Strathmore USA is back. For the third straight year my alma mater (class of ’84), Strathmore High School, is in the California State Football Playoffs.
As I’ve written before, Strathmore is a small town, population of about 2,500, located right in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. And as I’ve written before to get a sense of what Strathmore is like, you can watch the movie “McFarland USA” which chronicles the rise of the small Kern County town’s high school as a state cross country power. I’ve also written this before when I was in high school, Strathmore and McFarland were in the same league so I competed against McFarland throughout my high school sports career.
Strathmore (12-1) begins its quest for a second straight state title when it hosts Adelanto (13-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. This was supposed to be a “rebuilding” year for the Spartans after a 16-0 season last year in which they won the state title. Over the last three seasons, Strathmore has compiled a 42-2 record and also finished as the state runner-up in 2016.
Again I can’t make heads or tails out of the California State playoffs as this year Strathmore has been placed in the Southern California region, so the Spartans are hosting the Southern California 6AA championship against Adelanto.
The California State Playoff schedule has also been affected by the Camp Fire that has ravaged the Paradise-Chico area. Many Northern California playoff games were delayed a week because of the fire.
So if Strathmore is able to beat Adelanto it won’t play for the state title against the Northern California champion until Dec. 15.
Last year Strathmore was placed in the Northern California region and almost had to make a trip about an hour north to Caruthers, which nearly won the Southern California title, for the state championship game. Instead, the Spartans actually did travel to Southern California where they beat Orange, 31-29, for the state title.
I also made the ironic point last year that Strathmore, located in citrus heavy Tulare County, was really in the true Orange County. There’s still an orange grove right behind the scoreboard at Spartan Stadium while at El Modena High School in Orange where the championship game was played last year there wasn’t an orange grove in sight.
I’ve also written before Strathmore coach Jeromy Blackwell is a man after my own heart because his Spartan teams RUN THE FOOTBALL.
So on Friday again I plan to take part in Strathmore USA.
— Charles Whisnand