Receiving a king’s ransom: Austin senior is taking his game to new levels

Published 7:56 pm Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Austin senior Peyton Ransom has seen many Packer games from many different angles, but he’s never been a part of a game quite like he had in Austin’s season opening 28-27 loss to Watertown-Mayer last Friday.

Ransom was nearly unstoppable as he pulled in nine catches for 190 yards and three scores in what was easily one of the best performances by a Packer receiver in the last two decades. AHS head coach Ed Schmitt isn’t sure what the all-time Packer record is for receiving yards in a game, but Ransom’s total is certainly the most in the last 15 years.

“Peyton is a great player and a great person,” Schmitt said. “He runs great routes and he has great hands. He teaches the younger guys how to line up, attack the defense and catch the ball with their hands, not their body.”

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Ransom, who also plays baseball and basketball at AHS, is a Packer to the core. He grew up watching as many Austin events as he could as a kid and he knows as well as anyone what it means to don the scarlet and red on a Friday night under the lights in Art Hass Stadium.

“As long as I can remember I always went to games,” Ransom said. “I love Austin sports. It’s awesome to see young kids at the games because that used to be me and I know they’re looking up to us.”

Ransom has grown into a go-to receiver and he’s modeled his game after AHS grad Zach Wessels, who was an All-State football player before playing basketball at Division II University of Sioux Falls, and current Oakland Raider Davante Adams. Both of those players, like Ransom, were rarely the fastest player on the field, but they mastered the art of route running and being consistent at catching the ball.

“In my sophomore year, mentally I was not as confident and I was not as successful,” Ransom said. “Last year I focused on being more confident and that helped me a lot and I was able to break out.”

Ransom only played defense as a sophomore, but it wasn’t because of his lack of ability. It was simply the way Schmitt likes to work younger players into the varsity rotation.

“As a sophomore, Peyton was probably one of our better receivers, but my thing is always that sophomores should only play on one side of the ball and we needed more help on defense that year. He wasn’t very happy with that, because he wanted to play both ways, but he’s turned into a great player,” Schmitt said. “He’s the kind of leader where people will follow him no matter what, and whatever sport he’s currently in, that’s the sport he’s focused on.”

While Ransom has worked hard in the weight room to get stronger on his release, he’s also studied the film of his opponents, which gives him an idea of where the open spots will be.

Ransom found time to work on football with senior quarterback Dakota Retterath over the summer, despite the fact that they were both playing on the Austin Post 91 Legion baseball team. Retterath served as Ransom’s catcher during the summer, but it is Ransom catching passes from Retterath this fall.

“Dakota and I have been playing together our whole lives and that chemistry has always been there,” Ransom said.

After high school, Ransom is hoping to have the opportunity to play college football or baseball, but for now his focus is completely with the Packer football team.

Austin will play at Academy Force at St. Croix Prep 7 p.m. Friday. Academy Force is coming off a 45-0 loss to Holy Family.