Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
Who doesn’t like offense? In Week 5, we saw plenty.
13 area teams scored 30-plus points this past Friday while seven put up 40 or more. While 13 with 30 or more seems high, it’s becoming increasingly normal as each week goes by.
It’s fun to watch, it’s a continuation of the higher point totals we’ve seen this season, and it’s … I’m sure … utterly frustrating for opposing defenses.
With offensive outbursts on the mind, here’s a look at this week’s Sunday Morning QB.
Week 5 Takeaways
A. Somebody must’ve hurt Will Futhey’s feelings Friday. The 6-foot-5 sophomore, yes sophomore, wide receiver racked up 290 yards on 10 catches … half of which were touchdowns. Finding the end zone five times, Futhey scored on passing plays from 34, 22, 19, 16 and 78 yards out. The 290 receiving yards was a new school record. Oh, and his quarterback Haydn’ Shanks had quite the night as well. He threw for 435 yards on 24-of-29 attempts. The Tigers have had an elite running game all year with tailback Payton Shoemaker in the mix … he eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark Friday … and their defense is continuing to improve week-by-week. But with Futhey emerging as a go-to threat in the passing game, and with the already established Phoenix Wolf on the opposite side, the Tigers have to worry about just one thing: health. If Waverly can stay healthy, the Tigers look like the cream of the crop in not just the SOC, but in Southern Ohio.
MORE FOOTBALL COVERAGE
STORIES: Whaley, Westfall’s defense lead Mustangs to league win over ZT … Warriors bounce back with redemption win over Unioto … Futhey’s career night fuels Waverly’s rout of Amanda … Logan’s run game dooms Cavaliers
PHOTOS: Images from Jackson’s 35-15 win over Wheelersburg … Images from Waverly’s 48-13 win over Amanda … Images from Westfall’s 38-6 win over Zane Trace … Images from Logan’s 18-7 win over Chillicothe
B. It’s still crowded at the top of the Scioto Valley Conference. We’ve known this for awhile now, but the season has, so far, played out the way we expected it to. Adena’s 28-21 win over Unioto threw a wrench into things, Piketon hung with Paint Valley for three quarters, Southeastern continued its onslaught against opposing defenses, and Westfall bounced back with a win. The Panthers and Bearcats sit at the top of the conference, both at 2-0, while Adena, Unioto, Westfall and Zane Trace are all now 1-1. What a mess. But a fun mess, right? Looking at the schedule, the Warriors have the easiest road going forward. They’ve played both Unioto and Paint Valley, they’ll have Westfall this coming week, and Southeastern in Week 10. If they can win out until Week 10, and I did say if, it could set up a showdown with, potentially, a league title on the line on Nov. 1. Paint Valley, Unioto and Westfall will all certainly have a say in that possibly happening, but if Adena and Southeastern both take care of their business, it could be a winner-take-all situation just before the postseason.
C. Jackson looks dominant and I’m not just saying that because of the Ironmen beat Wheelersburg this past week. The Ironmen, currently sitting at No. 4 in the Division III, Region 11 playoff standings according to joeitel.com, have outscored their opponents this season 173-75. While they’ve beaten opponents with a combined record of 9-16, they’ll be facing opponents with a record of 12-13 down the conference stretch. If Jackson doesn’t go 10-0, then the Ironmen beat themselves. They’ve looked like the clear-cut favorite to run the table in the Frontier Athletic Conference, and they’ve looked like a bonafide playoff contender against both Wellston and Wheelersburg. With Jared Icenhower as the ring leader and Brice Graham, Jayden Spires, Tristan Prater and Jacob Winters providing the theatrics, the Ironmen have the inside track of hosting a playoff game and making a run.
Lost in the hoopla of Futhey’s record-breaking performance, Waverly’s Phoenix Wolf had 13 catches for 119 yards in the Tigers’ 48-13 win. On the year, Wolf’s totals now sit at 22 catches for 242 yards and a score.
Like we didn’t already know this, but Paint Valley’s Brayden Ison is really, really good. Ison rushed for 316 yards on 31 carries and six (!!) touchdowns in Friday’s 56-38 win over Piketon. The Bearcats move to 4-1 this season.
In unbelievable factoids of the week, Lane Ruby needed to touch the ball just three times for 145 yards and three touchdowns. Yes, those are his real rushing totals.
In quite possibly the biggest game this season for Jackson, freshman Jacob Winters rushed for a team-high 126 yards and a touchdown. That helped the Ironmen improve to 5-0 for the first time since 2014.
In a 42-20 win at Eastern, McClain’s Jaydon Burns rushed for 151 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries, 6.9 yards per attempt. Burns’ performance helped seal the Tigers’ second win this fall. Another victory would give the Tigers’ at least three in a season for the first time since 2013.
One Final Thought
Looking ahead at the next two weeks, Week 6 could pose several trap games if some teams aren’t careful. Paint Valley, against Huntington, and Unioto, against Zane Trace, should both win their games before meeting each other. Jackson and Washington are in the same situation as the Ironmen host McClain and Washington hosts Chillicothe; as are Waverly and Valley as the Tigers travel to West and the Indians host Oak Hill. Each of those opponents are under .500 teams but have the ability to steal a win at anytime. A lack of focus could doom any one of the aforementioned “favorites.” And losing focus can be easy when you’re looking ahead to a big game the next week. When you hear coaches say, “One game at a time,” this is exactly why. Week 5 could produce interesting matchups and, maybe, even an upset or two.
- Jackson (5-0) … 2. Minford (5-0) … 3. Wheelersburg (2-3) … 4. Southeastern (5-0) … 5. Waverly (4-1) … 6. Paint Valley (4-1) … 6. Adena (4-1) … 7. Unioto (3-2) … 8. Valley (4-1) … 9. Washington (3-2) … 10. Westfall (3-2)