|Playoffs: Raiders domate Rams|
Division IV Football Playoffs
Raiders make dominating statement
By KEVIN WANNEMACHER • Progress Sportswriter
LIMA – Wayne Trace needed only 15 seconds to take control of Friday’s rematch with Tinora in the Division VI, Region 20 regional semifinals at Lima Stadium on Nov. 15.
And the Raiders never let up from there.
The red, white and blue made a dominating statement victory as Wayne Trace rolled past the Rams 40-7 to advance to the regional championship for the first time in school history.
The Raiders, who move to 11-1 on the season, now advance to take on Ada on Friday at Lima Stadium.
It was a statement win for the Raiders.
“I am just so proud of this football team and the coaching staff, the parents, fans, it’s a total win for Wayne Trace,” commented Raider head coach Bill Speller. “It’s one of – if not the – biggest wins in school history in football. It’s our first time to the regional finals and there isn’t a coaching staff or group of players that deserve it more.”
On the first play of the game, Wayne Trace quarterback Colby Speice found Korbin Showalter for a 79-yard touchdown pass that set the tone for the rest of the evening.
“That play was so big,” Speller noted. “We came into the game with two plays called and it just depended on how they lined up defensively. Tinora actually adjusted the way we hoped they would and we were able to take advantage.”
The Rams never recovered from the early deficit and Wayne Trace didn’t let up.
The Raiders widened the lead to 16-0 with 1:34 left in the opening stanza when Speice again found Showalter, this time on a 49-yard scoring strike.
“Colby is just so smart and is able to read things so well for us,” added the Raider mentor.
Speice finished the night 15 of 28 through the air for 319 yards and four scores, but maybe just as important was his footwork as he worked his way out of numerous potential sacks and kept plays alive long after they appeared to be broken down.
“He played a heck of a game tonight,” continued Speller on Speice. “He did a good job of taking care of the football and he was able to make plays out of nothing at times to keep drives alive.”
But Speice wasn’t the only Raider with a big game. Showalter finished the night with only six receptions, but totaled 205 yards and three scores.
“We were able to take advantage of our speed and Korbin found a way to get free from the defense,” noted Wayne Trace’s head coach. “The turf was nice to get on and we were able to exploit some things with our speed.”
Tinora did get within 16-7 late in the first quarter, using a 35-yard scamper by Riley Nagel to get on the scoreboard. However, the green and white would never get any closer.
Wayne Trace responded with a 14-yard touchdown toss by Speice to Jake Arend at the 9:45 mark of the second quarter.
Just over two minutes later, Speice found Showalter again for a 43-yard touchdown pass that seemingly sealed the victory and gave the Raiders a 32-7 halftime advantage.
“Anytime they were able to come up with a big play, we were able to answer and that was key,” said Speller. “Whether it be when they recovered a fumble or they scored, our guys made a play to keep momentum on our side.”
Wayne Trace picked up the only score of the second half on a five-yard plunge by Speice to set the final margin at 40-7.
“It’s a big win for the program,” Speller added. “We have raised the bar at Wayne Trace and now we have the chance to continue to do that next week. We’ll get back to work and get ready for Ada.”
Tinora, which closes at 10-2 on the season, posted 393 yards of total offense in the contest. The Rams ran for 202 yards, led by 154 from Nagel on 27 carries. Sophomore quarterback Brevin Renollet was 15 of 27 through the air for 157 yards.
“Kenny does a great job over there and that is a program we have a lot of respect for,” stated Speller. “They will be back. He runs a class program and they have a lot of kids back next year.”
Wayne Trace finished the night with 416 yards and totaled 19 first downs. Speice and Jared Sherry ran for 49 and 45 yards, respectively.
“We were able to establish a running game tonight,” concluded Speller. “We know that the weather isn’t always going to be like this so we have to be able to run the ball to have success.”
Next up for Wayne Trace is co-Northwest Conference champion Ada.
The Bulldogs have posted wins over fellow NWC co-champs Delphos Jefferson and Crestview in the playoffs by scores of 27-22 and 35-0.
BULLDOG BITS - Ada comes into the contest at 9-3 after whipping the Knights 35-0 in the regional semifinals last week. The Bulldogs avenged a week seven 63-12 loss at Crestview.
Ada averages 27 points a contest and the Bulldogs have posted 30 or more points six times this season. Defensively, the purple and white allow 20 points a contest. With the big loss at Crestview, the Ada average drops to 16 points per game defensively.
Ada is 4-3 on the season against teams with winning records this year, winning three and losing three on the road.
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