Stratford dominates early and often against Landmark
Stratford appeared to be the better team going into Friday’s home opener against Landmark Christian.
The Eagles, however, did not take that advantage for granted.
Stratford dominated the first half in all phases of the game and coasted to a 49-13 victory to improve to 2-0. The Eagles led 42-0 at halftime as the War Eagles (0-3) got both of their touchdowns after Stratford’s starters had been pulled and the game had gone to a running clock by virtue of the Eagles’ halftime lead.
Stratford took a 14-0 first-quarter lead, starting with a big blast up the middle by Tyler Jordan for 45 yards on the Eagles’ first play from scrimmage, with a methodical drive ending on a Carter Griffin score on the next drive for a 14-0 lead.
From there, it was all Stratford as the Eagles’ wide array of options in the offensive backfield could not be contained by the War Eagles. Stratford scored four times in the second quarter with three different players scoring — Jordan, Deondre Duehart and Jonathan Siegel.
Four who mattered
Jordan: He led all rushers with 101 yards. On the game’s first play, he burst straight up the gut for his 45-yard run for a 7-0 lead barely two minutes into the game.
Duehart: He found the end zone twice on runs of 13 yards in the second quarter and 4 in the third quarter, making sure that Stratford’s scoring chances were not wasted. Duehart wound up with 53 yards, giving the Eagles another option for Landmark to worry about besides Jordan.
Griffin: Griffin had a strong night on both sides of the ball. His 5-yard run made it a 14-0 game, and a returned fumble inside the 5 also set up a score.
Jonathan Siegel: His touchdown runs from 5 and 8 yards in the second quarter made it 28-0 to blow the game open.
Winning it early: The first half was a pure illustration of dominance for Stratford. The Eagles outgained the War Eagles 221-8 and also held an 11-1 first-down advantage.
Early message: Stratford defensive lineman and Stanford commitment Tobe Umerah wasted little time making his presence felt, registering tackles for loss on the game’s first two plays.
Slanted field: Field position was king for the Eagles in the first half. Thanks to Stratford’s defense holding Landmark to a single first-half first down and sub-par punting by the War Eagles, as well, Stratford’s starting field position was no worse than its own 40 in the first half.
Kicking with impact: Stratford place-kicker Jake Jamison may have been busy kicking PATs with all of the touchdowns by the Eagles, but he may have impacted the game more through his kickoff duties. Three of his first four kickoffs sailed into the end zone for touchbacks, robbing Landmark of special teams momentum.
Making them pay: Stratford didn’t just force turnovers to help itself to a big first-half lead. The Eagles generated points off them, as well. Trey Giles picked off a pass to set up a 25-yard scoring drive, and Griffin’s returned fumble inside the 5 led to a 4-yard run by Jordan a play later. It was Jordan’s second touchdown and made the score 42-0.
They said it
Stratford head coach Mark Farriba on the Eagles’ strong start: “It was a good start, I thought they were prepared and ready to play. We didn’t have many penalties and took care of the ball. We did a lot of things that were good to see.”
Farriba on Jamison’s ability for get the ball into the end zone on kickoffs for touchbacks: “That’s a huge deal; those are first downs that he is gaining for us. It’s a weapon to have a kicker like that.”
Farriba on multiple players stepping up and getting carries in the offensive backfield: “We’re trying to develop players and develop depth because you are going to need guys. Now is the time to get that stuff done.”
Tyler Jordan on Stratford’s mentality to start the game: “It was good that we set the tone. Our coaches were telling us before the game that they were an 0-2 team. We came out motivated to put the nail in the coffin, and that’s what we did. Our mindset this year is to just take nobody for granted.”
Jordan on the 45-yard touchdown: “I saw green grass and just ran like somebody was chasing me. I ran to the end zone, that’s all I could do.”
Stratford hosts Atkinson County on Friday.