Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
WAVERLY — Will Futhey must’ve ate his Wheaties Friday morning, because Waverly’s sophomore wide receiver had the game of his life Friday night.
Futhey, a 6-foot-5, 197-pound wideout, caught 10 passes for a school record 290 yards and found the end zone five times in a 48-13 rout of previously undefeated Amanda-Clearcreek.
Yes, those are real numbers.
“Today was a breakout game for me,” Futhey said. “It’s taken a lot of hard work and a lot of repetitions in practice to try and get better. When our vertical [passing game] is there, we’re pretty good. When we get that connection, it’s hard to stop. This is a big win for us.”
Big is an adjective that understates the win as a whole. From start to finish, Waverly (4-1) man-handled the visiting Aces while its offense produced video game-ish totals.
Amanda (4-1) returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, taking a 6-0 lead (missed PAT) just 13 seconds into the game. But from that point on, it was all Tigers.
“We’ve had to readjust and readapt with our injury situation,” Waverly coach Chris Crabtree said. “Amanda has been putting up some points, and we knew coming in that they’d be hard to handle. We figured they were going to try and punch us in the mouth. So we took their best shot early and we made some adjustments. I’m just really proud of our guys.”
After the Aces scored on the kickoff, Waverly’s Payton Shoemaker polished off a 10-play, 73-yard drive with an 18-yard touchdown scamper. Then, with 5:38 left to play in the opening quarter, Shoemaker scored again to cap an 89-yard drive, from a yard out, making iit 14-6.
On Amanda’ next possession, Penn Morrison picked off a pass to give the Tigers possession.
Futhey and quarterback Haydn’ Shanks then hooked up for a 34-yard scoring strike, one where Futhey dove to corral the ball at the nose of the goal line, giving Waverly a 21-6 advantage heading into the second.
The Aces answered with 8:58 left before halftime, cutting the lead to 21-13 but it’d be the last time they sniffed the end zone.
At the 7:03 mark in the second, Shanks hit Futhey for an acrobatic 22-yard score. On the play, Futhey battled a defender in the air, kept concentration while bobbling the ball, and secured the catch in the corner of the end zone.
After the defense forced a punt, the duo repeated the process with a 19-yard pass just before halftime, making it 34-13.
“Will does a heck of a job receiving,” Shanks said of his wideout. “We just connected tonight.”
After the pair produced three first half scores, they hooked up twice more in the second.
With 9:27 left in the third, Futhey caught a bubble pass and weaved his way through Amanda’s defense for a gritty 16-yard score. Then, at the 5:47 mark, the two hit the home run ball, dialing up a 78-yard score to put an exclamation on a butt-whooping.
|24:57||TIME OF POSSESSION||23:03|
“Obviously, our staff did a great job finding some mismatches,” Crabtree said. “Give Hadyn’ credit. That’s what he’s able to do. He can put it on the money and he knows what to look for. Then Will came out and made some great catches. He goes up and gets the ball. That’s the type of playmaker he is.”
Shanks finished the night 24-of-29 passing for 435 yards and five touchdowns. Alongside Futhey, Phoenix Wolf hauled in 13 catches for 119 yards. Shoemaker ended the night with 140 rushing yards and a pair of scores on 21 carries, topping 1,000 yards on the season.
The Tigers will next try and prey on Portsmouth West, this coming Friday on the road.
“It’s always a battle and [West] always plays us well down there,” Crabtree said. “The last two times we’ve been down there, it’s been a one-point game. We’re going to get their best. We just have to keep building on what we have and stay healthy.”