Waterford takes on Trimble in key TVC matchup

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Waterford’s Noah Huffman (13) and George Pantelidis (21) go up for an interception during a high school football game against Fort Frye last Friday.

WATERFORD — Waterford High beat Trimble High twice last year en route to its best-ever season on the gridiron.

The first time was during regular-season play (28-14) and the other time was in the Ohio D7 playoffs (22-0).

Now, the Wildcats (2-1) will be seeking a third straight triumph over the visiting Tomcats (2-1) in a key Tri-Valley Conference-Hocking Division matchup at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Trimble’s tough,” said second-year Waterford head football coach Eric McCutcheon said. “They’re going to be at the top of the league again. It’ll be another battle for us.”

Last Friday night, WHS hosted and dropped a hard-fought 23-19 decision to arch-rival Fort Frye (2-1). The Wildcats have fallen 10 straight times to the Cadets in their longtime series.

“We’ve got to bounce back, and have a good week of practice and preparation,” McCutcheon said. “We’re looking at Trimble, now.”

Against the Fort, Waterford was opportunistic in the first quarter with George Pantelidis intercepting a pass, and Peyten Stephens and Joseph Zimmer each recovering a fumble. The Wildcats led 13-0 at the end of one and 19-16 at the half. Braden Bellville scored one rushing touchdown, and Stephens passed for two more to Cody Harris and Bellville, respectively.

After the break, Waterford’s defense was on the field way too long as Fort Frye exercised ball control and time of possession at the line of scrimmage. The rallying Cadets also took the lead (23-19) on their first possession of the third quarter — and those points were the only ones scored in the second half.

“They (Cadets) made some adjustments (at halftime) obviously,” McCutcheon said, “and they had some time-consuming drives on on offense.”

The Wildcats had only two offensive possessions in the second half, one in the third and another one in the fourth quarter. On both occasions, they ended up punting the ball.

“They (Cadets) didn’t throw much in the second half,” McCutcheon said. “They just kept getting us around the corner, and we just couldn’t get to them.”

Bellville finished the game rushing for 87 yards on 16 carries. The talented Wildcat running back figures to get a lot of touches of the ball against Trimble as well.

The run-oriented Tomcats have won two straight since getting blanked 21-0 by Nelsonville-York in their season opener. They beat Belpre, 44-7, and routed South Gallia, 51-3.

Cameron Kittle is expected to be at quarterback for Trimble. He’s a mobile signal caller, but will probably let Conner Wright and Max Hooper do the bulk of the ball carrying.

When Kittle does throw, he looks for either Sawyer Koons, Jack Nagucki, or Hooper.