Countdown to Kickoff: Stratford Tigers - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Countdown to Kickoff: Stratford Tigers


In his first season at the helm of the program, Stratford head coach Jason Tubbs led the Tigers to a Marawood title in 2013, sharing the conference crown with Marathon and Edgar. The Tigers' speedy offense then cruised through the first two rounds of the playoffs before falling to Amherst in Level 3. Tubbs and company finished the season with a 10-2 record.

This season, Tubbs may have the toughest job in the Marawood when it comes to replacing key players. Compared to the 22 seniors Stratford had last year, the Tigers only have nine in 2014.

Stratford does have senior quarterback Michael Bargender returning to lead the offense. Tubbs is excited to see a good sophomore year from big 290-pound offensive/defensive lineman Tanner Weinfurter. With losing 2013 Marawood Conference running back of the year, Eli Temanson, Tubbs knows that this year's offense won't be quite as speedy. The Tigers will count on having a grind-it-out, ball control type of offense.

Defensively, Stratford will have a similar look but under new defensive coordinator Marshall Lehman. The Tigers return defensive all-conference selections in linebacker Hunter Kauffman and defensive back Jake Reif.

Although the team's overall returning experience may be down, it doesn't change the Tigers normal high expectation level.

"You always have high standards here and the kids know it," said Tubbs. "They want to compete for a conference championship, that's our first goal. Every week we want to be 1-0. We start off with Mosinee, a bigger school, and then we have Colby, another non-conference game. We're going to find out right away what type of team we have.

"Despite all the inexperience, we've always got there from hard work and dedication," said Jake Reif. "This summer was probably our best summer with lifting and everything, so it should be a good year."

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