One year and one week.
The Stratford Elks put to rest 53 weeks of a bad taste in their mouth handing out a punishing 48-12 defeat to Post Friday night in a Class 2A Division I regional final at Dick Bivins Stadium.
Post knocked Stratford from the playoffs last year in a 20-14 game.
But on this night, Stratford sent the message early things would be different using an early blocked punt by Noah Harris as the catalyst for scoring touchdowns on its opening three drives owning a 20-0 lead with five minutes remaining in the first half.
Stratford needed a mere five plays to score the opening points after the Harris blocked punt left it with a short field of 42 yards.
Stratford quarterback Kade McBryde scored the touchdown on a 19-yard keeper with 5:20 to play in the first quarter, then the Elks followed with scoring drives of 68 and 70 yards leaving run-oriented Post down 20-0 and in catch-up mode.
Post never recovered from the Stratford’s fast start.
“That was key for getting key field position,” said Stratford coach Matt Lovorn. “We can do a lot with that. That blocked was a nice way to get us going. And that was a one-man rush with Noah coming straight at it.”
Harris said was told by the Stratford coaches during the week run through a gap and “just jump as high as you can. And it worked. We were ready to go score every time we got the ball.”
Post did get Stratford’s attention when Octavius Jackson returned a kickoff 86 yards with 22 seconds remaining in the first half cutting the lead to 28-6.
But when Stratford’s run-oriented two-back offense punched in a touchdown on a Shay Hess 1-yard run with 2:27 to play in the third period the Elks lead ballooned to 35-6.
“Give Stratford credit,” said Post coach Michael Pittman, his team finishing with 276 yards of offense, 233 of that on the ground. “They played a good game. We play the same type of game and when we got behind it was tough to catch up. We didn’t have our best night.”
Stratford ran eight running backs at Post with Abraham Vilegas leading the way running for 62 yards, followed by Bronc Hodges 47 yards on three carries and McBryde adding 42 yards.
McBryde and Hess each scored twice, while Hodges, Villegas and Iuden Romero added a touchdown each for Stratford.
“A year and a week, that was kind of the message this week,” said McBryde who also threw for 119 yards. “Everything we do as a team. That blocked punt was nice to see. I’m glad Noah’s on my team blocking for us.”
Stratford 14 14 6 7 — 48
Post 0 6 0 0 — 12
S—Kade McBryde 19 run (kick failed), 5:20
S—Bronc Hodges 22 run (McBryde run), 3:01
S-McBryde 1 run (kick failed) 5:05
S—Shay Hess 20 pass from McBryde (Sergio Guerrero pass from McBryde), 0:34
P—Octavius Jackson 86 kickoff return (pass failed), 0:22
S—Hess 1 run (Luis Mendoza kick), 2:27
S—Abraham Vilegas 13 run (kick failed), 11:55
S—Iuden Romero 6 run (Mendoza kick), 6:32
P—Hunter Graves 2 run (pass failed), 0:37
First Downs 18 14
Rushing Yards 229 233
Passing Yards 119 41
Total Yards 348 276
C-A-I 7-10-0 2-11-0
Punts-Avg. 1-29.0 1-43.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-2
Penalties-yards 3-15 6-55
Post — #11 Taytem Thetford 18-57; #10 Octavius Jackson 13-41; #2 Jose Esparza 3-24; #21 Hnter Graves 8-54; Ashton Jefferson 6-22; Team—(-)2.
Stratford — #3 Shay Hess 6-13; #13 Pedro Ortega 3-11; #25 Luis Mendoza 1-7; #5 Kade McBryde 6-42; #24 Daniel DeCasas 3-24; #11 Iuden Romero 4-21; #44 Bronc Hodges 3-47; #12 Abraham Villegas 7-62 .
PASSING Post — #11 Taytem Thetford 1-10-0—28; #3 Fidel Trinidad 1-1-0—13. Stratford — #5 Kade McBryde 7-10-0—119.
RECEIVING Post — #20 Austin Britton 1-13; #33 Chance Courtney 1-28; #35 Colten Lanning 1-33. Stratford — #3 Shay Hess 2-39; #44 Bronc Hodges 1-11; #11 Iuden Romero 1-9; #13 Pedro Ortega 2-27.
Stratford 48, Post 12
Records: Stratford improves 12-1. Post ends its season at 8-5.
Noteworthy: Stratford scored on its opening three possessions of the game going up 20-0 with 5:05 to play in the first half.
Next Up: Stratford plays the winner of Saturday’s Panhandle-Stamford game in the state quarterfinals.