By Joe Naiman
In the opinion of Ramona High School boys soccer coach Michael Jordan, sophomore goalkeeper Jesse Bonilla is worthy of Ramona Sentinel’s Athlete of the Week honors for the week of Feb. 6-11.
Bonilla made six saves against Westview in Ramona’s 3-1 road loss Feb. 7 while allowing only one first-half goal. Ramona’s Feb. 9 home game against Poway saw the Bulldogs record a 1-1 tie against a team ranked fourth in the county and 36th in the nation, and Bonilla’s performance against the Titans included seven saves.
“Without Jesse we would be conceding a lot of goals,” said Jordan. “He keeps us in the game.”
Bonilla had impressed Jordan long before the matches with Westview and Poway. He earned the starting goalkeeper role as a freshman during the 2010-11 season. He had three solo shutouts, and in two additional shutout wins he was rested in the second half.
Palomar League coaches gave Bonilla honorable mention all-league recognition, making him the league’s only freshman to earn all-league designation.
During the pre-league portion of 2011-12 play, Bonilla had three shutouts, not including a team shutout against Calexico Mission in which Jordan played all of his substitutes in the second half.
“When he does let a goal go in, it doesn’t shake him,” Jordan said. “He’s so confident and so composed.”
Backup goalie Jason Morton was ill and unable to play Feb. 2, when Ramona defeated Rancho Bernardo on the road. During that game a Bronco attacker slid into Bonilla, injuring the goalie to the point where he couldn’t punt with his right foot. Rather than leave the game and force Jordan to use a field player as a goalie, Bonilla began punting with his left foot. Three of Bonilla’s four saves against the Broncos took place after the injury.
“He continues to get better physically, mentally, psychologically,” Jordan said.