AMANDA — It was a literal perfect storm that Amanda-Clearcreek ran into last week.
With Waverly quarterback Haydn’ Shanks back in the fold for the first time since being knocked out of a Week 3 game, it forced the Aces to have to defend both the run and pass.
Shanks completed 24 of 29 passes for 435 yards in a 48-13 win. Will Futhey turned into a matchup crisis for the Aces, as the 6-foot-4 receiver set a new Waverly single-game program record with 290 yards receiving on just 10 receptions and five touchdowns.
A week after rushing for 362 yards in a win over Fairland, running back Payton Shoemaker carried a far lighter load, but still had 140 yards on 21 totes.
Amanda-Clearcreek didn’t help its own cause with a trio of interceptions, while Waverly didn’t turn the football over once.
“A lot of little things added up and produced the result we had last Friday night,” A-C coach Steve Daulton said. “We talked to the kids that as much as don’t like it that we have to own the result and look to learn from it.
“Sometimes when you are winning, that disguises some things you aren’t doing as well as you need to as a team and the loss to a very good Waverly team brought those to the forefront.”
Daulton has been proud of the way his team has handled the adversity so far.
“Our kids know that we need to get better and everyone, whether varsity or junior varsity, came in on Saturday morning ready to work and start to get things taken care of,” he said.
The Aces (4-1, 1-0) return to Mid-State League Buckeye Division play for the remainder of the regular-season this week when they host Bloom-Carroll (4-1, 2-0).
“One of the things we talked to the kids about is everything we wanted to do in the regular-season as far as trying to win the league, make the playoffs and trying to host a playoff game are all there for us still,” Daulton said. “It’s going to be tough, because we’re facing another athletic team in Bloom-Carroll that can throw the football around the yard.”
Defending co-champion Bloom-Carroll is coming off a dominating 49-12 win over Circleville, where the Bulldogs led 28-0 after a period of play and 42-0 at intermission.
The Bulldogs offer another dynamic offense for the Aces to defend, led by 6-foot-3 senior quarterback Otto Kuhns, who has completed 57 of 89 passes on the season for 790 yards and has also added 300 yards rushing.
While Kuhns is very efficient at using his entire receiving compliment,
Evan Willet has emerged as one of the leading targets with 16 grabs for 332 yards.
Hobie Scarberry and Kuhns will get the bulk of the carries for the Bulldogs, who have been more ball-control than they have been in the last couple of seasons.
“Bloom-Carroll obviously has that big-play ability, but they’ve been more committed to running the football and controlling the clock when they need to this season,” Daulton said. “Obviously, Otto Kuhns is very good at both running and throwing the football and we need to be fundamentally sound, but they have a nice group of athletes that we have to try and contain better than we did last week when we faced Waverly.
“It’s going to be a great high school atmosphere and I know our kids are excited about being back in The Pit.”
The Bulldogs won last year’s tilt 33-23 and the Aces prevailed 24-19 in 2017.