The Ramona High School varsity football team made a statement on Friday.
“We showed that beating them last year was no fluke,” said an elated Coach Damon Baldwin. “Anytime you beat Poway High School in any sport, you have to be extremely proud of your kids. We left no doubt that we can play with the big boys.”
The Bulldogs beat Poway’s Titans 50-14. It wasn’t that close.
The Bulldogs were physical and fast against the Titans. It took them just four plays to score after Nate Lutu returned the opening kickoff 52 yards.
The Dawgs did not run through the Titans as much as they ran over them. Tyler Jackson broke several tackles on the drive and bowled over from the seven to give the Dawgs a lead that they would not relinquish. Colin Murphy converted the first of his six PAT attempts and the route was on.
“Ryan Morgan was amazing,” said Baldwin. “His toughness for a 165 pounds is incredible. Some of the Poway players ‘verbally challenged’ him, I will say, and posted comments on the Internet and he responded by dominating their defense and doing it with class.”
Morgan scored three touchdowns and took another carry that was called out of bounds on the six line on another run. The films show that he scored. He ran for 240 yards on 20 carries for a 12 yard average. His longest run was an 84-yard TD.
Tyler Jackson also had a career night. The junior power runner had 17 carries for 111 yards and three touchdowns.
Logan Peterson had 32 yards on three carries. Adrian Landgrave had eight rushes for 43 yards. Spaso Illich carried three times for five yards and the Dawgs rushed for a team record 440 yards.
Erik Ernst not only rushed for 13 yards, but he hit eight of 11 passes for 119 yards and a TD and a 2-point conversion to Preston Snyder. Two of his passes were dropped.
Seth Drake had three grabs for 61 yards and the score. Jackson had one catch for 15 yards. Snyder had two catches for 22 yards. Bryson Garcia had two receptions for 21 yards.
“Anytime you put 559 yards of offense on the board, your offensive line had to be dominant,” said Baldwin. “We have some tough o-linemen (Justin Godes, Spencer Johnson, John Henry Yorba, Kwayde Miller, Eric Box, James Nicholson, Snyder, Cody Sweet) who know how to get after it on game night.”
Baldwin actually had more praise for the defense than the offense.
“We continually get better on defense,” he said. “Our kids are becoming veterans very quickly. Our defensive staff puts in long hours after practice getting the kids prepared. Nobody in the county works harder than our defensive coaches.
“The defense will be tested this week. Valhalla has a quarterback that has committed to Arizona State and they were in the stadium last year.”
“Our linebacker corps (Matt Neylan, Trevor Kerchner, Colton Houlihan) had a big night,” said Defensive Coordinator Ed Munyer. “They were allowed to roam freely because of the play of our d-line. Nathan Hunt also played the run well coming up from his safety position to make some big hits. Christian Scherer got a big hustle award.
“Matt Neylan and Steve Foster both recorded sacks. Neylan also had a big hit award as did Morgan.”
Coach Mike Johnson had praise for defensive lineman Dakota Rhodes, who was the defensive lineman of the game. “Dakota had his best game and most disciplined game. He graded out at a 91 percent, and I am a hard grader.”
Ramona not only dominated the Titans on offense and defense, but they had a big game on the special teams.
“Rocco Hemphill (52 yard average on punts) is punting on a level seen in major college. The kid can punt!” said Baldwin. “We work very hard on special teams and it is paying off. The kids on those teams take pride in their work.”
Murphy, Ernst and Snyder shared special teams’ players of the week honors.
This Friday the Dawgs get their final tune-up before they enter Valley League action.
“Valhalla is the second best team on our schedule,” said Baldwin.” Oceanside is the best. They both played in the stadium last December. Valhalla has a very good passing attack and a very good running back.
“It will be Kiwanis and Rotary Night as we honor the service clubs that do so much for our community. This has been the most challenging non-league schedule since I got here, and our student/athletes have responded and improved every week. The Dawgs Pound will be packed, so get there early.”