The Jersey Flight, a 2018 National Arena League expansion team, have signed veteran quarterback Stephen Panasuk. Panasuk will return to his home state of New Jersey to continue his career. He was born in Howell, NJ, and attended the University of La Salle. As a true freshman in 2007, he played eight games. Panasuk compiled 38 of 96 passes for 373 yards, three touchdowns and seveninterceptions.
Following the 2007 season, the University of La Salle ended its football program.
Since his first arena football game in 2013, Stephen Panasuk has became a well known figure in the arena football community. For the 2013 season, he played for the Kentucky Drillers. He started five games before leaving for the Wyoming Cavalry. Panasuk played in nine games, starting seven, during his rookie season with Wyoming.
He returned to New Jersey in 2014, as he joined the Trenton Freedom, who were members of the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL). During the 2014 season, Panasuk served as the backup quarterback to the current Lehigh Valley Steelhawks quarterback, Warren Smith. Smith ended up winning the 2014 PIFL MVP Award. Smith also was the 2017 Natioanl Arena League (NAL) MVP.
In 2015, Panasuk re-signed with the Trenton Freedom. He played in 10 games for the Freedom, completing 63% of his passes for over 1,800 yards and 38 total touchdowns. For Panasuk’s 2016 campaign, he started the season of with the Wichita Force, members of the CIF. He led the Force to a 5–2 record, as he completing 61 percent of his passes for 1,084 yards and 32 total touchdowns. To finish the rest of the 2016 season, he signed with the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena Football League.
As for his 2017 season, Panasuk signed with the NAL’s High Country Grizzlies, who will be members of the American Arena League (AAL) in 2018. Panasuk played in eigh games for High Country, compiling 131 of 239 passes for 1,318 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.
Following his departure from High Country, Panasuk said it was “too early to tell” if he would play arena football anywhere in 2018. Him and his girlfriend recently welcomed their child, a boy. His name is also Stephen Panasuk.
“I want to play one more year. Be able to appreciate all the little things before I hang them up,” Panasuk said on his return. “There’s no better place to do that than at home.”
The birth of his son played a factor in where he signed. “I [didnt] want to leave to play anywhere far away,” he told Inside the Arena.
Panasuk will return to Trenton, NJ, his home state and a town where he has already played two years of his professional arena football career.
By this signing, the Flight have added a key component of leadership, work ethic, and dedication to the team. Panasuk will use his knowledge of the game to help guide the Flight in the right directon for the 2018 inaugural season.