Stratford football edges Edgar in Marawood battle
Tigers hold off Wildcats in final minute
By Steve Pilz
EDGAR — Rivalry, grudge match, backyard brawl: All those descriptions probably fit, and all were on display Friday night in Edgar when Stratford came calling in what has become a game of which plenty of the state is aware.
The teams did not disappoint, battling until the next-to-last snap of the game with Stratford on the winning side of a 7-6 decision in the Marawood Conference showdown at Edgar High School.
Stratford came into the game ranked ninth in Division 5 with just one loss, a nonconference game to powerful Stanley-Boyd. The Wildcats, ranked second in Division 7, had outscored opponents 147-6 on their way to 3-0.
“We just found a way to win somehow,” Stratford coach Jason Tubbs said. “You got to give our guys credit. Early in the year we let some plays go. Now, it’s like, ‘No, we’re not going to let that happen.’ That’s what happened tonight.”
Stratford coughed up a fumble on the fifth play of the game on its own side of the field, and Edgar quickly capitalized on the miscue four plays later when sophomore quarterback Karson Butt hit Shawn Bunkelman with a 19-yard scoring strike. The two-point conversion pass failed, and the Wildcats led 6-0.
In the second quarter, after stopping Edgar on fourth-and-2 at their own 32, the Tigers took over. Stratford lost eight yards on the first play before finally getting something to work against the stingy Edgar defense.
A quick fake and a toss were all that were needed as Cole Hoffman got his hands on the ball and raced around the right end for a 74-yard touchdown run. Kam Bornbach kicked the extra point and the Tigers led 7-6.
“Year in and year out, these two teams have a chance at state,” Tubbs said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they go down there in D7, and I certainly wouldn’t want to play us in the playoffs either.”
Playing with the slim lead, the Tigers seemed to turn their defense up a notch while smartly managing the game offensively in the second half.
Although the Wildcats were in catch-up mode for the whole half, Stratford held them to just 39 yards in the final two quarters. Zeroing in on running back Alec Hafferman, the Tigers defenders seemed to be all over the field.
The Tigers took the ball deep into Edgar territory midway through the fourth quarter twice, and while they did not come away with points, they ground the Wildcats down.
The Tigers had a chance to run out the clock late in the game but fumbled with 38 seconds left at their own 39.
And just when it looked like Edgar may have a trick up its sleeve, the Tigers rose to the occasion yet again, pushing Edgar back and forcing a desperation play where the Wildcats turned the ball over on downs.
“I can’t say enough about some of the plays made out there tonight,” Tubbs said. ”Cole (Hoffman) did a great job of punting. He flipped the field for us three times, made a great run for a TD, and finished the game off with a big interception. There’s a lot of work to do yet, but it’s a great group.”
Stratford (3-1, 3-0 Marawood Conference) plays at Chequmaegon next Friday.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Tigers 7, Wildcats 6
Stratford 0 7 0 0 – 7
Edgar 6 0 0 0 – 6
E – Shawn Bunkelman 20 pass from Karson Butt (pass failed), 8:08.
S – Cole Hoffman 74 run (Kam Bornbach kick), 6:38.
First downs: Stratford 6; Edgar 9.
Rushing (att-yards): Stratford 40-126; Edgar 33-118.
Passing (comp-att-yards- int): Stratford 2-5-0-49; Edgar 7-15-2-41.
Punting (no.-avg): Stratford 4-40.9; Edgar 3-32.0.
Penalties (no.-yards): Stratford 3-30; Edgar 6-40.
Fumbles (total-lost): Stratford 2-2; Edgar 0-0.
Rushing: S, Cole Hoffman 11-84, Kam Bornbach 20-48, Kade Ehrike 3-11, Eli Drexler 6-minus 17. E, Alec Hafferman 20-93, Will Raatz 5-16, Tyler Matysik 4-10, Karson Butt 2-1.
Passing: S, Drexler 2-5-0-49. E, Butt 5-12-2-33, Tyler Engel 2-3-0-8.
Receiving: S, Bornbach 1-33, Hoffman 1-16. E, Bunkelman 3-20, Hafferman 3-10, Kade Schraufnagel 1-9.
Fumble recoveries (defense): E, Hafferman.
Interceptions (defense): S, Dilan Dehlinger, Hoffman.
Records: Stratford 3-1, 3-0 Marawood Conference; Edgar 3-1 overall and Marawood Conference.