FOLSOM, Calif. (KTXL) — There are some big games on the high school football schedule Friday night as only a handful of teams locally will play for the NorCal Regional Championship in their respective divisions.
One of the matchups that fans are interested in is the rematch between Folsom High School and De La Salle High School in Concord.
“This is post-season, championship football. This is what Folsom has been about for so many years and this group is right back here trying to write their own chapter,” said Folsom head coach Paul Doherty.
But just getting to this point, Folsom had to go through adversity that no program there has had to endure since the 2010 season.
“We finally got hit in the mouth for the first time — for a lot of them, for the first time in their football playing careers — and they were able to stick together,” Doherty said.
Key injuries and a hardened regular-season schedule saw the Bulldogs lose three out of four games heading to the playoffs.
It left many wondering what was wrong with Folsom.
But as it turned out, it proved what was right with the team.
“It’s hard, it’s hard like you said, losing three out of the four games, you deal with injuries. Losing is hard. It’s hard to come back, but I think our team did a really good job with it,” linebacker Justin Eklund said. “You know, we won the section and now we’re playing in the NorCal game.”
Standing in the Bulldogs’ way of a State Championship Bowl Game is a familiar team: De La Salle.
Folsom has played against the Spartans five times since 2021 and has yet to beat them. They most recently lost in a lopsided contest back in mid-October.
“I don’t think we really do anything different, other than the fact that we need to play a cleaner game and really try to play our game. That’s really what we’ve been preached upon. And just play our game and see how it goes,” quarterback Tyler Tremain said.
“I think that’s kind of the story of football. It’s hard to beat anybody twice,” Doherty said. “On Friday night, it’s about who plays better, you know, whether you’re better than these other teams or they’re better than you. Whoever plays best on Friday in a competitive matchup is going to come out on top.”
“The preparation and the focal points are the same, and you just hope the results are different,” Doherty added.