They got the stop when they needed it most.
Up by four points in the final minutes of the game, and Hinton knocking on the door, the Wayne defense had to hold the Comets out of the end zone.
They did and escaped with a 20-16 win in the opening round of the State playoffs.
“They were one of those teams with nothing to lose,” said Wayne head coach Brandon Sharp. “They were happy to play an extra game and were very physical.”
Ryan Redus filled in at middle linebacker for Brannon Lewelling, who was unavailable due to quarantine, and posted a solid game.
“He played really well for us,” Sharp said. “He had some games under his belt there from earlier in the season and he did a good job.”
Redus finished the game with nine tackles and he also forced a fumble.
Kevin Bynum played big at safety and turned in a nine-tackle night.
Brian Ibarra made a hand for the Bulldogs on both sides of the ball and registered seven tackles on defense.
Freshman Eli Hobson had a breakout game in his first taste of playoff football and forced a fumble while tallying seven tackles in the win.
Junior Cody Davis recovered a fumble from his defensive line position.
“Our front seven did a really good job against a flexbone team,” Sharp said. “Our defense has been playing really well. We’re stout against the run.”
Wayne’s defense has only been allowing about 70 rushing yards per game and held Hinton to 66 rushing yards on 30 carries.
Ibarra steps in
Offensively, Wayne made the best of the night with two of their key offensive weapons either gone or at less than 100 percent.
With Lewelling out, Wayne was also left with star quarterback Ethan Mullins who was hampered with a sore ankle.
In steps Brian Ibarra.
The senior, who hasn’t carried the ball much this season, was a workhorse for the Bulldogs carrying the ball 21 times for 129 yards rushing and a touchdown.
“Brian stepped in at tailback and did a great job for us,” Sharp said.
Even with Mullins less than full speed he managed to run for 100 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns.
“Ethan wasn’t able to hit the extra gear,” Sharp said.
Crescent comes to Wayne Friday for the next round of the playoffs.
“They’re an explosive team,” Sharp said. “We know we’ll have our hands full and we’ll need to do a good job on defense.”
Crescent comes from the competitive A-3 district where they finished third behind Cashion and Tonkawa.
They operate out of the spread on offense and have a dynamic play maker who moves between quarterback and receiver.
They will be in a 4-3 on defense.
“They’re a complete team,” Sharp said.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.