The 19th school on News 25’s “25 Teams in 25 Days” is less than 24 or 25 hours away from hitting somebody else. On jamboree eve, Pass Christian can’t get year one of the Blake Pennock era started soon enough, coming off last year’s disappointing one-win season.
That’s not gonna cut it for the Pirates in 2019, who look to do what no Pass team has ever done before.
Quarterback Dustin Allison said, “We won five games, went to the playoffs, hosted a playoff game here. And then next season, we thought we were going to be going down the same path, and it just went downhill from there.”
About this time last year, life was good at Pass Christian. Coming off their second road home playoff game in school history, the Pirates picked up right where they left off in 2018 with a crazy week one road victory at Long Beach in the Oyster Bowl. “Things were looking up, and then it just went all downhill. Crashed.”
Defensive end/ outside linebacker Bryson Adams said, “I think the main problem was we focused on that one game. That one game, we just went for it. And then after that, we just lost our focus for the rest of the season.”
Nine games later, the Pirates were staring dead in the face at a 1-9 season, their worst showing since 2013. This year, Pass Christian has a clean slate under first-year Head Coach Blake Pennock who says the program is far from a sinking ship. “I’ve told this to people in the past. I don’t really feel like we’re taking over a 1-9 program. And coming from a mindset of hoping we can do it to expecting to do it. And that’s the hardest thing to change, probably most times it’s the last thing to change because you have to see evidence of that.”
“When he came into the locker room, he from the first day told us that we’re going to be a winning team and we all bought in to his program. And we’ve all seen the changes.”
The biggest change Pass Christian is striving to make is in the month of November. Believe it or not, the Pirates have never gotten a taste of the second round. “Just getting to the playoffs is a big thing around here. But in the Pass Christian history, we have never won a playoff game, so that’s our main goal.”
“It does need to change. It absolutely needs to change. This place has the potential to be successful and we have the opportunity I think now to hopefully change that.”
One step at a time for the Pass, who first needs to pump the brakes on that nine-game losing streak. After that, this year’s 17-member senior class of 2020 and beyond has the chance to make its own traditions starting with the grind and the chase. “You just look at the end of the road. You see a prize, you’re going to chase it. You’re going to grind for it.”
“The grind and the chase, it’s literally just about we have a goal. And we’re trying to chase that goal. We’re trying to chase a playoff win, alright? And those things, you can’t just speak those things into existence. You have to put the work in, and that’s where the grind comes in. And we just want to try to make sure we’re reminded everyday that we have a goal that we’re trying to chase and that we’re going to put in the work and we’re going to grind to get us to that goal.”
The Pirates open their 2019 campaign with Long Beach on August 23rd. As for tomorrow, Pass Christian travels to Gautier for its jamboree, slated to kick off at 7 p.m.