Panther gridders ready to wrap up preseason


Fairbanks receiver Braylon Green (right) avoids a tackle during a recent practice session. The Panthers will close out the preseason by playing at Jonathan Alder on Friday during the preview scrimmage.

(Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)


The 2019 high school football preseason is winding down as gridiron squads prepare for the opening Friday night games on Aug. 30.

The past few weeks have gone well for the Fairbanks High School Panthers.

“We’ve had a couple of scrimmages and I’ve really liked what I’ve seen from our team,” said FHS head coach Patrick Cotter, who guided Fairbanks to a Division VI state playoff berth a year ago.

The Panthers began their preseason scrimmages with action at Amanda Clearcreek a couple of weeks ago.

“That was a very physical scrimmage,” said Cotter. “Both teams were ‘throwing hay-makers’ and went back-and-forth with each other.”

That scrimmage was followed by last weekend’s trip to Wittenberg University, where the Panthers faced Urbana High School.

“We beat the crap out of each other,” said Cotter. “Once again, it was a very physical scrimmage.”

Cotter said Urbana, which is coached by former Panther boss Carlton Cotner, is a very solid team.

“With our two scrimmages, the guys are learning they have to be more physical when they are playing another team,” said Cotter.

The coach said he expects physical play all season out of linemen such as Sam Rengert, Billy Reed-Bodey, Ethan Chippas and Dakota Key.

“Our guys always put up a battle and nothing fazes them,” said the Fairbanks head coach. “If we make a great play, we celebrate a little bit. If we make a bad play, we put it in our rear-view mirror and move on.

“We never get too high or too low.”

The Panthers will close out the preseason by playing Jonathan Alder on Volunteer Field’s turf surface.

The preview scrimmage will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday.

Cotter was asked what he hopes to see from his squad against the Pioneers.

“I want us to execute what we’re supposed to do with good fundamentals,” he said.

Cotter also took a line from his former Marysville High School head coach Rich Weiskircher.

“We want to eliminate the ugly, decrease the bad and improve on the good,” he said.

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