GOOSE CREEK – Stratford owned a 16-0 lead over rival Berkeley at halftime of Friday night’s game.
But at one point in the locker room, Stratford running back Jordan Johnson turned to quarterback Jacob Park and wondered why he felt like the Knights were losing by 16 points.
It was that kind of night for Stratford.
Park threw for 224 yards and three touchdowns, and Johnson added 136 all-purpose yards to lead Stratford past Berkeley, 29-10, in the season opener for both schools.
But three interceptions by Park, miscues between the quarterack and his center, and nearly a dozen penalties against Stratford allowed Berkeley to keep the game close until the fourth quarter.
“We played good offensively in the first quarter and the last quarter,” said Stratford coach Ray Stackley. “We didn’t do anything in the middle two quarters. It was pretty much a train wreck. We’ve got a lot of young players and sometimes getting an early lead isn’t a good thing. I thought we lost our composure pretty quick.”
“It seemed like everyone was out of sync offensively,” Park said. “We were trying to hit our seam route all night and just could never get on the same page.”
Park, who has verbally committed to play at Georgia, completed 12 of 23 passes, including scoring strikes of 8, 32 and 11 yards. He also threw a career-high three interceptions.
“I don’t think Jacob has ever thrown three interceptions,” Stackley said. “There was some miscommunication between Jacob and the receivers on a couple of occasions.”
Park led the Knights on two quick scoring drives to start the game, hitting Tyree Scroggins on an 8-yard TD pass on Stratford’s first possession.
Park connected with Johnson on a 32-yard wheel route early in the second quarter to put the Knights up 14-0.
The Stags got back into the game when quarterback Joseph Dress hit D.J. Witherspoon on a 26-yard TD pass in the third quarter.
Vance Bailey added a 30-yard field goal to pull the Stags within 16-10 late in the third quarter.
But the Knights put the game away when Park threw an 11-yard TD pass to Thad Thompson and Johnson added a 32-yard scoring run late in the fourth quarter.
The Knights defense limited the Stags to just 47 yards of total offense, including minus-6 rushing.
“Defense played well the entire game,” Stackley said.
Berkeley 0 0 10 0—10
Stratford 7 9 0 13—29
Stratford – Tyree Scroggins 8 pass from Jacob Park (Braxton Boykin kick)
Stratford – Jordan Johnson 32 pass from Jacob Park (Braxton Boykin kick)
Stratford – safety, snap goes over the head of Berkeley punter and out of the end zone
Berkeley – D.J. Witherspoon 26 pass from Joseph Dress (Vance Bailey kick)
Berkeley – Vance Bailey 30 FG
Stratford – Thad Thompson 11 pass from Jacob Park (run failed)
Stratford – Jordan Johnson 32 run (Boykin kick)