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At Elder, dad, son face football world together

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Posted at 9:45 AM, Nov 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-13 09:45:06-05

CINCINNATI -- Doug Ramsey has one of the highest-profile high school coaching jobs in the city. The fans at Elder, where he coaches, are arguably the city's most rabid — and the hardest to please.

Doug Ramsey coaches football at Elder High School. His son, senior Peyton Ramsey, is the team's quarterback. Photo provided

So there was a little trepidation about having his son, Peyton, play the highest-profile position for him. It crossed his mind that life might be easier for his sons at some other school.

“I’m happy my kids are in school here because I think it’s a great place to go to school,” Doug Ramsey said. “That side of it was great. But there was always the fear. What if they aren’t good to play? I enjoyed playing sports so much in high school, I wouldn’t want them to miss that opportunity.

“That was always a fear. With Peyton, there wasn’t so much that because from the time I can remember he was always a pretty dominant player in whatever sport he was playing.”

Peyton Ramsey, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior, has dominated at Elder as well. He goes into Saturday’s Division I playoff game with Hilliard Darby (7 p.m. kickoff at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium) with 5,842 career passing yards and 2,267 career rushing yards. He’s thrown for 42 TDs and run for 27.

Peyton Ramsey, middle, is a senior at Elder High School and the football team's quarterback.

Still, he hasn’t pleased all the people all the time.

“There were doubters when he was a sophomore,” Doug Ramsey said. “No one said anything to me. But people would come up to me and say so-and-so said he can’t believe that your son is playing.

“The thing is he’s really good. And what he has beyond that as a leader: his work ethic. He’s the hardest-working guy we’ve got. He doesn’t lose sprints. Every rep in practice is meaningful to him. That helps me as well.

“It would be hard if your son was kind of a dog.”

At Elder, it would be unbearable.

Full disclosure: I’m an Elder grad. I’ve gone to games through the years. In the early 2000s when my nephew played, I’d go to Dad’s Club, which is Elder Tuesday Night Quarterback Club. Dads drink beer, watch film of the last game and loudly question play-calling. Mind you, that team won a state championship. I was amazed Doug Ramsey subjected himself to it.

He still goes.

“It’s a lot different now as I’ve gotten older,” he said. “I know a lot of the guys. (My son) Tanner played with some of these kids’ dads. So I’m sitting in the stands with these guys at basketball games, baseball games. That’s made it little bit different.”

Ramsey’s wife, Cherie, has season tickets at the Pit — on the visitors' side.

“That’s by design,” she said.

Wise move. Elder fans can be a little rough on their own players. That’s hard to hear when it’s your kid.

As Doug Ramsey said, his older son, Tanner, played for him two years ago. That helped ready him for this. But with Peyton Ramsey playing quarterback, it’s different. Doug Ramsey coaches the quarterbacks and calls the plays.

“I think the good thing for me (was) I had an older one who played who wasn’t a quarterback,” he said. “I wasn’t constantly with him. You learn from that. Even though they’re your kids, they’re still going to make mistakes. You can’t be too hard on them. On the other side, you can’t be afraid to correct them in front of everybody.

“It’s that fine line of treating them just like you treat everyone else.”

That’s what Peyton Ramsey wants.

“I don’t want my teammates to think I’m getting any more attention or any less,” he said. “I want it to all be equal, so we can go out there on Friday and Saturday nights and get it done.

“Looking back on it, I’m definitely going to miss it. I’m trying to enjoy every second of it.”

Again, it helps that he's as good as he is. He has completed 164 of 268 passes for 2,129 yards and 21 touchdowns versus six interceptions this year. He has also run 131 times for 876 yards and 12 TDs. He’ll play at Indiana next year.

The Ramseys separate football from their home life.

“It’s few and far between that they talk about football at home,” Cherie Ramsey said. “When they come home, they don’t mix football and family.”

Said her husband: “He gets enough football here.”

When you name your son Peyton, and you’re a former quarterback, as Doug Ramsey is, coaching football, there’s a good chance you're expecting the kid to play quarterback.

“My oldest son (Tanner) is named Montana,” Doug Ramsey said. “That didn’t pan out. He was a fullback. I’ve got Drew, the last one. You could say Drew Brees or Drew Bledsoe.”

It remains to be seen if Drew follows his brother's path. He’s a sixth-grader. The Ramseys' only daughter, Carly, is a junior at Seton.

Doug Ramsey is glad it worked out at quarterback at Elder with his son.

“I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” he said. “It’s been a great experience.”