The Ramona Bulldogs opened their 2009 football season on the road and beat the Serra High School Conquistadors 28-14.
“I am extremely proud of our entire football program,” said Coach Damon Baldwin. “All three teams won, sweeping a very good program. Serra went 9-3 last season. It was a good start.
“Any time you can win on the road in your opener that is huge. The hour-and 15-minute bus ride on a hot humid day was a good test of our maturity as a team.”
The ride might have been a good thing, because the Bulldogs completely dominated the first half. Ryan Morgan scored on runs of 33, 18, 23 and 1 yards in route to 209 yards for the night.
“Our offensive line (Justin Godes, Cody Sweet, Spencer Johnson, James Nicholson, Eric Box, Preston Snyder and Kwayde Miller) was tremendous in the first half,” stated Baldwin.
Erik Ernst directed the offense from his quarterback position and completed five of 11 passes for 48 yards. Quincy Watts had two receptions. Trevor Kerchner, Bryson Garcia and Morgan had one grab apiece.
The Dawgs rushed for 282 yards. Tyler Jackson (17 yards), Ernst (19) and Logan Peterson (41) all had positive yardage.
The defense gave up two scores but rallied to preserve the win.
“Only six of our players had ever played in a varsity game (the Dawgs used 20 players on defense in the game), so we had to grow up in a hurry. I am pleased with our play,” said Coach Ed Munyer.
The Bulldog defense forced four turnovers. Marcus Ledesma recorded an interception.
Kerchner, Matt Neylan and Nate Lutu recovered fumbles. Lutu made a big hit forcing one fumble that stopped Serra’ momentum in the second half.
Ramona also got big plays from its special teams. The kickoff team pinned the Q-Dawgs on the five yard line. Lutu (56), Morgan (31) and Seth Drake (15) had long returns. Rocco Hemphill averaged 35.8 yards on five punts. His longest was 54 yards.
Lutu was named the Special Teams Player of the Game and got the Big Play Award. When he wasn’t returning kicks, he was making tackles and forcing fumbles with his all out play.
Matt Neylan got the Big Hustle Award. He was blocked on a play but followed the play and hustled to recover a fumble. Spaso Illich and Dakota Rhodes were the Scout Teams Players of the Week.
“We had more spectators at Serra than they did. Our fans packed the stands,” said Baldwin. “After the game our parents provided our team with a meal. The Harlans’ mobile home is a traveling restaurant for the Bulldogs.”
Friday it is the Wildcat Canyon Rivalry Game against El Capitan High School. It is Pop Warner and Firefighter Night and the Bulldogs’ home opener.
“We expect a big crowd,” said Baldwin.
The junior varsity game starts at 4:30 p.m.. The varsity kickoff is at 7:30. It likely will be a sellout on the home side. Those who don’t get there for the JV game will most likely have to sit on the visitors’ side.