Stratford stomps Albany advancing to first State Championship appearance since 2008

Elks defeat Lions 35-14
Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 1:45 AM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KFDA) - The No. 5 Stratford Elks are moving on to the UIL 2A-DII State Championship for the first time since 2008 under head coach Matt Lovorn after defeating the No. 4 Albany Lions in the State Semifinal 35-14.

“Shocking! We worked hard for the moment since two-a-days,” said Julio Castillo, Stratford lineman. “We were talking about this moment forever and it finally happened.”

Stratford’s offense led by QB Cody Rinne and running back Zane Burr accounted for all five touchdowns, but they couldn’t have scored without the offensive line. Andre Duran added a 31-yard first half field goal to help the Elks secure a 17-14 halftime lead.

The defense played a major role especially in the second half holding Albany to 0 points. Stratford junior Freddie Duarte accounted for a fumble recovery and an interception.

“We rely on our defense a lot. Offense is pretty solid, but our defense is what we say about ourselves,” said Stratford wide receiver and defensive back Freddie Duarte. “Defense wins championships.”

“Our defense played lights out tonight,” said Matt Lovorn, Stratford football head coach. “Did what they were supposed to. Did what they were prepared to do and couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Up next, the Elks are set to face the winner of Mart/Falls City in the Championship on Thursday, December 16 at 11 a.m. at Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium.

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