Wayne defeats Tolsia
GLENHAYES, W.Va. -- Coming into the 2014 high school football season Wayne's Mason Hodge, Grant Ferguson and Cody Stiltner garnered attention from across West Virginia.
Friday night, those three proved why.
Ferguson threw for 245 yards and three touchdowns, Hodge ran for 135 yards on just seven carries, and Stiltner had 186 yards receiving in the Pioneers' 40-18 win over Tolsia at sweltering Wilt Salmons Athletic Complex.
It wasn't smooth sailing all night. The Rebels and Pioneers traded first quarter touchdowns before Tolsia took a 12-6 lead on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Seth McMillion to Cody Adkins.
But Stiltner returned the ensuing kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown, and Ferguson threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Kyler Atkins as Wayne was able to pull out to a 28-18 halftime lead.
"We've been pumped for this game since the beginning of the offseason. We knew they were going to smack us right in the mouth and we were going to smack them in the mouth," Ferguson said. "They got a couple of plays on us, but we got a couple of more."
The Rebels gave Wayne fits through the first half. Luke Presley ripped the ball away from a Wayne ball carrier and returned it 70 yards to set up the first Tolsia touchdown. Presley also had a 10-yard rushing score in the second quarter as the Rebels racked up 200 yards before halftime.
Wayne hurt itself in the first half, too. Two turnovers and a 98-yard interception return by Ferguson called back by penalty left the game in doubt at the break.
The second half was a different story. Between injuries and cramps, each team was severely depleted on the hot evening. Tolsia managed just 92 yards in the second half, 78 of which came on a pass from McMillion to Rose, but the Rebels couldn't score.
Ferguson finished with 268 yards of total offense and three scores, to go along with an interception on defense and two touchdown saving tackles after long plays.
"You expect your cut above players to make plays under adversity. If they can't do it then, maybe they're not cut above," Wayne coach Tom Harmon said. "The big thing is, under some adversity with the heat and (Tolsia) playing well, (Wayne) showed some warrior spirit and that's what you've got to have to win big games."
The game lasted more than three hours, with a crowd in excess of 4,000 in attendance.
It was the 15th consecutive season Wayne opened with a victory.
WAYNE 6 22 12 0 -- 40
TOLSIA 6 12 0 0 -- 18
W -- Hodge 1 run (kick blocked)
T -- Holland 1 run (pass failed)
T -- Adkins 10 pass from McMillion (run failed)
W -- Stiltner 86 kick return (Atkins pass from Ferguson)
W -- Atkins 16 pass from Ferguson (Stiltner pass from Ferguson)
T -- Lu. Presley 10 run (run failed)
W -- Stiltner 43 pass from Ferguson (run failed)
W -- Queen 2 run (pass failed)
W -- Atkins 13 pass from Ferguson (pass failed)
First Downs 24 18
Rushes-yards 37-271 41-147
Passing 11-13-0 10-24-2
Passing yards 245 145
Total offense 516 292
Fumbles-lost 5-4 3-0
Penalties 11-97 11-130
Punts 0-0.0 5-30.6
RUSHING -- WAY: Hodge 7-135, Stiltner 4-36, Napier 7-36, Ferguson 7-23, Perry 4-21, McSweeney 1-11, Cassidy 1-1, Sharp 1-1, Team 2-0, Jones 1-(-2). TOL: Presley 8-60, McMillion 17-36, Stroud 11-30, Holland 5-21.
PASSING -- WAY: Ferguson 11-13-0, 245 yards, 3 TD. TOL: McMillion 10-24-2, 145 yards, TD.
RECEIVING -- WAY: Stiltner 6-186, Atkins 5-58. TOL: Rose 3-109, Presley 5-23, Adkins 2-14.