Although a disappointing end to the season in Friday’s 30-14 loss in the Southeast Division final to Covina Charter Oak, Diamond Ranch has nothing to be ashamed of.
Charter Oak was the better team, to be sure, and Diamond Ranch played tough. Diamond Ranch needed a little more out of its passing game (protection for QB Gus Viramontes, and more completions), although Charter Oak’s defense was solid in terms of pressuring the QB and pass defense.
RB Brian Spirlin, who I had seen several times earlier this year, impressed me again. With a scout from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in attendance, Spirlin ripped off a 71-yard run in his 18-carry, 161-yard performance. But it was a three-yard run earlier in the second half that impressed me as well, when Spirlin basically threw aside a would-be tackler.
They hit hard, they played hard. They needed to play a nearly perfect game to beat Charter Oak. Diamond Ranch would’ve been helped by recovering any of Charter Oak’s three fumbles, and not turning the ball over twice itself.
Charter Oak had an advantage in special teams. Diamond Ranch WR/KR JoJo Curiel a playmaker in the passing game and kick return game, didn’t get many chances. He returned a kickoff 46 yards in the first quarter, but had little room to run otherwise and Diamond Ranch’s field position suffered.
Here were Diamond Ranch’s kick returns in the second half: kickoff in end zone, 3-yard punt return, kickoff in end zone, 0 yard punt return, 0-yard punt return, 15-yard kickoff return. Not much help there. Charter Oak played well, especially in the second half.