SILOAM SPRINGS (KFSM) - Year one was a bit of a surprise for some of Brandon Craig's players.
"Just knowing most first year coaches, they don’t do the hottest, but Coach Craig, he really came out here and showed us what we needed to do," said senior Gage Weaver, "and everyone really was excited about it and we all came out ready to play."
In their first season under Craig, Siloam Springs made their first playoff appearance since 2014. The team and the town have taken notice, says Craig.
"It’s something that I think brought a lot of excitement to our community."
"I feel like there’s been more fans at our games then there’s been in previous years ever," adds Weaver.
With success, comes expectations, according to quarterback Taylor Pool.
"Puts a little more on us, last year we made playoffs, but now we gotta go play-offs plus. We gotta go out there and prove it wasn’t a fluke."
"There Is a bigger expectation, I think that he community’s behind us a bit more, they’re excited, they want to see us victorious," says Craig.
But the Panthers are ready. A full season under their belts means the second summer under Craig has been even better.
"It's much faster now," says Pool. "Last year we were still learning and trying to figure everything out. This year, we have a plan and we're going full speed.
"Knowing what's expected, knowing each other, that helps a lot," adds Craig. "Just been a great off-season."
Added expectations just leave the Panthers with more to prove, says senior Mariano Dominguez.
"It’s motivation, because we still have people there who don’t believe in us, so we’re just there to prove to them that we can make it to the playoffs again and go further."
"Coach Craig is the real deal, and Siloam Springs Panthers are the real deal," says Pool.
It all gets get's going August 30th against Van Buren.