JOHNNY FUTHEY/Southern Ohio Today

Waverly quarterback Haydn' Shanks will lead the Tigers into a Division IV Region 16 quarterfinal matchup at home on Saturday against Cincinnati Archbishop McNicholas. Shanks will lead an explosive Tigers passing attack and McNicholas will bring a potent running game into the contest.

McNicholas, Waverly present a contract in styles


Southern Ohio Today

Last week, Waverly’s defense took care of Norwood’s passing attack in dominating fashion in a 62-14 victory. This week, they will see a team that puts the emphasis on running the football.

Archbishop McNicholas (5-2) will bring a ground game into Waverly, the No. 4-seed, on Saturday to face the Tigers (7-0) in the quarterfinals of the Division IV, Region 16 Ohio high school playoffs.

Last week, the Rockets, the No. 5-seed, defeated Unioto 27-0.

“It’s a tale of two different offenses,” said Waverly Coach Chris Crabtree. “Last week, Norwood threw a lot and this week we have to prepare more to stop the run. From what I’ve seen, they keep it on the ground mostly, but throw it enough to keep you honest.”

Sophomore running back Tyler Snyder (5-foot-10, 210 pounds) is the workhorse for the Rockets and has gained 700 yards on the season.

Quarterback Pierce Taylor, a 5-11 junior, runs the offense.

“We like to think that we are a balanced offense, but we do put the run first and make the defense stop us there,” said Rockets Coach Mike Orlando. “We believe in establishing a running game and building on that.”

Crabtree said he is impressed with Archbishop McNicholas’ dedication to the run.

“We will see a team that is more physical up front this week than any other team we have played so far,” he said. “Any team that likes to run as much as they do is a physical team and will play hard in the trenches.”

On the other end, Orlando knows his defense must focus on Waverly quarterback Haydn’ Shanks, who came off a five-touchdown performance last week that saw him break the school’s all-time record for passing yards.

Shanks entered last week’s game needing 195 yards to become the all-time passing leader at Waverly. He broke the record, previously established in 2006 by Trevor Walls, by completing 10 of 11 passes for 273 yards and stands with 6,197 yards.

“They are undefeated for a reason. They are well coached, and they know how to win games,” Orlando said. “We are obviously going to have to get pressure on (Shanks) and try to throw their receivers off balance. They look like they know what the heck they are doing on both sides of the ball.”

Crabtree said he hopes the momentum from the defense will carry over from last week since the Rockets keep the ball on the ground most of the time.

Last week, Wyatt Crabtree’s four sacks spearheaded a stingy defense for Waverly that saw seven tackles behind the line of scrimmage in the first half.

“We are going to have to be ready,” Coach Crabtree said. “We know their guys up front are big and physical, but we are going to have to stunt more and get them out of their comfort zone.”

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