FOLSOM — In the aftermath of Friday’s disappointing season finale, as jerseys and pads were coming off on the sidelines, the Edison High football team’s maroon undershirts were exposed.

Down the spines of these shirts, the five scores that turned the Vikings into league champions for the first time in 41 years were listed. Near the shoulder blades, one message presided over the wins.

“2018 San Joaquin Section Champions.”

Even in the darkest hours of Edison’s season, a 64-28 loss to No. 1 Folsom in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I quarterfinals, the reminders of what this group was able to accomplish was still prominent. The Vikings did something that hasn’t been done in generations, and in the process they’ve built a foundation of young talent that could lead to success in south Stockton for years to come.

One gruesome loss won’t change that.

“We changed the culture around here,” said head coach Booker Guyton. “Now we know what we have to do to start winning and taking it to the next level.”

In their 9-3 season, the Vikings found their running back of the future in freshman Raleek Brown. They discovered not one, but two capable quarterbacks in juniors Davis Raya-Ruiz and Treyvon Breckenridge. They’ve established defensive pillars for next year, like juniors Daylan Carter and David Rodriguez, and sophomore Zachary Taamu.

While it was a tough pill to swallow, particularly when staring up at a 50-0 deficit in the first quarter, they all learned something Friday night. The Vikings went toe-to-toe with the defending state champions, and saw first-hand what that kind of ability looks like.

“That’s why they’re where they’re at. That’s what we’re striving to get to,” Guyton said. “We had a great year. Now, we know what we need to do to take it further.”

Undoubtedly, these up-and-coming Vikings also learned something from their senior teammates. With their high school careers all but over, seniors like running back Zeke Bush and wide receiver Isaiah Evans, among others, didn’t quit. Both scored touchdowns in the second half to help the Vikings put up 28 points, the second-most points allowed by Folsom this season.

They had put too much into this season, this team to stop short.

“They’re going to be able to walk back into that stadium and know they left with a legacy,” Guyton said. “I’m really happy for what they’ve done for our school, our community.”

Before the game Friday, Guyton said it seemed like the entire school joined in on Edison’s pregame meal. And, on the visitor’s side of Prairie City Stadium, it sure looked like the Vikings faithful had traveled well to support the squad.

The energy around the program created by Edison’s 2018 season is unmistakable. The Vikings have successfully turned the corner, Guyton said. Now, it’s time to find out what’s next.

“I’m ecstatic for what’s to come,” Guyton said. “We’ve got a great group of kids coming up, and I hope we can get a great group of kids coming in that want to be a part of the excitement that we have going on at Edison.”