Silver Bay running back invited to play in Down Under bowl in AustraliaIt’s not every day that a student from the North Shore goes Down Under. William Kelley High School football team running back Holden Panetti will head to Australia this summer to play in the Down Under Bowl held by Down Under Sports.
It’s not every day that a student from the North Shore goes Down Under.
William Kelley High School football team running back Holden Panetti will head to Australia this summer to play in the Down Under Bowl held by Down Under Sports. He will play on the North Central Conference Football Team. Players nominated by their coaches receive an invitation to participate. Panetti said he found out he had made the team while attending government class. He was surprised and honored to be selected.
“I’m excited,” he said. “Any chance I can play more football is amazing. It’s topped off my senior year.”
Panetti said he likes football because of the camaraderie and synergy found in a football team. He says that this year’s Silver Bay team was great. “All the kids really worked hard,” he said.
Panetti broke several school records during his time on the Silver Bay Mariners football team, including the Mariner single-game rushing mark of 302 yards, breaking Brad Johnson’s 1981 record of 256 yards. The Mariners won the Section 5 championship last fall over the McGregor Mercuries, breaking their nine-year absence from the Section Finals.
Silver Bay head football coach Ward Kaiser, who nominated Panetti, said he thought Panetti had done a great job on the team and that the experience in Australia would be beneficial to him.
“I think it’s going to be a good football experience for him,” Kaiser said. “He’ll get to play against great competition before he heads off to play in college this coming year.”
Kaiser, who has coached in the Down Under Bowl before, said most teams are organized by state. The fee to participate in the Down Under Bowl is about $5,000. Panetti hopes to raise that amount through donations. Donation cans are available at Zup’s, the Green Door, and other locations around Silver Bay, Finland, Beaver Bay, and Two Harbors. Panetti has already risen about half that amount.
“It’s a tight-knit community and they’re very supportive,” he said.
Panetti said he’s grateful for that as well as the encouragement he receives from his friends and family. Panetti’s mother Jennifer Twiest has cheered him on through every game. She will accompany him to Australia. “It’s something he will remember forever,” she said.
But Panetti said this opportunity will not only benefit him but other student athletes in Silver Bay.
“I hope it helps other kids in Silver Bay realize they can go to these places too,” he said.
Panetti will play football at Mesabi Range Technical and Community College in Virginia this fall. He said he hopes to continue playing football for as long as possible.