previously dominated by the Trojans, as Folsom trounced Oak Ridge, 54-33.
Players like to talk about offense and defense, but the coaches know that a lot of games are won and lost on special teams and on this night, Folsom won the battle and came away with the victory. The Bulldogs returned a punt for a touchdown and took back a kickoff to the Oak Ridge 10-yard line that led to score. The Trojans also coughed up the opening kickoff of the second half that led to another Bulldog touchdown.
“The kicking game was the difference,” Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere said. “Not only did they return a punt for a touchdown, but when you give them a short field and four downs to score, it makes them even tougher to stop. I actually thought we played them better defensively than we have the last three years.”
Folsom coach Kris Richardson was pleased with his team’s performance. Offensively, through three quarters when the starters were in the game, all of Folsom’s offensive plays went for positive yards.
“We were lights out offensively,” Richardson said. “That was some good football there. Defensively, we knew Oak Ridge would test us and present a great challenge. They’ve got two great running backs. Except for that late touchdown, we held them to six points in the second half and I was happy with that.”
Folsom jumped out to a 13-0 lead on a 60-yard touchdown pass from Dano Graves to Jordan Richards. Four minutes later, Graves picked a bad snap off the turf and ran to his left down the sidelines for a 33-yard touchdown run.
The Trojans answered with a pair of scores of their own, one on a 37-yard run by Jacob Allen and another on an 8-yard pass from quarterback Connor Benander to Robbie Beyer. Beyer’s extra point put the Trojans up 14-13 early in the second quarter, but that’s when Folsom’s special teams took over.
Richards returned the ensuing kickoff to the Oak Ridge 10-yard line and on the next play, Graves hooked up with Tyler Trosin for a 10-yard scoring play and Dillon Wessing’s extra point made the score 20-14.
Oak Ridge’s offense put together a decent drive that reached the Folsom 40-yard line, but had to punt and that’s when Trosin took it back for an 80-yard score. The two-point conversion, Graves to Trosin, put Folsom up 28-14.
Oak Ridge’s next drive ended with a Kyle Moeller interception and four plays later, Graves hooked up with Trosin again on a 6-yard play to put Folsom in command 35-14.
Oak Ridge scored just before the half on a quarterback sneak by Benander, which brought the score to 35-20 at the break.
The Trojans then fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half and Graves hooked up with Trosin again for his fourth straight touchdown from 5-yards out.
Tired of catching the ball, Trosin threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Kori Babineaux on Folsom’s next possession to make the score 48-20 with 4:58 to play in the third.
Folsom’s final points came on a Graves’ pass to Mac Carlsen from 10-yards out with 1:46 to play in the third quarter, which put the Bulldogs up 54-20.
Oak Ridge, much to their credit, didn’t throw in the towel. Allen, who had a strong game running the ball, scored on 13-yard run with 8:40 to play and Oak Ridge’s final score came on a 19-yard Benander pass to Will Jolly.
“The offense played great, but we had a rocky start on defense,” Folsom lineman Mike Metildi said. “We made some great plays to put them away and then played better defensively in the second half.”
Folsom JV wins 23-20
In a close game throughout, the Bulldogs came through with a 23-20 win. J’Juan Muldrow scored two touchdowns and Stevie Johnson threw a touchdown pass to Carson McMurtrey for Folsom’s other score. Carter Moore also kicked a 40-yard field goal for the Bulldogs.
Shay Mueller scored Oak Ridge’s first touchdown on a run, followed by a 32-yard run by JD Spencer and a 3-yard touchdown pass from Frank Trifeletti to Lance Berringer for the team’s final score.
“We battled tonight against a very good team,” Folsom coach Matt Navone said. “We struggled with penalties, but we were able to maintain the lead. We got key first downs when we needed them and made a big defensive stop in the fourth quarter. It was a battle all game long.”
Oak Ridge coach Aaron Brackney felt his team played well despite the loss.
“I thought our offensive line dominated up front and carried us to our three touchdowns,” Brackney said. “My hat is off to Folsom, but we made some mental errors and had some poor tackling. The big plays hurt us too.”
At halftime, Folsom crowned their Homecoming King and Queen, who were Dillon Fader and Lacey Millett.