Over the last decade, the Folsom Bulldogs have been running the region with section titles and state banners, but newcomers come into the spotlight and this season it was the Monterey Trail Mustangs.
With head football coach T.J. Ewing coaching his team to their third Sac-Joaquin Final in school history, Ewing said consistency is the one thing this season that got his team into this position.
“Having the right people and them being in the right spot helps us a lot,” Ewing said.
He added that when he started the program at Monterey Trail 15 years ago that persistence, commitment and belief have also been consistent with his program.
Ewing said the message has always been the same to his players year in and out.
“The former players that have played for us can talk to the new players and they understand each other,” Ewing said. “There is a link between them because the old players went through the same thing the players now are going through.”
Ewing alluded to the last time he brought his Mustangs to the section finals in consecutive years in 2009 and 2010.
He added that after the Mustangs beat Oak Ridge on Nov. 24, the alumni players were on the sidelines and hugged the current players with support and it was a great environment for Ewing to see former and current players embrace in one.
The veer offense that Ewing and his staff run with averaged just over 50 points per game this season.
Running the veer offense for the Mustangs was senior quarterback Zachary Larrier.
Larrier had completed 74 passes for 1,268 yards on 59 percent completion accuracy and 17 touchdown passes before the game against Folsom Saturday night.
He added another 150 yards in the air with a touchdown pass on five completions in the 63-25 loss against Folsom.
Larrier also had rushed 78 times for 909 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns.
He added 85 yards on the ground on 18 carries and a rushing TD in the loss to Folsom Saturday night.
Larrier said the Mustang program meant everything to him and his favorite memories of being in the program were the summers.
“All the sweat, the dry heaving from the hot weather and the tires,” Larrier said.
He added that it helped him transform into the man he is going to be.
Senior running back Jehiel Budgett led the Mustangs rushing attack all season with 1509 yards on the ground on 79 carries with 23 TDs.
He had 57 yards on 12 carries in the loss to Folsom in the D-1 final before he went into concussion protocol.
Budgett and Larrier were supported throughout the season by fellow senior running back Viktor Oliver who contributed 804 yards on the ground and nine TDs.
Sophomore running back Prophet Brown contributed 546 yards on the ground with 34 carriers and found the endzone nine times.
Ewing said he couldn’t pick one player that is above the rest on his roster this season.
“Everybody has a daily hand in the competition that goes on,” Ewing said.
He added that the competition comes from the weight room and on the field.
“There are so many competitive kids and its fun to watch the day to day interaction,” Ewing said.
A lot of the Mustangs’ players came up through the Jr. Mustang program, so the culture and environment Ewing talked about former and current players going through the same motions couldn’t be any more true.
Larrier said it was the best program in Northern California.
“It will make you a better person,” Larrier said. “Take the moment and make it how you want it to be with no regrets.”