Wayne's dominance includes defense
WAYNE -- Beat a team 47-0 and the offense generates headlines like it did yards.
Wayne did that last Friday, rolling to a 47-0 victory over Nicholas County in the quarterfinal round of the West Virginia Class AA playoffs at Pioneer Field. Brandon Spurlock went past 1,000 yards for the season and became the school's all-time single-season rushing leader. Mason Hodge also ran for 100 yards. The Pioneers amassed 537 yards rushing, 680 in total offense and substituted freely in the second half.
Oh by the way, Wayne's defense limited No. 9 Nicholas County to 139 total yards, two first downs in the first half and nine for the night.
"We watch film, the coaches get a game plan and we do what we can to execute," said Dustin Hatfield, a 6-foot-4 defensive end for the Pioneers.
Hatfield and the Pioneers hope to continue to be a roadblock Friday when No. 1 Wayne (12-0) takes on No. 4 Robert C. Byrd (11-1) in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. at Pioneer Field. The Pioneers are in the semifinals for the 10th time in the past 12 years. R.C. Byrd, which dropped to Class AA this year, is in this round for the first time.
"We take a lot of pride in our play," said James Egnor, an outside linebacker for Wayne who goes 5-8, 150 pounds. "It shows how hard we've worked. We know we're going to get a team's best effort. We have to match it. We can't afford to make mistakes."
Wayne knows the Eagles have numerous weapons on offense along with size up front. Ben D'Annunzio has rushed for 1,427 yards and 14 touchdowns. Tre Cox has 1,112 yards and team-high 18 touchdowns. Quarterback Aaron Taylor has thrown for 1,224 yards and 18 TDs. Receiver Iziah Hill, the Big Ten Conference player of the year, has 24 receptions for 527 yards and 12 scores. Mason Compton leads in catches with 28 and has five scores. Kicker Scott Levine has booted eight field goals.
"We've got some momentum," Hatfield said. "We're excited about this game and ready to go on every play. The guys trust each other."
Hatfield and Egnor said the defending state champs have seen numerous formations during the year. The goal is to stuff whichever one a team tries.
"We've seen it all before," Hatfield said. "Teams have tried everything and it hasn't worked. Teams get frustrated if we do our job. We hope and pray we can continue that Friday night."
"Teams get frustrated. We get in their heads," Egnor said. "Play freely, relax and do our job. This is the most focused week we've had. We know what's at stake."
Wayne coach Tom Harmon said Hatfield and Egnor deliver snap to snap, week to week.
"Dustin has a motor. It doesn't stop," Harmon said of Hatfield. "He works hard to be where he's supposed to be. James is captain steady."
Spurlock carried 14 times for 172 yards against Nicholas County to go over 1,800 for the season and become No. 1 in school history for production in one season.
"It's an awesome feeling," Spurlock said. "There's been a lot of good backs here and there's more coming."
"With Brandon, it's more than the yards, more than the touchdowns," Harmon said. "He's a complete player. As he's gotten older, he's become a leader. He makes those around him better."
Spurlock, who gained more than 1,700 yards and scored 30 touchdowns in the 2011 state championship season, hurt his leg last week on a second-half run, but Harmon anticipates his 5-7, 180-pound senior to be ready. And Spurlock will be thanking his teammates up front in various ways after each run.
"The offensive line does a great job," Spurlock said. "Teams have a lot of guys up front. If we get to the second level, we're gone."
Harmon's message to the team this week is what happens Friday night matters most now.
"What we've done in the past means nothing at this point," he said. "The kids have to understand the team we play is talented. We have to play up to that caliber."
In the other semifinal Friday, No. 3 Bridgeport visits No. 2 Keyser at 1:30 p.m. The semifinal winners will meet for the state title Friday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Wheeling Island Stadium.