The Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta varsity football team finished 2012 with an unblemished regular season and a 9-1 overall record. The Tigers were named co-champions of the West Central Conference, along with BOLD. The Warriors also finished undefeated, as the two teams never met this season.
The Tigers' season ended one game short of the state tournament with a loss to New London-Spicer in the Section 6AAA title game for a runner-up trophy.
The Tigers had experience on their side with 18 seniors.
"They cut their teeth last year as juniors," said coach Jerry Witt of the seniors. "We needed those guys because our senior numbers were short last season.
"They got good experience and that helped develop them."
Witt credits their success to being year-round athletes that worked hard at getting better in the weight room.
Many of the seniors are three-sport athletes and Witt believes that is a huge advantage. They are very competitive and that's something he can't coach.
Witt said this year's team and coaches were a lot of fun to work with.
Witt shares the credit for a successful season with his assistant coaches: Lyle Rambow on offense, Neal Hofland and Joel Beyer on defense, Tim Cannon on special teams, and freshmen coaches Dylan Viss and Kevin Pope.
"It's a cohesive group that got along pretty well."
The Tigers not only excelled on the field, but also in the classroom. The Minnesota Football Coaches Association named the Tigers a Gold academic team. The Gold teams are those with a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. The Tigers' GPA was a 3.496.
Jordan Staples was recently selected to be on the Minnesota Vikings All-State Football Team sponsored by the Minnesota Army National Guard. He will be recognized at the Metrodome during halftime of the Dec. 9 game against the Chicago Bears.
Tom Holland and Jacob Torgerson also earned MFCA Academic All-State honors in Class AAA.
Several Tigers received other awards from the section and conference.
Several Tigers were recognized by the West Central Conference. Receiving Honorable Mentions were Connor Metzger and Nic Vipond and being named All-Conference were Jacob Torgerson, John Tiernan, Tom Holland, Joel Harrison, Jordan Staples, and Chandler Erickson. Torgerson was also named a Performer of the Week.
The Tigers took home three of five individual honors presented by the West Central Conference. Joel Harrison was named the Outstanding Lineman, Chandler Erickson was the Outstanding Receiver, and Jordan Staples was named the West Central Conference Most Valuable Player.
Four Tigers were named to the Section 6AAA All-Tournament team. They are Logan Manska, Tanner Picht, Nic Vipond, and Jordan Staples.
Tigers Jacob Torgerson and Tom Holland were named to the All-State Academic AAA Team.
This season's team awards were presented to Connor Metzger - Co-Outstanding Defensive Player, Jordan Staples - Co-Outstanding Defensive Player and Team Most Valuable Player, Joel Harrison - Co-Outstanding Lineman, John Tiernan - Co-Outstanding Lineman, and Tom Holland - Outstanding Offensive Player.