Stratford blocks extra point late to beat Tattnall
Stratford was so close to knocking off two of the best teams in the GISA earlier this season.
Facing a third championship contender Friday, the Eagles took another hit late when Tattnall Square marched on a near quarter-long drive to score what appeared to be the game-tying points with less than three minutes to play in one of the GISAs most intense rivalries.
The Eagles (6-2) found some resiliency, and what looked like a dark spot turned into a game-changer.
Douglas Bradley blocked the game-tying extra-point attempt and later recovered an onside kick, and the Eagles converted a fourth down to run off the final two-and-a-half minutes to earn a 14-13 win over the Trojans (6-2). The win pushes Stratford into a tie for the Region 2-AAA lead with Mount de Sales. The Eagles and Cavaliers play next week.
You talk all the time about moving on and play the next play and play the next play, Stratford head coach Mark Farriba said. They really demonstrated it right there (on the blocked extra point). ... Its just a classic high school football game. It should be very, very good for (our confidence). Weve been making progress.
The Eagles took a 14-7 lead on a six-minute drive to open the third quarter that ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback John Mitchell.
But that impressive march seemed like a quick-strike drive compared to the one to come.
Stratford punter William Ham pinned the Trojans at their own 5-yard-line in the final minute of the third quarter.
The Trojans methodically made their way downfield, converting three third downs as they moved near midfield. On third-and-15, Aubrien Kemp found Jake Allen, who outjumped two Stratford defenders for a 29-yard game. It was Kemps second successful halfback pass in the game.
Theyre pretty big, and their guys run hard, Farriba said. You play good on first down, you play good on second down, and you play good on third down, and its third-and-3, and theyre tough to stop.
The Trojans converted another third down and moved inside the Stratford 10. On fourth-and-2, Jonathan Ward took a pitch from quarterback Lane Watson on a sweep and passed it to Allen for an 8-yard score. The drive spanned 19 plays, 95 yards and 10:14.
We had a chance to quit, and we didnt, Tattnall head coach Clint Morgan said. I thought we showed a lot of resolve.
With the packed Tattnall crowd settling down following the score, Bradley burst through the Tattnall line and blocked the extra point.
The Eagles recovered the onside kick and converted a fourth-and-1 near midfield to run out the remainder of the clock.
Both teams traded punches in the first half, connecting on long reverse passes.
Stratford scored first on a 49-yard touchdown reverse pass from Conner Corbitt to Jonathan Hefner.
It was nice to score first, very nice to score first, Farriba said.
Tattnall answered on the next drive with a double reverse pass, Kemp to Ahmad Barron for 73 yards. Watson finished the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7.
I thought, Wow, we just made a great play, and they came right back and did it and made us seem not so immortal, Hefner said. I thought immediately, Well, weve got a ballgame.