The Ramona Bulldog football team was eliminated from the CIF Division III quarterfinals by Steele Canyon.
The Cougars beat the Bulldogs 49-14. Ramona ends the season with an 8-3 record. It is their second straight season with eight wins. It is the fifth straight year that the Bulldogs have lost in the quarterfinals.
“We have been knocking on the door. I hoped that this year we would kick it down,” said head coach Damon Baldwin. “I am very proud of this team, but I am disappointed with the loss.”
Ramona started the game by driving to the Cougar’s 4 yard line but lost a fumble that ended the drive. The Bulldog defense then stopped Steele Canyon, and the Dawgs again drove to their opponent’s red zone, but Steele Canyon’s Teddy Cothron intercepted an Erik Ernst pass and returned it to the Ramona 40 before Ryan Morgan caught him from behind. Ernst was injured on the play and did not return to the game.
Steele Canyon then hit a 40-yard touchdown pass from Brad Boehmke to Cody Simpson, and the rest of the game was all Steele Canyon.
Ernst hit four of five passes for 61 yards before leaving the game. Rocco Hemphill replaced Ernst and completed five of 19 passes for 50 yards. Hemphill threw two interceptions. Steele Canyon threw for 125 yards.
Steele Canyon’s Alex Perlin scored five touchdowns on runs of 76, 13, 2, 70 and 5 yards. The Cougar offense was able to consistently make big plays.
Ramona ran for 236 yards using Ryan Morgan as the workhorse. Morgan ran for 213 yards on 23 carries. He had touchdown runs of 40 and 34 yards.
Tyler Jackson ran for 34 yards on seven carries. Logan Peterson picked up six yards. Ernst ran for two yards and Hemphill added 15 rushing yards.
Morgan also led the Bulldogs in receiving yards. The speedy senior caught three passes for 42 yards.
Bryson Garcia had two grabs for 34 yards. Seth Drake had one reception for one yard.
All three of the Bulldogs’ tight ends had one catch. Senior Jacob had an 11-yard catch. Preston Snyder’s catch covered 13 yards and Kwayde Miller had an 11-yard gain.
Three Bulldogs were honored on the 2009 All North County Football Team, the most ever chosen from a Ramona team. The North County team is picked from all of the Division I, Division II, Division III, Division IV and Division V teams that play football in the region. The team is chosen by the staff and freelance writers of the North County Times. Every player selected is given a patch that is worn on his letterman’s jacket and a certificate.
Spencer Johnston was selected to the first team as a tackle. Only five linemen were named to the team. Johnston played left tackle for the Dawgs. He protected the quarterbacks blind side on passing plays.
Johnston was a big factor in the success of the Bulldog running attack. He started playing offensive line as a freshman and played junior varsity as a sophomore. He is what is called a program player. He came up through the ranks.
Ryan Morgan was selected to the first string as a running back. Morgan rushed for 1,622 yards and 17 touchdowns. He had 1,710 yards in total offense. He returned 13 kickoffs for 340 yards.
Morgan was one of four running backs so honored.
Seth Drake made the second team as a defensive back. Drake led the Bulldogs with four interceptions, one for a 54 yard touchdown. He had 70 tackles on the year.
Drake was a two-way performer for the Dawgs. He played wide receiver on offense. He also returned punts and kickoffs.
Twenty-seven Bulldog football players will graduate in June. They will be missed and remembered fondly.