By Bill Tamburrino
The Ramona High School junior varsity football team won the Palomar League championship with a perfect 4-0 record in league play.
The team finished the season with a 7-2-1 record. One loss was a 7-6 decision to Oceanside high school that the team played without its regular placement kicker. The other loss was a cross league game with Division I Carlsbad High School. The one tie came in the season opener against Grossmont.
When asked if the team exceeded his pre-season expectations, Head JV coach Mike Ernst replied, “With seven sophomores on the varsity we hoped to beat Grossmont, Morse, El Camino, and Orange Glen. We would have been very happy with a 5-5 record. But our juniors stepped up and the team had a great attitude and refused to make excuses and improved every week.”
Ernst believes that two major factors contributed to the success of the team.
“We worked with the varsity and every player got the benefit of varsity coaching and when two teams practice together (frosh-JV or JV-varsity) the lower level team benefits the most because the higher level team gives you a better game speed look in practice.”
Ernst said another reason for the championship season is, “We had 13 juniors and two of them played on the varsity last season. They were put on the junior varsity to get game experience and they didn’t complain. They played their hardest and were leaders. Ryan Lopez was on the varsity last season and he is very smart and made several audibles that resulted in touchdowns. Justin Villagrana also played with us after a year of varsity experience. He led by example. He hardly ever came off of the field. The biggest surprise of the season was a junior transfer student, Michael Camp. Michael is tough and aggressive and played both ways. He had a winning attitude.”
There is an old adage among football coaches. JV stands for “nobody cares.” Ernst doesn’t completely agree with the saying.
“Those who really count, really care. The players and their parents and guardians care and the coaches care.”
Ernst also pointed out that every varsity coach but the head coach and defensive coordinator contributed at games.
“Coach Clark (a former head coach) called the offense. Coach (Brent) Harvey called the defense. Coach John Baum coached the 0-line, coach Jason Matthews coached the defensive backs. Coach Gene Andrews coached the defensive line as did coach Phillip Skora, and Rheynard Morgan was always there doing his thing,” he said.
Ernst also said the team moms—Darlene Scott and Lisa Jansen—who organized meals on the road, snacks and communication, and Diane MacKay, who was the team photographer, should get a lot of credit.
Everybody on the team received a shirt at the team banquet that says “Never Question the Heart of a Champion.”
Karl Sapper and Dylan Shields received the Character Counts Award. Sapper is a 4.5 student and Shields is a 4.33 student.
Nick Towers was the Offensive Scout Player of the year. Jeffry Guthrie got the Scout Defensive Player award. The Offensive Player of the Year was Ryan Lopez. Justin Villagrana earned the Defensive Player of the Year award. Raul Briseno was named Lineman of the Year. Colton Harris was the Special Teams player of the Year, and Michael Camp was named the team’s Most Valuable Player.