CHILLICOTHE — Simply put, Bloom-Carroll quickly blitzkrieged the Waverly Tigers.
Hence, a de facto home crowd could do little to bring the Tigers back, as Waverly — shockingly trailing 28-0 after the opening quarter and 42-7 at halftime — lost 49-21 to the “visiting” Bulldogs in a Division IV, Region 15 semifinal on Saturday night at Chillicothe’s Herrnstein Field.
Both teams entered at 9-2, but the seventh-seeded Bulldogs bashed the third-seeded Tigers for their second considerable upset in these state playoffs.
Bloom-Carroll won at second-seeded Indian Valley in the regional quarterfinals, but Waverly — which blew out and shut out Gallia Academy 40-0 in the Region 15 quarters — was viewed by many observers as the favorite for a victory.
Especially given that the Ohio High School Athletic Association selected Chillicothe — only 15 minutes up U.S. Route 23 from Waverly — as the neutral site.
But the Bulldogs burst out of the gates with a 64-yard touchdown run by Cody Harmon — only a minute and 12 seconds into the contest.
Cameron Shirkey kicked the first of his seven extra-point kicks on the night, and Bloom-Carroll — on a cold night — was just getting warmed up.
On Waverly’s opening possession, the Tigers were forced to punt following a three-and-out, but a bad snap over Grayson Diener’s head resulted in a Bulldog recovery deep inside Tiger territory at the 5-yard line.
Otto Kuhns — the B-C standout quarterback — scored three plays later from a yard out, and it was 14-0 only four minutes in.
The Tigers then punted again following three plays, and Kuhns completed a 42-yard pass to Eli Coppess for the Bulldogs’ third touchdown with 5:45 remaining in the first.
The Tigers then fumbled three plays into their next series, and this time Evan Willett was on the receiving end of a 29-yard pass completion from Kuhns — making it 28-0 at the four-minute mark of the first.
A 42-yard pass from Haydn’ Shanks to Will Futhey got the Tigers on the scoreboard only a minute and three seconds into the second stanza, but the Bulldogs only needed 49 seconds to answer.
Josh Evans ended a five-play, 51-yard drive with a 6-yard run, then Kuhns capped a massive 14-play, 65-yard four-minute and 13-second march with his second 1-yard plunge to make it 42-7.
After a scoreless third quarter, Coppess returned a fumble 57 yards for a touchdown only 14 seconds into the final period — as Waverly scored twice in the fourth quarter for the 49-21 final.
With 8:25 remaining, Shanks found Futhey for a 21-yard touchdown strike, while Payton Shoemaker scored from five yards away with only 55 seconds to go.
The Bulldogs outgained the Tigers on the ground by 107 yards (226-119), as Harmon had 79 yards on five carries, while Hobie Scarberry had 73 yards on 13 attempts — and Kuhns collected 58 yards on 15 totes.
Kuhns completed 9-of-15 passes for 119 yards, with Willett catching five for 58.
Waverly was forced to punt three times compared to just once for the Bulldogs, as Shoemaker — the Southeast District Division IV Offensive Player of the Year — amassed 143 yards on 28 attempts.
He finished his senior season setting several school records — and with 2,328 yards and 32 touchdowns on a massive 304 carries.
In fact, with the exception of the 24-yard loss credited to Diener, Shoemaker made every carry for Waverly on Saturday.
With Waverly playing from behind and forced to throw, Shanks completed 24-of-41 passes for 244 yards, including 11 to Futhey for 167.
Zeke Brown added four receptions for 44 yards, and the fellow senior Diener kicked all three of his extra points.
Waverly was trying f0r school history — attempting to win its second playoff game in a single season.
It was the Tigers’ fourth playoff appearance in a row, and their first regional semifinal appearance since back-to-back berths in 2006 and 2007.
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