WAVERLY – For two and three-fourths quarters, the York Dukes remained within shouting distance of the host Waverly Vikings on Friday night.
However, Waverly’s one-yard rushing touchdown with 15 seconds remaining in the third quarter followed by York fumbling the first snap of the final stanza into the end zone – where it was recovered for a Vikings touchdown – created a 14-point swing and turned what had been a 14-0 ballgame into a 28-0 hole the Dukes could not climb out of in an eventual 35-7 loss.
Defenses ruled the roost early in the game, as both sides punted on each of their first four possessions. On Waverly’s fifth drive, however, Charlie Johnson converted a fourth-and-1 near midfield to extend the possession and the Vikings would capitalize on Trey Jackson’s 29-yard strike to Cooper Skrobecki.
The touchdown pass made it 7-0 with 2:59 left in the half, York went three-and-out on its ensuing possession and Waverly drove into Dukes territory late in the half. However, the defense stood strong, turning the Vikings over on downs at the York 34 in the waning moments to keep the deficit at seven heading into the locker room.
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After York punted on the first drive of the second half, Waverly struck again as Evan Kastens rolled into the end zone from 33 yards out to double the Vikings’ lead.
The Dukes offense again stalled on the next drive, and Johnson capped the following Waverly possession with a one-yard scoring plunge to make it 21-0 with 15 seconds left in the third quarter.
York then fumbled the first play of the fourth quarter into the end zone, where it was recovered by the Vikings for another touchdown. York drove the ball on its next drive before tossing an interception for the game’s second turnover, and a 15-yard rush from Aden Smith made it 35-0 in favor of Waverly with 6:46 to play in the ballgame.
The Dukes refused to fold, mounting a drive that ended in a 12-yard touchdown run from quarterback Ryan Seevers with 28 seconds remaining as York avoided the shutout in a 35-7 loss.
Waverly held a 278-194 edge in total yards, including a 155-114 advantage on the ground; most of York’s rushing production came on its final two possessions.
Jackson finished 16 of 26 for 125 yards with a touchdown in the win, while Preston Harms was Waverly’s leading receiver with four catches for 60 yards. Skrobecki added three receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown.
On the ground, Kastens racked up 97 yards on 18 carries and Smith rumbled for 28 yards on seven touches.
Seevers completed 6 of 17 passes for 67 yards for York and finished as the Dukes’ leading rusher with 48 yards and a score on seven carries. The senior also caught one pass from Riley Clark for a 13-yard gain.
Seth Erickson added 38 yards on 11 carries, while Marshall McCarthy toted the rock seven times for 23 yards.
Austin Phinney was the team’s leading weapon through the air, making two grabs for 40 yards. Garrett Ivey added a pair of receptions for 19 yards, Seevers had a 13-yard catch and Erickson hauled in one pass for eight yards.
York played a relatively clean game outside of the two costly turnovers, committing just two penalties for the game. Waverly, meanwhile, was flagged six times for 30 yards – though five of those penalties occurred in the first half.
The Dukes (2-3) return home to host Crete next Friday for York’s homecoming week.