Auburndale football looks to rebound from last season’s disappointment, Stratford works to get back on top
By Paul Lecker
Believe it or not, the high school football season is nearly here.
Camps across Wisconsin are set to open Tuesday in preparation for the first games on Friday, Aug. 19. Spencer/Columbus Catholic, Stratford, Marshfield, and Auburndale all begin practices Tuesday morning.
Teams are allowed a set number of “contact” days with their teams throughout the summer, and Auburndale had its last week.
Second-year head coach Eric Custer said the Apaches had a team camp to implement some things and to learn where they stand heading into training camp.
“This gives us a great idea of what we need to spend the most time on during the beginning of our season,” Custer said. “We know what we want to do and how we want to do it. Now it is just a matter of getting a lot of reps and focus on the techniques and fundamentals of the game.”
Auburndale struggled to a 3-6 record last year and a 2-5 mark in the Marawood Conference after dropping its final three games.
Custer said he saw a cohesive group take part in the recent team camp and hopes that the comradery carries over into the season.
“During our contact days last week, I saw maturity, leadership, togetherness, and preparation,” Custer said. “These kids have put a lot of work into the weight room this offseason, and that has been a focus of our program since November. A lot of the kids bought into the program and realized that it will make them a better athlete.
“These kids really get along well, and I think that when you get a group of kids that have togetherness and a common goal to succeed, that can be a powerful thing.”
Stratford had a bit more success last season, going 5-2 in the Marawood and finishing 9-3 overall after reaching Level 3 of the Division 5 playoffs before a 30-15 loss to eventual state runner-up Spencer/Columbus.
Head coach Jason Tubbs said the Tigers and his staff are ready to get things started Aug. 2 as they begin to prepare for their scrimmage at D.C. Everest on Aug. 12 and their season opener at Stanley-Boyd on Aug. 19.
“We start with some coaches meetings and try to hit the ground running come Aug. 2,” Tubbs said. “I am very happy with this offseason. The whole team put a lot of hours in our fitness center, led by our senior class.”
Custer said he feels more ready than last year for the start of the season, which begins with a scrimmage at Owen-Withee on Aug. 13 and Auburndale’s first regular-season game against perennial Marawood power Edgar at home on Aug. 19.
“I have far more time to prepare than I did last year,” Custer said. “I was scrambling being hired so late last year that things weren’t always as organized or prepared as a coach would like them to be. We have had many, many meetings as a coaching staff this offseason, so we are very much in sync with what we want to accomplish each day during individual drills, group sessions, and team sessions.”
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)