Warriors defeat Olentangy Liberty


By Robert Williamson II

Contributing Writer

COLUMBUS — Wayne’s defense dominated Olentangy Liberty and rolled over the Patriots for a 17-0 win at Liberty High School Stadium Friday night.

Wayne was able to turn around in a short week and come out focused on defense after giving up 41 points to Pine-Richland last week. The offense was able to protect the ball and ended the game with no turnovers. Last week it turned the ball over five times.

“Come into our locker room and our team meeting room and you’ll see ‘Making it personal’…you know that’s the thing we didn’t do last week,” said Wayne Coach Jay Minton. “We didn’t make anything personal. It’s like we were just there. It’s like we were going to Hollywood, like going to Disneyland and enjoying the families and the atmosphere and that was it. We were there for the ride. The ride took us to a place you never want to go. I’m proud of the way our guys bounced back and really took this to heart….and took the challenge. It was a short week… and they came out and showed how they can play”

Wayne won the toss and elected to receive, which is not typical of the Warriors. Wayne usually wants to start the game on defense, but it had other plans tonight. Wayne engineered a 14 play drive from around its 20 yard line that stalled at the Liberty seven. However, that drive would end in a Garret Russel 24 yard field goal over 9 minutes later. Liberty had chosen to have the wind at its back for the first quarter, but Wayne ran the clock all the way down to 2 minutes and 39 seconds left in the quarter. Liberty couldn’t get anything going with or against the wind.

Wayne added a touchdown at the 7:45 mark in the second quarter when speedy junior running back, Zarik Brown took the handoff from 19 yards out, over the right end and down the sideline, streaking past Patriot defenders and into the end zone untouched. Garret Russell tacked on the PAT for a 10-0 score. Wayne forced a turnover on the next drive when senior linebacker Antwuan Johnson jarred the ball loose from Liberty running back Matthew Webb and senior defensive end Nate Collins came up with the recovery. Wayne’s drive stalled in the red zone and Liberty got the ball back deep in its territory.

The score remained 10-0 until Wayne put the game away with 4:37 second left. Rashad McKee threw a dart into a tight window and connected with freshman receiver Austin Mullins in the end zone. The Russell PAT was good and extended the lead to 17-0 Wayne. Mullins also made a gutsy catch on the scoring drive when he hauled in a 21 yard McKee pass that he threaded through two defenders, knowing he was going to get hit by the safety coming in from over the top. Mullins took a good shot but held on to the ball.

The Wayne defense played with a chip on its shoulder all night. After giving up over 450 yards of offense last week, Wayne held Liberty to 62 total yards, 12 on the ground. Wayne Senior Alex Reigelsperger was in Liberty quarterback Mitchell Okuley’s face all night, ending the game with three sacks and numerous quarterback hurries and hits. His pressure didn’t allow for Liberty’s plays to develop, so Liberty had to go to quick short passes, putting pressure on the Wayne linebackers. The linebackers, playing a lot more aggressive this week, were up to the task. The line backing crew and defensive backs didn’t yield many yards after contact. Brodie Lundeen stepped in the passing lanes several times and knocked down Liberty passes at the line of scrimmage.

The offense was steady and methodical all night. Junior Rashad McKee managed the offense well, going 24 for 38 through the air for 228 yards and a touchdown. He was also Wayne’s top rusher with 93 yards on nine carries, including a key 49 yard scamper to get Wayne deep into Liberty territory. McKee also picked up some tough yards in the final scoring drive when he tucked the ball on third and six from the 11, sprinted right and took on some contact after turning the corner on the sideline. He was able to stay in bounds and power his way over the 4 yard line to get a first down.

Senior L’Christian Smith led all receivers with nine catches for 98 yards, and Zarik Brown led all runners not named McKee with 51 yards on 17 carries and one touchdown. Antwun Johnson and Brodie Lundeen contributed on defense with a sack each. Senior linebacker Da’Kwan Moore led the team in tackles with six.

As stated last week, the Pine-Richland game from last week is only one in the “L” column. This week Wayne put one in the “W” column and will be at home this Friday when the Warriors take on North-Clarkson from Ontario, Canada. Olentangy Liberty will travel to Marysville to take on the Marysville Monarchs.

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September 1, 2017: Wayne Warrior quarterback Rashad McKee (7) makes and unbelievable pass to Wayne Warrior wide receiver L’Christian Smith (1) in a game between the Wayne Warriors and the Olentangy Liberty Patriots at Olentangy Liberty Stadium in Powell, Oh. Adam Lacy/Huber Heights Courier
http://www.hhcourier.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/35/2017/09/web1_2MB-9493_web.jpgSeptember 1, 2017: Wayne Warrior quarterback Rashad McKee (7) makes and unbelievable pass to Wayne Warrior wide receiver L’Christian Smith (1) in a game between the Wayne Warriors and the Olentangy Liberty Patriots at Olentangy Liberty Stadium in Powell, Oh. Adam Lacy/Huber Heights Courier

Reach Robert Williamson II at RobertWilliamsonII@hotmail.com