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Elkins senior Ramirez making the most of final H.S. season at “second home”

Transferred from Grassfield H.S. in Virginia this summer
Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 8:18 PM EST
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ELKINS, W.Va (WDTV) - Just a few months ago, Elkins senior wingback Dante Ramirez was living in a different state, with his hopes of playing college football slipping through his fingers.

At the end of July, the Virginia High School sports league cancelled fall sports in 2020, postponing football until at least 2021 because of COVID-19. That was a big blow for the former Grassfield High School (VA) wide receiver who held no scholarship offers and knew he needed game film as a senior to catch the eyes of college coaches.

In August, Dante and his mom, Joy made the decision to move to West Virginia for Dante to enroll and play football at Elkins High School this fall. The Mountain State was one of the few states surrounding Virginia that was actually having sports in the fall. In addition to that, Joy graduated from EHS with the Class of 1998. Some of their family still lives in Randolph County, so the decision was quite obvious.

“She’s been ecstatic... she’s just been all over the place, to be honest, " Ramirez said of his mom.

Still, there were some growing pains. Moving to a high school and transitioning onto a football team as a senior can be quite daunting.

“It was kind of awkward at first. Everyone didn’t really know me and I didn’t know anyone else. They just saw me as the new kid. I had to prove myself,” Ramirez said.

He did just that, and then some. Ramirez has compiled nearly 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns in just eight games for the Tigers, helping them reach their first postseason since 2012. He then led the team to its first playoff win ever on Friday over Sissonville, with four touchdowns to his name. While the Tiger win was at the forefront, Ramirez had an additional reason to celebrate that night.

“I had a few college coaches text me and tell me ‘good job’ and I’m still in contact with them right now. It’s been pretty good.”

Although Ramirez’ move to Elkins was caused by the unfortunate and crippling pandemic that is the coronavirus, it does not take away from the story book ending to his high school career: playing for his mom’s alma mater, being a part of the first playoff win in school history, and turning the heads of DII colleges in his “new” home state that may have never seen him play in Virginia.

“There are no coincidences in life,” Elkins head football coach Evan Hott said. “With Dante coming here and everything that has transpired this season, it’s all meant to be.”

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