WAYNE — Wahoo’s film study of its 42-8 win against Wayne will generate several nods of approval.

Maybe no play will look prettier on film than Dylan Egr’s punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter during the quarterfinal round of the Class C-1 state football finals Friday night at Wayne State College.

With Wahoo up 7-0, Egr fielded a punt at the 50-yard line and started right before shifting back to his left. But a quick head turn to his right revealed a big open lane.

Back to the right.

Egr quickly changed directions, burst through the hole and then followed blockers down the right side of the field en route to the end zone.

“It’s fun to return one,” said Egr, the senior standout tailback. “It’s a big game-changer right there. We were only up seven at that point. That was huge.”

Egr’s return was indeed huge. It gave No. 3 Wahoo (10-1) a two-touchdown lead, and after forcing a three-and-out on the ensuing drive, Wahoo got the ball back at its own 23 with 41 seconds remaining. The Warriors only needed 18 seconds as Billy Hancock hauled in a 73-yard touchdown from Cameron Quick.

Just like that, Wahoo was off and running.

“That opened it up for us,” Wahoo coach Chad Fox said. “We felt pretty good at that point. Offensively, we have not played our best game yet. We’re still waiting for that. Hopefully next week we can put something better together.”

Egr added two more rushing touchdowns (runs of 7 and 5 yards) in the second half as Wahoo pulled away from the No. 8 Blue Devils (8-3).

Though Egr’s punt return seemed to give the Warriors some juice, it was the play of their defense that set the tone.

After Wahoo scored on its first offensive drive — a Bret Walker touchdown catch — Wayne, aided by a key penalty, marched down the field in 14 plays, reaching the Wahoo 1-yard line. On fourth down, the Warriors stuffed Wayne for no gain, taking over on downs.

“That was probably the defining moment of that game and that first half,” Fox said. “Because if they score, its 7-7, and the whole complexion of this game changes.”

Wayne’s offense didn't run any plays on that side of the 50 after that drive. The Blue Devils gained only 97 yards the rest of the way, and 56 of those yards came on a touchdown pass from Beau Bowers to Mason Lee. Egr and Quick also picked off passes in the second half.

“Football sometimes is about two or three plays that can change the momentum, and that was a big play for (Wahoo) and kind of swung the momentum,” Wayne coach Russ Plager said.

“Wahoo is extremely good on defense. They’re extremely aggressively and they forced us into some situations that were difficult.”

Wahoo will travel to No. 1 Norfolk Catholic for next week’s semifinals. Norfolk Catholic handed Wahoo its lone loss of the season, 24-19 on Sept. 8.

For the second straight week, the Warriors will be on the road.

“You know what, it’s better than the alternative, which is checking our stuff in,” Fox said. “It will be tough task, but our kids are looking forward to getting to play another week, and that’s all you can ask for this time of the year.”

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsGrell.

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Sports editor

Clark Grell is sports editor.

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