Ramona Bulldogs 28, Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders 0

Derek Diamond and the Ramona Bulldogs rock’d and roll’d to a 28-0 season-opening victory over the Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders on Military Appreciation Night at Bulldog Stadium on Friday.

Diamond, a senior bound for Stanford on a baseball scholarship, rushed for two touchdowns and the Bulldog defense had a jam session of its own, hardly allowing the Crusaders any time on the Ramona side of the field.

The eighth-ranked Bulldogs got into scoring position late in the first quarter when Diamond lofted a pass to Cameron Necochea down to the 2-yard line. Diamond and the Ramona front men punched it in two plays later for a 7-0 lead.

Ramona scored on its next possession following a 48-yard punt return by senior Dawson Sanfilippo into the Crusader red zone.

Senior Sean McDonald then swept past the Mater Dei defense and into the end zone for a 16-yard score with 9:21 left in the second quarter, upping the ‘Dawgs advantage to 14-0.

Necochea and Mater Dei senior Jayden Flores had interceptions late in the first half, while Crusader sophomore Nicholas Rhinehart recorded a sack before halftime.

The Bulldogs put together a scoring drive to open the second half, capped by a 20-yard read-option keeper by Diamond.

Ramona kept the pressure on during the next series when Jacob Mcelwee provided a sack.

Junior Ian Alexander, who rushed for a team-high 71 yards, added a 6-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter for the final margin.

Diamond wasn’t perfectly in tune on his deep ball but hit all the right notes. The Bulldogs were 6-for-11 on third down conversions.

Ramona sophomore Jacob Snyder had team-highs with three receptions for 41 yards.

The Ramona High Bulldogs will honor the community’s military members with a pregame presentation prior to their season-opening game with the visiting Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders Friday night.

Military members will be invited to come on to the field to present a large flag, and will also be asked to stand so that fans in attendance can show appreciation for their service to the country.

Kickoff at Bulldog Stadium is set for 7 p.m.

The Ramona High varsity will also wear patriotic-themed helmet decals during the contest with Mater Dei.

As for the game itself, the Bulldogs are ranked eighth in the local media poll released Monday, coming off last year’s 12-1 season and a run to the San Diego Section Division 2 championship game.

Bulldog senior Derek Diamond has had a whirlwind week leading up to the opener.

Diamond, a Stanford baseball commit, started and pitched one inning in the nationally-televised Perfect Game All-American Classic at Petco Park on Sunday afternoon.

After the few days of baseball festivities surrounding the event, Diamond had turned back into “Derek Gridiron” by Monday afternoon, albeit a bit worse for wear, according to Ramona head coach Damon Baldwin.

“I expect him to be very good this season,” Baldwin said. “He’s a special athlete, but now he can focus on football for a few months.”

Diamond, a first-year starting quarterback, is projected among the top passers in the county this season for an offense that returns seven starters.

Ramona senior running back Sean McDonald, who rushed for over 1,100 yards and 19 touchdowns last season, runs behind a starting front that returns four starters and is likely to be one of the section’s top offensive lines.

Six starters return on defense for the Bulldogs, including All-San Diego CIF middle linebacker Jack Drews.

Ramona held six opponents to seven points or less last season, including a 41-7 win over these Crusaders in Chula Vista in last year’s opener behind four interceptions, including two by then-sophomore Ace Jones.

“We’re not the same team, but we’ve got some new strengths and we’re working hard on our new weaknesses,” Baldwin said.

The Crusaders missed the postseason in 2017 after a 4-6 mark under veteran coach John Joyner.

Junior Aiden Calvert is the latest Mater Dei-developed running back, while sophomore Trevor Appleman is the quarterback in the Crusaders’ future.

Tune in to the Prep Pigskin Report on Friday night, with county coverage starting at 10:45 only on KUSI.

Categories: This Week’s Games