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Panthers reaching for a perfect season this year

The Snohomish Panthers are ready to get on the field, according to head coach Kai Smalley, as the team is working toward achieving
that within-reach perfect season they barely missed last year.
This year may be different.
Smalley spoke with the Tribune about some of his team’s goals and how having some new coaches working under him already made positive impacts during spring and summer training.
“We have fairly new coaching staff this year,” Smalley said. “The new coaches are bonding with the players, like at the football camp in Wenatchee we go to every year, and that’s
so important for team bonding.”
Teamwork is important, Smalley said, so that the players can trust and listen to coaches not only in preseason but also during the regular season.
Smalley believes this season will spell more victories.
“Since I started in 2013, we’ve steadily increased our wins through the years,” Smalley said. “We were in fact six points away from having a 8-0 (wins-losses) season for in-league play, and the league was tough last year and we hope that maybe this year we can make up the difference in those couple of points to make a perfect season.”
Since Smalley came on as head coach in 2013, the Panthers’ record is climbing: From a 1-8 season in 2013, 3-6 in 2014, 5-6 in 2015 (when Snohomish High School went from 4A to 3A league),
and 7-4 in 2016, the victory ratios are tipping the scale.
For some of the players, it’s another year of football; having played for several years as little kids.
Several of the high school Panther football players came up through the Snohomish Panther Junior Football league, which is part of the North Sound Junior Football League where young football players from age 5 to 14 develop in essentially “feeder teams” for the high schools.
Other Panthers learned the basics from playing on Centennial Middle School’s football teams.
Smalley said it’s a good mix of talent. He said the seniors this year will help lead the team.
“Overall, it’s a small class of seniors and we’re excited about coming into their senior year, I know they can’t wait,” Smalley said. “We have some good talent among our seniors.”
Smalley highlighted his stellar senior class such as returning running back Keegan Stich — “he’s a big part of our offense,” Smalley said.
Other seniors are offensive lineman Jackson Harris, slot receiver Caleb Sutherland, outside linebacker Ben Kloes, middle linebacker Ethan Lewis and linebacker Jaden McClure.
“It’s going to be a fun season for the seniors, and for the whole team,” Smalley said. “We just have to keep going in that good direction, take the program further and keep it very positive —
that’s all going to be really good for us and for the community.”

2017 Snohomish schedule
All games are at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted

Friday, Sept. 1 at Marysville-Pilchuck
Friday, Sept. 8 vs. Glacier Peak @ Veteran’s Memorial
      Stadium (Snohomish High)
Friday, Sept. 15 vs. Lynnwood
Friday, Sept. 22 at Meadowdale  (8 p.m. game)
Friday, Sept. 29 vs. Everett
Friday, Oct. 6 at Squalicum
Friday, Oct. 13 at Shorecrest  (8 p.m. game)
Friday, Oct. 20 vs. Mountlake Terrace (homecoming game)
Friday, Oct. 27 at Edmonds-Woodway  (8 p.m. game)

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Snohomish Panthers

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