Bulldogs lose football’s season opener after strong start
By Bill Tamburrino
The Ramona Bulldogs lost their season opener at Grossmont 24-20 in a game that started as an offensive shootout and ended up a defensive battle.
The first 12 minutes and 42 seconds was all Ramona. The Bulldogs scored the first 20 points of the game, were driving for
another touchdown and appeared to be in complete control both offensively and defensively. Then momentum changed.
The Dawgs opened the game with an impressive drive that ended when Kirk Kaliszewski scored on a 10-yard run with 6:45 left on the clock. Ali Aparicio added the PAT and the Dawgs led 7-0.
Keyanis Crichlow then electrified the crowd when he extended to make a running catch on a pass from Hunter McHargue on a play that covered 62 yards for a touchdown. Aparicio’s Pat made it 14-0.
The Dawgs opened the second quarter with a Crichlow interception that led to a Ramona TD. Crichlow again grabbed a McHargue pass for a 10-yard TD. The kick failed and the Dawgs led 20-0.
Crichlow had an impressive night in his first varsity game as a Bulldog. He made four catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns and intercepted two passes.
Grossmont’s offense dominated the remainder of the first half and scored 21 unanswered points to take a 21-20 lead at half time.
Both defensive coordinators made critical adjustments in the locker rooms and the defenses controlled the second half. The 41-point first half was followed by a 3-point second half.
Both teams used massive blitz packages and attacked the opposing offenses. Ramona could only muster three first downs after intermission and Grossmont made five first downs.
The key to the game was Grossmont’s pass rush. The Foothillers sacked McHargue five times in the second half and limited Ramona to 18 passing yards compared to 136 passing yards in the first half.
“We are a different team this year than we were I the past,” said Coach Damon Baldwin. “Seventeen players played in their first varsity game against Grossmont. We usually start off quickly and level off at the end of the season. We will steadily improve and hopefully peak at the right time.
“We made plenty of mistakes and we made the same mistakes over and over. However, they are all correctable. We will work hard and improve.”
Baldwin praised Kaliszewski’s play.
“He went both ways and was outstanding,” Baldwin said of the Bulldog senior. “He recovered two fumbles, one on our goal line. He carried the ball well and he blocked very well on blitz protection.”
Baldwin also praised Javier Dominguez, who also played on both sides of the ball.
“Javier and Robbie Farren both played very well at safety,” said Coach Jason Matthews.
“Connor Guasti was our lineman of the game,” said Baldwin. “He did an outstanding job in his first start as a tackle. Luke Papps also played well in his first start at center.”
The Dawgs host the Morse Tigers in the Dawg Pound on Friday. The JV game starts at 4:30 p.m. and the varsity game will kickoff at 7. The freshman team will also play against Morse at home on Thursday at 5 p.m.
- Ramona beats Serra in football season opener
- Bulldogs lose to Cougars in CIF quarterfinals
- Bulldogs finish pre-league football games 4-0
- Water Dawgs start strong, lose lead
- Bulldogs win water polo opener, lose first home game
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