Spirits high for CIF playoff football game

When Ramona High varsity football players stopped Oceanside High in its tracks this month, 17,000 people filled the Dawg Pound, senior Dodge McIntosh told Ramona Unified School Board members.

The school is looking for a similar turnout when the Ramona Bulldogs play their California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) playoff game against Steele Canyon on Friday, Nov. 28.

“The stands were completely full,” McIntosh said of RHS’ 33-33 tie game against Oceanside, the defending state and CIF champion. “...standing room only wrapped halfway around the fence with many people from Ramona actually have to go sit on the Oceanside side.”

People unable to get inside the Bulldog stadium at Hanson Lane and San Vicente Road stood outside to watch as Ramona came from behind on Nov. 14 to give Oceanside its first tie in two years. A normal Friday Night Lights Football game attracts 8,000 to 11,000 people, McIntosh said.

“At homecoming, which was the biggest in three years, there was 11,600 people” he said, and the 17,000 people at the game against Oceanside did not include students who had Associated Student Body (ASB) cards and were admitted free.

“Oceanside up to that point had not lost a game or tied a game the previous year or all this year, so we were the first ones to at least tie them in two years, so that was an amazing accomplishment,” said McIntosh. “Afterwards, many of the students, the Super Fan Club, parents and regular fans from the stands went and half stormed the field.”

When McIntosh saw Ramona High Assistant Principal Dave Lohman that night, “the only thing he could bring himself to say was just, ‘What a great day to be a Bulldog.’ He just said that over and over again, and that’s how we all felt after that day was done.”

The day had started with KUSI television’s “Alarm Clock Pep Rally” in the school gym. McIntosh and other ASB members arrived at 5 a.m. to prepare, and other students and the film crew arrived at 6.

“The students’ spirit level and the noise level inside the new gym was absolutely deafening,” McIntosh reported to the school board last Thursday. “I was one of the people lucky enough to be on the floor and get the full effect, and when (Principal) Mr. Newman came in and did the first ‘Rah! Rah!’ the cheer that went up literally sent a shiver down my spine.

“It was just magical in there. And that continued throughout the day with students around campus dressed up in all their spirit wear, saying hi to each other and ‘Go, Bulldogs,’ and getting everybody pumped up for the game that night.”

Community involvement for the Oceanside game was incredible, McIntosh said, and the school hopes for a similar turnout on Friday.

The home varsity football game will start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students 5 to 18 years old and seniors age 65 and older. Season ticket holders and ASB and Booster card holders must buy a ticket, because this is a CIF playoff game. Advance tickets will be sold at the ticket office at the main gate Tuesday and Wednesday from 2 to 5:30 p.m. and starting at 2 p.m. on Friday. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Ramona High, a Division 3 team, is seeded No. 2 by CIF.

   
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