BY KEVIN L. SMITH
Valley Sports Report
DRYDEN — Waverly simply overwhelmed Dryden, racing out to a 40-0 lead on its way to a , 46-7, win here Saturday night in Section IV, Division V football action.
The win locked up a postseason berth for the Wolverines in the Section IV, Class C playoffs. The last time Waverly made the playoffs was in 2018, a season in which they reached the Section IV final and lost to eventual Class C state champion Susquehanna Valley.
“It was one of our goals (this season), to get back in the playoffs,” Waverly coach Jason Miller said.
The Wolverines began its scoring effort on its first possession of the game. Sophomore quarterback Joey Tomasso connected with sophomore Jay Pipher on two consecutive passes that totaled 30 yards.
From Dryden’s 39-yard line, junior tailback Gage Tedesco darted to the end zone for the touchdown. Following the point-after from Ryan Clark, Waverly took an early 7-0 lead.
On its second possession, Waverly put together another scoring drive.
Tomasso ripped off a 15-yard run, then found senior receiver Brady Blauvelt for a 12-yard reception. Further into the drive, Tomasso aired out a throw, which dropped into junior Isaiah Bretz’s hands for a 30-yard TD to gave Waverly a 13-0 advantage.
With 2 minutes to go in the first quarter, the Wolverines had their eyes on the end zone once again.
A few plays into the drive, Tomasso threw a laser to senior Thomas Hand for 32 yards. Moments later, Tomasso targeted Bretz again, this time for a 6-yard TD.
Waverly fell short on a 2-point conversion attempt, but its lead was 19-0.
The Wolverines’ scoring frenzy spilled over into the second quarter.
Starting from the Lions’ 40-yard line, Tomasso and Tedesco combined for 35 yards on the ground to move Waverly into the red zone. Tedesco capped the drive with a 1-yard TD run, and Clark booted a successful PAT for a commanding 26-0 Wolverines lead.
Waverly’s defense had a big stop on Dryden’s next possession. The Lions began at the Wolverines’ 40-yard line, and made their way to the 3-yard line. Dryden attempted to score on fourth down, but Waverly’s Ty Beeman made the stop on tailback Mitchel Shipman to turn the ball over on downs.
“I thought we came out and executed well early,” Miller said. “They executed what they needed to execute.”
In the third quarter, the Lions turned the ball over again, this time on an interception by Blauvelt that set Waverly up with good field position at Dryden’s 22.
Braedon Hills finished off the short scoring drive with a 4-yard TD run, and Clark put the kick through the uprights to increase the Wolverine lead to 33-0.
Waverly tacked on another TD run at 10:55 in the fourth quarter on a 16-yard TD run from Tomasso. Clark’s PAT made it 40-0.
Shipman cracked the scoreboard for the Lions with a 6-yard TD run at 4:25 in the fourth quarter.
Waverly’s last TD of the game was a 6-yard dash from sophomore Micah Chandler.
Tomasso starred for the Wolverines in the victory. He completed 13 of 24 passes for 157 yards and two TDs. On the ground, Tomasso carried the ball seven times for 71 yards and a TD.
Tedesco rushed for 72 yards and two TDs on seven carries to lead the Waverly ground game.
Pipher had two catches for 52 years for the Wolverines, while Bretz had two grabs for 36 yards and two TDs, and Hand had two receptions for 33 yards.
Despite an impressive performance on both sides of the ball, Waverly drew nine penalties for a loss of 99 yards.
“We had a lot of penalties, a lot of mistakes,” Miller said. “It’s a concern, but some had phantom explanations from calls I’ve never heard of in my years of coaching.”
Waverly improved its record to 6-0, which, according to Miller is the first time a Wolverine squad has been 6-0 since the 2012 season.
The Wolverines hit the road this Friday for a 7 p.m. showdown against Watkins Glen / Odessa-Montour (3-1) at O-M HIgh School. A win clinches the division title for Waverly, and guarantees a home game to open the Section IV playoffs.
“It’s a big game for us,” Miller said. “The team we’re facing is a very good football team. There’s a lot at stake in that game.”
IN PHOTO 1: Waverly’s Gage Tedesco. … PHOTOS BY KEVIN L. SMITH.