Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.
WAVERLY — It’s hard to imagine a better start to the season than that of Jase Hurd’s.
Waverly’s featured tailback has enjoyed a torrid start to his junior season, and his success has helped his Tigers average 36 points per night over their first three games.
With wins over Miami Trace and Johnstown-Monroe, Waverly sits at 2-1 heading into Week 4. To some, that’s a surprise after the Tigers said goodbye to a talented senior class a year ago.
But to others, including to Hurd and his teammates, it’s business as usual.
“It’s a different Waverly team from last year. We had amazing senior wide receivers at each position with a great quarterback and it was tough to cover the pass and the run,” Hurd said. “But what makes this year’s team special is that we knew our run game had to step it up from last year. We have to be able to run the ball with authority. My favorite part about [the team] is that the offensive line, our tight end and I have made a great bond and we know what everyone will be doing pre-snap.”
The opposing defenses know Hurd is getting the ball, too. But so far, they haven’t figured out how to stop him from running wild.
In three games, Hurd has amassed 644 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on just 96 carries. He’s averaging 6.7 yards per attempt and 214.7 yards per game.
For those reasons, he’s been named SOSA’s first-ever Horizon Athlete of the Month. But he wants to make sure that honor is shared with the guys blocking up front; Waverly’s offensive line of Brock Adams, Jace Gecowets, Nate Welsh, Logan Long and Jake Schrader.
“The guys up front are amazing and I couldn’t ask for a better crew,” Hurd said. “The reason these guys are so good at what they do is because of all the time and effort they’ve put in during the offseason with their great coach [Jordan Belt]. He pushes them and puts all his time into them.”
Hurd could say the same about his own efforts. His numbers are no coincidence. They’re a reflection of the time and effort he puts into the game.
And, he’s always got a little extra motivation on the side.
“[The key has been] having to compete for a position and wanting to be the best player on the field, but also being better than my brother Garrett, who ran for over 1,400 yards during his senior year at Portsmouth West,” Hurd said. “That has always pushed me to be better.”
If anyone is wondering, Jase is on pace to hit 1,400 yards this season by Week 7.
But that’s not as important, by any stretch of the imagination, as the team’s success. Next up for Waverly is a home date against Chillicothe before a trip to Paintsville, Kentucky to match up with Johnson Central.
Needless to say, the Tigers have their work cut out for them.
But with Hurd in the backfield and a bevy of talent around him, Waverly has high hopes.
“We’ve learned that we can’t take anyone lightly,” Hurd said. “It takes 110 percent during practice, and we have to come to play, not only on game day but during practice also. We’re growing each week. We have a good shot at the SOC title, and more, down the road.”