The Cedarville Pirates football program has been that “dangerous” team opponents have talked about for the past couple of years. The Pirates have always been in the hunt for a breakout year, but they never really got the chance to break free. If you look at their past couple of seasons though, you’d notice something that stands out. Growth. The Pirates went four consecutive seasons with only two victories. Then in 2017, they won three games. In 2018 they jumped to four wins. And last season, the Pirates hoisted their colors to a 6-4 season. That’s right, the tide is turning on Cedarville’s stormy seas of the past.
Going 6-4 in a conference that consisted of perineal powerhouses such as Booneville, Charleston, and Lamar isn’t anything to shake a stick at for any program. But with the 2019 Pirates beating Lamar and pulling Charleston into a nail biter, it should tell their upcoming 2020 opponents that they are no longer merely dangerous. They’re an absolute threat. Cedarville head coach, Max Washausen, stated “We started the 2019 football season out well with a 6-1 start and a win over Lamar which was also my favorite game of the season. That night we had a great game plan offensively and defensively and the boys executed perfectly. The Warriors are a very talented team that finished second in the conference and are bumping up to 4A this upcoming 2020 season. So to pull out a big victory over them let us know our boys could hold their own against anyone. And they did just that. We finished with the sixth winning season in the school’s history. Week 8 against Greenland we had five starters injured and we struggled to recover from that. We ended the season with a 6-4 record and just shy of the playoffs.“
Cedarville will be losing senior key talents in Kevan Jones, Alex Ascencio, Kolbye Beals, and Brayden Russell. Losing true team leaders as such could demolish a team for the next season, but the Pirates are transitioning from merely just a team, into a program. Playing with a young team last season gives them experience and places an important feather in their hat. The Pirates will still return seven starters on both sides of the ball including all of their running backs on offense. Now take all of that previous information and tack it on to a conference shake-up where the 3A-1 conference is losing three big-time teams in Booneville, Paris, and Lamar and gaining Hackett, Lavaca, and Lincoln. That ladies and gentlemen is a recipe for the makings of a conference championship run.
“I’m very optimistic about being able to get back with the guys and practice but I won’t speculate when that will happen,” said Washausen. “All we can do is our best today. This group of players are winners. I think we will really surprise the Conference this year!” The only iceberg in the Pirates path right now is the notorious COVID-19 pandemic. With such a serious issue in the wake of the 2020 season, Ceadrvilles coaching staff has had to count on players to put the wind into their own sails. “We have been putting daily workouts on social media and I have been keeping in contact daily with parents and players. It has been tough but the silver lining is that I have seen a lot of players doing things on their own who are intrinsically motivated and that makes a coach really proud.”
The players have shown through their home work ethic, that they know what this 2020 season could mean. The coaching staff knows what their players are capable of. All the Pirates need now is for this horrible virus to disappear so that they can prove what they already know. The Cedarville Pirates football program has plugged up holes in their boat, mended the sails, loaded the cannons, and is ready to take aim at a 2020 Championship.
Photos courtesy of Malinda Mizell