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story.lead_photo.caption Graham Thomas/Herald-Leader Rising senior quarterback Landon Ellis goes through a drill during practice Monday at Panther Stadium.

The Siloam Springs football team wrapped up its first week of spring practice under first-year coach Brandon Craig last Friday, with the Panthers being able to work out in pads for three of those days.

The results were mixed according to the first-year coach.

"What I like is I saw a little bit of competition last week in practice," Craig said before Monday's practice. "I saw some guys competing trying to get better. I saw guys working hard. What I would like to see more of is more competition and more guys working hard. I think it's just the mentality of how to practice and how to practice fast, but yet still practice with purpose.

"Right now, we have times where we look really good and do things really well. Then we'll have a nice lull where we don't do things so well and we lose focus. Let's just maintain that focus throughout the whole practice."

Craig said several different players had good moments during last week's practice.

"Tate Criner stood out last week," Craig said. "He had a good week of practice. He's playing inside receiver for us, made some good catches in traffic. I think Matt Avery stood out last week. He's been playing linebacker for us, made a lot of improvements as far as reads. He had some big tackles for us. Gage Weaver went up and caught some balls last week, did some really nice things for us. He's making a lot of improvement."

Craig was particularly impressed with returning senior center Dillon Conn.

"Dillon Conn has just been outstanding," Craig said. "His motor runs hot. He's a leader on the field. He's a director of traffic. He does a good job for us over there.

"Defensively, Corbin Collins, Mariano (Dominguez) they both had good weeks. Both are tough to block."

Craig also was encouraged by the improvement of 6-3, 235-pound defensive end Kolby Fesler.

"Fesler is really getting better," Craig said. "He's doing a good job of taking the snaps and getting better. Improving technique which will make him a better player on Friday nights."

The Panthers are looking forward to having senior running back Kaiden Thrailkill back for the rest of spring ball. Thrailkill and other athletes have returned to football after the completion of baseball and track and field.

"We got Thrailkill back at the end of (last) week," Craig said. "We didn't have him much at all last week. Quarterback play has been better. They're beginning to understand the offense. Getting terminology and different things down, so that's helped. We're continuing to work and learn."

The Panthers are scheduled to practice Wednesday and Friday in pads. The annual spring game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Panther Stadium.

After the spring game, the Panthers will have one final practice in pads, only using eight of the 10 days available for pad practices in spring ball.

Craig isn't concerned though and said the Panthers will have plenty of opportunity to get pad work in before the start of fall camp in August.

"We want to support other programs," Craig said. "So we don't want to try and go out and have practice on top of other people's practices and get someone hurt. We've got soccer finals, scholarship night, graduation, all these other events that we want to be sensitive to as well.

"We know that these spring practices are very important, and they're helping us tremendously. As we move forward, we're going to have pad camp, where we'll have five practices in two days, which is awesome. We're going to come back and have 7 on 7. We're going to come back and have one more pad camp in July. So we're going to have plenty of opportunities to get ourselves ready for the season."

Sports on 05/09/2018

Print Headline: Spring practice continues for SSHS football

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