Countdown to Kickoff: Marathon will rely on speed in 2017 - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Countdown to Kickoff: Marathon will rely on speed in 2017


After a Level 2 appearance last year, Marathon returns just eight starters to its 2017 football team. 

But, two of those players happen to be their two biggest playmakers: tight end Nathan Stoffel and quarterback Donovan Free, who was named to the preseason watch list for the Dave Krieg award, given out annual to the top senior quarterback in the state.

As the Red Raiders kicked off their season Tuesday, there were no helmets, pads or even footballs at practice. The only sign of football was the crew assembling the goalposts on the field.

Instead, the team focused on speed training and testing, something that is very important for a team that lacks significant size.

"We're not blessed with a ton of size, so we have to be fast," head coach Todd Stoffel said Tuesday. "Our linemen have to be athletes. We probably are limited with a little more athletic linemen. Three yards and a cloud of dust is not going to work for us."

"We have smaller linemen," Nathan Stoffel, the coach's son, said. "We need to be able to get past linemen and get to linebackers."

The Red Raiders installed a spread-type offense prior to last season to better suit their lack of stature. Heading into the second year with this offense, the team is much more comfortable.

"Half the time we're not even blocking the defensive end, we're reading him," the younger Stoffel said. "And if we can beat him with speed and (Free) can just blow by him it helps us more. So, the faster the better."

The Red Raiders open the season with a non-conference matchup again Mosinee on Friday, August 18.

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