Hurd, Tigers too much for the Pioneers as they fall, 42-28

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CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (WOUB) — Zane Trace and Waverly entered their first meeting since 2019 still seeking their first win of the year. The Pioneers were coming off a sound defeat at the hands of Logan Elm, 39-23. On the other hand, the Tigers suffered a heartbreaking loss at home last week to Miami Trace that saw them come up just short on a two-point conversion which would have given them a narrow victory.  

Zane Trace’s turnover woes from last week flared up once again. On the second play from scrimmage, Blake Phillips lost control of the football to a group of Waverly defenders. Fortunately for the Pioneers, Spencer Brower single-handedly ended the next Tigers’ possession as he totaled three tackles, a tackle for loss, and a sack on the first three Waverly snaps. Zane Trace’s success bottling up the Waverly offense would not last much longer as Jase Hurd got rolling later in the 1st quarter, breaking off several lengthy runs to fuel his first touchdown of the night, giving the Tigers an early 7-0 advantage.  

Hurd and the Tigers rode the arm of Mason Kelly into the red zone to set up their next score. In a strange turn of events, Waverly fumbled the ball twice, but forward momentum carried it into the endzone which resulted in a fumble recovery by Creed Smith, extending the Tiger lead to 14-0.  

While the Waverly defense continued to dominate, Mason Kelly struck again before the end of the half. Kelly dropped one into the arms of Kody Sword right over the Zane Trace secondary, extending the Tigers’ advantage to 21-0 before the Pioneers could even mount a response. That response would come in the form of a Blake Phillips bruiser as he pounded through countless Waverly defenders en route to the first points of the night for the Pioneers.  Phillips’ run cut the Tigers’ lead to 21-7 before the break.  

Hurd’s dominance was on full display for the duration of the game, and his performance from the second-half whistle put an exclamation mark on an outstanding performance from the senior running back. He racked up three more scores, and while the Pioneers were able to match the scoring effort of Hurd, their first-half deficit was too great to climb out, as they were defeated 42-28. 

For the Pioneers, there were plenty of silver linings as their offense came roaring to life in the second half.  Carter Langley showcased his dual-threat capability in the second half, totaling two scores on the ground and going deep to find Silas Stewart. Stewart’s 45-yard touchdown marks a pattern for the senior quarterback, as he’s connected for 40 plus-yard touchdown passes in successive weeks. Blake Phillips was able to get to work in the open field tonight despite Zane Trace losing another offensive lineman, Abram Montgomery. It’s the second injury for a unit that is already weathering the loss of their starting center.  

With this loss, the Pioneers fall to 0-2 in their non-conference schedule, and they will host the North Union Wildcats next week in hopes of picking up their first victory. For Waverly, they will stay on the road with another SVC top dog, the undefeated Unioto Shermans.