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Joseph Pantelidis Waterford Wildcats
Joseph Pantelidis stands ready on defense during the Wildcats game against the Trimble Tomats. Photo: Nick Henthorn

Waterford Falls in Second Round in Second Straight Season

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On a chilly night in Southeast Ohio, the Waterford Wildcats came roaring into Paul Culver Jr. Stadium with a chance to advance to the Region VII Division 27 championship for the first time since 2016.

To do so they had to defeat the Warriors from Harvest Prep, who held the number one seed in the region.

Both teams’ seasons ended in the regional semi-final a year ago, and both were looking to avoid that fate again this season.

Waterford (9-3, 7-1) came into the contest as heavy underdogs, but did not play like they were aware of that.

Harvest Prep (11-1, 7-0) were stalled on offense at times, but turned to their work horse running back Javon Eggert, who wore down the Waterford defense and finished the game with five touchdowns on the ground.

The Warriors were also able to take advantage of four Waterford turnovers, and backed up their number one seeding with a 35-21 victory to advance to the regional championship.

The turnover bug struck Waterford early in the first quarter.

On their first drive the Wildcats fumbled the ball, and Harvest Prep’s Emmanuel Mullens scooped it up and returned it to the Waterford seven yard-line.

On the next play Javon Eggert took the ball off the left tackle and punched it into the end zone to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead.

After teams traded three-and-outs on offense, Harvest Prep went on a six play, 50-yard drive, capped off by a 14-yard touchdown run from Eggert to give the Warriors a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.

Defenses reigned supreme through out the second quarter.

Both teams struggled to get going offensively, as there were multiple punts and turnovers on downs by both sides.

On their last drive of the second half, Waterford was finally able to find a spark offensively.

The Wildcats took advantage of favorable field position after a poor Harvest Prep punt, going 35 yards in three plays. The offensive outburst culminated in a 19-yard touchdown strike from Zane Heiss to Nick Fouss over the middle of the field to get the Wildcats on the board.

Waterford would take the momentum into halftime trailing the Warriors 14-7.

The game was once again at a stalemate to start the third quarter before Harvest Prep came up with a pivotal play on defense.

Eli Rogers came shooting through the line and ripped the ball away from Waterford running back Holden Daily, and ran all the way down to the Waterford five yard-line.

None another then Javon Eggert would cross the goal line three plays later to give the Warriors a two score lead, 21-7.

After a Waterford three and out Harvest Prep went on six play 49-yard drive to put the game out of reach on, yet another touchdown run from Eggart.

Both teams would add scores at the end of the fourth quarter, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Wildcats dropped the game 35-21 and were eliminated from the postseason.

The Wildcats season came to an end, but it was another solid year for them, as they finished second in the TVC-Hocking and picked up a playoff victory.

Harvest Prep will move on and face Newark Catholic at a neutral site next week after they defeated Shadyside 40-0.