Many have talked about the impact of a Chillicothe-Teays Valley football game might have on Dan Ramey. So, I thought I’d explain.
I was raised in Pickaway County (Skunk Hollar, to be more specific) and received my education in the Teays Valley school system. The earliest I ever remember wearing blue and gold was a hand me down Vikings sweatshirt in the second grade. I followed in a pathway blazed by my two brothers and sister who set a course of former teachers and friends before me. Once I got into high school, there were faculty who rolled eyes and looked skyward as if to say “Lord, not another Ramey kid”. I cut my teeth on Viking pride and have proudly maintained it even now, 33 years after being handed my diploma. If there’s anything I learned, it was to remember where I came from and the experiences along life’s way build us into the person we become.
When I first set foot inside Chillicothe High School in 1982, I couldn’t get over the resemblance of my hallowed halls of Teays Valley. It was told to me the same construction company built the two schools, using the same materials in the early 1960s. When CHS was being renovated in 2005-06, I listened with pride as then Superintendent Roger Crago spoke of his experience as a student in 1963 moving from the previous CHS on Arch Street onto the new campus on Yoctangee Parkway. I revisited the images I had seen of the first TVHS graduating class in old yearbooks and the excitement shown of their consolidated class from Ashville, Walnut and Scioto Townships.
A fellow student of Crago's was the late Dick Routt. Routt and I first met in the 80s. What a guy! He taught me most everything I know about the history of Chillicothe High School Football. That's why I made sure to carry his picture with me on stage during my induction into the CHS Athletic Hall of Fame last May. He did so much research that was incredibly helpful to me in the early days of my career, but also taught me how to do it properly. I've leaned heavily on his teaching to this day, years after his passing. One of the nuggets he shared was the story behind the multiple nicknames the school had before selecting "Cavaliers" in 1939. Before, there were a myriad of names, including "Vikings".
I often lobbied for a meeting between the schools, but in defense, the reasoning was generally Chillicothe was too big for Teays Valley (which was true in the 60s, 70s and early 80s). But after those years, Cavalier enrollment dwindled while TV’s exploded into being the larger today. Historically, the two had met on the gridiron once before. It was 1917, when Teays Valley (as Ashville High School) whipped the Chillicothe eleven 19-0. The two were scheduled again in 1920, but Gazette newspaper accounts stated Ashville canceled not once, but two times that year. The two never met again.
That was until a chance meeting in 2009 in Athens. CHS Athletic Director Rey Bradley had nominated me for an OHSAA award to be given at Ohio University’s Convocation Center during halftime of the Cavs tournament game with Logan Elm. We had gone into the hospitality room and Teays Valley’s Jim Hayes was there. It was at that moment I learned, the two administrators had not met before. Since that night, the schools have battled in other sports, but still not football.
In 2010, Chillicothe hired Ron Hinton. Hinton created a legacy at Amanda Clearcreek. Teays Valley had joined the Mid State League after my high school days and had a regular season bout with the Aces. The next school year, during preparation for an interview with coach Hinton, he revealed to me “Teays Valley was coming in 2013”. It was music to my ears. I’ve been looking forward to this date ever since.
The connection got more interesting once I remembered TV’s head coach played for Hinton at Amanda and had also worked with Cavs defensive coordinator Jeff Arndt. This will indeed be a battle of pupil and mentor.
This time last year, it would’ve been a matchup on the old Herrnstein Field, but that all changed when the ball got rolling to renovate the facility into what we’ve seen over the summer. Should we be surprised that the opening game and pomp and circumstance of opening ceremonies take place on Friday the 13th? About the only thing missing from the story is a full moon (but that’s not for a while yet).
As my broadcast partners Pat Highland and Jim Day can attest, when Teays Valley has been referred to at any time, they are known as “My Vikings”. At last spring’s CHS Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, Cavalier Nation also knows the love I have for these two beloved institutions.
Friday night, Cavalier fans will enjoy their shiny new digs as two undefeated clubs clash on a new synthetic surface for the first time in the modern era of football. While I will call the game no differently as any other night in the previous 31 seasons, I expect to be grinning from ear-to-ear no matter the outcome.
It is with great pleasure I can say “Thank you” to Teays Valley and Chillicothe. For mine is a Blue-and-Gold foundation upon which my Blue-and-White proudly rests.