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1985 Roster & Stats

1986-87 Program Covers


  Auburn Panthers (1984-87)


Years of Operation: 1984-87


Overall Record:  57-1


First Game: July 29, 1984 @ Bellevue Express


First Win: July 29, 1984 @ Bellevue Express


Final Game: Nov 29, 1987 vs San Jose Bandits

League Affiliation:  Northwest Football Alliance




Team Headquarters:

Owner: Phil Pompeo, Michael Highsmith


General Manager: Michael Highsmith,


Coaches: Steve Harshman (HC-1984-85) Terry Dion (HC-1986) Ronald Baines (HC-1987)


Home Field(s): Troy Field

Titles Won

1984 Northwest Alliance Champions

1985 Northwest Alliance Champions

1985 Minor Professional West Coast Champions

1986 Northwest Alliance Champions

1986 Champions Bowl I Champions

1986 American Minor League National Champions

1987 Northwest Alliance Champions


  1984 Schedule/Results (12-0):  



Harry Washington 1984 NFA Most Valuable Player

Harry Washington 1985 NFA Most Valuable Player

Harry Washington 1986 NFA Most Valuable Player



Mike Madland, LB 1986 All-NFA




In 1984 Michael Highsmith and Steve Harshman formed the Auburn Panthers and hoped to put a competitive team on the field.  Little did they know what kind of success they were breeding in the Kent/Auburn area.   And it wouldn't be clear after the 1984 season as the Panthers earned the dubious title of "The Luckiest Team".  Starting with a 12-6 overtime victory over the Bellevue Express, the Panthers would follow that up three weeks later with another victory over the Express by the score of 31-30.  But it was the Express who blew the game missing all five PAT tries during the game.


Sept 1 saw the Panthers take the field without top running back Mike Oliphant who had accepted a scholarship to the University of Puget Sound.  Auburn placekicker Phil LeRoy booted a 23-yard field goal with 6 seconds remaining to lift the Panthers to a 10-7 win over the Warhawks.  LeRoy kicked another game winner on Oct 13 over the Blue Knights.


The drama didn't end there, as the Sept 15 game with Clark County ended in protest.  A Grizzly receiver hauled in a pass and fell at the Panther 5-yard line.  After getting up and scoring, which was one of the NCAA rule modifications the NFA played by, it appeared Clark County had another TD.  However, an officials whistle had blown inadvertently.  After much bantering about the rules, including protests the following Monday where commissioner Dick Seuss overturned his previous decision to award a 28-28 tie in the game, the Grizzlies were awarded the football at the Panther 5, 1st and 10 by the game officials.  Auburn intercepted the ball on the next play stopping the drive.  On Monday Michael Highsmith protested Seuss' decision to award a tie stating the NCAA rules clearly state that an inadvertent whistle kills the play at the spot, so the 1st and 10 at the 5 yard line was the appropriate call, and the game stood with the Panthers victory 28-21.


The Championship game was more of the same as the Panthers found lucky bounces coming their way and a botched field goal preserved the victory.  Coming off the bench, QB Kenny Mayne fresh on the roster from UNLV sparked the offense to 2 scoring drives even though one of this passes was picked off and returned for a score.  Mayne had joined the team prior to the playoff win over Skagit.


A final game with San Jose fell through when the Bandits major sponsor pulled out and San Jose could no longer afford to pay the Panthers way to California as agreed upon.


Even as the '87 season kicked off and the Panther players were settling in to defend their title, Highsmith and Doug McArthur were looking for a different opportunity.  That opportunity was a bid for an indoor AFL team to play in the Tacoma Dome.  The idea was apparently spawned by a meeting in Chicago during the AMLFA National Championship, when Highsmith and Cowboys owner Dr. Dino Tattooles met.  Tattooles also owned the AFL Chicago Bruisers, an AFL original team.  The $2.5 Million price tag for an AFL franchise was agreed to and Highsmiths' group was awarded first rights to a Tacoma franchise. 


During the NFL-strike, a proposal to bring the Auburn Panthers in as a whole to replace the Seattle Seahawks fell through as Highsmith opted to keep the team, and teams' unbeaten streak intact by remaining in the NFA and sending selected "scab" players to the Seahawks instead.

July 29 @ Bellevue Express 12-6OT
Aug 4 @ Clark County Grizzlies 28-7
Aug 11 Spokane Fury 25-14
Aug 19 Bellevue Express 31-30
Aug 25 @ Peninsula Pioneers PPD
Sept 1 West Seattle Warhawks 10-7
Sept 8 @ Seattle Cavaliers 37-6
Sept 15 Clark County Grizzlies 28-21
Sept 29 @ Spokane Fury 30-6
Oct 6 Skagit Valley Raiders 24-20
Oct 13 @ Sno-King Blue Knights 23-20
Oct 20 @ Peninsula Eagles W FFT
Oct 27 Skagit Valley Raiders * 12-6
Nov 3 Spokane Fury ** 20-17
Nov 24 @ San Jose Bandits ^ Cancel

1985 Schedule/Results (15-0)


July 20 - Skagit Valley Raiders


July 27 - @ West Seattle Warhawks


Aug 3 - Eastside Express


Aug 10 - @ Salem Stars


Aug 17 - West Seattle Warhawks


Aug 24 - @ Skagit Valley Raiders


Aug 31 - Spokane Fury


Sept 7 - @ Seattle Cavaliers


Sept 14 - Snohomish Blue Knights


Sept 21 - Salem Stars


Sept 28 - @ Eastside Express


Oct 5 - @ West Seattle Warhawks


Oct 19 - Snohomish Blue Knights*


Oct 26 - Salem Stars**


Nov 9 - @ San Jose Bandits^



1986 Schedule/Results (16-0)

July 19 @ Eastside Express 33-14

July 26 Salem Stars


Aug 2 @ Skagit Valley Raiders


Aug 9 - West Seattle Warhawks


Aug 16 - Salem Stars


Aug 23 - Snohomish County Blue Knights


Aug 30 Seattle Cavaliers


Sept 6 Eastside Express


Sept 13 @ Salem Stars


Sept 20 Skagit Valley Raiders


Sept 27 @ West Seattle Warhawks

Oct 4 Snohomish County Blue Knights 70-0

Oct 18 @ Seattle Cavaliers


Oct 25 Eastside Express *


Nov 1 Skagit Valley Raiders **

Nov 29 - Chicago Cowboys # 34-0

1987 Schedule/Results (14-1)


July 18 - Skagit Valley Raiders


July 25 - Eastside Express


Aug 8 - Seattle Cavaliers


Aug 15 - @ Skagit Valley Raiders


Aug 22- Snohomish County Blue Knights


Aug 29 - @ Southside Warhawks


Sept 5 -  Eastside Express


Sept 12 - @ Seattle Cavaliers


Sept 19 - Skagit Valley Raiders


Sept 26 - Snohomish County Blue Knights


Oct 3 - Southside Warhawks


Oct 10- Eastside Express


Oct 17 - Snohomish County Blue Knights*


Oct 31 -  Skagit Valley Raiders**


Nov - NFA All-Stars 35-18
Nov 28 - San Jose Bandits 17-21

*NFA Playoffs

**NFA Championship

^MPFA West Coast Championship

# AMLFA National Championship





News Releases:


Seattle P.I. Aug 2, 1986


Roy Medley leaves Panthers to QB Buffalo Bills

Daryl Baines RB - Seattle Seahawks

Fred Orns LB - Seattle Seahawks

Joe Jackson LB - Seattle Seahawks

Dean Perryman C - Seattle Seahawks


Bryan Barker, Punter ('87)- Jacksonville Jaguars