Wayne defeated Elmore City-Pernell 26-20 Friday night in a key District A-4 showdown.
Wayne’s huge goal line stand in the waning seconds sealed the game in thrilling fashion.
Elmore City, running behind a massive offensive line, was unable to gain two yards for the tying touchdown.
Brannon Lewelling and Ethan Mullins had key stops on the series.
“I told the defense to stay low and penetrate,” said Wayne head coach Brandon Sharp. “On fourth down we thought they were going to go to the quarterback run but they handed it off wide. Mullins shot the gap and laid it all on the line. It was a big-time play and a good job by our defense.”
Mullins finished the night with a team-high 16 tackles and a forced fumble.
The Wayne defense played a solid game against a talented Elmore City Badger offense.
The defensive outing was even more impressive considering the fact Wayne found out at noon Friday they’d be without starting defensive end Brian Ibarra due to COVID-19 issues.
“We were having to adjust the game plan at the last minute,” Sharp said. “We didn’t have guys lined up correctly or where they were supposed to be but when we lined up correctly we played really well.”
Wayne had Elmore City on the ropes in the first half but let them creep back into the game with two second quarter scores. Their second score came with 55 seconds remaining in the half on a 10-yard pass.
The Badgers scored again in the fourth quarter.
Wayne’s Kevin Bynum tempered the Elmore City celebration when he blocked the ensuing extra point.
Lewelling registered 15 tackles with a fumble recovery.
Maddox Mantooth had five tackles from his defensive line post.
Bynum had five tackles in addition to the blocked field goal.
Run game in motion
Offensively Wayne was led again by the backfield combination of Lewelling and Mullins.
Mullins carried the ball 28 times for 227 yards and four touchdowns.
Lewelling had 50 yards on eight carries. He was also devastating as a blocker much of the evening.
Wayne had some success against the talented Badger front seven, but were unable to move the ball for parts of the game.
“We were good at times but not good in the fourth quarter,” Sharp said. “We weren’t picking up first downs to end the game like we should have and we left points on the field that I feel we should have gotten.”
Wayne struggled up front after Elmore City’s big defensive tackle was moved to the edge of the line.
“It was a good move by them to move him to end,” Sharp said. “They were able to load up the other side. Moving forward we need to run between the tackles better.”
Wayne hosts the talented Ringling on Friday at 7 p.m.
Ringling (4-0 District, 6-0 overall) is coached by longtime Oklahoma football coach Phil Koons.
“I worked with Coach Koons for four years and he’s one of the best coaches in the state in any class,” Sharp said. “They are well coached and don’t make mistakes.”
The Blue Devils operate a power run game with the stretch, power and counter plays.
“They have the best running back we’ve faced this year,” Sharp said. “Their offensive line is strong and they run it well.”
The defense is a four-man front with linebackers walked up on the edges.
“They stunt along the front with slants and twists,” Sharp said. “They are solid and athletic in the back end and they do a great job supporting the run.”
“If we win we’re playing for a District title,” Sharp said. “It’s a big game and the kids are excited to be in this position. We’ve been District runners up the last couple of years and we want to get over the hump. It will be a huge challenge.”
Wayne head coach Brandon Sharp nominated Ethan Mullins for Offensive Player of the Week.
The Defensive players of the Week were Brannon Lewelling and Mullins.
Maddox Mantooth was the Defensive Lineman of the Week nominee.