Wayne seeking back-to-back titles, 14-0 season
WAYNE -- Believe it or not, Wayne can still achieve some football firsts Friday when it takes on Keyser in the West Virginia Class AA state championship game at 7:30 p.m. at Wheeling Island Stadium.
A win would give the No. 1 seed Pioneers the first 14-0 record in school history and back-to-back state championships.
"I'm proud of my team. It's an unbelievable feeling," said Anthony Bryant, who plays up front on offense and defense for Wayne. "Hopefully we make history."
Wayne didn't have running back Brandon Spurlock and Mason Hodge played on defense only, but the Pioneers still blanked No. 4 Robert C. Byrd, 18-0, in one semifinal Friday night. Keyser (12-1) is No. 2 seed and eliminated Bridgeport, 42-14, in the other semifinal.
The Pioneers have defeated Keyser each of the past three years.
R.C. Byrd, which dropped down from Class AAA this season, featured size and speed, but the Pioneers limited the Eagles to just 38 plays. They ran 23 times for 17 yards.
Wayne had 66 snaps. The Pioneers piled up 436 yards on the ground and 485 total. Nathan Spurlock, younger brother of Brandon Spurlock, rushed for 212 yards in his first start, quarterback Grant Ferguson added 111 and James Egnor 91. He got 76 on a fourth-quarter TD run to all but settle the issue.
"You play a team that spreads you out all over the field and has guys who can score back there in the shotgun and you can tackle them in the open field, that tells you something about our athleticism," Wayne coach Tom Harmon said. "They came out there in the second half and got in their traditional Stick-I and was going to ram it down our throats. That didn't work. If you can't throw it over our head, there's not a lot left. That's a great football team we just beat there. That doesn't make any guarantees for next week, but that was sure fun tonight.
"That was a workhorse game. If you looked as we approached the football, we were giving up a lot of weight sometimes. People say we might not be in great shape because we haven't had to grunt all year, but that last drive made a statement about how hard our kids work when kids aren't watching."
Nathan Spurlock said he got sound advice from his older brother.
"He (Brandon) inspired me a lot this week," Nathan Spurlock said. "He told me to just keep my head up and keep going, and don't underestimate yourself at all. I just kept going. I ran as hard as I can. I kept my eyes opened and looked for vision. We played as a team.
"I don't think it's a shadow really. I learn from him. We've got a great line in front of us. That's what really counts. I'm happy. I'm so happy. We're going to state. It's just teamwork, that's all."