Amherst and Stratford Week 4 Matchup: All Eyes on #2 vs #3

Stratford (OnFocus) – #2 vs. #3. A matchup of CWC-Large teams facing off for the first time as conference opponents.

All eyes in Wisconsin are on this one.

The move by Stratford from the Marawood to the CWC-Large has made the action each week feel like the playoffs, according to the Tigers’ Head Coach, Jason Tubbs.

“Overall, the conference move has felt like a playoff run each week.  I’m sure conferences across the state feel the same with quality programs week in and week out,” Tubbs shared.  “As for the past two weeks, our players are excited because they know they get to see how we measure up against ranked teams.”

Amherst and Stratford: OnFocus By the Numbers

For Amherst, playing against top opponents during the regular season and playoffs is nothing new. The fact that the Falcons now get Stratford in conference play each year doesn’t faze Amherst.
“It doesn’t matter who we are playing, we prepare the same way. I believe when you start preparing kids differently, the program will struggle with consistency,” said Amherst Head Coach Mark Lusic. “The kids know we are playing Stratford. I don’t need to say anything. Friday nights is the teams reward for all the hours they put in.”
The Falcons and Tigers are each 3-0, with Amherst ranked #2 and Stratford ranked #3. Each team is flying high.
The Falcons have been hot on offense, for sure.
“We have been scoring points when we have had an opportunity. You’re not always going to score on every drive, but there are certain drives that give you a better opportunity than others. Those are the ones you have to score on. Also when we have been in the red zone, we have been coming away with points,” Lusic shared. “Defensively, we have not allowed the big play. Yes we have given up some, but they have been limited. Big plays will kill any team.”
Despite having most of last year’s starters graduate, the Tigers have reloaded, and are playing with a relaxed focus.
“The key is to enjoy every night we are practicing or playing, a lot of teams are not playing this fall and games are being cancelled each week.  The main key this year is to have fun!  Playing for the love of the game and your friends on the team is so important, ” Tubbs explained.
The keys to the game?
Tubbs said that taking on a team like Amherst, the keys have always been the same.
“The keys of the game are usually the same every time you play Amherst.  Try to have ball security and field position and limit big plays.  They are very talented and athletic.  Hopefully we can keep the ball on O and keep their O on the sidelines,” Tubbs shared.
Lusic said the keys for Amherst include limiting the big play and to be fundamentally sound.
“Defensively, we need to make Stratford earn every yard. Don’t give up the big play. If they are going to score, make them go on a 15 play drive. Offensively, be fundamentally sound every where. Know what the defense is try to do to us and execute our offense. Need to score when opportunity arises,” Lusic said.
David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]