PARK CITY -- Park City narrowly missed the 8-Man playoffs last season after finishing the season with four consecutive losses. That finish left a bitter taste in their mouths and has motivated the Panthers throughout the offseason.
“I think last year they were pretty disappointed with how we finished the season off," Park City head coach Mark Rathbun said. "It’s our first losing record in a while. I think some of them took that kind of personally and are striving do a lot better this year and see what we can get done.”
“We should have done better last year and we all knew that, so as soon as the offseason started it was in the weight room constantly so we can come out this year and show our competitors that we mean business and we’re ready,” senior offensive lineman Austin Dennis said.
Rathbun also has implemented a new offense in Park City. The Panthers aren’t ditching their traditional power formations, but they are adding elements to showcase their team speed.
“We’re going to try to do a little bit different stuff this year. Instead of our tight-I, we might see a few different formations and stuff just to see if we can get guys in space and make somebody miss," Rathbun said.
“We’re really fast as a team, I think, so I think we can have a lot of one-on-one success," senior running back Garrett McMillen said. "It feels great to spread it out and run a new offense. Feels good.”
A new, high-flying, up-tempo offense and a roster loaded with experience (11 seniors) has Park City eyeing its first trip to the playoffs since 2016. But don’t let Rathbun fool you. The ground game will still be heavily involved.
“I feel like it’s going to be a much better dynamic to the football team by throwing more balls instead of just running it every play,” senior wide receiver Troy Fiscarelli said.
“I’ve kind of learned from old coaches that only three things can happen when you throw it and two are bad, so we’ll see what happens with that," Rathbun said.
Park City opens up the season at Chinook on Aug. 31.