LONDON — The Wayne Warriors turned Bowlus Field into a house of horrors for the Dublin Coffman Shamrocks in what became a 52-10 nightmare on 336 Elm Street in London Ohio. Wayne’s defense dominated Dublin Coffman from the start and handed the Shamrocks their worst defeat of the year. Their two previous losses were by 1 and 2 points.
“It’s great with a Dublin Coffman team, to come out and make a statement really and we just have to keep making them and get to where we want to go,” said Wayne Coach Jay Minton.
Dublin Coffman did not score in the first half and the running clock greeted them to start the second half. The only bright spot for the Shamrocks in the first half was holding Wayne inside the 10-yard line on its first drive and forcing Wayne to kick a field goal.
Wayne had trouble getting in sync early in the game as Rashad McKee had trouble handling the ball. He had a few fumbles and missed handoffs, but only lost one. Once the second quarter arrived, Wayne started gaining momentum like a locomotive accelerating out of a station. Wayne engineered four scoring drives in the second quarter to take a 31-0 lead into the half.
A key play that set up the final Wayne touchdown of the half, was a halfback option pass from Trew Davis to L’Christian Smith. Trew Davis lofted a wounded duck toward L’Christian Smith that he picked out of the air at its high point with three defenders around him for a first down deep in Shamrock territory. Pitts ran it in from there.
Fred Pitts capped off three of those drives with touchdown runs of 1, 12 and 4 yards. Rahsad McKee added a 19-yard touchdown on a real nice touch pass near the corner of the end zone to Matt Wilcox. The defensive back had good coverage but an accurate pass and a sharp route made it impossible to defend.
Dublin Coffman managed to put together a drive in the third quarter that stalled at the Wayne 9-yard line. Even though the score was 31-0 with 5:11 left in the third quarter and yards were hard to come by, the Shamrocks kicked the 26-yard field goal to end the shutout and stop the running clock.
That running clock would return a mere 26 seconds later. Fred Pitts ran the ball over the right side of his line and was about to break away when a Shamrock defender caught Pitts and pulled him down. The tackler fell and rolled and he went to the ground, Pitts rolled right over him and sprung to his feet. Pitts slowed down, but realized he had not contacted the ground with his back, arms or legs and took off for the end zone. Seventy-five yards later Pitts was in the end zone for 6 points. After the Garrettt Russell extra point the running clock would return for good and many of the starters would depart.
Tyler Carter relieved McKee late in the 3rd quarter and did very well. Carter was 2 for 4 for 55 yards; both completions were touchdowns. The first touchdown was a laser completed just inside the end zone with a defensive back in tight coverage. On the second touchdown Carts hit a streaking Josh Foster down the left sideline in stride for a 41-yard touchdown with 3:11 left and the running clock still in effect.
Coach Minton praised his defense after the game stating, “The defense played outstanding, outstanding all night from the get go. It really all set the tone for us, with us deferring and putting them [defense] out on the field first and they set the tone early.”
Mazon Walker was his usual disruptive self, clogging up the middle of the Coffman line and coming away with a sack and a half along with a few tackles behind the line of scrimmage. The Wayne defense played very disciplined and physical for most of the game except for a few lapses late in the game when it was pretty much over.
The Wayne defensive backs harassed the Shamrock receivers all night, only allowing short passes and punishing them with hard hits when they made the catch. Dublin Coffman’s biggest weapons, Boston College recruit wide receiver Caleb Stoneburner and running back Caleb Kirk were held in check. Stoneburnner had 4 receptions for 23 yards and Kirk had 16 carries for 68-yards, 35 of that came one run as a result of a breakdown on defense late in the game.
The Shamrocks did exactly what was expected on defense, they loaded the box and dared McKee to beat them. McKee answered the call in an impressive way. As mentioned before, McKee took awhile to settle in, but when he did he was on. McKee made a lot of mature throws today. He recognized his matchups and took advantage of them. The combination of his quarterback play and L’Christian Smith abusing Shamrock cornerbacks, forced Dublin Coffman to help its DB in coverage. That’s when Pitts made them pay.
It looks like Wayne is peaking at the right time. Wayne will take on Pickerington Central next week in the regional final at an undetermined location (possibly London High School again). Pickerington Central dispatched Pickerington North in its playoff game Friday night 38-24. Pickerington Central is 11-1, and has an impressive 20-14 regular season win over Elder in week one on its resume.
Reach Robert Williamson II at RobertWilliamsonII@hotmail.com