Mart (13-1) vs. Stratford (13-1)
Round: Class 2A Division I state semifinals
Time/Place: 7 p.m., Snyder
Playoff road: Mart defeated Goldthwaite, 62-3; defeated Windthorst, 58-6; defeated De Leon, 47-7; defeated Crawford, 47-6. Stratford defeated Floydada, 55-7; defeated Hawley, 58-12; defeated Post, 48-12; defeated Panhandle, 61-7
Players to watch: Mart: RB Tyrek Horne, QB Jace Terry, RB/DT Shatydrick Bailey; Stratford: RB Pedro Ortega, RB Bronc Hodges, QB Kade McBryde
Breakdown: Both teams come into the Class 2A Division I state semifinals on major rolls as Mart has won 13 straight games and Stratford has won the last 11.
Mart features a superbly balanced team that is averaging 53.5 points in four playoff wins while allowing just 5.5 points per game. The Panthers showed their usual strength in last week’s 47-6 pounding of Mart. But Stratford has been equally dominating by averaging 55.5 points while holding opponents to a 9.5-point average in four playoff wins.
While the Panthers feature explosive players like running backs Tyrek Horne and Shatydrick Bailey and quarterback Jace Terry, the defense will try to slow down a Stratford offense that focuses on ball control.
In last week’s 61-7 rout of Panhandle, running back Bronc Hodges rushed for 126 yards while Pedro Ortega rushed for 99 yards. But quarterback Kade McBryde is also a dangerous passer.
“They’re well coached and we basically liken them to a Crawford type of team,” said Mart coach Kevin Hoffman. “They will try to make you stop the run. If you don’t stop the run, they’re going to keep pounding you with it. If they get your eyes in the wrong place, they’re going to split some receivers out and throw the ball over the top on you.”