Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
WAVERLY — Most thought last week’s Division IV, Region 15 Quarterfinal between Waverly and Gallia Academy would be a ultra-competitive contest, and for good reason.
Two good teams. Two high-powered offenses. Two rosters jam-packed with talent.
However, the Tigers had other plans in the fold.
Waverly, now at 9-2, continued one of the best seasons in program history last week while taking the Blue Devils to the woodshed in an impressive 40-0 victory.
Now, the Tigers turn their attention to Week 12, where they’ll meet with Bloom-Carroll at Chillicothe’s Herrnstein Field, a program that stands at 9-2 after a hard-fought 48-39 win over Indian Valley one week ago.
Both programs have fought to get to Week 12, both still have plenty to prove and both are hungry for a postseason win. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday’s game.
|Mid-State Buckeye||CONFERENCE||Southern Ohio|
|Wade Bartholomew||HEAD COACH||Chris Crabtree|
|3 (2018)||CONSECUTIVE PLAYOFF BERTHS (LAST PLAYOFF BERTH)||4 (2018)|
|2-6||OVERALL PLAYOFF RECORD||4-7|
FOUR THINGS TO KNOW
- The two teams have a common opponent in Amanda-Clearcreek, who is in Bloom-Carroll’s conference. The Aces beat the Bulldogs by a 21-14 final on Oct. 4, one week after suffering a 48-13 loss to Waverly on Sept. 27. Bloom-Carroll’s other loss came to Jonathan Alder, who’s still undefeated, back in Week 3 by a 42-13 final.
- The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents this season by a 368-178 margin. Bloom-Carroll has scored 40-plus point in four contests this year, including in three of the last four. The team’s defense is allowing 16.2 points per game and has surrendered less than 10 points on five occasions, including a Week 10 win over Teays Valley (25-9). Overall, the Bulldogs’ opponents’ combined record is 54-53. The program has beaten two teams with winning records.
- Waverly’s offense has carried the group this season as the Tigers have put up 393 points, or 35.7 per game. That offense has now gained 4,347 yards this fall and has only held the ball for an average of 18:03 per game. The group has scored 49 touchdowns while punting 18 times. Coach Chris Crabtree’s group is also careful with the football, turning it over just 13 times.
- You already know this but Payton Shoemaker and Will Futhey are two of the Tigers’ most dangerous playmakers. Shoemaker has now rushed for 2,185 yards and 31 touchdowns on just 274 carries, while Futhey has amassed 961 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns on 47 receptions. Shoemaker is averaging 7.9 yards per carry while Futhey stands at 20.4 per catch.
Haydn’ Shanks, QB, Waverly: You read the name. You know how good Shanks is, and tough as nails. The junior touchdown tosser has completed 127-of-203 passes this season for 1,818 yards this season with a 17-3 touchdown-interception ratio. Those numbers include last week’s 166-yard performance where he completed 12-of-18 pass attempts. He’s smart, he makes good decisions, he’s cool under pressure, and he’s the Tigers’ commander on offense.
Zeke Brown, LB, Waverly: Brown seems to make an impact anywhere he plays, but that’s especially true on the defensive side of the ball. In just eight games during the regular season, Brown led the team in tackles with 62.5, 8.5 of which went for a loss, and added a sack, a fumble recovery and an interception. In last week’s win alone, he had 4.5 tackles, one for a loss, and two picks. He’s a ballhawk, he’s a good tackler, and he’s the leader of the defense.
Otto Kuhns, QB, Bloom-Carroll: Kuhns is the Bulldogs’ ring leader with 31 career starts under his belt. The veteran signal caller and Eastern Illinois commit has amassed 7,354 total yards during his career, 5,302 through the air and 2,052 on the ground … oh, and 84 touchdowns. Last week, he completed 20-of-26 pass attempts for 215 yards while rushing for 83 yards and three scores. The Tigers’ defensive game plan should and will center around Kuhns.
Evan Willett, WR, Bloom-Carroll: As one of Kuhns’ favorite targets, Willett has reaped the benefits of the quarterback’s talents. But that’s because of his own hard work to get where he is. On the year, Willett has caught 44 catches for 519 yards and five touchdowns. Last week, he had six receptions for 49 yards and a score. The receiver is strong, he’s got great hands and he always finds a way to make his presence known.
WHAT LIES AHEAD
One team will face a lengthy offseason and the other will face the winner of Licking Valley (11-0) and John Glenn (9-2) in Week 13.
You can follow live Twitter updates at @dw1509 on Saturday night. Then, after the game, be sure to visit sohiosa.com for details, photos and video from the contest.