CINCINNATI — Elder High School football coach Doug Ramsey won his 200th career game during a Division I, Region 4 first-round playoff game Friday as the host Panthers defeated Colerain 55-48 in triple overtime.
Ramsey entered the Ohio High School Athletic Association records for the most coaching wins in Ohio.
Ramsey has a record of 200-93 since becoming the Elder head coach in 1997. He led the Panthers to back-to-back Division I state titles in 2002 and 2003 and two other state finals (2019, 2008).
He was presented the game ball by longtime assistant coach Craig James on the rain-soaked field Friday night.
“I told (the team), ‘Could you guys have made it a little easier,'” Ramsey said. “What a way to get to 200 right? You know a game like that playing against a really good team…we just kept fighting.”
Elder senior Drew Ramsey, Doug’s son, scored four touchdowns and surpassed 100 receptions this season.
“It means everything,” Drew Ramsey said of the milestone. “I’m glad I was here when he could do it. My brother [Peyton] is coaching. The whole family is around so it’s really special.”
Senior wide receiver Andrew Harp had three touchdown receptions including one in the fourth quarter, another in overtime and his third in the second overtime for the Panthers (6-5), who advance to play at St. Xavier (9-2) in a Division I, Region 4 quarterfinal Nov. 5.
Colerain (5-6) was led by sophomore quarterback Zae Jennings who rushed for five touchdowns including a 92-yarder, a 76-yarder and a 56-yard score.
He is the first Colerain player to score five touchdowns in a game since September 2018.
“Zae had a hell of a night and so did a lot of our kids,” Colerain coach Shawn Cutright said. “They gave it their all and left it on the field. What more can a coach ask from their players. We will wake up tomorrow and be better men with the effort and attitude we have in the game tonight.”
Former Colerain quarterback Deante Smith-Moore – then a senior – rushed for five touchdowns against visiting Princeton Sept. 7, 2018, according to the GMC website.
Colerain led 20-6 with 8:32 left in the second quarter but the Panthers rallied to tie the game at 20 at halftime. A dramatic second half saw the game tied at 34 at the end of regulation. Elder’s defense stopped Colerain on fourth down in the third overtime to seal the victory.
“I tell these guys once we get to the playoffs it’s one and done,” Doug Ramsey said. “You don’t think about anything else.”
Ramsey discussed with WCPO this past summer about the significance of coaching Elder football while the program has had a strong connection to his family. He has coached three sons in the program including Tanner, Peyton and current senior Drew.
Peyton Ramsey was coaching from the press box for the Panthers on Friday night.
“I remember being a part of the 150th [win],” Peyton Ramsey said. “I remember coming around as a kid. We’re talking this week it probably feels like a lot more than 200 — at least it feels like it. This place is special. It means a lot to our family and to do it in this kind of fashion is something special.”
New York Giants tight end Kyle Rudolph, a 2008 Elder graduate, said Ramsey has impacted countless lives.
“As I’m sure Doug will say, it’s a true testament to all the great players who’ve played for him and all the coaches who’ve coached with him, but it all starts at the top with Elder Football,” Rudolph said. “The consistency he’s shown for almost three decades is second to none.”
Rudolph remembers going to an Elder football camp as a kid and idolizing all the players at the time.
The U.S. Army All-American football player was also a basketball standout and said he enjoyed playing both sports. Ramsey was always supportive of Rudolph being a multi-sport athlete.
“Now as a former player who’s closing in on 15 years since my last season there, being able to watch the countless lives he’s continued to impact as the head football coach, it’s amazing,” Rudolph said.
Dallas Cowboys long snapper Jake McQuaide, a 2006 Elder graduate, said Ramsey is all about the game of football and the student-athletes.
“Coach Ramsey has done an incredible job leading the program at Elder,” McQuaide told WCPO. “The Elder fan base loves its Panthers. There are two sides to that coin though. As the head coach, you have tons of support to lean on, but you also have thousands of people critiquing your every move. Coach Ramsey has done a great job maximizing the former and minimizing the latter. He makes sure to keep it about the kids.”
Elder athletic director Kevin Espelage said Ramsey’s impact is remarkable in 25 years as a head coach. Ramsey was an assistant for several years prior to that.
“Like most good coaches, Doug will probably defer a lot of the credit to his players, past and present, and coaches and parents,” Espelage said. “But Doug Ramsey is a great coach and even better father, husband and a tremendous teacher. Yes, the credit for 200 wins should be dispersed to all involved but Doug Ramsey is the ‘face of the franchise’ so to speak. His impact goes beyond just the 200 wins, four state title game appearances and two state titles.”
Former Elder athletic director Dave Dabbelt hired Ramsey as the head coach in 1997. Dabbelt, who was the Elder athletic director from 1990 to 2017, said Ramsey’s legacy goes beyond the success on the field.
“To me the key thing is he’s always cared about all the kids,” Dabbelt said. “It’s not just the starters, it’s not just the studs — it’s all of them. It creates to me a great team atmosphere, a good feeling within the community. I think that’s the piece that’s gone well.”