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Varsity Football Advances to Region Semifinals With Win Over George Ranch

By John Denson, 11/20/23, 9:43PM CST


The Stratford Spartans took on George Ranch High School (9-2) on Friday, 11/17, at Tully Stadium.

Stratford started with the ball under the lights. The offense showed immediate success with several first downs getting them within striking distance of the end zone. However, a QB sack and some penalties set up a 3rd and 25 for the Spartans. SHS attempted an outside screen pass to pick up some of the 3rd and long yardage, but a GRHS defender intercepted the pass to end the drive.

GRHS’s first offensive drive was dominated with the run. They used this success to set up successful play action passes, including a TD pass. A missed extra point made it 6-0 GRHS with 5:03 left in the first quarter. SHS’s second offensive drive started with success but ended like the first drive. GRHS intercepted the ball on their own nine yard line. GRHS’s second offensive drive was a bit different with the SHS defense making a quick stop and forcing a punt. Christian Bell stuffed a run play for a tackle-for-loss to contribute.

SHS started with great field position at the GRHS 41 yard line on their subsequent offensive possession. A couple of nice plays, including a 17-yard run from the receiver position by Hunter Biehl,  got the SHS offense to the GRHS’s seven yard line. Aaron DeLeon followed up with a TD run around the edge on a fake jet sweep. SHS was then up 7-6 just a minute into the second quarter.

Blake Barry and the SHS defense quickly got the ball back to the SHS offense. On the first play of the drive, GRHS got sloppy on their exchanges and lost the ball. Barry recovered the fumble on the GRHS’s 20 yard line. The offense only used two plays to score as Derrick McGee took it in for a 7-yard TD. Another successful extra point by Ricky Estrada put the Spartans up 14-6.

GRHS started with a bang on their following offensive possession with a 68-yard run to the SHS four yard line. Two plays later, a play-action roll-out pass ended in a TD for GRHS, making it 14-13 SHS with 9:00 left in the second quarter.

Just about every offensive player participated in the Spartans’ next offensive drive, including the offensive line of Armando Castro, Clayton Nonhof, Ryan Griggs, Zachary Prudhomme, and Foard Polley, providing perfect protection. Jackson Miller capped the drive with a 13-yard TD reception, making it 21-13 SHS with 6:36 left in the half.

GRHS took the ball and tried to even it up before the half ended. However, Johnny Crawford led the defense on the next possession with several key plays. Barry chipped in with an impressive 13-yard QB sack. An attempted and blocked punt gave the Spartans the ball back with about a minute left in the half. The SHS offense needed less than 20 seconds to find Braxton Wakefield for a deep post pattern to the GRHS one yard line. DeLeon snuck it in on the next play to make it 28-13 SHS just before the end of the half.

Your SHS defense came out strong in the second half, only giving up ten yards and one first down before forcing a GRHS punt. McGee started the SHS offense off right with a 30-yard run. Luke Rives followed up with a 30-yard TD reception on a deep post pattern. Midway through the third quarter, the Spartans were up 35-13. GRHS quickly scored on a 50-yard TD run up the middle,  bringing GRHS closer with a score of 35-20.

The quick scoring continued for SHS. A 30-yard pass to Rives and a 15-yard DeLeon scramble for a TD put the Spartans up 42-20 with 4:00 left in the third quarter. Bo Harrison quickly got the ball back to the SHS offense. Bo Harrison got an interception on the GRHS 25 yard line. SHS’s offense capitalized on the short field position provided by the defense. A 13-yard TD reception to Jack Stewart pushed the lead further to 49-20 at the end of the third quarter.

GRHS wasn't going down just yet. They quickly came out with an 80-yard pass reception down to the SHS ten yard line. One play later, they ran the ball in for another TD, making it 49-27. The SHS offense started managing the clock on their next drive. They ended up turning it over on downs but not before using several minutes on the game clock. With 7:00 left in the game, the GRHS offense was working quick to save time. They scored to make it 49-34, but only left 4:32 on the clock.

Some back-and-forth possessions by both teams resulted in turnovers on downs, but no scoring occurred. The Stratford Spartans won with a final of 49-34!!!!

Texas High School Playoff Football continues for the Spartans next week in the Regional Semifinals (Round 3) vs. Summer Creek on Saturday, 11/25, at the Tomball Event Center.