Tigers tame top seed, break state record
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – The Stratford Tigers remained unbeaten in round three of the Division 5 high school football playoffs, with a convincing and dominating 35-0 win over No. 1 seed Maple Northwestern at Maple on Nov. 8.
The Tigers improved to 12-0 on the season, and still have not given up a single point through a dozen games, which is a state record. Four teams have shut out 11 opponents in state history. Shiocton was the last to do so in 2013. Edgar did it in 2009, Sheboygan Falls in 2000, and Cashton in 1981.
Stratford took the opening kickoff 80 yards on 15 plays, and scored on a three-yard touchdown run by Beau Gross, after the Tigers had used up over seven minutes of the first quarter. Maple Northwestern came right back and moved the ball inside the Tiger 15-yard line, but a pass interception by Teddy Redman at the goal line stopped that drive. Stratford got the ball back at their own five-yard line and drove down inside the Maple 20-yard line, but lost the ball on a fumble. But the Tiger defense took over, and Northwestern only had one first down the rest of the night.
“The coordinators did a nice job all week game-planning their (Northwestern’s) offense.” Stratford Head Coach Jason Tubbs said after the win. “We knew it was a solid offense all year. Give Marshall Lehman credit for getting another shutout. They had a nice drive early, but our kids just kept responding and got in the throwing lanes and Teddy Redman makes a nice play. And offensively, once we started getting some momentum going and imposing our will on them a little bit, you could tell we were grinding them out. Once we knew we could stop their run and make them pass, I knew our guys would figure out their routes.”
The Tigers outgained Northwestern 403-100. Stratford quarterback Max Schwabe was 5-for-6 for 71 yards. Vaughn Breit caught two passes for 42 yards. Matt Handrick rushed for 75 yards, and Gross had 61 rushing yards and four touchdowns – three on the ground and one through the air. Redman rushed for 54 yards as well. Gross had TD runs of three, 19 and eight yards, and caught a 21-yard TD pass from Schwabe as well. Devin Denee added another Stratford score in the fourth quarter.
Stratford maintained just a 13-0 halftime lead, but that was due mainly to the length of the Stratford drives. Northwestern ran just seven plays on their first possession of the game, three on their second, five more on their third and three on the fourth – all before the halftime break. The 100 yards of offense given up by Stratford was the most by any opponent this season. But the Tigers still have not given up any points, and have now outscored teams 630-0 this season.
The Tigers face Amherst in a Division 5 state semifinal contest at 7 p.m. on Nov. 15, at Stiehm Stadium in Schofield.