For most of last week, Ramona was the news. The North County Times used Mini, a real life Ramona Bulldog, on the cover of its Prep Football 2009 Season Preview. Mini and the rest of the Ramona Bulldogs were the feature mascot and story in the feature article on Dogged Traditions in North County High School football.
If printed media is not your thing, then KUSI made Ramona its first stop for the Alarm Clock Pep Rallies in 2009.
“Last season the most spirited school and community for the Alarm Clock Rallies was Ramona, so we came back to start the season here in the Dawg House,” said Mike Castellucci. The house rocked.
Castellucci and his crew televised live from Ramona last Friday morning. The Dawg House was packed during a voluntary rally. Ramona unleashed the Spirit Boys Dance Team that rocked the house, according to Principal Tony Newman. The Spirit Boys had more moves than a chess tournament.
Many students spent the night and were awakened by Castellucci and his crew on live TV. The night ended with Ramona’s Bulldogs and the Serra Conquistadors being featured as the KUSI Big Blue City Game of the Week. And the Big Blue in this case was the Bulldogs, who won the game 28-14.
On Saturday morning Ryan Morgan was listed in the Rushing Leaders Best of the Day in the NCT for his 209-yard rushing performance against Serra.
“Ever since our Oceanside game was televised last year, the media has wanted to do feature stories on our players and our community. We are old school. We are a one high school community as far as football goes and we are off of the beaten track. We have a close knit community that supports its student athletes. Unfortunately, that is news to others. It is great for us,” stated Coach Damon Baldwin.
How did the kids handle it? All three football teams won. No helmets had to be replaced with bigger sizes. It was fun. It was deserved. It got the school off on a good note with a great rally.
However, it was back to work for the team and the coaches on Saturday.
Coach Rheynard Morgan has named the football office “the black hole” because “Every time you go in there you lose five hours off of your life,” says Morgan about E18. And it was more than five hours last Saturday.
The coaches meeting began at 7:15 a.m. and Baldwin was in rare form. While watching film of the special teams, anytime a player missed an assignment Baldwin would ask rhetorically and sarcastically, “Who coaches that kid?” The coach in question tries to hide but the other coaches are quick to rat him out.
“Coach (fill in the blank) is in charge of that position,” is usually answered in unison by the rest of the staff. When one of Baldwin’s players messes up, he says, “Pass me a depression pill.” Depression pill is coach speak for a doughnut.
By 9 a.m. we were out of doughnuts.
“I thought you guys said that you did not like doughnuts,” barked Baldwin when he reached into an empty pink box.
“No, we said not to buy them. We like them but we are all on diets and if you buy them we will eat them,” answered Ed Munyer, who has lost over 50 pounds since last season.
“You only bought two dozen,” complained Marc Boykins, who is trying to follow Munyer’s lead. Boykins eats healthily until the doughnuts show up.
Baldwin also mixes humor with instruction when the players come in to watch the game films. However, the player getting corrected doesn’t laugh as loud as his teammates. When a player gets an award (shirt or hat), he usually gets a needle, too.
After the players leave, the coaches get back to work watching films of our next opponent.
“Did you see that kid? He is huge,” yells Baldwin when a player throws a big block on film.
“He is listed as 5 foot 3 inches,” says a coach who is on the other team’s Web site. (No matter how big the kid really is, the coach always tells Baldwin he is 5’3”). “See how they cheat! That kid is huge. They can’t fool us.”
Baldwin takes a break after the work is done and falls asleep. A rookie coach asks, “Should we wake him up? We are done.”
The veteran coaches jump the rookie. “Don’t wake him up! He will find more work for us to do. Sneak out one at a time.”
The rookie goes first. The vets wake up Baldwin and rat out the rookie for leaving early. They all laugh as they leave. Most will return on Sunday to finish up the scouting report.
Don’t worry. The newspapers, the rallies, the TV exposure will not go to anybody’s head. Helmets cost over $200. The coaches’ hats and visors are adjustable.