DAYTON, Ohio – The Wayne Warriors proved that they can play ground and pound, defensive football when needed on Saturday night, defeating Hilliard Davidson 20-6. Wayne tallied 204 yards of total offense, with 163 of those coming on the ground.
“They’re just sensational. I can’t say enough great things about Brian White,” Wayne head coach Jay Minton said. “Their players, they do everything he tells them to do and coaches them to do. That says a lot for him and his staff.”
Following a scoreless first quarter, the Warriors scored their first points of the game midway through the second quarter on a 20 yard Nate Strong field goal.
The Wildcats quickly responded, notching a field goal of their own when Robert LeFever connected from 31 yards out, making the halftime score 3-3.
Wayne’s high powered offense was held to just 68 yards in the first half. This was the first time all season that the Warriors didn’t lead at halftime.
“The first half, we did play their ball, we played Davidson football,” Minton added. “If you’re going to do that, you’re going to get beat. We just had to make a few minor, fundamental adjustments. We got our offense cranking, and the defense hung in there.”
After another Nate Strong field goal, Wayne’s offense finally hit pay dirt late in the third quarter when Daryl McCleskey scored from 21 yards out, giving the Warriors a 13-3 lead at the end of the the third quarter.
Trailing 13-6 with 3:09 remaining in the game, Hilliard Davidson regained possession at it’s own 10 yard line. However, any hopes of a game tying drive in the final moments were dashed as Wayne’s defense rose to the occasion, forcing a turnover on downs at the Wildcats’ 5-yard line.
Moments later, running back Fred Pitts scored from 5 yards out, sealing the 20-6 win for the Warriors.
This was the third time in the past six seasons that Wayne and Hilliard Davidson have met in the playoffs. Wayne defeated the Wildcats 28-14 in the state semi-finals in 2010. Hilliard Davidson knocked the Warriors out in 2013 with a 37-7 victory.
Behind it’s triple option offense, Hilliard Davidson ran for 181 yards. The Wildcats conclude another successful season with an 11-2 record.
“I would guess if you told us at the beginning of the year that you were going to lose to Huber Heights Wayne in the third round of playoffs, I think everybody would have said sign me up,” Hilliard Davidson head coach Brian White said. “I’m just proud of our kids. Line up their 22 dudes and line up our 22 dudes, and I don’t think there is much of a comparison.”
The Warriors will look to remain undefeated next week, as they advance to the Region 2 championship game where they will face another triple option offense, the Colerain Cardinals. A game that will feature two nationally ranked teams.
“They’ve got an unbelievable player. Maybe one of the two best players I’ve ever seen in high school since I’ve been back up here in Ohio” Minton said. “It’s option football. Playing that style tonight helps lead into next week’s game.”