By Steve Pilz For Zaleski Sports
EDGAR – In what was the final Marawood Conference game for these perennial powerhouses as they both move to different football conferences, the Stratford Tigers downed the Edgar Wildcats 6-0 at Edgar High School on Friday night in a battle of undefeated squads.
If the score, the packed crowd, and the atmosphere were typical, a look inside the numbers were anything but normal.
True, both teams came in undefeated and had gawdy numbers on both sides of the ball. Stratford had scored 414 points and not given up any. Edgar had scored 289 and given up just 20. The Tigers rank first in the Division 5 polling and the Wildcats No. 3 in D7.
And while this game may have come down to the final series of downs, it was as statistically one-sided as a game can get.
Consider this. Stratford racked up a season low 258 total yards. Edgar had 27. First downs were 17-1 in favor of the Tigers.
And yet, to the Wildcats’ credit, they battled until the final play. With a second-and-10 play at the Tigers 27, Edgar quarterback Konnor Wolf couldn’t corral an errant snap from center and was sacked by Stratford’s Ben Barten for a 21-yard loss to clinch win for the Tigers.
Stratford earns the Marawood Conference title with the win, its first since 2016. It certainly didn’t come easy.
“These guys worked their tails off,” said Stratford coach Jason Tubbs. “We knew how good, strong and physical and fast they play. Our guys just keep battling and find ways to get into the end zone.
“Both defenses are obviously legit. For us to shut them out and for them to hold us to one TD and one yard twice, it’s hats off to (Edgar) Coach (Jerry) Sinz and his team. It’s my son’s birthday today so it’s a nice birthday gift for us.”
Maybe the most telling statistic of all was the fact that Stratford ran 67 offensive plays and the Wildcats only 29.
Stratford went on a 19-play drive in the second quarter that yielded nothing. Their seven-play drive ended the first half with nothing.
The Tigers opened the third quarter with an 11-play drive that turned up empty before cashing in on a 12-play drive that culminated with Beau Gross crashing in from the 1 at the 8:52 mark of the fourth quarter.
When Edgar blocked a punt at the 2:50 mark, it was a classic Stratford-Edgar game down to the wire, except, either Edgar lacked their normal firepower or that Stratford defense is just too darn good.
“It was good to see the team battle back from adversity,” Stratford senior running back Matt Handrick said. “Being able to battle back through fumbles and some mistakes was big. We worked as a team and got a good win. This is big. It feels good. I think we have a really special team.”
The Wildcats could do nothing with the blocked punt, but they still had two timeouts which they used to force another Tigers’ punt. This one wasn’t blocked but it did result in a personal foul penalty that moved it to the Stratford 27. Wolf’s first attempt was incomplete and his second aborted by Barton’s sack as the Tigers held on.
“It’s the first time our guys have played four quarters, which kind of shows you the kind of schedule we’ve had,” Tubbs said. “So this will kind of get us ready for the playoffs.”
Stratford hosts South Beloit (Ill.) in a nonconference game to finish its regular-season schedule next Friday, Oct. 18. Edgar will play a Marawood game at Tomahawk.
Tigers 6, Wildcats 0 Stratford 0 0 0 6 – 6 Edgar 0 0 0 0 – 0 Fourth Quarter S – Beau Gross 1 run (run failed), 8:52. Team Statistics First downs: Stratford 17; Edgar 1. Rushing (att.-yards): S 58-239; E 18-18. Passing (comp.-att.-yards-int.): S 2-5-19-0; E-2-6-9-0. Total yards: S 258; E 27. Fumbles (total-lost): S 2-1; E- 1-0 Penalties (total-yards): S 4-4; E 1-5. Individual Statistics Rushing: S, Gross 20-115, Matt Handrick 10-45, Teddy Redman 8-39, Chase Flink 6-37, Devin Denee 5-12, Max Schwabe 5-minus 23. E, Austin Dahlke 2-8, Mason Stoudt 5-7, Kaleb Hafferman 6-3, Konnor Wolf 3-3, Kyle Brewster 2-minus 3. Passing: Sm Schwabe 2-5-19-0. E, Wolf 2-6-9-0. Receiving: S, Redman 1-11, Handrick 1-8. E, Austin Miller 1-10, Dahlke 1-minus 1. Records: Stratford 8-0 overall, 5-0 Marawood Conference. Edgar 7-1, 3-1 Marawood Conference.