For so many years in the Los Padres League the Santa Ynez football team was unable to earn a bid to the CIF Southern Section playoffs, but that unlucky streak came to an end last season.
The Pirates switched over to the Channel League with Lompoc and Cabrillo and finished third with a 3-2 record, earning an at-large spot in Division 7. Santa Ynez was defeated by Northview in the first round, 43-7.
Josh McClurg's squad followed up back-to-back 8-2 campaigns with a 6-5 mark a season ago, and he lost his quarterback to injury in the season opener at Nipomo.
The Pirates graduated a ton of all-league talent, but still retained plenty of experience from last year's squad.
It's all about culture for the Pirates, and they want to set a tone under the lights on Friday nights.
"Your goal, any week, is to win. Any coach that doesn't say that is lying. I think we've got the guys to do it," McClurg said. "It might look different than it has in years past. We're not going to try an put a square peg into a round hole. We're going to adapt what we do with the guys we have. I think that's our goal right now, just figuring out these next couple of weeks what exactly what we're going to look like on both sides of the ball."
"We've been working hard getting into the groove of everything again," senior tight end/linebacker Dean Tipolt added. "We've been working hard in the offseason and spring, and it's been building up our mental toughness and getting us ready for the season."
Santa Ynez will host Nipomo on the first week of the season. The Pirates fell to the Titans last year, 17-14.