Rogers may have lost their season opener to Shadle on Thursday, but their progress from last year – and their progress over the years – was clearly evident.
Shadle, led by quarterback Brett Rypien, beat the Pirates 37-22.
But the Pirates had their moments, and head coach Matt Miethe is pleased with how far they have come. He quickly admits Rogers hasn't had a winning season since he was a senior back in 1994. And he admits it will take time – a lot of it – to build up enough momentum to produce winning seasons again.
Speaking before Thursday's season opener, Miethe, said he is starting to see some of the fruits of his labor.
"Our key players are just tough, and part of that toughness wears off on everybody else," he said.
The Pirates closed last season with two wins: one against Shadle and another against Walla Walla in a crossover game.
"It felt really good for the players to know there was some payoff," Miethe said.
Miethe believes the players are starting to buy into Rogers' success, and so is the community. He has helped foster what he calls the Rogers Pipeline – teams from fourth grade to middle school built with players intent on becoming a Pirate in high school. There are conditioning programs during the offseason and scholarship funds set up to help players pay their fees.
"We're years behind, but we're finally catching up."
And it's not just the football team getting better at Rogers. It's everything, including academics.
"It's changing, the culture is changing at Rogers," he said. "Everything is better. Our statistics are up, more of our kids are graduating on time. We had 148 kids pass the AP tests last year, which is unbelievable. The whole thing is unbelievable."