Pirates Feel Like They Can Beat Anyone with Large Returning Group


The Adna football team doesn’t exactly have a friendly opener scheduled in 2022, like most of its last few seasons. 

The Pirates, with 12 returning starters and playmakers everywhere, will open their season against the undisputed 2B state title favorites Napavine in Week 1. After a rough go against the Tigers the last few times out, new coach Jason Dunnagan is looking to instill new belief in the 2022 Pirates. 

“The way I approach games, I feel like we can win every game,” he said. “I’m not thinking Napavine should beat us, I think we can beat them. We have to have that mindset and get that in these guys’ heads. They’ve taken us to the woodshed the last couple of times we’ve played, so it's hard to forget that and move on but we see a lot of opportunity this year for our team.”

That mindset will carry the Pirates hopefully past the Tigers Week 1, win or lose, as Adna looks to return to relevance at the state level after a couple of down seasons. 

Lane Johnson returns at the quarterback spot, and will be the headliner of the offense. Jaxon Dunnagan will get a prominent role as a tailback, and Seth Meister and company will get the lion-share of targets on the outside at wideout. 

With a lot of these guys playing significantly as freshmen and sophomores the last couple of seasons, that added experience is just a bonus this year. 

“It definitely helps with the confidence,” Johnson said. “Knowing what to do and having those experiences in the past.”

With K.C. Johnson moving on as head coach to become the Superintendent of Raymond School District, Dunnagan isn’t changing much, but tweaking things to hope to make one final run for a large group of Pirate seniors that have waited for this year. 

Having seen what it took for the Pirates to make consistent state semifinals appearances and capture a state title years ago in 2009, Dunnagan is hoping the little things can make the biggest difference. 

“We have to get back to fundamentals,” he said. “All the way down to where we place our hands on the ground. Your first step means something, that gives us an advantage. Focusing on the little things will add up to our success and where we want to be.”