Ramona High School’s Bulldog football team is a reflection of the community. Neither quits or gives up.
It would have been easy to just go through the motions after falling behind 21-0 to the defending state and CIF champion. It would have been easy to go home and catch a late movie. But the Bulldogs fought until the final second and the community of Ramona stayed in the Dawg Pound to see the most exciting tie ever played before the biggest crowd in Ramona history.
“What a crowd ... complete passion for this team .... The crowd was truly 212 (the temperature at which water boils) ... If we can get that type of interest and support for our playoff game the Friday after Thanksgiving, it will help us move one more step closer to our team goal of playing in Qualcom stadium,” said Coach Damon Baldwin. “I have coached in stadiums at Michigan, Ohio State, Miami, USC, UCLA, and Wisconsin. The environment in the Dawg Pound topped all of those. ... Why? Because the emotion and passion in this team is special.
“The energy and passion from our fans was spectacular. To fight and crawl back into this game against the state champions with the remarkable young men on this team was truly something that this coaching staff and players will never forget.
“Our group of seniors will not be denied! All the underclassmen in this football program have a chance to learn a great deal from these 33 warriors. That is how programs sustain. That is how programs are built. ...Young athletes learning from each other and learning about teamwork, heart, and passion. WOW!
“The kickoff return for a touchdown that was called back should not have happened. Looking at the video, it should not have happened. We must have taken over 50 points off the board this year. ... We stress it, work it. Sometimes calls just do not go your way.
“I guess a Pirate has never danced with a Bulldog for four quarters. These Bulldogs do not quit. They never stop believing. Tthey just love to play football together!”
Any time a team comes from behind from a 21-point deficit means that things started off badly.
Oceanside took the opening kickoff last Friday and marched methodically down the field for a score. Ramona threw an interception on its first possession and the Pirates took advantage of the turnover by scoring to go ahead 14-0
Special teams mistakes continued to plague the Bulldogs when Ryan Morgan returned a kickoff 90 yards only to have the run called back because of a penalty.
Oceanside scored at the beginning of the second period and the Dawgs trailed 21-0.
The Dawgs then came alive. Ian Hunt capped off a drive by scoring on a quarterback sneak and the Dawgs were on the board.
Mikey Head intercepted a Jordan Wynn pass and the Dawgs took advantage of the pick to score quickly. Hunt found Head open in the Pirate secondary for a 57-yard touchdown pass. Again, special teams hurt the Dawgs as they failed to convert the PAT. Ramona went into intermission trailing the Pirates 21-13.