Pullman ended its 2012 season with a bitter home playoff loss to Prosser, 56-19. It's a loss that the players and coaches have not forgotten.
2012 was Dan Lucier's first season as the Greyhounds' head football coach. Pullman lost a wealth of experience coming into 2013, but he's staying positive, looking to the hard work his team has accomplished in the offseason. "We lost a really good bunch of seniors last year." Lucier said. "But the group of young kids that we have coming back are excellent.
"We're just trying to get in shape and have a great attitude and come to practice with enthusiasm and give a great effort."
Effort is the No. 1 necessity when playing for Lucier – along with being well conditioned – given his offensive philosophy. "We run a ‘really hurry up,'" Lucier said, noting the strengths of his team as its quickness and speed. "We're pretty quick along with our offensive line. We're not very big, but our scheme is pretty much all about getting after it and running hard and running fast and that type of thing. So it's a good mix."
Senior wide receiver Stephen Mealey pointed to last year's playoff loss and the relative success the team had as something to build on for the future. "Last year was a definite stepping stone," Mealey said. "Coming from the year before we definitely took a giant step up. This year we're looking to take another step up and make it to the championship in Tacoma."
Taking it one step further was Ryan Vannucci, a junior middle linebacker who was less reserved in his predictions. "We're going to win the state championship this year," Vannucci predicted.
For Vannucci, putting the team first is paramount for success. "One heartbeat is the biggest thing – put the team over yourself," Vannucci said. "That's what coach Lucier has been preaching since the begging of summer, since the day he got here basically."
The Greyhounds take on the Lakeside Eagles in Pullman on Sept. 6, and Vannucci sounded more than confident in the team's chances, given what he's seen from his teammates in practice. "I think we got to practice every week like we're going to beat them in a shutout. That's how we have to have our mentality. We're just going to attack, attack, attack, and we should have no problem with them if we do it right."