Wayne Trace receiver Korbin Showalter breaks to open field during the Raiders’ 57-10 win in state semi-final action on Friday night. The Raiders advance to the Div. VI state title game next weekend. (Times Bulletin/Jim Bowers)
By Kevin Wannemacher
Times Bulletin Business Manager
WAPAKONETA - Domination.
It's what the Wayne Trace football team has done to its first four opponents in the 2013 playoffs and that script played out again Friday night as the Raiders shut down the Mechanicsburg rushing attack and posted a 57-10 victory over the Indians in the Division VI state semi-finals at Harmon Field in Wapakoneta.
The victory puts the Raiders in the Division VI state championship game next weekend at a time and site to be released by the OHSAA. Wayne Trace (13-1) will play Kirtland (14-0), a 10-7 winner over Columbus Bishop Ready.
The red-white-and-blue defense limited the Indians, who averaged 280 yards a game on the ground coming in, to 52 through three quarters and 146 on the night in completely controlling the Mechanicsburg offense.
"Our defense was outstanding tonight," noted Raider head coach Bill Speller. "After the first two plays, we just shut them down and it took them out of their game plan."
Mechanicsburg running back Aeryton Erwin gained 47 yards on the Indians' first two plays from scrimmage. From that point on, the Indians combined to gain five rushing yards on the next 15 tries.
"It was a tremendous effort defensively," continued the Raider mentor. "It was a total team effort on that side of the ball and they just stepped up and made play after play tonight."
While the Raider defense was dominating Mechanicsburg, the red-white-and-blue offense was playing pretty well too.
After the Indians won the coin toss but elected to defer, Wayne Trace took the ball and proceeded to march down the field in five plays before finding the end zone.
Jared Sherry finished off the drive, running 17 yards to put Wayne Trace on top 8-0 with 10:07 left in the opening stanza.
The Indians closed to within 8-3 on a 34-yard Brandon Purk field goal but that would be all of the Mechanicsburg offense through three quarters.
Meanwhile, the Raiders scored on their second possession as well. Senior quarterback Colby Speice scrambled nine-yards to put Wayne Trace on top 16-3 after one stanza.
"We were able to answer their scoring drive and that was a big score," Speller continued. "We needed to do that to put the pressure back on them and then our defense rose to the challenge."
Mechanicsburg went three-and-out on its last four possessions of the first half.
Wayne Trace pushed the margin to 22-6 on a 32-yard scoring strike from Speice to Korbin Showalter before a momentum-killing score to end the half.Taking over at their own ten-yard line with 3:38 left in the half, the red-white-and-blue drove 90 yards in 17 plays, culminating the possession on a Speice one-yard plunge for a touchdown as time expired.
Speice then hooked up with Jake Arend to set the halftime margin at 30-3.
"It was a big possession," added the Raider mentor. "Any time you can score right before halftime it is a big momentum shift."
Wayne Trace then sealed any doubt on the opening drive, started by an Austin Kuhn recovery of the second half kickoff at the Indian 36.
Six plays later, Speice hooked up with Showalter on a 13-yard touchdown toss that gave the Raiders a 36-3 lead.
The Raiders added a Speice touchdown pass to Arend from three-yards out in widening the margin to 44-3 with 5:31 left in the third quarter.
Speice then concluded his night with an eight yard toss to Arend for another score, setting the advantage at 50-3 entering the final stanza.
"I am so proud of these kids and coaches," concluded Speller. "They have put in a tremendous amount of time and effort. It's an honor to represent the Wayne Trace community and the Green Meadows Conference and we've got one more game to play."
Gabe Wobler found Cole Shephered on a 35-yard scoring strike for the Raiders final score in the contest.
Speice finished the night with 347 yards passing, completing 30 of 46 passes. Jared Sherry ran for 115 yards on ten carries for Wayne Trace.
Erwin posted 113 yards on 23 attempts for the Indians, who finish 11-3 on the season.