Matt Cashore /

Standout Mac Hippenhammer leads the Panthers in quest for a repeat

Can the Snider Panthers defend their Class 5A State Championship?


Kurt Tippmann- FW Snider

First off congrats on last season's state title? Have you ever been part of a game like last year's title game?

I don’t think I have ever been part of a game that was so well played by both teams and the game went back and forth as ours did.  Most times in a high scoring contest like that – the defenses are playing terribly, however, I don’t think either defense was inept – rather some great high school players making some great plays.  It was the essence of high school competition – good sportsmanship, great players playing great and at the pinnacle of competition at our level.  It was memorable to say the least.


You lost a D1 signal caller in Isaac Steibeling . How is the process finding a replacement going?

                We have two junior candidates battling for the job of replacing Isaac along with Mac Hippenhammer, who was our backup last year.  If either Junior cannot do the job – Mac will be the full time QB, however, if one surfaces as capable, then our best 11 would include Mac at WR.


Have you ever had a player as versatile as Hippenhammer?

We will have a package for every game with Mac at QB – we need to get the ball in his hands.   Mac is one of the best pure athletes to ever play at Snider.  He has trained as a QB for 4 years – so is very capable at whatever position we put him.  A guy with pure speed is very versatile, but what makes Mac even more so is his willingness to do whatever we need him to do and his football intelligence.


Who is the most underrated college prospect on your team?

                Dominique Slaughter is the most underrated prospect – he has all of the skills and size for a Div.1 corner.  He has improved greatly over the last year and off season.  I would add Bryson Haft as a long snapper – for any school looking to scholarship a long snapper – his size and athleticism is a big plus for that position. 


Who is the one player who no one knows about yet, but will??

                Not many people know about Austin France – ILB.  We rotated in with two seniors last season as a soph.  He has the size and athleticism to be a big time recruit.  He is so much more confident than last season and we expect that to translate too much improved play on the field this season.


Biggest position battle as we end the summer and head to fall camp?

                The biggest position battle is at QB.  Michael Haupert and Hayden Jones are the junior candidates, along with Mac.  We will decide in August.


Who is one guy on your team who might not be a high level recruit, but is a great football player?

                Joe Thornson (center) started 14 games last season on the offensive line.  He is undersized, but does a great job for us up front.  On defense – Taj Starks (corner) has improved tremendously and plays as well as Dom on the other side of the field.  These two seniors are primed to have great years.


In what way has recruiting improved since you first started coaching? What are the negatives about the current recruiting process?

 Recruiting has changed so much in my time coaching.  The improvement comes in the availability to get in front of college coaches to show them your skills and talent – not just rely on game and high light film.  Also, the early evaluation is a big change – not necessarily for the good in our game of football.  We always see the biggest improved between a players Junior and senior year.  Also, We often have to decide on whether a kid is a prospect soley based on their potential as an elite athlete rather than their performance on the field.  The job is getting harder for college coaches to make this prediction (other than the no brainers).   I think our state is getting much more attention than 15 years ago, which has increased the availability of scholarships each year.  I’m sure more changes will be coming and we will continue to adapt to try and provide our players the opportunity to reach these goals. 


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