Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
FRANKFORT — In its history, Adena’s football program has made six playoff appearances.
Two of those trips to the postseason have come in the past two years.
Preston Sykes is a humongous reason why.
Last season, Sykes commanded an offense that averaged 33.4 points each week. He threw for 1,010 yards, rushed for 515 more and scored 18 touchdowns en route to first-team all-district and second-team All-Ohio honors.
The Warriors went 8-3 overall and 5-2 in the Scioto Valley Conference.
But that wasn’t good enough to win a conference title or a Week 11 contest. He knows that, his teammates know that and the Frankfort community knows it, too.
So what do you do when gaudy numbers like those don’t punch your ticket to the promised land? You do exactly what Sykes and the Warriors are doing … you get right back to work.
“We now have experience and we have a chip on our shoulders,” Sykes said. “We have lots of seniors who have been playing varsity for 2-3 years now. And we’ve come up short of a league title the past two years. We don’t forget the SVC chants we heard in Week 10. Our motto this offseason has been ‘Win the Day.’ We just focus on getting better and out-working everyone else today so when the time comes, we’ll be ready.”
Those “SVC chants” were heard at Bostic Field and from a Southeastern crowd as the Panthers were putting the finishing touches on a 66-37 win over the Warriors on Nov. 1. That was one week before Adena fell to Mechanicsburg in a Week 11 matchup by a 32-7 final.
Losses like those aren’t forgotten easily, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Sykes remembers each and every part of the disappointment he felt walking back to the locker room on each of those nights.
That feeling, that sinking, heart-in-your-throat, empty feeling is what’s driving Sykes this fall.
“Every team in the league would more than likely say their goal is to win the league,” Sykes said. “But as I said before, ours is just to win every day, and we’re confident we’ll end up on top at the end if we accomplish that. Individually, I know if the team has success, personal accolades will follow. So my goal is to just dominate each game.”
Sykes’ supporting cast will include the likes of running back Nate Throckmorton, wide receiver Logan Bennett and All-Ohio lineman Eric Hurtt, among many others.
Those names will certainly make Sykes’ life a lot easier while in between the lines.
However, the now veteran quarterback is the only one who can improve his game from a mental aspect, and that’s exactly what his focus has been on over the past several months.
“I’ve really developed the mental part of my game this offseason,” Sykes said. “I feel like that’s the most important part of the game. I know the physical side will fall into place if the mental side is right.”
Nothing can fall into place if there isn’t a season in the first place. The OHSAA continues to work on multiple scenarios for the 2020 season due to COVID-19.
While Sykes and his teammates continue to wait for the official word, they’ve been successful at taking the necessary precautions to protect themselves during summer workout sessions.
But nothing, not even the Coronavirus, has been able to impede the progress that’s been made.
“We’ve all just been making sure we take our temperature before lifting and cleaning everything when finished,” Sykes said. “But it’s definitely not slowing us down. If anything, I think it has given us more focus on getting ready.”
Adena’s 2020 season is currently scheduled to begin on Aug. 28, a home date with McClain. Of course, that could be subject to change.
But whenever, or however, the season begins, Sykes knows how he wants it to play out … with the Warriors on top and nothing left on the field.
“I’ve been thinking about my senior season and how special I’ve wanted it to be since grade school,” Sykes said. “FFN has more energy than any atmosphere I’ve ever been in. I just want to be able to enjoy it and leave it with no regrets.”