Bulldogs come from behind to tie state champs
Ramona High School’s Bulldog football team is a reflection of the community. Neither quits or gives up.
It would have been easy to just go through the motions after falling behind 21-0 to the defending state and CIF champion. It would have been easy to go home and catch a late movie. But the Bulldogs fought until the final second and the community of Ramona stayed in the Dawg Pound to see the most exciting tie ever played before the biggest crowd in Ramona history.
“What a crowd … complete passion for this team …. The crowd was truly 212 (the temperature at which water boils) … If we can get that type of interest and support for our playoff game the Friday after Thanksgiving, it will help us move one more step closer to our team goal of playing in Qualcom stadium,” said Coach Damon Baldwin. “I have coached in stadiums at Michigan, Ohio State, Miami, USC, UCLA, and Wisconsin. The environment in the Dawg Pound topped all of those. … Why? Because the emotion and passion in this team is special.
“The energy and passion from our fans was spectacular. To fight and crawl back into this game against the state champions with the remarkable young men on this team was truly something that this coaching staff and players will never forget.
“Our group of seniors will not be denied! All the underclassmen in this football program have a chance to learn a great deal from these 33 warriors. That is how programs sustain. That is how programs are built. …Young athletes learning from each other and learning about teamwork, heart, and passion. WOW!
“The kickoff return for a touchdown that was called back should not have happened. Looking at the video, it should not have happened. We must have taken over 50 points off the board this year. … We stress it, work it. Sometimes calls just do not go your way.
“I guess a Pirate has never danced with a Bulldog for four quarters. These Bulldogs do not quit. They never stop believing. Tthey just love to play football together!”
Any time a team comes from behind from a 21-point deficit means that things started off badly.
Oceanside took the opening kickoff last Friday and marched methodically down the field for a score. Ramona threw an interception on its first possession and the Pirates took advantage of the turnover by scoring to go ahead 14-0
Special teams mistakes continued to plague the Bulldogs when Ryan Morgan returned a kickoff 90 yards only to have the run called back because of a penalty.
Oceanside scored at the beginning of the second period and the Dawgs trailed 21-0.
The Dawgs then came alive. Ian Hunt capped off a drive by scoring on a quarterback sneak and the Dawgs were on the board.
Mikey Head intercepted a Jordan Wynn pass and the Dawgs took advantage of the pick to score quickly. Hunt found Head open in the Pirate secondary for a 57-yard touchdown pass. Again, special teams hurt the Dawgs as they failed to convert the PAT. Ramona went into intermission trailing the Pirates 21-13.
“We had shot ourselves in the foot with turnovers, special teams mistakes and we were still in the game,” said Baldwin. “I knew that we had a chance to win and so did the team.”
The Dawg defensive staff made some adjustments for the second half that all but stopped the Oceanside running game.
“Chucky Delacruz, Tanner Hix, Cody Lambert and Mikey Head all had big second halves,” said Baldwin. “Seth Drake came up with an interception. Every defensive player left it all on the field.
“Oceanside had more size and speed than we do, but we played with heart and sometimes that is all that counts,” said Defensive Coordinator Ed Munyer. “I am so proud to be a member of this community. The crowd was phenomenal. Talk about community support!”
Ryan went 63 yards untouched for a touchdown for the first score of the second half as the Ramona offensive line made a statement. Brett Germain, James Nicholson, Derek Sauter, Jacob Landmark, Spencer Johnston and Matt Ott took command of the line of scrimmage and opened running lanes and protected Hunt in the second half. The 2-point conversion failed and the Dawgs trailed 21-19.
Ramona’s defense held the Pirates to a field goal to give the Pirates a 24-19 advantage and then irony came into play. Usually an interception hurts a team’s chances. An Oceanside interception set up a Bulldog touchdown.
A Hunt pass was picked off by Jake Fely inside the Pirate 5 yard line. The turnover had the effect of a well-placed punt and put the Pirates in poor field position.
The Pirates completed a wide receiver screen pass, but as soon as DeMario Coleman secured possession of the pass Hix hit him with a vicious tackle that forced a fumble. Defensive end Kevin Guglielmetti picked up the loose ball on the 5 yard line and followed John Henry Yorba into the end zone for a touchdown.
Ramona took a 25-24 lead into the final 12 minutes of play.
Oceanside scored early in the fourth period to take a 30-25 advantage. Ramona fumbled on its next possession, and the Pirates were in position to put the game out of reach. Ramona’s defense dug in and again limited the Pirates to a field goal.
The Pirates led by 8 points with 4 minutes left in the game.
Ramona’s offense would not be denied. Another Hunt to Head pass put the Dawgs in scoring position and the Dawgs pounded the ball into the end zone on a Joey Dambrose 1-yard run with just 27 ticks left on the clock. Ramona trailed by 2 and went for a 2-point PAT.
“I wanted to call a play where we would sprint out to a three receiver set and give our quarterback the option to pass or run,” said Baldwin. “The offensive line looked me in the face and said that we could run it behind them. One of the linemen said, ‘We got it here running. We can do this.’ I felt that, since a senior would hand it to a senior and follow three senior linemen, it was the seniors’ call. That was the best call I never made.”
Ramona tied the game, but the No. 1 team in the county still had 27 seconds to win the game.
Ramona squibbed a kickoff that gave the Pirates good field position. Jordan went to work, but the Bulldog defense held and the biggest crowd in Bulldog history went into pandemonium.
Whoever says that a tie is like kissing your sister must have a very ugly sister. However, the tie was a loss for the Pirates. The tie will in all probability keep them from defending their state championship even if they do win the CIF and finish the season undefeated.
- Bulldogs face state champs
- Ramona beats Westview
- Dawgs trounce Knights, remain undefeated
- Bulldogs slam Horizon for fourth football win
- Bulldog loss to Valley Center ‘came down to feet’
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