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story.lead_photo.caption Graham Thomas/Siloam Sunday Siloam Springs head coach Brandon Craig holds a tackling dummy as senior cornerback Primo Agbehi dives in for a tackling drill at football practice Thursday at Panther Stadium.

The Siloam Springs football team wrapped up its first week of fall practice on Friday morning at Panther Stadium, and it was a productive week for the Panthers according to first-year coach Brandon Craig.

The team worked out in shorts and helmets on Monday and Tuesday and then transitioned to half shell -- or shoulder pads for the rest of the week.

Craig said the Panthers are in the process of going back and installing its offense and defense again and cleaning and sharpening things up.

"I think the kids are grasping it a lot better the second time through and understanding how to do things a little bit cleaner, a little bit better," Craig said. "We're excited about that. We're also happy with their energy. I really liked their effort this week. They did a good job with that. We're just trying to continue to improve and move forward."

In particular, Craig said he was pleased with the Panthers' defensive unit and its work this past week.

"We put an emphasis on third down this week," Craig said. "Our kids really grasped the idea of how important third down is and getting off the field. I was really excited about that. We're still in the works of making sure every kid knows what's going on. So that's a process for us, making sure we can get as many kids developed as possible. That's still a work in progress. Overall I'm really happy about our tempo. I'm really happy about our defense grasping that concept of getting off the field on third down."

Craig said there were some Panthers that stood out individually this past week, including several underclassmen.

Craig said junior wide receiver Dominic Alfaro had a good week.

"Dominic Alfaro is a kid that came out late in the spring," Craig said. "He's making some plays out there. I was excited to see he's starting to get things and understand what we're trying to accomplish. He's another guy that's going to give him some depth."

Reserve quarterbacks Taylor Pool (junior) and Colin Evers (sophomore) are also coming along, Craig said, along with junior wide receivers Oren Stafford and Tate Criner.

"Taylor Pool and Colin Evers are grasping more of what we're trying to do offensively and did a good job with that," he said. "Some kids, Oren Stafford is a kid that's going to surprise some people. Tate Criner's a kid like that as well. They're developing and starting to come along in our program."

Defensively, the Panthers are trying to build some depth at defensive back and sophomores Elijah Coffey and Cam Collins stood out.

"Elijah Coffey, Cam Collins, those guys are all coming up as sophomores, and their athletic ability is allowing them to get some time on the field," Craig said. "They're giving us a little more depth in some spots."

With teacher in-service days starting this week, football practices will shift to the afternoons from 4 to 6:30 p.m. The Panthers will practice in shells on Monday and Wednesday and go full pads on Tuesday and Thursday.

"Everything picks up in intensity as far as time and effort," Craig said. "We get back on a normal schedule starting practices in the afternoon. It's going to be a little more hot and challenging."

No practice is scheduled Friday as the team plans to use the day for its fundraiser Blitz Night.

The Panthers have media day scheduled on Saturday morning and then will return to Panther Stadium on Saturday night at 7 p.m. for a Maroon-Gray scrimmage.

"We're going to try and do a light scrimmage Saturday night," Craig said. "It will be real controlled. We're just trying to get into that full season swing. We're getting closer to what our regular season is going to look like."

The Panthers are also less than two weeks away from hosting Pea Ridge in an Arkansas Activities Association benefit game at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17.

"It's going to be good for us. We need that scrimmage," Craig said. "We need to get ourselves on film against someone else and make sure we're doing things the right way. I know they're a great program and have done good things over the past few years, so it's going to be a good challenge for us."

Sports on 08/05/2018

Print Headline: Panthers complete first week of practice

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