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The Bryan Ross era for Siloam Springs football officially came to an end Saturday night, one day after the Siloam Springs School District announced Brandon Craig as its new head coach.

Ross resigned in November after the Panthers finished 2-8 for the 2017 season, but his final act as head coach came this past Saturday when the football program held its annual postseason banquet.

At the end of the banquet, outgoing football booster club president Allen Broyles presented Ross with a plaque honoring his 14 years of service with the football program, including nine years as head coach.

The attendees gave Ross a standing ovation and an appreciative Ross gave them a heartfelt thanks.

Ross isn't done coaching, as there are bound to be plenty of coaching opportunities down the road for him. It will be interesting to see where he ends up, but no doubt he wishes the new coach success in the coming years.

Word began to break on Brandon Craig and the Siloam Springs job on Friday morning of last week, and by Friday afternoon a special school board meeting was called to officially hire him as head coach.

As of this writing I've not met or spoken to Craig. Hopefully that meeting will happen soon.

But many of my contacts within the coaching industry say nothing but good things about the former Oologah, Okla., head coach, who is 77-34 in 13 years combined at Oologah and Campus High in Wichita, Kan.

Craig will have his work cut out for him in his new gig at Siloam Springs, but it looks like he'll have plenty of time to get settled in over here in western Benton County, get his system installed and get to work.

The Panthers' football coaches, headed up by assistant coach Jonathan Johnson, have kept the returning football players busy in the absence of a head coach the last couple of months.

After he was hired on Friday, Craig told Herald-Leader reporter Mike Capshaw that he plans to install a multiple offense that will use spread and zone concepts, along with a quick passing game.

The Panthers will once again be playing in the 6A-West Conference, which will have one notable change for the 2018-2020 cycle. Texarkana moves down to 5A and is replaced by Little Rock Hall, which has won three games combined in the last six seasons. Sheridan went winless in 2017, but the Yellowjackets played Siloam Springs right down to the wire and will be improved this year.

Other conference teams include defending state champ Greenwood, El Dorado, Benton, Lake Hamilton and Russellville. Those schools will all be abuzz about the new coach in Siloam Springs and will be gathering film this offseason to get a hint at what the Panthers are going to look like this fall.

It's a new day for football in Siloam Springs. Welcome to town Brandon Craig!

-- Graham Thomas is the managing editor for the Herald-Leader. He can be reached at gthomas@nwadg.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

Sports on 02/07/2018

Print Headline: One era ends, a new one begins

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