By Graham Thomas
Staff Writer n [email protected]
Siloam Springs coach Brandon Craig doesn't have much to complain about with the Panthers' offense so far in 2020.
Through three games, the Panthers (2-1) are averaging around 535 yards per game.
The Panthers' goal for each game is 200 yards rushing, 150 yards passing and 12 first downs.
"That's what we're shooting for," Craig said.
Instead, the Panthers are averaging more than 21 first downs, 327 rushing yards and 207 passing yards per game.
"Right now I can't complain about our offensive production the first few weeks," Craig said. "All I can complain about is turnovers, and that's something we have to improve."
Siloam Springs had three turnovers, including a pick six, in a 52-42 loss against Rogers in Week Zero, and one lost fumble against Pea Ridge in Week 1 in a 55-21 victory.
In their 34-14 win against Harrison on Sept. 11, Siloam Springs did not turn the ball over.
"I think we're going to continue to stress that and make sure we're doing a great job of not turning the ball over," Craig said.
Quarterback Hunter Talley has completed 38 of 53 passes (71.8 percent) for 623 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. He's also rushed 47 times for 258 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and six touchdowns.
Seniors Elijah Coffey (10 receptions 215 yards, 2 TDs) and Gavin Henson (11 catches, 206 yards, 1 TD) have been Talley's top targets at wide receiver.
Along with Talley's rushing production, the Panthers have a three-headed rushing attack in seniors Camden Collins (25 carries, 183 yards, 3 TDs), Jeff Phizema (12 carries, 266 yards, 3 TDs) and junior Zach Gunneman (36 carries, 261 yards, 2 TDs).
Siloam Springs was off this past week and the Panthers were able to begin working on opening 6A-West Conference play against Van Buren.
Siloam Springs and Van Buren have played each of the last eight seasons with each team winning four of the games.
Van Buren is 2-1 overall with wins against Springdale (48-28) and Alma (35-0) before losing to Choctaw, Okla., 28-10 last week.
"They're very talented," Craig said. "They've got some very talented kids. Gary Phillips, the quarterback, he's the kind of kid when things go bad he can still make something good out of it.
"(Jaiden) Henry is a versatile player he does a number of things for them. He played quarterback last week against Choctaw. He plays slot receiver. He's played corner. He's a versatile player that causes a lot of problems. They're pretty physical inside. They've got some good linebackers. We know it's going to be a tough game. We know it's going to be hard fought. It's a tough game. Our whole schedule is tough. We've just got to bow our neck and get better."