Stratford football falls short in opener against Stanley-Boyd
Three turnovers, missed opportunities hurt Tigers
By Paul Lecker
STRATFORD — It was a game of missed opportunities for the Stratford football team in its 2017 season opener against Stanley-Boyd.
The inability to get off the field on defense in the first half and some missed scoring chances on offense by Stratford led to a 21-14 loss on Friday night at Tiger Stadium.
Stratford outgained Stanley-Boyd 336-274 and held the Orioles to just 46 yards rushing but could not overcome a slow start.
“We shot outselves in the foot,” Stratford coach Jason Tubbs said. “They won the game. The scoreboard says that. But when you score a touchdown and you get a block in the back, you get down to the 1-yard line and fumble after a penalty — we have some guys, and it showed tonight. Our youth kind of exposed us tonight, but I guarantee these guys will learn from that.
“We dominated the second half. We had chances, and unfortunately you have to learn from those mistakes and get better.”
On Stanley-Boyd’s first two drives of the game, it converted on four-straight third-down plays that led to two scores.
L.J. Schmeizer connected with Brandon Herrick for a 65-yard touchdown pass on the Orioles’ third offensive play. After a three-and-out for Stratford, Stanley-Boyd converted three third-down plays, the final one resulting in a 14-yard touchdown run by Matt Nesterick that put the Orioles up 14-0.
Stratford reached the Orioles’ 4 on its next drive and had a touchdown wiped out on an illegal block call before turning it over on downs with 2:04 to go in the opening quarter.
The Tigers managed to find pay dirt on their next drive as quarterback Matt Handrick hit Kade Ehirke on a screen pass that went 29 yards for a touchdown on fourth-and-9 to cut the deficit to 14-7 just 1:35 into the second quarter.
Stanley-Boyd responded with a 12-play, 74-yard scoring drive. The Orioles converted two more third-down plays and scored when Schmeizer hit Luke Spaeth for a 7-yard touchdown on a fake field goal to allow Stanley-Boyd to regain its two-touchdown lead.
From there the Stratford defense was stout, allowing just five first downs the rest of the game.
“Last year we didn’t hustle in this game (the 2016 opener at Stanley-Boyd), and all of a sudden it went from 21-7 to 35-7,” Tubbs said. “Here, we give up a fake field goal for a touchdown, two big plays for touchdowns, but other than that we kept coming back. We didn’t quit. We didn’t hang our heads. We kept fighting.”
Stratford fumbled on the Stanley-Boyd 7 with just more than a minute to go in the first half and threw an interception in the end zone after reaching the Orioles’ 9-yard line in the final two minutes of the third quarter to account for two more scoring opportunities that slipped by.
Stratford closed to within a touchdown when Handrick connected with Andrew Bargender for a 23-yard touchdown pass with 5:56 to go in the game, one play after Handrick threw to Vaughn Breit for a 19-yard pass on fourth-and-7.
After getting the ball back with 2:58 to go on its own 32, Stratford reached the Stanley-Boyd 34 after a 22-yard pass to Breit and a facemask penalty on the final play of regulation. Because of the defensive penalty, Stratford was given an untimed down, and — following a false start — Eli Drexler was forced out of the pocket and tackled on the 30 to finish the game.
Ehrike finished with 107 yards rushing on 16 carries and also caught five passes for 63 yards to lead the Stratford offense. Handrick was 12-for-22 for 156 yards passing and threw two interceptions.
Herrick caught five passes for 132 yards, and Schmeizer finished 15-for-19 passing for 228 yards for the Orioles.
Stratford plays another nonconference game next Friday, Aug. 25, at Antigo.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Orioles 21, Tigers 14
Stanley-Boyd 14 7 0 0 – 21
Stratford 0 7 0 7 – 14
SB – Brandon Herrick 65 pass from L.J. Schmeizer (Herrick kick), 9:46.
SB – Matt Nesterick 14 run (Herrick kick), 6:04.
ST – Kade Ehrike 29 pass from Matt Handrick (Reed Curtis kick), 10:25.
SB – Luke Spaeth 7 pass from Schmeizer (Herrick kick), 6:05.
ST – Andrew Bargender 23 pass from Handrick (Curtis kick), 5:56.
First downs: Stanley-Boyd 9; Stratford 11.
Rushing (att-yards): SB 42-46; ST 40-168.
Passing (comp-att-yards-int): SB 17-21-228-0; ST 12-22-168-2.
Total yards: SB 274; ST 336.
Penalties: SB 9-74; ST 7-43.
Punting (att-avg.): SB 5-44.0; ST 4-31.8.
Fumbles (total-lost): SB 2-1; ST 1-1.
Rushing: SB, Ben Turner 9-33, Matt Nesterick 7-24, Clayton Carlson 3-9, Brandon Herrick 2-5, Noah Gillingham 2-5, Willy Reynolds 2-3, Luke Spaeth 2-minus 3, L.J. Schmeizer 9-minus 33. ST, Kade Ehrike 16-107, Eli Drexler 2-28, Jordan Becker 5-25, Teddy Redman 3-13, Dilan Dehlinger 4-8, A.J. Schoenfuss 2-6, Matt Handrick 8-minus 19.
Passing: SB: Schmeizer 15-19-213-0, Herrick 2-2-0-0, Gillingham 0-1-0-0. ST, Handrick 12-22-156-2.
Receiving: SB: Herrick 5-132, Turner 5-44, Collin Meyer 5-23, Gillingham 1-7, Spaeth 1-7. ST, Ehrike 5-63, Andrew Bargender 3-41, Vaughn Breit 2-41, Drexler 1-11, Schoenfuss 1-0.
Interceptions (defense): SB, Herrick, Carlson.
Fumble recoveries (defense): SB, Brandon Wright. ST, Aiden Hoffman.
Records: Stanley-Boyd 1-0; Stratford 0-1.