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The Waterford Wildcats break through the banner
The Waterford Wildcats break through the banner before their Friday night game. PHOTO: Jacob Matta

Wildcats Run Away With Playoff Win In Second Half Against Shenandoah

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WATERFORD, Ohio- The Waterford Wildcats showed that they had what it takes to beat the cold, and the Shenandoah Zeps. They may have went into halftime tied 22-22, but it was the Wildcats that walked away victorious on this cold November night 48-30.

Holden Dailey was the man for Waterford, proving that once he gets going, he is a force that can’t be stopped. He went off for four total touchdowns against the Zeps, three rushing, and one through the air. His receiving touchdown went for 58-yards, and his QB Zane Heiss threw him a dime, putting the ball right where it needed to be in order for him to score. He was grinding the Zeps down when he got the ball and making sure that defenders got punished when tackling him by delivering crushing blows. 

The Wildcats also received offensive help from Heiss who threw two touchdowns in this game, one to Dailey, and one to Nick Fouss for 24 yards. When Zane was injured it was Grant McCutcheon that stepped up in his place and even pitched in a one-yard TD run of his own. The last touchdown Waterford scored came from Braden Miller who took the handoff and trucked his way into the end zone form four yards out.

One big thing that separated these two teams was time of possession. When Waterford received the kickoff, they had an eight-minute-long drive, which wore the defense down. When your defense has to be on the field going hard for eight minutes, it is hard to not make mental mistakes and errors. Long drives are the way to get under the skin of a defense and wear them out, and Shenandoah’s defense did not look the same after that long drive. 

The Zeps had multiple contributors to their 30 points that they were able to put on the board. Briar Portman got the Zeps on the board first with a one-yard touchdown. Ayden Smith threw for a touchdown and ran for one. Aden Laipply was on the receiving end of Ayden Smith’s passing TD that went for 11 yards. Finally, in the fourth quarter Portman took a kickoff back to the house for a score, but overall it was not enough to catch up to Holden Dailey and the Wildcat offense. 

The Wildcat defense really stepped up tonight to get this win. They allowed 22 points in the first half, but they made halftime adjustments and they only gave up eight points in the second half of the game. Shutting down Briar Portman was a big accomplishment for the defense and it ultimately won them the game. They allowed very little rushing yards in the second half of the game as well as intercepting two of Smith’s passes. Defense wins football games and tonight was an amazing example of that. 

The fans came out to support both teams, as there was no clear winner for who had more fans in the bleachers, and it was one of the loudest football games of the season. The fans for these two teams travel very well so you can expect a great turnout from Waterford in future playoff games. 

Another deciding factor in this game was the amount of penalties. Shenandoah had many personal fouls due to hitting after the whistle and saying things to the officials. They also had a few pass interference calls that gifted the Wildcats a first down when they were in a second or third-and-long situation. The personal fouls allowed Waterford to march down the field with ease and not have to put too much pressure on the offense, so when they got in the red zone, they seemed like they had just walked out onto the field. 

This was an intense battle of ‘win or go home’ and while unfortunately someone always has to go home; both teams battled and played well. There is only one team that is able to end their season on a win and everyone is going to battle for that spot. Be sure to check in next week to see which teams prevail on the Gridiron.