Waterford Wildcat players Joe Pantelidis and Holden Dailey celebrate after scoring a touchdown

Waterford Leaves Racine With Statement Win Over Tornadoes

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RACINE, Ohio- The Southern High Tornadoes took on the Waterford Wildcats in the eighth week of southeastern Ohio’s high school football season. The Tornadoes came into this game 5-2 and the Wildcats came in at 6-2. This was a huge game as it could help be a deciding factor for who will win the TVC-Hocking. Both teams met on the field, but it was the Wildcats that came away victorious 42-12.

The setting for the game was electric, Waterford fans made the trip to support their team on road, and Southern fans showed out for the big home game. Both teams’ fans were cheering, Southern parents and grandparents chanting, “Go tornadoes go!” and Waterford fans chanting, “Let’s go Wildcats!” This was shaping up to be a game to remember for both teams and fanbases.

Waterford started the game by holding Southern to a three and out, forcing a punt, but #5 Trey McNickle showed his strength kicking a 42-yard punt and pinning Waterford inside their own 25-yard line. Waterford responded on the drive with a 10 yard gain off of a scramble by senior quarterback Zane Heiss. Later in the drive, on second and four we would see another big gain from Zane Heiss with a 26-yard run. Zane ended the drive with a 1-yard QB sneak walking into the end zone, making the score 7-0 Wildcats.

The Wildcats would then kickoff, but the kickoff was muffed by Southern and they were tackled on their own 10-yard line. Southern would then run the ball twice for short yardage, and an incomplete pass would lead to fourth-and-3. Southern would line up to punt, Waterford thinking that the punt will soon be on the way, but McNickle caught the snap and took off, picking up 14 yards and the first down for Southern. Southern had the momentum, but the Wildcats defense held its own and forced another fourth down. On fourth-and-6 Southern QB Gage Shuler rushes for five yards, but sadly it is not enough and Southern turns the ball over. That would end the action for the first quarter of play.

Waterford would pick up four yards on first down off of a pass, but two incomplete passes would lead to a Waterford fourth-and-5. On fourth-and-5, Waterford decided to go for it, and Heiss completed a seven-yard pass to sophomore running back Holden Dailey. Waterford would find themselves in a precarious third-and-3 situation, but Joe Pantelidis took the ball for a 21-yard rushing touchdown. Waterford failed on the PAT making the score 13-0.

The kickoff would roll out of bounds and Southern would start with the ball on the 35-yard line. However, the Tornadoes could not get anything going because the Wildcats were applying heavy pass rush to quarterback Gage Shuler, and they were forced to punt. The punt traveled 21 yards setting up the Wildcats with great field position. On second-and-15 Zane Heiss ran for 23 yards and nearly found the end zone, but came up one yard short. Heiss would not be contained for long though, as the drive was capped off by Heiss rushing in for a one-yard score, making it 20-0 Wildcats.

Southern again could not create any opportunities and were forced to punt but #7 Cole Miller blocked the Tornadoes punt setting Waterford up on the Southern 15-yard line. Holden Dailey would pick up four yards on first and second down before rushing for a one-yard touchdown on third down making it 27-0 Waterford, and that would end the first half of play.

The first half itself was plagued by penalties with six flags flying in one half. Many of those flags came in after big plays that potentially could have made a big impact on the game. Many of the calls were for holding which can explain why both teams running backs broke free for big runs, but they were called back.

Holden Dailey and Zane Heiss both ran very effectively for Waterford, each’s offensive lines creating holes for them to run through. The pass protection also allowed Zane to throw effectively and find open receivers when he needed to most.

Trey McNickle was limited on the offensive side of the ball by Waterford’s defense, he was not able to get anything going on the ground because the defense was keying in on him. Southern also could not get the passing game going because Waterford’s defensive backs had the Southern receivers locked up.

In the end Waterford would walk away with the win 42-12, making a push to move up in the rankings in the TVC-Hocking. Waterford is scheduled to take on Federal Hocking next week, but they will not play because Federal Hocking forfeited the rest of their games. Southern then gears up to take on TVC-Hocking frontrunner Trimble at Glouster.