(KTXL) — It’s going to be a big weekend for high school football, with the State Championship Bowl Games Friday and Saturday in Southern California.
The Raiders are going into Friday’s game 13-1, while the Bulldogs are 11-3.
Central Catholic is top 10 in the state in rushing, according to Max Preps, racking up nearly 4,000 yards on the year.
Senior running back Aiden Taylor accounts for nearly half of that yardage.
“I’m not really a numbers guy,” Taylor told FOX40. “I kind of just like going out there playing, doing my thing and just having fun. I’m more just trying to help the team and the numbers happen to come with it but I’m just here for the team.”
Their elite ground game has helped earn the Raiders a state title berth in 2021.
The Raiders won four straight titles from 2012 to 2015 under head coach Roger Canepa, but they haven’t been back since.
“You know, we won four in a row and I thought, ‘We’ll be back soon,’” Canepa said. “I appreciate it a lot more now. It’s been five, six years since we’ve been there. We’re excited.”
The Folsom Bulldogs have been the best high school football program in the region for more than a decade.
They’ve played in four previous state title games, all since the 2010 season — and won each time.
Folsom’s high-powered offense is normally the topic of conversation, but their defense is what carried the team down the stretch this year, especially in the NorCal Championship.
“We don’t always get all the credit, but our defense is special. We have a lot of special players and I had all the trust,” said linebacker Caden Bienvenue. “I was actually on the far side, away from the jet-sweep. So, seeing that go back, I just had trust and faith in my teammates, and they did it.”
“It’s impressive what they’ve done. They’ve bailed us out week after week, and we need it again this week,” said Folsom head coach Paul Doherty.
Central Catholic plays Mater Dei at 4 p.m. Friday at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo. The Folsom game against Cathedral Catholic starts at 8 p.m.