The momentum is building down on Winchester Road, so let the football programs of this fair city be warned.
Wayne is coming back.
The Generals exploded in the third quarter on Northrop (1-2 Summit Athletic Conference) Friday at Spuller Stadium with a mix of discipline and defense, but most of all, extraordinary playmaking ability and the result was a 50-27 beatdown of the Bruins.
“We have a lot of weapons,” third-year coach Derrick Moore said. “I've been saying that since the preseason.”
Moore is absolutely correct in terms of the Generals' “weapons,” but those weapons were often curtailed by a lack of discipline.
In Wayne's season-opening loss to Bishop Dwenger, Moore's kids made a good number of explosive plays against the still-unbeaten Saints, but those plays were often negated by Wayne committing 17 penalties.
That number of miscues dropped to 10 in last week's one-score defeat to Bishop Luers and even lower to eight against the Bruins.
“I told our guys that we have to put ourselves in a position where the referee doesn't have to decide is that a penalty or not,” Moore explained.
What was put on display Friday – particularly in the second half – was the potential that the Generals possess.
If Moore's team can limit their mistakes, then it has a startling capability to make plays on both sides of the ball due to a plethora of athletes.
In Friday's win, Wayne (1-2 SAC) produced scores of 82 yards, 77 yards, 37 yards, 25 yards, and 79 yards, and those weren't due to the Generals having one superstar player. Those five scores came courtesy of four different stellar athletes.
“What I do is look at the defense and see what it is giving me,” Wayne offensive coordinator Ben Johnson explained. “Then I just try and take advantage of what the defense is giving me.”
Only one of those scores came by Johnson calling a downfield play (Devonair Kelsaw caught a 37-yard strike from quarterback Brandan Young). The rest were conservative calls by Johnson that the Wayne players turned into long scores.
“We don't just have (stars) Craig Young or Devonair Kelsaw,” Johnson said, “all of the other receivers are capable are getting a quick hitch or a quick bubble and taking it to the house.”
Which they did. Often.
The Generals outscored Northrop 21-6 in the third quarter to secure their second straight victory over the Bruins, but just third win overall in three seasons.
“We had to learn how to turn the gas on,” Moore said of finishing opponents when his team had the chance to do so. “We've been playing close games for two years. I told them that it doesn't have to be within three points, we can score 50 points, and we have that talent.”
To Northrop's defense, the Bruins tried to slow the Wayne offensive machine. But the Generals are so deep athletically; who is a defender supposed to key on?
Kelsaw totaled 200 yards of total offense (141 rushing, while also catching five passes) and scored twice, while Tristan Pernell only ran the ball once, but he finished that carry 82 yards later in the end zone.
Craig Young hauled in five passes for 147 yards and a score, while Brandan Young is evolving into a fine young quarterback, as he completed 15 of 21 passes for 245 yards and three scores.
“A lot of people just try to make sure that we don't go over the top because we have a lot of team speed,” Johnson said, “So we just dink-and-dunk our way down the field. We're just trying to stay patient.”
Don't be fooled by Johnson's coyness. That “dink-and-dunk” stuff lasts for only a handful of plays before one of the Generals tears through the opposing secondary and is gone.
Wayne amassed 531 yards of total offense and in doing so, sent a message to the rest of the SAC that those teams better bring their “A game” defensively, because the Generals can score quickly and will score often.
Venturing to South Bend
Craig Young has already been offered a football scholarship to Indiana University, but today he will travel to his “dream school,” along with a General teammate (defensive lineman Darius Alexander) to take in Notre Dame's season-opening game against Temple.
“Notre Dame is one of my dream schools,” Young said. “I grew up watching Notre Dame. My whole family is Notre Dame fans. I didn't have a choice but to be a Notre Dame fan.”
It remains to be seen where Young will matriculate to college, or even which sport he'll participate in. Through his first two years of high school, he has emerged as one of the best athletes in this city not just in football, but in track and basketball, as well.
The Fighting Irish are coming off a disappointing 4-8 season, and their coach (Brian Kelly) received his share of criticism throughout the past 12 months, but none of it was coming from Young.
“It's fun watching Notre Dame play,” Young said. “I like coach Kelly and how he coaches. I like everything about Notre Dame.”
Wayne will host North Side Friday, while Northrop travels to Carroll. Both games are at 7 p.m.
For more on prep football throughout northeast Indiana, follow Tom Davis on Twitter at Tom101010 and on Facebook at Thomas Davis.