The chances of having three teams within a five-mile radius of each other having a combined 17-1 record during the first six weeks of the season seems remote, but Stratford, Tattnall Square and FPD have managed to do that.
To make things even more interesting, the three teams will play each other the next three weeks, starting Friday with Stratford hosting FPD. On Oct. 20, Tattnall hosts FPD, and then on Oct. 27, Tattnall hosts Stratford. Stratford and Tattnall are both 6-0 overall and 2-0 in Region 7A-1A, while FPD is 5-1 and 2-0.
In this week’s GHSA Class 1A private school power ratings, Stratford is sixth, while Tattnall is seventh, and FPD is 19th. Mount de Sales (3-3, 0-2) is 13th.
“This is a great time of year, and let’s throw a much-improved Mount de Sales team into that group also,” Stratford head coach Mark Farriba said. “We are well aware of what is ahead of us, and we work hard to be ready for this time of year. FPD is a very good football team, and we know that defensively we need to be active and running to the ball. They do a pretty good job of throwing it, but they can do other things. We will have to be at our very best against them for sure.”
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Stratford’s defense, led by Stanford commit Tobe Umerah, has given up only 60 points in six games. The defense also has gotten strong play from Sammy Martin. Jourdain Irvin, Tucker Massey and Larson McDaniel. Stratford’s offense is led by running backs Deondre Duehart and Tyler Jordan, who have combined for 1,073 yards and 17 touchdowns, with Jonathan Siegel chipping in another 278 yards and five touchdowns.
FPD has relied on a high-powered offense led by quarterback Dalton Cox, who has thrown for 1,456 yards and 17 touchdowns, and receiver Titus Moore, who has been on a roll the past two games with 13 catches for 290 yards, increasing his total to 33 catches for 679 yards. Maurice Gordon is also big in the passing game with 21 catches for 376 yards.
Meanwhile, Tattnall Square travels Friday to Twiggs County before its two showdown games.
“To be honest, we really have not looked at FPD or Stratford yet because we are trying to focus on each game as they come up on the schedule,” said Tattnall head coach Chance Jones, whose Trojans defeated the Eagles and Vikings last year. “I obviously know they are both very good football teams, but the only film we have seen on them is when they played Twiggs County, because that is who we are getting ready for this week. We know that big rivalry games are coming up, but we will focus on FPD starting next week.”
Tattnall relies heavily on running back/defensive back Destin Mack, who has scored 19 touchdowns and leads the team in tackles, and linemen Chandler Whittington, Brock Baggarley and Peyton Braddy.
“Those three linemen have played 90 percent of our snaps this year, and they are all seniors and big emotional leaders for us,” Jones said. “Our goals as a football team didn’t change this year, and we are excited about where we are.”