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GAME OF THE WEEK: Waverly, Wheelersburg to meet in SOC showdown

Brock Netter, Staff Writer

WAVERLY — The area’s Week 4 slate of football games is LOADED.

Paint Valley at Unioto, Piketon at Adena, Minford at Oak Hill and Miami Trace at Jackson. But for as good as those matchups are, one game stands at a level above the rest.

Wheelersburg at Waverly.

Nothing else really needs to be said. The story writes itself.

Whoever is providing the live stream, be sure the internet connection is spot on. And have a backup for your backup.

Here’s a preview of SOSA’s Game of the Week:

WHEELERSBURGWAVERLY
8-42019 Record9-3
31Playoff Appearances8
31-29All-Time Postseason Record4-8
52-7 win vs. Oak HillLast week’s result56-10 win at Valley
42Last year’s score28

WHEELERSBURG PIRATES (3-0)

THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • Jake Gregg (QB), Eli Swords (RB), Matthew Miller (WR)

History is on Wheelersburg’s side. The Pirates haven’t lost to Waverly since 2007.

Currently, the Pirates are averaging 41.6 points a game and doing it with a superbly effective and efficient passing game.

Jake Gregg has been nothing short of spectacular this season. He has nine touchdown passes and just 10 incompletions. He’s spreading the ball out to different receivers on the perimeter and allowing them to make plays in the open field, beginning with wideout Matthew Miller.

Miller has been Gregg’s go-to guy so far, and he hasn’t let his quarterback down. When the ball comes towards No. 12, the catch is going to be made.

But the Pirates also have a solid running game, centering around Eli Swords, that has been a little more formidable than Waverly’s run game up to this point. Swords’s hard-nosed running style and ability to get first downs could be very pivotal, especially late in the game.

WAVERLY TIGERS (3-0)

THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • Haydn’ Shanks (QB), Zeke Brown (WR), Keagan Smith (K)

Last season was supposed to be Waverly’s year, but the Tigers still couldn’t solve the mystery that is the Pirates. The memories are still fresh, and this could be the last shot.

Through three weeks, Waverly is averaging 47 points a game, which is tied with Jackson for the highest in the area. And much like Wheelersburg, the Tigers use an effective, impressive passing attack.

Haydn’ Shanks has 13 touchdown pass this season, and continues to find Will Futhey, which isn’t tough to do at 6-foot-5. However, this has to be the game Zeke Brown makes his presence felt on both sides of the ball.

Brown doesn’t have a receiving touchdown this season, but he does have an interception for a touchdown to his credit. He possesses raw talent, and this needs to be his coming out party.

Because points will be scored at a premium level, every point counts. Keagan Smith and the kicking game could be the difference maker.

BOTTOM LINE …

This is the biggest matchup in Southeast Ohio this season since many teams are playing conference-only schedules.

Quite possibly, this game decides the SOC II, although Waverly still has a matchup with Minford to deal with down the road. First to 35 wins. 

SPONSORED BY SHANE MAIER — INSURANCE AGENT

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