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Canadian Knocks off Unbeaten Stratford

Alan Hale

photo: Alan Hale

District Championship in Canadian's Sights After Win

STRATFORD, TX – The #6 Stratford Elks hosted the #1 ranked defending State Champion Canadian Wildcats Friday night in the second of two highly promoted and media hyped games for Canadian. The Wildcats offered a spoiler alert by going in at the half with a 28-0 lead. But fortunately for the Elks, the final score wasn’t as painful as what many other teams have suffered and avoided a shutout by converting the only Wildcat turnover of the night deep in Elk territory into a TD.

Friday night’s victory represents securing the District 1-2A DI Championship for Canadian barring an unlikely disastrous outing with the Panhandle Panthers next Friday, or their last district and home game with Amarillo Boys Ranch on November 6th. With four teams seeded in the playoffs from each 2ADI district, District Champions will no longer enjoy the bye week to begin the playoff season schedule. The current predicted Bi-District match with Canadian is Hale Center, contingent upon Hale Center’s finish in District 2-2A DI.

The concern of playing on a saturated natural turf from the rains proved to have problem spots down the center of the field that the Wildcats found on their first possession, causing QB Tanner Shafer and RB Chance Cook to end plays prematurely due to the slippage. Cook eventually found plenty of dry turf to maneuver on as he went 24 carries for 170 yards (1,184 yards through Week 9). Cook and the Wildcat offensive line are obviously gratified to demonstrate a run game to the Elks, a team that has made their own “run game” famous in Texas Class 2A over the years.

The Elks offense was comfortable enough on their home turf with the exception of facing a Canadian defense that is beginning to receive as much attention as the quick-to-line-up fast-snapping offense of the Wildcats. Stratford QB Jack McBryde topped all of his running backs in yards rushing for the night going 15-for-89 on some keeper plays and by finding clear running lanes on scrambles. Canadian’s defensive ends, Cory Chidester and Cooper Trolinger kept the pressure on QB McBryde’s passing game as did the Wildcat secondary on covering Elk receivers.

Despite the attention Canadian’s O-line and Chance Cook are getting, QB Tanner Schafer and his receiver corps were not to be denied showing what happens when the “Air Canada” attack exploits opposing defenses to the tune of 1,972 total passing yards for Schafer so far this season. Even with the field between the hash marks slippery from the rain, WR Cameron Copley caught two TD passes for 50 and 52 yards, and WR Sawyer Cook snagged one from 26 yards out. Schafer’s passing against a good Stratford defense was 20-for-26-0 INT and 223 yards compared to Elks QB Jack McBryde throwing 5-for-14-0 INT for 56 yards. The fourth TD of the night was a 1 yard run by RB/LB Holton Hufstedler, one of Canadian’s jumbo package short yardage specialists. The Canadian offense once again turned in a classic balanced attack performance with only 40 more yards passing than rushing.

The 2nd half proved to be more successful defensively for Stratford as they were able to hold Canadian out of the end zone twice. Once in the 3rd quarter the Wildcats were on the 1 yard line, but penalties backed them up to the 16 where K Benigno Heredia (4 PATs, 1 FG, 7 points total) made a 33 yard FG. In the fourth quarter, QB Schafer completed what appeared to be WR Cameron Copley’s 3rd TD reception from the 3 yard line, but was called back due to a penalty. The 34 yard FG attempt by K Heredia went wide right and the Elks defense escaped yet another opportunity the Wildcats had to light up the scoreboard.

The Elks capitalized on the only Wildcat turnover of the night in the 3rd quarter due to a bad snap received by QB Schafer on Canadian’s own 9 yard line. Stratford scored with a 2 yard TD run 3 plays later by RB Shay Hess. The PAT attempt was nixed by another bad snap to the kick holder and picked up by K Tanner Stone, who was run down by FS Chance Cook. The 208 total offensive yards by Stratford was almost half the per game average the Elks have enjoyed all season and the 406 total yards for Canadian came up 88 yards short of their average total yards.

The Canadian defense is getting to be a big story holding 8 opponents through Week 9 to 46 points, giving up an average of only 5.75 points per game and recording 3 shutouts this season. That in itself is impressive enough, but it is a huge confidence builder for the Wildcats knowing the last several weeks have seen several defensive players from the bench fill in due to injuries and not skip a beat.

The Wildcats will be on the road again next week to Panhandle. Panther QB Sam McKinley hopes to find some weak spots in the Wildcat defense and connect with WR Josh Oliver as many times as possible, knowing it will take a lot of points on their side of the scoreboard to beat Canadian. Just one of many memos they’ll get from the Panhandle coaching staff on what it will take to get a win over Canadian.

By Jerry Brunson, Class 2ADI and Canadian Wildcats Correspondent

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Statistics courtesy of Lance Lahnert, Amarillo Globe News Sports Editor

Canadian 31, Stratford 6

Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Canadian 14 14 3 0  - 31
Stratford 0 0 6 0  - 6

First Quarter
C—Cameron Copley 50 pass from Tanner Schafer (Benigno Heredia kick), 8:53
C—Sawyer Cook 26 pass from Schafer (Heredia kick), 4:57

Second Quarter
C—Copley 52 pass from Schafer (Heredia kick), 10:11
C—Holton Hufstedler 1 run (Heredia kick), 3:54

Third Quarter
S—Shay Hess 2 run (run failed), 5:32
C— Heredia 30 FG, 2:06

Fourth Quarter
No scoring

Stats Canadian, Stratford

First Downs 17, 11

Rushing Yards 183, 152

Passing Yards 223, 56

Total Yards 406, 208

C-A-I 19-25-0 5-14-0

Punts-Avg. 1-45.0 8-41.5

Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-0

Penalties-yards 11-90 5-35


Canadian — Chance Cook 24-170, Cameron Copley 2(-) 4, Tanner Schafer 5-1, Holton Hufstedler 2-2, #14 Mario Flores 2-14.

Stratford — Fernando Jacquez 5-7, Blake Griffin 2-6, Andy Reyes 1-(-)5, Kevin Hernandez 4-8, Gage Brooks 10-35, Jack McBryde 15-89.

Canadian — Tanner Schafer 20-26-0—223

Stratford — Jack McBryde 5-14-0—56.

Canadian — Cameron Copley 6-120, Chance Cook 2-13, Ryan Royse 2-5, Sawyer Cook 3-45, Manny Ramsey 6-44

Stratford — Ty Hess 1-13, John McBroom 2-11, Fernando Jacquez 1-27, Kevin Hernandez 1-5.

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