In the last four years, the St. Cloud Tech Tigers have won two Section 8-5A titles, two Central Lakes Conference championships and have averaged nine wins a season.
Tigers coach Gregg Martig, whose team opens at Brainerd Friday night, isn't sure his team will be able to extend that run in 2009. Tech returns two players on offense and five on defense from a team that lost to eventual state champion Wayzata 38-0 in the Class 5A state quarterfinals.
Offensively, center Tony Roberts and tackle Garrett Berg are back for their third season as starters. On defense, linebackers James Warzecha and Jasper Brenner return with defensive backs Tyler Wieber, Kellan Euerle and Alex Hanks. Euerle and Hanks are three-year starters.
High school football
St. Cloud Tech at Warriors
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Adamson Field, Brainerd
The series: Tech leads 54-29. The Tigers won 17-14 in the 2008 season opener.
"Our defense will have to be our strength early in the year," Martig said. "That's where our experience is. We're basically starting over on offense. It will be a challenge to see how quick we come along there.
"We will play more 2-way players than we have in the last 5-6 years. Hanks, Euerle and Wieber will be on both sides of the ball. We haven't done that for a while. We're really inexperienced up front. The thing against Brainerd will be if our younger kids can match the physical play of Ron (Stolski's Brainerd) teams."
Hanks also is ticketed to start at quarterback. Senior Trevor Nystrom also is likely to take some snaps.
"Hanks has started on defense since he was a sophomore," Martig said, "and he's been our backup quarterback. Adam Johnson took every snap the last two years. That's a big loss at quarterback. He will be hard to replace.
"I see Hanks starting at quarterback, but at some point Nystrom will have to play. We have to get Alex off the field once in a while."
Stolski, beginning his 48th season as a head coach and whose 311 wins rank second in Minnesota State High School League history, knows the Warriors are in for one of their most competitive games of the season.
"I know that Tech, particularly in the last decade, has had strong football teams," he said, "so we're looking for another good Tech team. They run kind of a college-style offense, and have been particularly good on defense and special teams in recent years."
Brainerd Warriors (0-0)
QB: 18-Reid Mimmack, 7-Kevin Peterson, 16-Mason Fussy
RB: 36-Carsten Nelson, 34-Jaron Hanson, 23-Daniel Lauer, 24-Jordan Hayes, 17-Jack Luke, 32-Taylor Main, 40-Matt Pohlkamp
WR: 20-Kyle Crocker, 89-Dylan Wheeler, 5-Mitch Bzdok, 11-Tate Rusk, 7-Kevin Peterson, 85-Taylor Babineau, 81-Jesse Zahn, 82-Nick Belgum
LT: 78-Mitch Weidemann
LG: 56-Charles Kassulker
C: 75-Kurt Fahlen, 73-Taylor Hradsky, 57-Aron Nicklaus
RG: 73-Taylor Hradsky, 50-Jake Kassulker
RT: 74-Joe Haeg, 70-Josh Mattson,
TE: 80-Cole Stegora, 88-Aaron Pavek, 83-Adam Paulson
DL: 88-Aaron Pavek, 67-Kris Garin, 93-Sam Lastovich, 43-Chad Ohman, 91-Dan Wheeler, 97-Lewis Paulson
OLB: 32-Taylor Main, 38-Caleb Goodew, 12-Tyler Kohlmeier, 22-Barry Nelson, 11-Tate Rusk
ILB: 54-Sam Pagel, 42-Jordan Goos, 32-Taylor Main, 47-Jaime Barry, 35-Bruce London, 55-Cayle Winkler
CB: 20-Kyle Crocker, 31-Logan Stall, 28-Nate Gervenak
FS: 11-Tate Rusk, 21-Nate Parsons, 5-Mitch Bzdok, 12-Tyler Kohlmeier
P: 32-Taylor Main, 5-Mitch Bzdok
KO/PK: 64-Zach Cadwell, 40-Matt Pohlkamp
St. Cloud Tech
QB: 7-Alex Hanks, 2-Trevor Nystrom
RB: 25-Dylan Johnson, 31-Bennett Johnson
WR: 3-Brett Stinogel, 10-Johnathon Walker, 17-Austin Ciccati
TE: 13-Tyler Hanratty, 88-Dylan Orthaus
C: 51-Tony Roberts
LG: 72-Kaelan Nelson, 50-Tyler Theisen
RG: 60-Ryan Hopkins
LT: 68-Ross Windfeldt
RT: 73-Garrett Berg
DT: 65-Danna Haselkamp, 87-Nate Gromberg
NG: 47-Nick Terhaar
OLB: 14-Ben Kor, 21-Tom Gerdes, 45-Michael Laudenbach
ILB: 32-Jasper Brenner, 34-James Warzecha
CB: 22-Chris Hutton
CB: 26-Jobe Peterson, 30-Tyler Wieber
S: 37-Kellan Euerle
PK: 6-Dan Stoterau
KR: 31-Wieber, 17-Ciccati
Central Lakes Conference
St. Cloud Tech at Brainerd 7 p.m.
Little Falls at Sartell 7 p.m.
St. Cloud Apollo at Rocori 7 p.m.
Sauk Rapids at Alexandria 7 p.m.
Moorhead at Fergus Falls 7 p.m.
Willmar at Bemidji 7 p.m.
Section 8, Class 5A
Elk River at Maple Grove 7 p.m.
St. Cloud Tech at Brainerd 7 p.m.
Buffalo at Princeton 7 p.m.
Cambridge-Isanti at Big Lake 7 p.m.
Fergus Falls at Moorhead 7 p.m.
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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