With storied histories of section and state championships, Central Catholic High School and Folsom High School will meet each other for the first time in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinal on Friday.
Central Catholic head coach Roger Canepa is pleased with the match-up.
“They wanted us to play Folsom, they got it!” he said after last week’s win over Monterey Trail referring to the Raiders' No. 4 seed that produced this face-off with the Bulldogs. “They’ve got great athletes and they’re a bigger school than us."
Both teams are reigning section champions (CC in D-II, Folsom in D-I). Both teams also suffered a loss to Serra of San Mateo, Folsom’s only loss this year.
“They’ve got a great program and so do we,” said Canepa. “I’ve got all the respect for them, but I like our chances. It’s a team effort."
That was apparent in their defeat of Monterey Trail. Running back Tyler Jacklich rushed for a career-high of 288 yards, scored four touchdowns, and broke 2,000 yards for the season. Fellow senior Joel Roberts scored two touchdowns, and juniors Trace Hernandez and Tyler Wentworth got one apiece.
“We need to have a great effort on all three sides of the ball - offense, defense, and special teams,” Canepa said. “All games come down to who executes and who turns the ball over. We got to stop the big plays, make sure we have big drives and keep moving.”
Central Catholic has been on a roll the last seven weeks and they hope to keep that going for several more.
“We’re healthy, we’ve been playing our best football. We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing,” Canepa said. “Playoff time is our time.”
The highly anticipated showdown between section and state powers kicks off at 7 p.m. at Folsom's Prairie City Stadium.
Samantha Schmidt is a freelance photographer and reporter with FrontRowPreps.com. Her work has also been featured in the Turlock Journal and other Central Valley publications.