Catholic cathedral wins state title with victory over Folsom

Almost three years to the day, Cathedral Catholic took on Folsom for a state football, let the game go into overtime, watched a receiver drop what would have been a winning touchdown in the end zone and scored. took a long bus ride home as losers.

On a cold Friday night at Saddleback College, the footballing powers met again with a state title on the line. This time, in the end, the Dons were partying, celebrating a 33-21 victory in the game for the Division 1-AA title.

Coupled with titles in 2010 and 2016, this is Cathedral’s third State Championship.

“It’s just as good as the first two,” said Cathedral head coach Sean Doyle.

A week earlier, Cathedral (12-2) qualified for the state championship game with a savage 71-62 victory over Orange Lutheran. It was a long night for Dons defensive coordinator John Montali, who saw his team give up 646 yards.

Against Folsom (11-4), the defense put in a memorable performance, holding the Bulldogs 15 points below their average.

“I feel tired,” said Montali amid the chaos on the pitch. “I have probably spent the longest week of preparation in my 29 years as a coach. After the way we played last week, it was unacceptable. We spend time in class, time in the field, time studying cinema.

“We were able to perform as a defense and it feels good.”

Defense contributed to the score. Leading 13-7 at halftime, the Dons scored three points and won their first possession.

In Folsom’s next offensive play, junior linebacker Victory Johnson appeared in front of a receiver, intercepted the pass, and accelerated 36 yards to a touchdown for a 20-7 lead.

“I visualized it,” Johnson said. “We all think about making big games. I read the action game, chose it, and read it. It was unbelievable.

The Dons have relied on running back Lucky Sutton all season and the senior didn’t disappoint in the biggest game of the season. After Folsom took in the game’s opener for a touchdown, Sutton stepped up.

In Cathedral’s second offensive play of the game, Sutton landed a left tackle, broke two arm tackles, tacked right and rushed for a 73-yard touchdown.

“Folsom scored from the start,” said Sutton. “I couldn’t let them get away. I had to do what I’m doing.

Sutton finished with 232 yards on 30 carries and a touchdown. He finished the season with 2,712 yards and 41 TDs leading the section. The Dons had 52 rushed games. None of them lost distance.

Defensively, Folsom focused a lot of attention on Sutton and ended up paying the price. Quarterback Charlie Mirer completed just 4 of 9 passes for 59 yards. But two of the completions went to Rex Haynes for touchdowns spanning 19 and 22 yards.

“When you focus on one person so much, sometimes other people can beat you,” Doyle said. “We have a lot of guns and it shows. We are blessed.

Mirer, which isn’t exactly an option threat, has even embarked on the race. Leading 26-21 with less than five minutes to go, the Dons faced a fourth and one over the Folsom 28. Mirer kept the ball on a quarterback, was pushed forward by Sutton, then came out of the box. ‘a scrum for a 28-yard touchdown. Course.

The improbable score almost won the day.

“I only wanted one rod, but I’ll take 28,” Doyle said.

“I just kept my legs moving, it opened up, I kept moving and I don’t really know what happened,” Mirer said.

As is their tradition, the Dons sprinted to the stands in front of their student section after the game and started singing “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers.

The players took turns grabbing the wooden California-shaped trophy, rubbing it and kissing it.

“I dreamed of it when I was in first grade,” said Sutton. “It’s crazy. It sounds surreal and very satisfying.



Catholic Cathedral 33, Folsom 21

Folsom 7 0 7 7 – 21

Catholic Cathedral 6 7 13 7 – 33

F – McMillan 2 assist from T. Tremain (kick from J. Tremain), 6:21

CC – Sutton 73 run (missed kick), 5:54

CC – Haynes 19 pass from Mirer (cheek), 11:31

CC – Johnson interception return 36 (cheek kick), 10:07

F – McMillan 36 pass from T. Tremain (kick from J. Tremain), 7:52

CC – Haynes 22 pass from Mirer (missed pass), 3:32

F – Maxey-Parler 1 run (J. Tremain kick), 10:18

CC – Mirer 28 run, 4:29

First stockings 18 22

Total Net Yards 293,375

rushing 40 316

Who passed 253 59

Comp-Att-Int 24-36-2 4-9-0

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0

Penalties-yards 2-20 4-33


QUICKLY : Folsom: T. Tremain 5-29, Maxey-Plarler 6-11. Catholic Cathedral: Sutton 30-232, Whaley 12-52, Bond 3-16, Letuli 3-13.

WHO PASSED: Folsom: T. Tremain 23-35-251-2, Mack 1-1-20. Catholic Cathedral: Mirer 4-9-59-0.

RECEPTION: Folsom: Flores 9-106, McMillan 6-91, Norberg 4-41, Arnaz 3-10. Cathedral Catholic: Haynes 2-41, Wahley 2-18.

INTERCEPTION: Folsom: None. Catholic Cathedral: Dockery 1, Johnson 1.

FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Folsom: None. Catholic Cathedral: None.

BAGS: Folsom: Eklund 1. Catholic Cathedral: Fortune 1.

Norcross is a freelance writer.

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