Gavin Stanfield, the Class 3A Mr. Football from a year ago, has normally been the featured attraction when Waverly takes the football field.
Friday night, against visiting McKenzie, the Rebels were treated to a horror feature: The Montez Bradley Show. The senior Tiger running back collected 236 yards and five touchdowns in Waverly's 54-13 victory. He had scoring runs of 51, 10, 55, 18 and 72 yards.
Even more eye opening was the fact that the Tigers amassed 336 total yards on just 22 snaps. Part of that was the fact that McKenzie turnovers left Waverly in pretty good field position. The other part is the fact that McKenzie held the ball for an 11-minute drive in the fourth quarter as the clock ran continuously.
The loss dropped McKenzie to 0-5 for the first time in 40 years and snapped a three-game skid for Waverly.
The knock on the Rebels for the past several weeks was the fact that they had trouble stopping other offenses. They surrendered 63 points to Huntingdon, 49 to Fairview and 62 to Davidson Academy. Friday, the Tigers limited the Rebels to just 178 yards, most of it coming on the last drive, one that covered 77 yards, and two touchdowns.
McKenzie running back Bryston Diggs carried for 91 total yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Waverly jumped to a 12-0 lead, thanks to a 51-yard burst from Bradley at the 9:53 mark of the opening frame and a 10-yard sprint by Bradley three minutes later, set up by J.D. Dixon's 15-yard run.
The Rebels climbed back in the game on their next possession. McKenzie marched to the Waverly 40, thanks to runs by Murphy Watkins, which forced the Tiger defense to bottle up the middle. On a fourth-and-one play from the 40, the Rebels pitched it wide to Diggs, who canvassed the remaining distance. With 2:57 to play, the Rebels trailed 12-6 after the missed PAT.
Fewer than 90 seconds later, Bradley raced 55 yards for a score and walked in for the two-point conversion to give Waverly a 20-6 lead. McKenzie fumbled on its first play of the next possession and Hunter Fortner picked up the loose ball at the MHS 34. From there, Stanfield found Dixon for a 34-yard scoring strike at the :54 mark of the first. Waverly led 26-6.
Things went from bad to worse for the Rebels as Waverly's Colton Cochran returned a fumbled lateral 40 yards for a score on the first play of the next McKenzie drive. Sam Dellinger's PAT kick was deflected, but still went through the uprights, and the Tigers led 33-6 with 11:53 remaining in the half.
McKenzie's struggling offense faced its third three-and-out series in the half and punted to Waverly. Dixon's 77-yard punt return for score was nullified, as was Stanfield's 55-yard pass to Cochran, both for personal fouls. But the Tigers drove to the Rebel 18 where Bradley finished the incursion with an 18-yard touchdown run. Dellinger's conversion gave the Tigers a 40-6 lead.
Another three-and-out forced a McKenzie punt that went through the punter Larson King's wicket. To his credit, he tried to boot it out, but it was blocked and Waverly took over at the 7. An offside call on McKenzie placed the ball at the 4, where Dixon tiptoed in for the score with 3:07 to play in the half. Waverly held a 47-6 halftime advantage.
Bradley took his final bow with 9:22 left in the third when he rocketed 72 yards for the score. Dellinger's kick gave the Tigers a 54-6 margin.
The Rebels tacked on a cosmetic touchdown, marching 77 yards in just over 11 minutes, ending in Diggs' 5-yard burst. Diego Calderon added the kick and the Rebels trailed 54-13, which was the final.
The Tigers, 2-3, head to Riverside next Friday. The Panthers held off host Camden 21-20 Friday.
McKenzie, 0-5, hits the road to Halls for a Region 7-2A game. The Tigers defeated South Fulton 41-8.