Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
WAVERLY — Throw records out the window, forget statistics and pay no attention to what has already been done … playoff football is officially here and the slate has been wiped clean.
At 7 p.m. Saturday night, the Waverly Tigers host the Gallia Academy Blue Devils in a Division IV, Region 15 Quarterfinal.
Both programs have fought to get to Week 11, 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.
|Ohio Valley||CONFERENCE||Southern Ohio|
|Alex Penrod||HEAD COACH||Chris Crabtree|
|2 (2018)||CONSECUTIVE PLAYOFF BERTHS (LAST PLAYOFF BERTH)||4 (2018)|
|6-11||OVERALL PLAYOFF RECORD||3-7|
FOUR THINGS TO KNOW
- Gallia’s last postseason win came in 2012 when the Blue Devils beat Archbishop McNicholas by a 37-35 final. The Tigers’ last postseason win came back in 2007 when they beat Union Local by a 27-21 decision. That victory, and a 26-20 win over Jackson in 2006, are the only playoff victories the team has ever celebrated on their home turf.
- The Blue Devils have outscored their opponents by a 353-173 margin this season, scoring 44-plus points five times … the team’s highest scoring output came last week in a 57-26 win over South Point. Meanwhile, Waverly is also scoring 35.3 points per game and has put up at least 30 points on seven occasions. The most points the Tigers have scored came in a 51-7 win over Valley in Week 7.
- The only blemish on Gallia Academy’s record is a 52-0 loss to Ironton in Week 9. The Blue Devils have beaten two opponents with winning records in Fairland (28-0) and Portsmouth (45-28) — the team’s only victory over a playoff team. Waverly has beaten two playoff teams in Amanda-Clearcreek (48-13) and Minford (38-22).
- The Tigers are used to getting out to a quick start. Coach Chris Crabtree’s group has outscored its opponents 126-35 in the first quarter this season. The team’s offense is just a yard shy of 4,000 total yards this season after ending last week’s game at 3,999. They’re averaging 223.4 yards per game on the ground and 176.5 through the air.
Payton Shoemaker, RB, Waverly: There’s no question about who keeps the Tigers’ offense going. At any point this season, when Waverly has found itself in trouble, it’s called upon Shoemaker to get the job done … and every single time, he’s provided a resounding answer. The senior has rushed for 2,039 yards this season alongside 28 touchdowns. That’s all on just 258 carries, an average of 7.9 yards per attempt. He’s shifty, he’s elusive and he can take it to the house at any given moment. If he gets going, the Tigers have nothing to worry about.
Will Futhey, WR, Waverly: This season, the sophomore wideout has sparked interest among multiple Division I colleges, and for good reason. All in all, Futhey owns 43 receptions for 872 yards and 11 scores. You may remember his 10-catch, 290-yard, five-touchdown performance in the Tigers’ win over Amanda-Clearcreek earlier this season. Futhey is quarterback Haydn’ Shanks’ favorite target. He’ll make an impact Saturday.
Michael Beasy, RB, Gallia Academy: While Shoemaker keeps the Tigers’ offense rolling, Beasy accomplishes the same feat for Gallia. Just last week, Beasy had 196 yards and five touchdowns on 36 carries. He also caught three passes out of the backfield, racking up 13 yards and another score. The Blue Devils will give Beasy his touches. Waverly will be focused in on stopping him to make Gallia a one-dimensional football team.
Noah Vanco, QB, Gallia Academy: Much like Beasy, Vanco is another key to the Blue Devils’ success this season. He owns an accurate arm and can take over any game when he flips the switch. In last week’s win, he was 12-of-21 through the air with 203 yards and a pair of scores. In the team’s lone loss, he was still 13-of-18 but only had 87 passing yards. In the past five weeks, Vanco is 47-of-67 passing for 587 yards and five touchdowns.
WHAT LIES AHEAD
One team will face a lengthy offseason and the other will face the winner of Indian Valley (9-1) and Bloom-Carroll (8-2) in Week 12.
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.