Five Ramona Bulldogs were selected to play in the 20th Annual Alex Spanos All Star Football Classic and were instrumental in the North’s 27-3 win on Friday.
Running back Ryan Morgan, offensive lineman Spencer Johnston, kicker-punter Rocco Hemphill and defensive back Seth Drake played in the game. Offensive lineman Justin Godes was also selected for the all-star team but was unable to play due to enrolling at West Point.
The Bulldogs played for the North squad, which was coached by Danny Williams from Vista High School.
“I want Ramona kids because I know they will be dependable and they know how to practice hard and play the game,” said Williams. “They were the first to arrive at practice every day and they worked from the beginning to the end. They got along well with everybody.”
The game was played at San Diego Mesa College on at 7 p.m. It is the only All Star game that is sponsored by an NFL team. The San Diego Chargers provide uniforms, shirts, hats and a banquet, and the Chargers also sponsor a walk-through of their training facility.
Last year the Ramona football staff coached the game.
“Everything about the game is first class,” said Ramona coach Damon Baldwin. “The Chargers want the participants to have an outstanding experience and they go all out to ensure that they do.”
The coaching staffs volunteer their time. The proceeds from the gate go to scholarships. The game is hosted by the High School Sports Association.
Drake played cornerback on a defense that forced six turnovers and scored two touchdowns. He not only played tough pass defense, but he made several key tackles on running plays. Drake will be playing at the University of Redlands in the fall.
Johnston started at the crucial left tackle position and did a great job of pass protection and run blocking. He did not give up a sack. Johnston will continue his playing career at Western New Mexico University.
Hemphill had a stellar night as punter. He punted five times for 253 yards, pinning the South’s offense deep in its own territory the entire game. Few college or professional punters average over 50 yards per kick. Hemphill will be punting for Palomar College in the fall.
Morgan spent his last Friday night before leaving for West Point Prep starring on special teams. The mercurial running back used his speed to contain the South’s punt and kickoff return teams. He was used as a returner on punts and kickoffs. He returned the opening kickoff 30 yards, the longest return of the game. He gained six yards on his only rush from running back. The South was waiting when Morgan tried a reverse from the slot back position.
Ramona was also well represented in the stands. The visiting stands had a wave of blue as a vociferous group of students, parents and Bulldog fans traveled to Mesa College to support the Bulldog All Stars.