GOOSE CREEK — “Ain’t nothing better than getting revenge on someone,” Stratford coach Ray Stackley told his team Friday night after the Knights opened the Division II-AAAA playoffs with a 41-6 win over Nation Ford at Bonds Stadium.
Straford (10-2) will get its shot at vengeance next week with a trip to South Florence, one of two teams to beat the Knights this season. South Florence defeated visiting Stratford, 26-14, two weeks ago and trounced Easley, 48-14, to open its playoff run Friday night.
“We’ve just got to play our game,” said Stratford quarterback Jacob Park, who completed 15 of 24 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns against Nation Ford (7-5). “Obviously, we didn’t play our game last time. We couldn’t move the ball on offense, and when we did we shot ourselves in the foot.
“If we play like we did tonight, I think we can beat anybody.”
Park, the 6-4, 210-pound senior who has committed to play at Georgia, was equally effective with his arm and feet against Nation Ford, which made the trip from Rock Hill.
Park threw TD passes to three different receivers, and also ran 14 times for 77 yards.
“He was outstanding,” Stackley said. “He helped us a lot with his feet tonight, and really threw some beautiful balls.”
The Knights’ defense was just as effective, picking off two passes from Falcons quarterback Dalton Helms and keeping Nation Ford out of the end zone until the game’s final minutes.
“Our defense played really well tonight against a wide-open passing attack,” Stackley said. “That was a big changeover for us after playing Goose Creek last week, but our guys stepped up.”
Stratford entered the playoffs with two straight losses, to South Florence and Goose Creek, but started quickly against Nation Ford. The Knights had a 13-0 lead before the Falcons could muster more than 35 seconds of possession time.
Kicker Tyler Tekac got the Knights off to a 3-0 lead with a 37-yard field goal, and Nation Ford went three-and-out before Park’s 22-yard TD pass to Chris Allen made it 10-0. Stratford then recovered an onside kick to set up Tekac’s 34-yard field goal for a 13-0 lead.
Running back Jameak Jones ripped off runs of 27 and 12 yards to set up Jordan Johnson for a 3-yard TD and a 20-0 lead with 8:05 left in the first half.
Park found Tyree Scroggins for a 22-yard TD pass and a 27-0 lead with 3:06 left in the half. An interception by Taylor Morrison set up a 7-yard TD run by Jameak Jones for a 35-0 lead in the third quarter. Another pick by Sheldon Reed led to Park’s final TD pass, a 42-yarder for a 41-0 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Nation Ford 0 0 0 6—6
Stratford 13 14 7 7—41
Stratford — Tyler Tekac 37 FG
Stratford — Chris Allen 22 pass from Jacob Park (Tekac kick)
Stratford — Tekac 34 FG
Stratford — Jordan Johnson 3 run (Tekac kick)
Stratford — Tyree Scroggins 22 pass from Park (Tekac kick)
Stratford — Jameak Jones 7 run (Tekac kick)
Stratford — Thad Thompson 42 pass from Park (Tekac kick)
Nation Ford — Josh Shade 21 pass from Dalton Helms (kick blocked)