HUBER HEIGHTS — Wayne, 6-0 (2-0) welcomes Fairmont, 1-6 (0-1) to Good Samaritan Athletic Field at Heidkamp Stadium for a GWOC National East showdown.
Last week Wayne played opportunistic defense and shredded the Beavercreek secondary through the air to score early and often. The Beavers turned the ball over five times in the first half and Wayne capitalized on most of them. Rashad McKee distributed the ball to six different receivers, and completed 10 of 11 passes for 227 yards and 4 touchdowns. Trew Davis and L’Christian Smith scored two receiving touchdowns each. One of L’Christian Smith’s touchdowns was 48 yards pass from Trew Davis, who received a lateral from McKee.
Fairmont pounded a very weak West Carrollton Pirates team last week 37-6. It was Fairmont’s first win of the season. Fairmont has only won one game this season but they have had their moments. The Firebirds kept the Springboro game close in the first half with a score of 21-13, but couldn’t stop the Panthers in the second half. Fairmont took Beavercreek to overtime, but lost that contest 21-14.
The Firebirds are a young team; so much of their struggles may be growing pains. Many of their stars are underclassmen. Their top two tacklers and starting quarterback are all sophomores.
When Wayne has the ball
Wayne’s offense is not only potent, it is balance and explosive. That is a bad news for Fairmont. The Firebirds have had some success against one dimensional teams. Even with that success, Fairmont has not faced a team that is this fast. Look for Wayne to continue to work on its execution. This will be a game to see if the Warriors have overcome the lapses in focus that occurred earlier in the season. It will be easy for Wayne to look past Fairmont at Springfield and Trotwood. They look to be the best competition for the Warriors since the first part of the season.
If Wayne comes out focused and eliminates mental errors and physical mistakes, this game will be an uphill battle for the Firebirds. Fairmont has a lot of heart and will come at Wayne, hoping to get an upset. Fairmont has nine sacks on the year and five interceptions. Freshman linebacker Trey Baker is the Firebirds leading tackler, has a sack and leads the Firebirds in interceptions with two. Can the young Firebirds put a game plan together to stop the Wayne train on offense? If they can’t, it’s going to be a long night for the Firebirds.
When Fairmont has the ball
Fairmont does not like to put the game on the arm of its sophomore quarterback Miles Johnson. The Firebirds will want to be able to establish their running game and keep the ball out of the Wayne offense’s hands. The Firebird rushing attack is led by senior Darnell Boulware and junior Kennon Burroughs.
Fairmont doesn’t have much of a passing attack, so they will most likely have to do something that they haven’t shown on tape yet and hope it works. Either that or the Firebirds hope that Wayne comes in unfocused, looking past them.
Wayne brought in Trevor Hawley, another soccer player to take over the kicking duties for the injured Garrett Russell. Hawley filled in nicely. Wayne went for two most on the first 5 touchdowns, but brought Hawley in for the last four. Look for Hawley to get more opportunities going forward.
Fairmont does not cover kicks very well. The Firebirds have given up two punt returns and a kickoff return for touchdowns. Trew Davis, Matt Wilcox and Ray James will have some shots at taking one to the house in this game.
This is the type of game that Wayne will want to dominate and get over quickly. Starting next week the Warriors will be playing teams that can beat them if they make a lot of mistakes or keep stopping themselves. Wayne needs to look at this game and every game as if it were the state championship game. The mindset coming into any game should not be contingent on the week’s opponent.
Coach Minton will have his team ready to play, so we should see the same execution from last week in this game. The Warriors played a clean game last week and seem to have turned the corner and are peeking for the playoffs.
Reach Robert Williamson II via email at RobertWilliamsonII@gmail.com
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