By Jake Mathias
After a successful 11-2 2016 season, prep for the 2017 return to SPASH Panthers football is now underway.
Practice season kicked off Aug. 1, again with head coach Pete McAdams at the helm. The team’s first practice in full pads was Aug. 7 as players prepped for their first scrimmage against the De Pere High School Red Birds on Friday.
“The kids are bringing a real positive energy and they’re working real hard right now,” said McAdams “Our goal has been to improve each day and I think they’re doing that.”
The last game of 2016 marked the loss of multi-season producers, including quarterback Beau Rosenthal who passed for 1381 yards last season; and runningback Gus Turner-Zick, the Panthers’ lead rusher with 1611 rushing yard and 257 receiving. Leading defensive back Joey Roth who finished the season with 97 tackles also graduated in 2017.
“Each year we lose some real special kids; this year’s no different,” McAdams said. “Kids are growing into those spots right now. I think what we’re experience right now is a little bit of lack of readiness.”
McAdams said he doesn’t compare his new team to the previous year’s and his job now is to make sure the right players fill the newly-vacated positions.
“Whether it’s a successful previous season or a an unsuccessful previous season, the fact is it’s in the past and it’s a whole different team,” he said.
Friday’s scrimmage will act as a trial for coaches and players to determine who fits best in each position. McAdams said the new players soon took on a sense of urgency, and their efforts improved by the end of the first week.
“This group of players has to figure their teammates out — and we as coaches have to figure out our strengths and weaknesses, from a scheme standpoint,” said McAdams.
The Panthers hit Goerke Field to kick off against the Neenah Rockets at 7 PM on Aug.18.
Goerke Field is located at 1100 Minnesota Avenue in Stevens Point.
2017 SPASH PANTHERS VARSITY FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
- Friday, Aug. 18 – vs. Neenah, 7:00 PM
- Friday, Aug. 25 – @ Hudson, 7:00 PM
- Friday, Sept. 1 – vs. Kimberly, 7:00 PM
- Friday, Sept. 8 – @ Appleton North, 7:00 PM
- Friday, Sept. 15 – vs. Marshfield, 7:00 PM
- Friday, Sept. 22 – @ Wausau West, 7:00 PM
- Friday, Sept. 29 vs. D.C. Everest, 7:00 PM
- Friday, Oct. 6 – @ Wisconsin Rapids, 7:00 PM
- Friday, Oct. 13 – vs. Fond du Lac, 7:00 PM