Ramona Pop Warner Attack Dawgs players and their fans loaded up their cars and made a 260-mile journey to Parker, Ariz., after the team accepted an invitation to the River Bowl.
After a day of bonding in the hotel water park, arcade and miniature golf course, the players were ready for their game. Parents met in the parking lot and decorated their cars and the team headed to the field ready for battle on Saturday, Dec. 6.
And battle they did.
Playing under the lights with a 7 p.m. start time, the Attack Dawgs took on the hometown favorite, the Parker Panthers. The teams were well matched. The first three quarters the teams moved the ball up and down the field.
Ramona’s Raul Briseno, at quarterback, led the team’s offense. Running backs Grady Vasquez, Tyler Vargas, Drew Robinson and Erik Schmidt were unable to make much headway against a tough Panther defense. Several times the Dawgs got into the red zone but couldn’t push the ball into the end zone.
The Ramona defense did its part to keep the Panthers from scoring, as well. After three quarters of play, the score was a 0-0 tie.
With about five minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Panthers recovered a fumble, giving them the ball on their 15 yard line. Two plays later the Panthers scored and the game stood at 6-0.
With less than 5 minutes left in the game, the Panthers kicked off to the Dawgs. Tyler Vargas had a much needed 30-yard run back, giving the Dawgs great field position and a chance to score.
Two plays later receiver Ben Stein made a great catch but was brought down on the 1 yard line.
The Attack Dawg fans, armed with blue and white pompoms, cheered the players on. On fourth down, with just inches to go, Grady Vasquez took the handoff from quarterback Raul Briseno and drove his way into the end zone.
The point after was no good, but the crowd, having just watched a fantastic game, went crazy. The game ended at 6-6, a testament to great play by both teams.
The tie gave the Attack Dawgs a final record of 7-4-1. Coaches and fans told them, “Congratulations on a great season.”