|SECTION IV FOOTBALL: WAVERLY HANGS TOUGH EARLY IN CLASS C CHAMPIONSHIP LOSS TO SUS VALLEY (24 PHOTOS) (2018-11-03)
BY TIM TAYLOR
Valley Sports Report
ENDICOTT — Waverly hung tough with highly-touted Susquehanna Valley for the majority of the first half during the Section IV Class C championship game at U-E’s Ty Cobb Stadium Saturday. However, the second half was a different story as the Sabers rang up 41 points en route to a 62-7 victory.
“They just ran us over,” said Waverly head coach Jason Miller. “They’re a good football team. I wish them well and they go on to win it all. They’ve got a lot of weapons.
“I’m proud of our kids and the way they played the first half. Not very proud of how we played the second half, kind of laid down, but they’ve done that to everybody all year and they’re going to do well. They’ll make a run at it for sure.”
As they’ve done several times this season, SV quarterback Jarred Freije and wide receiver Alex Knewasser hooked up on a post pattern, resulting in a touchdown that would put the Sabers up by two scores at halftime. This one went for 53 yards and gave SV a 21-7 advantage at the break.
“We gave up that post play and I just feel like that was a momentum changer,” Miller said. “14-7, we give up the post and that kind of changed it. It took the sails away. We had momentum going. We had the wind. Into the wind, they throw a long post for a touchdown. That just breaks you. I give them a lot of credit.”
The Wolverines possessed the ball for more than 6 1/2 minutes to open the game, but the initial drive, which included three consecutive encroachment penalties, finally stalled at the SV 26.
Sus Valley didn’t waste any time putting points on the scoreboard, scoring a little over three minutes later on a 22-yard Freije-to-Dan Wager pass. Ed Lavin’s PAT kick gave the Sabers a 7-0 lead.
Freije would contribute to the win defensively as well, recovering a fumble at the Waverly 27. A penalty moved the ball back to the 32, but Billy Sheridan ran the ball down to the seven. Two plays later, Freije took it in from the one and Sus Valley would go up, 14-0, with 9.7 second left in the first quarter.
Following an exchange of punts, Waverly turned over the ball with an interception, but got the pigskin back when Cole Jenner dove on a loose ball at the SV 10. Two plays later, QB Colby Sindoni threw high to 6-foot-7 tight end Scott Woodring for a 9-yard TD. Nate Bowers split the uprights to trim the deficit to 14-7.
Once again, the teams exchanged punts, but with time ticking down, Freije hit Knewasser in stride to push the gap to 14-7.
The Sus Valley that had dominated so many opponents this season took the field in the second half and wasted little time in asserting its ability to move the ball.
“We didn’t play well the second half,” Miller said. “We went in and we just were not able to block them, to sustain blocks. That makes it tough. Not being able to throw the ball down field and take advantage of anything they’re giving us, that’s challenging.”
SV opened the second half by marching 80 yards in 13 plays with Billy Sheridan scoring on a 4-yard run to make it 28-7 with 6:50 left in the third quarter.
Sheridan would cause a Waverly fumble two plays later and Wager scooped it up on the bounce, returning it 25 yards for a 35-7 lead.
With 2:10 remaining in the period, Wager struck again. This time, it was a 17-yard run and Lavin’s kick made it 42-7 with 2:10 left in the period.
As the contest moved into the fourth quarter, Freije scored on a 1-yard run, making the lead 49-7.
Mason McCormack took it in form the four on the Sabers’ next possession, but Lavin’s kick was unsuccessful as SV upped its advantage to 55-0.
The ensuing possession saw Waverly cough up the ball at its own 24 and Sus Valley’s Mitch Enright grab it on the bounce and take it to the 18. Two plays later, Hayden King ran it in from three yards out and Lavin’s kick would close out the scoring with a 62-7 SV lead.
SV ended up with 439 yards offense with Sheridan picking up 53 on the ground and 35 more receiving. Freije went 5-for-9 for 125 yards.
David Hallett carried the ball 14 times for 46 yards to lead Waverly (7-3), which finished with 108 total yards. Sindoni was 6-for-10 for 32 yards.
“i think with this whole thing is said and done, our two losses may come to two state champions, so with the exception of Livonia, which is also a good Class B team, the two teams we lost to, Tioga and Sus Valley, they’re going to do well in states,” said Miller. “We had a solid season. We had some big wins and we had some tough losses to these types of caliber teams. I’m very proud of them.
“It’s always special getting to this game and I thought we played a really super good first half with the exception of the big plays. We worked hard to stop this big plays, then they still complete them, that’s tough. That’s tough on your psyche. Other than that, we’ll get back to work and we go back up to Class B next year. It’s a tough deal, a tough gig. You’ve just got to keep working at it , and get back in the weight room and start over again.”
The Sabers ranked No. 2 in the state, face No. 5 Holland Patent in a battle of 10-0 teams in next week’s regionals.
IN PHOTO 1: Scott Woodring makes a leaping grab for Waverly’s TD. PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.
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