Doug Ramsey put his head down and managed a brief smile Saturday afternoon as his team and coaches cheered his 150th win as head football coach at Elder.
“I’m old,” Ramsey joked.
Ramsey’s Panthers reeled off 27 unanswered points after falling behind 10-7 in the first quarter and moved to 2-0 on the season with a 34-17 win over Lakota West Saturday morning in a game that had been postponed by lightning the night before.
The Panthers are 4-0 in the all-time series against West (1-1) and Ramsey is 150-63 at Elder, including Division I state championships in 2002 and 2003.
“I’ve been around a long time, I guess,” Ramsey said. “It’s been 19 years. You think about that. I’ve had pretty much the same coaching staff all the way through. The same guys and a lot of great kids. That’s the thing. When you look at these things … I’ve coached a lot of games and gotten to be around a lot of great people and coach great kids. That’s the thing I enjoy about it.”
Related: Elder schedule, stats
Ramsey earned the milestone win with his son, senior quarterback Peyton Ramsey directing an Elder offense that outgained Lakota West 507-225.
“It’s really enjoyable to coach your own kids, but when they leave it’s tougher,” Ramsey said. “You’ve got to enjoy it while you’ve got the chance.”
Elder, ranked No. 4 in the latest Enquirer Division I area coaches’ poll, got four touchdown runs from senior running back Ja’Vahri Portis.
Neither defense did much stopping early on, beginning with the game’s opening drive.
Lakota West senior Danny Otakasongo capped a three-minute, 67-yard drive for the Firebirds when he turned away three tacklers in backfield and ran around the left side for a 11-yard West touchdown.
Related: Lakota West schedule, stats
Elder responded right away with a 3-yard touchdown run from Portis, but West went ahead again when senior Jack Nguyen booted a 43-yard field goal for a 10-7 lead late in the opening quarter.
It was the last time the Firebirds led.
“They came out strong and they took it to us,” Ramsey said. “We weren’t very aggressive and we made a couple mental mistakes. I think after that second series we kind of settled down and started to be a little more physical and took control of the game.”
Portis had the answer again for Elder with a 1-yard scoring run over right guard and the first Panthers lead of the game – 13-10 with 7:56 to play in the half after the point-after hit the left upright.
Play of the Game: Portis’s third touchdown was a 23-yard run over right guard for a 20-10 lead with 5:08 remaining before the half.
The senior burst through a big hole and was barely touched as he weaved through increasingly fatigued Lakota West defenders.
“They were gassing and we just kept pushing it to them and pushing it to them,” Portis said. “My linemen just kept bringing it and we moved people out of the way. I had a great fullback leading me all the way.
“All summer long, we’ve been working and working to this. When it’s hot, we’re running in 100-degree weather and it paid off today.”
Stars of the Game: Peyton Ramsey completed 12 of 17 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown and he carried 13 times for 165 yards.
Ramsey hit senior Nick Hall for a 16-yard touchdown in the third and Portis scored from three yards out on fourth-and-goal early in the fourth quarter to put the game out of each.
Portis finished with 140 yards on 30 carries and his four scores.
“Going in we know we’re going to be in better shape than you,” Peyton Ramsey said. “All summer long, that’s what we’ve been working at. This is exactly what it is. It was fun.”
The duo helped keep the West offense to only nine offensive plays in the second half by holding onto the ball. Elder finished with a 33:09 to 14:51 advantage in time of possession.
“You could tell they were getting tired and our guys, it just seemed like we were getting stronger,” Peyton Ramsey said. “We just kept going after them.”
View From the Sideline: “Their offensive line basically just took over,” Lakota West coach Larry Cox said. “We’re pretty young up front and it’s a tough game to learn on. They’re a very good team. We can’t get our offense on track if it’s not on the field. There were times too that we were our own worst enemy. We’ve just got to keep getting better and keep working at it. I still think we’re a good football team.
“We got to a point where our defense was taking it instead of trying to adjust and learn. But you get that with sophomore and juniors.”
Staying on the field was the obvious game plan for Elder in the second half.
“If we can keep the ball away from people, that’s good,” Doug Ramsey said.
Extra point: The game was postponed Friday night after an hour delay at Lakota West and rescheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m.
Lakota West sports information director Bob Ashby said it was the first home football postponement he could remember in 18 years at West.
Lightning began 38 minutes before the scheduled kickoff, forcing both teams off the field as pregame warmups began. The call was made to postpone at 7:40.
Weather was not an issue Saturday.
LW- Otakasongo 11 run (Nguyen kick).
E-Portis 3 run (Onorato kick).
LW-Nguyen FG 43.
E-Portis 1 run (kick failed).
E-Portis 23 run (Onorato kick).
E-Hall 16 pass from Ramsey (Onorato kick).
E-Portis 3 run (Onorato kick).
LW- Otakasongo 35 run (Nguyen kick).
Records: E 2-0, LW 1-1.