Bulldogs come from behind to beat Sundevils in CIF quarterfinals
Next game: CIF semifinals Nov. 27 against Cathedral Catholic
By Bill Tamburrino
Two things are important when attending a Ramona High football game: Get there on time and stay until the end.
Ramona came from behind to beat Mt. Carmel 30-21 in the quarterfinals of the San Diego CIF Division I football playoffs Thursday night. The excitement started on the opening kickoff and the game was not decided until the final possession.
The momentum changed several times during the game and there were times when it appeared that one of the teams had the game won. Neither team surrendered and both teams fought until the end.
The Mount returned the opening kickoff to its own 47-yard line and then drove 53 yards unabated to take a 7-0 lead.
The Bulldogs answered by driving 80 yards on four plays to tie the game. Brandon Gansch took a Marco Cobian handoff on the Bulldog’s first play from scrimmage and ran through a Red Sea-sized hole for 68 yards to the Mt. Carmel 12-yard line. Gansch scored on a 1-yard run and Tyler Vargas drilled the PAT to make it a 7-7 tie.
The Bulldog defense recorded a three and out and Ramona then mounted a 68-yard scoring drive that ended with a 41-yard Vargas field goal to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the game at 10-7 with 1:48 remaining in the initial period.
Then the Bulldog defense got into the scoring act, aided by a special teams big play. Brandon Duarte pinned the Sundevils down inside their 5-yard line with a coffin corner punt. Senior linebacker Ben Barnat blitzed the Sundevil quarterback and recorded a safety to give the Dawgs a 12-7 lead. Ramona had the momentum with 6:49 left in the first half.
Momentum changed completely in the third quarter. Mt. Carmel forced a three and out on Ramona’s first possession, and on fourth down Duarte had a difficult time handling the snap in the end zone. Duarte picked up the loose ball and threw an incomplete pass. The Mount took possession on the Bulldog 14-yard line and scored a go-ahead touchdown with 9:13 left in the third period.
The Sundevil defense again forced a three and out. The Sundevils then marched 59 yards to score and took a 21-12 lead. Nathan Cherek then sprinted around left end for what appeared to be an 84-yard touchdown, only to have it nullified by a penalty. Mt. Carmel had the momentum and the breaks going its way heading into the fourth period.
Gansch (21 carries for 129 yards) opened the final stanza with a 5-yard touchdown run to make it a 21-19 game.
Cherek (nine carries for 139 yards) then broke off a 44-yard touchdown run to give the Dawgs a 25-21 lead. The Dawgs elected to go for a 2-point conversion and Gansch scored untouched with 4:24 left in the season for the losing team.
Garrett Dart then came up with the biggest interception of the season and returned it 21 yards to the Mt. Carmel 19-yard line. Ramona ran down the clock and Vargas then drilled a 29-yard field goal with 3:00 left on the clock.
The Bulldog defense came alive to stop the Sundevils and give the Dawgs the ball back. Cobian took a knee four times to end the game.
Matt Lawler led the Dawgs with three receptions for 38 yards. Keyanis Crichlow had one grab for 43 yards. Colton Harris and Garrett Binkley also caught Cobian passes.
Ramona scored every possible way in the game. The Dawgs scored a touchdown, field goal, safety, 1-point conversion and a 2-point conversion.
Travis Kerchner, Tanner “T-Bone” Williams, Kevin Ochoa, Keyshaun Crichlow, Raul Briseno and Mike Hoover all recorded sacks for the Dawg defense. Williams had two. Kerchner led the team with nine tackles. Keyshaun Crichlow recorded seven tackles. Briseno and Barnat each had six tackles and Dallas Domnitz had five.
“We could have won 41-7 and we could have lost. Our guys found a way to rally and to win. We had big special teams plays, scored on defense, made big holes and had too many penalties. What a game! I may have to go on blood pressure medication if we play too many more like this one,” said Coach Damon Baldwin with a smile after the game. “It was a tough way to win a school-record 10 games in a single season.”
Ramona will be in the semifinals for the second straight season. They face perennial power Cathedral Catholic in the Dawg House on Wednesday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $11 for adults and $7 for students and seniors.
If the Bulldogs beat Cathedral Catholic, they move on to play in the CIF finals on Monday, Dec. 2, at Qualcomm Stadium at 2 p.m. Tickets will be $13 for adults and $9 for students and seniors.
Check www.ramonasentinel.com for results from the semifinals game.
- Bulldogs beat Point Loma, 21-19, in a white-knuckler, face Grossmont Friday
- Hornets beat Bulldogs for Division III CIF football championship
- Ramona Bulldogs come from behind to beat No. 2-ranked Helix High
- Ramona Bulldogs beat El Camino, fourth win against a DI team
- Ramona plays Mt. Carmel Thursday in CIF quarterfinals
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