ADNA — It’s been awhile since the Adna football team has been able to compete with the top dogs in the Central 2B.
Well, not too long.
The Pirates last put together a winning season in 2019, when they made the state semifinals, but in the short time since then, the football in Adna hasn’t been up to the same standard.
“We’re just trying to get back to competing,” Pirates coach Jason Dunnagan said. “These past couple of years haven’t been typical of Adna football. We’re trying to get back to our identity and get competitive in those big games.”
With players returning that were thrown to the wolves in their freshman seasons and are starting for the third consecutive year, a dynamic quarterback in Lane Johnson and a slew of playmakers on the inside and outside, the Pirates want to make some noise this year.
Despite the departure of long-time head coach KC Johnson, Dunnagan has made some tweaks, but is continuing what Johnson had built heading into 2022. The key is getting players and coaches to believe that they can keep up with teams like Napavine, Kalama, Toledo, and Onalaska.
That belief is there, as the Pirates prep to deal with Napavine Week 1.
“It’s going to take a lot of learning and growing, but we can get there,” Johnson said. “We have the talent.”
Dunnagan agrees, and as his team gets ready for the gauntlet of the C2B, the focus has been on competing in everything they do.
“We’ve got some kids that are going on their third year starting, we have some experience here,” he said. “We just have to get that competitiveness throughout our team. It can’t just be one or two guys, it has to be all 11. We need 11 on the same level pushing each other.”
Though the Pirates enjoyed a bounceback season a year ago — despite various obstacles like a COVID-19 shutdown at the end of the year that derailed momentum — the standard in Adna is always higher. Dunnagan says everyone on the team and coaching staff understands that, and has worked this offseason to get back to that level.
It starts with rival Napavine Week 1 on Sept. 2, and the road continues in another rivalry contest against Pe Ell-Willapa Valley in Week 2. No matter the team, though, the Pirates are going to take a game-by-game, week-by-week approach.
“Just keep getting better as the season goes,” Johnson said. “That’s the goal.”