HUBER HEIGHTS — Wayne (5-2, 2-0) dominated the Beavers in the first quarter, pulling out to a 21-0 lead and cruised to a 49-17 victory over Beavercreek (1-6, 0-2) Friday night.
Beavercreek won the toss and elected to defer so Wayne elected to receive opening kickoff. The Warriors wasted no time getting on the board, capping off a two minute and three second, 80 yard drive with a Rashad McKee 20 yard touchdown run.
On the Wayne’s next drive the Warriors ate up a lot of the first quarter with a long drive consisting of a running game that Woody Hayes would call “three-yards and a cloud of dust.” The drive was completed with a six yard touchdown run from Devin Nelson to put Wayne up 14-0 with 2:08 left in the first quarter.
After a Beavercreek three and out, Wayne put another 7 on the board on a Cam Fancher 30 yard touchdown run to extend the Warriors’ lead to 21-0 with 8 seconds left in the first quarter.
Having a quick strike offense can be a good thing, but the bad side of scoring so quickly is you keep your defense on the field a lot. In the second quarter the Warrior defense started to show some signs of fatigue.
Beavercreek’s running game came to life as the Beavers drove the ball across midfield for the first time in the game. The 80 yard drive seemed to stall when the Beavers were faced with a third and long from the Wayne 28 yard line, but Beavercreek junior quarterback Nicholas Brown found sophomore wide receiver Will Linkhart for a 28 yard touchdown pass to the cut the Warrior lead to 21-7.
The 14-point margin didn’t last long because Wayne’s electric playmaker sophomore Ja’rod Lankford took the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown to reestablish the Warriors’ 21 point cushion 28-7.
After another Beavercreek three and out Wayne used just a little over a minute to score again when McKee plunged in from a yard out to make it 35-7 Wayne with 5 minutes left in the half.
The Beavers threatened late in the first half but had to settle for an Austin Bounderant 30 yard field goal to close out the first half down 35-10.
Beavercreek received the second half kickoff and right away was able to establish itself on offense. The Beavers worked their Wing-T style offense down the field in chunks of two or three yards, making fourth down conversions on the way.
The Warriors had the Beavers in an eerily familiar fourth down and 20-plus yards to go at the Wayne 30, but once again Nicholas Brown found Will Linkhart for a touchdown pass to make it 35-17, Warriors.
The 18-point margin lasted less than a minute because on the third play of the following drive, Devin Nelson took the ball 73 yards right down the middle of the Beaver defense for a touchdown and a Wayne 42-17 lead.
Wayne had a lot of possessions but it did not take long to score so the defense spent a lot of time on the field. The Beavers were able to benefit by getting some room for their offense to operate.
On the next drive Beavercreek drove the ball from its own 25 to inside the Wayne 20 yard line, but the Beavers went to the well too many times. Brown once again looked for Will Linkhart near the Wayne goal line but senior defensive back Jerrell Dixon was in position for the interception. Dixon picked off the pass a raced all the way down inside the Beavercreek 10 yard line where the Beavers were able to wrestle him down.
A couple of plays later Devin Nelson streaked up the middle to put Wayne up 49-17 to institute the running clock.
After a Beavercreek failed fourth down play on its next drive, Wayne gave its defense a much-needed rest and ran the clock out with a possession running game.
Beavercreek dominated the time of possession 31:14 to Wayne’s 16:46. The Beavers had 172 yards rushing, which could pretty much be expected, but it also had 132 yards passing.
“We were so conscientious of the run, they had some one on ones and we didn’t handle them very well”, said Wayne Coach Jay Minton. “Credit to them. I’m looking at the scoreboard, and that bothers me 304 total yards. I’m just not happy with that. It happens, but you’ve got to get better.”
Wayne had 365 yards rushing; Devin Nelson had 164 of those yards with three touchdowns. Ja’rod Lankford also went over the century mark with 109 and a touchdown. Rashad McKee had two rushing touchdowns and Cam Fancher added another.
Wayne uncharacteristically only passed the ball seven times for 41 yards, but there is no need to pass the ball when the defense isn’t stopping your running game. As old Texas coach Darrell Royal once said, “Three things that can happen on a forward pass – and two of them are bad.”
The Warriors will be glad to have their two suspended defensive starters, Justin Harris and Alijah Fleming back next week. They host a strong Fairmont team that is built a lot like the Miamisburg team they struggled with in their week four loss. From here on out Wayne has a tough road, but the good news is there are a lot of playoff points to be had in those games.
“This stretch now, it’s real. It’s really real,” Minton added.
Beavercreek hosts a Springfield Wildcats team that will try to bounce back from its first loss of the season, a shocking 25-7 whipping from Northmont.