The Popcorn Stand: ‘Strathmore USA’ State Champs
A final update on “Strathmore USA.” The Strathmore High football team is clinging to a 23-22 lead midway through the fourth quarter in its CIF 6AA State Championship game against Orange and facing a fourth and six inside the Panthers’ 40-yard line.
Do the Spartans pooch punt. Of course not. And at Strathmore fourth and six isn’t a passing down. They RUN THE FOOTBALL. And get the first down. They go on to score a touchdown to take a 29-22 lead. Of course the logical thing to do would be to go for one to take a 30-22 lead, forcing Orange to score a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game.
But not the Spartans. They go for two to take a two-score lead. And they RUN THE FOOTBALL. They convert on the two-point conversion to take a 31-22 lead. Good thing the Spartans went for two because Orange scored late in the game to pull within 31-29.
Late in the game, Strathmore is facing a fourth and three inside the Orange 40-yard line and of course the Spartans are going for it because a first down puts the game away — and wins the State Championship. And of course Strathmore is going to RUN THE FOOTBALL.
Here’s where the Spartans realize their “Hoosiers” moment. Remember at the end of Hoosiers when Norman Dale tells the team we’re going to run the picket fence and the team looks up at him in disappointment? Then Jimmy Chitwood says, “I’ll make it.”
In Strathmore’s situation, the Spartans would normally run behind Jadon Guire, but Guire has been playing through a back injury. Strathmore coach Jeromy Blackwell suggested running to the other side instead of behind the hurting Guire. Star running back Joseph Garcia says no we’re running behind Guire. Garcia gets the first down and Strathmore wins the State Championship, 31-29.
For this Strathmore High graduate and many other Strathmore High graduates, it’s a moment we’ll never forget.
— Charles Whisnand