Will the “Freak” of Folsom meet his match on Friday night in the last game of the high school football season?
The moniker goes to Joseph Ngata in the most complimentary way, courtesy of Bulldogs coach Kris Richardson.
“Joe’s a freak of nature with what he does out there, and I’m just glad he’s on our side,” Richardson said.
The 6-foot-3 junior wide receiver is as difficult to contain as a young Randy Moss, Richardson said, using his speed, size and hands to batter defenses. So expect Helix High of La Mesa to send two of its best athletes to cover Ngata when it plays Folsom (15-0) at Sacramento State for the CIF State Division I-AA championship.
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If the Highlanders (13-1) expect to beat their second opponent from this region in a season finale, they will most certainly have to keep close tabs on No. 10.
Ngata has pulled in 76 receptions from Kaiden Bennett for 1,681 yards, averaging 22.1 yards per snag. Ngata has 25 touchdown catches, 10 coming in the last four games.
Helix’s defensive talent is similar to when it beat Del Oro in 2011 for the CIF State D-II crown. Defensive back Rashad Scott, the San Diego Section Player of the Year headed to San Diego State, has eight interceptions.
Then there’s Isaac Taylor-Stuart.
Taylor-Stuart, who will compete in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio next month, is ranked as the No. 2 cornerback in his class by 247Sports with dozens of scholarship offers, including USC, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Tennessee. The 6-2 senior has five interceptions.
Ngata has offers from USC, Cal, Notre Dame, Penn State, Washington, Utah and others.
Ngata hasn’t been caught from behind this season. Against Taylor-Stuart, there could be some all-out sprints in open space.
Taylor-Stuart became a social media sensation last summer, when he won a 40-yard dash competition at a national adidas camp in 4.25 seconds, thus earning from camp officials the title as the fastest prep player in the land.
For comparison, Taylor-Stuart’s 4.25 seconds would have ranked second at this year’s NFL combine to John Ross, whose 4.22 was the fastest since electronic timing was introduced at the combine in 1999.
A video of Taylor-Stuart’s 4.32-second 40 at the Nike Opening 2017 camp has been viewed over 76,000 times on YouTube, and his Twitter account (@Kingathlete5) has grown to more than 56,000 followers.
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Richardson said if teams over-cover Ngata, they run the risk of leaving others open.
Elijah Badger has 45 receptions for 802 yards and 11 touchdowns, and CJ Hutton, Daniyel Ngata and Brandon Rupchock have combined for 12 of the team’s 55 touchdown receptions.