HUBER HEIGHTS — In a game that reflected the sloppy, rainy conditions, 22 penalties totaling 165 yards were amassed between host Wayne and their opponent Lakota West Friday night. Wayne accounted for nine of the 22 penalties for 80 yards, but still managed to prevail over visiting Lakota West 28 – 9.
Wayne faced the challenge of a short week to prepare, having played Sunday afternoon in a 24-22 victory against Cincinnati Moeller in a game featured on ESPNU. The question looming for the team was would the short week affect their play against Lakota West.
“I was concerned about that,” said Wayne Coach Jay Minton. “But that would be just be an excuse somebody was looking to use, we are not going to lower ourselves to that.”
For the second straight week, Wayne played a game that was a tale of two halves. The Warriors came out strong in the first half, leading 21-2, but faltered somewhat in the second half scoring only one more time late in the fourth quarter.
One of the areas Minton talked about was wanting the team to put the game away in the second half. He stated that consistency in play would be a key focus going forward.
“This is the second week we haven’t had a real good second half,” said Minton.”
Wayne emphasized running the football with a total of 243 yards rushing in the game. Fred Pitts was the work horse for Wayne ground attack carrying the ball 19 times for 176 yards and three touchdowns. All three of his touchdowns came in the first half and were key to the win for Wayne.
On their very first possession, Wayne scored on a nine play, 70-yard drive that was culminated on a 5-yard run by Pitts for a touchdown with 8:37 to go in the first quarter. Wayne also scored on their second possession on a Pitts 12-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 14-0 with 2:55 left in the first quarter.
The only points for Lakota West in the first half came in the second quarter on an errant punt snap by Wayne that sailed over the head of the punter and resulted in a safety and a 14-2 lead.
Wayne scored one more time before the half on a 28-yard touchdown run by Pitts, his third in the half, and the extra point by Nate Strong to put the Warriors up 21-2.
“Our line did a great job blocking, receivers did great on the perimeter and running backs opened up holes, said Pitts.”
At the start of the second half, the rain started to pour and continued for the rest of the night providing some sloppy conditions for both teams. Wayne failed to capitalize on a Lakota West fumble which was forced by Richard Carpenter and recovered by Trey McFadden at the Lakota West 34-yard line. A missed field goal attempt turned the ball back into the hands of Lakota West.
On the very next possession, Lakota West quarterback Justin Moyer threw a 70-yard strike to Zelwyn Robinson for a touchdown with 8:13 left in the third quarter to cut Wayne’s lead to 21-9.
The story for most of the remaining third quarter and into the fourth quarter was a combination of rain, penalties, punts, more rain and a Wayne fumble. Wayne scored one last time, set up by an interception by Donyell Denson, that put Wayne within striking distance. A 3-yard touchdown run by Josh Foster and the extra point by Strong with 5:38 left accounted for the 28-9 margin of victory.
“Going forward we must show more consistency, said Minton. “We have shown explosiveness, shown we can score points and play great defense, we just have to be consistent.”
Wayne improves to 3-0, while Lakota West is now 1-2. Wayne will host Troy on Friday at 7 p.m.
To reach Stephen Granata, contact editor Greg Smart at 236-4990, ext. 2542.