Sunday, February 28, 2021
Feb. 28, 2021

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Football coaches share passion for football by starting T-shirt company

Two local coaches make T-shirts as side business

By , Columbian staff writer

If you can’t find it, create it.

That’s what led two area high school football coaches to team up and launch First Down Clothing, a start-up business that creates and sells custom-made, one-of-a-kind football apparel.

And by one-of-a-kind, it means having football plays designed on T-shirts and sweatshirts.

Want a favorite football play printed on a shirt? Or a defensive base set front and center on a sweatshirt, perhaps? Prairie High football coach Mike Peck and Kalama’s Sean McDonald have you covered.

Since they couldn’t find them anywhere else, the coaches drew it up themselves.

Their goal? Have fun, make it affordable, and “spread the good word about football” through shirts, Peck said.

“We want to create a football clothing brand for coaches and people who love football,” he added. “… and use it as a positive thing when it’s a really tough time for everybody right now.”

The coaches’ two-person business launched just as the COVID-19 pandemic began sweeping the country. And sales have taken off. Orders topped 100 its first week.

Peck is in charge of marketing, sales, and works with coaches and other clients on designs. McDonald does all production from a screen printer in his home garage in Cowlitz County, and already is thinking bigger.

“I’m finding that I’m going to have to upgrade sooner rather than later because of how much interest we’ve had,” said McDonald, whose Kalama Chinooks won 2B state titles in 2017 and 2018, and finished state runner-up last December.

Prairie’s Power Spread was the inaugural T-shirt design. It comes straight from Peck’s offensive playbook off a record-setting 2019 season that saw the Falcons earn their first state appearance since 1992.

Clients may create their own play designs or purchase apparel already available on the company’s website.

The coaches said they never anticipated hearing from high school and college coaches — as high as the NCAA Division I — nationwide so quickly. They said they’re already brainstorming on expansion one month in.

“It’s amazing how fast it’s taken off,” Peck said. “The biggest thing for us is that it’s a unique area. … It’s a little bit of fun for people wanting their favorite play on a T-shirt.”