Three weeks off was too long.
Adna, which has been in COVID protocol and hasn’t played a football game since Oct. 8, struggled to put up points in a 17-0 loss to Wahkiakum Monday in Cathlamet.
The loss knocks The Pirates down to the No. 5 seed and gives Wahkiakum the No. 4 seed; a huge blow for Adna, which means they now have to face top-ranked and undefeated Napavine in the crossover playoffs on either Friday or Saturday. Wahkiakum has a much easier test as they travel to Forks.
“We struggled in every facet of the game,” Adna coach K.C. Johnson said. “They scored one touchdown, offensively, but we couldn’t execute anything well.”
It’s an unfortunate outcome for an Adna team that had won four of its last five before entering COVID protocol. Both its losses came to the top-two ranked teams in the state (Napavine and Kalama), and the Pirates were having a turnaround season from last year’s one-win campaign.
“Beyond words how frustrating it was, after watching this team get better every week for six weeks,” Johnson said.
The going got tough early against Wahkiakum, with the Mules blocking a Pirates’ punt in the first quarter and returning it for a touchdown. Brodie Avalon ran in a 1-yard touchdown later in the first quarter to make it 14-0, then Elijah Cothren knocked in a 29-yard field goal for the dagger in the fourth quarter.
In a defensive battle, Adna was outgained 166 to 126 in total yardage and the Pirates were held to just 22 yards on the ground.
Now Adna (4-3) undefeated Napavine (9-0) on Saturday in Napavine for a loser-out, winner-to-state match.