HS Football Preview: Stewartville stills sees itself as underdogs despite positives in 2021

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(ABC 6 News) — After an outstanding debut in Class AAAA football a year ago for the Stewartville tigers, they’re still viewing themselves as up-and-comers rather than favorites. And despite how well they played last season, they’re not taking anyone on this schedule lightly.

Tigers Football’s success in Class AAAA came as a welcome surprise to their fans, Stewartville running through most of the competition before a 1-point playoff loss to Byron.

"New across the board for us, so we didn’t have a whole lot of expectations going into last year other than just to compete in every game," Tigers head coach Garrett Muller mused. "Very proud of the group we had, they did a great job of that, really set the standard for this year’s team."

But just because it’s a new set of teams they’re now playing doesn’t mean the Tigers are unfamiliar with the opposition.

"Well, we played these teams before and most teams tick to their same offense," Tigers offensive/defensive lineman Peyton Byrne said. "I mean, it was hard jumping from AAA to AAAA, but same teams, so we kind of figured out their offense and just stick to it and just trust the process."

Stewartville’s specialty in 2021 was their ability to get ahead quickly, something they believe can be repeated with new quarterback Ayden Helder and a mostly unchanged defense.

"I don’t think it’s a matter of getting better at 3rd down and stuff like that or a matter of reading defense or offenses better," Tigers tight end/linebacker Colton Parker concluded. "I think it’s just a matter of we’re getting better at starting games faster than we did last year."

Stewartville consists of student-athletes that are poised to grow as the season continues, an example of the staff’s mantra of "Water it." All hammering home the message that the Tigers plan to be as strong a football team as anyone else.

"We talk a lot about guys pouring themselves into – building themselves into being the most successful football players they can be," Coach Muller pointed out. "But everyone has a role in our program and we talk about the value and the significance of those roles big or small, but everyone plays a part in our success. "

Stewartville opens up its season against Mankato East on the road on September 2. The Tigers won the previous matchup, 47-20.