HUBER HEIGHTS — With its season on the line after back-to-back losses to Archbishop Hoban and Miamisburg, the Wayne Warriors handed previously undefeated Northmont a sound 49-20 defeat Friday.
Wayne quarterback Rashad McKee had a big game completing 22 of 35 pass attempts for 319 yards and five touchdowns. He also ran the ball 15 times for 113 yards to lead the Warriors in rushing yardage with two touchdowns.
The Warriors racked up 537 total yards compared to 320 by the Thunderbolts.
Northmont’s offense looked confused and out of synch all night while its defense was unable to deal with Wayne’s athleticism and speed. The Warriors dominated time of possession 28:02 to 19:58.
“Wow. This field out here was full of athletes tonight and we made plays,” said Wayne Coach Jay Minton. “I think this is the third different team that we have seen out of our guys this year. We’ve seen the one that played last week against Miamisburg… we don’t want to see that one again. We saw the one that was growing up a little bit against Hoban, and then we saw this one. This is the one we want to keep and this is the one we want to build on. We are still in the playoff hunt. This is big. This is huge. Our guys had their backs against the wall and they fought like crazy, and this is what we want to see. This is what we knew we could do.”
Wayne went four and out on its first possession. On second down and one from its own 43 Northmont went for a deep pass with Miles Johnson (13-28, 214 yards, two TDs, one interception) hitting Danny Lewis for a first down at the Warriors 21. On the next play the Thunderbolts fumbled with Wayne recovering at the 19.
The Warriors drove deep into Northmont territory where McKee fumbled and Eli Newburg recovered for Northmont at the 29. From there Northmont engineered a 71 yard drive capped by Johnson hitting Jazz Keys for a 33 yard touchdown pass. Brandon Goodwin’s kick put the Thunderbolts up 7-0 with 3:11 left in the first quarter.
Wayne tied it with 4:41 left in the second quarter on a 36 yard TD pass from McKee to Steven Victoria, who ended the night with eight receptions for 183 yards and three touchdowns.
Four plays later Northmont regained the lead. The Thunderbolts put linebacker Jestin Jacobs in at running back and on second down and three Jacobs busted through the line and raced down the right sideline for a 60 yard TD. Goodwin’s kick put the Thunderbolts back on top 14-7 with 3:17 remaining in the first half.
The Warriors took only 1:09 to tie the game. McKee hit Ja’rod Lankford for an 11 yard completion and then hit Victoria for 30 yards for a first down at the Northmont 21. On fourth down and three at the 14 McKee hit Lankford for a first and goal at the four and on the next play McKee passed to Victoria for the touchdown. Trevor Hawley’s kick tied it 14-14.
Wayne took control of the game in the second half. Wayne’s Alijah Fleming sacked Johnson to setup a third down and 13 at the Northmont 17 and on the next play a deep pass by Johnson was intercepted by Deandre Ham at the 50. McKee hit Cam Fancher for a first down at the 36 and two plays later McKee kept the ball and ran 33 yards for a touchdown with 10:26 left in the third quarter.
Northmont was forced to punt on its next possession with Wayne taking over at its own 49. On fourth down and two at Northmont’s 32 McKee tossed a touchdown pass to Fancher to give Wayne a 28-14 lead.
The Thunderbolts answered with an 83 yard drive capped by a 35 yard TD pass by Johnson to Danny Lewis with 1:08 left in the third quarter. Wayne blocked the extra point attempt to hold a 28-20 advantage. From that point on the Warriors took control.
The back breaker came less than a minute later. On second down and nine McKee evaded a heavy pass rush by rolling to his right. He tossed a pass to Victoria who was surrounded by five Northmont players. Victoria turned on the afterburners and went untouched to complete a 79 yard touchdown play. Hawley’s kick boosted Wayne’s lead to 35-20.
In the fourth quarter McKee scored on an 11 yard run and tossed a five yard touchdown pass to Laquan Carpenter to cap the impressive 49-20 victory.
Northmont will now have to regroup and try to find some answers as to why it couldn’t compete on the big stage with one of its biggest rivals.
“Their quarterback was really good. He gave us a lot of problems,” said Northmont Coach Tony Broering. “Like I told the boys, I give Wayne a lot of credit. I was there last week when they got beat pretty bad by Miamisburg. They didn’t put their heads down and quit. They came out ready to play so you have to give them a lot of credit for that. I have confidence that we can bounce back. We have a good group of guys and great core of senior leaders that have been with me for a long time who know that losing a high school football game is not the end of the world. You know, you’ve got to come back. The season is a long season and we still have five more games and they are all in the GWOC and they are all going to be just like this. Lebanon was 3-1 entering tonight, Springfield is undefeated and Miamisburg is undefeated and we still have to play all those guys.”
Northmont hosts Lebanon (3-2) while Wayne plays at Centerville (0-5) next Friday.
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind