With just one victory over the past two seasons, it would be easy to think the Adams-Friendship football team was nowhere close to being on the road back to the postseason.
But with the return of their head coach and several players at skill positions the Green Devils are believing that they are just a couple of games away from returning to their their storied past.
“Last year we told the guys that success was not measured in wins or losses, but rather the effort they gave day in and day out,” said Nick Stormoen, entering his second year as head coach. “This year will still be measured in effort, but the experience we gained from a tough schedule last year will help us as we move into the season this year.”
Last year, Adams stumbled out of the gates as they were outscored 268-26 in their first six games. Despite the slow start, A-F was able to rally over the final weeks of the season, and despite not earning a victory, they battled, and improved from week to week and provided a stiff test for their opponents.
“Early on in the schedule we played some monster programs,” Stormoen said. “But instead of folding up, the guys battled and fought back, and to me, that only set the table for things to come this year.”
The Green Devils welcome back several players with experience on the defensive side of the ball, and a few with line experience. Players like Drake Hodkiewcz, Ethan Chaffee, and Cole Morely are all being looked at to lead the defense as younger players on offense get up to the speed of the varsity.
On offense, A-F is looking for underclassmen at the running back and quarterback positions to improve in the system and by the end of the year be playing like seasoned veterans.
But the biggest addition to the Green Devils might have come in coaching rather than in athletes.
A-F welcomes former Assumption High School coach Riley Thomas to the coaching staff on the defensive side of the ball, where a change in scheme and his added experience to a rather young program has Adams feeling optimistic.
“Riley has coached at two schools (Assumption and Elcho) and has a lot more head coaching experience than us,” Stormoen said. “He is a guy that I hope I can begin a long coaching career with because he knows the sport so well, and understands the struggles in building a program.”
With the addition in coaching and experience from last season, the Green Devils have set their sights high, looking to make their first playoff appearance since 2005, and even more.
“I know we won’t be favorites in too many games, but that is why you play the games week to week,” Stormoen said. “We want to challenge for the top three in the conference, and there is no reason why we can’t if we work to our potential.”