But the Warriors could be back in the playoff mix in 2008, especially with five starters back on both sides of the ball.
Players to Watch – QB Braxton Miller (6-2, 180, So.), RB Erique Geiger (5-9, 205, Sr.), DB Javon Marshall (5-11, 180, Sr.), DE Anthony Pyle (6-2, 235, Sr.).
Outlook – When the final playoff computer points were tabulated, the Warriors were on the outside looking in at ninth in Region 4 despite their eight-win regular season. A Week 8 loss to Greater Western Ohio Conference rival Centerville (28-21) is probably what kept Wayne out of the playoffs. But the Warriors could be back in the playoff mix in 2008, especially with five starters back on both sides of the ball.
“We are real optimistic,” said Jay Minton, set to start his 10th year as the Wayne coach and 18th year as a varsity head coach. “You hear that all the time. But I think we are going to be pretty exciting.”
Miller is considered one of Ohio’s top prospects in the 2011 class. He took the reins as a freshman and threw for over 1,132 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushed for 441 yards and five scores. He boasts 4.47-second speed in the 40.
“You have to like it when you have a trigger man like that back,” Minton said. “But we also have some good supporting guys. Braxton is a freak. Not only is he physically more developed, but he is also mentally more developed coming back this year. Sometimes you forgot he was a freshman.”
Miller threw for 206 yards and two TDs and also rushed for 122 yards and two TDs in the loss to Centerville.
“His athletic ability is what is carrying him right now,” Minton said. “He has that ability to get out of tough situations. As he develops, he will be able to read things better and have control of the game a little bit better. It’s like a puzzle and he’ll just keep adding pieces this year and on when he is a junior and senior.”
Geiger had 50 tackles and two interceptions on defense last year. He also had 195 yards and three touchdowns on offense, where he could have a larger role this year. He had four kick returns for touchdowns last year.
“He has started the last two years at outside linebacker for us,” Minton said. “He will be moving mostly to running back. It is exciting when he gets the ball.”
Marshall had 49 tackles and three interceptions as a defensive back last year.
“He was solid last year,” Minton said. “He had a real nice year.”
Pyle chipped in 58 tackles and two sacks from his end position.
The schedule begins with West Chester Lakota West in the Skyline Crosstown Showdown, East St. Louis, Ill., in the Kirk Herbstreit Ohio vs. USA Challenge and a Saturday game against Parma Padua Franciscan from the Cleveland area.
“So much for Friday night lights,” Minton said. “We don’t play a Friday night game until the fourth week.”
Within the GWOC, Minton knows the competition will be rough.
“Centerville, obviously, is a team you have to look at,” he said. “I think you also have to look at Northmont. Fairmont always seems to play us tough. Beavercreek seems to be a lot more solid, but they lost the kid (Zach Domicone) to Ohio State.
“The Springfield game will be interesting as they consolidate those schools. We will see how that goes this year.”
Aug. 21 vs. West Chester Lakota West (Skyline Crosstown Showdown at University of Dayton, 8:15 p.m.)
Aug. 31 vs. East St. Louis, Ill. (Kirk Herbstreit Ohio vs. USA Challenge at University of Cincinnati, 3 p.m.)
Sept. 6 Parma Padua Franciscan
Sept. 12 Trotwood-Madison
Sept. 19 at Troy
Sept. 26 at Clayton Northmont
Oct. 3 Kettering Fairmont
Oct. 10 Beavercreek
Oct. 17 at Centerville
Oct. 24 Springfield