For the last few years the Tigers left the battle of Pike County on the winning end. That run of success ended Friday as the Redstreaks came from behind in the fourth quarter and defeated Waverly 28-20.
Waverly took a 20-14 lead into the final quarter of play but Piketon struck paydirt on its second possession of the fourth quarter when Isaac Brabson took a handoff on what looked to be a reverse play before throwing down field to Jared Vulgamore for a 35-yard touchdown with 5-22 to play. Jeffrey Leist's PAT gave Piketon the lead.
Brabson was 2-for-2 for 44 yards, making one pass from the QB spot in relief of Jamie Helton who was 5-for-12 for 95 yards with two interceptions while playing injured.
"Jamie stepped up," Piketon coach Tyler Gullion said. "He was hurt and hobbling around and he wasn't coming out. Jared Vulgamore catches the big touchdown pass from Isaac and we just grinded it out for that last one."
Piketon's last score was a four-yard run by Robbie Evans, who ran the ball 17 times for 103 yards.
For Waverly, the game was a first look at how the young Tigers team could fare this season. Waverly coach Rusty Wright wasn't happy to lose, but was proud of his team's effort.
"The pups got a little bite," Wright said. "That's the thing when you play so many young kids, you can't ask for a team to play any harder than they played... That's what happens when you have this kind of youth, they make mistakes but they turn around and give you everything they got."
Waverly built its lead early. The Tigers struck first, with Zach Corcoran scoring on a one-yard run after a 46-yard interception return from Levi Underwood.
Corcoran found the end zone again in the second quarter, catching a 27-yard pass from Tigers' QB Devin Kelly.
Waverly's other touchdown was a 33-yard pass from Levi Underwood to Rod Holdren on a halfback pass play.
Kelly was 8 of 10 for 107 yards with one interception. Corcoran had four rushes for 19 yards and caught three passes for 47 yards.
Underwood ran the ball 17 times for 107 yards.
"I though Devin Kelly played well," Wright said. "What a game Levi had. What a force he was. He gave it everything he got and when we carried him off the field he was running on empty."
Also of note was the play of Piketon's Trevor McDowell.
At the start of the fourth quarter Waverly's Underwood broke five tackles for a 37-yard run and would have scored if not for McDowell making a late shoestring tackle at the Piketon 29-yard line.
Later in the game, McDowell picked up a critical first down as Piketon was working the clock, gaining nearly 50 yards in the process..
"He made a nice tackle and we ended up stopping them and getting the ball back and then he made a nice catch... and had a big run," Gullion said of McDowell. He stepped up and seniors got to do that."
The win ends an era of Waverly dominance in the series and has the Redstreaks off to a 1-0 start.
"It's a long time coming for the community and for the people and seniors," Gullion said. "It was just a great total victory. We didn't give up after we got down, we kept fighting... We found a way to win."
Waverly 6 8 6 0 — 20
Piketon 0 14 0 14 — 28
W — Corcoran 1 run (kick failed) 2:51
P — Evans 2 run (Leist kick) 8:52
W — Corcoran 27 from Kelly (McCain from Kelly) 4:38
P — Williams 64 from Helton (Leist kick) 2:49
W — Holdren 33 from L. Underwood (kick failed) 2:44
P — Vulgamore 35 from Brabson (Leist kick) 5:22
P — Evans 4 run (Leist kick) 1:56
RUSHING: Waverly — L. Underwood 17-107, Corcoran 4-19, Murray 4-11, Ward 1-1, Kelly 6-(-11). Totals 32-127. Piketon — Waddell 14-120, Evans 17-103, McDowell 3-60, Helton 3-(-13). Totals 37-270.
PASSING: Waverly — Kelly 8-10-1 107, Underwood 1-1-0 33; Piketon— Helton 5-12-2 95, Brabson 2-2-0 44.
RECEIVING: Waverly — McCain 2-32, Corcoran 2-47, Underwood 1-4, Holdren 3-57. Piketon — Williams 1-64, Vulgamore 3-51, Waddell 1-3, McDowell 2-21.
Records — Waverly 0-1; Piketon 1-0