Wayne senior Kaleb Madden sealed the game with an interception on the last play of the game to preserve Wayne’s 27-26 win over Healdton Friday night.
“He came up big with that interception,” said Wayne head coach Brandon Sharp. “I was really proud of all our kids for their effort and how they fought for four quarters.”
Sharp said his team had to dig deep early on in the game.
Healdton struck first in the game and led 6-0.
After Wayne went three and out, Healdton was putting together another scoring drive when Madden stripped the ball from a ball carrier to give Wayne fresh life.
“After that we were able to do some things to get ourselves back in it,” Sharp said. “I was proud of the kids because they didn’t quit.”
Wayne’s first score of the game came on a 98-yard run by Eli Hobson.
“Our back was against the wall and we ran a counter play,” Sharp said. “They blitzed to the opposite side so when he got out there no one was there and he was gone.”
The counter play was an adjustment Wayne’s coaching staff had made during the week.
“We put the G/T counter in and did a couple other things during the week,” Sharp said. “We thought we could get it going this week after watching film.”
Sharp thought his coaching staff did a great job, not only during the week but also with in-game adjustments against Healdton.
“My assistant coaches were big time the other night,” he said. “Two of the touchdowns were called by assistants who saw something during the game and they worked. Shane Collins made the move at the end of the game to switch Madden to a different receiver and he came up with the big interception. Those guys (coaches) don’t get enough credit for what they do.”
The staff includes Chance Sharp, Jackson Embry, Collins and Jordan Land.
Wayne’s other touchdowns came via Jaxon Dill on a one-yard keeper, Hobson on a 45-yard run and a 45-yard pass from Dill to Madden.
Hobson finished the night with 187 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns.
Madden had seven rushes for 27 yards, along with three catches for 66 yards and a score.
Dill had six rushes for 14 yards and was 5-13 for 107 through the air.
“We could have had more passing yards and honestly put the game away but we had trouble connecting on some pass plays,” Sharp said. “We had a couple drops and a couple overthrows.”
Despite some holding penalties Sharp was happy with the play of his offensive line, which was responsible for Wayne moving the ball most of the night.
Coming up big
Hobson was equally explosive on the defensive side of the ball as he was on offense.
The junior registered 17 tackles – 12 in the first half alone.
Rhett Kennedy came up with seven stops.
Madden had eight tackles to go along with two big interceptions.
“He played really well. The turnovers he caused were big time.”
Freshman Logan Simpson got a taste of high school football and finished the night with eight tackles.
Kody Kern rotated at nose guard and had three tackles and a fumble recovery.
“The defense gave up a few rushing yards but played better,” Sharp said. “They were bend-but-don’t-break and did a good job creating turnovers.”
Wayne hosts the Demons this Friday at 7 p.m.
“This is a big game and we still have the opportunity to get into the playoffs if we beat Dibble,” Sharp said. “The team knows that even with the adversity we’ve faced this season we still have an opportunity.”
On the other sidelines will be two familiar faces for Sharp and the Wayne program.
Former Wayne coach Sammy Sharp, brother of Brandon, is the Dibble defensive coordinator.
“Sammy is calling the D,” Brandon confirmed. “I’m pretty familiar with what he’ll do and he’s really familiar with what I do. And I’ve been facing coach (Richard) Norman for 14 years and we know each other well.”
Dibble has morphed their defense into a 4-3 and will lean on their linebackers to do the heavy lifting.
Offensively, they use pre-snap motion to try to out-man and out-flank defenses at the point of attack.
The coach’s son is the tailback and Sharp said he’s a good one, comparing him to Ringling’s talented back.
“We know it’s a big challenge,” Sharp said. “In situations like this it comes down to execution and limiting turnovers.”
Sharp nominated Eli Hobson for Offensive Player of the Week.
Kaleb Madden was the Defensive Player nominee.
Joel Rojas the offensive line nominee with a 72% grade out.
Kody Kern was the Defensive lineman nominee.
Wayne is 3-5 this season.
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