Wayne reached the playoffs last year but dropped its opener to
Cincinnati Elder 35-14 at The Pit. Coach Jay Minton returns for his 12th
year at Wayne and 20th season as a varsity head coach. He finds 15
returning starters (nine offense, six defense), including OSU QB recruit Braxton Miller.
Huber Heights Wayne (8-3)
* Players to Watch – QB Braxton Miller (6-3, 202, Sr.), DB Tre Moore (5-11, 192, Sr.), DB Tre Thomas (6-0, 200, Sr.), CB Mike Bonner (5-11, 175, Sr.), RB Anthony Taylor (5-11, 205, Sr.).
* Outlook – Wayne reached the playoffs last year but dropped its opener to Cincinnati Elder 35-14 at The Pit. Coach Jay Minton returns for his 12th year at Wayne and 20th season as a varsity head coach. He finds 15 returning starters (nine offense, six defense).
“It is a good nucleus,” Minton said. “I hate that word potential because potential gets you beat every time. We have a high expectation, but every year we do. Our kids are working. We’re the strongest we have ever been here in the weight room. We’ve always been fast and agile, but now we’re working on our strength.”
Of course, much of the focus here is on Miller, an Ohio State verbal who was rated by one service as the nation’s top quarterback prospect.
“A lot of people will look at him and say he is a Buckeye,” Minton said. “I told him, ‘A lot of people will look at you know say your mistakes are disappointments and your successes are expectations. People will expect you to succeed.’ With all of that said, I don’t know if a lot of people can do what he is doing and focus on his season.
“But I expect him to be able to do it. Any time he is competing, he does a great job at competing. He’s traveled through so much adversity throughout his high school career with some injuries. Hopefully, he can stay healthy and we’ll see where he can take us. We’ll take it one week at a time.”
In three years as a starter, Miller has posted a 20-4 record, thrown for 2,628 yards and 23 TDs and rushed for 1,004 yards and 29 scores.
“He is a true winner and such a great competitor,” Minton said. “He doesn’t accept losing for an answer. He just doesn’t handle losing well. I don’t know that any successful player does. He’ll do anything he needs to do to succeed.”
Wayne boasts an outstanding secondary, including Moore, Thomas and Bonner. Moore earned first-team All-GWOC last fall while collecting 66 tackles. Thomas transferred to Wayne last year from Springfield. Bonner had three interceptions last year.
Taylor had 914 yards rushing and two touchdowns and also caught 22 passes last year as a junior.
Wayne will play in a pair of marquee events to open the season. The Warriors open Sunday against Cincinnati Moeller in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown at Cincinnati St. Xavier.
They will then have a rematch with Canton McKinley in the Kirk Herbstreit National Kickoff Classic Sept. 5 at Ohio Stadium. Wayne downed McKinley 27-14 in a regular season game last year.
“To get to play McKinley in the Horseshoe, that’s just an added bonus,” Minton said. “Ron Johnson has done a great job there.”
Those two outstanding match-ups will be televised nationally by ESPNU as will Wayne’s Oct. 15 match-up with Greater Western Ohio Conference rival Centerville. A year ago, those two teams tied for the GWOC Central Division title.
“You always look at Centerville,” Minton said. “They have (OSU verbal) Michael Bennett at defensive tackle and a defensive end named Rose who is pretty good. The team that might surprise everybody is Springfield. They’ve got (Alabama verbal) Trey DePriest at linebacker and some pretty good athletes.”
Aug. 29, vs. Cincinnati Moeller (Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown at Cincinnati St. Xavier), 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Sept. 5, vs. Canton McKinley (Kirk Herbstreit National Kickoff Classic at Ohio Stadium), 3:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Sept. 10, Louisville (Ky.) Seneca
Sept. 17, Trotwood-Madison
Sept. 24, at Xenia
Oct. 1, Springfield
Oct. 8, Beavercreek
Oct. 14, at Centerville, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Oct. 22, at Clayton Northmont
Oct. 29, Kettering Fairmont