Panthers Football Returns with a Roar

A changing of coaches allows for a whole new playing and training style

Panthers Football Returns with a Roar

Caleb Gilliam and Victor Cano

The Park football team has experienced many changes in the past 10 years. The shifts of the coaching staff from Thompson, Then Siegal, and now Hernandez, has conscripted the young Panther team to adapt to many new coaching strategies. Every coach has various ways they like to run their conditioning and practices, and most of them use different schemes on offense and defense. The 2018 season is Hernandez’s first season as head coach, however, he was the defensive coordinator while Siegal was head coach during the 2016-17 season. The returning starters for the 2018-19 season, are Caleb Gilliam, Michael Gilbertson, Fitzel Ross, Ricky Canady, Larry Canady, Trey Kelly, Jose DeSantiago, Rashein Thomas, Jarrel Campbell, Justen Folk and Darien Dukes. The Panthers have a very young team, which are made up of mostly underclassmen, but they are hungry to play and get better.

When most people see Park’s football team they usually don’t have many good things to say about them. What they don’t know, is during the off-season, the players are here either after school from 3-5, or before school from 6-7 weightlifting and conditioning. During the beginning of the season, they are here from 9-6:30, working hard to improve to. After the first two weeks when camp is over, the players are here from 9-2, working just as hard if not harder then they were during camp. The Panthers are very determined to be the best they can be, and set the foundation for the upcoming classes behind them.  

The Panthers have what they call “Next Play” mentality. The coaches remind the Panthers after every play, good or bad, to look to the next play. It doesn’t matter if you scored a touchdown that put you ahead, or if you gave up a touchdown that put you behind, it’s always the next play.

Before every game, Coach Whitt tells the players a story about the Vikings. “When the Vikings sailed into new land, they burned their boats. They were either going to conquer the land, or die trying. The Vikings knew that there was no turning back. When they burnt their boats, it sent a message. Everybody saw the smoke coming from the shorelines, and immediately knew what was coming. People feared the Vikings because they knew they were going to give it all they could, since they had no means of turning back.”