The Stratford Eagles offense through the first five games of the season struggled to put points on the board.
But a 21-point first-half led to an upset victory over rival Tattnall after capitalizing on multiple mistakes by the Trojans.
The Eagles added a field goal late to knock off the Trojans 24-7. The win ended a two-game losing streak for the Eagles as they improved to 2-4 on the season.
“(We) just didn’t let a 1-4 start you know stop us,” Stratford head coach Mark Farriba said. “It was just a good team win for us.”
The Eagles had not scored over 14 points in a game this season but got off to a hot start when Tattnall’s Wes Allen fumbled the opening kickoff return.
This set up running back Dell Sikes for a touchdown run. The ability to capitalize on the Trojans mistakes were on display for much of the first half. Sikes said this game was something that they prepared hard for and it was good to get his team going with the touchdown early.
“It was a great start. It got the energy going,” Sikes said. “Our week of practice was one of the best weeks we’ve had all year. So it really paid off.”
This time it was the Eagles avoiding disaster as the team recovered their own fumble in the end zone to go up 14-0.
The ability to avoid mistakes on the offensive side of the ball proved to be the key in this one as the Eagles only turned the ball over once on a fumble in the second half.
After another Trojan misstep on a bad snap in the second quarter, the Eagles were gifted the ball inside the Tattnall red zone. Akins Manley found the end zone on a fourth and goal carry.
“Our special teams performed well all night,” Farriba said. “I thought everybody stepped up.”
The Eagles remained aggressive for most of the game as they pulled out all the stops including multiple fourth down conversions and a fake punt.
Farriba said they came into the week looking to make some changes to try and score more points.
“We had some guys that had to accept it and buy in and they did,” he said. “I felt like it paid dividends for us tonight.”
Each time it looked like the Trojans were going to mount a comeback, the defense would come up with a big stop and get the ball back for the offense.
It’s a unit that has been the catalyst for the team all season, giving up over 21 just twice in the first six games.
Against Tattnall, the defense set up the Eagles with good field position on all three scoring drives including twice inside the Trojans 30. Farriba said that he felt everybody stepped up to give them the win.
“There is no one guy,” he said. “It takes a great effort by everybody and I thought we got that tonight.”
The Eagles will take on FPD next week in another rivalry game. The upset victory over Tattnall will have to be one they put in the rear-view mirror quickly.
“We will do the best we can to get them ready to move on to the next thing,” Farriba said. “(It’s) a local rivalry game. They are big games and everything but it’s just the next game and we got to do what we do.”