Note: Gunnison finished with a 3-7 overall record in 2016 and was fourth in 2A North with a 2-3 record. It lost to Grand 63-21 in 2A first round.
GUNNISON — Rarely has the Gunnison football program seen success in terms of wins and losses. In fact, head coach Jack Pay can only recall two winning seasons in the school’s history with the team’s best single season record being 7-4.
However, that doesn’t stop Pay and the Bulldogs from believing that things will soon change.
“This year, our goal around here is to have the best season that Gunnison has ever had,” the third-year coach said. “The best season to date is 7-4 and we think that reaching that is a goal that is very attainable.”
Last year, the Bulldogs went 3-7, but the way Pay sees it, the team has some momentum going into the 2017 season after winning a couple of games late in the 2016 season.
“I think the kids coming back are going to understand that they can be in a game,” Pay said. “Looking at it from my vantage point, there isn’t a game this year that is unwinnable.”
If the Bulldogs hope to win more games and reach their goal, a big improvement is needed on the defensive side of the ball, which ranked 11th in 2A in 2016.
Pay believes that after switching the defensive system prior to the 2016 season, the team had trouble adjusting during games.
This year, however, with the system being more familiar for the returning players, things should go smoother on the defensive side of the ball.
For the Bulldogs, a lot rests on the defensive line to translate the improved and more comfortable defense to game situations.
“The key for the defense is our defensive line needs to be very stout,” Pay said. “We have a lot of experience coming back on the defensive side of the ball and we need to make sure we use it.”
On the other side of the ball, the offense showed a lot of promise in 2016 with Kris Keeran-Edwards at quarterback, and Pay believes the running game will be stronger this year to help balance out the offense and aid the passing game.