HUBER HEIGHTS — Wayne overcame another slow start and early mistakes Friday to roll past Fairmont for a comfortable 35-0 win at Good Samaritan Athletic Field at Heidkamp Stadium. Wayne started out a little flat on both offense and defense. The Warrior offense could not get into rhythm and did not find the end zone in the first quarter.
Wayne may have won this game by five touchdowns and shut the Firebirds out, but this game was far from pretty.
“Really, this was the worst game we played all year, but you gotta give credit to Fairmont, they got us to play their game,” said Wayne Coach Jay Minton. “You know we played right into their hands in the first half. They had the ball like 18 minutes and we had it for like five, but we were still up 14-0. That says a lot about our young people when we can still come out ahead and not play at our best.”
Sophomore Rashad McKee had some struggles in the game. He completed 17 of his 23 passes, but three of the six he didn’t complete to his receivers, he completed to Fairmont defensive backs.
“Great learning moment, learning how to get himself out of a funk. He’ll grow from it,” Minton said.
Fairmont employed a ball control offense that moved down field in small chunks by running out of a Wing-T formation behind an unbalanced line. The Firebirds were able to play keep away from Wayne for the most part as they possessed the ball on offense 18:33 to Wayne’s 5:27.
The Warriors put together an eight-play 71 yard drive that ended with a Fred Pitts seven yard touchdown run right through the heart of the Fairmont defense to take a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter. Wayne tacked on another seven points when Ray James took a short pass from McKee 79 yards, weaving through the Firebird defense, breaking tackles then separating from the defense and racing into the end zone to put Wayne up 14-0. The score would stay that way going into the half.
In the second half Fairmont tried to keep the game from going to a running clock by running the play clock down to one second before snapping the ball. Fairmont tried to keep the chains moving with first downs, but Wayne’s defense woke up in the second half, held the Firebirds to 57 total yards and only yielded four first downs.
The Firebirds were still able to possess the ball 14:39 to Wayne’s 9:21, but Wayne scored quickly when it got the ball with drives of 62 yards in four plays in 55 seconds, 38 yards in four plays in 57 seconds and 80 yards in eight plays in 2 minutes and 40 seconds.
After Wayne played a complete game last week, this game looked a lot like the games earlier this season where Wayne came out with little emotion and just couldn’t get it going, but cranked it up in the second half and dominated.
“You have to play this game with emotion,” Minton added. “I just didn’t see the same emotions they came out in the other games. So, we’ll take care of that and I think we learned a little bit. Fortunately we didn’t learn the hard way.”
Next week Fairmont returns home to host Centerville and the Warriors travel to Springfield to take on the Springfield Wildcats. The winner of the Wayne versus Springfield game will sit alone atop the GWOC National East Division. Centerville and Fairmont are both winless in the division.
Reach Robert Williamson II via email at RobertWilliamsonII@gmail.com
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