Wayne headed back to playoffs thanks to OT win over Trotwood-Madison

Wayne (left) toppped Trotwood-Madison 41-35 in overtime Friday night to clinch a Division I, Region 3 playoff berth. Eric Frantz/CONTRIBUTED

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Wayne (left) toppped Trotwood-Madison 41-35 in overtime Friday night to clinch a Division I, Region 3 playoff berth. Eric Frantz/CONTRIBUTED

Seven days ago, Wayne left Springfield stinging from an overtime defeat.

Friday, Trotwood-Madison felt the same burn – again.

»RELATED: Fairmont clinches playoff berth with win over Springfield

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Rallying for the tying touchdown with less than two minutes to play, Wayne survived the Rams 41-35 in overtime in a Greater Western Ohio Conference crossover game with significant playoff implications at Heidkamp Stadium. A loss and Wayne’s season was over. Instead, the Warriors move on to the Division I postseason for the seventh straight year and improve to 7-2 against the Rams since 2008.

“We were in one of these last week and it got away from us,” Wayne head coach Jay Minton said. “We learned from that and got one back.”

The victory, coupled with Fairmont’s 14-7 win over Springfield, also snagged a share of the GWOC National East Division title for the Warriors, who finish the regular season 7-3 (3-1).

Trotwood (6-4), the defending D-III state champion, earned its 10th straight postseason bid despite losing in OT for the second straight week. Xenia beat the Rams 29-28 last Friday.

Wayne and Trotwood have been the Miami Valley’s preeminent big school programs for the past decade. The Warriors and Rams own a combined 15 postseason berths, 11 regional titles, nine state finals and two state titles since 2010.

Both will open postseason play next Friday on the road in the regional quarterfinals. Pairings will be released by the OHSAA on Sunday.

“We’ve been playing playoff games for three weeks now,” Wayne quarterback Rashad McKee said. “We put ourselves in a bad situation at the beginning of the season with some losses and we’ve been continually talking about how it’s now or never. We knew this was going to be our last game at the Kamp but we didn’t want it to be our last game ever.”

Trotwood made a strong bid to end the Warriors run.

Behind senior running back Dae’Vontay Latimer and junior quarterback Cooper Stewart, the Rams were on the verge of victory.

Latimer, whose cousin Cody plays for the New York Giants, produced career highs in carries (32) and yards (216) and scored on an 80-yard run.

Stewart completed 10-of-14 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns. His 30-yard strike to Sammy Anderson put the Rams up 35-28 with 9:55 to play.

The Warriors, who lost a fumble at the Trotwood 11-yard line with 4:57 to go, forced the extra stanza on a 3-yard run by McKee with 1:51 left.

“We kept telling him all night the ‘pull’ was going to be there (on the read-option),” Minton said. “You have to pull that ball at the right time and he did.”

Wayne scored on the first play in OT on a 20-yard reverse by Cameron Fancher. The Rams couldn’t convert fourth-and-10 from the 20.

McKee finished 15-of-28 for 182 yards and a touchdown. He carried the ball nine times for 90 yards and a score.

Wayne’s workhorse was junior back Devin Nelson, who carried the ball 33 times for 178 yards and three touchdowns.

In the last five games, Nelson, who carried the ball twice last year for 55 yards, has rushed for 797 yards and 13 touchdowns.

“When you get to big games, you have to run the football and what a blessing he’s been,” Minton said. “He’s been solid.”

Said McKee: “They hadn’t really stopped us all game. We made a couple mistakes and had some turnovers, but for the most part we were getting what we wanted. We knew if we stuck with the game plan we could get it done.”

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