SNYDER, Texas — Stratford High School entered Thursday night’s contest scoring an average of 48.5 points per game but had very few answers when it came to reaching the end zone against Mart Thursday night at Tiger Stadium.
Despite being outpaced in total yardage 243-237, the Panthers, a Central Texas power, claimed a 33-13 win and punched a ticket to Arlington.
“Both defenses played outstanding in the first half, kind of bottled up each other’s running games,” Mart Head Coach Kevin Hoffman noted. “Both teams struggled throwing the football, so they kept it scoreless in the first quarter. But we got a couple quick runs on them, and was able to score a couple touchdowns.”
Only 12 points were scored in the first half — all belonging to Mart. After a scoreless first quarter, the Panthers got on the board with a two-yard scramble by Jace Terry. Terry then tossed a 42-yard pass to Zamar Kirven, but both extra point attempts failed.
Stratford got on the board with four minutes to go in the third quarter, as quarterback Kade McBryde pitched a seven-yard pass to Bronc Hodges. McBryde added a 1-yard touchdown scramble in the fourth, but two more run scores by Terry and an 88-yard scoop and score by Kyler Martin sealed the deal for the Panthers.
“We went in at halftime and made some adjustments,” Hoffman said. “We were able to come up with a couple of things that allowed us to push it in for a couple scores, and they did the same thing. It was like a chess match, they move a piece and we try to counter.”
Despite being outgained in rushing yards 213 to 181, the Mart defense came up big and held the Elks to only two touchdowns, the second smallest scoring output since their week three contest.
“We bent but never broke,” Hoffman beamed. “We held them to 13 points when they were averaging well over 40 points a game. It was a monumental task for our defense, and we were able to do just enough.”
Terry led the offense on the night with 89 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 14 carries. The senior also completed four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. Shaydrick Bailey recorded 60 yards rushing on six carries for the Panthers as well.
McBryde performed well in the effort, with 87 yards on 12 carries with a touchdown. Mart, despite his efforts, reached the state title game for the first time since 2012 and will face a tough test against the powerful Refugio Bobcats.
“Everybody knows about the Refugio Bobcats, and they’re as good as advertised,” Hoffman remarked. “They’re big and fast, strong and physical. Every good adjective you can throw at them, that’s what they are.”
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