CENTERVILLE — Wayne overcame a slow start, 144 yards in penalty yardage and two turnovers to pull out a 35-21 victory over Centerville.
Wayne won the coin toss and elected to defer until the second half so Centerville elected to receive.
Centerville’s offense was intent on taking the air out of the ball and shorten the game; The Elks did not snap the ball until at least 5 seconds left on the play clock on nearly every down. Centerville’s first drive took up about half of the first quarter but ended in a punt.
“In the first quarter, we probably should have taken the ball [but] we wanted to put our defense in the field. They did a good job of milking the clock down to 5 seconds before they snapped it,” said Wayne Coach Jay Minton. “They did a great job of doing that and executing it. I think our offense only had the ball three series in the first half.”
Wayne opened up the scoring in the first quarter on a Rashad McKee run from 14 yards out. It was Wayne’s first drive but it culminated at the 3.40 mark.
On the ensuing drive Centerville held the ball for 5 minutes, but this time it would not be denied. Elks freshman quarterback Chase Harrison threw a short pass to senior wideout Corey Burnette on a 7-yard curl; Burnette broke several tackles and down the sideline 19 yards for the tying score with 8:49 left in the half.
Wayne only took a minute and forty-nine seconds to respond when Rashad McKee hit Steven Victoria or a 36-yard touchdown pass at the 7:33 mark to retake the lead at 14-7.
After an interception off of a tipped ball by Centerville late in the second quarter, Harrison hit Burnette on the same pass play he scored on with the same results. Burnette caught the ball near the line of scrimmage, broke numerous tackles and completed the 36-yard pass standing in the end zone and tying the game up with 40 seconds left in the half.
Wayne can score quickly, so it tried to run the two-minute offense with 36 seconds left after the kick return. On the first play of the drive, Centerville intercepted the ball and set itself up just on the Wayne side of the 50.
The Elks’ drove just inside the Wayne 25 yard line with 4 seconds in the half, so it tried about a 40-yard field goal. The Brandon Walters kick had plenty of distance but sailed just a bit left of the uprights as the half expired.
Wayne’s offense was held mostly in check by Centerville in the first half, but the big offensive line started to open holes in the Elks defense in the second half. Wayne running back Devon Nelson opened the second half scoring with a 61-yard scamper to put Wayne up 21-14.
Centerville’s next drive may have been one of the most bizarre drives this rivalry has seen in a while. The Elks scored on a 75-yard drive with only 15 yards of offense.
Wayne sacked Harrison at the 20-yard line and was flagged for celebration (unsportsmanlike). After all was said and done, a total of three flags were thrown on Wayne. A Warriors’ player was ejected and the officials moved the ball from the Centerville’s 25 to the Wayne 30 yard line.
After the ensuing play, another flag was thrown, another Warrior player was ejected and the ball moved to the Wayne 15 yard line.
On the numerous unsportsmanlike penalties against Wayne, Coach Minton said, “It’s an emotional game. I don’t know how you take the emotion out of the game. It is what it is. Fortunately, we came out on top. Our kids dug really deep when they had to in the fourth quarter and persevered. It was a tough night for us. We lost two players for next week. It shouldn’t have happened but anyway it did, so.”
The Elks took advantage and drove the rest of the way scoring on a 4 yard from Harrison to JR Melzer to knot the game up at 21.
The Warriors started their next drive with 1:19 left in the third quarter that ended 1:19 into the fourth quarter when McKee ran a quarterback draw through the teeth of the Elk defense to put Wayne up for good at 28-21.
Wayne received another unsportsmanlike on the point after but no one else was ejected.
The Warriors tacked on 7 more to make the final score of 35-21, courtesy of another Rashad McKee run.
Devin Nelson and Rashad McKee both broke the century mark in rushing yards with Nelson gaining 160 yards and a touchdown on the ground and McKee gaining 104 and three touchdowns.
Centerville (0-6, 0-2) now sets its sights on the Lebanon Warriors (3-3, 0-1), hoping to get its first win of the season. The Warriors (4-2, 1-0) welcome Beavercreek (1-5, 0-1) to Wayne for its homecoming.