MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

September 23, 2013

Stigler QB settles in, now thrives


— The Stigler Panthers have been waiting for Seth Sandlin to have a breakout game. Friday night against Hartshorne he did.

The senior quarterback completed 12 of 25 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 187 yards on 22 attempts and three TDs in the Panthers' 41-27 win over the Miners, earning the Phoenix Player of the Week honor. Stigler coach Chris Risenhoover believes his signal caller is settling into the position.

“Maybe it was a little extra preparation this week,” said Stigler coach Chris Risenhoover. “Seeing Hartshorne on film and he gotta little bit of extra practice time with his receivers and timed things up a little better.”

Two years ago, Sandlin was in a battle for the QB spot with former Panther Cade Shearwood. Risenhoover said if not for one reason, Sandlin would have been the starter.

“He’s a super, super athlete that hasn’t much experience since junior high,” Risenhoover said. “I think he’s becoming more comfortable with his surrounding guys.”

The adjustment from running back to quarterback has not been difficult for Sandlin. Until he made the varsity team, he had always been the quarterback.

“The line just did a great job,” Sandlin said. “They picked up their blocks and kept their scheme going.”

His start to the season was a rough one as the Panthers lost to Hilldale, 36-30, on a last-minute touchdown. In that game he completed 13 of 28 attempts for 245 yards and one TD but only amassed 32 yards rushing on 20 carries.

Week two was a little more balanced and Stigler beat Okmulgee 26-6. Sandlin rushed for 143 yards on 24 carries and passed for 134 yards and one TD.

“I just settled down as a quarterback really,” Sandlin said. “I just felt more comfortable back there.”

And that’s something that Risenhoover attributes to the team’s improvement.

“The protection was better from our offensive line,” Risenhoover said. “He was under a lot of pressure in the Okmulgee game and Hilldale also so we’re getting better in those phases.

“The ball out of hand has always been there. He’s got tons and tons of talent. (Friday), he had one ball that he didn’t time up well on a screen play but other than that, that stuff will come and he’s learning from his mistakes.”

While Sandlin is happy with his performance on Friday, he knows that there is a lot of room for improvement.

“We just try to get better each and every week,” he said. “We’ve been working hard – the line, the skill guys and the defense. Me personally? I need to throw the ball better and stay in the pocket more.”