Ramona Football Star Dies in Motorcycle Crash

Ryan Morgan, 21, was thrown off his bike on a rural Ramona road

By Nicole Gonzales
|  Tuesday, Jun 5, 2012  |  Updated 1:29 PM PDT
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West Point student and former Ramona High School football Ryan Morgan player died Sunday night. Morgan's father talks about the last moment with his son.

West Point student and former Ramona High School football Ryan Morgan player died Sunday night. Morgan's father talks about the last moment with his son.

A former Ramona High star football player died Sunday night in a motorcycle accident, months before he was set to return to West Point Academy on scholarship.

Ryan Morgan, 21, was thrown off his bike on a rural Ramona road. He landed in a drainage ditch, and sustained critical injuries to his chest, according to his father.

“I hope he knew I was there. You don’t want to be alone when you’re that hurt,” Rheynard Morgan, Ryan’s father said.

Rheynard Morgan showed NBC 7 the spot where his son crashed his sport bike, purchased the day before. A long skid mark indicates Morgan tried to brake, before getting ejected.

“I was able to grab his hand and at one point he clenched my hand very hard and looked at me in the eye,” Morgan said.

Morgan died two hours later at the hospital.

“I go from guilt to anger to 'Why?', back to guilt to rage and just fall to your knees bawling,” Morgan said.

Morgan was home for the summer before going back to West Point Academy in the fall.

He earned a football scholarship after graduating as Ramona High School's Athlete of the Year.

“Number 10 will live for a long time. We’ll make sure of that this year,” said the school's athletic director, Damon Baldwin.

Baldwin says Morgan was a special kid.

Highlights show the running back scoring touch down after touch down.

But those who knew him say he wasn’t just a star football player and champion sprinter, he believed in others besides himself.

“He’s a throwback. He’s about the team. Ramona Bulldogs. The pride part of everything. It’s just unbelievable,” Baldwin said.

“He never showboated, never rubbed it in people’s faces. I taught him to hit people hard, but help them up,” Morgan said.

The news of Morgan’s death spread fast in Ramona.

Within minutes, his dad’s phone was ringing off the hook.

“I was astonished. I raised him to be humble. Way humble. I had no idea this many people knew my son,” Morgan said. “Everybody says I did a great job raising him. I guess I did. Sometimes you get good material to work with.”

Morgan is planning a football game Saturday night at Ramona High, followed by a candle light vigil.

The United States Army will bury Morgan at Miramar National Cemetery.

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