Plenty of changes are coming to the Rainier football team in 2022. After a tough, winless, season last year that featured multiple COVID cancellations and discord, the Mountaineers are hoping to turn the page.
An enormous senior class in Rainier is gone, and has made way for new faces hoping to turn things around quickly in the ever competitive 2B Southwest Washington league.
“We could just never get on track,” Rainier coach Andy Bartell said. “It was a little rough, but guys kept fighting. We really want to win games this year, we can only get better from here.”
With 2021 firmly in the rearview mirror, the Mountaineers are looking forward to its new group of leaders, including Trevor Anderson, Tyler Potts, and new sophomore quarterback Jake Meldrum, to lead the way.
Recognizing that last year’s team lost focus in certain matchups, this year’s group of leaders isn’t going to make the same mistakes.
“You have to play everyone like it's the state championship, you have to come into every game and give 100%,” Anderson said. “Last year we came into games thinking we should win and it didn’t work out for us, we have to give our 100% this year.”
Along with some personnel changes, including a freshmen group in the double-digits, Bartell is also shifting away from his typical pass-heavy attack and moving to more of a ground game.
With more athletes on the field, it's about putting his guys in a position to succeed with their skillsets. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to abandon the passing game, either.
Hunter Howell returns at wideout after a standout freshman season, and will give his new quarterback Meldrum a big and proven target in the passing game.
But more than anything, the Mountaineers are just happy to move forward and get the bad taste of 2021 out of their mouths. If fall camp has been any indication, things have felt a bit different from previous years in Rainier.
“I’m excited to be out here, I’m excited to be with our team,” Potts said. “It seems like we’re coming together really well and bonding nicely. I think we’re going to have a good season.”