SILOAM SPRINGS (KFSM)—Between 2015-17, the Panther football program was 7-30 and didn’t make the playoffs. This fall has been the exact opposite. With a 5-5 record and three conference wins, Siloam Springs is back in the class 6A playoffs.
“It’s great for the kids. I’m excited for them,” first year head coach Brandon Craig said. “It’s been a while since we’ve been to the playoffs. So it’s a good feeling for them and they’re excited and ready to go.”
Senior running back Kaiden Thrailkill agreed. “Ten games is awesome but getting that eleventh and playing for something more than just playing for a season is a great feeling.”
The Panthers knew pretty early that this could be the season to reverse their fortunes.
“During the summer man,” said Thrailkill. “Just how hard we worked and the dedication over the summer.”
“It started way before week zero, it started in March of this year,” agreed senior center Dillon Conn.
In the big picture, Siloam Springs needed a long term reboot. And year one under Craig was the perfect leap forward.
“I think it’s been a good step,” the head coach said. “I wish we could’ve won one more or two more but we took some really good steps. We’re playing tough football. I can see a difference from where we were at the start of the year to now.”
“One of our goals, build a new generation of Panthers and I feel like he’s definitely doing that right now,” added Thrailkill.
“Makes me feel good honestly. I’m glad I could be a part of this experience and I’m glad I could help the future of this program,” Conn said.
Friday is a big night as Siloam Springs travels to face Searcy in the first round of the 6A playoffs. Even though the Panthers are the underdog, it’s November. You never know what’s going to take place.
“Playoffs plus is what we call it,” laughed Craig. “You go into the playoffs, you never know what’s gonna happen. You win one game, get on a roll, you just never know.”
Siloam Springs is familiar with Searcy. Two of the Panthers most recent five postseason meetings have been against the Lions. In 2012 the Panthers fell 49-48 and followed that up in 2013 with a 26-21 win.