Category: Waverly

Tigers tussle with Bulldogs in Region 15 semi

Results

TeamTOutcome
Bloom-Carroll49Win
Waverly21Loss

Tigers tussle with Bulldogs in Region 15 semi

By Paul Boggs

 

WAVERLY — Simply put, the Waverly Tigers are at a point where they haven’t been in 12 years.
Now, they aim to be playing a football game beyond 12 weeks.

That’s because the Tigers, competing in their first regional semifinal since back-to-back quarterfinal victories in 2006 and 2007, tussle with the Bloom-Carroll Bulldogs in a Division IV Region 15 tilt on Saturday night.
And, not only is Waverly within striking distance of program history — and playing in its first-ever week-13 — but it is arguably within shouting distance of its home field for this regional semifinal game.

The third-seeded Tigers will play the seventh-seeded Bulldogs just 15 minutes up U.S. Route 23 at Herrnstein Field in Chillicothe, which essentially gives Waverly a de facto home bout.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Bloom-Carroll vs Waverly (On time)

Like the other 15 teams remaining in Division IV, the Tigers and head coach Chris Crabtree are just happy to be playing in November.

No matter where, and no matter whom.
Instead, the Tigers have a date with history — and perhaps destiny.

Waverly has played in a regional final before, defeating the now-defunct Cincinnati Academy Physical Education (CAPE), but that was back when only four clubs qualified for the state playoffs.

“There’s only been a handful of teams that have won 10 games in a season and won a first-round playoff game. But no team at Waverly has ever won a second playoff game in a season. One thing this group has been good about is accomplishing goals and starting new things and overcoming obstacles. We were really excited for our kids to finally get that monkey off our back and get a playoff win, since it had been a while,” said Crabtree, in an interview on Tuesday. “It would be nice for us to set the bar and move on to the next week and that week be week-13. And we couldn’t ask for a better scenario, to be able to make a short drive (to Chillicothe) and play right up the road. But it doesn’t matter at this point where you win or how you win, as long as you win by one point.

There’s no such thing as an ugly win right now. A win is a win in the playoffs, and the fun is in the winning.”

But Bloom-Carroll — from Fairfield County making the trek southward —is already 1-for-1 in the postseason in winning away from home.

Both teams are 9-2, but the Bulldogs advanced by upstaging second-seeded Indian Valley in a 48-39 slugfest in that regional quarterfinal.

However, while that was a shootout, Waverly was rolling visiting Gallia Academy with a 40-0 blowout shutout.
While Waverly is better-known for its fast-paced quick-strike spread-the-field offensive attack with 2,000-yard running back and playmaker Payton Shoemaker, it was the Tigers’ defense that did the job against the Blue Devils — forcing five turnovers.

Waverly intercepted Gallia Academy quarterback Noah Vanco four times, as Shoemaker’s midfield interception resulted in a pick-six.

“We expected Gallia Academy to come out and play their best, but never did I imagine that score (40-0) was going to be the turnout,” said Crabtree. “I thought we had a good chance, but to get a shutout in a playoff game like that by a lopsided score is just a testament to our coaching staff and kids as far as their preparation and execution of the gameplan. Any time you can get turnovers especially at that margin of turnovers, it’s going to be good for you.”

The Tigers also recovered a Blue Devil fumble, and Shoemaker only added to his school-record rushing totals with an 18-carry, 146-yard, three-touchdown performance.

One of those three runs was a 72-yard TD sprint.
Shoemaker now has 276 carries for 2,185 yards and 31 touchdowns.

As always, the Tigers’ plan is to establish Shoemaker, opening up the passing attack for junior quarterback Haydn’ Shanks.

“We’ve never been concerned with time of possession. We score quick sometimes, but if we can get a drive that can eat some time up, that’s okay too,” said Crabtree.

“Establishing Payton in the running game early is going to change things one way or the other. A fast start for us is always good.”

But the Bulldogs will counter with a similar spread offense, spearheaded by quarterback and all-around athlete Otto Kuhns.

Kuhns, in the regular season, completed 117 passes on 180 attempts for 1,351 yards — while rushing for 389 yards on 88 carries.

Kuhns has tallied 10 touchdowns passing, six rushing and even one receiving, as Evan Willett — Kuhns’ top target — has 38 receptions for 470 yards.

Kuhns is also the Bulldogs’ punter, having kicked 16 times for an average of 38-and-a-half yards per punt — with four kicks inside the 20-yard-line.

Crabtree compared the Bulldogs’ offense to Minford with their spread-the-field formation sets — and dual-threat ability of Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis.

“Their quarterback is their guy,” said the coach. “He runs the ball and throws the ball for them. They rotate so many people in and out running the ball, so nobody is going to have huge rushing numbers for them. They are very versatile, but the quarterback has had a lot of success there and he makes them go. He is mobile, they move him around, they want to roll him out to get him out there and throw the ball. He is pretty accurate too as a passer. Their routes are a lot of quick and short ones where Kuhns can get the ball out quickly. They can nickel-and-dime you with the pass, the quarterback can pick up first downs when he needs to, and they can take the top off and get downfield if they need do. When they throw deep, they like to roll him out.”

Hobie Scarberry carries the ball when Kuhns does not, amassing 104 carries for 564 yards and seven scores.
Against Indian Valley, the Bulldogs actually were doubled up in time of possession by almost 15 full minutes

(30:38 for IV and 15:49 for B-C), and outgained by a total of 479-336, but Kuhns can strike quickly, as he did in leading several short-timed scoring drives.
Kuhns completed 20-of-26 passes for 205 yards, and threw for two touchdowns.

He also rushed for three TDs and 83 yards on 13 carries, offsetting the Herculean 39-carry, 261-yard, four-touchdown effort by Indian Valley’s Zach Love.
It helped, too, that Eli Coppess returned a kickoff 80 yards to the house.

“I think it’s a good matchup for us, just because of some familiarity,” said Crabtree. “They like to throw the ball, and they run a lot of 2×2 sets or 3×1 sets, a lot of power and counter, all of which we are very family with and it matches our athletic ability. Bloom-Carroll isn’t very big up front, but they are athletic on both sides of the ball. They only have one guy over 200 pounds on the offensive line, so that is a lot different than from what we’ve seen in the regular season. They do a good job of getting off the ball, getting on you and shielding you off. We have to go out and force those turnovers again this week, and get guys to the ball and prevent big plays from occurring. We have to make sure our coverages are sound again, and we have to get pressure on Kuhns and make him throw in uncomfortable situations.”

The Bulldogs’ lone losses are against undefeated Jonathan Alder of Division III, which plays undefeated Jackson this week in a Region 11 semifinal, and Amanda-Clearcreek — which Waverly walloped 48-13 and which plays Ironton this week in a Region 19 semi.

But Crabtree and the Tigers are not at all taking Bloom-Carroll lightly, as the Bulldogs’ victory over Indian Valley was considered by most observers as an upset.
Bloom-Carroll is making its seventh all-time state playoff appearance, as the Bulldogs defeated Unioto in last season’s Region 15 quarters.

The Bulldogs are now 2-6 all-time in the tournament, while Waverly is 4-7.
“At this level now, the second round of the playoffs, everybody is playing good football and with a lot of confidence,” said Crabtree. “That was a big win for them (Bulldogs) last week, but our kids came out and played well and are obviously very confident in what we’re doing.”

Now, that confidence carries over into the opening kickoff against Bloom-Carroll — and hopefully for the Tigers to a 13th week.

 

Score by Quarters     1  2  3  4   Score
-----------------    -- -- -- --   -----
Waverly Tigers......  0  7  0 14  - 21
Bloom Carroll....... 28 14  0  7  - 49



Scoring Summary:
1st 10:48 BC - Cody Harmon 64 yd run (Cameron Shirkey kick)
                                               4 plays, 80 yards, TOP 1:12, WAVERLY 0 - BC 7
    08:05 BC - Otto Kuhns 1 yd run (Cameron Shirkey kick)
                                               3 plays, 5 yards, TOP 1:12, WAVERLY 0 - BC 14
    05:45 BC - Eli Coppess 42 yd pass from Otto Kuhns (Cameron Shirkey kick)
                                              3 plays, 52 yards, TOP 0:53, WAVERLY 0 - BC 21
    03:56 BC - Evan Willet 29 yd pass from Otto Kuhns (Cameron Shirkey kick)
                                              4 plays, 40 yards, TOP 0:51, WAVERLY 0 - BC 28
2nd 10:57 WAVERLY - Will Futhey 42 yd pass from Hayd'n Shanks (Greyson Diener kick)
                                              4 plays, 58 yards, TOP 0:46, WAVERLY 7 - BC 28
    10:08 BC - Josh Evans 6 yd run (Cameron Shirkey kick)
                                              5 plays, 51 yards, TOP 0:48, WAVERLY 7 - BC 35
    03:36 BC - Otto Kuhns 1 yd run (Cameron Shirkey kick)
                                             14 plays, 65 yards, TOP 4:13, WAVERLY 7 - BC 42
4th 11:46 BC - Eli Coppess 57 yd fumble recovery (Cameron Shirkey kick)
                                                                           WAVERLY 7 - BC 49
    08:25 WAVERLY - Will Futhey 21 yd pass from Hayd'n Shanks (Greyson Diener kick)
                                             8 plays, 60 yards, TOP 2:55, WAVERLY 14 - BC 49
    00:55 WAVERLY - P Shoemaker 5 yd run (Greyson Diener kick)
                                             8 plays, 80 yards, TOP 3:47, WAVERLY 21 - BC 49


          Team Statistics (4th qtr [00:51])
                            The Automated ScoreBook
        Waverly Tigers vs Bloom Carroll (Nov 16, 2019 at Chillicothe HS)

                                WAVERLY       BC

FIRST DOWNS...................       24       15
  Rushing.....................        7       10
  Passing.....................       13        5
  Penalty.....................        4        0
NET YARDS RUSHING.............      119      226
  Rushing Attempts............       29       36
  Average Per Rush............      4.1      6.3
  Rushing Touchdowns..........        1        4
  Yards Gained Rushing........      144      236
  Yards Lost Rushing..........       25       10
NET YARDS PASSING.............      244      119
  Completions-Attempts-Int....  24-41-0   9-15-0
  Average Per Attempt.........      6.0      7.9
  Average Per Completion......     10.2     13.2
  Passing Touchdowns..........        2        2
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS...........      363      345
  Total offense plays.........       70       51
  Average Gain Per Play.......      5.2      6.8
Fumbles: Number-Lost..........      2-2      0-0
Penalties: Number-Yards.......     4-21     3-34
PUNTS-YARDS...................     3-92     1-36
  Average Yards Per Punt......     30.7     36.0
  Net Yards Per Punt..........     30.7     36.0
  Inside 20...................        0        0
  50+ Yards...................        0        0
  Touchbacks..................        0        0
  Fair catch..................        0        1
KICKOFFS-YARDS................    4-145    8-464
  Average Yards Per Kickoff...     36.2     58.0
  Net Yards Per Kickoff.......     28.5     35.4
  Touchbacks..................        1        3
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD.    0-0-0    0-0-0
  Average Per Return..........      0.0      0.0
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD  5-121-0   1-11-0
  Average Per Return..........     24.2     11.0
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD..    0-0-0    0-0-0
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD.    0-0-0   2-62-1
Miscellaneous Yards...........        0        0
Possession Time...............    26:23    20:42
  1st Quarter.................     7:44     4:16
  2nd Quarter.................     5:35     6:25
  3rd Quarter.................     5:42     6:18
  4th Quarter.................     7:22     3:43
Third-Down Conversions........  7 of 15  7 of 11
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   1 of 4   1 of 1
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      1-2      3-3
Sacks By: Number-Yards........      0-0      0-0
PAT Kicks.....................      3-3      7-7
Field Goals...................      0-0      0-2

Bloom-Carroll

CMP ATT INT PYDS TD ATT RUYDS TD REC REYDS TD
00000000000
Sacks Tackles INT FGM FGA
00000

Waverly

# Offense CMP ATT INT PYDS TD ATT RUYDS TD REC REYDS TD
1Payton Shoemaker00000281431000
2Zeke Brown000000004440
3Grayson Diener000001-240000
5Hunter Ward000000001-30
6Will Futhey00000000111672
9Penn Morrison00000000480
10Mark Stulley000000002210
13Haydn Shanks244102442000000
23Phoenix Wolf00000000270
 Total244102442291191242442
# Defense Sacks Tackles INT FGM FGA
 Total00000

Details

Date Time League Season
November 16, 2019 7:00 pm Playoffs 2019

Blue Devils, Tigers meet in Region 15 quarters

Blue Devils, Tigers meet in Region 15 quarters

By Paul Boggs

[event_scoreboard id=”1702″ number=”11″ align=”none”]

[event_scoreboard id=”1714″ number=”10″ align=”none”]

WAVERLY – It’s a matchup of conference runner-ups, but it’s also a playoff affair of two of Southeastern Ohio’s consistently top programs.

That’s because the 9-1 Gallia Academy Blue Devils travel to face the 8-2 Waverly Tigers, as both squads are in need of a playoff pick-me-up – after a few years of not having much serious success to speak of.

Kickoff for the Division IV Region 15 quarterfinal is set for Saturday night at 7 p.m., inside Waverly’s nicely-renovated Raidiger Field.

Gallia Academy is making its 12th all-time Ohio High School Athletic Association state playoff appearance, while Waverly is making its eighth.

Both clubs qualified last year as the Tigers are actually competing in their school-record fourth consecutive postseason, but first for Region 15 after three straight seasons of one-and-out in the Cincinnati-centric Region 16.

For the eight-man Waverly senior class, and even its underclassmen, it’s time to take the next step as a program – and win a playoff game.

The third-seeded Tigers are 3-7 all-time in the playoffs – but haven’t won since back-to-back regional quarterfinal victories in 2006 and 2007, when Trevor Walls was the talented and highly-touted Waverly quarterback.

“These guys (seniors) have been to one every year, which is cool, but we haven’t tasted that victory yet,” said Waverly coach Chris Crabtree. “Going three times now four times in a row (to the playoffs) is the first time that’s been done here, so we have another opportunity to win one. We’re definitely in a better region (Region 15) for us, given our school-size perspective and our makeup, it just fits us a little bit better. In 2016, we had a home playoff game and it was super exciting with a great atmosphere, and it should be that way again on Saturday night. We just have to get over the hump, and this would be a great time to do that.”

The Blue Devils’ playoff mark is 6-11, but last season was the first since 2012 that Gallia Academy was even in the postseason – after a few years of falling on uncharacteristic hard times.

Gallia Academy is coming off a second straight 9-1 campaign under third-year head coach Alex Penrod – losing only against Ohio Valley Conference champion Ironton.

“It is a great feeling for our seniors, our team, our program and our community. To know where this program and these seniors were just a short time ago, but through their determination to want to be successful, they have bought into what the coaches lay out to them daily, week in and week out, and in the offseason,” said Penrod. “It is great for them to reap the benefits of hard work and commitment.”

Gallia Academy was in the running for a Region 15 home tilt, but the blowout loss against Ironton dropped the sixth-seeded Blue Devils out of the top four for good.

Penrod said the past two weeks have been about recovering physically, but more importantly emotionally.

“It was one of those ‘shell-shock’ moments. Our team truly believed they were going to beat Ironton. Unfortunately, things that could go wrong did go wrong, and we were not able to overcome the mental aspect of the adversity of situations,” said the coach. “But through every defeat, you can find strength if you are willing to believe positive thoughts and willing to get back to work. We have had a few minor bumps and bruises the last couple of weeks, but we hope to be back at full strength as we enter the playoffs.”

If Gallia Academy is at full strength for Saturday night, then that will include junior James Armstrong returning to the lineup after missing most of the seventh game of the season – and all three of the Blue’s final regular-season bouts, including Ironton.

#
3
Name
James Armstrong
Position
2021
Height
6-00
Weight
190
Current Team
Gallia Academy
Leagues
OVC, SEO
Seasons
2019, 2020
The six-foot, 190-pound Armstrong had rushed for 1,034 yards on 134 carries prior to his injury, and is the most significant piece of the Blue Devils’ offensive attack.

It was believed by multiple sources that he would miss those last three regular-season games, but Crabtree is approaching as if Armstrong will return this week.
“Looking at them is almost like looking in the mirror in how we run our offense. They have similar formation sets, they are very athletic, they are very big up front. I know he has missed the last three games, but I am going to assume that the Armstrong kid is going to play on Saturday. But (running back Michael) Beasy has carried the load and has done a good job of running the football for them,” said Crabtree. “They are definitely well-coached, they want to run the football, they can throw the football when they need to, and their formations make it difficult for you to adjust to.”

With Armstrong’s, Beasy’s and Donevyn Woodson’s speed, Crabtree said a key is “being able to get off blocks and being able to tackle”.

“We’re going to have to stop the run. We want to make them throw the ball to beat us,” he said.

Meanwhile, Waverly has its own injury concerns – with junior quarterback Haydn’ Shanks continually competing on a torn ACL he suffered in the preseason.

#
13
Name
Haydn Shanks
Position
2021
Height
6-03
Weight
190
Current Team
Waverly
Leagues
SEO, SOC2
Seasons
2019, 2020
Shanks still has thrown for 1,652 yards and 16 touchdowns on 115-of-185 passing, with Will Futhey leading the Tigers’ receiving corps – with 43 receptions for 872 yards and 11 TD.

But the Waverly offense, of course, centers around the senior standout running back Payton Shoemaker – who went over the 2,000-yard single-season rushing mark in the Tigers’ 27-14 triumph at Oak Hill.

The fast-paced Tigers try – and often succeed – at operating a hurry-it-up no-huddle offense, in which Shoemaker is the primary focus.

#
1
Name
Payton Shoemaker
Position
2020
Height
5-09
Weight
155
Current Team
Waverly
Leagues
SEO, SOC2
Seasons
2019
Shoemaker has 258 of the Tigers’ 328 carries this season, going off for an amazing average of 204 yards per game and eight yards per each individual carry.

He has amassed 28 touchdowns and 2,039 yards.

“We definitely have some athletes and we can stretch the field vertically or horizontally,” said Crabtree. “We can take the top off of it down deep, and obviously with Payton (Shoemaker), if you give him a little bit of crease, he can make things happen.”

Penrod explained that the Tigers’ tempo actually allows the Blue Devil defense to adjust easier.

“For a lot of teams, the up-tempo can give you fits because it is not something you see every game. For us, it gives us more of an advantage because our offense wants to play fast and up-tempo, so we are more geared to adjusting to their style of play,” he said. “We are not as fast as they are, and that is still hard to simulate. With the amount of weapons they have inside the box, they have the same ability outside of the box to beat you too. It all comes down to individually doing ‘your job’. For Waverly, the less time they have the football, that is what usually favors them. They are more worried about the number of snaps they can get more than time of possession. We know they want to push the tempo, and we have to be ready to adjust to the speed of the game and the formations they are going to give us.”

Hence, this could quickly turn into an offensive shootout, which will definitely keep the fans interested – on an expected cold night in Waverly.

Given Gallipolis is an estimated hour travel distance to Waverly along U.S. Route 35 to State Route 32, the Blue Devils do bring a following – and an even overflow crowd is likely on Saturday night.

It is the only Region 15 bout featuring a pair of Southeast District squads, and should attract all of Pike and Gallia counties.

“We have both been in big games with large crowds. Our Ironton game had a lot of buildup, but I think playing on a Saturday is more of a sticking point because of the ‘longer’ week, but also getting you out of the routine of the normal week during the year of playing on Fridays. It will be a great environment for both teams and schools, but also for Southeast Ohio,” said Penrod. “We hope both areas can pack the stadium, and give what both of our teams deserve, which is a positive support system from all involved.”

Of course, a playoff pick-me-up and advancement to the regional semifinals is the ultimate goal.

“With two teams being close enough for familiarity, it should be a packed house and great atmosphere,” said Crabtree. “We are excited for our kids, our community and our school system, and we hopefully we can get this one.”

Join the discussion here

RankPlayerPositionHeightWeightPYDSTDRUYDSTDREYDSTD
1James Armstrong20216-0019000111611740
2Michael Beasy20216-0016500771121011
3Briar Williams20225-101500030523042
4Donevyn Woodson20225-111450012601223
5Brody Fellure20235-0914528198100
RankPlayerPositionHeightPYDSTDRUYDSTDREYDSTD
1Payton Shoemaker20205-0900234432740
2Hunter Ward20205-09002222-30
3Dawson Shoemaker2022-0055050
4Jackson Poe20215-110024700
5Trey Brushart2023-007000

Waverly no huddle and speed too much for Falcons

Results

Team1234TOutcome
Waverly7771738Win
Minford376622Loss

By Paul Boggs

Photos by Renee Nemeth

WAVERLY — Simply put, odds are that the Waverly Tigers are the fastest team of 10-play scoring drives you’ll ever see.

On Friday night, the Minford Falcons found that out first-hand.

In scoring on five drives of at least nine plays, and in five minutes or less for each of them, the host Tigers officially punched their tickets to the 2019 Division IV state playoffs — defeating the Falcons 38-22 in a fast-paced Southern Ohio Conference Division II tilt at festive Raidiger Field in Waverly.

That’s correct.

Waverly’s no-huddle hurry-it-up offense keeps everybody on their toes and paying attention, and in their goal of wearing the Falcons down with an overdose of Payton Shoemaker mixed in with Haydn’ Shanks slinging the football all around, the Tigers scored in a variety of ways — while amassing 456 yards and 26 first downs on a whopping 76 plays from scrimmage.

“They (Tigers) are just a high-powered fast-paced offense. They get snaps off every 15 seconds. They are very efficient at what they do and have weapons all over the field. They like to go super up-tempo and it does stress the defense,” said Minford coach Jesse Ruby.

In addition, the senior standout Shoemaker — on Senior Night at Waverly High School — set the school’s single-season rushing record, which is now at 1,864 yards following his massive 43-carry 214-yard and two 1-yard TD night.

Of the Tigers’ 297 total rushes this season, the five-foot nine-inch 155-pound Shoemaker now has 232 — while rushing for 1,864 yards and 25 touchdowns, which is good for an average of exactly eight yards per tote.

Shoemaker broke the previous record held by Zach Montavon from 2001, as confetti — early, often and even late — flew from the home stands in celebration of not only Shoemaker’s accomplishments, but also the entire Tiger team.

The junior quarterback Shanks, playing on an injured knee all season which has limited his mobility, stood in the pocket and continually found receivers in the flat — to the tune of 193 yards and 21 completions on 29 attempts.

Two of Shanks’ actual downfield throws, to Will Futhey, resulted in two touchdown tosses of 31 and 15 yards — as Futhey finished with seven receptions for 81 yards.

Four other Tigers — Phoenix Wolf (five for 38), Penn Morrison (four for 51), Zeke Brown (three for 12) and Mark Stulley (two for 11) — all caught at least two balls.

“We were happy with the way we were able to perform offensively tonight,” said Waverly coach Chris Crabtree. “Haydn’ (Shanks) does a good job of getting the ball out on the edge, and obviously with our offensive line blocking for Payton (Shoemaker), who had another great night on Senior Night here by breaking the school’s single-season rushing record.”

Then there’s senior Grayson Diener, which is Waverly’s weapon as a placekicker.

Diener drilled seven kickoffs on Friday night — five of which went for touchbacks along with two others which were returned right from the goal-line.

The all-Ohio Division IV kicker calmly connected on all five of his extra-point kicks, and made it a full two-touchdown lead with his 29-yard field goal with four-and-a-half minutes remaining.

With Waverly so difficult to stop, it should be no surprise that the Tigers are officially full-steam ahead into the state playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, as — per the unofficial yet respected computer rankings website www.joeeitel.com — they have clinched a playoff spot in Region 15.

Should Waverly win at Oak Hill in its regular-season finale, the Tigers will indeed host a regional quarterfinal on Saturday night, Nov. 9.

The top eight teams in each region qualify for the playoffs – with the top four squads earning first-round home bouts.

Both clubs entered Friday’s colossal affair at 6-2, while Waverly is now 3-1 in the SOC II — with the Falcons falling to 2-3.

Speaking of the top eight, those same unofficial ratings list Minford — as of early Saturday morning — as the ninth-ranked team in Division V, Region 19.

Just two weeks ago, the Falcons were fourth, but an upset loss last week to visiting Oak Hill dropped them to sixth — and now ninth.

Minford must now defeat visiting Valley next week, and may or may not need additional assistance in order to qualify for for the first time since 2012.

The Falcons found themselves playing catch-up with Waverly for the overwhelming majority, trailing for all but a span of two minutes and 46 seconds in the entire game.

They trailed 7-0 at the 4:25 mark of the opening quarter, but almost a dozen minutes later led 10-7, only to see Shanks engineer a second 10-play scoring drive of least 78 yards and two minutes and 41 seconds — and complete his second touchdown pass to Futhey for a 14-10 Tiger advantage.

Ty Wiget’s 14-yard touchdown run capped an impressive 14-play 64-yard five-and-a-half minute scoring drive, as Wiget — who had the first and final carries of the series but missed the remainder because of cramps — gave way to quarterback Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis and all-purpose performer Matthew Risner.

How good was this Minford tandem?

While Wiget rushed for 64 yards on 13 carries and caught three passes for 39 yards, Risner relieved him at tailback — and carried seven times for 33 yards while making five catches for a hefty 123.

Vogelsong-Lewis, the elusive and athletic left-handed signal-caller, completed 15 of his 18 pass attempts for 246 yards while rushing 15 times for 26.

“Minford has some good athletes with (Elijah) Vogelsong-Lewis, (Ty) Wiget, (Matthew) Risner and (Drew) Skaggs. They made a lot of big plays. But our goal was to get Wiget going sideways and keep him in front of us as much as we could. Vogelsong-Lewis is a running threat at quarterback, and he does a great job of rolling out and eluding the sack,” said Crabtree.

But unfortunately for the Falcons, Risner — who successfully made a 26-yard field goal with 28 seconds left in the first quarter and followed that up with his 32-yard touchdown reception and subsequent extra-point kick midway through the second stanza — missed the PAT following Wiget’s TD.

 

The Falcons then trailed 31-16 following Diener’s field goal with 4:34 to play, but four quick Vogelsong-Lewis completions — to Bryson Ashley for eight yards, two to Wiget for 15 and 21 yards and a 36-yard scoring strike to Drew Skaggs only a minute later — got Minford to within 31-22.

However, forced to attempt a two-point conversion, the run failed — and now the Falcons needed two scores to tie or take the lead instead of just one with the extra point.

They almost got it — believe it or not.

The Tigers went four plays on the ensuing possession, as Shoemaker carried twice to midfield before an incomplete pass — in which the Falcons knocked Shanks out of the game.

Facing 4th-and-3 from the 50, Shoemaker managed just two yards on the fourth-down carry, giving the ball back to the Falcons at exactly the three-minute mark.

But Shoemaker atoned three plays and 34 seconds later, when a Minford receiver slipped and fell down — and Shoemaker intercepted Vogelsong-Lewis at the Tiger 42-yard-line.

Finally, fellow senior Hunter Ward spelled Shoemaker on the next Waverly possession — and promptly picked up seven yards before putting the game out of reach with a 52-yard scoring scamper at the 2:05 point.

Crabtree was happy for Ward to score such a touchdown on Senior Night, as the Tigers only sport eight seniors.

Shoemaker, of course, is the most noteworthy — as he touched the ball for 43 of Waverly’s 47 rushes, with Ward’s two and two team kneel-downs being the others.

Shoemaker’s second 1-yard touchdown plunge answered Wiget’s scoring run, and ended a nine-play 70-yard drive which picked up five first downs but only lasted a minute and 51 seconds.

That made it 28-16 with Diener’s extra point and just 46 seconds gone by in the fourth quarter, as the Tigers then forced the fourth Falcon punt — and third three-and-out possession.

The Tigers then drove another 10 plays from their own 33 to the Minford 12 — and actually consumed five minutes and 10 seconds — as Diener delivered down the middle on his field-goal attempt to make it 31-16.

That was the Tigers’ second such well-executed ball-control second-half series, as arguably their longest drive in terms of yards and plays put them up 21-10 — and devoured the first four minutes of the third-quarter clock.

Mixing Shoemaker with Shanks passes, once again Waverly gained five first downs — marching a massive 83 yards in 14 plays and capped off by Shoemaker’s first 1-yard score.

His third carry of that series, for six yards to midfield, officially gave him the single-season rushing record at Waverly.

But it was that touchdown that followed up the Tigers’ final first-half defensive stop, with Minford stopping itself, that was more important.

With Waverly leading 14-10, and with 2:43 to play before halftime, the Falcons quickly moved into Tiger territory — thanks largely on a deep pass completion of 53 yards from Vogelsong-Lewis to Risner.

From the Tiger 16, Minford manged to get to the 6-yard-line, but back-to-back five-yard penalties pushed the ball backward — and two plays later Vogelsong-Lewis lost five yards.

That set up a 29-yard Falcon field-goal attempt as time was rapidly running out, but the Tigers swarmed, bull-rushed and blocked Risner’s kick — and returned it all the way to midfield.

“We were good tonight on our end about not making the mental mistakes. It’s great when you can get a team like Minford behind the chains, because it changes their play-calling,” said Crabtree. “Getting the blocked field goal there was crucial and was a big stop for us, then we follow that up with the first drive of the second half and score a touchdown.”

Indeed, by Minford getting nothing and the Tigers taking advantage immediately after halftime, it was a gigantic point-swing.

“That was a critical point in the game, and we failed to execute in that situation. Then credit them for starting off the second half with such a good drive and getting another score,” said Ruby. “Any time you play a team as good as Waverly, you have to take care of the little things. When your beat yourself with penalties and put yourself behind the chains, it makes it so tough to continue to convert on second down or third down. At times, I thought we executed very well on offense and moved the ball and ate up a lot of the clock to keep Shoemaker and their offense off the field. We just didn’t have the chance to do it as much as we needed to tonight.”

The Falcons were whistled for six five-yard penalties as well — five of which were false starts.

They also turned the ball over twice in the second half, including a lost fumble two plays after falling behind 21-10.

But Minford continued to battle, as Ruby said the effort was much improved over last week’s disappointing loss to Oak Hill.

“I thought our effort was great tonight and our kids were resilient and kept rebounding whenever there was a negative play or they scored,” said Ruby. “We just didn’t make enough plays or make enough scores to get closer to where we could have pulled it out late in the game.”

Now, to in fact qualify for the playoffs, the Falcons need to duplicate that determination against the rival Indians.

“Our kids’ mindset this week will be going out and getting a victory over Valley and get in the playoffs,” said Ruby.

As for the Tigers, they are already in the postseason — as they travel to Oak Hill with hopes of giving their seniors one final home game.

Which would be another opportunity to see some of the fastest fast-paced football you’ll ever see.

“We’re in the playoffs regardless, but we want to win that last game to get that home game in week-11. You don’t want to end the regular season with a loss,” said Crabtree. “Hopefully, another week here, we get healthy with a few guys and have a good week of practice for Oak Hill, then get excited about what we have postseason-wise.”

* * *

Minford 3 7 6 6 — 22

Waverly 7 7 7 17— 38

W — Will Futhey, 31-yard pass from Haydn’ Shanks (Grayson Diener kick), 4:25, 1st (7-0 W)

M — Matthew Risner, 26-yard FG, :28, 1st (7-3 W)

M — Matthew Risner, 32-yard pass from Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis (Matthew Risner kick), 5:36, 2nd (10-7 M)

W — Will Futhey, 15-yard pass from Haydn’ Shanks (Grayson Diener kick), 2:50, 2nd (14-10 W)

W — Payton Shoemaker, 1-yard run (Grayson Diener kick), 8:01, 3rd (21-10 W)

M — Ty Wiget, 14-yard run (kick failed), 1:09, 3rd (21-16 W)

W — Payton Shoemaker, 1-yard run (Grayson Dienerk kick), 11:46, 4th (28-16 W)

W — Grayson Diener, 29-yard FG, 4:34, 4th (31-16 W)

M — Drew Skaggs, 36-yard pass from Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis (run failed), 3:35, 4th (31-22 W)

W — Hunter Ward, 52-yard run (Grayson Diener kick), 2:05, 4th (38-22 W)

Team Statistics

M W

First Downs 18 26

Scrimmage Plays 56 76

Rushes-Yards 38-134 47-263

Passing Yards 246 193

Total Yards 380 456

Cmp-Att-Int 15-18-1 21-29-0

Fumbles-Lost 3-1 0-0

Penalties-Yards 6-30 6-52

Punts-Average 4-33.5 2-23

——

Individual Leaders

RUSHING —Minford: Ty Wiget 13-64 TD, Matthew Risner 7-33, Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis 15-26, Bryson Ashley 3-11; Waverly: Payton Shoemaker 43-214 2TD, Hunter Ward 2-59 TD, Team 2-(-10)

PASSING — Minford: Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis 15-18-1-246 2TD; Waverly: Haydn’ Shanks 21-29-0-193 2TD

RECEIVING — Minford: Matthew Risner 5-123 TD, Drew Skaggs 3-58 TD, Ty Wiget 3-39, Bryson Ashley 4-26; Waverly: Will Futhey 7-81 2TD, Phoenix Wolf 5-38, Penn Morrison 4-51, Zeke Brown 3-12, Mark Stulley 2-11


FIRST DOWNS...................       18       25
  Rushing.....................       10       14
  Passing.....................        8       10
  Penalty.....................        0        1
NET YARDS RUSHING.............      132      256
  Rushing Attempts............       36       47
  Average Per Rush............      3.7      5.4
  Rushing Touchdowns..........        1        3
  Yards Gained Rushing........      152      270
  Yards Lost Rushing..........       20       14
NET YARDS PASSING.............      246      209
  Completions-Attempts-Int....  15-27-1  22-30-0
  Average Per Attempt.........      9.1      7.0
  Average Per Completion......     16.4      9.5
  Passing Touchdowns..........        2        2
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS...........      378      465
  Total offense plays.........       63       77
  Average Gain Per Play.......      6.0      6.0
Fumbles: Number-Lost..........      1-1      0-0
Penalties: Number-Yards.......     7-44     5-39
PUNTS-YARDS...................    4-134     2-45
  Average Yards Per Punt......     33.5     22.5
  Net Yards Per Punt..........     33.5     22.5
  Inside 20...................        1        0
  50+ Yards...................        0        0
  Touchbacks..................        0        0
  Fair catch..................        0        0
KICKOFFS-YARDS................    5-175    7-418
  Average Yards Per Kickoff...     35.0     59.7
  Net Yards Per Kickoff.......     32.6     36.9
  Touchbacks..................        0        5
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD.    0-0-0    0-0-0
  Average Per Return..........      0.0      0.0
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD   2-60-0   3-12-0
  Average Per Return..........     30.0      4.0
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD..    0-0-0    1-0-0
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD.    0-0-0    0-0-0
Miscellaneous Yards...........        0       33
Possession Time...............    24:39    21:56
  1st Quarter.................     7:46     4:14
  2nd Quarter.................     6:56     5:04
  3rd Quarter.................     6:12     5:48
  4th Quarter.................     3:45     6:50
Third-Down Conversions........  3 of 13  5 of 11
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   2 of 3   0 of 3
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      2-3      4-4
Sacks By: Number-Yards........      0-0      1-6
PAT Kicks.....................      1-2      5-5
Field Goals...................      1-2      1-1

PosTeamWLPFPANet Pts
1Wheelersburg5020155146
2Waverly411819289
3Oak Hill3284119-35
4Minford231229032
5Valley1443164-121
6Portsmouth West0552163-111
DateHomeAwayLeagueSeasonVenueArticle Headline

Waverly

# Offense CMP ATT INT PYDS TD ATT RUYDS TD REC REYDS TD
1Payton Shoemaker000004321121150
2Zeke Brown00000000280
5Hunter Ward000002590000
6Will Futhey000000007892
9Penn Morrison000000004520
10Mark Stulley000000002110
13Haydn Shanks223002092000000
15Wade Futhey00000200000
23Phoenix Wolf000000006410
 Total223002092472702222162
# Defense Sacks Tackles INT FGM FGA
 Total00000

Minford

# Offense CMP ATT INT PYDS TD ATT RUYDS TD REC REYDS TD
??Tim Walk00000110000
2Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis15271245215280000
7Matthew Risner00000733051221
11Drew Skaggs000000003581
25Ty Wiget00000116013390
30Bryson Ashley0000031104260
 Total152712452371331152452
# Defense Sacks Tackles INT FGM FGA
 Total00000

Details

Date Time League Season
October 25, 2019 7:00 pm SEO 2019

Venue

Waverly

Falcons, Tigers collide in key bout

Falcons, Tigers collide in key bout

Waverly vs Minford (On time)

By PAUL BOGGS

Photos by Rene Nemeth

Indeed, it’s awfully late in the season for bounce backs.

 

However, there’s no better time than the here and now for one, and that’s exactly where the Minford Falcons and Waverly Tigers stand entering their colossal contest on Friday night.

 

While both are 6-2, their state playoff positions are quite precarious – with their Southern Ohio Conference Division II championship hopes all but evaporated.

 

In many ways, it is a playoff game for the Falcons and Tigers, as 7-3 seasons – by one or both – might or might not be enough to qualify for this year’s postseason field.

 

Therefore, playoff points, positioning and even the feeling of relief for a lock are on the line on Friday night – as Minford meets Waverly with an amped-up and standing-room-only atmosphere anticipated inside Waverly’s renovated Raidiger Field.

 

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

 

The game also marks Senior Night activities at Waverly High School, as eight Tiger seniors will be recognized beforehand.

 

Both squads are coming off close losses last week, as Waverly was in a running-game shootout at SOC II leader Wheelersburg – although the Tigers trailed from opening whistle to final kneel-down and suffered a 42-28 defeat.

 

However, while that wasn’t an upset, Minford’s matchup against Oak Hill was.

 

The Falcons led 7-0 and 14-7, but the 4-4 Oaks rallied for a pair of ties – before breaking the 14-14 deadlock with a last-second field goal by Brock Harden.

 

While Waverly remained fourth in Region 15 of Division IV of the official Ohio High School Athletic Association computer ratings, and still “control their own destiny” towards a state playoff berth, the Falcons fell from fourth to six – in the OHSAA’s Division V Region 19.

 

Even with a pair of victories in their final two tilts, including against visiting Valley in the regular-season finale, the Falcons are not assured of anything – although at 8-2 their chances of qualifying are quite better.

 

Hence, both need to bounce back this week, but Minford is more desperate than are the Tigers.

 

This is the same Falcons’ squad which started 6-0 – and that took Wheelesburg to overtime in the SOC II opener, before falling 21-20 after a two-point conversion attempt failed for the win.

 

The top eight teams in each region qualify for the playoffs – with the top four squads earning first-round home bouts.

 

Minford coach Jesse Ruby remarked briefly on the Oak Hill contest, then quickly moved to focusing on the task of defending the talented Tigers.

“I don’t want to take away anything from Oak Hill. They came out and played one of their best games of the year in terms of penalties, turnovers and limiting big plays. We did not play to the level that we normally do in terms of execution, and Oak Hill took advantage of the opportunities given to them,” he said. “Our team is motivated to get back to playing the way we were throughout the season before the Oak Hill game. Practice has been upbeat and very crisp this week.”

 

The Tigers, which practiced earlier in the sunny afternoons this week with soccer tournament matches at Raidiger Field, also expressed improving upon their defensive performance against Wheelersburg.

 

#
1
Name
Payton Shoemaker
Position
2020
Height
5-09
Weight
155
Current Team
Waverly
Leagues
SEO, SOC2
Seasons
2019
While Waverly standout running back Payton Shoemaker showed off in the form of 21 carries for 202 yards and four touchdowns, Wheelersburg rushed for 457 on 64 attempts as a team – with standout senior Makya Matthews outdoing Shoemaker in the form of 29 carries for 267 yards and a hat trick of scores.

 

The Tigers’ tackling could be better, as Minford comes calling with its senior standout running back – Ty Wiget.

#
25
Name
Ty Wiget
Position
2020
Height
5-09
Weight
175
Current Team
Minford
Leagues
SEO, SOC2
Seasons
2019

“We obviously have to do a better job of tackling, making sure we don’t put ourselves in bad positions on the defensive side. Offensively, Wheelersburg did some good things, but defensively, we have to keep getting better these last couple of weeks,” said Waverly coach Chris Crabtree. “We’re focusing on Minford now, though, and working to execute the gameplan and preparing for them to come here and have a great game.”

 

It will be another great matchup of running backs operating out of spread-the-field formation offenses.

 

Wiget was limited against the Oaks to only 61 yards and 15 carries, but he did account for both of Minford’s touchdowns – including an 8-yard run.

 

For the season, Wiget has rushed for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns on 167 carries, while junior quarterback Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis has added five rushing TD on 94 carries and 634 yards.

 

#
2
Name
Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis
Height
5-10
Weight
175
Current Team
Minford
Leagues
SEO, SOC2
Seasons
2019, 2020
Vogelsong-Lewis has thrown for nine touchdowns on 58 completions and 104 attempts, and for 1,002 yards.

 

Crabtree commented on the similarities of the two offenses.

 

“Everything kind of runs through the Wiget kid for them, so they are similar to what we like to do. He has carried the ball quite a bit, the majority of the time actually,” said the coach. “It comes down to making sure we are in our gaps up front where we need to be. And we have to tackle the football. It’s no mystery what they are going to do. They are going to run inside zone, and they are going to throw it to (Matthew) Risner and (Drew) Skaggs on the outside and down the field. We have to be better defensively and execute and tackle better.”

 

Ruby said spreading the wealth will be of greater emphasis this week, with wide receivers Matthew Risner and Drew Skaggs seeing more footballs flying their way.

 

“Offensively, we need to focus on taking care of the little things and get back to controlling what we can control. We need to win the line of scrimmage and spread the ball around to make it difficult on their defense to just key on one or two players,” he said. “We have to be able to score touchdowns when we are given the opportunity.”

 

But, that means keeping Shoemaker off the field.

Of the Tigers’ 250 total carries this season, the five-foot nine-inch 155-pound senior Shoemaker now has 189 — while rushing for 1,668 yards and 23 touchdowns, which is good enough for almost nine yards per tote.

In addition, despite battling a knee injury all season which has hampered his mobility and even knocked him out of a game or two, junior quarterback Haydn’ Shanks has completed 83-of-135 passes for 1,282 yards and 13 touchdowns with only one interception.

#
13
Name
Haydn Shanks
Position
2021
Height
6-03
Weight
190
Current Team
Waverly
Leagues
SEO, SOC2
Seasons
2019, 2020

“Waverly does such a good job with getting the ball to their playmakers, whether it be in the running game or the passing game. Haydn’ Shanks is a great quarterback who can make just about any throw on the field. Their receivers are big, fast and hard to cover. Shoemaker is very dangerous in the open field, but he also has the ability to run between the tackles. When you put all of that together, their offense makes you defend the entire width and depth of the football field,” said Ruby. “With their weapons, they can score from anywhere on the field in many different ways.”

 

Crabtree was asked if ball control could be one of those ways – with Wiget, like Shoemaker, capable of breaking off a big play on any given snap.

 

“We’re designed to go fast, and time of possession isn’t something we have had a lot of concern. We score really quick and then our defense is back on the field,” he said. “There are times where we can slow it down and take the ball out of their hands, but our philosophy tends to be give our offense as many opportunities as we can. We are going to play how we play and see how it turns out.”

 

And, how this week turns out will have a monumental impact on how two weeks from now sets up – assuming one or both squads sees the regional quarterfinal round.

 

For the Tigers, it is simple.

 

Win both, and Waverly will host a Region 15 quarterfinal.

“We have a lot to take care of this week and next week. But if we do that, then postseason play sets up pretty well. There would be a really good chance we would have a home playoff game in a better region for us. Our next two weeks are very important for us to go out and play well,” said Crabtree. “It would be nice if our eight seniors get to play a playoff game here and be able to play as many as we can.”

 

The same goes for the Falcons, which can climb back into the top four of Region 19 with a win.

 

But Ruby said playoff possibilities take care of themselves – as long as they play against the Tigers like they did against Wheelersburg and unlike Oak Hill.

 

Truth be told, it’s the perfect time for a Falcon bounce back.

 

“We need to treat this game in the same way we did for the Wheelersburg game. Waverly’s team is similar to Wheelersburg, and they will be just as challenging when it comes to scoring on them and defending them,” said Ruby. “It is a game in which we need to play to the best of our ability.”

 

RankPlayerPositionATTRUYDSTD
1Payton Shoemaker2020304234432
2Hunter Ward2020212222
3Dawson Shoemaker202211550
4Jackson Poe20218247
5Trey Brushart2023270

 

RankPlayerPositionATTRUYDSTD
1Ty Wiget2020208142918
2Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis1327699
3Matthew Risner181232
4Andy Crank3480
5Bryson Ashley20207340
PosTeamWLPFPANet Pts
15020155146
2411819289
33284119-35
4231229032
51443164-121
60552163-111

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pirates win wild shootout with Waverly

Results

Team1234TOutcome
Wheelersburg7147742Win
Waverly777728Loss

 

Pirates win wild shootout with Waverly

By Paul Boggs

Photo’s by Ruth Boll

WHEELERSBURG — For anything Waverly’s Payton Shoemaker can do — and did on Friday night — Wheelersburg’s Makya Matthews can certainly do too.

And — in fact — Matthews joined Evan Horsley, Hunter Ruby and the Pirates’ offensive line in racing past the visiting Tigers, and thus took over inside track position towards another outright Southern Ohio Conference Division II championship.

Matthews mustered an estimated 300 all-purpose yards, Wheelersburg rushed for 457 as a team, and the Pirates withstood Shoemaker’s big plays en route to capturing a critical 42-28 victory inside an electric — and even overflow — Ed Miller Stadium in Wheelersburg.

That’s correct.

While Waverly’s playmaker Shoemaker — the Tigers’ all-Ohio Division IV running back — showed off in the form of 202 rushing yards and all four of the Tigers’ touchdowns, the Pirates put it together in a variety of ways while spreading around the wealth.

With the victory, the Pirates are now 5-3 while Waverly dipped to 6-2 — as both squads entered Ed Miller Stadium with identical 2-0 SOC II records.

It was a total team triumph for Wheelersburg, which won its third consecutive contest — and extended a pair of impressive streaks.

The five-time defending division champion Pirates took a gigantic step, or two, towards their sixth straight title — winning their 24th straight SOC II tilt dating back to this time back in 2013.

In addition, Wheelersburg won over Waverly again — a now 13-game stretch which dates back to the Tigers’ two victories in 2005 and 2006.

Wheelersburg coach Rob Woodward has headed up the Pirates for now a dozen meetings with Waverly, and only Friday’s contest — along with the 11-point outcome (24-13 Wheelersburg win) three years ago — have been within two touchdowns.

But at least this one lived up to the amped-up build-up, as most observers around Southeastern Ohio had obviously dubbed the matchup as the region’s “game of the week”.

With Wheelersburg’s pedigree, however, it seems like every week is that way with the tradition-rich Pirates.

The trio of teams which have defeated them this season are a combined — and staggering — 22-2, as the Orange and Black overcame early-season injuries and adversity to successfully save their season and right their ship.

As of early Saturday morning, Wheelersburg “controls its own destiny” towards a Division V, Region 19 playoff berth.

“Our kids understand how hard we’ve worked. We had such a tough battle early on in the year, but all it did was strengthen us and exposed things that we needed to work on as a coaching staff and do better as a team. It put guys in pressure situations, and we’ve tried to work and figure out what the best scenarios are of the personnel that we have,” said Woodward. “We’re playing our best football right now at the end of the year.”

But, the first goal against Waverly was conquering the club which many observers believed was the one most likely to unseat the Pirates atop the SOC II.

With Shoemaker touching the football, he can score on any given snap — which he did twice on Friday night with touchdown dashes of 75 yards in the second quarter and again from 40 yards midway through the third.

Of the Tigers’ 250 total carries this season, the five-foot nine-inch 155-pound senior Shoemaker now has 189 — while rushing for 1,668 yards and 23 touchdowns, which is good enough for almost nine yards per tote.

He also tallied two short TD plunges — from a yard and three yards out — accounting for 24 of the Tigers’ 28 points, with all-Ohio placekicker Grayson Diener drilling all four of his extra-point kicks.

But only one player could, and would, outdo Shoemaker — that being the Pirates’ Matthews.

Matthews, often on jet sweep plays or inside isolation calls, managed a healthy 29 carries for a hefty 267 rushing yards — and had a hat trick of touchdowns.

He also caught two passes for 25 yards, and would have added more return yards — had he not fumbled a Diener punt or had Diener not sent three kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.

His short seven-yard run put the Pirates ahead 14-7 just a minute and 47 seconds into the second quarter, and capped a 10-play, 65-yard, four-minute and 24-second scoring drive — which was kept alive by a Waverly roughing-the-punter penalty.

After Shoemaker sprinted for his 75-jaunt on the next play from scrimmage that spanned exactly 19 seconds, Matthews immediately answered — taking a straight isolation up the middle for 49 yards to make it 21-14 at the 7:16 mark.

That drive last just two minutes and 20 seconds, and covered a quick 80 yards in only seven plays.

His third and final touchdown, with only a minute-and-a-half remaining, was a 42-yard burst in which he broke free — and occurred as Wheelersburg was basically attempting to run out the clock with a 35-28 lead.

Matthews’ final 42 yards occurred on the Pirates’ 64th play from scrimmage, and gave them 457 rushing yards with 27 first downs, as Horsley hammered out 94 yards on 17 totes from the quarterback position — and playing almost the entire time on an injured and taped-up ankle.

“They (Pirates) had some formations that we knew and we had practiced, but sometimes we didn’t get aligned right. And the kids sometimes don’t get to practice that speed. Matthews is fast, and sometimes you don’t get as a realistic look as maybe you need to,” said Waverly coach Chris Crabtree. “It wasn’t anything we didn’t see or didn’t expect, but at times, we probably didn’t tackle as well we needed to. Matthews probably got an extra few yards every time we did tackle him. That’s a credit to him being a strong and fast kid, but we just couldn’t get off the field when we needed to.”

Horsley, who has quarterbacked the Pirates for the past two-and-a-half games, also completed 7-of-12 passes for 91 yards — with Ruby making five receptions for 66 yards while rushing for 72 on a dozen attempts.

“Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games,” said Woodward of his top trio from Friday night. “Makya Matthews and Hunter Ruby were a great one-two punch, and Evan Horsley had to battle through getting banged up early on, and what a warrior he was out there. But he takes command of our offense. He still was able to run the ball that much and do the job that he did. All three of them wanted to make sure they played and battled through this game and they did that. But our best our defense was our offense and our offensive line. Our backs ran hard and our line blocked well. That was the best performance our offense put together tonight.”

Especially in the second half, when Woodward and Wheelersburg went ball-control mode, attempting to keep Shoemaker — who already had rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns on 15 first-half carries — off the field.

The Pirates took the second-half kickoff and played keep-away, marching 80 yards in 11 plays and consuming five minutes and seven seconds off the third-quarter clock.

The Pirates, with all 11 plays coming on the ground, picked up five first downs — as Carson Williams went in from five yards out to finally double the lead to 28-14 at the 6:53 mark.

Sure enough, Shoemaker scored only a minute and 11 seconds later — with his 40-yard dash that followed five plays.

But the Pirates then crafted yet another impressive 80-yard scoring march — this one even more accomplished, in the form of 13 plays and devouring exactly six minutes and 53 seconds.

Ruby ran in from three yards out just 1:11 into the fourth quarter — making it a two-score game again at 35-21.

“That’s (ball control) what we really wanted to do the entire game,” said Woodward. “Take chances when we could, but make sure that if it took a few plays to get the chains moving, then that’s okay. That keeps a very explosive Shoemaker off the field.”

But right on cue, the Tigers and Shoemaker wasted little time to answer — 40 seconds in fact following a 49-yard, three-play drive.

Waverly quarterback Haydn’ Shanks, who was limited with his mobility and playing on an injured knee, still completed nine of his 17 passes for 162 yards — including a half-dozen to Will Futhey, whose deep 45-yard reception following a false-start penalty put the Tigers in business at the Wheelersburg 9-yard-line.

That was Waverly’s longest pass play, as Futhey finished with six catches for 126 yards, including his final two receptions of 27 and 24.

Shoemaker covered the final nine yards of that Tiger series — scoring from three to make it 35-28 with 10:07 remaining.

However, Waverly wouldn’t score again — and when it needed to the most.

The Pirates moved to the red zone again in only eight plays and 43 yards, but once again and more importantly controlled the clock — this time holding the football for five-and-a-half minutes.

But a 41-yard field goal attempt by Braxton Sammons, who successfully converted all six of his extra-point kicks, missed just short and to the right with 4:37 to go.

The Tigers tried to hurry-up with their no-huddle offense and tie, but they turned the ball over on downs at midfield, following back-to-back sacks of Shanks that lost 10 yards to the Waverly 48 — and an incomplete pass on fourth down.

On that particular possession, Shoemaker carried just once for six yards.

“We just didn’t convert on offense there. We didn’t hit it all on all cylinders like we needed to do at times,” said Crabtree.

Matthews then put the contest on ice, taking his final carry his 42 yards to the house to make it 42-28 with Sammons’ sixth and final extra-point boot.

To add added injury to insult, the Pirates forced three more Shanks incompletions on the Tigers’ final series that covered eight plays and only a minute between the 30-yard-lines, but they sacked Shanks twice more — and the junior signal-caller had to be assisted off the field following the second one.

Crabtree said he expects Shanks “to be okay”.

“He obviously has an injury on that knee, and he got hit from behind on that last play and went down on that knee. He got up and came off the field, and right now, he’s moving around pretty good,” said the coach. “It’s been week-to-week for him so we’ll have to see how it goes, but I think he will be fine.”

Both the very end, and the very beginning of the game, were disastrous for the Tigers.

That’s because Shoemaker fumbled on the game’s first play, and Wheelersburg recovered at the Waverly 33.

Horsley hit Matthews for 16 yards to the Tiger 23, then two plays later, found Ruby with a nice touch pass from 19 yards out to get the Pirates on the scoreboard just two minutes and 19 seconds in.

“With an explosive offense like what Waverly has, that turnover we turned into points was an extra possession for us that we weren’t counting on,” said Woodward. “That was good.”

Crabtree admitted that mistakes and subsequent field position played a major role, as the Tigers trailed from opening kickoff until the final whistle.

“In that first half, we were our own worst enemy. We probably beat ourselves more than they did,” he said. “We had that turnover, we had the roughing penalty that led to their second touchdown. We talked about whomever makes the least mistakes is going to come out on top. We made a few more than they did. Ultimately, those things are going to come back and get you when you play against really good teams. But I am proud of my kids for coming out and competing and playing hard. It would have been easy for them to hang their heads and back down after that first play, but they didn’t.”

Waverly will host fellow 6-2 Minford next week, as the Oak Hill Oaks upset the host Falcons on Friday night, kicking a last-second field goal to win 17-14.

Wheelersburg, which played at Ed Miller Stadium for the first time in a month, will return to the road — and return to SOC II action — at Valley next week.

A win over the Indians will lock up at least a share of the Pirates’ sixth straight SOC II title.

“Our first goal is to win the SOC. Tonight, we took the next step we needed to take,” said Woodward. “We will work towards the next step next week.”

* * *

Waverly 7 7 7 7 — 28

Wheelersburg 7 14 7 14— 42

WBurg — Hunter Ruby, 19-yard pass from Evan Horsley (Braxton Sammons kick), 9:41, 1st (7-0 WBurg)

Wave — Payton Shoemaker, 1-yard run (Grayson Diener kick), 2:41, 1st (7-7 tie)

WBurg — Makya Matthews, 7-yard run (Braxton Sammons kick), 10:13, 2nd (14-7 WBurg)

Wave — Payton Shoemaker, 75-yard run (Grayson Diener kick), 9:48 2nd (14-14 tie)

WBurg — Makya Matthews, 49-yard run (Braxton Sammons kick), 7:11, 2nd (21-14 WBurg)

WBurg — Carson Williams, 5-yard run (Braxton Sammons kick), 6:33, 3rd (28-14 WBurg)

Wave — Payton Shoemaker, 40-yard run (Grayson Diener kick), 5:42, 3rd (28-21 WBurg)

WBurg — Hunter Ruby, 3-yard run (Braxton Sammons kick), 10:49, 4th (35-21 WBurg)

Wave — Payton Shoemaker, 3-yard run (Grayson Diener kick), 10:07, 4th (35-28 Wburg)

WBurg — Makya Matthews, 42-yard run (Braxton Sammons kick), 1:33, 4th (42-28 Wburg)

Team Statistics

Wave WBurg

First Downs 13 27

Scrimmage Plays 43 77

Rushes-Yards 25-177 64-457

Passing Yards 162 91

Total Yards 339 548

Cmp-Att-Int 9-18-0 7-13-2

Fumbles-Lost 2-1 2-0

Penalties-Yards 6-40 8-48

Punts-Average 3-40.3 1-32

——

Individual Leaders

RUSHING —Waverly: Payton Shoemaker 21-202 4TD, Haydn’ Shanks 4-(-25); Wheelersburg: Makya Matthews 29-267 3TD, Evan Horsley 17-94, Hunter Ruby 12-72 TD, Carson Williams 5-15 TD, Aaron Masters 1-9

PASSING — Waverly: Haydn’ Shanks 9-17-0-162, Wade Futhey 0-1-0-0; Wheelersburg: Evan Horsley 7-12-1-91 TD, Makya Matthews 0-1-1-0

RECEIVING — Waverly: Will Futhey 6-126, Phoenix Wolf 2-9, Mark Stulley 1-27; Wheelersburg: Hunter Ruby 5-66 TD, Makya Matthews 2-25

Wheelersburg

# Offense CMP ATT INT PYDS TD ATT RUYDS TD REC REYDS TD
Evan Horsley7121911171000000
Hunter Ruby00000168504470
Carson Williams00000230000
14Aaron Masters00000190000
20Gage Adkins000000001191
29Makya Matthews011003126932250
 Total71329116746637911
# Defense Sacks Tackles INT FGM FGA
 Total00000

Waverly

# Offense CMP ATT INT PYDS TD ATT RUYDS TD REC REYDS TD
1Payton Shoemaker00000212014000
6Will Futhey0000000061190
10Mark Stulley000000001270
13Haydn Shanks917015504-250000
15Wade Futhey01000000000
23Phoenix Wolf00000000290
 Total9180155025176491550
# Defense Sacks Tackles INT FGM FGA
 Total00000

Details

Date Time League Season
October 18, 2019 7:00 pm SEO 2019

Venue

Wheelersburg

Tigers, Pirates meet in huge SE Ohio showdown

Tigers, Pirates meet in huge SE Ohio showdown

Wheelersburg vs Waverly (On time)

By PAUL BOGGS

Photo’s by Ruth Boll

If you believe a lot of what you hear, then this season is surely the Waverly Tigers’ best opportunity – maybe ever – at a victory against the Wheelersburg Pirates.

 

But also, if you believe what you actually see, then you can’t miss the fact that these Pirates are perhaps peaking at exactly the perfect time.

 

Indeed, the inside track to the 2019 Southern Ohio Conference Division II  championship – and a truckload of OHSAA playoff computer points – awaits the winner on Friday night, as the Tigers travel to Wheelersburg for what has to be the most amped and hyped-up matchup between these two proud programs in recent memory.

One thing is for sure – it’s gotta be considered “the game of the week” throughout all of Southeastern Ohio.

 

Kickoff inside what should be an electric – and even overflow – Ed Miller Stadium in Wheelersburg is set for 7 p.m.

The Tigers are 6-1 while the Pirates are 4-3, but Wheelersburg has certainly righted its ship after an 0-2 and 2-3 start – while Waverly rides a four-game winning streak.

 

Both squads are 2-0 in the SOC II, but the Pirates carry with them a now 23-game division win streak into Friday night.

 

And don’t worry about that excess of Orange and Black, because basically everyone inside Ed Miller Stadium – minus the obvious neutral observers – will be donning those colors.

 

Yeah, you can say this is a big ballgame in the late stages of the season – especially when both clubs “control their own destiny” towards a state playoff berth.

 

Of course, both coaches – in interviews over the telephone this week – tried to emphasize the importance of not blowing the buildup out of proper proportion.

“We know who we are playing this week, but whether it is Wheelersburg this week or Minford next week or Oak Hill in week 10, we still have to go out and execute a gameplan to win the game,” said Waverly coach Chris Crabtree. “You can’t get all caught up and lost in who we are playing. We just need to do what we have to do, and be confident that we will go down there and have success. (Wheelersburg coach) Rob (Woodward) and his staff always do a tremendous job from one year to the next there, and they don’t rebuild, they just reload. They will try to get the ball in Makya Matthews’ hands and we know they play great defense. It’s still going to come down for us and our ability to not make mistakes, make plays on offense and be able to tackle well in space on defense.”

 

Wheelersburg coach Rob Woodward was also asked about the SOC II championship chase – and the playoff push that this week’s bout brings about.

“Those things of course exist, but all we can do is control the things we can control on the field when playing Waverly this week,” he said. “The playoff points and how those shake out, we can’t worry about that. We just have to focus on a good week of practice and preparation – both physically and mentally – for a good Waverly team that is coming in here on Friday with every intention of beating us. They have a lot of good athletes, a lot of speed, a lot of weapons who are dangerous when the football is their hands. Our kids know what’s at stake, but they also know they need to focus on the things we need to work on to hopefully help us get another win.”

 

One thing that is different for the Pirates this week – they are finally back in the friendly confines of Ed Miller Stadium.

 

They’ve been on the road for the past month, and won three of four games to reverse the early-season slide, including that epic SOC II opener in overtime (21-20) at Minford two weeks ago.

 

“It is nice to be back at home, where we’ve been on the road for a while,” said Woodward. “Ed Miller Stadium should be rocking and that should only help elevate our kids’ play. There is always a lot of energy there that our kids feed off of. It’s exciting to be home.”

 

However, what Wheelersburg did discover during its lengthy road show was that Evan Horsley is indeed its starting quarterback.

 

#
Name
Evan Horsley
Current Team
Wheelersburg
Leagues
SEO, SOC2
Seasons
2019
Horsley (5-10, 205, Sr.) took over under center in the second quarter of the Minford game, and promptly completed a 76-yard touchdown pass to Pirate primary playmaker Makya Matthews.

 

In the second half and overtime against the Falcons, he engineered two go-ahead scoring drives – and rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

 

Last week, he followed that up at Oak Hill by completing 7-of-9 passes for 150 yards – three of which went to Matthews for 82.

 

Horsley hit Matthews for a 44-yard scoring strike in the second stanza, after connecting with Hunter Ruby for a 50-yard touchdown in the opening quarter.

 

Horsley also rushed four times for 56 yards, scoring on three of them, including from 43 yards out in the second period.

 

Woodward said Horsley was last a regular quarterback as a freshman backup, but that injuries and other circumstances made the coaching staff decide that he was the best young man for the job.

 

“The key for us offensively has been taking care of the football, and Evan (Horsley) has been making good decisions,” said the coach. “Evan can make plays throwing the ball, but when the passing play breaks down, he knows to take off and use his feet. But most importantly, he takes good care of the football for us. We worked him into the rotation with the injuries we had to other guys at the start of the year, and he has handled it with such maturity.”

 

Crabtree said Horsley playing quarterback only adds to an already multi-dimensional and complex Pirate offense that is difficult to slow down – let alone stop.

 

“They throw so much at you. Especially in different formations and packages. They try to ouflank you with so many formations and plays. Now you have Horsley who gives them another dimension of running the ball from the quarterback position,” said Crabtree. “Then of course Matthews is a playmaker like we haven’t seen. Whether they line him up at running back, at wide receiver, in motion, in the slot, they are going find ways to get him the ball. They will take their shots downfield too, because they have other good receivers as well.”

 

Crabtree contends that his Tigers must be physical up front with Wheelersburg, but  must also be able to tackle the likes of Matthews in space – and eliminate the Pirates’ playmaking ability.

 

“They can burn you with big plays, especially Makya (Matthews),” he said. “We can’t let them hit us for so many big plays like they have the capability to do so. We need to play physical, but we also need to play fast, and part of that is getting to the football and making tackles.”

#
29
Name
Makya Matthews
Current Team
Wheelersburg
Leagues
SEO, SOC2
Seasons
2019

Meanwhile, Woodward said the Tigers have their own playmaker in running back and kick returner Payton Shoemaker.

 

Of the Tigers’ 225 total carries this season, Shoemaker (5-9, 155, Sr.) has 168 – while rushing for 1,466 yards and 19 touchdowns, which is good for almost nine yards per tote.

#
1
Name
Payton Shoemaker
Position
2020
Height
5-09
Weight
155
Current Team
Waverly
Leagues
SEO, SOC2
Seasons
2019

He has also returned seven punts for 63 yards, and 10 kickoffs for 224.

 

His all-purpose yardage totals nearly 1,900 (1,861 yards), which is an average of 266 yards per game.

 

While Waverly operates out of the spread-the-field attack – and quarterback Haydn’ Shanks has completed 74-of-118 passes for 1,120 yards and 13 touchdowns with only one interception – it is indeed Shoemaker that has Woodward most concerned.

#
13
Name
Haydn Shanks
Position
2021
Height
6-03
Weight
190
Current Team
Waverly
Leagues
SEO, SOC2
Seasons
2019, 2020

“Payton Shoemaker is the key to their offense, and he is really a threat to score at any time,” he said. “They have the (Haydn’) Shanks kid at quarterback and two really good receivers in (Phoenix) Wolf and (Will) Futhey, but Shoemaker’s running ability sets up their passing game. They like to use their athletes and spread the ball around, but it starts first with Shoemaker, so we need to account for him and make sure we are getting guys around him.”

 

With the exception of their 41-14 week-three four-turnover and injury-riddled loss against Unioto, the Tigers have scored at least 30 points in every game, including a second-highest for season-high 48 against Amanda-Clearcreek.

 

Waverly remains, in fact, the 6-1 Aces’ only defeat for the year.

 

Amanda-Clearcreek is in Wheelersburg’s playoff region – Region 19 of Division V – as the Pirates (12.0071 computer points average) improved to third following their 55-0 shutout at Oak Hill.

 

Meanwhile, Waverly (13.1286) is third in Region 15 of Division IV – after three years of qualifying for the playoffs in the Cincinnati-heavy Region 16.

 

The Tigers, should they make the postseason again, should compete better against teams closer to this side of U.S. Route 23.

 

Waverly does, however, need to start competing much better against the Pirates, which have won every meeting in this series since 2007 – by a whopping scoring average of 43-8 that includes four shutouts.

 

In fact, last year (Wheelersburg won 49-0 in 2018) was one of those.

 

Crabtree contends that this season can be different against the Pirates.

 

And, on paper, it appears to be the Tigers’ best opportunity in at least a decade-and-a-half.

 

“We have a lot of experience, and I think being in this situation before where we haven’t performed as well against Wheelersburg has helped us learn for this year,” said Crabtree. “We know what Wheelersburg is and has been, and it’s always a very tough place to play. But our kids are going in there confident that if we take care of the football, we execute our gameplan and we make the plays we need to make, we will give ourselves a chance.”

For the Pirates, it’s just another important encounter for a tradition-rich program that has seen so many – especially in the SOC II.

 

“Our kids’ first goal is to win the league, and we know we get everybody’s best shot” said Woodward. “We prepare physically and mentally for this game like any other. We absolutely respect every opponent we play, and we do all the things from the start of the week until the end of the week to get us ready to play on Friday.”

 

Trojans, Blue Devils duel in battle of unbeatens, Week 5 Preview Worthington Christian at Trimble, Valley at Northwest, Amanda-Clearcreek at Waverly

Trojans, Blue Devils duel in battle of unbeatens

Gallia Academy vs Portsmouth (On time)

By PAUL BOGGS & Kent Sanborn

 

 

Two tradition-rich and proud programs, which just happen to be 4-0 for the first time in ages, do battle on Friday night.

 

In a key Ohio Valley Conference clash, the Portsmouth Trojans travel the long trek to Gallia County to take on the Gallia Academy Blue Devils – the defending OVC champion.

 

Both teams are 4-0, with the Trojans 4-for-4 for the first time since 2002, while the Blue Devils hold that same mark – for the first time since 1994.

 

But, for the here and now, the winner will move to 2-0 in the OVC, as both captured their conference openers last week while looking to complete the first half of this season still undefeated.

 

Kickoff inside historic Memorial Field in Gallipolis is set for 7 p.m.

Dating back a decade ago in the now defunct Southeastern Ohio Athletic League, the Trojans have defeated the Blue Devils just twice – in 2009 and 2016.

 

That (2016) was Gallia Academy’s initial season in the OVC, as Portsmouth has been a member since a year earlier.

 

The Trojans tied Ironton for runner-up to the Blue Devils last season, thanks largely to senior running back Talyn Parker, who is back to his rushing – and scoring – ways.

 

#
1
Name
Talyn Parker
Position
2020
Height
5-11
Weight
195
Current Team
Portsmouth
Leagues
OVC, SEO
Seasons
2019
The reigning Division V Southeast District Offensive Player of the Year, Parker put up 266 rushing yards last week against injury-riddled Rock Hill, scoring all five of the Trojans’ touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversion runs in Portsmouth’s 40-28 victory.

 

Meanwhile, the Blue Devils – after edging arch-rival Point Pleasant 14-13 in the Big Blacks’ season-opener the week before – dominated against visiting Chesapeake, rolling to a 55-27 triumph.

 

#
3
Name
James Armstrong
Position
2021
Height
6-00
Weight
190
Current Team
Gallia Academy
Leagues
OVC, SEO
Seasons
2019, 2020
Gallia Academy’s own primary playmaker, junior James Armstrong, enjoyed an excellent game against the Panthers – running wild for 214 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.

 

Hence, one of the keys to Friday’s contest will be stopping the other’s speedster tailback.

 

Two years ago, in the Blue Devils’ 36-35 nailbiting win, Parker played big as a sophomore, so Gallia Academy is going to have to swarm him under and keep him in check.

The Blue Devils do have an experience advantage up front, however, and are seen by many observers as a decided favorite for Friday night’s outcome.

 

The Trojan lines are indeed young, and two of Parker’s touchdowns last week went for 59 and 69 yards – in which he broke tackles, got free and utilized his speed.

 

Both teams, with the initial release of the Ohio High School Athletic Association computer ratings, are fourth in their respective regions (Portsmouth in Division V Region 19, Gallia Academy in Division IV Region 15).

 

Worthington Christian at Trimble

Trimble vs Worthington Christian (On time)

 

There must be something about the end zone that the Trimble Tomcats are overly protecting.

#
42
Name
Sawyer Koons
Position
2020
Height
6-00
Weight
225
Current Team
Trimble
Leagues
SEO, TVC-Hocking
Seasons
2019

That’s because the undefeated Tomcats – in scoring 35 points in the season opener against Nelsonville-York before back-to-back-to-back Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division shutouts against Belpre (46), Meigs Eastern (48) and South Gallia (45) – have NOT been scored upon all season.

You heard correct.

 

Not one touchdown, not one field goal, and not even one safety.

[event_scoreboard id=”1724″ number=”10″ align=”none”]

But this week, that shutout streak to start 2019 will face – by far – its most difficult challenge yet, as the 3-1 Worthington Christian Warriors will invade Tomcat country for an extremely significant non-league tilt.

 

Kickoff on Friday night inside Glouster Memorial Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m.

#
10
Name
Conner Wright
Position
2020
Height
5-11
Weight
190
Current Team
Trimble
Leagues
SEO, TVC-Hocking
Seasons
2018, 2019

The Warriors’ only loss is against undefeated Galion Northmor, as the remainder of WC’s opponents have combined for a mark of 2-10.

 

Like Trimble, the Warriors play primarily Division VI or VII squads, as the Tomcats’ toppled opponents are all 2-2 with the exception of 1-3 South Gallia.

#
12
Name
Cameron Kittle
Position
2020
Height
6-01
Weight
175
Current Team
Trimble
Leagues
SEO, TVC-Hocking
Seasons
2019

While Worthington Christian is only 13th in the Division VI, Region 24 computer ratings, the Tomcats sit in third in Division VI, Region 21.

 

Valley at Northwest

Northwest vs Valley (On time)

Speaking of protecting a house, that’s exactly what the Northwest Mohawks will attempt on Friday night when they welcome their nearby neighbor – the Valley Indians.

 

But this time, the Mohawks’ house has been superbly renovated, as Northwest will play its first true home game this season – amid its nice new upgraded facilities.

#
12
Name
Andrew Andronis
Position
2021
Current Team
Valley
Leagues
SEO, SOC2
Seasons
2019, 2020

Kickoff at Northwest High School is set for 7 p.m.

 

Both schools are members of the Southern Ohio Conference, but like the Oak Hill Oaks of last week, Northwest of the SOC I faces Valley of the non-league SOC II.

 

Between the lines, the Indians are 3-1 and on a three-game win streak – and could be 4-0 had they not been plagued by mistakes in their 32-27 season-opening loss at Portsmouth.

 

The young Mohawks (2-2), meanwhile, had their two-game win streak snapped at Oak Hill, as the Oaks are now in the SOC II after dominating the SOC I for a decade.

Northwest is now the biggest fish in that small-school pond, as it plays primarily juniors, sophomores and freshmen – despite its dramatically increased numbers.

 

The Indians are more experienced, and currently hold the eighth spot in the Division VI Region 24 computer ratings.

 

Amanda-Clearcreek at Waverly

Waverly vs Amanda-Clearcreek (On time)

 

The Amanda-Clearcreek Aces and Waverly Tigers will play some serious computer games this week, with Friday night’s non-league encounter between a pair of Ohio playoff regulars.

 

The Aces are undefeated while the Tigers are 3-1, as kickoff inside Raidiger Field in Waverly is set for 7 p.m.

 

In a potential playoff points pick-me-up, the Tigers – with wins over Athens and at Fairland – can make a major move in the Division IV, Region 15 rankings.

 

That’s because the Aces are 4-0 in Division V, Region 19, although two of those triumphs are against Liberty Union and Fairfield Union – both winless on the year.

 

Amanda is third in Region 19 while Waverly is fourth in Region 15, as the Tigers’ lone loss is against Unioto, which handled them to the tune of 41-14.

 

That is the same Sherman squad that the Aces, operating out of the power-I and succeeding, trumped 32-14.

 

Raidiger Field will also double as Payton’s Place on Friday night.

#
1
Name
Payton Shoemaker
Position
2020
Height
5-09
Weight
155
Current Team
Waverly
Leagues
SEO, SOC2
Seasons
2019

 

While Waverly and its spread-the-field finesse philosophy is paced by senior running back Payton Shoemaker, Amanda-Clearcreek counters with a power-running attack – engineered by senior quarterback Payton Madison.

 

Expect the Aces to employ a ball-control style, trying to play defense by keeping Shoemaker on the sidelines.

 

Jesse Connell is the lead running back and the Aces’ top defensive player, while wide receiver Jayse Miller is a nephew of former legendary A-C head coach Ron Hinton.

 

Amanda’s aerial assault – unlike the Tigers – isn’t expected to be much more than screens, slants and comeback routes.

 

The Aces have, however, had eight turnovers in the previous three weeks.

Games of the Week: Indians, Trojans open 2019 Season Thursday, Athens @ Waverly, Nelsonville-York @ Trimble, Wellston @ Jackson

Indians, Trojans open season Thursday

 

By PAUL BOGGS

Photo’s by Kent Sanborn, Tim Gearhart & Shawna Ruckel

Also see game of the Week Wheelersburg @ Ironton 

As has become customary, the Valley Indians and Portsmouth Trojans are once again opening the football season in Southeastern Ohio on Thursday night.

And, with not only the one-night spotlight on almost exclusively themselves, the individual spotlight is on Portsmouth senior tailback Talyn Parker.

#
1
Name
Talyn Parker
Position
2020
Height
5-11
Weight
195
Current Team
Portsmouth
Leagues
OVC, SEO
Seasons
2019

Parker, the defending Division V Southeast District Offensive Player of the Year, leads the talented and highly-touted Trojans against the upstart Indians – as kickoff inside sparkling Trojan Coliseum in Portsmouth is set for 7 p.m.

Portsmouth is coming off a 7-3 regular season, and a berth in the Division V state playoffs, plus Parker returns after a 2,500-yard and 29-touchdown rushing campaign a year ago.

As part of Parker’s offensive onslaught last season, the Trojans topped the Indians 57-40 in the season-opening shootout in Lucasville, which was a back-and-forth affair for three-and-a-half quarters.

It was Portsmouth’s third consecutive victory in the series, as the Trojans have scored at least 32 points in all three.

Valley won the four previous meetings, including a 41-40 scorefest five years ago.

Thursday could be a repeat of such, as the Trojans turn to Parker – plus some other offensive weapons.

“Talyn Parker had an amazing year last year and set three school rushing records and gained all kinds of honors. But we have some other weapons than just him that we need to get the ball to if we’re going to be successful again,” said Portsmouth coach Bruce Kalb. “Let’s be honest, if you’re scouting us, you’re thinking I’m going to get eight, maybe nine, even a 10th guy in the box. We probably averaged only seven passes a game last year. We want to take some of that pressure off Talyn.”

The Indians – off a 4-6 season – were already thinking about defending Parker during Valley’s Media Day activities, per 30-year head coach Darren Crabtree.

Head Coach Darren Crabtree

Current Team
Valley

“If you guys (media) know of a way to stop Parker, please let me know,” said Crabtree. “He only rushed for over 300 yards against us last year. I know they lost some good linemen, but this is a game that we feel we can compete well in like we did last year.”

 

Athens at Waverly

 

Speaking of shootouts, Athens and Waverly will likely be just that in their season-opening affair at Waverly’s Raidiger Field.

Kickoff is set for Friday night at 7 p.m.

It’s a new opponent on the schedule for both, as both are coming off 9-1 regular seasons and state playoff appearances a year ago.

Athens is Division III, falling only at Fairland 35-31, before steamrolling through the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division and scoring no fewer than 39 points in each league tilt.

Waverly is Division IV, and only lost to Division V state semifinalist and Southern Ohio Conference Division II champion Wheelersburg.

The Tigers tallied at least 31 points in each victory.

While Waverly graduated wide receiver Easton Wolfe, the Southeast District Division IV Offensive Player of the Year, they return fellow first-team all-district all-purpose performer Payton Shoemaker.

Shoemaker, a second-team all-Ohioan, carried the ball 157 times for 1,050 yards and 10 touchdowns – while returning 24 kickoffs or punts for a combined 516 yards and one score.

In an anticipated up-and-down hurry-up battle, the Tigers may have a difference-maker in third-team all-Ohio placekicker Grayson Diener.

Diener averaged 53 yards on kickoffs with 22 touchbacks in 2018, and made 31-of-35 extra points and 3-of-4 field goals.

The Bulldogs have a new head coach in Nathan White, who has been an assistant since 2011 under the highly-successful Ryan Adams, who resigned after last year and with a coaching record of 96-27 in a dozen seasons.

Adams is the winningest football coach in Athens High history, as the Bulldogs advanced to the Division III state championship game in 2014, with that season’s Ohio Mr. Football and current LSU quarterback Joe Burrow calling the signals.

This season, Athens is replacing 19 seniors, including the TVC-Ohio Offensive Player of the Year and all-Ohio quarterback Clay Davis.

Several first-year varsity players are starting for the Bulldogs, but junior Joey Moore looks to become the next successful Green and Gold gunslinger.

Nate Trainer (46 receptions, 619 yards and 6 TD) and Peyton Gail (33 receptions, 462 yards and 1 TD) return as receivers.

 

Nelsonville-York at Trimble

 

Last year, the Trimble Tomcats torched arch-rival Nelsonville-York 34-7 in the season opener – an emphatic jump-start to their second Division VII state championship bout appearance in school history.

Only a one-point late loss in the middle of the march to Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (21-20) prevented a perfect regular season.

The Tomcats, now a Division VI program by the narrowest of margins, seek similar – even perfect – results again.

Nelsonville-York, meanwhile, must bounce back after a rare losing campaign – a disappointing 4-6 season.

In fact, the Buckeyes have endured just two losing seasons since the 1970s – the other being four years ago after opening with a win at Trimble.

The two Athens County archrivals renew their series Saturday night – this time at Trimble inside Glouster Memorial Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

Since 2000, the Buckeyes actually lead the Tomcats in the all-time series 11-10, as Nelsonville-York had won three consecutive prior to last year.

Trimble returns eight starters on defense, including the reigning Ohio Division VII Defensive Player of the Year Sawyer Koons.

Koons – a senior linebacker – collected a massive 136 tackles including 32 for loss, as end Ian Joyce joins him in triple digits in tackles (102 and 34 for loss).

On Saturday night, Trimble tries to bottle up Buckeye backfield standout Keegan Wilburn – the defending Division VI Southeast District Offensive Player of the Year.

#
3
Name
Keegan Wilburn
Position
2020
Current Team
Nelsonville-York
Leagues
SEO, TVC-Ohio
Seasons
2019

Wilburn, an Ohio University commit and first-team all-Ohioan, was a 1,000-yard running back which scored 21 of the Buckeyes’ 32 total touchdowns.

In his first three seasons of his decorated Orange and Brown career, he has amassed 2,674 rushing yards, 1,379 receiving yards and 55 trips to paydirt.

But Wilburn won’t be the only all-Ohio offensive player on the field.

Trimble senior quarterback Cameron Kittle – directing a wishbone attack – was a third-team all-stater last year, rushing for 1,018 yards and throwing for 750 more with 24 touchdowns.

He is joined in the backfield by Conner Wright, who rushed for 1,848 yards and 27 TDs.

 

Wellston at Jackson

All things, whether good or bad, must come to an end.

So too must the Jackson-Wellston football series, as the two Jackson County archrivals renew their matchup for the 106th and final time.

Saturday night’s series finale kicks off inside Jackson’s Alumni Stadium at 8 p.m.

It was announced exactly 18 months ago that with this year’s conclusion of the current four-year contract, the Ironmen and Golden Rockets would part ways with their week-one contest.

However, it’s been a series seriously dominated by the Ironmen, as Jackson owns a lopsided 73-26-6 advantage in the all-time tally, including winning 27 of the past 28 meetings.

Wellston’s win in 2010 snapped its infamous 19-game losing streak against the Ironmen, of which the program is traditionally two divisions larger than the Golden Rockets.

In the past 14 meetings, of Wellston’s losses, the closest the Golden Rockets got was a 21-7 decision in 2009 and a 14-0 shutout in 2005.

Since that shocker of nine years ago, the Ironmen have won every matchup by at least three touchdowns, including last season’s blowout by a count of 54-14.

On Saturday, the Ironmen are indeed heavy favorites again, as two returning all-Southeast District Division III players headline their 48-man roster, including the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in senior Brice Parks.

#
25
Name
Brice Parks
Position
2020
Height
5-10
Weight
190
Current Team
Jackson
Leagues
FAC, SEO
Seasons
2019

#
12
Name
Jared Icenhower
Position
2020
Height
6-00
Weight
185
Current Team
Jackson
Leagues
FAC, SEO
Seasons
2019
Fellow Jackson senior Jared Icenhower  – and fellow all-district first-teamer – returns as the Red and White’s quarterback.

Head Coach Andy Hall

Current Team
Jackson
Jackson coach Andy Hall   begins his 11th season in the Apple City, while Mike Smith takes over the young Golden Rockets, becoming the 11th head football coach at Wellston since 1990, when the late Bill Fyffe concluded his five-year stint.

The Golden Rockets, under Fyffe in the late 1980s, won three of four meetings against Jackson, including Wellston’s last win AT Jackson in 1989.

Beginning in the 2020 campaign, the Ironmen open against Logan – and the Golden Rockets open against Oak Hill.

Also see game of the Week Wheelersburg @ Ironton