MIAMISBURG — If you asked Wayne Coach Jay Minton about his young team over the last three weeks, he probably said something like, “This is a potentially an exciting team, but we have a ways to go.”
Wayne last week showed this statement to be true. At times it was explosive and at times it showed that it needs some consistency. The 47-28 loss to Archbishop Hoban was not nearly as bad as the score showed and Wayne even had opportunities to dominate early and to even up the score late.
What remains to be seen now is how Wayne will respond to this disappointing loss. Wayne will want to build on what it was able to do against one of the best teams in the state and have a short memory of the opportunity that slipped away.
The Warriors will travel to Miamisburg to take on an undefeated Vikings team that has gotten it done every time it’s taken the field. The Vikings average about 40 points a game and hasn’t given up over two touchdowns in any of its games.
The last time Wayne played the Vikings at Miamisburg it was the first game at their new stadium. The atmosphere was electric; the place was packed and the house was rocking. Miamisburg rode that emotional charge for most of the game. After a touchdown on its first drive of the second half Miamisburg drew to within 17-12 of Wayne, but the Vikings missed the two-point conversion and would get no closer as Wayne went on a 28-0 run to close out the game and leave with a 45-12 victory.
When Wayne is on defense
All of Miamisburg’s top impact players on offense are seniors. Vikings senior quarterback Tate Vongsy, who was a sophomore starter at quarterback the last time Wayne visited Miamisburg has put things together well this year. Vongsy has a respectable 352 yards passing with 4 touchdowns and no interceptions, while gathering 110 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground.
Miamisburg is without a doubt a run-oriented team that uses its success running the ball to catch defenses out of position and gash the defense with passes here and there. The Vikings’ backfield is manned by two seniors, Zion Lewis (192 yards, 3 TDs) and Jon Yerkins (236 yards, 2 TDs). If Wayne contains the Viking running game without having to cheat with its defensive backs, then it could be a long day for Miamisburg.
This will be a test for the Warriors since they have not faced an option running offense yet this year. The front seven is going to have to be disciplined because the goal of an option offense is to catch the defense out of position and use traps, deception and isolations to open holes. Miamisburg will try to find winning matchups in the trenches and exploit them so the Wayne front seven will need to win each individual match up.
Wayne’s defense is number 15 in the GWOC, but Archbishop Hoban’s rush yards late in the game giving them over 300 yards rushing skew those numbers. The defense is led by Senior Justin Harris, leading tackler senior Otis Allen, the GWOC’s leader in sacks (2.5) freshman Tywann January and junior Alijah Fleming, who is also in the top five of GWOC sack leaders with two.
When Wayne is on offense
Just like the offense, Miamisburg is senior-heavy on defense. It is led by seniors Dylan Wudke (20 tackles, 1.5 sacks), Carl Parkhurst (15 tackles, 1 sack) and Jackson Myers (13 tackles, 1.5 sacks).
The Vikings’ defense is No. 1 in the GWOC, allowing only 163 yards per game. They are No. 3 against the rush, giving up only an average of 109.7 yards per game and No. 3 against the pass, giving up only 53.7 yards per game.
Those averages will most likely increase because Wayne has theNo. 3 offense in the GWOC and its only played 2 ½ games. Wayne also sports the No. 2 passer in the GWOC in Rashad McKee. Junior Devin Nelson has also been having a good year; he leads the Warriors in scoring with 30 points (5 TDs).
Miamisburg’s defensive backs with be tested extensively against senior Steven Victoria, sophomore Cam Fancher and senior Trevor Bom. They have been able to find success against three very athletic defenses this year and are only getting better. Victoria leads the group with 192 yards and two touchdowns while Can Fancher has 162 yards and a touchdown and Trevor Bom has 126 yards.
Since preseason started, many that watch Wayne play were asking about sophomore Ja’Rod Lankford. All Lankford did was make plays all over the field, whether it was breezing by a surprised defender and pulling in a deep pass or juking a defender leaving him grasping for air and taking it to the house.
You may not want to go get popcorn when Wayne is receiving a kickoff. Last week Lankford had the Archbishop Hoban special teams so concerned that Hoban kicked the ball out of bounds to give Wayne great field position.
Hoban decided to kick the ball to Lankford because Justin Harris was gashing them for big returns. I don’t blame Hoban because on the first kick to Lankford, an ankle tackle was the only thing that stopped him from getting the edge. The next kick was received by Lankford at the five and Lankford snaked his way through the Hoban kick coverage and down the hash for a 95 yard touchdown.
The Wayne punt return unit is just as potent as its kickoff return unit. Justin Harris averages 23 yards per punt return and has a 49 yard return to his credit.
Miamisburg also has a return game that is capable of scoring. Zion Lewis averages 54 yards per return and has an 80 yard kick return for touchdown.
In preseason Wayne had a tendency to come out a little unfocused and then turn it on later. That problem was fixed by week one. Since week one the Warriors have played with a chip on their shoulder. Wayne has not had any problem getting up for a game. It will be interesting to see if it will continue this week after the loss to Hoban.
Miamisburg may not seem to be on the level of the competition Wayne has faced this year, but it cannot afford to lose its edge. Miamisburg is confident and ready to take it to the next level and may be looking at the Wayne matchup in the same way Wayne looked at Archbishop Hoban. This will be a measuring stick for the Vikings to determine where they are in the pack.
The stadium in Miamisburg will most likely be rocking again Friday. Wayne can’t be thinking ahead to a matchup with a hot Northmont team. Every team Wayne plays will bring its ‘A game’ and this young team doesn’t need a setback. That setback doesn’t have to be a loss, it can be another game full of struggles.
Wayne should right the ship this week and get it done. Big divisional games are coming up and Wayne wants to be hitting on all cylinders going forward.