KETTERING — Wayne (5-2, 1-1) travels to Roush Stadium in Kettering Friday to take on the Fairmont Firebirds (6-1, 0-1) in a GWOC National East Conference game.
Last week, Wayne cruised to a 42-14 victory over the Beavercreek Beavers in Beavercreek and Fairmont dominated the West Carrollton Pirates 62-0 in West Carrollton.
Fairmont, inspired by its season opening win over crosstown rival Alter, has ridden that momentum to a 6-1 record overall. The only blemish on Fairmont’s record is a 14-3 loss to Beavercreek. Fairmont’s two big wins so far this season are a 40-38 win at home against Springboro and a 28-26 win over Miamisburg, also at home.
When Fairmont has the ball
Fairmont’s offense is powered by the run game, having run the ball over 300 times and only completed 9 of 18 attempted passes. The Firebirds have a full nest of runners, but their go to running back is junior Jesse Deglow, with 733 yards on 128 rushing attempts and 13 touchdowns. Junior quarterback Braden Miller is the closest in yardage with 391 yards on 92 attempts.
Miller’s passing yards are 49 yards less than his rushing yards at 242. He has completed 9 of the 13 passes he has attempted this year, with no interceptions and 2 touchdowns.
Wayne’s defense will be facing a less powerful version of the offense it faced last week. The task ahead is simple, sop the run and get a quick lead. Like Beavercreek, Fairmont is not built to come from behind.
When Wayne has the ball
Fairmont’s defense is fourth in the GWOC. It has allowed the second least amount of passing yards in the GWOC. The stats can be deceiving though, because Fairmont has faced mostly running teams that don’t throw the ball much. However, one stat that stands out is Fairmont’s 7 interceptions. Three Firebirds defensive backs, junior Ryan Hall (3), sophomore Trey Baker (2) and senior Keisonn Pate (2) account for all seven interceptions.
The strength of the Fairmont defense is its run defense, but the athletes Wayne has in the passing game will put a lot of pressure on the Fairmont defensive backs. Success in the passing game should open up some running lanes and allow Wayne to have some success on the ground as well.
Wayne had a clean game in its special teams last week. Garrett Russell has been able to get some kicks into the end zone for touchbacks. This will be valuable going forward if Wayne faces a team with a good return game.
Fairmont has done a good job of punt and kick coverage. It too has been able to get touchbacks and neutralize return games of its opponents.
This game is a carbon copy of last week. Fairmont is not going to do many things differently than Beavercreek did last week. Wayne will want to score early and often and then grind it out on the ground. Fairmont is going to want to play keep away, stop Wayne early, use up the clock and end its drives with touchdowns.
Reach Robert Williamson II at: RobertWiliamsonII@hotmail.com