Wayne and Springfield were exchanging hits long before the kickoff of Friday night’s key Greater Western Ohio Conference National East showdown. Following scores of Twitter challenges throughout the week between players, it became apparent the final message would be settled on the field.
“It always feels good to be able to talk the talk and walk the walk and back it up,” said Wayne junior defensive end Alex Reigelsperger following Wayne’s decisive 38-14 win at a packed Evans Stadium.
Springfield thought it had the game to challenge mighty Wayne. Now, the best the Wildcats can do is hope for a rematch.
Wearing teams out in the second half has been a Wayne trademark. Sure enough, the Warriors put 24 points on the Wildcats in the final two quarters. Much of that was done behind the running of senior back Fred Pitts, who rumbled a season-high 202 yards on 24 carries and scored on runs of 44 and 13 yards. Pitts had 96 combined rushing yards in the previous three wins.
Springfield senior running back Shane Ramey overcame a leg injury that knocked him out of play early in the second quarter to score on a five-yard run in the final seconds of the first half. That drew the Wildcats within 14-7. Wayne, the Division I state runner-up in 2014-15, quickly asserted itself with another scoring drive on its first possession of the second half.
“We’re a couple Jimmys and Joes from being the team we want to be,” Springfield coach Maurice Douglass said. “In the trenches, we don’t have enough dependable Joes on the inside.”
Wayne leaned on its running game for a decisive 412-107 advantage in total offense.
“That Twitter beef, it just kind of hit home,” said Wayne’s celebrated receiver L’Christian “Blue” Smith, who had two catches for 16 yards. “They’re actually winning this year and they may be in the playoffs, so that’s a very good team we just beat. It’s always hard. It doesn’t matter what their record is, Springfield vs. Wayne is always a good game.”
The win clinched an outright National East title (4-0) and could vault Wayne (8-0-1) into first place in the Division I, Region 3 computer rankings. Springfield (6-3, 2-1) had a three-game win streak snapped and will likely drop from its No. 6 position in D-I, Region 3.
However, these teams could play again in the playoffs, as early as the first round in two weeks. If that happens, the rematch will be at Huber Heights. Springfield hosts Fairmont (1-8) in Week 10 and Wayne hosts Trotwood-Madison (8-1) on Thursday. That’s lofty status for Springfield, just 3-7 last season.
“We may have to face them again, but that’s OK,” Wayne coach Jay Minton said. “At least it’ll be on our turf. Hats off to them. They’ve done a great job and they’ve put it together. They’re making a huge amount of progress.”
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.