HUBER HEIGHTS– The “Wayne Train” rolled behind Daryl McCleskey’s three touchdowns to achieve an undefeated (10-0) season with a decisive win over Centerville 56-17 to become the Greater Western Ohio Conference, Central Division champions Friday night at home.
“I’ve been coaching for 34 years and have never been associated with an undefeated team, “said Coach Jay Minton. “This is my first, I have been a head coach for 25 years, and it took 25 years to be associated with one. People think it’s easy to go 10-0, but it’s a grind.”
This is only third time in Wayne football history that a team was able to achieve an undefeated regular season, having done so in 1987 and 1989. In an atmosphere that was charged with anticipation, Wayne was seeking to find some redemption from a disappointing 19-14 loss to rival Centerville that spoiled their chance at going undefeated last season.
This was a crucial game for Centerville. If Centerville had any hopes of making the playoffs this season, a victory over Wayne was paramount. Wayne left no doubt in anyone’s mind that they were the best team on the field, taking care of business while thoughts of bigger and better things had to be looming, namely the playoffs.
On the very first play a Centerville pass bounced off the intended receiver’s hands and into the arms of defensive back Richard Carpenter who took it to the house for a 32 yard pick-6 touchdown to electrify the crowd with 11:47 left in first quarter to give Wayne a quick 7-0 lead.
“It felt good to step up for my team, “said Carpenter. “This was the first play of the game and it really set the tempo for the whole game.”
“Set the tone for the whole night, “said Coach Minton. “They took the ball on the coin toss and they wanted to go down and score to put the first points on the board, then when it goes against them, especially a pick-6, that’s devastating.”
Wayne’s struck again — this time the always elusive Daryl McCleskey got the hand off and with a nifty spin move eluded tacklers to find his way to an 11-yard touchdown run with 8:03 left in the first quarter to extend the lead to 14-0.
On Wayne’s next drive, a Messiah DeWeaver pass to McCleskey for 55 yards, and another to Matt Wilcox for 12 yards, put Wayne within striking distance once again. This time the 6-5 DeWeaver was able to corral a high snap, and then run it eight yards for another Wayne touchdown with 4:06 left to go in the first quarter to extend the lead to 21-0.
Wayne kept its foot on the gas pedal by scoring on a drive that started on their own 2-yard line and culminated on a fake pass-hand off to Fred Pitts who ran up the middle for a 19-yard touchdown with 10:45 left in the second quarter to extend the lead to 28-0.
On the most unusual plays of the night, a botched punt that hit a Wayne player was then recovered by Centerville. Centerville capitalized on the turnover as Jacob Harrison passed to Colin DeBord for a 10-yard touchdown to get on the scoreboard with 6:28 left in the second quarter to cut the lead to 28-7.
On the ensuing kick-off, Centerville’s on-side kick was mishandled by Wayne and recovered by Centerville in Wayne territory. The Wayne defense stood strong again holding Centerville to just a field goal with 4:46 left in the second quarter to cut into the lead 28-10.
Just when it looked like Centerville was making a serious move to get back into the ball game Wayne put together another impressive drive that culminated in a DeWeaver to McCleskey 18-yard touchdown pass with 3:38 left in the second quarter to extend Wayne’s lead to 34-10.
Wayne scored one more time before the half as McCleskey carried the hand off four yards into the end zone for a touchdown for his third TD of the night with 17 seconds remaining in the half to extend Wayne’s lead to 42-10.
Wayne came out of half-time on point as they again put together an impressive drive that featured a DeWeaver run of 15 yards, and a strong run by Antwand Wilson of 21 yards to set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Matt Wilcox with 7:26 left in the third quarter to extend the lead to 49-10.
With a running clock in effect and time running out on any Centerville hopes, Wayne’s Antwand Wilson got the hand off and with a juke and side step got free for a 15-yard touchdown run to put the final nail in the coffin with 7:29 left in the game to extend Wayne’s lead to 56-10.
With the game well out of reach, Centerville continued to fight as Harrison connected with Tim Krapel for a 40-yard touchdown pass with just 2:23 left in the fourth quarter to cut the score to 56-17.
DeWeaver was 13 of 19 for 222 yards and one TD, DeWeaver also rushed for 51 yards and one TD, Nate Strong was eight of eight kicking extra points, McClesky rushed for 58 yards, 2 TDs and caught four passes for 86 yards and one TD. L’Christian Smith had four receptions for 83 yards and Matt Wilcox had four carries for 25 yards and one TD and four receptions for 49 yards to contribute to the win.
“It’s a statement, “said defensive standout Tobias Gilliam concerning the win. “It makes us want to practice hard this week and get ready for a tough five weeks, it’s a grind to get there.”
“Feels great, words can’t explain it, “said Carpenter after the win. “A whole new season is ahead of us, we can’t dwell on this game, we are 0-0 on Monday.”
“These guys have all the ingredients to make a run at it, “said Coach Minton concerning another state championship quest. I love the way we are playing defense, offensively we are able to put points on the board, and our special teams have been good. If you put all three phases together I like our chances.”
Wayne now awaits word on who their next opponent will be as they enter the first round of the Ohio High School Division one play-offs on Saturday.
Reach Stephen Granata by contacting Greg Smart at 684-8088.
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