A preview of Ramona’s Bulldog football team
By Bill Tamburrino
The NFL collective bargaining agreement must have taken a close look at Coach Damon Baldwin’s practice plans. The NFL’s new agreement allows only one full pads practice a day during two-a-days (Hell Week to RHS followers). That’s the way Baldwin has done it during his tenure at RHS.
“We try to teach and review our offense and defense during fall camp,” he said. “Our first practice is in shells (helmet and shoulder pads). We walk through the plays and defenses that we will be implementing in the late practice. It is a teaching period. We walk through special teams. We do a lot of teaching. We don’t condition.”
The first practice is from 2:30 p.m. to 4:15 FCT (football coaches’ time). Few if any practices end exactly on time, but they always start on time.
The coaches and players then take a break, and what used to be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich bar has turned into a full lunch spread.
“Our team parents’ representative, Leighanne Kerchner, has organized a group of mothers and they have really outdone themselves,” said Baldwin. “They provide sandwiches, fruit, Popsicles, cereal and granola bars, Gatorade and cold water, and other snacks. What they have done is truly amazing and wonderful. The players and coaches really appreciate their efforts.”
The second practice is from 6:30 to 8:45 in the evening. It is in full pads, and blocking and tackling fundamentals are stressed. Group work and team work is stressed, and there is conditioning.
“Our players reported in phenomenal shape,” said Baldwin. “The coaches have done a great job over the summer getting the players in shape and teaching them. Our practices have been up tempo and the players’ attitudes have been great.”
The Bulldogs had three two-a-day sessions the first week and are scheduled to have one two-a-day the second week. They opened on Monday, Aug. 8, in jerseys, shorts and helmets only. On Tuesday they added shoulder pads to their wardrobe, and on Wednesday it was full gear in the second practice only.
Baldwin’s Bulldogs are young and inexperienced. The Dawgs only return eight starters after graduating 25 seniors from last year’s team that finished 5-6 and went 1-3 in their initial season in the Palomar League.
Thirty-six seniors are in camp. However, many of them saw limited duty or played junior varsity last season.
The strength of the team will be the offensive line. Highly recruited Kwayde Miller (6’8, 305) will start the season at tackle after moving there from tight end during the season last year. Luke Papps (5’10, 225) is back at guard and was last year’s lineman of the year.
Eric Box (6’3, 265) is back for his third varsity campaign and is getting interest from several colleges. Preston Johnson (6’4, 280) started at tackle last year but was moved to defense. Johnson is also getting interest from colleges.
Running back, according to Baldwin, will be by committee until somebody emerges. Kirk “K-10” Kaliszewski is the lone back with any experience on the varsity level. K-10 had 19 carries for 113 yards and one TD last season.
“Our wide receiver/defensive back crew looks great,” said Baldwin. “We have the best ??debt?? at those positions since I have been here.”
Jason Laws is the only returner who had significant playing time last season. Laws had seven catches for 113 yards.
Travis Stevens is recovering from a broken leg, so Hunter McHargue took the majority of snaps at quarterback during passing league games. McHargue has no varsity experience.
New defensive coordinator and linebacker coach Stephon Pace has three starters returning from last year’s team.
Javier Dominguez started at defensive back, Kaliskewski started games at linebacker, and Preston Johnson started games at tackle.
Punter Christian Glotfelty returns for his senior season. The kicking job is still up for grabs.
The Dawgs may be short on varsity experience, but Baldwin likes the team’s speed, strength, size at key positions and most of all the players’ desire and attitude.
“In high school football, every year the seniors graduate and you have to replace them,” he said. “Our frosh and junior varsity teams run our system and the coaches have done a great job of developing talent and teaching our system. Our kids work very hard in the off season and have gotten bigger, quicker, faster and stronger. Right now we have eight sophomores on the varsity roster and they all can play and they all can contribute. That is a tribute to last year’s frosh football staff. We should have an exciting season.”
With only one day of hitting under their belts, the Bulldogs are all vying for starting jobs and spots on the ??debt?? chart. As those jobs are filled, they will be reported in the Sentinel.
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