Panther football players, coaches earn postseason honors

Posted 11/29/19

The Powell High School football team took home the second-place trophy for their efforts this season. Now, a quartet of Panther players and their coaches have picked up a variety of individual …

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Panther football players, coaches earn postseason honors

After helping lead the Panther football team to the Class 3A state title game, Powell High School head coach Aaron Papich was named the Super 25 coach of the year by the Casper Star-Tribune, while the entire PHS coaching staff was named as the top unit in Class 3A West by the Wyoming Coaches Association.
After helping lead the Panther football team to the Class 3A state title game, Powell High School head coach Aaron Papich was named the Super 25 coach of the year by the Casper Star-Tribune, while the entire PHS coaching staff was named as the top unit in Class 3A West by the Wyoming Coaches Association.
Tribune photo by Carla Wensky
Posted

The Powell High School football team took home the second-place trophy for their efforts this season. Now, a quartet of Panther players and their coaches have picked up a variety of individual awards.

On Monday, PHS senior running back Brody Karhu, senior linebacker Carson Olsen and junior offensive lineman Geordan Weimer were named to the Class 3A All State team, while the PHS coaching staff was named as the top group in the 3A West conference.

In addition, Olsen and senior defensive end Ryan Good were named to the Casper Star-Tribune’s Super 25 third team. The Super 25 honors Wyoming’s best high school football players, regardless of their position or classification.

PHS head coach Aaron Papich said Good, Karhu, Olsen and Weimer are all “very deserving” of their honors.

“I think these guys have been committed to this program — our seniors, certainly, for four years — so I’m very happy for them and what they’ve accomplished,” Papich said Monday. “And Geordan [Weimer] has been very committed to our program as well.”

He praised Weimer’s consistently strong play while saying that the leadership shown by Olsen, Karhu, Good and other seniors “lays the table next year for our juniors coming up.”

“You never want to see these guys go — and they’re definitely going to be missed — but I think one thing that they did a great job of was [bringing] others with them,” Papich said.

The coach himself also picked up a big accolade, as the Star-Tribune picked Papich as the Super 25 coach of the year.

“It’s definitely an honor,” said Papich, who took over the reins of the Panther football program in 2018. “But again I think it just reflects the strength of our team, the strength of our school and of our community. ... There was a lot of people that had a part in that. It’s great to be a part of this team.”

Papich also credits his staff, which includes assistants Zack Coombs, Joel Hayano, Mike Heny, Chase Kistler and Waleryan Wisniewski.

As a unit, Papich believes the coaches do a good job of solving problems, achieving goals and putting their athletes in position to make plays. “And they’ve really done the rest,” he said of his “awesome” players.

The Panthers’ season got off to a tragic start when senior quarterback Ethan Asher was severely injured in a one-vehicle rollover in August. Papich said it was difficult — particularly given Asher’s role as a team leader — but the way that the players, coaches, the high school and the community as a whole rallied together helped the squad get through it.

“It was a really emotional year, but I’m just really proud of our guys,” Papich said. “This was definitely one of the best teams I’ve ever been a part of, because I think that our guys worked so well together.”

He said the Panthers proved that a unified team with perhaps less talent can win by playing together. Powell pulled off a pair of upsets in the playoffs, beating Lander and Cody to reach the championship game against Star Valley. The surprising nature of the Panthers’ run was perhaps reflected in the postseason honors; Jackson, Cody and Douglas each had more athletes named as Class 3A All State football players, but Powell bested them all in the final standings.

Papich wished more Panthers had made the end-of-season awards lists, because “obviously I think we were one of the top two teams in the state,” he said.

However, “ultimately, when it comes down to it, I’m very happy that we made it to the state championship game,” Papich said, “and I really think that that’s the best honor of all.”

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