The Ramona Pop Warner Midget Bulldawgs lost to the Fallbrook Chiefs in a seesaw game that was decided in the last minute of play in Bulldawg Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 12.
The Bulldawgs quickly jumped on the scoreboard with interception returns for touchdowns by safety Nathan Cherek and Linebacker Tanner “T-Bone” Williams. The Chiefs came right back with two long passes for touchdowns to take the lead in the first quarter.
The first half ended with the Bulldawgs down 12-14.
The Chiefs got on the board again in the third quarter on an interception return of an errant Bulldawg pass. The Bulldawg offense finally got into a rhythm behind the left offensive line of Trae Rodriguez, Chance Miller, and Josh Hale. Running Back Brenden Tustison pounded the ball, finally scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run.
“I asked Coach Lisowski to run Brenden to the left and he stuck with it until we scored,” said quarterback Ryan Lopez.
With the score a tight 20-18, the Chiefs went to the screen to defeat the Bulldawgs’ fierce rush.
The Chiefs’ quarterback was always under pressure by defensive line Daniel Van Tol, Miller and Cherek. The screen was just the ticket to lift the Chiefs to a near certain victory with two long touchdown scores, putting the Bulldawgs down 18-34 with five minutes left in the game.
The Bulldawgs’ defense had its share of highlights as well. Cornerback Tanner S. Williams provided shutdown coverage on the left side of the defense.
“He ran the routes better than the Chiefs’ receivers,” said Defensive Coordinator John Rodriguez. “With five passes defended and several saving tackles, Williams was our standout on defense.”
Most plays were kept short by what the coaches described as the excellent defensive back play of Noah Cappadocia, Anthony Feghali, Christian Drews and Alex Gomez.
Behind the lightning running of Cherek and the thunder of Tustison, the Bulldawgs mounted another scoring drive late in the fourth quarter to pull within one score of the Chiefs at 26-34.
The Bulldawgs then got the ball back with 1:44 left on the clock and scored on a Lopez to Cherek 60-yard bomb to pull within two with 23 seconds left. Sadly, the point after touchdown was missed, leaving the Bulldawgs just short of victory, said Head Coach Matt Lisowski.
“At this level, the scoreboard doesn’t always show the winners,” said Lisowski. “The team today showed that they have the drive and determination to play hard and give 100 percent effort even when behind. That makes them winners in my book.”