Most high school football players in South Carolina might dread the beginning of high school football practice, and for good reason. Imagine practicing in humidity that can drive the comfort level to 105-110 degrees on an early August morning. And, imagine practicing in that swampy, soupy weather with a football uniform on, perhaps two times a day.
But that’s not the case for brothers Will and Hunter Ramey, standout student-athletes at Philip Simmons High School.
They are ready — and waiting — for the season with enthusiasm and hope.
“It’s going to be heartbreaking if we don’t play this year,” Will said. “I want a final chance to play with my friends. But I also need for my senior season to go well and get some colleges to look at me.”
Younger brother Hunter is a junior on the team. He won’t need a motivational speaker to get in the right frame of mind when the season is scheduled to kick off.
“I’m driven to play,” Hunter said. “I hope to have a regular season this fall. If not, I won’t know what to do.”
Will Hunter is a senior who rarely comes off the field. He’s a wide receiver and linebacker. He earned all-region and all-state honors last fall for the Iron Horses.
But when football coach Eric Bendig talks about the brothers, he focuses on the complete picture. He mentions that Will and Hunter are both members of the leadership council and do a lot for the community.
It’s not idle chatter. Hunter is an excellent student with a 5.0 GPA on the PSHS scale. He’s even competitive when it comes to academics — he and a good friend are neck-and-neck in class ranking.
“I haven’t checked it for quite some time, but we were like (Nos.) 4 and 5 when I last looked. It’s that close,” Hunter said.
The brothers are ready to hit the weight room once the South Carolina High School League gives the complete green light. For now, the door seems open for athletes to return to the weight room on campus.
The High School League will hold an online meeting with member schools on June 4 to discuss guidelines in getting sports programs up and running.
League commissioner Jerome Singleton said in a memo that the goal is to allow the athletes, coaches, and staff to begin in-person training and group workouts while maintaining a safe environment.
While anything can happen, some athletic directors believe the decision will be made individually by school districts, and if students can return to school over the summer, student-athletes will be able to return to the school’s athletic facilities as well.
But the Rameys have been working out on their own. And they admit the esprit de corps of a team is tough to replicate when it’s just you and friends.
Will Ramey, the senior, said he and his friends were ready to go back to school about a week after the coronavirus closed school doors around the state.
“Having teammates in the weight room helps push you through the workouts. When you’re in school, you can’t miss workouts.”