Stratford, Edgar set to meet in Tackes' final season

Stratford, Edgar set to meet in Tackes' final season

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Stratford, Edgar set to meet in Tackes' final season

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The Edgar and Stratford football teams square off Friday in a showdown for first place in the Marawood Conference — a familiar position for the programs that have combined to win at least a share of the conference championship for the past 29 seasons.

It’s a rivalry that is one of the most anticipated regular season games each fall, and a matchup that reached a fever pitch in 2008 when Edgar snapped Stratford’s 76-game in-state winning streak in front of more than 4,000 fans that packed the stands and lined the field. Then the two met in the WIAA Division 6 state championship game later that season with the Tigers getting revenge with a 7-3 win, and their sixth straight title.

The game will be notable this time around, as it will be the final regular-season matchup between Edgar’s Jerry Sinz and Stratford’s Cal Tackes, as Tackes stated earlier that this season — his 24th as head coach — will be his last.

“It’s always a special rivalry,” said Tackes, who holds a 231-48 career record. “Every year we know that (Edgar) is going to be the team to beat. Yeah, the other teams (in the conference) are going to be decent, but if you can play at a level to beat Edgar, then you are going to be alright the rest of the way.

“It’s not myself versus myself type deal. It’s our team playing football against another very good team,” Tackes added. “They have a good coach and a good coaching staff. I’m sure Jerry would say the same thing that one coach isn’t going to get everything accomplished and you have to have good people to work with and a good system. I think we both have those things and that’s what is going to make you a good program over a long period of time.”

Sinz, who holds a 348-71 record in his 39th season and has won six state titles, said while every game is important, there is a different vibe on Stratford week. The two teams are a combined 6-0 in the Marawood, and the only loss that either team has suffered this season is when Stratford fell to Eau Claire Regis in a Week 2 nonconference matchup.

“Everybody was fired up (at Monday’s practice), you could tell that there was more enthusiasm and spirit and yelling than there has been all year. A guy just knows, ‘Yeah, it’s Stratford week.’,” Sinz said. “Everyone knows that the game is going to be harder fought, more intense and harder hitting than any game we play all year and that they better start getting ready.

“I like (rivarly week). I told the guys right away on Sunday that I enjoy this week more than most of them because it’s easier to stay psyched up,” Sinz added. “You don’t sleep as much, but that’s OK.”

Tackes said the rivalry has benefitted both programs over the years.

“You always have to have someone to measure yourself against, to show the kids what level they have to play at,” Tackes said. “Edgar has always been that measuring stick, and they have been the team to beat (in the conference) if we haven’t been the team to beat. For us, it has always been them and Edgar’s coaching staff prepares their kids really well. They play smart football and don’t beat themselves. It doesn’t matter if you have the best team in the state or they do. It’s always going to be a war when the two of you go against each other. I think they bring a little something extra when they play us too.”

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