Wayne defeats North-Clarkson

By Robert Williamson II

Contributing Writer

HUBER HEIGHTS — The Wayne Warriors rolled out to a 24-0 second quarter lead Friday and outlasted North- Clarkson Secondary School from Ontario, Canada 34-21.

Coach Minton had mixed feelings. He said, “Not well played, but we’ll take it. It’s a ‘W’. Our guys…we got a lot of work to do. We knew this was a good team. If you could be down on the field with some of these guys, they are monsters. They have some really, really great athleticism and talent, but then again we’re much better than that score is right there.”

North-Clarkson started out quickly, taking the opening kickoff over midfield into Warrior territory. Clarkson however, turned the ball over on the first offensive play. Clarkson running back Shay Wynter took the handoff up the middle and coughed up the ball at the Wayne 43 yard line. Wayne wasted no time as Rashad McKee dropped back and hit L’Christian Smith, who took it all the way into the end zone. Garrett Russell added the point after for and early 7-0 Wayne lead, 29 seconds into the first quarter.

Wayne’s defense stuffed Clarkson on their next possession and forced a punt and took over on its own 39 yard line. Wayne engineered a seven play, 79 yard drive, capped off by a Trace Kinnel 9 yard run that ended with a fumble into the end zone that Kinnel fell on right before it rolled out of the end zone for a touchdown. Garrett’s point after made it 14-0 Wayne with 7:31 seconds left in the first quarter.

Clarkson started their next drive at about the 20 yard line. They drove to about the 50 yard line and took a shot down field, but unfortunately they tested Justin Harris. Harris hauled in the interception and turned the ball back over to his offense. Wayne was able to grind out a 14 play, 79 yard drive which culminated in a 7 yard Rashad McKee to Steven Victoria touchdown, putting Wayne up 21-0. Wayne would add a 20 yard Garret Russell field goal late in the second quarter to rollout to a 24-0 lead.

The scrappy Clarkson offense would not go into the half quietly. It started its last drive of the half from the Wayne 40 yard line and went the distance in 5 plays. The last play in the drive was a 14 yard Conner Irvin-Lewis to Nick Mardner touchdown pass with 10 seconds left in the half. The Clark Barnes extra point attempt was good, making it 24-7 Wayne.

Wayne started the second half with the ball and then traded unsuccessful drives with Clarkson. Wayne started its second drive of the half at its own 31 yard line. McKee made big plays with his arm and his feet, driving Wayne 69 yards in 14 plays and capping the drive off with a 15 yard quarterback keeper. The Garrett Russell kick made it 31-7 Wayne with 5 minutes left in the third quarter.

Clarkson’s offense found its footing and started to move the ball on a seemingly less focused Wayne defense. Clarkson struck quickly and drove 77 yards on five plays in a minute and thirty seconds. Clark Barnes’ extra point was partially blocked and fell short, making the score 31-13 Wayne, with three minutes left in the third quarter.

Wayne drove back inside the red zone, but the drive was killed by Wayne mistakes. Trevor Hawley trotted out and booted a 34-yard field goal to put Wayne up 34-13.

Clarkson went back to work and drove all the way down inside the Wayne 20 yard line, but Conner Irwin-Lewis’ pass was picked off by Wayne cornerback Diante Lesperance. Lesperance picked the pass off in the end zone and ran it out to about the 10 yardline. McKee hit Steven Victoria on a quick hitter, but a slow whistle allowed Clarkson to wrestle the ball out of his hands to give Clarkson the ball inside the Wayne 10 yard line. Wayne’s defense stiffened and stopped Clarkson on downs at the 8-yard line.

Wayne was able to run a lot of the time off of the clock in the fourth quarter with a ball control offense and timely defensive plays. The 34-13 score seemed to be secured when Wayne turned the ball over on downs at the Clarkson 32 yard line with 1:56 left on the clock, with no timeouts left, even though Wayne had a lot of reserves in the game.

Wayne bottled up the first few plays Clarkson ran, but Clarkson running back Aaron Atkins rook a pitch from quarterback Irwin-Lewis at the Clarkson 29 yard line, ran through arm tackles and carried it down the sideline until he was knocked out of bounds at the Wayne 9 yard line with 16 seconds left. Irwin-Lewis connected on a fade to wide receiver Nick Madner in the end zone with 12 seconds left to bring the score to 34-19. Irwin-Lewis hit receiver Josiah Mckoy in the end zone for two points bring the score to 34-21. A failed onside kick from Clarkson allowed Wayne to take a knee and put this one in the books.

Rashad McKee was impressive when he had time to survey the field without duress. McKee ended up with 321 yards passing, going 25 for 39 with two touchdown passes. He also had one rushing touchdown. McKee made some really good throws early in the game and even connected on a couple of deep balls, one of which was the 57 yard touchdown strike to L’Christian Smith. Smith had a great day, catching 10 balls for 189 yards (mostly in the first half) and a touchdown.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t get the ball to him [L’Christian Smith] as much in the second half,” Minton said. “We didn’t have a whole bunch of time. We gotta work on that…[protecting the quarterback]. Kudos to them. They did a pretty good job of getting after us in the second half and right before the half.”

Wayne’s defense created four Clarkson turnovers. Josiah Matthews added an interceptions to picks by Harris’ and Lesperance’s and Wayne also had a fumble recovery credited to the team.

Garrett Russell is also doing a great job with the punting duties he was thrust into this year. Friday night he averaged 32.3 yards per kick, with a long of 45.

This team is not the typical Canadian team Wayne has played in the past. Clarkson Football North is the equivalent of what IMG Academy would be in the U.S. They have elite Canadian Football players from around the country that come there to play football. Wayne played well enough to beat a good team; Clarkson has good size and some good athletes.

Wayne runs its record to 2-1 and will take on Miamisburg at home next week. Miamisburg is 3-0. The Vikings beat the Northwest Knights [2-1] (Cincinnati) 54-24 in week one and Chaminade Julienne (1-2) 48-25 in week two. Friday night Miamisburg dispatched Loveland 41-6. Wayne had trouble with Miamisburg last year, so this game is shaping up to be a good match up.

Clarkson runs its record to 1-2 on the year. The other loss was 40-7 to Pickerington North and their win was 31-6 over Cleveland Heights last week. Clarkson will play McDowell High in Erie, Pennsylvania next week.

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September 8, 2017: Wayne Warrior wide receiver Austin Mullins (18) fights through the defense in a game between the Wayne Warriors and Football North (Canada) at Heidkamp Stadium in Huber Heights, Oh. Adam Lacy/Huber Heights Courier.
https://www.hhcourier.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/35/2017/09/web1_Wayne_web.jpgSeptember 8, 2017: Wayne Warrior wide receiver Austin Mullins (18) fights through the defense in a game between the Wayne Warriors and Football North (Canada) at Heidkamp Stadium in Huber Heights, Oh. Adam Lacy/Huber Heights Courier.