HUBER HEIGHTS – Wayne’s football season came to an end in from of its home crowd with a first round playoff 41-20 loss to Pickerington North.
Coming in Wayne knew what it had to do if it wanted to win this game, that was contain Jimmy Weirick and make him try to make plays from the pocket with pressure in his face.
On Pickerington North’s first drive, it looked like Wayne was going to make it hard on Weirick, as Wayne intercepted a pass to end the drive at about midfield. Wayne returned the favor by giving the ball back with an interception on the North 20-yard line.
North drove the ball to the Wayne 39-yard line and then took a shot deep into double coverage. The receiver fell down and Wayne had two defensive backs standing at the goal line waiting for the floating pass to drop. The receiver stood up just as the pass sailed over both defensive backs’ heads and into his arms for a touchdown. The kick failed making the score 6-0 North.
Wayne could not mount a drive on its next possession and an untimely holding call that wiped out a first down forced Wayne to punt. North went 62-yards on four plays with Weirick finishing it off with a quarterback keeper from the one yard line. The kick was good, making it North 13 Wayne 0.
Wayne’s offense could not move the ball again and punted the ball back to North. North drove into Wayne territory, but Weirick floated a pass into the flat that Justin Harris camped under, picked off and took 63 yards for a touchdown, making the score 13-7 North.
North took ten plays to go 80 yards on its next possession. It had two third downs and more than 6 yards to go both times, but Weirick got the first down on both by just running past the Warrior pass rushers. The scoring play was a 9-yard pass to receiver Ty Wiley, that looked like it was going to be intercepted, but the ball went through the Wayne defenders’ hands and into the arms of Wiley. North was now up 20-7.
Wayne was able to put together a drive on its next possession. It took two minutes for Wayne to drive to the North 23-yard line and McKee finished the drive with a perfectly placed pass over the shoulder of Steven Victoria in the end zone. Wayne had an illegal motion call on the extra point, so it had a longer try which bounced off of the left upright and left Wayne down 20-13.
Jimmy Weirick tortured the Wayne defense once again with big runs on third downs and a short pass to Ty Wiley that he took all the way down to the Wayne 13 yard line. Weirick called his own number, his quarterback draw covered 13 yards and into the end zone for a 27-13 halftime lead.
Wayne took its opening drive of the second half and went 80 yards in 5 plays, capping it off with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Austin Mullins to pull Wayne to within 7 points at 20-27.
Wayne stopped North on its next drive, just short of the 50-yard line forcing them to punt, but it could not get the ball past the 10-yard line. A few plays later North linebacker Nick Gordina intercepted a short pass and returned it for a touchdown putting North back up by 14 at 34-20 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter.
North added another touchdown before the end of the third quarter which made it 41-20. No one scored in the fourth quarter.
The storyline for this game was too much Jimmy Weirick and not enough execution for the Wayne offense. The Wayne offense could never get into a rhythm. A lot of that had to do with the North defensive front winning the trenches. North has a good front seven and Wayne’s line has had to be shuffled over the last few weeks so this is understandable.
Wayne ends its season the same way it started it, with a disappointing loss. Pickerington North will go on to face Centerville in a rematch from week three. The Panthers lost to the Elks by a missed extra point 27-26.