Knights get revenge, shot at state
The Stratford Knights got their revenge and now the quest for the ring continues.
Quarterback Jacob Park tossed a pair of touchdown passes to Thad Thompson and kicker Tyler Tekac made three field goals to power Stratford past South Florence, 30-14, on Friday night in the second round of the playoffs.
“We played extremely well on Friday night,” SHS coach Ray Stackley said. “We didn’t play very well the first time we played them and the kids knew that.”
The win places the Knights in the state semifinals of the Class AAAA Div. II bracket against South Pointe, which edged Goose Creek 30-27 at John Fulmer Field on Friday.
Stratford (11-2) also got a 74-yard touchdown run from Jameak Jones in gaining redemption against South Florence. The Bruins had beaten Stratford 26-14 on Nov. 1.
The loss was the first this season for South Florence.
All three of Stratford’s touchdowns came in the first half as the Knights built a 24-7 lead midway through the second quarter.
Jones’ long touchdown gave Stratford the comfortable advantage. Earlier in the half, Park found Thompson for scoring strikes of 80 and 7 yards.
Park accounted for over 300 yards of total offense for Stratford, passing for over 230 and rushing for nearly 90 yards.
Tekac’s field goals covered 20, 45 and 33 yards.
The winner of the Stratford-South Pointe matchup will play either North Augusta or Northwestern in the championship game Saturday, Dec. 7 at noon inside Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia.
“They are a very talented football team,” Stackley said. “They’ve got some tremendous athletes. Zeke Rodney is one of the best defensive linemen in the state. (Quarterback Zaylin Burris) and (receiver Anthony Johnson) are great players on offense.”
The Knights last advanced this far in 2006, losing to eventual state champion Gaffney 26-17 in the semifinal round.
While South Pointe has only been open since 2005, the Stallions have a pair of Class AAA state championships to their credit. They won it all in 2008 and 2011.
The Stallions improved to 11-2 overall with Friday’s win over Goose Creek. Their only losses this season are to Spartanburg (20-9) and nationally-ranked Northwestern (27-0).
“I guess on paper most people would say (South Pointe) is better than us but that’s why they keep score,” Stackley said. “Everybody has got good athletes at this point and preparation is key.”