The Adna Pirate Football Team’s spectacular nine-game season involved four shutouts, where the team averaged forty-one points per game. In a league that is undeniably a meat grinder, there are only three 2B schools in the state coming off perfect seasons. “It’s the best league in the state,” says Head Coach K.C. Johnson. “The thing that’s impressive about this league is how many schools have played in the state championship.”
“Most of the teams in our league have been in the top ten at least once throughout the entire season,” adds senior running back and wide receiver, Elmer Loose. “That tells you right there how tough it is.”
Many Pirates have played football together since third grade. “The cool thing for me honestly is these guys were born when I got here and I’ve watched them grow up from little tiny guys at the game,” says Johnson, now in his 18th year coaching at Adna. “It’s a great group.”
Off the field, teammates call each other family. “Most of us grew up together,” says senior running back, Sawyer Burdick.
Newcomer, junior quarterback Braden Thomas is quick to interject that when he moved to Adna last year, the team was friendly. “They brought me in,” he says. Thomas has since proved a double threat with 681 rushing yards and 683 passing yards for the season.
With impressive records, senior Chance Fay and junior Cole Fay prove that brothers who play together, stay together. The pair of running backs say playing together is the best part of football. “It feels good knowing someone has your back the whole time,” says Cole.
“We are actual brothers, but me and Sawyer are brothers too,” says Chance. “Braden is my newest brother, but it’s like we are all just a family.”
The Adna Pirates maximize talent on this close-knit team. “This team is not one or two guys,” says Johnson. “These guys can all score. So can Brady Collins, Ashton Dowell and others. You can’t prepare for these guys because you won’t know who is going to be at the ball. We try to spread it around. We don’t have anyone with amazing stats but we are better for it as a football team.”
The Adna line is a formidable defense, allowing only 59 points in the season. “They play with heart,” says Loose. “They play with an attitude.”
In the classroom, the team has kept a GPA average of 3.33. “With 40 guys, that shows the student-athletes they really are,” says Johnson. “They were State Academic Baseball Champions last year and we were close this year in football. They do a good job.”
Community support for this team is high. Pirate faithful pack the stands each week to cheer the team on. “The support is amazing,” says Cole.
“Dan Watson comes to every single game,” adds Chance. “He comes to everything, for every sport. I don’t really know how I met him, just at some game. He comes up and starts talking to you about whatever sport you’re playing at the time. That is what stands out to me. When I think of community, I think of him. He’s all about it.”
At the end of each game, Coach Johnson circles the team. The conversation always ends with, “Go love on your families.” This group of young men share a lot of love for each other, their families and the community. “Our families are at every game and we give a big thanks to them and the community,” says Burdick.
Their families’ sacrifices to support the team are remarkable. Elmer’s father, a fisherman in Alaska, switched his work shifts to be home and watch the entire football season for the first time. Elmer and his brother Christian Loose gave up their summer to go help him, so their dad could see their senior football season.
Coming off a crossover win of another shutout of 49 to 0 against Ocosta, the Pirates are looking forward to next week. “I know these guys will be on an absolute mission,” says Johnson. “It’s going to take a great team to beat us and a bad night out of us. These guys, the closer we get, the more they want it.”
With a number one rank in nearly every poll, Adna is set for what could turn out to be the best season the team has ever seen. “These guys work so hard,” says Johnson. “That’s our secret to success – how hard these guys work. They’ve been doing this since they were little and they want to win.”