MARATHON — Sam Buchberger celebrated a Marawood Conference football championship a few weeks ago, more than three decades after his father, Steve, did so as well as a member of the Raiders program.
Buchberger, a senior offensive lineman/linebacker, is part of a Raiders team that heads into a WIAA Division 2 Level 2 playoff game with Edgar Friday, just two weeks after wrapping up an outright conference title. It was the first outright conference title since 1981, a team in which Steve was the center for.
“It was pretty special,” Buchberger said. “After the (last regular-season) game, (the players) took a picture with the parents that had won it the last time and there was like four (fathers who played).”
Buchberger was recently named all-Marawood Conference first team on both offense and defense for the 9-1 Raiders. He also was selected as the conference’s lineman of the year.
“Talent-wise he has been all-conference since his sophomore year,” Marathon coach Todd Stoffel said. “He sets the bar high for himself expectation-wise, the way he works and the way he approaches every day in practice. The biggest thing we wanted this year was leadership, not just out of him but all of our seniors. But we expected him to be one of (the leaders). He has been there before and is one of the guys that his teammates look up to. We just wanted him to be more of that visible vocal leader this year and he has done a great job of doing that.”
Let the hype begin — a rematch with Edgar (Friday), and this time you get them at home: These are the type of games that we live for. We want to prove that it wasn’t a fluke that we beat them last time. We want to go out there and do it again.
Talk about that win. It’s had been a long time since this program had beat Edgar. What did that mean to accomplish that? It was a pretty big win because it kind of legitimized our season and told us that we definitely can make a deep run in the playoffs.
Explain what thet Edgar-Marathon rivalry is and what the games are like? It’s intense and the games can be pretty chippy. There is a lot of talking going on (during the game). We know they are coming out to hit and we have to go and hit them, too
Big weekend for your family with the game Friday and your sister (Anna) running at state (cross country) Saturday. On that note, do you ever really run with her much? No. I’ve never really ran with her. She is a little fast for me and likes to go too far.
How special was it to win the Marawood title outright in your senior season? It was pretty special. It was one of our goals since the beginning of the summer when we started lifting. It is something that we were working for all year
One of the things that has been a key for Marathon this year is defense. Talk about the team speed on that side of the ball: Our speed has really stopped a lot of big plays.and everyone just flies to the ball.
The one loss Marathon had this fall was a 31-6 setback to Regis (in Week 4). What went wrong in that game? It was a game that kind of got away from us.I think it was closer than what the score said, but our defense just wasn’t our defense.
A tough game to lose, but do you think it might have helped you overall? It kind of sucked at the time, but it helped us realize that we can’t go in (to a game) just thinking we are. We came back fired up (from the loss) and went out and beat Edgar a few weeks later.
Talk about being an all-Marawood Conference selection on both sides of the ball? It’s special. I moved to linebacker this year (from defensive end) and that’s a tougher spot to get all-conference first team I think. Just the fact that I got that made me happy.
Was it a difficult move to linebacker, or was it something you acclimated to early? The 7-on-7 this summer helped me a lot with pass reading and stuff. Then the running part I kind of had already. I’ve been getting better (overall) since the year started. I have watched film from games at the start of the year, and I am a lot better now then I was compared to back then.
Sports: Football and track
Family: Father, Steve; mother, Ellen; sisters Abby, Anna and Ava.
Favorite subject: Business
Favorite movies: “Harry Potter”
Favorite athlete: Clay Matthews
Favorite TV show: “The Office”
Best words of advice. Probably what J.J. Watt said, “Dream Big. Work Hard.”
Favorite sports memory: Winning the Marawood Conference this year.