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story.lead_photo.caption Graham Thomas/Herald-Leader Siloam Springs linemen Corbin Collins, left, and Isaiah Molina, run toward the south end of Panther Stadium during Monday morning's practice.

The Siloam Springs football team returned to action Monday after two weeks off for the Arkansas Activities Association dead period.

And the Panthers hit the ground running -- literally.

A good turnout of players showed up for Monday's 7 a.m. workout and the team ended the day with several 40-yard sprints followed by a pair of full field (100 yards) sprints at Panther Stadium.

"I thought the kids turned out well," said first-year coach Brandon Craig. "We had a good turnout, and I thought that they worked really hard. We try to encourage them to be here every day and make a commitment to their team from the standpoint of what we're doing is trying to get ourselves mentally and physically prepared for the season."

Craig was shouting words of encouragement as the team ran its final sprints and gave the Panthers a talk as they went through post-workout stretching.

"I basically try to make them understand that it's an investment and what they do now is going to pay off later," Craig said. "It's harder to quit on a Friday night when you're putting in all the time and effort in that we're asking them to put in."

The Panthers began their summer conditioning program in late May after spring ball and worked through the third week of June until the start of the dead period, which ended Sunday July 8.

For Craig, it was his first experience with the dead period as his former state of employment -- Oklahoma -- did not have a dead period in place.

"I thought (the dead period) was good in a lot of ways," Craig said. "I thought there were a couple of areas where we were really starting to hit our stride with getting in shape, and our kids were starting to get comfortable with our workouts. Most of them told me they didn't want to have a dead period.

"I thought it was great for the kids to get away. Hopefully in the future, they'll understand they can use that time for vacations and all the things their family wants to do. It will allow us more time to work."

Craig said he used the dead period to take some vacation time with his wife.

"It was a nice break," he said.

But now the break time is over for the Panthers, who will start their fall practice on July 30.

The Panthers attended a team camp at Bentonville West on Tuesday and on Thursday they'll head to the Border Battle 7-on-7 Tournament in Branson, Mo.

"It'll be 12 Missouri teams and 12 Arkansas teams battling in a 7-on-7 format," Craig said. "We're trying to come out of there with as much positive experience as we can."

The 7-on-7 fun continues on Saturday but with a younger age group as the annual Youth 7-on-7 Tournament will be held at Panther Stadium as a fundraiser for the Siloam Springs Football Booster Club.

"It's a big thing for us to get some money into the program, but it's also good for us to get those kids some experience throwing and catching the ball," Craig said.

The football program will also host its annual Youth Football Camp from 6 to 8 p.m. on July 23-24 at Panther Stadium.

It's the first camp the program has hosted since Craig took over as head coach.

"What we'd like to do there is not only showcase our facilities but also let the coaches get to mentor and coach these young kids that are coming up through the the program," Craig said. "Also it's a chance for our coaches to have a clinic and meet with the coaching staffs of those young kids and show them what we're all about. Last but not least, our high school kids will get a chance to mentor and be a part and also get to help coach those kids."

The camp is for football players going into grades 1-6, and the camp objective is to teach athletes the fundamentals of football, to enhance the techniques used in football and to introduce philosophies used at Siloam Springs High School.

Shorts and cleats are needed and players need to show up 15 minutes prior to the start time ready to go.

Preregistration is $40, which includes insurance and a camp T-shirt. Make checks payable to Siloam Springs football. Late registration is available but a T-shirt cannot be guaranteed.

For more information, contact Craig at 524-3185 or email brandon.craig@siloamschools.com.

Sports on 07/11/2018

Print Headline: Dead period done, Panthers get back to work

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