Cats declawed: Waterford suffers 33-12 setback to South Gallia

WATERFORD – Waterford found itself down just 13-6 at halftime Friday night against South Gallia at the newly-named Waterford Wildcats Complex, but the Rebels used a 20-0 run in the second half to put the Wildcats away and leave town with a 33-12 win.

South Gallia used the legs of Jacob White (17 carries, 164 yards) and the right arm of Ethan Spurlock (6-for-11 passing, 119 yards) to propel itself over the ‘Cats on a night where the 1973 Waterford football team was honored at halftime.

The ’73 squad was the first ever football team in school history, a team that current Waterford head coach Tom Tucker was a freshman on.

Tucker saw his team move the ball deep into South Gallia territory, trailing 13-6 late in the second quarter, before a fumble on a pitch attempt was recovered by the Rebels.

“We needed that score,” Tucker said of the missed opportunity.

The drive started at the Wildcats’ 37-yard line. A 6-yard pass from Isaac Huffman to Montana Brooker and then a 10-yard run by Austin Lang put the ball in South Gallia territory. Later, on 4th-and-2 from the Rebels 39, Huffman’s pass to Dalton Ball was tipped up in the air but tracked down by Ball for a 15-yard gain to the 24. The Wildcats moved it all the way to the 12-yard line before the turnover.

“That was a turning point in the game,” Tucker said. “We lost our momentum a little bit.”

South Gallia would end up turning the ball over on downs, but would get going in the third quarter.

On their first possession of the second half, the Rebels drove all the way to the Waterford 20 before fumbling.

However, South Gallia was able to force a 3-and-out on Waterford’s ensuing possession and get the ball back with good field position. A 35-yard rush by White put the ball at the 3-yard line, where Spurlock ran in from to make it a 19-6 game.

The Rebels would score touchdowns on each of their next two drives, on TD receptions by White and Mikey Wheeler, to extend the lead to 33-6.

For the Wildcats Huffman would find Ball for a 21-yard scoring strike with 1:16 to go to make it 33-12 before time ran out.

The loss dropped Waterford’s record to 2-7 overall and 1-6 in the Tri-Valley Conference – Hocking Division.

“We gave up some big plays,” Tucker said. “I hate to keep harping about young guys, but we play a lot of them. They make mistakes.

“I tell them each week we’ve got to improve, and I think we have improved every week. We did some things right, but there is still the little mistakes that we’re making.”

The scoring began at the 2:19 mark in the first quarter on an 11-yard TD run by White. Spurlock kicked the point-after to make the score 7-0.

Waterford would answer in the second quarter. A 27-yard pass from Huffman to Ball down the right sideline set up a 7-yard touchdown throw from Huffman to Luke Kern to make it a one-point game.

South Gallia answered on its ensuing possession. A 16-yard run by White and a facemask by Waterford put the ball at the Wildcats’ 35. Spurlock then connected with Brayden Greer on a 30-yard strike before Dakota Wroten broke the plane of the end-zone for a 2-yard touchdown to make it 13-6 with 8:36 remaining in the first half.

The Rebels accumulated 346 total yards, 227 of which came on the ground. By comparison, Waterford totaled 226 yards of offense.

Waterford closes out the 2013 campaign on the road against Belpre next Friday.

Note: Earlier Friday, the Wolf Creek Local Board of Education voted 4-0, with one member absent, to rename the press box in honor of Oran Adams, who has been associated with the football team for four decades.

“All 40 years, he has been a part of that football program by announcing ball games or keeping score or both,” Superintendent Bob Caldwell said.

In the same vote, the board approved officially calling the football field the Waterford Wildcat Complex.