The 12th man thrives here at Elder

A look at how my life has been affected by Elder’s 12th man, as well as key contributors.


The 12th man, usually referred to as the fan by most football teams, utilized by teams such as the Seattle Seahawks or Texas A&M University, is a prominent factor in any type of sports game in the world, and can change the trajectory of the entire game.

A school inside Price Hill has become one of the better-known high school stadiums, accompanied by their loud student body and fanbase. This, all male, college preparatory high school, commonly referred to as Elder, is a big deal in the Cincinnati area.

The birth of the Portable Pit, 2004 (via

The Pit, located on the west side of Cincinnati, is no stranger to sold out crowds and loud energy, but I wanted to take a deeper look into how these cheers, themes, and overall atmosphere of the Pit became so noteworthy in our 100th year as a school.

I wanted to first reflect on my own experiences in the student section and how these games have not only been a fun and enthusiastic atmosphere, but I also got to be with my brothers that I love most. Unfortunately, Covid-19 hit schools nationwide, and it became hard for us student to come out to our sporting events and to cheer on the Panthers, and social distancing was a big part of that.

We got over this tragedy and trudged on. My first real experience in the cheering section was the 2021 football season, where our Panthers did not play up to expectations, and finished 6-6. But it wasn’t about our record that made this season special, it was the bonds I made with the people I have known for so long, as well as the special friendships I made with people I had no connection with prior.

That’s what makes The Pit special, and more importantly Elder High School and the whole west side of Cincinnati special, because no matter where we our parents and grandparents have ended up, they always come back here to cherish old memories as well as making new ones with the people they hold so close to their hearts.

I spoke to numerous alumni and students, but one person’s experiences stuck out from the rest. I spoke with classmate Ben Weigand ’24, a big and mighty junior who has played baseball and wrestling during his years at Elder, about what his 12th man experience means to him. He told me, “To be honest, it means everything to me, going out there on these Friday nights and cheering on these Panthers. You can definitely feel the atmosphere in these games, when we make a big play, and that can totally shift the trajectory of the entire game.”

The cheering section can make a big difference at basketball games as well.

I asked him also about his most memorable moment in the section that he will cherish for the rest of his life. He proclaimed one time, “That 2021 game against Moeller was special. We were in our all black theme, and the game went into triple overtime. It can’t get any better than that! And I remember vividly when Andrew Harp caught that ball in the corner of the endzone to win us the game, oh man what a time that was. We were all excited, and it was a hell of a time to be alive.” I can attest to this firsthand and say that was one of the craziest games of my lifetime. This game in particular gave me a great sense of why it is so special to be a part of these games and be involved with your school and student body.

One last thing I would like to mention about our Panthers is that our cheering sections and overall energy does not stay strictly in The Pit. A household name around the westside, known as the “Portable Pit”, is very special to us, which started in late 2019 during our football team’s “Race to State”. This was something I personally was not able to attend but saw in person what impact these guys had on the game. This newly made tradition is an atmosphere you cannot match, and something that will not find anywhere else in the world at the high school level.