Strathmore hosts the Adelanto Saints on Friday, Nov. 30, in the Southern Regional Championship to being Division 6AA State Playoffs
By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
STRATHMORE – For the second time in three seasons the Spartans will head to the Southern Regional Championship game. This Friday, two weeks after capturing their third straight Division VI valley title, they will host the Adelanto Saints at 7:30 p.m. in the Division 6AA State Playoffs.
“This is going to be a pretty legit matchup on Friday,” Strathmore head coach Jeromy Blackwell said.
The Saints (13-1, 3-1) are from the Southern Section where they competed in the Desert Sky League. This season they finished in second place behind the Silverado Hawks. During the regular season they the Saints averaged 37 points a game. Their highest scoring game was in a 79-6 rout over the Cerritos Dons.
In the Division 13 playoffs the Saints earned the 4 seed. Their high scoring continued as they averaged 44 points while knocking off the top-seeded El Monte Lions 54-40 in the semifinals and the No. 2-seeded Orange Vista Coyotes in the title game.
According to Blackwell, Adelanto might be the most well-rounded opponent his Spartans have seen in a regional match-up. They are led by a pair of juniors at running back and tail back. Angel Ochoa is the signal caller and has gone 135-250 for 2,517 yards and 33 touchdowns to nine interceptions this season. Marshawn Buchanan leads the ground game with 170 carries for 2,068 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Adelanto’s defense will be a tough nut to crack. The highest points they’ve allowed this season was the 40 to El Monte.
“They blitz on pretty much every play,” Blackwell said. “Their goal is to overwhelm the offensive line.”
Blackwell stressed that while his team must be solid in all three facets of the game, no penalties is key to Strathmore’s winning a third straight regional title. At times this season the Spartans have battled with false starts and administrative penalties, but as the season progressed, they have gotten fewer.
The Saints have had the same problem, but their penalty problems seemed to have waned as the season has gone on.
“We’ve got to be as discipline now than we have at any point,” Blackwell said.
This is the third consecutive time the Spartans have made it past the second section finals. In regional title games they are 2-0. In 2016 they became the first Tulare County team to compete and win a regional title when they defeated the Horizon Christian Academy Panthers 62-22. The following year Strathmore was placed in the North Region and defeated the St. Patrick-St. Vincent Bruins 49-35 on their way to winning the 6AA state title. In the same time span the Spartans have gone a state best 42-2.
“It speaks volumes to the type of kids we have in Strathmore,” Blackwell said.