‘Swiss Army’ Spenser

Siloam Springs uses Pip­pin in many roles

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - SPORTS - By Gra­ham Thomas Staff Writer ■ gth­omas@nwadg.com

Spenser Pip­pin has many jobs for the Siloam Springs foot­ball team. Pip­pin, a 5-10, 206-pound se­nior, is a starter on of­fense and able to play many dif­fer­ent po­si­tions on that side of the ball. He used to be a starter on de­fense and can cer­tainly shift back over to the de­fen­sive side if needed.

Pip­pin also plays a huge role on spe­cial teams as the holder on field goals and ex­tra points, the deep snap­per on punts and just re­cently joined the kick­off and kick­off re­turn cov­er­age teams.

“I com­pare him to a Swiss Army Knife,” said Siloam Springs coach Bran­don Craig. “He’s got a lot of things that he can do for us.”

Pip­pin be­gan the sea­son as a starter at out­side line­backer on de­fense and play­ing some on of­fense at an H-Back/tight end po­si­tion.

An in­jury forced him to move in­side for the Har­ri­son game but it also moved sopho­more Cam­den Collins to the out­side line­backer spot in Pip­pin’s place.

Collins wound up flour­ish­ing at the line­backer spot so much that the coaches de­cided to take a look at Pip­pin see­ing more time on of­fense.

The move has paid off for the Pan­thers (5-5), who travel to Searcy (8-2) on Fri­day for the open­ing round of the Class 6A foot­ball play­offs.

Pip­pin is tied with Gage Weaver for the team lead with 26 re­cep­tions. Pip­pin’s 263 re­ceiv­ing yards are third on the team be­hind Weaver’s 364 and Primo Ag­behi’s 358.

“He’d do any­thing we asked him to do,” Craig said. “As you go through and build a team and try and find a niche for ev­ery­body, I think we’ve found a pretty good spot for him. He’s able to stay on the field for 95 to 100 per­cent of the of­fense. He rarely comes off and does a lot for us.”

Pip­pin is the last in the line of the Pip­pin fam­ily to play a star­ring role at Siloam Springs.

Older brother Braden Pip­pin was a three-year starter for the foot­ball team, in­clud­ing the fi­nal two sea­sons at quar­ter­back, earn­ing all­state hon­ors in 2011.

Older sis­ter Mayse Pip­pin also was a three-year starter for the Lady Pan­thers bas­ket­ball team and all-state se­lec­tion her se­nior year when she helped lead the Lady Pan­thers to the 6A state fi­nals.

“They just kind of paved the path for me, espe­cially with Braden in foot­ball,” Spenser Pip­pin said. “I al­ways looked up to him.”

Dwain Pip­pin, long­time as­sis­tant foot­ball coach at Siloam Springs, steers clear of the ques­tion of which of his kids was the most ath­letic.

“Naw, I prob­a­bly bet­ter stay away from that,” Dwain Pip­pin said with a sly grin.

“Yeah you know that won’t be good,” Spenser Pip­pin added. “Mayse on the bas­ket­ball end, if she was a guy she prob­a­bly could have played foot­ball. She was phys­i­cal on the block.”

There was no ar­gu­ment from the coach.

“You know all three of them have been dif­fer­ent in their own ways,” Dwain Pip­pin said. “What I ad­mire about all of them, espe­cially Spenser hav­ing watched him all these years, is I’m proud they’ve been so coach­able. That means a lot. Most peo­ple may not com­pletely un­der­stand that, but from a coach­ing stand­point, hav­ing a kid that is open to be­ing coached is a big thing. It re­ally is. That’s the mes­sage I have heard from our whole staff over the years is that Spenser is very coach­able and he’ll do what­ever and pays at­ten­tion in prac­tice and tries his best. That’s just some­thing that means a lot.”

An­other thing Dwain Pip­pin ad­mires about his younger son is that he hasn’t tried to be his older sib­lings.

“The thing that sticks out to me about Spenser is he is his own guy,” Dwain Pip­pin said. “He’s his own per­son. He ad­mires his brother and sis­ter and what they did. He’s got his own per­son­al­ity. He al­ways has, and it’s unique to him. I never thought he has ever tried to be his brother. He just tried to do what he can do to be a great team player. I ad­mire him, and I’ve told him this, I ad­mire him for be­ing his own per­son on the field and off the field.”

Dwain Pip­pin has en­joyed watch­ing his kids come through and play for the Pan­thers and Spenser Pip­pin is no dif­fer­ent.

“It’s ex­cit­ing when I do get an op­por­tu­nity to see a few snaps of of­fense,” said Dwain Pip­pin, who coaches the Pan­thers’ de­fen­sive line. “I’m cheer­ing him on, but I’m a coach too. When he misses a block I kinda get on to him like I would any­body else, but I’ll back away and let the other coaches do their thing.”

Craig said it’s not hard to see that Spenser Pip­pin is a coach’s kid.

“He has a pas­sion for the game,” Craig said. “Ob­vi­ously you can see that through his re­la­tion­ship with his fa­ther. They en­joy each other and it’s spe­cial to have your son play­ing for you and it’s just one of those things where he doesn’t ac­tu­ally coach him on a day-to-day ba­sis but he’s around him. He’s gets to see him play ev­ery Fri­day night, so that’s spe­cial as well.”

Gra­ham Thomas/Her­ald-Leader

Siloam Springs se­nior Spenser Pip­pin has helped the Pan­thers all over the field this sea­son. Pip­pin and the Pan­thers travel to Searcy on Fri­day for the open­ing round of the Class 6A play­offs.

Bud Sullins/Spe­cial to the Her­ald-Leader

Siloam Springs se­nior Spenser Pip­pin runs with the ball after mak­ing a catch last Fri­day against Russellville.

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