The match between the #1 Canadian Wildcats with the #8 Stratford Elks next Friday (Oct. 23th) is one of the most anticipated Class 2A games of the year and will most likely determine the District 1-2A Champion. If Stratford’s natural turf collects a substantial amount moisture from the three days of rain predicted prior to Friday night, it will no doubt make the dynamics of this match very interesting.
Whether you want to call the match a rivalry or not, that is irrelevant. There is no question that these two District 1-2A teams have a “history” of spoiling one or the other’s season. A look at recent years would lead you to believe the Elks will be determined to get some payback on the Wildcats, especially after last season where Stratford found themselves on the losing end of both a District match and a brilliant performance by Canadian’s defense in a 34-0 shutout in the Regional Final. What matters most is that nothing that happened last season matters anymore, with the exception of motivation for the Elks.
Stratford will come into the game with a proven, time tested ground game (2,175 total yards rushing through week 8) they have made famous. It has been said and the stats bear out that they have a better pass attack (749 total yards through week 8) than years past.
The production of Canadian’s fast-to-line-up quick-snapping NASCAR offense obviously reflects facing different opposing defenses, not to diminish the defense of the #5 Albany Lions who played Canadian in Vernon suffering a 49-0 shutout by the Wildcats. That production compared to the Stratford offense, is 1,749 total yards passing and 1,563 total yards rushing through week 8. One stat that lingers on the minds of Stratford defensive players is that 1,014 of those total rushing yards were picked up by RB Chance Cook, Canadian’s standout running back that also presents a huge threat on kickoff and punt returns. Everyone in the Canadian bleachers will be hoping that Chance Cook is a “mudder to bet on” if the turf turns to soggy tundra Friday night, but whatever the conditions, both teams will be forced to deal with the challenge.
The Elk offense, however, brings a stable full of horses of their own that must be stopped. Three of Stratford RBs, Griffin, Hernandez, and Brooks have over 450 yards rushing, and a fourth, Jacquez, has over 350 yards. They are confident to deal with the Wildcat defense, one of the stingiest in Class 2A, capable of producing shutouts even with key players on the injured reserve list, utilizing their deep bench.
The contest will most likely determine the District 1-2A Champion outright, while Wellington, having losses now to both Stratford (13-8) and Canadian (38-0), should be able hold on to the 3rd seed position coming out of District play.
By Jerry Brunson, @CHSWildcatNews Class 2A DI Correspondent