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Wayne plays host to unbeaten Sissonville

Sep. 26, 2013 @ 07:07 AM

WAYNE — Whether an opponent’s 4-0 or 0-4, Wayne High School’s football team knows that opponent will try everything possible to bring down the two-time defend­ing West Virginia Class AA champs.

Thus, the Pioneers don’t alter their week-long prepa­rations. That approach has served them well.

“We stay focused,” senior Alex Elkins, offensive tackle and nose tackle, said Tuesday prior to practice. “We get ready for a new opponent every week. We never get complacent.

“It feels good to know we’ll get a team’s best shot every week. We’ve earned that through hard work.” Sissonville gets the next shot at Wayne at 7:30 p.m., Friday, at Pioneer Field. The Indians (4-0) are No. 2 in the West Virginia Class AA ratings this week and the
Pioneers (3-0) are tied for fou r t h .

“Not worried about that,” Elkins said of Sissonville being ranked above the Pio­neers and off to its best start since 2006. That was the case last week when Wayne blitzed then-No. 3 Raven­swood, 57-6, at home.

Senior Curtis Followay, who plays tight end, offensive line and defensive end, said the Pioneers got a valuable lesson in a Week 1 win over Tolsia .

The Pioneers led at the half, 7-0, and ended up win­ning, 28-0.

“First-game jitters may­be,” Followay said. “It wasn’t acceptable. We made adjust­ments and took care of busi­
ness. It has to be that way from the start every game.” Wayne coach Tom Har­mon knows his players are aware of what they’re in for each week. No buildups are necessa r y.

“It’s the old cliche. You try not to get too intense over any one opponent,” Har­mon said. “The pressure you put on yourself is enough. We’ve been the hunter and the hunted. The goal is to be competitive. If you’re on top, you want to stay there. If not, you want to get there.” Harmon knows the senior season is special for those playing for the final time and those following their exa mples.

“It’s a big year every year for them,” he said. “So much evolves around them. Some
are vocal, some lead by exam­ple. It’s something to see how they take on their roles.” “When someone’s down, you’re there for them,” Elkins said. “When someone makes a big play, you’re there to con­gratulate them.” Followay was introduced to football at age 6 playing for Wayne in the Tri-State Youth Football League. He moved on to middle school and then the varsity for one of the top programs in West Vi rgi n ia .

“I’ve been in the system from E (Division in TSYFL) to now,” Followay said.

“In A (Division) it gets more technical. You get pre­pared for this.

“It goes by so fast. See those kids (Wayne midget league players go by the var­sity at practice) ... A teamers. Next thing you know you’re a senior and it’s the final varsi­ty season. There’s been some big changes.”

Elkins first got exposed to Wayne football in the eighth g rade .

"It's gone well," he said. "You know the guys next to you have been working just as hard as you." Harmon said he knows each senior class wants to exit the best way possible. … with a state championship.

"You try not to be too negative," Harmon said. "You hold yourself to a high standard of perfection. The name of the game is improvement. We face changes every year. The philosophy stays the same. We're fortunate we have guys who want to carry that mantle." "At the start of the year you think Wheeling (home of the Super Six state championships)," Elkins said. "That's the goal of any team." Wayne has outscored its three opponents, 148-13. Sissonville has racked up 162 points and allowed 42. The Indians blanked Tolsia, 52-0, in Week 3.

Last week, they edged Scott, 22-20, when the Skyhawks failed on a two-point conversion with just over two minutes left.
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