Is it the dawning of a new day at Stratford?
If the results of mid-August games and jamborees are any indication, the answer appears to be yes.
The Spartans (1-0) followed up a surprising 14-8 Metro Jamboree victory over McGavock with a 37-20 season-opening triumph over Pope John Paul II last Friday.
With that kind of start, they appear determined to erase the disappointment of recent football history. The past three years, Stratford has gone 0-10, 2-8 and 3-7, respectively.
A climb toward their first playoff berth since 2006 is in the plans.
“We have 14 seniors who have gone through these past three years who are sick and tired of losing since they were freshmen,” seventh-year coach Jason Smith, who has been at the school 12 years, said. “They’re going to do everything they can to change that.
“They’re a hungry team and their goal is to get to the playoffs. We had that debacle of combining with the East Lit kids before they had a team three years ago, and we’re finally past that.”
Next up is a big game at Whites Creek in a matchup of 1-0 teams that were picked last (Stratford) and second-to-last (Whites Creek) in the District 10-AA coaches poll. The winner will inch that much closer to a successful season.
Whites Creek drilled Rossview 29-0 in its opener.
“Coach [Scott] Murray has got them playing well,” Smith said. “They haven’t been scored on in any of their games, last week against Rossview, in the [Metro] Jamboree win over Antioch and in both of their scrimmages.
Smith was smiling after watching his team rack up almost 400 yards of offense in the win over JPII. The parade was led by junior quarterback LaQuan Horton who hit 11 of 20 passes for 215 yards and also scored two touchdowns. More than half of his completions went to split end Derek Carr, who had six receptions for 110 yards.
“The thing I’m most pleased with is how hard these guys worked over the summer,” Smith said. “Starting in June, they were in the weight room every day.”
It began to pay off last month.
“In the passing camp competition at Vanderbilt, we were 6-0 after the first day, and we had a really good two days of work,” Smith said. “That showed me we had the makings of really good passing game.”
The Spartans are still down in numbers with just 28 on the team.
“But our 14 seniors have gone through three years in our system and are showing great leadership,” Smith added.
Stratford’s road becomes rockier after Whites Creek as Pearl-Cohn, DII power Brentwood Academy and CPA all await.
• Doubleheader dream: Event coordinator Rick Regen reported that last Saturday’s 61st Clinic Bowl Kickoff Classic raised $2,000 toward Special Olympics.
Father Ryan defeated Overton 21-3 in this year’s ‘Franklin Road Cup’ game.
It is the efforts of people, mainly Regen, that have kept the Clinic Bowl game alive. The event used to be a bowl game on Thanksgiving Day. Then it became a playoff game.
Recently, Regen worked to make it a preseason affair rather than allow it to end.
“It’s been a game woven in the fabric of our city since it began in 1950,” Regen said after the game. “It was a top game for people in Nashville, which they would plan Thanksgiving around. I’m going to do everything in my power to keep it going.”
Regen has been trying for years to schedule a blockbuster doubleheader for the event.
“My goal is to invite two prep superpowers here, like a Hoover (Ala.) and Trinity (Ky.) to play two of the top Nashville teams in a 5 and 8:30 [p.m.] doubleheader,” Regen said. “We’re going to find a way to make it work.”
• New Hillsboro girls coach: Cherish Stringfield has been named the head girls basketball coach at Hillsboro High. She replaces Katrina Carter, who left to become the coach at Pearl-Cohn.
Brentwood Academy at Maplewood
Cane Ridge at Father Ryan
Davidson Academy at SBEC
FRA at Hillsboro
Hunters Lane at Oakland
Kenwood at CPA
MT Christian at Ezell-Harding
Independence at Page
Knox Webb at Ensworth
MBA at Trinity, Ky.
Lancaster Christian at DCA
Mt. Juliet at McGavock
NCS at Hillwood
Overton at Centennial
Pearl-Cohn at Blackman
Pope JPII at East Lit
Ravenwood at BGA
Smyrna at Brentwood High
Station Camp at Antioch
Stratford at Whites Creek
Westmoreland at Glencliff
Goodpasture at Louisville (Ky.) Central