ADNA — Half of the field was completely unnecessary for nearly the entire game at Adna early Friday evening, as the Pirates routed White Swan 56-6 in a confidence-building result.
Adna only needed to run 30 plays all game long, and thanks to a dominating game by the defense, a few crucial turnovers on downs near midfield, and two onside kicks gone wrong, every single one of them took place on the right side of the 50-yard line.
White Swan, meanwhile, didn’t get the ball into Adna territory until the clock was running, well into the third quarter.
“Lots of kids got lots of playing time,” Adna coach Jason Dunnagan said. “Gained a little bit of confidence. It’s always hard to stay focused in situations like this, but I think our kids played well.”
And when the Pirates got their hands on the ball, they acted like they wanted to get back on defense as quickly as possible.
After forcing a three-and-out and downing a bad punt at the White Swan 31-yard line, quarterback Lane Johnson opened his evening with a 25-yard strike to Asher Guerrero. On the very next play, Jaxon Dunnagan got the remaining 6 yards on the ground, and the Pirates were off and running.
Johnson made it 14-0 without evening needing to bring the offense out on the field with a 40-yard pick-six, and after the Pirates forced another three-and-out, Luke Mohney opened the next possession with a 42-yard touchdown on a jet sweep.
Adna needed all of four plays on its next drive for Johnson to hit Guerrero for a 44-yard score, and at the end of the first quarter, Pirates led 27-0 despite only snapping the ball seven times.
Johnson finished his game early in the third quarter an efficient 5 of 6 with two touchdowns, with the lone miss being an interception on a well-thrown ball that went through the hands of a receiver and right into the arms of a defensive back.
“He’s going through his progressions pretty well, and we like that,” Jason Dunnagan said.
Meanwhile, after totalling just 76 rushing yards across its first two games, Adna ran for 96 yards in the first half and finished with 145.
Jaxon Dunnagan had most of those, going 119 yards on eight carries, and hitting paydirt twice. On top of Mohney’s sweep, Zach Toland got the Adna JV offense on the board late in the fourth quarter with a score on a 3-yard sweep pitch.
“I feel like we got a little bit of a running game going,” Jason Dunnagan said. “Not as much as I’d like to, but it’s a start.”
White Swan — which was playing its second game in four days — went into halftime sitting on just 23 yards of offense. That number boosted up to 85 by the end of the game, with the Cougars’ lone points coming on a double-reverse pass play that caught the Adna JV defense off-guard.
Aside from that, the Cougars completed two passes for minus-5 yards.
On the ground, Adna held White Swan to 61 yards on 34 carries, and average of 1.79 yards per rush.
“We definitely had a gameplan against these guys, and our defense executed pretty well,” Jason Dunnagan said. “I challenged them to start coming forward, and I feel like our D-line did that. They run a lot of a dive, so I challenged our D-line to be relevant today, and I think they did.”
That’s a trick the Pirates will want to keep up going forward, first with one last non-league matchup against Raymond-South Bend and then a league campaign through the run-heavy Central 2B League South.
But with the Week 1 loss to No. 1 Napavine firmly in the rearview mirror, the Pirates are starting to feel a bit of wind in their sails.
“I think our kids are starting to believe a little bit,” Jason Dunnagan said. “Now, it doesn’t get any easier. We’re getting into the part of our schedule where we know we’re going to get tested every week. There’s a lot of parity in this league. We don’t know who’s going to be where, so it’s really important every week to come out and give it our best.”