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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Pirates Preparing For 2022 Plunder

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Cedarville football doesn’t have a rich history of gridiron dominance. The Pirates struggled to rack up the W’s for a decade as they went without a winning record from 2008 through 2018. Therefore when those outside the Cedarville football program hear “Pirates Football”, they tend to just move on to another subject. But to some unbiased followers of high school football, the blue and gold Jolly Roger flag at Pirates Cove seems to be rising higher and higher up the mast.   

If you’ve kept up with the upward trend of Cedarville’s recent W-L records, you’ll see why there’s a hype being built around the Pirates program. Since 2019, Cedarville has improved each season by one game in the 3A-1 conference. A 3 win season in 2019 was bumped up to 4 wins in 2020 followed up by a school best 5 wins in 2021. The Pirates overall record has eeked up by one win each season since 2016 as well. There’s been no plateau or downfall, they’ve only gone up. The Pirates aren’t merely aiming to get better though, they’re cannons are sighted in for the 3A-1 conference championship. Even perineal powerhouse, Charleston, has found themselves in the Pirates crosshairs over the past few years as the Tigers and Pirates have had some epic showdowns recently. Though Charleston has won those close contests, the Pirates still made it clear that they’re not a pushover anymore.

So where did this sudden Pirate push come from? Well, it all starts at the top with the head coach, Max Washausen. Washausen has done nothing but make the Pirates better in his six-year tenure at Cedarville. Being a charismatic players coach, Washausen has got the young men in Cedarville walking with their chins up and chests out. “We are building a football program where the kids believe they can win,” said Washausen. “They understand that they have to work hard to be successful and to earn the respect of every program they face. We’ve got some great young men this year who not only think they can win, they expect it. That’s something every coach wants to see in their program”. Although the coaching staff, players, and the entire Cedarville community believes in the program, most preseason polls still have the Pirates finishing towards the bottom of the conference this upcoming season. That’s not a knock on Cedarville either. It’s a fact that the Pirates lost quite a few heavily talented seniors to the 2021 graduation. Losing that much can push the reset button for most teams and the votes reflect that. Knock or not though, Cedarville is definitely planning on using those polls as tackling fuel for 2022.

To make sure Cedarville’s players don’t go soft with their recent success, Washausen has pitted the Pirates against some extreme competition throughout the summer. “We started the summer by hosting a team camp against Westville, Stilwell, and Muldrow. Then we followed that up with 7 on 7’s at Siloam Springs with 4A teams such as Gravette and Gentry. Most recently we attended a camp at Mena with Mount Ida, Hackett, Mena, and Mansfield. We scrimmaged against a lot of schools with larger classifications throughout the summer and held our own quite well”. That kind of hard work against larger programs could be demoralizing for teams who don’t have solid leadership at all levels. As already proven, Cedarville has good leadership at the coaching level. The player leadership is what’s putting extra wind in the Pirates sails. Whether it be in the weight room, 7 on 7’s, hot summer practices, or studying film, the Pirates are eager to show up and get better. “Our summer workout attendance has been great,” said Washausen.

Although the Pirates are growing by leaps and bounds, they still have to play in one of the toughest conferences in the 3A. The 3A-1 is usually headlined by the Charleston Tigers, but with this past springs AAA realignment, the conference will see the Booneville Bearcats enter an already loaded 3A-1 lineup. Booneville and Charleston may be the preseason favorites to win the conference title, but Cedarville isn’t alone in their race to the top with those two teams. West Fork, Greenland, Lavaca, Hackett, and Mansfield join the Pirates in showing extensive summer improvements also to vie for the conference title. 2022 could very well be anyone’s for the taking, but Cedarville isn’t concerned about everyone else right now. They’re too busy getting bigger, stronger, and smarter while continuing to build confidence in the program. The Pirates will light the first fuse of the 2022 season on August 16th against the Quitman Bulldogs.

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