The Official Athletics Website Of The Waverly Wolverines



By: Tim Birney | Waverly Athletics | November 4, 2022 | Photo courtesy David Alliger


WAVERLY — Waverly scored three TDs in 5 1/2 minutes late in the first half to blow open a close game en route to a 48-14 win over Susquehanna Valley here Friday night in the semifinals of the Section IV, Class C playoffs at Memorial Stadium.

“That five-minute stretch really switched the momentum,” said longtime Waverly coach Jason Miller. “We got the pick, and the turnover on downs — it gave us good field position both times, and when we’re in that position, we’re much more aggressive than we would be if we didn’t have that position.”

The Wolverines scored on all five of their first-half possessions, and piled up 302 yards in total offense on its way to a 34-7 lead at the intermission.

“Offensively in the first half was probably the best we’ve played all year,.

“Joe (Tomasso) and Jay (Pipher) were on,” said Miller in reference to the record-breaking duo (See related story.), who hooked up on five passes for 100 yards and a TD in the first half.

“I thought we did a good job moving (Kayleb) Bechy back to the slot,” he added. “His speed on the outside gives us a little more of a threat to stretch the field horizontally. When he gets to the outside, he’s a handful.”

Susquehanna Valley won the pre-game coin toss, and deferred to the second half.

Waverly took advantage of getting the ball first, driving 67 yards on seven plays to take the early lead.

After a pair of first downs, junior QB Joey Tomasso connected with junior wideout Jay Pipher for a 42-yard gain to the SV 5. The completion gave Tomasso the single-season record for passing yardage with 1,912, breaking the previous record of 1,909 yards set by Peyton Miller in 2015.

Pipher finished off the drive with a 5-yard TD run on a jet sweep to give the Wolverines a 6-0 lead with 8:49 remaining in the first quarter.

On its first possession, the Sabers picked up one first down, but were forced to punt, and the Wolverines took over at their own 16.

A 19-yard pass from Tomasso to Pipher, and a 33-yard run by senior Kaleb Bechy on a jet sweep (with a 5-yard penalty against SV mixed in) quickly moved the ball to the SV 27.

Facing, third-and-16 after a penalty, Tomasso scrambled for a 15-yard gain, and was hit late out-of-bounds to give the Wolverines a first-and-goal at the SV 9.

On third-and-goal, senior Isaiah Bretz made a nice grab and reached the ball across the goal line for a score as he was being hit. Senior Ryan Clark’s PAT kick made it 13-0 with 3:44 remaining in the first quarter.

On its ensuing possession, the Sabers put together their best series of the night — a 9-play, 58-yard scoring drive that bridged the first two quarters.

Junior QB Quintin Bowman had runs of 9 and 12 yards, and senior Anthony DiRosa ripped off a 22-yard run in the drive, which was capped by a 1-yard TD run by Devante Rivera on fourth-and-goal with 10:45 remaining in the first half. Bowman’s PAT kick closed the gap to 13-7.

Waverly answered with its best possession of the night — a 14-play, 77-yard drive that overcame a pair of holding calls, and was capped by a 13-yard TD run by Tomasso with 6:48 remaining in the first half.

The drive started with a 20-yard screen pass from Tomasso to senior tailback Braeden Hills, and included a 14-yard pass to junior Jake VanHouten, a 13-yard pass to Pipher, and a 13-yard run by Tomasso.

With Waverly facing a second-and-20, SV was flagged for defensive holding, but the Wolverines gave 5 yards back with a false start.

After an 8-yard pass from Tomasso to Pipher moved the ball to the SV 13, Tomasso finished off the drive with a QB counter off the right side. Clark’s PAT kick made it 20-7.

SV’s collapse began shortly after the ensuing kickoff. Following a 16-yard by Bowman turned a first-and 22 into a manageable second-and-6, a deep throw by Bowman was picked off by VanHouten and returned 29 yards to the SV 32.

Three plays later, Tomasso dropped a perfect throw over an SV defender into Pipher’s hands in the end zone for an 18-yard TD with 3:16 remaining in the half. Clark’s PAT kick made it 27-7.

Three plays after the ensuing kickoff, Bowman was knocked out of the game on a hit by sophomore defensive tackle Kam Hills. Facing fourth-and-3 at its 41, SV gambled, and the decision backfired. A bad snap forced back-up QB Luke Kariam to fall on the loose ball at the 32, giving the Wolverines the ball on downs.

Moments later, Tomasso took the ball off the right side on a QB counter, and scampered untouched 32 yards for a score. Clark’s PAT kick made it 34-7 with 1:06 remaining in the half.

If you think the second quarter ended poorly for SV, the start to the third quarter was even worse.

On the first play of the second half, Bretz stepped in front of a Kariam pass at the SV 25, and returned it six yards.

Following a penalty, a 20-yard pass from Tomasso to Bretz moved the ball to the Saber 4. Braeden Hills then bulled in for the score, and Clark’s PAT kick made it 41-7 just 59 seconds after the intermission.

On the ensuing possession, SV drove from its 7 to the Waverly 1, but was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct and faced a fourth-and-goal at the Wolverine 16. An incomplete pass gave Waverly the ball at its own 16.

The Wolverines turned to power football, and drove 84 yards on 12 plays for a score. Braeden Hills had runs of 23, 13, and 11 yards in the drive, and Bechy added an 11-yard run.

Sophomore Peyton Fravel capped the drive, which chewed up nearly eight minutes off the game clock, with a 1-yard TD run with 7:48 remaining in the contest. Clark, who was 7-for-7 in the game, split the uprights to make it 48-7.

The Sabers added the final score of the game — a 16-yard TD run by senior Adam Leonard — with 3:37 remaining to provide the final margin.

Tomasso completed 13 of 21 passes for 188 yards and two TDs, and also ran for 82 yards and two TDs on just six carries. His two TD passes pulls him into a tie with Peyton Miller atop the all-time list for career passing TDs with 58. He has also thrown for a school-record 2,052 yards this season.

Pipher, who holds the single-season record for receiving yardage, as well as career marks for receptions and receiving yardage, led Waverly with five receptions for 100 yards, and one TD. Bretz added four grabs for 40 yards, and one TD.

The Wolverines rushed for 232 yards, with Braeden Hills adding 69 yards and one TD on nine carries, and Bechy chipping in with 53 yards on three carries.

The Sabers rushed for 233 yards on 44 carries, led by Leonard, who had 70 yards and one TD on seven carries, DiRosa (11 carries for 66 yards), and Bowman (8-51).

Kariam completed 3 of 8 passes for 76 yards, and one interception. Bowman was 0-for-3 with one interception.

The Wolverines, now 9-1, will travel to Chenango Forks (9-1) Friday for the Class C Championship game. Forks has beaten Waverly eight times in a row, including in last year’s Class C title game.

“This is a good win. It’s a lot of momentum going into next week,” said Miller.

“It’s great to be in the sectional championship in this section, regardless of what the match-up is.

“Our past history (against Forks) means nothing,” added Miller. “We’re going into next week expecting to win, and that’s how we’re going to focus all week.”


About the Author

Tim Birney Author Bio

Tim Birney

Tim Birney is the founder / owner of River Road Media Group. He was born and raised in the Valley, graduating from Waverly High School in 1984.

Birney earned an Associate's Degree in Journalism from SUNY Morrisville in 1986 and a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism / Public Relations from Utica College of Syracuse University in 1988. He began his newspaper career at The Daily Review in Towanda in 1989, before moving on to The Evening Times in 1995. He spent more than 10 years at the Times, the last four as Managing Editor.

River Road Media Group includes five sites in "The Sports Reports" family that cover 24 school districts in five counties: Valley Sports Report (launched Aug. 10, 2009), Tioga County (NY) Sports Report (Aug. 13, 2018), and Northern Tier Sports Report (Aug. 31, 2020); Northern Tier West Sports Report (March 15, 2021) Southern Tier Sports Report (Aug. 16, 2021).