. Waverly began its 2012 football season, and the head coaching tenure of Anthony Walker, with a somewhat deceiving 27-6 loss to Everett.
The Vikings came into the contest as heavy favorites, and regarded as one of the very best teams in the area, but the Warrior defense held them in check for the bulk of the contest. Waverly shut Everett out completely in the first half, not allowing a single Viking first down, and held them to just 189 yards of total offense in the entire game.
Derrick Hartwell scored the only touchdown for the Warriors, on a 25-yard pass from Airic Boyce in the second quarter that gave Waverly a 6-0 lead at the half.
The Vikings tied the game early in the third quarter with a 5-yard TD run by Anthony White, and took the only lead that they would need on a 40-yard punt return by ChaQuan Love.
Everett then salted the game away with touchdown runs of 40 and 20 yards in the fourth quarter.
Walker said that the difference in the game was the ability to finish drives with points.
“We moved the ball consistently, we just couldn’t put the ball into the end zone,” Walker said. “Everett won the game because they found a way to win, and we didn’t.”
Hartwell caught 10 passes for 177 yards in the game, and Dee Roberts led the Warrior ground game with 67 yards on 10 carries.
Walker refused to make too much of the close loss.
“We’re definitely encouraged by it, but encouragement don’t pay the bills,” he said. “This is a bottom-line world, and the bottom line is, we want to win. Moral victories are great, but we want to win.”
The loss was the ninth in a row for Waverly in season openers, although one of those losses, to Sexton in 2006, was later forfeited by the Big Reds due to fielding an ineligible player.
Waverly will play their first road game of the season this week, when they hit the road to face West Branch Ogemaw Heights on Friday, Sept. 7.