Speed and athleticism at the skilled positions will be the strong suit of the 2017 Stewartville football team (6-2 in the Southeast Football Alliance (SFA) Red District, 6-3 overall) and with 11 letterwinners, including nine defenders returning with varsity playing time under their belts, they will have some experience to rely on. Returning defensive starters include Tiger Defensive Player of the Year linebacker, James Krukow (70 tackles, 42 solos, 2 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 1 interception); linebacker Kaleb Hamlin (21 tackles, 15 solos, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery); junior linebacker Zac Trenary (49 tackles, 22 solos, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 interceptions); junior cornerback Dylan Flink (22 tackles, 13 solos, 1 sack, 8 PBU= passes broken up); and junior linebacker Nathan Johnson (33 tackles, 16 solos, 7 PBU). Expect free safety Reece Eickhoff to make an impact playing his first season as a Tiger. On offense, the Tigers return only four starters and will look to a lot of new faces to overcome the lack of experience on the offensive line, as well as to put points on the board. Returning offensive starters include senior halfback Kaleb Hamlin (166 carries for 1,125 yards, 7 TDs); senior fullback James Krukow (27 carries for 155 yards, 1 TD); senior lineman Shad Curtis; and junior lineman Parker Grotjohn. Other key offensive impact players include junior wideout Hunter Voigt, senior wideout Reece Eickhoff, and senior quarterback Isaac Bussan. "If we can put up some points, we'll be a tough team to beat," said Tiger coach Aaron Meyer. Preseason title favorites in the SFA Red will be Rochester Lourdes, Stewartville, Byron and Kasson-Mantorville.