Stafford High School boys’ basketball season starts strong

By Kathryn Elliott - ReminderNews
Stafford - posted Thu., Dec. 29, 2011
Coach Mike Morhart teaches his players the 'Bulldog Way' on and off the court. Photos by Kathryn Elliott.
Coach Mike Morhart teaches his players the 'Bulldog Way' on and off the court. Photos by Kathryn Elliott.

Basketball is back in full swing at Stafford High School, and coach Mike Morhardt once again leads the Bulldogs varsity squad.

Back for his third season, Morhardt began the year with a three-tier short-term approach: improve each day and compete at a high level in practice, win the first game against Suffield, and uphold the “Bulldog Way” each day.

Defined by Morhardt, the Bulldog Way encourages players to implement characteristics of humility, passion, unity, service and thankfulness. “This is our motto,” the coach said, “and a philosophy that we have been preaching to our kids for some time now.”

Led by seniors David DeLeon, Tim Artruc, Brent Kalette, Kyle Pallanck and Zach Tillotson, the Bulldogs are off to a 2-2 start, taking early wins over rival Suffield (32-28) and Cheney Tech (52-42). “We are an athletic team with quick, strong players who play hard and play well together,” Morhardt said. “We are physically and mentally tough. I believe we will be a much closer team emotionally than we have been the last two seasons.”

With losses against Stamford Academy and division power house Avon, the team continues to improve on early weaknesses. “We lack some varsity game experience in key positions,” the coach said. “We will need to gain that quickly in order to compete with the best teams in our league. We also have to find or develop a few secondary scoring options if we are to achieve all of our season goals.”

Assisted by Tony Paolini and Mark Price, Morhardt has 11 varsity and 12 junior varsity players. “David DeLeon (C) (Senior, Guard/Forward), Zach Rollins (C) (Junior, Guard/Forward) and Tommy Jacobsen (Junior, Forward) have established themselves as clear leaders in our basketball program,” the coach said. “They are willing to do whatever is necessary to help us try to be a great basketball team and to represent Stafford High School in the best way possible on and off the basketball court. They are leaders in both their words and deeds. They set an example of tremendous work ethic, competitiveness, humility, passion and responsibility.”

A full schedule can be found at

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