PRICE HILL – Coming off back-to-back playoff appearances, the Elder High School football program has once again become a postseason staple after missing out in 2010 and ’11.
Last season, with five sophomores on the field, the Panthers challenged the eventual Division I state champs for three quarters before losing out to Archbishop Moeller High School 24-0 in the second round of the playoffs to finish the season 9-3. Those sophomores are now a year older and coming together with a small, yet powerful senior class, has head coach Doug Ramsey believing the talent on his roster will keep the Panthers as one of the top teams in the state once again.
“I think the last years we’ve been one of the best four or five teams in the state,” Ramsey said. “I think having a more experienced guy (at quarterback) will help and I think we’ll have a pretty good offensive line this year. … I think if we can play well and get things going and make it to the playoffs I think we’ll have a chance to do something because I do think we have some good talent.”
That talent starts under center with Ramsey’s son, Peyton. The junior added 15 pounds in the offseason and looks more comfortable now that he’s the clear-cut No. 1 quarterback
“He’s one of the hardest working guys on the team,” Ramsey said of his son. “He wins all the sprints and does all of those things. He’s very driven and he wants to be great, no matter what. He doesn’t want anybody to get a better grade than him; he doesn’t want anybody to throw a better pass than him. Everything he does he tries to be great.”
An offensive line consisting of four seniors – Brady Murphy, Cole Tepe, Evan Kandra and Luke Jett – and junior Tommy Kra
emer, who reportedly has Division I offers Ohio State University, Penn State University, Duke University and others, will provide the protection for Ramsey and junior running back, Ja’Vahri Portis.
Defensively, senior Kyle Orloff headlines from the linebacker position after leading the team in tackles last season with 99. His presence alone on the field lifts the Panthers to another level.
“When he’s on the field and not on the field, you know it by just the way the defense runs around,” the elder Ramsey said. “… He plays the way the game should be played. When he’s around it’s just different.”
For Orloff, playing against his own offense every day in practice is making the defense that much better.
“Our offense will be one of the best in the state,” the linebacker said. “Going against them just makes us better, no matter who we’ll be playing the next week.”
The Panthers hold an advantage right out of the gate; seven of their 10 games this season will be played at The Pit, which brings a smile to the coach’s face.
“It’s nice,” Ramsey said. “Obviously we have a great place to play and that’s part of it. We’re playing a couple out-of-state teams and they just want to come here and play. If we can get off to a good start we can really make this a good atmosphere.”
Aug. 29: at Oak Hills (Skyline Crosstown Showdown)
Sept. 5: Vs. Lakota West, 7. p.m.
Sept. 12: Vs. McDonogh (Maryland), 7 p.m.
Sept. 20: Vs. St. Edward (Location TBA), 7 p.m.
Sept. 26: Vs. Rosa Fort (Mississippi), 7p.m.
Oct. 3: Vs. St. Xavier, 7 p.m.
Oct. 10: At Moeller, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17: Vs. Winton Woods, 7 p.m.
Oct. 24: At Highlands (Location TBA)
Oct. 31: Vs. La Salle, 7 p.m.