Stratford runs unbeaten, shutout streak to eight
By Hub City Times staff
EDGAR – The Stratford Tigers are on the verge of going undefeated in the regular season, while not giving up a single point. The Tigers took another step in that direction on Oct. 11, with a 6-0 win over the Edgar Wildcats. Stratford has outscored its opponents 420-0 so far this season.
“You’re almost speechless with a game like this,” Stratford Head Coach Jason Tubbs said after the win at Edgar High School. “You’re hoarse. You’re tired. You’re stressed. You have a headache. Luckily, it came out in our favor. And it sets up our whole playoff run. If you’re undefeated and conference champion you got a good chance to get a No. 1 seed.”
The Tigers knocked off the Wildcats for the first time in three years, while locking up their first Marawood Conference championship since 2016, and just their second outright title since 2007.
Both teams started slow. The Wildcats went three-and-out on their first two possessions. After an Edgar penalty and a first down, Stratford went three-and-out the first time the Tigers had the ball. They fumbled on the second play of their second possession. But the Wildcats couldn’t capitalize, again going three-and-out.
Stratford then went on a long, time-consuming drive, which stalled after 18 plays. But after an 18-yard scramble by quarterback Konnor Wolf, the Wildcats again put up another three-and-out. The Tigers got the ball back at their own 38-yard line, but the drive ended after seven plays when time expired on the first half of play.
The Tigers got the ball to start the third quarter, but another long drive stalled after 10 plays. The Stratford punt landed at the Edgar one-yard line, and the Wildcats ran three plays for four yards before punting. The Tigers took over at their own 42-yard line, and finally put together the game’s first, and only, scoring drive. Stratford went on a 12-play, 58-yard drive, and scored on a one-yard touchdown run by Beau Gross with 8:52 left in the game.
Edgar got the ball back at their own 21-yard line. The result was the same – another three-and-out after gaining just five yards. Stratford got the ball back at their own 41-yard line, but ran six plays before punting, or trying to; the punt was blocked by Edgar senior Carson Lemmer, and the Wildcats recovered at the Stratford 38-yard line with 2:43 left in regulation.
The Wildcats lost a yard on first down, then Wolf threw an incomplete pass on second down. On third-and-11, Wolf hit tight end Austin Miller for a 10-yard pass, bringing up fourth-and-one. The Wildcats went for the first down instead of punting, and Wolf’s low pass over the middle to Miller fell incomplete at the Tiger 21-yard line, and Edgar turned the ball over on downs.
The Tigers went three-and-out, and punted the ball back to Edgar with :18 seconds left. Instead of punting the ball out of bounds, the Tigers kicked to Kaleb Hafferman, who returned the punt to the Stratford 42-yard line. A Stratford penalty at the end of the return tacked on another 15 yards, giving the Wildcats the ball at the Tiger 27-yard line with :08 on the clock.
A Konnor Wolf pass into the end zone fell incomplete with :00.8 left on the clock, giving the Wildcats time for one more “hail mary” pass into the end zone. But the snap went over Wolf’s head, and he was sacked back at the Tiger 48-yard line, ending the game.
“We just tried to grind it out on offense,” Tubbs added. “Give Beau Gross a lot of credit. He was sick all week with a sinus infection. He ran his heart out tonight, with Matt Handrick and Justin Schoenherr and Devin Dennee blocking great out of the backfield. We just didn’t have that big explosive play that we’ve had all year, and this is the type of team we knew we wouldn’t get those against, so we just had to grind it out against them.”
Stratford finished atop the Marawood Conference with a 5-0 record, wrapping up the championship in their final year in the conference. The Tigers will play in the CWC-Large starting next season. During their 55-year Marawood Conference membership, the Tigers won the title outright 12 times, and shared the championship 10 times, including four times with Edgar.
The Tigers wrap up their regular season with a non-conference game with South Beloit Oct. 18 at Tiger Stadium in Stratford.