The Monterey Trail Mustangs handed the Folsom Bulldogs their first loss in the Sac-Joaquin Section since the 2016 season and got redemption Friday night where the Mustangs won 35-23 in a brisk battle in Folsom.
Friday was a rematch of last year’s Sac Joaquin Section Division I title game where the Bulldogs beat a gassed-out Monterey Trail team 63-25 and the first time the Mustangs have beaten Folsom since the 2009 season.
The Mustangs showed they weren’t intimated on their opening drive of the game when they killed six minutes off the clock when senior running back Caleb Ramseur pushed his way into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown rush to give Monterey Trail an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
The high-powered spread offense of Folsom moved the ball quickly downfield, but the Mustangs defense made their presence known when senior linebacker Marcus Jones Jr. sacked Folsom senior quarterback Jacob Reithmeier on the Monterey Trail 43-yard line to turn the ball over on downs.
The Mustangs’ extended their lead to 14 when junior running back Prophet Brown stormed the left sideline and took it 40 yards to the house just under three minutes left in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs responded on the first play of the second quarter when Reithmeier cut the Monterey Trail lead to seven when scored on a 51-yard touchdown rush.
After the Mustangs punted to Folsom on their next possession, they tied the game up when Reithmeier found senior wide receiver Elijhah Badger for a 25-yard touchdown pass.
Monterey Trail got the ball with seven and a half minutes to go in the half and ended the five-minute drive when Ramseur found the end zone on a three-yard rush for the second of his three touchdown rushes on the night.
The Mustangs’ took a 21-14 lead into the half.
The Bulldogs got the second half kick and took it into the Mustangs territory but were able to score when senior kicker Drake Digiorno kicked a 25-yard to cut the Monterey Trail deficit to 4 with 10:19 to go in the third quarter.
The veer offense of the Mustangs’ ate up the rest of the clock in the third quarter as they ended their 10 plus minute drive with Ramseur’s third and final touchdown of the night as he rushed it into the end zone from 2 yards out to take a 28-17 lead with 11:45 to go in the game.
Ramseur was the workhorse for the Mustangs’ offense as he carried the ball 38 times on the night.
“I’m sore, but I’m happy I got all those carries,” Ramseur said.
He added that the constant grind during their summer workouts day in and day out made them never give up on one another and give their best effort .
“We’ve been working forever,” Ramseur said.
The effect of the veer offense limited Folsom’s opportunities of possessions.
The Bulldogs only had three offensive possessions in the second half, scoring on the first two when they started their drives in Monterey Trail territory.
Reithmeier found Badger in the end zone again, this time for a 22-yard strike to have the lead cut to five just under 11 minutes left in the game.
Folsom attempted a two-point conversion to bring the game within a field goal, but the pass was broken up, so the Mustangs held the 28-23 lead.
Monterey Trail, who only had three offensive possessions in the second half as well due to them taking extensive time off the clock, did it one last time.
On a third and 15, with the first down marker on the half-yard line, Mustangs senior quarterback Viktor Timonin threw a 15-yard fade pass to fellow senior receiver Antonio Williams in the corner of the end zone to extend the lead to 35-23 just over two minutes to go in the game.
“I told him to throw it deep and out of bounds, just give me a chance at it,” Williams said as Monterey Trail head coach T.J. Ewing was laughing and clenched his fist in support of the statement said by Williams.
The Bulldogs moved the ball in the blink of an eye off a long pass from Reithmeier to Badger that ended up on the Monterey Trail 8-yard line.
Brown sealed the deal for the Mustangs’ when he intercepted a Reithmeier pass in the end zone and it gave Monterey Trail the back on their own 20 with a minute and a half to go in the game.
Jones Jr., who is the anchor of the defense for Monterey Trail, couldn’t hide his excitement after the game.
He said when he saw Brown make the interception, that he couldn’t hold back the excitement and smile largely and jump around with his teammates.
The Mustangs sideline and crowd erupted on the field and in the stands.
All the high fives, jumping and screaming from the coaches and players on the sideline.
The final horn from the scoreboard sounded and the feeling on the Monterey Trail side was electric.
This ended Folsom’s ninth consecutive trip to a section title game.
Ewing hopped in line first to shake the hands with Folsom and as he finished, he stepped to the side to give his players a high five as they ran back to celebrate with their fans and sideline.
The excitement brewed as all the players, coaches and cheerleaders continued jumping, hugging and cheering.
The Mustangs have won nine straight games since their loss to Cosumnes Oaks in the third week of the season.
“We don’t want to have that feeling again,” Williams said.
The support from the Monterey Trail school staff and alumni of the Mustangs’ football program was evident as the sideline was packed with both.
Ramseur said the support system from them was amazing because they believed that they could beat Folsom and “Shock the world.”
Ewing said the senior leadership was a key to the victory Friday.
“All of the little things you need from leadership matter,” Ewing said.
With the win Friday, Monterey Trail earned a second consecutive trip to the Sac-Joaquin Division I Football finals.
They will play Oak Ridge in the final this Saturday at 8 p.m. at Sacramento City College, whom they played last season in the semi-finals with the Mustangs defeating the Trojans 48-20.
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