The Whitewater Wildcats made a statement, and grabbed some valuable playoff positioning, in a 30-0 win over the Fayette County Tigers on Friday night.
Whitewater came into the game as the underdog in terms of region positioning after back-to-back tough losses to Sandy Creek and Carrollton. Now, if the season ended today, they would hold the last of the region’s four playoff spots.
“This region is going to be a battle just to get into the playoffs. We’re just hoping to get one of those spots,” said Whitewater coach Amos McCreary. “The kids have their backs against the wall. We’re just going to have to play hard from here on in.”
They responded well to the pressure against the Tigers. A loss would have just about ended their postseason plans.
“I was real pleased with how we played tonight because Fayette has been playing some pretty good football,” said McCreary. “Tonight, our kids came out ready to play.”
Chief among the reasons for the big win was an offensive line that paved the way for 450 total yards, 384 on the ground. Christian Wafford followed them to a ridiculous 286 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.
“I think the offensive line must have gotten themselves ready to go. They were opening holes for whoever was in there running the ball,” McCreary said. “Christian Wafford had a big night. He had some big plays and a lot of yards.”
Jay Ashley had a strong night as well, throwing for 66 yards and running for 63 yards with two scores.
Whitewater started the game hot, scoring on their opening drive. Avery Roth kicked the offense into gear, catching a wide receiver screen and taking it for 21 yards. Liam Voight’s 37-yard field goal staked the Cats to a 3-0 lead.
Fayette tried to respond, moving the chains with an impressive leaping catch by Sean Ancrum. When the drive stalled, they attempted a fake punt, but Cooper Fisher read it and killed the play.
Wafford found the end zone for the first time, spinning off a Tiger tackle on a 20-yard touchdown for a 10-0 lead.
The Cat defense bowed up again, Justin Peck intercepting a pass deep in their own territory. Wafford hit the home run, racing the distance on a 66-yard score and a 17-0 advantage.
The end of the half saw both teams got sloppy. After Sean Harper and Rufus Ogbemudia both tallied sacks to stop Whitewater, the Wildcat defense did the same. However, Fayette’s punt would be touched by a Cat and a Tiger would fall on it to retain possession. Whitewater got the ball right back with Daiquan Williamson picking off a shovel pass on the next play. Two plays later, Sean Ancrum intercepted a pass to turn it over again. Three turnovers in a four-play span put the bow on a 17-0 first half.
Jay Ashley padded the lead with a nine-yard run midway through the third quarter.
Fayette strung together a productive drive but came up just short of the end zone. Robert Easterwood chewed up a lot of the field with a 50-yard run, but Ian McIntyre saved the touchdown with a big tackle. Spencer Taylor came through with a sack to force a fourth and goal from the 14. Easterwood picked up 13 of it but was stopped just short of scoring.
On the next play, Wafford broke loose and nearly took it the distance. Fayette dragged him down, but not before he had picked up 94 yards. The Tigers kept them out of the end zone on that drive, but Ashley would later score on a short run to put the finishing touches on a 30-0 win.
Daquan Williamson paced the Wildcat defense with eight tackles, two sacks, one pass breakup, and one fumble recovery. Kyle Brown racked up 11 tackles, and Justin Peck added an interception.
Whitewater, now 5-3, travels to play Woodward Academy this week. Fayette County, at 3-5, plays at Troup.