But this season it wasn’t enough.
It doesn’t matter that one loss was to league rival Centerville (a playoff team) in overtime, 28-21, and the other to nationally ranked Cincinnati Colerain, 19-7, in the season opener. Two loses is two loses.
Turn in your uniforms.
Troy (4-6) took the opening kickoff, but moments later Warrior freshman defensive back Tre Moore picked off a Tyler Wright pass and zigzagged his way 57 yards down the right sideline for a Wayne touchdown.
The Trojans responded on the first possession of the second quarter with a nine play 69-yard scoring drive, capped off by a 19 yard Matt Allen touchdown. Corey Brown led the Trojans with 156 rushing on 22 carries. Unofficially, Brown ends his season with 1847 yards on 238 carries. Allen caught five passes for 62 yards.
Wayne countered immediately.
First and ten on his own forty, Braxton Miller hit Chris Bonner on a slant for a first down. On the next play, Steve Curtis carried it ten yards off right tackle. First Down. Then, Miller exploited the spread field with a screen to Curtis for 33 yards and another first down.
On the next play the efficient freshman quarterback kept it himself, taking it seven yards into the end zone to make the halftime score, 14-7.
Miller also contributed 138 yards on 13-17 passing.
“As he (Miller) matures he is going to be one of the best prospects in the country,” Troy head coach Steve Nolan said. “At Wayne, he’s always going to have great receivers, a great line, and great coaching; and he’s going to end up being 6’4” or so. He’s going to be a super player. Look at him. He’s pretty good now.”
Wayne took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched down field, scoring on a 10 yard Erique Geiger plunge to make the final score 21-7.
“They were coming in off an emotional win (Piqua) and they didn’t play like a four and six type team,” Wayne head coach Jay Minton said afterwards. “And any time you have a back like Corey Brown you can knock off people.
“Our defense was number one in the GWOC this year and they were special tonight. Even though Brown got a ton of yards we were able to keep him out of the end zone. We did almost let them back in the game with that fumble, but our defense got tough and made a key stand after that. That’s how you win football games.”
In saying that Wayne’s running attack was every bit as good as Troy’s is no stretch as both teams got exactly the same amount of yardage (183). The Warriors balanced attack was led by Steve Curtis’ 110 yards on 15 carries.
“We made sure that Curtis got his carries and he, in return, ran with a big heart and a whole lot of character,” Minton continued. “He’s had several good games for us. If we could mix things up and keep them honest, we thought we had a good chance at success.”
Minton looks forward to the future with freshmen like Miller and Moore coming along nicely.
“It’s hard to think of Braxton as being just a freshman because he is a special player. It is going to be great to watch him grow into a better player with each passing year. The kid doesn’t make a whole lot of mistakes because of his poise and his maturity. He is going to be something else, something the Miami Valley hasn’t seen in a while.”
For every winner there is a loser in high school football. Friday was no exception.
“This team should be 7-3 and in my mind it always will be, because of the way we played,” Nolan sighed after the game. “I think we have a lot to look forward to.
“Corey Brown has been a stud. He blocks as well as he runs. He played both ways for us until game four, and we just decided to give him the ball and ride him. Corey fumbled against Trotwood, but that is the only one all year. Tonight he made a couple of runs where he just broke away from the pack.”
Nolan’s staff invented something called the ‘joker sweep’ to help counter Wayne’s massive defensive line.
“They had those two big defensive ends crashing to cut off our inside game. One guy is going to Michigan State (Jerel Worthy), the other guy is just as big, and we had 5’7” guards. So we set up some schemes to run outside and on the first play of the game, what did he (Brown) do? He ran into the pile. Young men, you know? Jeez. We should have scored on that one.
“I thought we handled the spread really well, but (Steve) Curtis was one of the best backs we have seen all year. He ran really hard, and I think Wayne has a great defense.”