About this time last year, the Ramona Bulldogs, coming off impressive victories against Crawford and Mission Bay, were playing their best football of the year.
And so it goes this season. After a struggle to make the 2-A playoffs, the Bulldogs suddenly look like the team everybody expected them to be--beating Madison in overtime and dominating Carlsbad, 21-7.
But Coach Mel Galli would prefer the similarities end there. Last year, Ramona was trounced by a quicker and more talented El Camino team in the semifinals, 48-0. This year, the Bulldogs (7-5) will face Kearny (10-1-1), a team that has the edge in quickness and probably in talent.
How will Galli ensure that the same scenario doesn’t repeat itself at 7:30 tonight at Mira Mesa High?
“We’re going to try and lose some weight and get quicker,” Galli said. “I don’t think we have any obvious physical advantage. We don’t feel like we can get into a track meet.”
Last year’s problem was El Camino’s lighting-quick tailback Brian Madlangbayan. This year, Ramona must contend with another speedster, Darnay Scott. Kearny’s man for all positions, Scott ran 10 times for 65 yards, caught three passes for 40 yards and returned a punt 53 yards in Kearny’s 14-13 victory Saturday over San Marcos.
Kearny Coach Willie Matson said he expects Ramona to give Scott preferential treatment.
“Everybody’s been doubling him all year (at wide receiver), so he’s been playing more and more tailback,” Matson said.
What does Matson expect from Ramona’s offense?
“I expect them to come right at us,” he said. “I’m expecting a game as physical as San Marcos.”
Matson won’t be disappointed. Galli said he will continue to run the power-I formation with two tight ends. Last week against Carlsbad, the offense produced almost 300 rushing yards. Tailback Sarn Salmon rushed for 142 yards, and fullback Tom Smith and Luis Ethington combined for 110.
“I haven’t used this offense since 1974, my first year in coaching,” said Galli, who announced a month ago that he won’t be coming back next year. “We’re not a real pretty team to watch. Anybody that played 25 years ago would identify with what we’re doing.”