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Stratford’s Max Vanderhoof drops back to pass during the Tigers’ home game against Amherst on Friday. Amherst won, 28-13. (Photo by Steve Pilz/For Zaleski Sports)

By Steve Pilz For Zaleski Sports

STRATFORD – A battle of unbeatens and an inside track on the Central Wisconsin Conference Large Division title were on the line at Tiger Stadium in Stratford on Friday night.

Amherst was ranked second in Division 5 and Stratford was ranked third heading into the contest.

Amherst’s Tristan Schlevan proved too much for the Tigers as the Falcons laid claim to sole possession of first place in the conference with a 28-13 win.

Schlevan came into the game as the leading passer and leading rusher in the conference. He didn’t disappoint, unless you were the Tigers.

The 6-foot, 175-pound senior quarterback opened the scoring with a 21-yard jaunt at the 4:06 mark of the first quarter. He bulled in from the one about 11 minutes later to give the Falcons a two-touchdown lead.

Stratford showed what it was made of, going 65 yards in nine plays with Beau Gross hitting paydirt on a six-yard pass from Max Vanderhoof with 33 seconds in the half. The key play in the drive was a 48-yard pass from Vanderhoof to Devin Ulrich, and the Tigers trailed just 14-7 at the half.

But Schlevan proved to be too much.

He hit Jake Hoffman with a 23-yard scoring strike to start the third quarter. He threw just five times, but completed three of them for 65 yards. He finished with 102 yards on the ground in 24 attempts and caught a 17-yard pass on a flea-flicker halfway through the third quarter for good measure.

His touchdown to Hoffman put the Falcons up by 14 and Bryan Groshek provided the dagger at the 6:11 mark of the fourth quarter with a 67-yard bolt up the middle for another Falcons’ touchdown.

The Tigers proved their mettle once again by mounting a six-play, 55-yard drive, the last 19 coming on a pass from Vanderhoof to Rafie Smart. Vanderhoof went 3-for-4 for 45 yards on the drive, but it was too little, too late.

Stratford coach Jason Tubbs still liked what he saw from his team.

“Tonight, they were a little better than us,” began Tubbs. “I thought we did some very good things, but we couldn’t finish a couple drives. Defensively, we gave up a couple big plays but overall I thought our guys played really well. It’s a game of inches, so to speak, but I thought our guys came out and played hard. They were relaxed. You never know. We may get a chance to play them again and I think we’ll be better against them. I was proud of our guys. They play well as a team.”

Amherst improves to 4-0 overall and in the Central Wisconsin Conference Large, while Stratford drops to 3-1.

Stratford returns to action next Friday, Oct. 23, at Manawa. Amherst will host Shiocton.

Falcons 28, Tigers 13 Amherst 7 7 7 7 – 28 Stratford 0 7 0 6 – 13 First Quarter A – Tristan Schelvan 21 run (Josh Bentley kick), 4:06. Second Quarter A – Schelvan 1 run (Bentley kick), 5:10. S – Beau Gross 6 pass from Max Vanderhoof (Colten Schillinger kick), 0:33. Third Quarter A – Jake Hoffman 23 pass from Schlevan (Bentley kick), 9:37. Fourth Quarter A – Bryan Groshek 67 run (Bentley kick), 6:11. S – Rafie Smart 19 pass from Vanderhoof (run failed), 4:01. Team Statistics First downs: Amherst 14; Stratford 12. Rushing (att.-yards): A 34-205; S 35-102. Passing (comp.-att.-yards-int): A 4-6-82-0; S 11-17-142-0. Total yards: A 287; S 248. Fumbles (total-lost): A 1-0; S- 0-0 Penalties: A 4-51; S 6-28. Individual Statistics Rushing: A, Schlevan 24-102, Groshek 7-96. S, Gross 19-54, Schillinger 11-37, Vanderhoof 2-9. Passing: A, Schlevan 3-5-65-0. S, Vanderhoof 11-17-146-0. Receiving: A, Carmelo Aleman 1-27, Hoffman 1-23, Schlevan 1-17, Groshek 1-15. S, Devin Ulrich 3-74, Gross 3-8, Smart 2-36, Elijah Lucio 2-14. Records: Amherst 4-0 overall and CWC Large; Stratford 3-1 overall and CWC Large.

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