Panthers face off against Highlanders

Panthers face off against Highlanders

The 2015 Elder football season is upon us. The Panthers start the year off with the little brother Oak Hills in The Pit. Last year the ‘rivalry’ was rejuvenated, and the Panthers romped the Highlanders at Oak Hills 34-6. The rout was led by then junior now senior quarterback Peyton Ramsey. Ramsey went 9-12 for 108 yards, running back Ja’Vahri Portis led the way for the Panthers on the ground with 99 yards on 24 carries.

After a seven year hiatus, Oak Hills finally returns to The Pit to take on the Panthers. The last time the Highlanders came here they were defeated 30-7. That year Elder went on to be state runner ups. Now it’s been a long time, and I emphasize long time, since Oak Hills has beaten Elder.

You have to go back to 1986 when Ronald Reagan was president. Top Gun had just hit the movie theatre, and da Bears won the Super Bowl. I think we get the picture of how long it’s been since little brother beat big brother.

It has been 29 years. This year I wouldn’t expect things to change. The Panthers are led by a very strong senior class, with lots of experience. Guys like Peyton Ramsey, who is a three year starter at QB for the Panthers. Nick Hall, who is now entering his third of varsity football. And Tommy Kraemer (who we all know about) is a third year starter on the Panthers O-line. Now that is just the offensive side of the ball.

On defense you have three year starter Joe Schroer.  Linebackers Keith Orloff and Ryan Furniss have played a big part in the Elder defense over the past three years and round out a group who has more than enough varsity level experience. Four of the six previous guys I mentioned are the Panther captains. Not too shabby. However, they have even more talent than that.

Offensively, Ja’Vahri Portis is coming back from a leg injury that sidelined him after the Rosa Fort game. Portis will look to carry the load on the ground for the Panthers. The wide receivers are led by Nick Hall, but after that have loads of speed. Senior Robby Oswald and Brannen Martin are looking to make a huge difference this year. Juniors Adam Schwallie and Garren Messmore will also look to help the offense. Ross Hambleton will be sidelined for a while due to a leg injury, but after a quality sophomore season will look to build off his past year’s success.

Defensively, the Panthers are led by Schroer and Furniss, but have other talent on this side of the ball. Seniors Andrew Buller and Spencer Kandra are looking to help Schroer on the D-line. Senior corners Dave Heisel and Macks Burke look to shut down opposing wide receivers. Senior safety Ben Allison who had a huge game against the Lakewood St. Edward Eagles last year, has the talent to keep everything in front of him. Junior transfer from that school on North Bend Road, Nick Niehaus will be a nice addition to the defense this year.

Overall this team has loads of talent on both sides of the ball. The Panthers are ready to roll against the Highlanders. I think little brother will be a bit disappointed about the outcome this Friday night. They will most likely extend the streak to 25 straight games. Be ready, because the Panthers are going to put on some great games this fall.