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No. 5 Stratford and No. 4 Albany have State Semifinal history, just look at 2008

Kickoff is set for Thursday at 6 p.m. at Lowery Field in Lubbock
Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 11:14 PM CST
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STRATFORD, Texas (KFDA) - The 2A-DII State Semifinal between the No. 5 Stratford Elks and No. 4 Albany Lions brings back some old memories. The last time the Elks defeated the Lions was back in 2008, and that was an interesting year for Stratford.

Stratford (13-1) defeated Wellington last Friday in the 2A-DII State Quarterfinal, advancing to their fourth State Semifinal since 2009 under head coach Matt Lovorn (2009, 2017, 2019 and 2021). The Elks dominance starts at the line of scrimmage.

“I think we all just know. We all communicate really good with each other,” said Tyler Smith, Stratford senior left tackle and defensive end. “We’ve been playing a while together, so I think that helps too.”

“You know we teach our guys you’re not always going to get your name in the paper and you’re kind of responsible to do the dirty work,” said Tyler Wright, Stratford defensive lines coach and 2008 Stratford State Champion. “It’s for the betterment of the team.”

This season has many similarities to Stratford’s 2008 State Championship. The Elks only loss so far this season was against Bushland. Their next opponent, the undefeated Albany Lions, brings back an old playoff rivalry. Some call it Deja Vu.

“I look back to ‘08 and we lost to Bushland in week four,” said Greg Wright, Stratford play-by-play broadcaster. “That was our only loss that season, and we beat the Albany Lions in the State Semifinals I believe to go on to the state championship.”

“I told those guys week four when we got beat by Bushland I said we’ve had a one in the loss column before and that year turned out just fine, so we’ll see how it goes,” said Tyler Wright.

Greg Wright called play-by-play that 2008 season and his son Tyler, the current defensive line coach, was part of the championship team.

“He’s been here before, so we all look up to him,” said Smith. “We’ve just got to listen to him and good things will happen.”

“You know they’ve been there done that and it’s always an extra token to have those guys around where they’ve played in it and able to coach at this time too,” said Matt Lovorn, Stratford football head coach.

Only Albany stands in Stratford’s way from reaching the state title game for the first time since 2008.

“Since I was a little kid I’ve always wanted to win a State Championship at Stratford,” said Smith. “Looking at all the guys before me it would be a good deal.”

Kickoff between Stratford and Albany on Thursday is set for 6 p.m. at Lowery Field in Lubbock.

”You know they’re really well-balanced,” said Lovorn. “They’re going to try to attack teams with the running game and that’s what they’ve done for a lot of years now and they’ve got a really good passing game too. They’ve been able to hurt teams with both.”

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