Wayne football team ‘a work in progress’


By Robert Williamson II - Contributing Writer



<strong>Sophomore quarterback Cam Fancher fires a pass to wide receiver Laquan Carpenter during a scrimmage against Lakota West.</strong>

Sophomore quarterback Cam Fancher fires a pass to wide receiver Laquan Carpenter during a scrimmage against Lakota West.


Photo by Robert Williamson II

Wide receiver Philip Waters tries to avoid a tackle by Lakota West defender.


Photo by Robert Williamson II

Rashad McKee will split his time playing quarterback as well as wide receiver along with sophomore Cameron Fancher.


Photo by Adam Lacy

Sophomore receiver Austin Mullins should be an impact player for Wayne this year.


Photo by Adam Lacy

Senior wide receiver put on a show during the Lakota West scrimmage with several catches for big gains.


Photo by Adam Lacy

Wayne 2018 Football Schedule

Aug. 24 Austin-East Magnet 7 p.m. Home

Aug. 31 COF Academy 7 p.m. Home

Sept. 7 Archbishop Hoban 7 p.m. Home

Sept. 14 Miamisburg 7 p.m. Away

Sept. 21 Northmont 7 p.m. Home

Sept. 28 Centerville 7 p.m. Away

Oct. 5 Beavercreek 7 p.m. Home

Oct. 12 Fairmont 7 p.m. Home

Oct. 19 Springfield 7 p.m. Away

Oct. 26 Trotwood 7 p.m. Home

HUBER HEIGHTS — The winds of change are blowing through the Wayne Warriors’ football team this year. The Warriors will look a little different this year; some will be obvious and some not so obvious.

Longtime Wayne coaches, defensive coordinator Pat “Woody” Woods retired this year. Woody has been a mainstay for Wayne for over 40 years. Wayne defensive back coach Steve McDonald steps up to replace Coach Wood.

“Steve’s been here over three years now. He’s really dynamic, awesome,” Coach Minton said. “He’ll probably be one of the best defensive coordinators around, young coordinator. He’s going to be a heck of a head coach some day too.”

Offensive Coordinator Brian Blevins has a new job at Greenon High School. He’s been Wayne’s offensive coordinator over the last eight seasons. Former Wayne offensive line coach Mike Williams steps in to fill Blevens’ shoes.

Besides the obvious change by way of the coaching carousel this off-season, there is a change that you wouldn’t notice until you pull out a roster. As you will see in the preview, Wayne has added a lot of young talent with a lot of size.

Offense

At the beginning of every year many want to know who will be the projected top impact players this year. This year Wayne has a projected impact player in a position it hasn’t deployed for years, tight end. Freshman Elijah Brown is a big tight end with good hands. His blocking skills and pass catching abilities will add some flexibility to this year’s version of Warrior offense.

“He’s going to be really, really good,” Minton added.

Devin Nelson has been out most of camp but returned to show what he is capable of out of the backfield. In the scrimmage Aug. 11 against Lakota West, Nelson gave the Firebirds all they could handle. His vision and quickness put defenders in bad positions and he got north and south in a hurry.

“He [Nelson] had a heck of a scrimmage at running back,” Minton said. “That allows us to have a lot of depth. Not have to plays guys like “Boogey” Walker and those guys more. He’s got a natural vision and a natural cut. His cuts are always positive. He doesn’t run too much to the side.”

Quarterbacks, senior Rashad McKee and Sophomore Cam Fancher are looking good. Wayne has had both on the field regularly. Some plays McKee is at quarterback and Fancher is at wide out and other times they switch roles. No matter who is playing quarterback, the offense doesn’t skip a beat.

“When you have good players like that, you don’t want to take them off the field, just have them on the sideline,” Minton said.

It is potentially explosive and the tempo Wayne has run its offense this year will put a strain on opponents’ defenses. Both quarterbacks can make all of the necessary throws and they are both dangerous when they tuck the ball and run.

Two returning impact players are senior receiver Steven Victoria and sophomore receiver Austin Mullins. Mullins has been out for injury for part of camp and is just getting his legs for game situations. Victoria put on a show in the Lakota West scrimmage.

“With them, we can be exciting [on offense]. We can just jump on people and have a lot of excitement and all of that,” Minton noted.

Defense

“Not going to be quite as big as we’ve been, but quick,” Minton said. “They flew to the ball. We have to work on tackling a bit more but I love the way they flew to the ball and all that.”

On the defensive side of the ball, senior Justin Harris leads the group. He has shown ball skills from his freshman year and just continues to get better. He’s done a good job covering an opponent’s best receiver. Sometimes teams would move their receivers to avoid getting their best receiver matched up with Harris. One of his biggest plays last year was at Northmont in double overtime. Harris intercepted a pass intended for Bolts’ receiver Jabari Perkins at the Wayne two yard line to end the Bolts’ possession and set up Wayne Kicker Garrett Russell to kick the game winner.

Senior cornerback Jerrell Dixon has had a good preseason. In the scrimmage against Lakota West he looked a lot like Justin Harris. Dixon and Harris could make a solid set of book ends on the defense.

Senior linebacker Otis Allen was identified as a potential impact player on defense. He’s having a good camp and continues to get better.

A player that stood out in the Lakota West scrimmage is Antonio “Steve” O’Berry. He reminded me of Mike Hilton from the Steelers. Steve played the nickel/slot defender and didn’t allow much to happen around him. Lakota West tried him twice in their scrimmage and paid dearly as both passes were intercepted.

“Steve O’Berry is going to be our third down guy for us, coming in on passing downs and stuff like that,” Minton stated. “Man that was awesome, to be able to break on the ball like that, to have a nose for the ball like that. That is stuff that you can enhance but you can’t develop.”

Coach Minton is excited about his defense, mentioning junior Alijah Flemming and Jerrod Couch setting the edges. Coach Minton says they are “fast and quick.”

“In the interior we are going to have to find out what we’ve got. We’re probably going to have to rotate the guys in there, keep them fresh. They can be good,” Minton said. “They aren’t going to be probably like some of the ones we had, like Mazon Walker. I don’t know if they can get that good, but I don’t know if we need them to.”

Minton also mentioned another one of his freshman starters, safety Adam Trick, a big tall defensive back. As he develops it may become difficult for opposing offenses to get a deep ball completed against Wayne.

Special Teams

Senior Trevor Hawley will handle the kicking and punting duties. Hawley, also a Wayne soccer player, waited patiently in the wings until Garrett Russell graduated. Hawley has worked hard while he waited for his moment and Coach Minton has taken notice.

“He’s a really good kicker, good punter too,” Minton said. “Hopefully we won’t have to punt that much. You know, you have to be ready. It can change a game around real fast if you fumble a snap inside your own territory. It can bust your momentum and everything.”

Coach Minton’s final comments

“If you saw we had three defensive starters out and offensively Austin Mullins hasn’t practiced for about a week and he’s one of our big playmakers on offense. Our starting right tackle Ruchauan Long is out. Jaden Hurd our starting safety was out. So we had three key starters on defense out and two probable starters on offense out. And we were able to do that [strong scrimmage]. That shows we could develop some depth. I’m excited about these young guys. And like I told these guys, we’re looking for progress, not regress. If we keep progressing, we can get to where we want to be at least for week one. We could be a really exciting team. These guys always respond and this scrimmage solidified how they respond. It’s a great progression, but nowhere near where we want to be.”

Sophomore quarterback Cam Fancher fires a pass to wide receiver Laquan Carpenter during a scrimmage against Lakota West.
https://www.hhcourier.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/35/2018/08/web1_CamFancher.jpgSophomore quarterback Cam Fancher fires a pass to wide receiver Laquan Carpenter during a scrimmage against Lakota West. Photo by Robert Williamson II

Wide receiver Philip Waters tries to avoid a tackle by Lakota West defender.
https://www.hhcourier.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/35/2018/08/web1_PhilipWaters.jpgWide receiver Philip Waters tries to avoid a tackle by Lakota West defender. Photo by Robert Williamson II

Rashad McKee will split his time playing quarterback as well as wide receiver along with sophomore Cameron Fancher.
https://www.hhcourier.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/35/2018/08/web1_2MB-8714.jpgRashad McKee will split his time playing quarterback as well as wide receiver along with sophomore Cameron Fancher. Photo by Adam Lacy

Sophomore receiver Austin Mullins should be an impact player for Wayne this year.
https://www.hhcourier.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/35/2018/08/web1_AustinMullins.jpgSophomore receiver Austin Mullins should be an impact player for Wayne this year. Photo by Adam Lacy

Senior wide receiver put on a show during the Lakota West scrimmage with several catches for big gains.
https://www.hhcourier.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/35/2018/08/web1_2MB-3109.jpgSenior wide receiver put on a show during the Lakota West scrimmage with several catches for big gains. Photo by Adam Lacy

By Robert Williamson II

Contributing Writer

Wayne 2018 Football Schedule

Aug. 24 Austin-East Magnet 7 p.m. Home

Aug. 31 COF Academy 7 p.m. Home

Sept. 7 Archbishop Hoban 7 p.m. Home

Sept. 14 Miamisburg 7 p.m. Away

Sept. 21 Northmont 7 p.m. Home

Sept. 28 Centerville 7 p.m. Away

Oct. 5 Beavercreek 7 p.m. Home

Oct. 12 Fairmont 7 p.m. Home

Oct. 19 Springfield 7 p.m. Away

Oct. 26 Trotwood 7 p.m. Home

Reach Robert Williamson II by email: RobertWilliamsonII@hotmail.com

Reach Robert Williamson II by email: RobertWilliamsonII@hotmail.com