RAMONA Trailing by nine points going into the fourth quarter, the Ramona football team kept to a team mantra.
“We knew we had to keep our heads up,” said senior running back Nathan Cherek. “Our motto is to finish every game.”
Cherek broke away for a 43-yard touchdown run with 4:24 left in the game, giving his team the lead for good as the second-seeded Bulldogs finished off Mt. Carmel 30-21 in Thursday’s Division I quarterfinal game. Ramona outscored the Sundevils 18-0 in the fourth quarter and will host Cathedral Catholic in the semifinals.
“The bus is halfway to Qualcomm,” Ramona coach Damon Baldwin told his players, referring to the section championships being played Dec. 2 at Qualcomm Stadium.
But first the Bulldogs (10-1) had to subdue the stubborn Sundevils (7-5) to post the first 10-win season in school history.
“We’ve been down the last three games,” said Cherek, who finished with 157 yards on 12 carries. “Starting with Torrey Pines when we were down 14 points in the league championship game. We came back then, and we knew we just had to keep our heads up again tonight.”
Cherek’s backfield running mate, junior Brandon Gansch, added 127 yards on 20 carries, including a 5-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter.