Football makes run into playoffs

Although their regular season record may not show it, the Panthers could be a tough match-up for higher seeds in D-1

Junior quarterback Peyton Ramsey makes a dash for pay dirt against Highlands


Junior quarterback Peyton Ramsey makes a dash for pay dirt against Highlands

Playoff Fever has once again gripped Elder High school in a frenzy. It’s the time of year where Elder Nation rallies behind the football team, as Elder defeats opponent after opponent and wins the State title, or so they hope. Either way, it’s the best time of year for Elder sports, and inter-city rivalries intensify as one play could propel a team to undying glory or gloomy defeat.

The varsity football team has been hard at work this season in order to secure a bid in the playoffs. Despite going 5-1 with a momentous victory over Ed’s in week four, two successive defeats mid-season against St. X in a thrilling overtime matchup, and Moeller the next week left Elder’s prospects looking bleak. However, the Panthers rallied, and with a victory over Highlands in week nine, secured their spot in the playoffs.

Despite not having a first round home playoff game, Elder looks to capitalize on its unique ability to win games, deep in the fourth quarter, due to their hard-hitting and never give up style of play. They also look for key contributions from junior starting quarterback Peyton Ramsey, and with the return of the offensive weapons in Nick Hall (WR) and Ja’Vahri “Its Vari baby” Portis (RB), Elder looks to be a behemoth of an obstacle for opposing teams.

Another advantage is Elder’s seed in this year’s playoffs. It is widely accepted that whoever wins Elder vs. Wayne in round one, will be playing the winner of Moeller vs. St. X in round four. However, the Panthers aren’t looking  that far ahead, instead opting to take it one game at a time. The mantra of the team is, “Only Saturday is guaranteed.”

But the question still remains, can Elder survive the road to State?

I asked defensive captain Kyle Orloff on his perspective on how Elder, as a team, will perform in the playoffs. Orloff said, “I think we are ready for what the postseason has in store for us. Our tough regular season schedule has prepared us well for the playoffs. As a team we are excited about the draw we got and we believe we can make a run for a State championship.”

A reaffirming answer for many Elder students. Certainly, the entire West Side will be watching to see if the Panthers can live up to this expectation of being in the State title game five weeks from now.

The postseason has another meaning to many players on the team. For the seniors, it represents the final stretch of their Elder football careers. It gives a tangible meaning to the phrase “Play every snap as if it’s your last.” It’s neat to see how this factor affects the performance of these guys out on the field. Their passion can be felt all the way to the stands.

I asked Senior WR Austin Truitt, an underrated silent workhorse on the team, about what the post-season means to him. Truitt informed me, “It’s a big deal knowing that we have now given ourselves a chance to win a State championship and the reality that my Elder football career is coming to an end.”

As always, Elder has all the opportunity and talent needed to make deep run in the playoffs. With expectations as high as ever, make sure you get out and support the Panthers at every game, no matter how far away it is.  Your support will go a long way in bringing that trophy home to 3900 Vincent Avenue.