PDT Sports Contributor
WEST PORTSMOUTH —The West Senators were able to defeat the Waverly Tigers on the legs of Austin Bricker, Bryson Hurd and Dylan Koons as the trio each surpassed 50 yards rushing in a 27-21 Senator victory.
The win will keep the Senators right in the thick of the playoff race in Division V, Region 17 while Waverly is all but eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.
However, Waverly coach Chris Crabtree says that will not change the way his team attacks the final two weeks of the season.
“We’ve still got to come out and play hard like we have all season,” Crabtree said. “We’re going to come out ready for every opponent that we play on the schedule, and whether we win or we lose, we can hang our hats on the fact that we came out and fought hard.”
Both teams started off the contest without scoring a point in the first quarter, as a long drive by West was foiled when Steven Irwin fumbled the ball at the Tigers’ 16-yard line, where Waverly’s Devon Risgby would recover the pigskin.
The Senators would get the ball right back after a three-and-out by the Tigers and promply score on a Bricker 1-yard plunge with 10:30 left to go in the first half to put West up 7-0.
Waverly would come right back with a touchdown of its own on the very next series as a 12-play, 65-yard drive was punctuated with a Tyler Dray tote from two yards out.
The Senators would come up with an answer of their own as Irwin would score on a 1-yard quarterback sneak, which was set up after Irwin broke lose on a 43-yard run earlier in the drive.
Waverly proceeded to drive all the way down to West’s five-yard line on the next drive thanks to a 32 yard pass from R.J. Perkins to Timmy Wells.
However, with less than eight seconds left until halftime, Perkins chose to keep the football on a quarterback rollout instead of lofting the ball up toward the end zone.
The move would cost Perkins and Waverly as the quarterback was stopped two yards shy of the goal line, and with the Tigers out of timeouts, the half would end with the Senators maintaining a 14-7 lead.
The Tigers answered to start the third quarter as Perkins found a wide-open Chad Taylor down the left sideline for a 49-yard touchdown connection, which tied the game at 14 apiece.
Koons and the Senators would respond emphatically as Koons broke loose for an 85-yard touchdown return to put West up by a touchdown once again.
After Waverly pounced on an Austin Bricker fumble, Waverly proceeded to use their strong running attack to march down the field once again and Dray capped off the drive with another rushing touchdown, this time from three yards out, to knot the score at 21-all.
The battle raged on into the fourth quarter as both defenses refused to give in and would use a bend but not break mentality. However, the Senators would prevail as it was Hurd’s turn to put the ball in the end zone, as the 5’6”, 160-pound junior would score on a 4-yard tally to put West up six after the extra point hold was botched.
The Tigers would have one final chance to put the ball in the end zone after stopping the Senators on three straight downs with just over two minutes to play.
However, Perkins’ pass was picked off by Bricker to seal the deal for West as the Senators got a first down and took two knees to run the clock out.
For next week, the Senators will travel to Northwest to take on the Mohawks while Waverly will host Minford in two separate SOC II matchups.
Waverly 0 7 14 0 - 21
West 0 14 7 6 - 27
WP – Bricker 1 run (Dials kick) 10:30
W – Dray 2 run (Diener kick) 5:56
WP – Irwin 1 run (Dials kick) 2:20
W – Taylor 49 pass from Perkins (Diener kick) 7:00
WP – Koons 85 kick return (Dials kick) 6:44
W – Dray 3 run (Diener kick) 2:30
WP – Hurd 4 run (Dials kick) 4:48
Rushing: Waverly – Gilbert 15-91, Dray 11-47, Joe Henderson 1-34, Perkins 7-9, Cydrus 2-6; West – Bricker 18-100, Hurd 15-62, Koons 9-50, Irwin 5-50.
Passing: Waverly – Perkins 7-18-1 109; West – Irwin 4-4-0 61.
Receiving: Waverly – Taylor 1-49, Wells 1-32, Joe Henderson 3-19, Gilbert 2-10; West – Howell 1-43, Koons 3-18.