The Waverly defense forced four first half turnovers giving its All-Ohioan quarterback Trevor Walls and his high octane Waverly offense a short field to operate on during the opening 24-minutes. The offense capitalized producing multiple first half scores and took a 28-0 lead to the locker room.
“Hats off to Waverly – they are a really good football team,” Jackson head coach Shane Wolford said. “You cannot turn the ball over as many times as we did tonight and expect to beat a team as talented as Waverly. We needed to be able to run the ball and control the tempo, and we were simply unable to do that tonight.”
The scoring got underway on Waverly’s second possession when Walls called his own number from one yard out. Minutes later – following a three-and-out offensive possession for Jackson – Walls found Josh Obetz out in the left flat and the Tiger running back scampered 38-yards for the score. Another successful PAT from Mason Good increased the Tiger lead to 14-0.
The second quarter was more of the same. One of Jackson’s better drives of the first half was stopped when Waverly’s secondary popped the ball loose and Ryan Howard recovered it giving Waverly the ball at midfield. On the pursing drive, Waverly faced a third and six from Jackson’s 34-yard line, when Walls threw a beautiful ball threading it through the Ironmen secondary and Derek Rowback made the catch and went the distance for six. This time the PAT failed keeping Waverly’s lead at 20-0.
The half looked as if it would end this way, but another Jackson turnover – a fumble recovered by Ryan Robertson – gave Walls and company 1:18 to strike again. This drive resulted in a Kevin Malone two-yard TD run with the big play on the drive coming when Walls hit Rowback on a 23-yard pass play down to the two-yard line. Walls ran for the two-point conversion following Malone’s score to send the teams to the half with Waverly leading 28-0.
“Mason Good’s kicking and our overall special teams’ play really did a great job of winning the battle of field position tonight,” Waverly head coach Rusty Wright said. “Our defense was able to apply some pressure and cause some turnovers, and our offense was able to capitalize on the short field. I feel good for the kids tonight because we have a great group of kids who play hard and they are very deserving of success.”
Waverly’s opening drive of the second half looked as if it would be a harmless three-and-out, but a personal foul penalty on the Ironmen during the punt resulted in a Waverly first down. The mistake would prove to be costly, as the Waverly drive eventually resulted in a Ramone Conley five-yard TD run and another Mason Good PAT to increase the Tiger lead to 35-0.
The third quarter did see Jackson get on the board. A solid return out past midfield from Koty Bowling finally forced the two teams to play on Waverly’s half of the field. When Jackson quarterback Josh Brown went play action and hooked up with tight end Brandon Trace for a big pass play down inside the five, the Ironmen were threatening for the first time. Waverly’s defense stood strong for the first three goal line plays in attempt to secure the shutout, but on fourth-and-goal from the one, Jackson’s 6-foot-3, 240-pound fullback Greg James bulled his way into the end zone to get Jackson on the board. The PAT was good by Ryan Mullins cutting the Waverly advantage to 35-7.
“I did think it was a positive the way our kids continued to play hard,” Wolford said. “I told the kids after the game that we’ll get back after it for next week, and we’ll rebound from this. Waverly is a good football team and we have to learn from this and get better.”
Waverly would complete the scoring on a 27-yard pass play from Walls to Rowback, who made a great snag on the receiving end when the Tiger receiver went up over two Jackson defenders to take it away and find the end zone. This time Tim Tackett was responsible for the successful PAT putting Waverly up 42-7, a score that would eventually serve as the game’s final score.
All totaled, the Waverly offense racked-up 320 yards, with Walls producing 224 of those yards in the air while completing 12-of-17 passes and tossing three touchdowns. The senior signal-caller also ran for a score. Rowback was on the end of most of the big pass plays Friday night, as the sophomore wide out hauled in 5 catches for 135 yards and two scores. The Tigers also got solid numbers from their running game which was led by another sophomore in Kevin Malone who rushed 19 times for 77 yards and a touchdown.
“Both the sophomores are fine athletes that are capable of making big plays,” Wright said. “Teams are keying on Casey Williams in the passing game and Josh Obetz in the running game, and these two guys are getting a chance to step up and so far they have been up to the challenge. It only makes us better when we can get a bunch of guys involved in the offense.”
Jackson (1-1) will look to rebound next week when they head on the road to face rival Vinton County, and Waverly (2-0) will continue to play away from home in week three when they travel to South Point.