HSFT22 Stop #27: French Camp Panthers

French Camp is not like most schools. Many of the students are just getting acquainted with football so the key to summer practices is starting with the basics.

“We do have at least 10 maybe 15 kids who haven’t even played the game before,” head coach Nathan Wright said. “Whether that’s an upperclassman who is trying it for the first time or an eighth or ninth grader moving in.”

The teaching responsibilities fall heavily on the two seniors, but they embrace the challenge.

“It really helps your leadership skills,” quarterback Ethan Wright said. “You got to get after them sometimes but it is also nice to start them from ground level. They are learning quick.”

Everyone who has been around the program for a while sees the opportunity to teach. This causes the players to mature quickly.

“Playing since I was a freshman I’ve had more experience and i want to pass it along,” running back Silas Hodge said. I’ve definitely had to grow faster than most.”

The Panthers this year are just a fun group to be around, and that’s not always the case.

“There are often teams where I might have two or three guys that I tolerate but I do not like,” Nathan said. “I often tell them I love you but I do not like you. On this team I can honestly say everyone of these guys I love them.”

For three of the players that love is familial. Coach Wright has a son and two nephews on the team. And there is rarely a moment where football is not being discussed.

“There is never an off moment anytime we are at a family gathering that’s what we are doing,” Ethan said.

The season goals for the Panthers are simple, they just want to give themselves a chance.

“We always shoot for the first round of the playoffs,” Nathan said. “That’s our goal because I’ve always felt like if we can just get there, at that point you just have to scratch and do your best and see what happens.”

The first step to the playoffs will be August 26th against Winona Christian.

Categories: 2022 High School Football Tour, High School Sports, Local Sports, Sports