It’s time for “Strathmore USA, The Sequel” as my alma mater is gearing up for a run in the state playoffs in football for the second straight year. I wrote last year about my high school in Strathmore, a small Central California community and if you’ve ever watched “McFarland USA” that would give you a feel for what it was like to go to a small high school in an agricultural community in the Central Valley. And I also wrote when I went to Strathmore, McFarland was in our league, so I competed against that school on a regular basis.
Strathmore is 14-0 this year and it’s path to a 6AA state title, well, it makes no sense. Last season, Strathmore was part of Southern California so competed in the Southern California Regional Bowl last year, then faced the Northern California winner for the state title.
But this season Strathmore is part of Northern California and actually had to go on the road for a “play-in” game last week at Hilmar. The Spartans came away with a thrilling 53-52 win in double overtime in typical Spartan fashion. Strathmore coach Jeromy Blackwell is a man after my own heart as he believes in RUNNING THE FOOTBALL, pounding away at opponents. So in the second overtime, the Spartans went for the win, going for two, and RAN THE FOOTBALL to come away with the dramatic victory.
Now Strathmore plays in a rematch of last year’s state title game against St. Patrick-St. Vincent in the Northern California Regional Bowl with the winner taking on the Southern California winner for the state title. I wrote last year it took two Saints to beat Strathmore as St. Patrick-St. Vincent beat the Spartans 29-28 on a game-winning field goal as time expired.
But here’s the twist. Strathmore is actually hosting St. Patrick-St. Vincent on Friday. How it was determined Strathmore had to go on the road for a “play-in” game and then host the regional bowl game I’ll never know.
I’m not complaining, though. I’m very thankful. Strathmore’s home game on Friday gives me one more chance to return to my old stomping grounds.
And to experience Strathmore USA.
— Charles Whisnand