Last week the Ramona High School football program wound down three weeks of spring football on a somber note.
One day of practice was cancelled out of respect to Ryan Morgan and his family. Ryan’s father, Rheynard, is a coach and technical expert for the Bulldog staff and has been since 2006.
The football program works year-round. From January to June, the main emphasis is on improving strength and conditioning. Varsity PE workouts resemble a replay of the old “world Strongest Man” competitions. Besides lifting weights, the athletes flip and or drag huge tires, do plyometric excercises, jump rope and play the roughest games of basketball on the planet.
The purpose of spring football is to see how much the players’ football skills have improved, to introduce the offense and defense to athletes new to the program and refresh the offense and defense to the returners.
This spring 105 athletes participated in spring ball. The varsity and junior varsity worked together in drills and ran plays separately.
Eight starters will return for last season’s team — three seniors and five juniors. Senior Javier Dominguez was first team All Palomar League at defensive back and also played running back. Hunter McHargue started at quarterback and Daniel Kemp played offensive and defensive line.
The juniors returning are linebackers Christian Drews, T-Bone Williams and Travis Kerchner. Linemen Daniel VanTol and Patrick Hastings also return as starters.
“We are young but ironically we are experienced in several areas” stated Coach Damon Baldwin. “Last year we brought up 10 sophomores because of injuries. They are juniors but they have the experience that most seniors have going into the season. We will be a junior dominant team. We have 38 juniors in the program and only 19 seniors. Our junior varsity will be outstanding. As freshmen they won eight games and they are a hard working class.
“Hunter McHargue was thrown into the mix last season because of an injury. He has looked good in spring drills. He has a big time arm and knows what to expect from varsity competition. Ryan Lopez would have been the starter on the junior varsity last season but had to come up and be Hunter’s back up. We are going to let him play JV this season to get experience. We can bring him up at any time as he has varsity experience,” continued Baldwin.
“Our number one question mark at the beginning of spring was the offensive line. We graduated all of our starters. The O-line has come a long way and will continue in the tradition of past o-lines. Paul Mahaffie is back for his third varsity year and he looks like a college prospect.
“Our wide receivers are all new to varsity competition but they are the biggest group in terms of size that we have ever had. They are tall and rangy and they are catching the ball.
“We always use several running backs and next year will not be any different. Javier Dominguez will be our go to guy,” said Baldwin.