OAK HILL — All in the world is right with Waverly Tiger football following Friday night.
That’s because senior standout running back Payton Shoemaker reached the massive 2,000-yard rushing milestone for a single season, and the Tigers took care of business in clinching a home game for Saturday night’s Division IV, Region 15 quarterfinals — by capturing a 27-14 victory over the Oak Hill Oaks inside Davis Stadium in Oak Hill.
Shoemaker amassed 175 yards on 26 carries to send him officially over 2,000 for the season — as he has officially 2,039 yards on 258 carries and 28 touchdowns for the year.
Against Oak Hill, Shoemaker made it a hat trick of seven-yard TD runs — with the first coming midway through the opening quarter, the second with just a minute and seven seconds left in the second, and finally with just 5:39 remaining to make it 27-14.
Following his third touchdown run, Shoemaker ran in the two-point conversion — and the host Oaks did not get any closer.
As a result, the Tigers tally an 8-2 record for the regular season — and qualify for the state playoffs in Division IV for the fourth year in a row.
This year, Waverly will play in Region 15 — and locked up the third seed as it will host 9-1 Gallia Academy on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
The sixth-seeded Blue Devils were the Ohio Valley Conference runner-up, after losing against Ironton for their only OVC loss in seven games.
Waverly went 4-1 for runner-up honors behind Wheelersburg in the Southern Ohio Conference Division II.
The Oaks, in their first season in the SOC II, ended up at 3-2 and in third-place — part of an even 5-5.
But the loss to Waverly knocked Oak Hill out of the playoffs, as the Oaks finished ninth in Division V Region 19.
Waverly led 13-0 at the two-minute mark of the first quarter, scoring on Shoemaker’s seven-yarder with six-and-a-half minutes left — and then again four-and-a-half minutes later on a 22-yard pass to Penn Morrison from quarterback Haydn’ Shanks.
Grayson Diener drilled the extra-point kick after Shoemaker’s score.
The Tigers’ two first-quarter scoring drives lasted just five and nine plays and 49 and 61 yards, consuming a combined three-and-a-half minutes off the clock.
The Oaks answered with an impressive 15-play, 80-yard, six-minute and 44-second march, as Keaton Potter plowed in from a yard out and Brock Harden hit the extra point to make it 13-7.
But Waverly needed just four plays and 53 seconds to go back up by at least a dozen (19-7), as Shoemaker’s second 7-yarder came right before the half.
After a scoreless third frame, the Oaks amounted another ball-control, clock-devouring scoring drive, running off 80 yards — and eight minutes and 50 seconds — in a hefty 19 plays.
Triston Diltz delivered another one-yard plunge, and Harden had the extra point for the five-point deficit (19-14) with only 8:25 remaining.
But just five plays, 64 yards and two minutes and 44 seconds later, Shoemaker was in the end zone from seven yards out again — one last and final time.
The Oaks outrushed the Tigers 310-216, but Waverly racked up 168 passing yards compared to Oak Hill’s seven.
Shanks completed half of his 20 passes, and overcame two interceptions.
Will Futhey finished with six receptions with 118 yards, including one from Shanks for 49.
The Oaks ran 78 plays to Waverly’s 51, and held a 24-19 advantage in first downs, but lost two fumbles and committed seven penalties for 66 yards.
Diltz carried 32 times for 140 yards, while Potter posted 22 touches for 108 yards.
Noah Donley delivered 15 attempts for 56.
Isaac Morgan completed just one pass on five attempts — a seven-yarder to Jordan Morgan.
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