DEL CITY — The Stratford Bulldogs went toe-to-toe with Christian Heritage Academy through a first-half snowstorm but couldn’t keep pace with the talented Crusaders once the weather subsided in a 28-6 loss in a Class A playoff contest last Friday in Del City.

Christian Heritage improved to 9-2 on the year and advanced to a second-round battle with No. 4 and unbeaten Fairview. The Bulldogs’ strong 2022 season came to an end at 8-3.

“It was a tough game to end the season on. We had several opportunities but couldn’t make the plays at the right time,” said Stratford head coach Michael Blackburn. “We have an awesome group of young men and I feel bad for them. They have great heart and I have been lucky to coach them. They have had a great season and turned things around from a year ago.”

The Bulldogs finished the 2021 season with a 1-9 record.

It looked like the game was going to be a scoreless tie at halftime, thanks in part to the blizzard-like weather. Hut Tate Campbell scored on a 6-yard touchdown reception from QB Zachary Harris with just 30 seconds left on the second-quarter clock. The two-point run try failed but the Crusaders led 6-0 at intermission.

Harris and the CHS offense got the passing game going in the second half. Nate Jines hauled in a 58-yard touchdown pass from Harris at the 1:14 mark of the third period and a two-point pass to Eli Hill was good, putting the home team ahead 14-0.

Stratford answered when Nolan Hall broke free for a 25-yard touchdown run but the PAT kick was blocked. That trimmed the CHS advantage to 14-6 at the 11:04 mark of the fourth period.

The Crusaders put the game away when Harris connected with Jines on touchdown passes of 21 and 67 yards later in the fourth quarter.

Harris completed 12-of-16 passes for 243 yards and four TDs to pace the CHA offense. Jines would finish with seven catches for 200 yards and his three scores.

Stratford held the Christian Heritage ground game in check, limiting the Crusaders to 81 rushing yards on 30 carries.

Stratford got a big game from quarterback Nolan Hall, who rushed for 117 yards on 20 carries. He also threw for 55 yards.

Hunter Morton added 51 yards on 16 rushes for the Bulldogs and also had 51 yards on five receptions.

Walker Chandler led the SHS defensive unit with 10 tackles and a quarterback sack. Blake English also made 10 tackles for the locals, while Justin Arriaga followed with eight stops. David Arriaga and Josiah Stevens both notched seven tackles apiece and Aaron Carter finished with six stops.

It was the final game for SHS seniors Jaden Alberson, Hunter Morton, Nolan Hall, Sean Harian, Daniel Welsh, Jase Fulks, Axel McKinney, Aaron Carter, Blake English, Josiah Stevens and Caleb Brown.

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Jeff Cali has been covering sports in the Ada area since the mid-90s. He graduated from Byng High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University.

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