Sports

Washington H.S. Eagles Football Team Strives to Reach New Heights

 By Yovany Moreno

During the 1999-2000 high school football season, according to cifs.org, the George Washington High School Eagles went undefeated and won the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) AAA varsity football championship. At the time, a young Michael Ramos played the center position. Being in the middle of it all, Ramos became a champion and developed the mindset of one as well. 

Now, 22 years later as the current head coach of his alma mater, Coach Ramos, hopes to take the Eagles to similar heights. 

While the goal is to ultimately win a championship, Coach Ramos takes it one day at a time. 

“This year we are senior heavy. The goal is a championship, but step one is to make the playoffs, and step two is whatever happens after that. We are excited; the guys have really bought into the goal of making the playoffs this year.” 

Washington has started the 2022-23 season with a record of 2-1, and according to Maxpreps.com, the team’s home opener versus Ygnacio Valley resulted in a 49-14 victory, and the following game they were narrowly edged out by the Irvington Vikings with the final score being 22-23. 

“Our offense was having trouble all day,” Ramos said about the loss. “On the last offensive drive, with the score 22-23, we marched down field but came up short; we dropped a pass on fourth down and that was that.” 

However, Ramos takes the positive from the defeat and expresses how there is more to learn from losses than wins. 

The view from the football field at George Washington High School provides a stunning vista of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands. The Eagles hope it will be the home of the state champion high school football team. Photos by Yovany Moreno.

“While we lost the game, it was nice seeing our players fighting for it,” he said. “They didn’t give up. That’s the mentality we want to go with. Just to see they had that much passion until the end is great to see. Not everything is going to go 100% your way. Keep going because something is going to give.” 

And something did give the following week. Ramos and the Eagles bounced back from that loss by shutting down Denair High with a score of 41-0. The victory marked their second game this season with 40+ points showing the offensive powerhouse they have when everyone is healthy. 

“We have two big wins, and we have a game we lost in the last minutes,” Ramos said. “Here is what good feels like and, on the other hand, here is the worst possible feeling we can experience. Let’s get back to that good feeling. We’re doing well, our team is playing strong and stepping up for each other,” Ramos said. 

The next four away games will truly test the Eagles, but having team-minded individuals demonstrates this team has the tenacity and adaptability to be able to take on the road ahead. 

“The kids have really bought into what we are doing here,” Ramos said. “They believe we can really do something. If one guy is out, the next guy steps up. They believe in each other.” 

With a long list of injured players that includes their kicker, a lineman and a running back, Ramos is thankful for the bye week they just had. Even with these injuries, Washington High’s philosophy of being there for one another is demonstrated in the Eagle leadership. 

“James Mertz, our quarterback, knows the effect of being the first guy in and the last guy out … the kids follow him.” 

The Eagles play on one of the most scenic of all high school football fields in the country. Standing on the south side of the football field overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, the 5-foot, 10-inch tall and 160-pound quarterback, James Mertz, shared his outlook on the team. 

“I have been working since freshman year and we have been working toward a championship,” Mertz said. “In order to accomplish that we need everyone on our team, even our backups, to know what we are doing. Football is a team sport and if all of us are on the same page we will be stronger together.” 

Elijah Qasevakatini, the 6-foot, 2-inch-tall linebacker who weighs 200 pounds, echoes Mertz’ championship team philosophy, 

“I like to get the defense hyped, and make sure everyone knows what they are doing,” Qasevakatini said. 

Dhiraj Gurung said he takes on the responsibility of filling in for his injured teammate with a confident sense of humor. 

(Left to right) Linebacker Elyjah Qasevakatini, running back Dhiraj Gurung and quarterback James Mertz stand on the south side of the football field at George Washington High School.

“They just give me the ball and I run it. My job is to run the ball into the end zone. Not give up on the plays. Work hard, don’t mess around. Get the job done. I’m happy I’m getting the ball. My mindset is just to run for a touchdown.” 

As the three friends shared a laugh, it is evident the team chemistry is there and they have each other’s backs.

Shortly before press time, it was reported on Facebook that the Eagles defeated Oakland High School 20-6 on Friday, Sept. 23. The Washington Eagles will be playing away for a few games. Their next home game will be on Friday, Oct. 21 at 3 p.m. versus the Balboa Buccaneers. 

1 reply »

  1. I played football on this beautiful field in the mid 1960s when Al Lubamersky was head coach and Bruce Nelson was assistant head coach. My best memory was beating a Balboa HS team that was ranked 7th in the state when they came into our stadium. I believe the final score was 13-7. Clearly the underdogs, we beat the Bucs from stem to stern. We shocked our AAA league and got much publicity over this unlikely win. Some years later I saw a documentary that listed our stadium as one of the most beautiful in the country. Anyone remember the name of this documentary?

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