Coach Jerry Witt starts his 29th season at the helm of the Morris Area Tiger football team with a mixture of new and returning faces.
A new assistant on the coaching staff is Dylan Viss as freshman coach, while some other adjustments were also made. Tom Fangmeier will coach at the junior high level, along with Jim Greenwaldt and Kevin Pope. The junior varsity coaches are Alex Lebrija and Tim Cannon. Lyle Rambow returns as the offensive coach. Joel Beyer returns as a volunteer coach.
Despite the staff changes, the Tigers will benefit from stability with the return of 11 starters.
There are 16 seniors on the 2010 roster. Of those, 13 had substantial playing time last season.
The senior roster includes captains Ryan Beyer, Eric Riley, Tyler Hansen, and Cody Hickman.
"We have experience on both sides of the football," said Witt.
Beyer will lead the offense as quarterback again this season.
"When you've got your quarterback returning, that's a huge plus," Witt said.
Beyer will be looking to his receiving core of seniors, Ethan Bruer, Mitch Kill, Cody Cannon, and Brady Valnes.
Three senior offensive linemen return with Travis Rinkenberger, Micah Fehr, and Cole Riley.
New additions to the O-line are seniors Conor Arnold and Alex McIntosh. Arnold is new to the sport this season and McIntosh sat out with an injury in 2009.
The running game will feature Hansen and Eric Riley, along with Bruer and Hickman.
Witt sees the team's speed as an asset.
"We're going to be able to run pretty well," he said.
Two of last season's linebackers also return. They are Eric Riley and Hickman.
Senior Justin Stallman will work on both the offensive and defensive lines.
Senior Tristan Michealson is a new defensive back.
On special teams, Jordan Fletcher will be kicking the extra points and kick offs. Hansen is the punter, and Cole Riley the long snapper.
The Tigers take on BOLD in the home opener Friday.
Witt believes the conference will be balanced this season, with BOLD being a favorite.
Witt predicts that the Tigers will be in the mix, as long as they stay healthy.