Editor’s note: This is the third of eight visits with Mid-Columbia Conference football teams. Hanford will run Wednesday.
Pasco football players were running sprints in the shade next to the school’s baseball field Monday night — not on the floor of the recently renovated Edgar Brown Stadium a few blocks away.
“It’s so much cooler over here, about 15 degrees, than over there,” said Bulldogs coach Dustin Lamb. “I think we’ll practice here all season.”
Lamb is also thinking about the players’ health in working out on grass.
It’s a long season, and it’s been a long past few years for the Bulldogs, who are fighting a 20-game losing streak following back-to-back 0-10 campaigns.
It’s also why it won’t take much to make Lamb a happy man this season.
“We just have to get a few W’s (wins),” he said. “We have been close the past few seasons. But we took our lumps.”
He then gestures towards a group of players following practice.
“A lot of those kids the year before were starting as sophs,” he said.
Those kids haven’t experienced a varsity victory during their tenure. And that’s why Lamb wants to see success for his Bulldogs.
“It’s tough on everybody,” said Lamb.
If things don’t go right, it certainly won’t be because of a lack of effort.
“These guys are really working hard,” said Lamb. “We’re definitely not the biggest team in the league, but we work hard.”
Senior Eric Orange is a perfect example.
Last year, the receiver/defensive back tore the lateral collateral ligament in his knee early in the season.
It was a setback, but Orange wasn’t giving up.
“The first evaluation, the doctor told me I’d be lucky to be able to play again,” Orange said.
So he got a second opinion, and he liked what he heard: that he could be back out on the football field by the following fall.
“So I worked a lot,” Orange said. “Every day with our trainer, Joe Mackay, five days a week with two days off. But I worked on my own those two days off.”
He was back out for track by the spring, qualifying for regionals.
And now, he and his Pasco teammates are preparing for their season opener against visiting Davis on Sept. 5, optimistic about getting the Bulldogs back on the winning track.
“Our strengths are our passing game and our secondary,” said Orange.
“We have some pretty good skill guys this year,” Lamb said. “It’s a decent mix of seniors and juniors, with a few sophomores.”
The key may be the interior line.
“We’ve got to work hard up front,” Lamb said. “(Our guys) give up size. So we have to out think our opponents. And we’ll be the best in-shape team there is.”
Orange, like his teammates, is ready to go.
“I feel like these past three years are behind us,” he said. “I’ve got a countdown to the opener on my phone.”
w Jeff Morrow: 509-582-1508; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: morrow_jeff