The evening of Friday, Oct. 9, pitted the football Tigers of Stockton High School against the Clever High School Blue Jays, as Stockton hosted the 2020 homecoming game under the lights of Joe Price Stadium.
With the homecoming court being announced and the SHS 2020 queen being crowned, a presentation of colors by the Stockton American Legion Post 230 color guard and a patriotic opening from the SHS band, the hometown Tigers faced off against the Blue Jays of Clever.
Heightening the game's significance was one unique competitive factor: both varsity teams were chasing their first win of the 2020 season.
Drawing first blood and putting the game's first points on the board, Stockton punched in the game's first touchdown with 9:50 on the clock in the first quarter.
Less than three minutes later, the Blue Jays would answer with a touchdown of their own, setting the pace for what would be a back-and-forth battle for all four quarters of the matchup.
After a change of possession, Stockton’s Aiden Ellifrits put another Tiger touchdown on the board after a breakaway play with 5:40 left in the first quarter.
The first quarter ended 16-6, with Stockton leading by 10 points.
Penalties and defensive stops for both teams would leave much of the second quarter scoreless before Clever put together a solid offensive run to find the endzone with 3:48 left before the half.
Not to be outdone, the Tigers went to work, driving down field on the Blue Jays and crossed the goal line and completed a two-point conversion 22 seconds before halftime, making the score 24-19 at the half.
The third quarter saw both teams struggle to gain real traction or find real momentum and ended with Clever edging out a 28-24 lead over Stockton at the quarter’s end.
Several explosive plays from both sides of the ball would turn the fourth quarter into a make-or-break run as both Stockton and Clever found the endzone again.
With a go-ahead opportunity, the Tigers found themselves looking at a beneficial first-and-five from the 5-yard-line late in the fourth quarter.
Despite several aggressive offensive attempts, Clever's defense and penalty trouble for Stockton prevented the Tigers from finding the endzone for the win.
As the clock hit zero in the fourth quarter, the Blue Jays of Clever left victorious, besting Stockton 35-32.
Stockton will hit the road and next face the Indians of Strafford on Friday, Oct. 16, where the Tigers look to put their first team win in the books this year.