Strafford rolls to easy win in playoff opener

Strafford rolls to easy win in playoff opener

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Strafford rolls to easy win in playoff opener

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STRAFFORD

For Strafford, Friday night’s Class 2 District 3 playoff game against visiting Cuba High School was a total domination in every sense of the word.

The Indians — the district’s second seed and ninth-ranked team in Class 2 — remained undefeated on the season with a 65-0 victory and accomplished some “firsts” in school history with the rout.

“This is the first time in school history that we have double-digit wins and it’s the first time in school history that we have a playoff win,” Strafford sophomore Dalton Taylor said.

“This win was huge.”

All of Strafford’s points came before halftime as the Indians allowed just 29 yards of total offense to Cuba over the first two quarters.

The Indians will host Mountain View-Birch Tree Liberty, a 69-0 first-round winner over Houston, in the district semifinals at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Liberty ended Strafford’s season in the playoffs last year with a 49-8 win in Mountain View.

Strafford (10-0) scored its first touchdown on its third offensive play, when junior Jacob Wade scored untouched on a 6-yard quarterback keeper up the middle for a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.

On the next play from scrimmage, a bad pitch to the halfback by Cuba (1-9) went out of the back of the end zone for a safety and Strafford led 9-0.

After receiving the ensuing free kick, Taylor took an option pitch from Wade and scored on a 35-yard run for a 16-0 lead with 8:20 left in the first quarter.

“It was a great read by Wade, we had Brandon Foley blocking on the outside and Brady Collier blocking on the inside and I just turned on the burners from there and went in,” Taylor said.

After a three-and-out by Cuba on its next possession, it took the Indians just three plays and 1:04 to move the ball 54 yards for their third touchdown of the game.

Senior Jacob Shoemaker’s 44-yard run up the middle set up Wade’s first touchdown pass of the night — a 10-yard pass to sophomore Dallas Hester — and Strafford led 23-0 just over halfway through the first quarter.

“This was a game you must win or you’re out,” Strafford coach Tim Hester said.

“The most important part was just winning the game and the guys came out and executed and did what needed to get done.”

Wade’s second touchdown pass of the night was a 9-yard strike to Collier in the back-right corner of the end zone.

Collier made the catch with both hands while falling backward toward the pylon, and Strafford led 30-0 with 59 seconds left in the opening quarter.

“We really didn’t know what they were going to come out and do,” Wade said of Cuba.

“We really wanted this first playoff win and all we talked about all week was getting win No. 10.”

Taylor scored again on a 12-yard run early in the second quarter on another option pitch to the right. He cut it back against the grain for the score and a 37-0 lead just 30 seconds into the second quarter.

“Dalton is outstanding,” Wade said. “He looked pretty good tonight, but it’s all about our O-line.

“He’s fast and hard to tackle, but he can’t do anything without the line and they blocked very well.”

Taylor finished with 87 yards rushing and two touchdowns on nine attempts along with a 68-yard punt return for a score.

Wade went 3-for-4 passing for 40 yards with two touchdowns, and he had 18 yards rushing on three carries and two more scores.

Senior quarterback Kaleb Cason led Cuba with 72 yards rushing on 19 attempts but was 0-for-7 passing with an interception.

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