Wando, Stratford clash in battle of unbeatens
Stratford football coach Ray Stackley has been in the business for 28 years and knows the importance of a scouting report.
He’s spent many hours this week studying tonight’s opponent, Wando.
“I think athlete-wise, on offense, they’re as talented as any team in the area,” said Stackley, who takes his team to Mount Pleasant tonight for a Region 7-AAAA battle of undefeated teams. “They have two outstanding running backs in (Cameron) Rouse and (Kenny) Waring.
“They have four outstanding receivers and their quarterback, Christian Hart, does a great job. And, they have three offensive linemen who weigh 300 pounds.”
The No. 8 Warriors and No. 9 Knights are both 7-0 overall and 1-0 in the regionn. The game, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m., will go a long way in determing which team will challenge defending Division II-AAAA state champion Goose Creek for the region title.
Stratford beat Summerville, 41-17, two weeks ago, but lost junior quarterback Jacob Park, who suffered a knee injury and did not play in last week’s 28-6 victory over Cane Bay. Park’s status is uncertain.
“It is a day-by-day deal,” Stackley said. “We’ll see what rehab does. But it looks to be a game-time decision.”
Wando coach Jimmy Noonan said he doesn’t want his team to get into a guesssing game. He prepares to play opponents as if they are at full strength.
“They have a lot of offensive weapons, and we’ll have our hands full. Their running game is strong, and that’s a concern.”
Jamison Mobbs started in place of Park, who threw four touchdowns against Summerville. The Knights struggled in the first half and led only 7-6 at halftime. They relied on a strong running game to top the Cobras as Jamar Stevens ran for 156 yards and two touchdowns. The Knights allowed only 86 yards, including 10 in the second half.
“We had the same game plan,” Stackley said. “We have faith in our other quarterbacks. The key is to do what you do best and don’t change a whole lot.”
The Stratford defense, which shut down the Cobras, will be challenged by a Wando offense that is averaging nearly five touchdowns a game.
The Warriors have scored 235 points this season and scored 266 in 12 games during the 2011 season when the Warriors went 7-5 and beat Stratford 22-7, their first victory over the Knights in 15 years.
The Warriors are 7-0 for the first time in school history, but Noonan said this isn’t the biggest game in the school’s history.
“I wouldn’t put it up there,” Noonan said. “I think it would have to be Wando vs. Stratford in 2004 when they played for a berth in the state championship. That trumps a regular season game.”
Follow Philip M. Bowman on Twitter: @pandcphil