Stratford fell to Dawson in the second round of the playoffs last year 48-35 as Dawson scored a couple of late touchdowns to eliminate the Spartans and end their season with a 9-3 mark.
This year, it was a family affair as Stratford running backs Terrance Peters Jr. and Rakeem Boyd, who are cousins, combined for five scores in a surprisingly one-sided 38-7 win Saturday at Abshier Stadium in Deer Park.
Peters rushed for 139 yards and two second-half touchdowns, helping the Spartans (12-2) secure the Class 4A Division I Region III title and make the fifth round of the playoffs for the first time in 25 years. Stratford will face San Antonio Brennan (14-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Reliant Stadium in the 4A Division I semifinals.
Boyd finished with 91 yards on 21 totes and three touchdowns scoring on runs of 1, 17, and 5-yards. Peters had scoring runs covering 31 and 1-yards. Stratford had 232 rushing yards and the pair had 230 of those yards.
Stratford opened up the score with only :30 seconds remaining in the first quarter as Boyd scored on a 1-yard plunge to make the score 7-0.
Dawson (11-3) answered early in the second period as Brett Winnegan scored on a 3-yard run to tie up the game after Tyler Day hit the PAT with 9:30 left before intermission.
That would be the only time the Dawson offense would put points on the board as the Stratford defense and offense took over the rest of the game.
Stratford led 10-7 at halftime and then outscored the Eagles 28-0 in the second half with 21 points coming in the fourth quarter.
The Spartans threw the ball only when needed completing 5-of-9 for 111 yards.
Winnegan closed out his junior season with 17 carries for 156 yards and one score while grabbing two passes for 14 yards. Winnegan had 273 carries on the year for 2,290 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also had 12 catches for 178 yards and two more TDs.
Senior QB Ross Wicklund hit 11-of-23 passing for 127 yards and one interceptions. He finished the year hitting 133-of-273 for 1,930 yards for 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Senior Tony Upchurch, who is an LSU commit, finished as the team’s leading receiver with 62 catches for 897 yards and six touchdowns. He also had 347 yards rushing on 27 carries and another six scores giving him 1,244 total yards and 12 TDs.
This is the fourth time that Dawson (11-3) has been in the region finals as the Eagles put a consistent winning tradition on the field each year. There is no doubt that Dawson will be back in the playoffs next year despite moving up to the new 6A classification.