WAVERLY—Traditionally, the Waverly football team has been down to run the ball on offense.
Under first-year head coach Reed Manstedt, the Class B No. 4 Vikings have proven the run game to be their biggest strength and it showed once again. Waverly ran the ball for 632 yards in a 48-33 win over No. 3 Omaha Roncalli on Friday night at Viking Stadium, in a game webcast on kfornow.com.
The Waverly charge was led by junior running back Zane Schawang and 6-3 senior quarterback Mason Nieman.
After a forced fumble by defensive lineman Mike Larsen and recovery by Barrett Skrobecki at the Roncalli 39-yard line, the Vikings (3-0) took charge after Nieman’s 21-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.
Roncalli (2-1) put together a quick 58-yard drive capped on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jack Dotzler to Darik Rodgers with 5:10 left in the first to tie the game at 7. Dotzler, a Morningside basketball commit, threw for almost 400 yards and three touchdowns.
Schawang capped a two-play, 65-yard drive with a 62-yard touchdown run to help Waverly reclaim the lead at 14-7, but a minute later, Roncalli tied the game when T.J. Hamilton scored on a 14-yard touchdown catch.
Waverly regained the lead at 21-14 with 8:01 left before halftime, when Noah Stoddard scored on a 70-yard run. Almost five minutes later, Dotzler found receiver Jake Orr in the end zone on a 17-yard touchdown pass. But the point-after failed and Waverly led at halftime 21-20.
Nieman changed the tone in the third quarter for Waverly, scoring 15 seconds into the second half with a 67-yard touchdown run. Then Evan Canoyer, who ran 13 times for 107 yards and two touchdowns, had a 12-yard scoring strike, while the defense continues to limit Roncalli’s offense.
Schawang then scored with 4:54 in the third to further extend Waverly’s lead to 41-20. Schawang had 224 yards rushing to lead Waverly, but Nieman wasn’t that far behind—finishing with 219 yards.
Roncalli then countered with a 98-yard scoring drive on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Dotzler to Mike Fenoglio, before Waverly’s Canoyer ran from short distance to score, off a 51-yard march.
Led by sophomore Trevor Brown, Waverly’s offensive line found paths to create for Nieman, Canoyer and Schawang to score.
Roncalli scored on their final drive of the game with 52 seconds in the game, when Dotzler rushed for five-yards and a score.