MCDONALD, Ohio (WKBN) – The McDonald football team were in uncharacteristic waters last season, suffering their first losing campaign since 2002. Now, the Blue Devils are looking to avoid even more bad history looking to avoid back-to-back losing seasons for the first time in over 40 years.

“Definitely didn’t feel good,” said McDonald senior lineman Kyle Crown. “It left a really bad taste in our mouths.”

“Just doesn’t sit well with any kid that comes thru the program,” McDonald head coach Dan Williams said. “And the kids made a real emphasis that we are going to change that.”

The standard is always high at McDonald. But after coming in below the bar last year, the Blue Devils are now trying to look forward to 2022 and not backward.

“We have kind of left that in the past,” said senior tight end and linebacker Danny Gray. “And we know what we have to do to get better and that is what we are doing, taking those next steps.”

“They went extra over the top with the offseason conditioning, offseason weight training,” Williams said. “I think you are going to see a stronger team, a more athletic team this year.”

McDonald’s defense struggled last year, allowing over 36 points per game this season. It is the side of the ball that is usually a strong point, something they are striving to get back to this season.

“We were just missing tackles, and we were doing things that youthful kids do,” says Williams. “And I think with a year of experience under their belt, being on a Friday night, being in that game situation along with the techniques that we have been harping on in the preseason, I think it will be a much better defense.”

The last time McDonald had back-to-back losing seasons gas was just 59 cents and “Silly Love Songs” by Paul McCartney and Wings was the top song on the Billboard Charts. That year was 1976. The Blue Devils say they are motivated to keep that history away from their group.

“Very hungry,” Gray said. “Like I said, we are in the weight room and on camp days everything we do now is taken a lot more seriously, every rep is important.”

“They have had success, they have been to the playoffs as freshman and sophomores,” Williams said.

“They have had success. They know what it is like to be successful and how important that is, and I think they are hungry to get back to the playoffs.”

“No one thinks we are going to do it because of what happened last year, so just proving them wrong,” said Crown.