The Northwestern Trojans return to the scene of the crime as they battle the Stratford Knights in the state championship Saturday at 12 noon.
The Trojans, who lost 31-24 in overtime to Greenwood in last year’s State Championship come into the game 14-0, while the Knights are 12-2.
Stratford has Georgia commit Jacob Park at quarterback who is a four-year starter. The Knights also feature the state’s top defense and come in with a load of confidence.
In an interview with a Charleston television station, Knight’s cornerback Deshaun Horton said that Stratford has the top defense in the state and they will show Northwestern.
Horton has reason to be a little cocky as Stratford dismantled a potent South Pointe attack last week only allowing 13 points, seven of which were scored on a return of a Park interception. The Stallions then got their other score after recovering a fumble deep in Stratford territory. However, coach Ray Stackley knows that it will be a tough hill to climb for the Knights, saying their is a reason Northwestern is nationally ranked.
For the Trojans, they have the advantage of playing in five of the last six games, but also know the pain of losing 3 or the previous four state title games (losing in 2008,2009, and 2012) their only win was in 2010 as they beat Greenwood 42-10.
The Trojan defense has been the unsung hero of this year’s squad, only giving up 14 points per game, despite spending most of the game on the field due to the Trojan’s quick scoring offense. Shrine Bowl selection Corey Seargent and North/South pick Jaquavious Mackey lead a defensive backfield that has been called one of the state’s best.
The linebacking crew is led by 3 year starters in Russell Hubbs and Josh Miller, while the defensive line has been a pleasent surprise with Chris Bouyer leading the way. On offense, Northwestern has one of the biggest offensive lines in the state with North/South pick Raydon McCloud.
Shrine Bowl quarterback Mason Rudolph has weapons at all of the skill positions, including junior Dupree Hart who broke AJ Green’s state record for career catches and breakout star Quadarious Fair who has caught 24 touchdown passes. Julian Shockley has come on late with three straight 100 yards games running the football to go along with Rudolph’s 16 rushing scores.
In the end though, it could come down to special teams where Mackey and Hart have returned multiple kicks for scores on both punt returns and kick-off returns. Sully Foy has been a consistent kicker and safety Brayon McCoy has blocked sixkicks.
This will be a game you do not want to miss. It all gets started with the “Road to Williams-Brice” at 9:30 a.m., kick-off is 12 p.m live on WRHM-FM 107.1, WVSZ-FM 107.3 and on the OTS Family of Stations’ websites. In-stadium, you can listen to a local feed of the OTS Media broadcast at FM 92.7.
Four-time South Carolina Sportscaster of the Year and “Voice of the Trojans” Chris Miller will be joined by “The Professor” Joseph Ellis and Hall of Fame Coach Jimmy Wallace in the booth.
OTS Sportscasting Wall of Fame member Gene “The Dean” Knight and Robert “The Earl” Carter will be on the sideline. Chuck Roberts will handle on-site pregame and halftime festivities. S.C. Broacasters Association Hall of Fame inductee Allan Miller and OTS Sportscasters Wall of Fame member Steven Stone will be at broadcast house in Rock Hill co-hosting with Roberts.
Below are interviews with Coach Stackley, 3 part series with Coach Richardson, and a highlight montage from the 2013 season.