Thunder can only wonder

Sjansen@mercedsunstar.comNovember 23, 2012 

— Joe Marquez sat on the Buhach Colony bench with an ice bag taped to his knee during the first half.

The Thunder quarterback missed only one series before returning to the game.

However, his spot on the bench was taken by running Leon Miles, who injured his ankle early in the second half.

Buhach Colony was battered and bruised as once again the Thunder (10-3) saw their season come to an end in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 2 semifinals.

For the third straight year Buhach Colony made a deep run in the playoffs, but once again it finished one win shy of playing for a section title.

"It's bittersweet," Marquez said. "We're proud that we made it this far, but we want to go all the way."

The Thunder were going to have play near perfect to stay with Folsom (13-0) and its high octane offense.

Folsom's young gunslinger Jake Browning showed why he's leading the state in passing yards and touchdowns. The sophomore threw three touchdown passes on Friday night as the top-seeded Bulldogs ran away from Buhach Colony 49-22.

The Thunder just weren't sharp enough.

Penalties, fourth-down miscues and its inability to finish off drives hurt Buhach Colony.

The Thunder started strong, marching over 40 yards on nine plays on its opening drive.

They were sticking to their game plan, which was to chew up the clock with their strong running game.

The only problem was Buhach Colony couldn't finish drives. The Thunder had to settle for Shane Bell's 35-yard field goal on the opening drive.

The Buhach Colony defense did its job on Folsom's first drive, stopping the Bulldogs on fourth down.

That set up the Thunder offense on the Folsom side of the field. It was a great chance to jump out to a nice early lead.

Instead, Buhach settled for another Bell field goal.

Browning got going and before the Thunder knew it, they were heading into halftime trailing 35-6.

"We were putting ourselves in great position, we just didn't finish and they capitalized," Marquez said.

The Thunder just couldn't come up with the play when they needed it.

They tried a fake punt on fourth-and-one and Marquez ran into his own teammate and was tackled for a loss to set Folsom up in great scoring position.

Miles dropped a pitch to turn the ball over deep in Folsom territory.

The Thunder drove the ball into the Bulldogs' red zone four times in the first half and came away with just six points.

After turning the ball over on downs on its first possession, Folsom put together four straight touchdown drives.

"That hurt, they're too good to do that," Buhach Colony head coach Kevin Swartwood said. "It would have been nice to have 28 points in the first half. We would have been right in there with them."

Instead, the Thunder were left licking their wounds after another semifinal loss.

Wounds that ice won't help numb the pain.

All Buhach Colony can hope for is another opportunity next year.

The question is how many more opportunities will they get?

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