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story.lead_photo.caption Graham Thomas/Herald-Leader Members of the Siloam Springs football team call it up after a workout on Monday morning at Panther Stadium.

The Siloam Springs football team returned to action Monday following the two-week Arkansas Activities Association dead period, and the Panthers hit the ground running -- literally.

The Panthers wrapped up their first workout in more than two weeks with a series of sprints on the turf at Panther Stadium, marking the start of a busy week for the team.

"We're really gearing up for the season," said second-year coach Brandon Craig. "We're at the point now where we've gone through May and June and got through the dead period. Everybody's had a break and now it's time to get focused on the season. I'm call it 'narrowing our focus.'"

Craig said the first day back from the break is always the toughest as the Panthers have to work their way back into shape.

"We ask a lot out of our kids, and I understand that," Craig said. "Today was a very tough day -- first day back, a lot of stuff on their plate. So I thought they handled it really well. Really proud of their mentality and where they're at mentally. But just gotta get the legs in shape."

The Panthers had another workout Tuesday morning and there will be another one available on Thursday. Today, the Panthers are scheduled to head to Bentonville West for a varsity team camp.

On Friday and Saturday, Siloam Springs is scheduled to participate in the Southwest Elite 7 on 7 Showcase at Shiloh Christian High School in Springdale.

Some of the top high school teams from the around the region are scheduled to participate in the event, which begins with pool play on Friday morning and continues into the afternoon. Tournament play will be on Saturday morning and wrapping up in the afternoon.

"They call it the 'Southwest Elite,' so it's going to be tough," Craig said. "I looked at some of the past contestants and there's some really good teams. I think Broken Arrow (Okla.) won it last year, which is the largest school in Oklahoma and they also won the state championship in that class as well. I know there's going to be some outstanding teams there. For us, what we have to learn is we don't need to worry about who's across from us. We need to worry about doing our best and just going out there. The word I like to use is 'compete' -- compete at the highest level."

There will also be a 7-on-7 event in Siloam Springs on Saturday. The 10th annual Panther Invitational 7 on 7 Tournament will be held at Panther Stadium. This will include teams in grades 4-6 from Arkansas and Oklahoma. The tournament was founded by Branson Hall and is used as a fundraiser for the Siloam Springs Football Booster Club. All proceeds go to benefit SSHS football.

"We will have some coaches and teams involved in that as well," Craig said. "Like I said, it's turning the corner to where football season is getting closer so everything is getting amped up a little bit more."

Sports on 07/10/2019

Print Headline: Back from break: Panthers hit ground running

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