Saturday, November 20, 1999

Wayne feels momentum on its side against Elder

Big playoff run has Warriors feeling confident

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The wake-up call for the Huber Heights Wayne football team was a 35-14 loss to Centerville the ninth week of the season.

        A 24-21 victory over Fairfield two weeks later proved to be the “believe it” game, and last week's 37-14 upset of state No.2 St. Xavier was the “confidence builder.”

        That's how Wayne coach Jay Minton assesses his team going into the Division I, Region 4 championship game against Elder at 7 p.m. today at Welcome Stadium in Dayton.

        “We've been waiting to peak and pick up momentum all season,” Minton said. “Obviously, beating Fairfield brought the kids to the realization that they could win. We now have 66 kids who believe, and that's a big part of the battle.”

        In four previous years in the playoffs, the Warriors lost in the first round.

        It came as a surprise to Minton when he learned that Elder, not Centerville, was tonight's opponent.

        “Our two scouts (Del Becker and Darin Tarpley) met us Saturday at Welcome Stadium after the game and said we would be playing Centerville,” Minton said.

        “They left the game with three minutes to go with Centerville leading by two TDs. They couldn't believe Elder came back and won (49-42). When you see it on film, it's even more incredible.”

        The relative ease with which Wayne beat previously undefeated St. X has to be a concern for Elder coach Doug Ramsey, whose Panthers lost to St. X 30-13 during the regular season.

        “Wayne's a team with a lot of athletes and weapons,” Ramsey said. “Their offense is capable of the big play, but they can also sustain a drive.”

        Ramsey is also impressed with Wayne's defense.

        “They are very aggressive and that No.88 (Ray Bond) is a real stud,” Ramsey said.

        “Their secondary players (Carl Hayden, John Hollins, Will Allen) are very quick, and the linebacker (Brian Ankney) gets to the ball. It's hard to tell if he's blitzing or just acting on instinct.”

        Minton is confident going into the game, knowing that another flawless performance may be good enough to defeat Elder.

        “There's no doubt what Elder will attempt to do,” Minton said. “They'll try to hop on "The Bus' (6-foot-2, 240-pound tailback Kyle Koester) and take a ride. Stopping "The Bus' is the key.”

        Minton is also worried about Collin Carey, Elder's senior quarterback.

        “Carey zips the ball and throws it on the money,” Minton said. “He's got good receivers, which could be a problem for our secondary. We'll have to apply pressure and get him out of any type of rhythm.”

        The Warriors secondary is quick to the ball, with Ohio State-bound John Hollins and Will Allen, along with Tyrone Hogan. This speed gave St. X trouble and could be a problem for the Panthers.

        Offensively, Wayne has the speed and quickness advantage, especially at running back with breakaway threats Hogan, Earnest Tucker and Bobby Long.

        “Elder's defense is very aggressive and they always seem to be in position to make the play,” Minton said. “We have more speed, but we'll have to execute well to move the ball.”

        The key to Wayne's diversified offense is senior quarterback Derek Jones, a 6-3, 190-pound speedster who carried the ball nine times against St. X and completed nine of 22 passes for 139 yards.

        “Derek is an intelligent kid who's a National Merit Scholarship finalist,” Minton said. “We don't necessarily want him running because we have backs who can get it done. He's very capable of throwing the ball.”

        Wayne has forced 5 turnovers and given up one in the playoffs.

        “When you get this far, good teams capitalize on mistakes,” Minton said.


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