Sunday, November 21, 1999

Huber Heights Wayne 24, Elder 14

Warriors 'D' holds Panthers in second half

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Elder's Eric Schneider causes a fumble.
(Ernest Coleman photos)
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        DAYTON — There's no substitute for speed, and that was what Huber Heights Wayne used Saturday to conquer Elder.

        Combining a near-perfect offensive effort with outstanding defense, the Warriors handed Elder a 24-14 loss in the Division I, Region 4 cham pionship game at Welcome Stadium.

        Wayne moves on to the state semifinals next Saturday.

        “Wayne had speed at every position, both on offense and defense,” Elder coach Doug Ramsey said. “They had so many weapons. It wouldn't surprise me if they won it all.”

Elder's QB Collin Carey.
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        Quarterback Derek Jones, not known as an outstanding passer, stole the show. A 6-foot-4, 180-pound senior, Jones completed 15 of 18 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns.

        “Their quarterback was awesome,” Ramsey said. “Our coverage couldn't have been any better. He just put the ball in there.”

        Jones wasn't Wayne's only offensive hero.

        Senior tailback Earnest Tucker rushed for 151 yards on 28 carries, and the Warriors defense recovered a fumble and intercepted four Collin Carey passes, three in the second half.

        Any hopes for an Elder comeback like last week's against Centerville were thwarted by a Wayne offense that controlled the ball for 10:34 of the fourth quarter, allowing the Panthers only four plays, including two interceptions.

Elder TB Kyle Koester.
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        The Warriors' only score in the second half was a 28-yard field goal by Jon McClain midway through the fourth quarter. But Wayne threatened three other times.

        “Our offense played well in the first half, but we only had the ball three or four times,” Ramsey said.

        Wayne's defense dominated in the second half, allowing Elder inside Warriors territory once while holding the Panthers to fewer than 100 yards.

        “I knew if we got into a position that we had to throw the ball, we would be in trouble,” Ramsey said. “They have so much speed in the secondary that I knew they would get some (interceptions).”

        “We got started in the groove early,” Wayne's Jones said. “I was able to hit some hot reads (receivers) on the blitz. Our running game kept them from dropping back into coverage.”

        Wayne coach Jay Minton had nothing but praise for Jones.

        “Derek struggled some during his early years,” Minton said. “But he has so much determination, heart and poise, and the kids rallied around him.”

        A costly mistake by Elder's Phil Rueve set the stage for Wayne's first score and for the tone of the game.

        After Wayne was held on its first possession, the high, floating punt was fumbled by Rueve. Brian Ankley recovered for Wayne at Elder's 17.

        It took Wayne only five running plays to reach the end zone; Tucker took it in from the 1. McClain's conversion kick made it 7-0 with 6:38 remaining.

        Elder answered with a six-play, 79-yard drive. A 59-yard run by Kyle Koester to the Warriors 30 set up Carey's 15-yard strike to Brett Mezger for the TD with 3:29 remaining.

        “Our game plan was to keep Elder off balance,” Minton said. “We wanted to slow down the pass rush and blitz.”

        He added: “The strategy was to stop the run and make the pass beat you. Our running game opened up the passing.”

        Wayne ....... 7  14  0  3—24

        Elder ....... 7   7  0  0—14

        W—Tucker 1 run (McClain kick)

        E—Mezger 15 pass from Carey (DeFranco kick)

        W—Long 15 pass from Jones (McClain kick)

        E—Koester 7 run (DeFranco kick)

        W—Hollins 18 pass from Jones (McClain kick)

        W—McClain 28 field goal

        Records: Elder 10-2, Wayne 12-1.


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