JOHNNY FUTHEY/Southern Ohio Today

Waverly's Wyatt Crabtree pressured Norwood quarterback Ryan Peter during their Division IV Region 16 playoff game Saturday in Waverly. Crabtree had four first-half sacks in the Tigers' 62-14 win that moves them into the regional quarterfinals next week against Cincinnati McNicholas.

Waverly shuts down Norwood, Shanks sets record

By RICK GREENE

Southern Ohio Today


WAVERLY – Waverly’s high school football playoff game against visiting Norwood on Saturday was supposed to be a matchup of two explosive offenses.


The Tigers defense wanted a different narrative and dominated the 13th-seeded Indians in a 62-14 win that sends fourth-seeded Waverly into the Division IV Region 16 quarterfinals at home next week against Cincinnati Archbishop McNicholas.


“I was really pleased that our kids came out, played aggressive and attacked them,” Waverly Coach Chris Crabtree said. “We felt like we could get some pressure on them, which we did, and our guys on the back end did a real good job.”


Waverly (7-0) had seven first-half sacks with sophomore linebacker Wyatt Crabtree leading the way with four. The Tigers also picked off Norwood quarterback Ryan Peter twice in the first two quarters, including a 42-yard interception return for a score by junior Will Futhey.


Wyatt Crabtree, the coach’s son, said Norwood’s offensive line utilized wide splits and that gave the Tigers some opportunities to get into the backfield.


“We knew they spread their line out some and that meant we were going to have some one-on-ones,” he said. “We liked our guys in some of those matchups because of our speed.”


While the Tigers defense was suffocating Norwood, Waverly’s offense was holding up its end of the bargain. Senior quarterback Haydn’ Shanks, who became Waverly’s all-time leading passer in the first half, had five touchdown passes in just under two quarters of work.


Three of Shanks’ TD throws went to senior receiver Phoenix Wolf, who also added an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half. Shanks finished 10-of-11 for 273 yards.


Waverly wasted little time taking control. After Norwood had a three and out on its first possession, Wolf took a touch pass from Shanks on the Tigers’ first play from scrimmage and rolled 30 yards around the right end for a score. Sophomore running back Peyton Harris added a 10-yard touchdown run after Waverly had a short field following a botched punt snap.


Norwood’s troubles continued on its third possession. The Indians picked up two first downs and were on the move and on a third-and-nine at their 48, it appeared they had a screen set up. But Futhey stepped in front of the pass, picked it off and went untouched to the end zone and the Tigers never looked back.


“We did a lot of film study. I saw their formation and thought (the screen) might have been coming,” Futhey said. “I guessed on it and I made the right choice.”


Waverly finished its 27-point first quarter when Shanks found Zeke Brown, who slipped a tackle, found the sideline and rambled 57 yards for a touchdown.


In the second quarter, Shanks hit Penn Morrison for a 21-yard score in the left corner of the end zone and that TD was followed by two more Shanks TD throws to Wolf for 17 and 22 yards, respectively.


After Wolf’s kickoff return in the third quarter, Jase Hurd found the end zone on a 9-yard run with 3:32 left in the quarter on a rolling clock. Ben Flanders made eight of his nine extra point attempts, including drop kicks on the Tigers’ final two scores.


Norwood’s scores came late in the first half when Peter found Elijah Partin on a 29-yard scoring play that brought the count to 48-6 at halftime. In the third quarter, Peter found receiver Kevin English on a 31-yard scoring play before the two hooked up again on a two-point conversion to make the final score.


English, a focal point of the Indians’ offense, was limited to 46 yards on three receptions thanks in part to the secondary work of Waverly’s Penn Morrison.


The game was riddled with penalties as tempers flared throughout the game. Norwood had 11 penalties for 120 yards and had two players ejected. Waverly had 78 yards of penalties on nine flags.


Shanks needed 195 yards to break the all-time mark of 6,114 yards set by Trevor Walls in 2006. Shanks, who also broke Walls’ record for career touchdown passes earlier in the season, now has 6,197 total yards.


Shanks said Walls has reached out to him regarding the records.


“He texted me after I broke the touchdown record a few weeks ago (against Minford). He congratulated me and told me if there was anything he could help me with on football that he would,” Shanks said. “He’s a really good guy.”


McNicholas, the No. 5 seed, comes to Waverly on Saturday after defeating Unioto 27-0.


NORWOOD        0    6    8    0   -   14

WAVERLY         27  21  14    0   -   62

W – Phoenix Wolf 30 pass from Haydn’ Shanks (Ben Flanders kick)

W – Peyton Harris 10 run (Flanders kick)

W – Will Futhey 42 interception return (Flanders kick)

W – Zeke Brown 57 pass from Shanks (kick failed)

W – Penn Morrison 21 pass from Shanks (Flanders kick)

W – Wolf 17 pass from Shanks (Flanders kick)

W – Wolf 22 pass from Shanks (Flanders kick)

N – Elijah Partin 29 pass from Ryan Peter (pass failed)

W – Wolf 80 kickoff return (Flanders kick)

W – Jase Hurd 9 run (Flanders kick)

N – Kevin English 31 pass from Peter (English pass from Peter)

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