By Bill Tamburrino
The 2012 Ramona High School Varsity Football Banquet was held at the Golf Events Center at Barona Creek Resort, which offered an apropos setting for the team that advanced to the CIF Championship game.
The 2012 year was not supposed to be the year. The seniors had a combined 5-26 record in their first three years on the gridiron. Expectations were not very high, but the seniors decided that they wanted to go out winners.
Senior captain Brawnson Walter said it all in his senior farewell speech, a tradition at RHS.
“We decided to come together as a team. We climbed Mt. Woodson together, went to the beach, lifted weights and instead of becoming a team, we became a family. I refer to these guys (the varsity football team) as my brothers. I know that if I asked any of them to go to war with me they would go. That is how we feel about one and other,” he said.
Walter was honored as the Most Inspirational Bulldog.
The banquet had a family atmosphere. The mothers of team captains Javier Dominguez, Walter, Hunter McHargue, Brandon Fitzpatrick, and Christian Drews were given their sons’ team captain trophies.
“I don’t know what they will do with them when they get home, but they belong to the moms now,” said coach Damon Baldwin.
Team mom Leighanne Kerchner received a special award and she made it known that she considers every young man on the team one of her sons.
McHargue thanked his dad for being there and for being his dad. McHargue also had the quote of the banquet: “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my mom.” He got a big laugh.
The Bulldog Angels were given letters for their dedication and service.
Each member of the team was given a certificate and a CIF runner-up patch for his letter jacket by his position coach.
Several individual awards were also given.
On the defensive side of the ball, Patrick Hastings and Daniel Kemp shared the Defensive Lineman of the Year honors. Both Kemp and Hastings were selected to the All North County Team. Zach Berg and Garrett Binkley were honored as the Most Improved Defensive Players. John Barnum and Ryan Spees were the Defensive Scout Players of the year.
Travis Kerchner, a safety who was converted to linebacker, was honored as the Defensive Player of the Year. Kerchner had 76 unassisted tackles and was in on 45 assisted tackles. He had nine sacks and 15 tackles for losses. He broke up four passes, forced three fumbles and had 12 quarterback hits.
On the offensive side of the ball, Josh Allen was the Offensive Lineman of the Year. Allen was selected to the All North County Team and the All CIF Team. McHargue was the Most Improved Offensive Player of the Year.
Nathan Cherek was the Most Valuable Offensive Player. He didn’t start playing running back until the third game of the year and rushed for 1,370 yards and averaged 9.01 yards per carry. His longest run from scrimmage was 80 yards. He had 136 receiving yards and averaged over 22 yards per catch. He scored 16 touchdowns.
Fitzpatrick was the recipient of the Ryan Morgan Memorial Character Award, formerly known as the Bulldog of the Year or Coaches Award. Fitz moved up from the junior varsity and caught 22 passes for 308 yards, good for over 14 yards per catch, and he scored two touchdowns. However, the award is not about stats. It is about character and Fitz has impressed his team, coaches and his opponents with his leadership, desire, and hard work. He received the CIF Sportsmanship Award for his efforts in the CIF final game against Lincoln. Past recipients have gone on to become West Point Cadets, a Navy SEAL, and leaders in all aspects of society.
Javier Dominguez was the unanimous choice as the 2012 Most Valuable Player. Dominguez is a throwback, old school player. He was the Special Teams Player of the Year. Dominguez scored eight touchdowns He scored as a receiver, a running back and on special teams.
“It is hard to judge his play by statistics. He was our shutdown corner and teams didn’t throw in his direction or kickoff or punt to him very often. When they did they paid,” explained Baldwin.”