WAYNE — Up a touchdown with 12 minutes to go, and the game still up for grabs, Wayne felt right at home.
The Blue Devils had been in these tight situations before.
After a massive flip of field possession, Wayne pounced on an opportunity, got a 1-yard touchdown run from its workhorse back in Reid Korth, and shut down Ashland-Greenwood’s offense in a 28-13 victory in the Class C-1 state quarterfinals Friday on the campus of Wayne State.
Wayne (9-2), ranked No. 9, got a booming 59-yard punt from Tyrus Eischeid, also the team’s quarterback, that pinned Ashland-Greenwood at its own 2-yard line late in the third quarter.
After a three-and-out, the No. 4 Bluejays were faced with punting out of their end zone and into the wind. The punt traveled 9 yards to the Ashland-Greenwood 11.
Five Korth runs later, Wayne and its veer offense had a two-touchdown lead.
It was a strong finish for a team that is getting stronger by the week.
“I think we play a challenging schedule, we play great teams every week, we have played four-quarter games throughout the year and we have been able to wear people down physically,” Wayne coach Russ Plager said.
Korth said the Blue Devils wanted to get real physical, and they were on both sides of the ball.
Wayne allowed only 74 total yards in the second half, created four turnovers and forced a pair of turnovers on downs in the second half.
You have free articles remaining.
“They were aggressive like we thought they’d be on film,” Ashland-Greenwood coach Ryan Thompson said. “We missed a couple reads in the pass game, and once that happens your mind probably starts second-guessing things and one thing leads to another. That’s a team that put us on the ropes a little bit.”
Ashland-Greenwood recovered from an interception on its opening drive and scored on its next two drives.
Wayne found life with 1 minute remaining in the first half, pouncing on a fumble near midfield.
On the next play, Korth broke free for a 43-yard run.
“Reid Korth’s a good football player,” Plager said. “That was a pretty conservative call by me, to be honest with you, with a really good football (players) and a really good line making a play.”
Korth, who finished with 162 yards on 29 carries, scored to give Wayne a 14-13 advantage at halftime, later fueling a second-half opening touchdown by the Blue Devils.
“It just made us feel so much better,” Korth said of the touchdown just before the break. “We knew we had this game then. Then we knew when we came back out we just had to keep it on the gas.
“That just kept adding on and adding on, and … just going up a level from there.”
Wayne will see Wahoo — a Week 1 rematch won by the Warriors 47-0 — in the semifinals.
Ashland-Greenwood’s season ends at 10-1.
“We always say one game will never define us,” Thompson said. “That team earned a lot and they did it the right way and they should have a sense of pride in what they’ve done. Those seniors have been through a lot and I can’t thank them enough. They left a legacy and some big shoes for our younger guys to fill, and I think our younger guys are eager to do it.”
Reach the writer at 402-473-2639 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @LJSSportsGrell.