Trevor Arnett, Contributor
That’s the word Waverly coach Chris Crabtree uses to describe his team’s mentality going into each game.
“We want to be relentless in everything we do, whether we’re chasing down tackles, running routes and catching footballs, or blocking up front,” Crabtree said.
Crabtree had to be happy with his squad’s pursuit of being relentless on Saturday night as the Tigers hit on all cylinders in a 62-14 blowout victory over Norwood in the second round of the OHSAA playoffs.
Waverly’s Haydn’ Shanks also made some more history of his own, establishing himself as the most prolific passer in Waverly’s history.
Shanks, who broke the career passing touchdown record earlier this season, passed former Waverly standout Trevor Walls’ career yardage
record of 6,197 yards. With 273 on the night, Shanks now stands alone atop the record board with 6,254 yards passing in his illustrious career.
Waverly (7-0) was on a different level from the very beginning on Saturday.
The team’s prolific offense and stingy defense led to a very one-sided first half at Raidiger field.
The Tigers got things started with a defensive stop that led to great field position. It took one play for the offense to get into the end zone as Phoenix Wolf took a jet sweep shovel pass from Shanks 30 yards for the score.
Norwood’s next drive resulted in another three-and-out, and a bad snap on fourth down led to a loss of six, and great field position once again for the Tigers. Two plays later, Peyton Harris dashed in for a 10-yard score, putting Waverly ahead 14-0.
Waverly’s defense got in on the scoring on the next drive. Norwood’s Ryan Peter zipped a pass left and Waverly’s Will Futhey snatched it out of the air before sprinting 48 yards to the house, stretching the lead to 21-0.
Waverly’s next offensive drive began at their own 32. The Tigers needed just two plays to cover the 68 yards to pay dirt as Shanks hit Zeke Brown on a short pass before Brown did the rest. Breaking tackles and out-running the defense, Brown took the pass 57 yards to score, making it 27-0 after a failed PAT try.
The Tigers didn’t slow down heading into the second quarter. On the first play, Waverly again found the end zone as Shanks hit Penn Morrison in the corner from 21 yards out, giving the Tigers a 34-0 lead.
The next Norwood drive ended in a punt, which Wolf returned inside the
Norwood 20. On the next play, Shanks rewarded Wolf with a 17-yard touchdown pass, stretching the lead to 41-0.
If you’re keeping tabs at home, that’s five offensive drives, 12 plays and five touchdowns. The Tigers were the picture of efficiency through their first five possessions.
Norwood’s offense threatened on its next drive, but then stalled out, giving the ball back to Waverly on its own 46. The Tigers put together a seven-play drive that culminated in a 15-yard pass from Shanks to Wolf for the touchdown to make it 48-0.
Norwood finally got their offense moving on its next possession.
The Indians would drive 80 yards in just over four minutes to get on the board, ending with Peter finding Elijah Partin on a 29-yard pass. Norwood elected to go for two and failed to convert, making the score 48-6 at halftime.
The third quarter began with fireworks as Wolf took the opening kickoff 80
yards for a touchdown, giving Waverly a 55-6 advantage.
With running clock protocols in place, both teams traded possessions for the remainder of the second half with both teams finding the end zone one more time.
For Waverly, freshman Jase Hurd picked up a nine-yard rushing touchdown while Norwood’s Peter would get his second passing touchdown of the night, this time to Kevin English from 29 yards out, rounding out the night’s final.
All in all, Waverly’s offense was extremely efficient, racking up 456 yards and scoring on eight of its 10 drives on the night. The defense was equally as impressive, holding Norwood to -9 yards rushing, and only 257 yards
total, while forcing two turnovers, compiling 7 sacks, and scoring once.
Shanks’ record-setting night paced the Tigers. The senior signal-caller was 10-for-11 through the air for 273 yards and five touchdowns. Wolf had three catches, all three for touchdowns, and a total of 62 yards. Morrison had three catches for 105 yards and a touchdown, and Brown had one catch for the 57-yard touchdown. On the ground, Harris had five carries for 52 yards and a touchdown while Jase Hurd had eight carries for 59 yards and a score.
Defensively, Wyatt Crabtree spent the night in Norwood’s backfield, racking up three sacks. Wolf had four tackles and an interception, and Futhey had an interception return for a touchdown.
Waverly moves onto the third round of the OHSAA playoffs, where it will host Archbishop McNicholas, who defeated Unioto 27-0 on Saturday night.
McNicholas has played stellar defense all year, allowing just over 10 points per contest. It will be a battle of strengths as Waverly’s high-powered offense takes on that stingy defense.
When asked about their mentality moving forward, senior Zeke Brown said, “It’s the same as it has been. We’re going to prepare and be ready. We’re going to prepare the same way and expect the same outcome.”