Momentum shifts after controversial play in Bulldogs’ semifinals loss to Dons
By Bill Tamburrino
Ramona’s best season since leaving the small schools division and entering the large schools division in 1974, came to an end in the CIF Division I semifinal game Nov. 27 when the Bulldogs lost to Cathedral Catholic 20-0 in a game marked with controversy.
The first half was a classic defensive battle. Both teams had key interceptions inside the opponent’s 5-yard line. Ramona lost the ball to an interception on the Dons’ 2-yard line and Keyanis Crichlow grabbed a pick on the Bulldog 5-yard line. Special teams also played a big part in the first half. Brandon Duarte pinned down the Dons with a coffin corner punt that went out of bounds on the Cathedral 6. The Dawg defense held, and on the ensuing punt Ramona muffed the punt and the Dons recovered the loose ball on their own 43. Cathedral then used a coffin corner punt to pin Ramona down on their own 5.
The half ended on a controversial play that may have been illegal. Cathedral marched 72 yards and, with less than 18 seconds left and no timeouts, the Dons’ running back, Chris Moliga, was sprung free and headed for the end zone. Garrett Dart made a great touchdown-saving tackle on the goal line with 12 seconds showing on the clock. Cathedral hustled to the line of scrimmage and it appeared that the clock had run out, ending the half. The line was not set, but the officials ruled that the Dons hiked the ball and the quarterback spiked the ball with one second left on the clock. However, the Dons were penalized for illegal procedure and the ball was placed on the 5- yard line. On the play in question, it appeared that the ball was snapped and the quarterback and running back moved. Then there was mass confusion. The ball ended up in the end zone with the Dons’ center, Austin Goodwin, brandishing the ball. After a long deliberation, the officials ruled that the ball was fumbled and recovered into the end zone, and the Dons were awarded a touchdown.
A closer look of the play on film after the game showed a little different story, according to coaches and football association officials. The quarterback and back moved before the ball was snapped. Goodwin then snapped the ball and the Cathedral line moved on the snap. The ball was never seen on the ground and it appeared that Goodwin had control of the ball the entire time and carried it into the end zone, which is not a legal play. The play, known as “fumbleroosky,” is no longer legal. Coaches and officials said the play should have been ruled an illegal procedure and the Dons would have gotten another play at the 10-yard line.
“That play changed everything,” said Coach Damon Baldwin. “We had played very well in the first half and it appeared that we had put up a great goal line stand to end the half and give us momentum. Instead the momentum went to them. We went into the halftime dismayed.
“Cathedral controlled the ball and the clock in the second half and won the game. But that play took all of the wind out of our sails.”
Ramona’s offense was held to 95 yards in the first half and only had the ball for eight plays in the second half.
Several Bulldogs played very well on defense for the Dawgs. Travis Kerchner ended his career with an 11-tackle performance. Raul Briseno and Ben Barnat each had nine tackles. Patrick Hastings, Keyshaun Crichlow, Kevin Ochoa and Garrett Binkley all turned in six-tackle performances. Dart, Binkley and Keyanis Crichlow all knocked down certain pass completions.
“It was a tough way to end a great season. But only one team finishes the playoffs on a happy note. This senior class has seen it all. As sophomores, many of them suffered through a 1-10 season. Last year they turned it around and made it to the finals. This year we played up a division and made it to the semifinals. They will be missed. They are greatly appreciated,” said Baldwin.
If the traditional student population formula had been used to place teams in divisions, neither team would have been in Division I. Cathedral has Division III enrollment and Ramona’s enrollment is Division II. Under the new method, Cathedral’s record would put them in the Open Division, but a school can only move up two divisions under the current system.
- Bulldogs play Cathedral Catholic tonight in CIF semifinals
- Bulldogs come from behind to beat Sundevils in CIF quarterfinals
- Bulldogs start season with 49-14 win over Braves
- Controversial calls cost Bulldogs in game against Broncos
- Bulldogs come from behind to clinch Palomar League football title
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