HUBER HEIGHTS — The Wayne football team, the 2014 state runner-up squad, is off to a 3-0 start placing them in the MaxPreps National Top 100 computer football rankings for Sept. 14 in 19th place. This is a result of a 38-0 victory in the opener against Canada Prep Academy, a 24-22 win against Moeller and a 28-9 victory against Lakota West.
In the MaxPreps Regional Computer football rankings for Sept. 16, Wayne moved up to third place behind Cincinnati La Salle and Center Grove of Greenwood, Ind.
Wayne is also ranked second in the Division I state Associated Press Poll with 157 points behind Cincinnati Elder with 221 points. Elder received nine first place votes while Wayne received four first place votes. Lakewood St. Edward is third while Westerville Central and Fairfield round out the top five.
“It’s a great recognition for our guys,” said Wayne Coach Jay Minton. “It just means there comes a lot of responsibility with it. It means people with be gunning for you a little bit harder, but you have to use that to your advantage.”
Minton said that getting wins in weeks two and three against Moeller and Lakota West were “huge” wins.
“Really, I think they set the tone for the whole season now,” said Minton. “We’re 3-0 and the AP poll came out yesterday and we’re number two in the state. So, what does that mean, not a whole lot other than you get some recognition for your play. I don’t want to belittle that because it’s nice for our kids to have. Again, if you think too much about it and hang your hat up on it, you can drop down real fast. But, beating Moeller and West and starting out 3-0 is really, really big. It’s a motivating thing that we use to build on.”
Minton said his team knows that they haven’t even played their best yet. He said he told the team they’re good, but they’re not great yet.
“To get where we want to go with this team, you’ve got to be great, and so we’ve got to keep striving to be great,” he said. “There are a lot of good teams out there, but fewer great ones.”
Alex Otto, who led the Wayne defense against West with six solo tackles and seven assists, was happy with the start.
“Coming off of the last season, it feels good to hold up the reputation from the previous year,” said Otto. “I know a lot of times after the state run, usually the next year is more of a rebuilding year and I think we’re really making a statement this year that we’re coming out at the start of the season and we’re working hard to get back to state.”
Otto called the wins against Moeller and West “very, very big wins.”
“They really give us a lot of momentum going into the rest of the season and finishing out this regular season pretty good and then it should, hopefully, give us a nice little boost into the playoffs,” said Otto.”
L’Christian Smith, who had three receptions for 61 yards against West, said he was very pleased to be 3-0. He said they worked hard to bond with the new players and said it’s been fun playing with them.
“We worked very hard this summer,” he said. “…I know that we’re going to go far in the tournament. We’ve just got to continue to work hard and come in and learn every day.”
Wayne celebrates Homecoming at 7 p.m. Friday at home against Troy.
Reach Greg Smart at 937-684-8088 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.com