Tioga County Sports Report for Penn York Valley





SECTION IV FOOTBALL: OWEGO 'WINS UGLY' WITH SOLID DEFENSIVE EFFORT (24 PHOTOS) (2019-10-04)

BY TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
WAVERLY — Two solid defenses playing well against two offenses struggling with execution and consistency. That's what spectators witnessed Friday night as Waverly hosted Owego in a crucial Section IV Division II clash at War Memorial Stadium. In the end, the Indians prevailed, 7-3, in a classic case of winning ugly.

Each team turned the ball over three times, not to mention a handful of fumbles which didn't switch hands. Neither side could convert any of the miscues into touchdowns.

"Sometimes you get tough battles and you win ugly," said Owego head coach Steve Virkler. "That certainly could have gone either way. I don't know if I've ever been involved in a 7-3 game, but we'll take it.

"We had our opportunities, creating turnovers, but just could not put anything together, no extended drives,” said Waverly head coach Jason Miller. 

"Turnovers certainly were a big part for both of us offensively," added Virkler. "I thought both defenses played well enough to win. Jason and I said after the game it was tribute to two good defenses."

“We got a couple first downs on the one drive, got down in the red zone and close to the red zone. We just weren't able to finish off anything," Miller said. “They were dropping a lot of people in coverage and it was confusing. We couldn't run the ball very effectively.

"I thought we played pretty good defense.

Owego would put together a sustained drive on its third possession of the game, moving 80 yards in nine plays, following a Waverly three-and-out, and scoring on a 31-yard pass from Nick Wasyln to his brother, Mike.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound wide receiver broke a couple of tackles along the sideline, the last against a player three inches shorter and 25 pounds lighter. Nate Bennett's PAT kick gave the Indians a 7-0 advantage at 6:22 of the second quarter.

"They had a pitch-and-catch," Miller said. "The kid's a big kid to tackle. Obviously we missed the tackle ... and he pushed his way in the end zone. A good player, a good football team."

The TD turned out to be a big advantage as Waverly was only able to muster a 25-yard field goal by Alex Gadow with 6:45 left in the third period.

Those points would come as a result of an Owego turnover after David Hallett picked off a Nick Wasyln pass at the Owego 28 and took it down to the eight. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, they were unable to move the ball and settled for the three points.

There was still more than 18 minutes left in the game, so there was no need to panic yet. However, one aspect of the game the Indians were having some success with was clock management.

Following the field goal, they would get three more possessions and were able to move the ball inside the Waverly 30 twice. The first was 12 plays and consumed more than 6 1/2 minutes, and the next lasted 11 plays and burned off about seven minutes. The finally possession would be the mere formality of running out the clock.

Both offenses sputtered early, the Wolverines starting with a three-and-out and Owego turning the ball over on downs following five plays.

The second Waverly possession would chew up some turf and time, 52 yards in 4 1/2 minute, only to end when Bennett stepped in front of a Joey Tomasso pass at the Owego 8 and returned it to the Waverly 37.

Four plays later, Nick Wasyln fumbled the ball into the end zone on a keeper and Waverly's Jalen McCarty would pounce on the pigskin for a touchback. The Wolverines would run three plays and punt to the Owego 20, setting up the Indians' scoring drive.

Waverly would punt after four plays on its next possession, but McCarty would come up with an interception at the Owego 45. Two plays after that, the Wolverines gave the ball back on a fumble.

The Indians worked the ball down to the Waverly 20 only to have time expire in the half.

Each team went four-and-out to start the second half.

The Wolverines started moving the ball early in the fourth quarter before running out of gas at the Owego 30. They would get the ball back with 3:15 to play and started off with a slick Tomasso-to-Ethan Stotler-to-McCarty pass play for a 21-yard gain to their own 45. Two plays later, McCarty caught a 7-yard pass to move the Wolverines into Owego territory. However, on the following play, the ball appeared to get tipped to Ben Miller for an interception.

Virkler noted how crucial the two picks were.

"When Nate Bennett came up with that big pick in the first half and then Ben Miller right there at the end, certainly was a big play, and Wyatt Gunther getting underneath that," he said. "I don't know if he tipped it, but he certainly was a big part of that interception.

Waverly was able to slow down a good chunk of the Owego ground game, including bruising running back Gio Fabi.

"He became a pretty good lead blocker for us and so did Ben Miller. They both run really hard and they both block really well, and we were able to get some positive yards on the ground, but man, we fought for everything we got."

The Indians (4-1, 3-1 Div. II) out-gained Waverly (2-3, 1-3 Div. II), 286-167.

Nick Wasyln rushed for 109 yards on 25 carries and was 8-for-124 for 81 more. Ben Miller contributed 35 yards rushing and 31 receiving while Fabi and Mike Wasyln added 31 apiece rushing and receiving, respectively. Zach Miner had a combined 27 yards.

"They're a good defensive team, always have been, and they're saying the same thing (about us) right now," coach Miller said. "Offensively, they couldn't get much going. They had bigger plays. They had more sustained drives, but our kids played hard on defense and I credit them that. You're going to have offensive performances like this where the other team has the edge and they did tonight.

"It's a broken record. I'm kind of tired of saying it, but we've just got to find a way to win,” added Miller.

The Indians are happy to get out of there with a win.

Owego heads to Chenango Valley Friday night.

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IN PHOTO 1: Owego's Mike Wasyln. ... PHOTOS 1-15 BY TIM TAYLOR. PHOTOS 16-19 BY TIM BIRNEY. PHOTOS 20-24 BY CATHY DOANE.


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