Written By: Will Hoenike
A new staff with new schemes and new energy. For the 3A Parma Panthers, maybe that’s enough to jump-start a program.
The boys basketball program has qualified for the State tournament each year since 2013. The boys tennis program is a certified 3A state powerhouse, having claimed seven state titles since 2007. The wrestling program routinely has multiple wrestlers fare well at the State Championships. The baseball program has made big strides in the past two seasons to become a factor in the Snake River Valley Conference. The school has good athletes that know how to win. It just hasn’t translated to the football field in recent years.
Insert new head coach Daniel Jenkins and an entirely new staff and new scheme. Their challenge – to get the program back to where it was when it was a member of the 2A Western Idaho Conference, when the Panthers won back-to-back state titles in 2008 and 2009.
The SRV is a tough place to re-start a program. Every year, you’ll be facing established powers Fruitland and Homedale as well as a Weiser program that is always competitive. But that’s what Parma faces.
Jenkins and his staff have some nice pieces to start with this fall. All-conference offensive lineman Danny Camacho and fellow senior Ryen Duke will lead the way, protecting senior quarterback Joe Shaw. Layne Murdock, another senior, will compete for playing time in the backfield at running back while Jaden Merkley, Isaiah Krohn, and Trystin Braden will see time at receiver.
It’s a new offense in Parma, which will need to produce more than the 50 points that it produced in 2018. The staff and players have been hard at work and clear progress has been made as kickoff of the season opener approaches.
It’s also a new defense in Parma which will need to replace its two best players in departed linebackers Trevor Gentry and Dre Salinas. The two heirs-apparent are Duke and Murdock. Both are strong athletes who are strong wrestlers when they’re not on the football field. Camacho will be counted on to plug holes along the defensive front with Merkley, Krohn, and Braden among the players working to earn a role in the team’s secondary.
The football program also features a newly-renovated stadium, with new bleachers, lights, and support facilities.
After opening the season on the road against a solid Gooding Senators squad, Parma returns home on September 6 to officially open the new stadium against the neighboring Vale (OR) Vikings. The team also hosts Melba before getting into SRV play in October. The Panthers close the season with the two power teams of the conference – at Homedale before coming home to face Fruitland.
Will that be it? Will Jenkins and his staff help turn the ship around in one year? There’s certainly no rule that says it can’t happen. The school has good athletes. Some buy-in, some breaks, and some hard work … maybe the football program will make its move to get back to where it has been in the past in the conference standings.