By Bill Tamburrino
In a previous report it was suggested that one should not leave a Bulldog football game early.
Another piece of advice is not to get there late.
It took the Bulldogs 54 seconds to score their first touchdown on a 45-yard pass from Hunter McHargue to Javier Dominguez. After Tyler Vargas added the first of his five PAT conversions, the Dawgs had a 7-0 lead that they would not relinquish in their historic 35-28 shoot-out victory over El Camino High School in a cross league game.
El Camino started playing football in 1976. The first game the school played was a frosh game against Ramona High School. Ramona won. Ramona has won several games on the frosh and junior varsity levels, but until last Friday night the varsity had never beaten the Wildcats. Coach Damon Baldwin’s Bulldogs fixed that.
The game on Friday was not very exciting unless you like a lot of scoring, big plays, momentum changes, clean and hard-hitting football, and two teams playing the game the way it is supposed to be played.
Baldwin may look like Goliath but his Bulldogs have been playing like David. The Bulldogs have beaten the two schools with the biggest enrollments in San Diego County the past two weeks—Carlsbad and El Camino.
Ramona’s enrollment is the 41st largest in the San Diego Section. Every school on the Bulldog schedule has a larger
enrollment than RHS. Nine of their 10 opponents are Division I (4) and Division II (5) schools. Morse is the only Division III school on the schedule, and there are more Tigers to choose from than Bulldogs.
Four Bulldogs scored touchdowns for Ramona. Nathan Cherek had a career game as he rushed for two touchdowns on runs of 23 and 47 yards in the second half. Cherek finished the day with 162 yards on 13 carries. He also had one catch for 34 yards.
After Dominquez opened the scoring, Brandon Gansch ran for an 11-yard score. Garrett Binkley scored untouched on a 30 screen pass.
Hunter McHargue also turned in a career performance. The senior signal caller completed nine of 16 attempts for 205 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions. His offensive line—Anthony Moreno, Daniel Kemp, Josh Allen, Patrick Hastings, William Rieve, Matt Lawler, and Christian Drews—gave him time to throw and open holes for the Bulldog running backs.
Brandon Fitzpatrick led all receivers with four key receptions; two of them were highlight reel material. He also blocked unselfishly and threw the key block on a touchdown.
Christian Drews had two catches. Dominguez, Cherek and Binkley all had one grab apiece.
Even though the game was dominated by the two offenses, the Bulldog defense came up with big plays and stops to help in the victory.
“The win was a costly one for us,” said Baldwin. “We lost two key defensive starters, Daniel VanTol and Tanner Triplett, who also play key roles as backups on offense. Our trainer has his work cut out for him. Both are warriors and will get back as soon as they can and are cleared by a doctor.”
The key to the victory was the defense’s ability to sack, harass, and hurry the El Camino quarterback, Chris Beauchamp. The Dawg D recorded eight sacks, two tackles for losses, and hit Beauchamp twice.
Daniel Kemp led the attack. The two-way starter recorded six unassisted tackles, six assists, 2.5 sacks, and had two tackles for losses. Tanner “T-Bone” Williams led the team with nine unassisted tackles and also had an assist, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
Travis Kerchner had five tackles, six assists, 2.5 sacks, a tackle for a loss, and a forced fumble. Zack Berg and Dallas Domnitz also got in on the sack crew. In addition, VanTol, Hastings, Triplett, Drews, Ben Barnat, Dominguez and Tanner Williams also recorded tackles and assists. Tanner Williams recovered a fumble.
Even the most diehard Bulldog football fan has to take off his/her hat to the effort that two-way starter Justin Williams put forth. Williams ran like a runaway bulldozer for 297 yards and ran from sideline to sideline making tackles.
In the end it was Ramona’s ability to move the ball by using multiple running backs and receivers on offense. The major key to the win was the Bulldog’s offensive line’s ability to protect McHargue while the Bulldog defense harassed Beauchamp.
“This Friday we would like the entire town to come and honor the memory of Ryan Morgan,” said Baldwin, referring to the upcoming game on Sept. 28. “Ryan’s number 10 will be retired.”
Morgan died last summer before he could return to his beloved West Point. He was a warrior in all of his endeavors, not just because he chose to serve the country in the military but because of the way he attacked life and its setbacks.
The Dawgs will play a much improved 2-2 Orange Glen. The game was originally scheduled to be an away game but Baldwin did not think it was fair to this year’s seniors to only have four home games, so he worked out a deal with the Patriots. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.