Williamsport Westfall (12-0) becomes the first school in Pickaway County history to advance to a regional championship game. Senior running back Seth Hardin ran for a scholl record 442 yards and six TDs The No. 2 seed Mustangs are slated to clash with No. 1 seed St. Clairsville (12-0) Saturday night at a site to be determined.
ASHVILLE – A first glance can be deceiving.
Standing at 5-foot-9, the Waverly Tigers went after Williamsport Westfall junior cornerback Bryant Gibson.
Gibson intercepted Trevor Walls on two straight possessions in the second quarter, allowing Westfall to build up a cushion and collect a 48-28 in a Division IV, Region 15 semifinal game at Teays Valley High School.
Westfall ripped off 658 yards of total offense, including 603 yards rushing on 57 carries. Seth Hardin set a single game school record with 38 carries for 422 yards and six touchdowns. D.J. Cain chipped in 18 carries for154 yards and Jack Gose caught a touchdown pass for the Mustangs.
“I knew they were going to go to (Derek Roback) a lot because he is one of their main receivers,” Gibson said. “They threw a lot of fades to him because he's 6-2 and I'm 5-9 and they thought he could jump over me. I was able to make a couple of good breaks and saw the ball coming each time.”
Westfall (12-0) becomes the first school in Pickaway County history to advance to a regional championship game. The No. 2 seed Mustangs are slated to clash with No. 1 seed St. Clairsville (12-0) Saturday night at a site to be determined.
“We've been working so hard for so long,” Westfall senior offensive lineman Colton Dutcher said. “We've been trying to get over the hump and we finally put it all together.”
“We're a physical football team,” Westfall head coach Scott Keller said. “We might line up in the shotgun and try all this fancy junk on offense, but what we're still trying to do is play Ohio smashmouth football.”
After both teams put two touchdowns on the board, Westfall went ahead for good on an 18-yard touchdown run by Hardin about three minutes into the second quarter.
Three possessions later, Waverly quarterback Trevor Walls was successful in evading pressure from the Westfall defensive line, but threw back over the middle of the field where Gibson was waiting for a game changer.
Gibson returned the first turnover of the game to the Waverly 30, setting up a nine-yard touchdown run by Hardin four plays later.
“Bryant Gibson is as good as a corner as you'll find around here,” Keller said. “He had the perfect attitude for a cornerback. Even if you catch a two-yard pass against him, he takes it personally and makes sure it doesn't happen again.”
Gibson picked off a fade to Roback on the next possession, but the Westfall drove bogged down due to a holding call, leaving Westfall ahead 27-14 at halftime.
“Turnovers are something that really hurt you, but you have to take that in stride,” Waverly head coach Rusty Wright. “We came back and moved the ball effectively after that.”
Waverly (10-2) cut the lead down to six coming out of the break on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Walls to Mason Good.
“We came out at the beginning of the second half and moved the ball like we have all season,” Wright said. “Our kids didn't fold, they always keep fighting hard to the end.”
Backed up on its own four-yard line on its ensuing kickoff, Hardin led the Mustangs on a four-play drive capped by a 15-yard run to the house.
“Seth is a great player and a great athlete,” Keller said. “He is the type of kid that if you put him in a traditional running offense and gets 50 carries a game, he'd be a 2,000-yard rusher.”
Westfall added on two more scores with a three-yard run by Hardin and a 14-yard touchdown strike from junior quarterback D.J. Cain to Jack Gose to seal the game with a 48-21 lead.
Waverly added on a late touchdown thanks to a one-yard keeper by Walls.
Walls led Waverly by completing 11-of-28 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns. Roback caught four passes for 85 yards and two scores.
St. Clairsville defeated Licking Heights 33-17 in its regional semifinal game.
“We came out in the second half a little stronger and went right after them,” Hardin said.