HUBER HEIGHTS — Wayne’s senior class closed out its last regular season home game of its high school football career with a 28-13 win over Springfield (6-3, 1-2). Springfield would hang around for three quarters and even had a lead at one time. It was a game that Wayne (7-2, 3-1) felt like it was in control, but it could not put Springfield away for most of the game.
“This was a big one for us, it was in our league,” Coach Minton said, “I hope you all were entertained, I mean for fans that was entertaining, for coaches…I don’t know how many more years I can take off the life this year. These kids are kinda like the Cardiac Kids. Even though it wasn’t close at the end like last week, its how the game went.”
Wayne won the opening coin toss and elected to defer. Springfield received the kick and engineered a five-minute drive, which was capped off by a Leonard Taylor to Caleb Johnson 8-yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 Springfield lead.
Wayne answered with a drive of its own. The Warriors were able to move the ball in small chunks mixed with big plays. A 25-yard touchdown pass from McKee to L’Christian Smith capped off the first scoring drive for Wayne and tied the game at 7-7.
Wayne’s running game just couldn’t get any kind of rhythm, but McKee was able to move the ball through the air when mistakes and penalties didn’t kill the drive. Steven Victoria was on the receiving end of a team high 10 passes for 186 yards. Victoria made big plays all night. He caught short passes for key first downs and was able to be his man deep for long passes that set up touchdowns, including his own 42 yard touchdown to put Wayne up 14-7 in the second quarter.
Springfield put together a drive late in the first half, which was aided by a 47-yard strike from Leonard Taylor to Caleb Johnson at the 4 yard line on third and five at 49 yard line. One play later sophomore Tavion Smoot powered up the middle and into the end zone for the school, but the kick was blocked so Wayne led at the half 14-13.
L’Christian Smith made a lot of tough catches, many of them for crucial first downs. But probably the catch of the night was Christian Smith’s over the shoulder catch falling just inside the end line for a touchdown. McKee dropped the pass right on Smith’s hands and he made the grab. After the PAT, the score was 21-13 Wayne.
McKee hit Austin Mullins from 20 yards out, with 10 minutes left in the game to end the scoring with Wayne up 28-13. From that point the Wayne defense held Springfield in check and the Wayne offense played ball control to run the clock out. Wayne backed itself up while trying to run the clock out, but Victoria caught a short pass and worked his way into the clear and took the ball 46 yards to the Springfield 20 yard line. The first down enabled Wayne to make Springfield use all of its timeouts and ran the clock down inside of 3 minutes.
Wayne failed to get a first down and turned the ball over to Springfield with just over a minute left. After two sacks, one just outside of the end zone, and a run short of the first down, Springfield punted the ball back to Wayne, which went into victory formation and ran the final seconds off to seal the win.
L’Christian Smith ended up with 86 yards on 6 receptions, but every reception he had was big. Two of those receptions were touchdowns.
This was a big game for Wayne. It had playoff implications and it was senior day. The Warriors already had their Homecoming spoiled and didn’t want to lose on senior day.
With this win Wayne has secured a spot in the playoffs, and Coach Minton had this to say, “It was senior night and its really important we step up for each other. We still have another big game at Trotwood so we’ll see what happens after that… I know we probably solidified a slot in the playoffs now, but we’re looking for a home field advantage in the first round if we can.”
Wayne will travel to Trotwood next Friday to take on a Trotwood Rams team that has not has had its way with every team it has played this week. It had an impressive 28-19 win over Pickerington Central in week three and has only given up 109 total points over 9 games. Trotwood also has three shutouts.
Springfield travels to Kettering to take on The Fairmont Firebirds, in a game that could get the winner into the playoffs.