Home Features 2015 Playoffs Temple and Houston Stratford Set For Area Showdown

Temple and Houston Stratford Set For Area Showdown


Temple Wildcats (10-1) vs. Houston Stratford Spartans (10-1)
Friday, November 20, 7:30 p.m.
Merrill Green Stadium – Bryan, Texas

Last Meeting: 2014 – Temple 47-Houston Stratford 35

A rematch of last year’s 47-35 barnburner takes place when Temple and Houston Stratford tangle in Class 5A Division I area action. Both teams cruised last week as the Wildcats thrashed Willis 62-6, and the Spartans dispatched Houston Waltrip 59-0. The final AP Texas high school poll placed Temple fifth and Stratford ninth.

“We’re fixing to see two really good football teams,” Temple head coach Mike Spradlin remarked to the Temple Daily Telegram. “It’s two 10-1 teams, and they’ve got an all-world running back. Defensively, they’re imposing and big and physical, and we think we are, too.”

Wildcat quarterback Reid Hesse turned in an outstanding performance in his first playoff start against Willis. Hesse threw for 260 yards with a 15-of-21 effort and three touchdowns. For the season, the junior signal caller has thrown for 1,624 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Keion Seastrunk, Temple’s No. 3 receiver, rose to occasion with eight catches for 133 yards including touchdown receptions of 25 and 65 yards. Seastrunk finished the regular season with 25 catches for 263 yards and three touchdowns. Temple’s leading receiver, Davion Curtis, snared a 50-yard scoring catch from Hesse.

Senior running back De’Vante Nealy rushed for a season-high 132 yard and scored on runs of 10 and 32 yards. His 2015 totals now read 1,511 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Whereas Temple prefers a balanced attack, Stratford runs the ball on almost every down. Against the Rams, the Spartans rushed 32 times and gained 277 yards. Texas A&M commit Rakeem Boyd led the way with 170 yards on 15 carries and scoring runs of 25 and 1 yard.

After gaining 2,519 yards and scoring 29 touchdowns last season, Boyd has been limited to 1,416 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2015. Against the Wildcats in 2014, the running back gained 421 yards on 38 carries and scored five touchdowns on runs of 36, 75, 2, 70, and 45 yards.

“He’s still the same guy (as last season), maybe a little bigger,” Stratford head coach Eliot Allen told the Temple Daily Telegram. “He doesn’t have quite the same numbers because he was pretty injured all through pre-district. He still tries to run where they’re not.”

Stratford’s excellent running game sets up an effective passing attack. The Spartans attempted only five passes against Waltrip but completed three which all resulted in touchdowns.

Torin Justice snared a 15-yarder, Jaetavion Toles grabbed a 26-yarder, and Bryce Hooper collected a 14-yarder. Quarterback Mark Murdock completed three of four attempts for 75 yards and two touchdowns.

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