Stratford football takes care of business with win over Colby in WIAA Division 5 Level 1 playoff
Tigers hold Colby to 132 yards in 20-point win
By Paul Lecker
STRATFORD — It certainly was not smooth for Stratford, but two scoring drives in the final four minutes of the first half proved to be enough for the Tigers.
Stratford scored on its final two drives of the second quarter and first one of third and went on to defeat Colby 27-7 in a WIAA Division 5 Level 1 football playoff game Friday night at Tiger Stadium.
The win is the Tigers’ ninth in a row and propels them into a Level 2 matchup at Durand (9-1) Oct. 28. Durand beat St. Croix Falls 35-0 in a Level 1 game Friday.
Stratford racked up 391 yards of offense while stuffing Colby on the other end, holding the Hornets to just 132 yards and six first downs.
A 62-yard pass in the final three minutes of the game accounted for nearly half of Colby’s offensive output.
Stratford’s defense has not allowed a point in its last five games. Colby’s only score came on a fumble return for a touchdown by Aaron Morrow in the third quarter.
Stratford had 11 penalties and two turnovers but forced three fumbles and was able to advance, which is the ultimate goal.
“As coaches, it’s always good (to) win,” Stratford coach Jason Tubbs. “Overall, we’re proud of the guys. The only touchdown we gave up was our own problem, and it was controversial whether or not it was a backward pass or not. You have to give our guys credit. It was one of our best (offensive) games we’ve had all year. A win’s a win, and all that matters is being 1-0 right now.”
Stratford had three drives in the first half stall inside the 30 as it turned the ball over on downs.
The Tigers finally hit pay dirt late in the second quarter after Tanner Weinfurtner recovered a Colby fumble at the Hornets’ 18-yard line. Five plays later, Cole Hoffman ran in from the 4 to give Stratford a 6-0 lead with 1:49 to go in the half.
After a three-and-out, and by using two timeouts to save some time, Stratford took over at its own 45 and turned to sophomore quarterback Eli Drexler.
Drexler hit pass plays of 28 yards to David Marquardt and 20 yards to Hoffman to bring the Tigers inside the 10. On third down, Drexler connected with Marquardt in the back of the end zone for a touchdown with 19 seconds to go. The two combined again for a two-point conversion to put Stratford 14-0 at the half.
“You have to give Eli Drexler credit. He had a coming out party tonight throwing the ball and running the ball,” Tubbs said. “We let them throw, have fun, and then came out in the second half and led an 80-yard drive for a touchdown. We’re proud of him.”
Stratford took the momentum into the second half and drove 82 yards in just four plays. Kamren Bornbach had a 22-yard run on the first play, Drexler hit Andrew Bargender for a 23-yard pass, Hoffman ran for 25 yards, and Kade Ehrike capped the drive with a 12-yard touchdown run to push the score to 21-0.
After Morrow returned a botched lateral pass that was called a backwards throw 8 yards for Colby’s lone touchdown, Drexler finished off the victory with a spectacular run.
Drexler took a drop step and then bolted up the middle, sliding through a number of Colby defenders and running 56 yards for a score midway through the fourth quarter to put Stratford on top 27-7 and cap the victory.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Tigers 27, Hornets 7
Colby 0 0 7 0 – 7
Stratford 0 14 7 6 – 27
S – Cole Hoffmann 4 run (kick missed), 1:49.
S – David Marquardt 5 pass from Eli Drexler (Marquardt pass from Drexler), 0:19.
S – Kade Ehrike 12 run (Reed Curtis kick), 11:07.
C – Aaron Morrow 8 fumble return (Mathew Karl kick), 5:01.
S – Drexler 56 run (kick missed), 7:17.
First downs: Colby 6; Stratford 14.
Rushing (att-yards): Colby 24-40; Stratford 48-270.
Passing (comp-att-yards-int): Colby 6-17-92-0; Stratford 8-16-121-1.
Penalties (no.-yards): Colby 2-10; Stratford 11-67.
Fumbles (total-yards): Colby 3-3; Stratford 1-1.
Punting (no.-avg.): Colby 8-36.0; Stratford 2-36.0.
Rushing: C, Dylan Leffel 5-50, Kane Strassburger 11-15, Mathew Karl 1-14, Trevor Stuttgen 7-minus 39. S, Kade Ehrike 14-77, Cole Hoffmann 15-67, Eli Drexler 4-60, Kamren Bornbach 9-48, Dilan Dehlinger 1-17, Jordan Becker 1-5, Derek Marten 1-0, Mark Handrick 1-minus 1, Andrew Schoenfuss 2-minus 3.
Passing: C, Stuttgen 5-14-30-0, Christain Raasch 1-2-62-0, Karl 0-1-0-0. S, Drexler 8-16-121-1.
Receiving: C, Karl 2-66, Aaron Morrow 2-14, Leffel 2-12. S, David Marquardt 2-33, Hoffmann 2-19, Bornbach 1-33, Andrew Bargender 1-23, Becker 1-12, Schoenfuss 1-2.
Fumble recoveries (defense): C, Morrow. S, Tanner Weinfurtner, Dakota Singer.
Interceptions (defense): C, Karl.
Punting: C, Morrow 8-36.0. S, Hoffmann 2-36.0.
Records: Colby 4-6; Stratford 9-1.