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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 Look to Continue Road Success in Saturday Regional Semi-Finals

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The Waterford Wildcats (9-2) turned some heads after their dominating commanding 48-30 victory over Shenandoah last Saturday. According to Drew Pasteur, the Wildcats were 2-point underdogs against the Zeps, but they sure as heck didn’t play like they were the underdogs.

Now the Wildcats face an even tougher task against Harvest Prep (10-1). Drew Pasteur currently has the Wildcats as 18-point underdogs against the Warriors, but the Wildcats aren’t unfamiliar with a little adversity.

Overshadowed at times by Hocking foe, the Trimble Tomcats, the Wildcats have put together a very respectable season to this point with road wins over Southern, Belpre, and Eastern. The Wildcats have proven themselves as road warriors, posting a perfect 5-0 record on the road, which could come in hand at this neutral-site game.

Harvest Prep has lived up to their billing as well. According to Drew Pasteur, the Warriors played the sixth toughest schedule of 104 teams in Division VII. Their match up with Fisher Catholic last week was their first Division VII opponent of the season. Their first 10 opponents ranged from Division II to Division VI and yes, they beat all 3 Division II opponents they played.

It might sound better than what it really is. The Warriors’ opponents combined for a 47-66 record compared to the 59-53 combined record Waterford’s opponents posted. Regardless, Harvest Prep is probably the better team here on paper.

The Warriors are looking to avenge last year’s heart-breaking 7-0 playoff loss to the Trimble Tomcats in the second round last year. Their offense this year is full of playmakers with Jaylen Jennings, Jalen Davis, and Javon Eggert highlighting the returning players from last year’s team. They lead an offense that averages over 33 points per game.

Being an underdog is something Waterford doesn’t really care about. They’ll look to run their run-heavy offense as usual. Last week, Holden Dailey led the Wildcats backfield with four touchdowns. The beauty of the Wildcat offense is that it could be a completely new guy this week stepping up.

Whether it’s Joe Pantelidis, Holden Dailey, or Bailey McGraw, this Waterford offense is going to need to establish the run. Last week Zane Heiss left the game early with an apparent left shoulder injury. Grant McCutcheon took over for him and finished the game in the Wildcats favor. With the game out of reach, Heiss finished the game as a spectator from the sideline.

Heiss did tell fans he should be good to go for this game on Saturday. He showed no signs of being in pain or discomfort on the sideline, but a couple big hits early could irritate the shoulder, so it is essential that another player steps up for this Wildcats team, so the game isn’t solely on Heiss’ shoulders, 100% or not.

The Waterford Wildcats have always proven they’re tough and won’t back down from any opponent and Saturday will be no different. Kickoff from Sheridan High School is set for 7 p.m. for this anticipated match up.