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‘Cats handle Southern, 59-6

WATERFORD –No less than nine different Waterford players scored a touchdown as the Wildcats rolled to a 59-6 win over the visiting Southern Tornadoes in Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division action Friday night.

The ‘Cats celebrated their 12 seniors on senior night by scoring 31 unanswered points in the opening quarter and then completely stymied the Southern offense to win their second straight game and improve to 2-1 on the season.

“We had a great week of practice and I thought we executed well and we came out tonight and did the same thing,” said Waterford fifth-year head coach Eric McCutcheon. “Our kids came out for senior night ready to play. We’ve got 12 really good seniors and they all played really well tonight.”

Waterford set the stage for what was to come when junior quarterback Grant McCutcheon capped a 7-play, 52-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.

The Wildcats increased their lead to 14-0 when McCutcheon connected with senior tight end Jude Huffman on a 44-yard catch-and-run with just over five minutes to play in the first quarter.

Junior Holden Dailey blocked a punt and senior Cole Miller recovered in the end zone to increase the lead to 16.

Before senior Joe Pantelidis rambled 16 yards for another Wildcat touchdown.

Waterford capped its great start when senior Braden Miller caught a blocked punt in the air and returned it 22 yards for yet another score and a 31-0 first quarter lead for the home team.

Southern answered when Josh Stansberry rambled 58 yards for a touchdown for its lone score of the game.

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A 4-yard pass from McCutcheon to senior Luke Teters and a 48-yard run by Holden Dailey sent the Wildcats to the intermission with a commanding 45-6 lead.

“We put in a new offense this year and obviously we didn’t get a lot of scrimmage time so we are getting better as we go,” said McCutcheon, whose team tallied 320 total yards on the night. “We are getting a lot more comfortable with it and we have got a lot of guys who can take it to the house. We are excited about the kind of depth that we have.” The Wildcat defense went on to limit Southern to just 63 yards in the game while forcing four turnovers in addition to the two huge plays on special teams that resulted in points on the scoreboard.

“Our defense was just lights out,” said McCutcheon. “We spend a lot of time on defense and special teams in practice because we know that will keep us in a bunch of ballgames.”

Waterford capped their big night in the second half with an 8-yard touchdown run by senior Colton Shriver and a 22-yard return by Dylan Taylor after the Wildcat freshman stripped the ball right out of the arms of a Tornado ball carrier.

Dailey led the green and white with 108 yards rushing on seven carries while McCutcheon completed 6 of 8 pass attempts for an even 100 yards and the two scores.

Coach McCutcheon had high praise for the Wildcat senior class, one that qualified for the playoffs in each of their first three seasons.

“These 12 guys have meant so much to our program,” said McCutcheon of the senior class that consists of Bailey McGraw, Cole and Braden Miller, Shriver, Derick Wilson, Ethan Lang, Haden Offenberger, Pantelidis, Jude Huffman, Teters, Nick Ellis and Wade Smith. “Nobody knows how much work behind closed doors they put in the off season to make this happen on Friday nights. They put in the blood, sweat and tears. They are a great group of kids and I am going to miss the heck out of them.”

Southern fell to 0-3 with the loss, while the Wildcats improved to 2-1 with a pivotal showdown with Eastern on tap for next Friday at home.

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