By Steve Pilz For Zaleski Sports
STRATFORD – After what had been a rather tumultuous week on the prep football calendar in regard to how it handles it’s seeding process, the Stratford Tigers bludgeoned a Spooner Rails squad 63-0 in WIAA Division 5 Level 1 playoff game Friday night at Tiger Stadium.
Stratford (10-0) was its usual efficient, powerful and full-of-depth self in dismantling a team that must’ve been happy just to make the playoffs.
Stratford was awarded an inexplicable No. 2 seed after having been ranked first in the Division 5 state rankings since the first week of the season. They play in the Marawood Conference, (their final year there), historically one of the strongest small-school conferences in the state.
And, the Tigers haven’t allowed a point all season.
Spooner was 4-5 in their Heart O’ North conference and finish 4-6 overall.
Stratford coach Jason Tubbs seemed to want the controversy to subside at some point, but did offer some insight.
“Next year they’ll do the computer-generated seedings, so it will go away,” Tubbs said. “Coaches won’t be able to align with their own conferences. I’ve got nothing against those coaches professionally, but statistically… it is what it is.”
The Tigers looked like they always do, only better.
They didn’t turn the ball over. They missed on only two passes, one by the third-string quarterback. They had just four penalties.
Teddy Redman started the onslaught with a 27-yard jaunt at the 9:27 mark of the first quarter. At 5:51, Chase Flink bolted 67 yards for a score and on the last play of the first quarter Max Schwabe hit tight end Justin Radke for a 5-yard TD and a 21-0 lead.
After Schwabe found Redman for 46 yards down the middle of the field to start the second quarter, the Rails seemed to let down. They fumbled to the Tigers on consecutive possessions and Stratford turned them into points.
Chandler Schmidt ran one in from the 2 as he was utilized in the backfield. Redman scored his third TD from 11 yards out and then Scwabe hit Vaughn Briet with a short pass over the middle that the long-legged wide-out turned into a 53-yard scoring play to end the half at 50-0.
“Going in all week, they run a weird offense,” Tubbs said. “We have the size to defend that. We also played without one of our guys, Jacob Mikelson, who is at home with pneumonia. So, we lost a two-way starter and we still won 63-0. That tells you the depth that we have.
“They locked it in this week. We can’t do anything about the two seed. We can only control what we can control and that’s our effort and our ability. Our guys played great tonight.”
Matt Handrick scored a rushing TD from 13 yards out in the third quarter and Kainoa Gouveia got in from the 3 in the fourth to cap the scoring.
“We’ll take it one game at a time,” concluded Tubbs. “It’ll be either Spencer or Bloomer, but it’ll be here and we’re going in as the seniors’ last game on this field, so we’ll be ready to go.”
The Tigers will play Spencer/Columbus Catholic next Friday, Nov. 1., in Stratford at 7 p.m. as the Rockets defeated Bloomer 20-12. The two teams met in the season opener back on Aug. 24 with Stratford winning 41-0.