13,000 crowd “The Pit”

“Westside goes Worldwide”

Over 13,000 pack tight  into the Pit as ESPN visits.

taken from Quill archives

Over 13,000 pack tight into the Pit as ESPN visits.

September 6th, 2009, was a day no Elder football fan will ever forget. This was the day when the Westside went Worldwide. The Panthers (#3 ranked team in the country) took on their playoff rivals, The Colerain Cardinals.

The bloodbath was played in a more than sold out “Pit” with over 13,000 in attendance. People swarmed from everywhere: thousands packed in shoulder to shoulder, and standing room only on top the hill near the school. A “purple out” was displayed by the students and fans as a sea of purple and red could be seen dividing the two schools.

Coach Ramsey stated, “It was red and then PURPLE.” He told me it was up there as far as the best atmospheres he’s ever seen in his coaching career. Coach James added, “It was amazing, knowing we were going to be on live TV and the trucks coming in to set everything up, it was just amazing.” He told me the atmosphere itself was something he’d never been a part of in a long time at Elder.

Coach James said, “It seemed like there were so many people, I didn’t know how we’d fit them all.”

On a Sunday morning, nothing seemed more perfect than hard-fought high school football game between two of the best programs in the country.

I asked coach Ramsey what is was like getting the guys ready for this big of a game. He told me, “It was easy, they were excited to play live on ESPN and of course Colerain being as good as they were.” Ramsey also added that this was around the time they first started doing high school games on ESPN, so it was a rare yet exciting event.

Elder and Colerain combined had several Division I recruits that starred in the game. Elder quarterback Mark Miller (#149 rated) played a vital part to the team’s success that game while throwing for 225 yards and two TD’s.

Tight end and Notre Dame verbal commit Alex Welch was the #12 rated tight end in the country, acting mainly as a blocker to lead the Panthers on offense. Welch also played basketball for the
Panthers standing at 6’-5″ with a sturdy 225 lb. frame.

Kicker Tony Miliano was rated #1 kicker in the class of 2010 and went on to play at the University of Cincinnati. Miliano successfully kicked a twenty-two and thirty six yarder, providing the Panthers with six of their points, along with a couple extra point conversions.

Pete Bachman (6’-5″, 240 lbs.) offensive lineman and Tim O’Connor, wide receiver, were both verbally committed to Indiana. Miller found O’Connor twenty-nine yards deep early in the third quarter to help the Panthers take a 17-7 lead.

2009 Elder football team (ehsports)

Colerain fielded players such as Tyon Dixon (#70 OLB) committed to Louisville, dual threat running back Greg Tabor, and powerful running back Trayion Durham. Colerain ran the triple option with both Tabor and Durham in the backfield. However, the Panthers were able to keep the two Cardinals in check by playing solid defensively.

With the crowd on their side, Elder proved to be too much for Colerain as they came out victorious 20-7. Elder moved to (2-0) on the year as Colerain dropped to (0-2). Expecting a crazy, fired up locker after the game, I was proven wrong by coach James who told me, “I think everybody was just worn out because it was so hot, there was a lot of energy from a lot of people that went it to pulling that thing off.” He told me he doesn’t remember it being that crazy simply because to quote his words, “that team was very focused and driven on what came next.”

Being such a great game, many memories were formed that will never be forgotten by the players, coaches, and fans. Junior Zach Dugan was at the game that afternoon as he was in the first grade, about seven years old. He told me, “I couldn’t get a seat, so I sat by the flagpole with my Dad.” Dugan’s favorite moment of the game was the touchdown catch by Shelby Chidemo right before the end of the first half.

Coach Ramsey told me his favorite memory was simply winning, as that is always his favorite memory for big games like this. Some of coach James’ best memories included the big stop on 4th down, Tim O’Connor’s touchdown catch, Shelby Chidemo’s catch, and Jake Fishburn forcing a fumble on the pitch.

The Panthers finished out Labor Day weekend with a bang and left ESPN and the rest of the world impressed not only by the hard-fought effort, but the presence of the fans.

That being said, as we are nearing the 10th anniversary, I think it’s safe to say that Elder is more than willing to host ESPN in “The Pit” for a second go-round.