Following in the footsteps

Danny Nieman replaces one of the best QB’s to ever play at Elder. How has he handled it so far?

Danny Nieman, Elder high school’s new quarterback is faced with more expectations than the average player. Danny, a junior, is stepping into the starting position this year, but there is a little more to it than that. Danny is replacing Peyton Ramsey, a three year starter and two time GCL South co-Player of the Year.

When asked about feeling any added pressure Nieman said, “I really don’t think I do. I mean you look back at all his games and you see all the things he was able to do, but I’m in a position where there’s enough good skilled guys around me, and it’s my job just to get them the ball and let them go to work.”

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I’m in a position where there’s enough good skilled guys around me, and it’s my job just to get them the ball and let them go to work”

— Danny Nieman

“The alumni have just given it the classic ‘you got to enjoy it.’ Heck, we’re half way done here (with our time at Elder high school), so you just got to take the most of your time and enjoy it, enjoy the practices, and enjoy the games,” added Nieman.

Adding his insight to having a new quarterback, senior wide receiver Adam Schwallie said, “I think it’s good for the team and I think he brings a good look to the team.”

Nieman responded by claiming that he is very good looking, but Schwallie jokingly added that he didn’t mean it like that.

Head coach Mr. Doug Ramsey gave his input on the whole situation as well.

When asked how different it was to not see Peyton out there under the lights on Friday nights, Ramsey said, “It’s a lot different, not even just Peyton. I had Tanner before that so for six seasons I have had a son in the program, and the last four I have had a son on the varsity team so it changes things a lot. I still enjoy doing those things but it’s a little different when your sons are on the field with you.”

When asked about how Nieman has performed so far, his coaches’ responses have been unanimous.

Nieman does his best Peyton Ramsey impression as he rushes for a first down.

“I think Danny has played really well, I mean if you look at his numbers he’s got a pretty high completion percentage and he makes good decisions when he’s been under pressure so I think he’s handled it really well,” said Ramsey.

“He made a play during the Oak Hills game, just a really good decision. They rolled coverage and it’s something we’ve been working on. He hasn’t really seen a whole lot of that and it ended up being a big completion for like a 30-40-yard gain. The average fan in the stands doesn’t realize what’s going on but it was just a really good mental play and I think that’s what he’s doing; he’s a really smart quarterback.”

“I would say that Danny has definitely stepped up big time and he’s in a completely different situation (than Peyton) because it’s his first year in the offense and he didn’t start as a sophomore on varsity. But he’s very much the same in terms of his film study and making good passes and his intelligence,” said strength and conditioning coach, Adam Rankin.

“Being under the bright lights for your first two games, I don’t care who it is, it’s going to be a shock. Peyton was a dual threat kind of guy. He could hurt you in so many different ways, but Danny is more of your classic pocket passer. He will run if he needs to and run hard, but not going to break off that 80 yard run like Peyton could. Danny is getting everything thrown at him but the kitchen sink and it’s probably information over load, but I think he has handled it very well. He’s been great.”

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Peyt is Danny’s biggest fan. He wants him to be successful and just be himself. It has been a joy to watch so far. ”

— Coach James

“Danny has been great in facing pressure and dealing with what comes along with it. He doesn’t let it outwardly affect him, which is what you want in your leader. As far as replacing Peyton…Peyt is Danny’s biggest fan. He wants him to be successful and just be himself. It has been a joy to watch so far,” said defensive coordinator Craig James.

“Our guys have displayed that they are going to fight until it is over. That is all we can ask them to do. We may not be better athletes than you, or may not be as talented as you, but we will be tougher than you,” added James.

“We have so many new faces that now have the opportunity to show everyone what they can do. That has been the biggest difference. We graduated a great group of football players, but even better kids. Our guys this year are doing their best to keep things moving in a positive direction. By week 10, this team will be playing it’s best football.”

Nieman makes a pass versus Oak Hills

In just three games, the Panthers have surpassed many people’s expectations. Names like Danny Nieman, Jack Mazza, Danny Faillace, Michael Bittner and Kyle Trischler have been young emergers on offense. Seniors such as Nick Niehaus, Zach Lyons, and Darnell Dawson have anchored a defense that has only given up 11.33 points per game.

The future is bright for the Panthers, with a plethora of starting sophomores and juniors. Experience will be a key factor, as the greatest tests are still out there on the schedule.

The Panthers face two time State Champions, number one team in the state and eighth in the nation, St. Edwards on Saturday, September 17th. Time will only tell how successful the Panthers will be this season, but the consensus is that Danny Nieman is up to the task.