The Springfield Wildcats beat the Wayne Warriors for the first time since 2010, when the big names in the game were Trey DePriest and Braxton Miller, earning a 33-26 overtime victory Friday at Evans Stadium.
The victory clinched a playoff berth for the Wildcats, according to JoeEitel.com, which ranked Springfield No. 2 in Division I, Region III after this game.
Raheim Moss threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Larry Stephens on the first play of overtime. Then Michael Brown-Stephens broke up a Wayne pass in the end zone on 4th-and-9.
In five seasons as Springfield coach, Maurice Douglass has taken the Wildcats from 2-8 to 3-7 to 7-4 to 6-4 and now 8-1.
“It was huge for our kids and the community,” Douglass said. “I’m so happy for those guys. Five years ago, people were saying I was crazy for taking this job. They were 1-9, 0-10, 2-8. It was bad. I just asked the kids, ‘Just believe. I know God has a plan for us.’”
The Wildcats celebrated one of their biggest victories since the new high school opened in 2008. They improved to 8-1 and 3-0 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference.
Wayne overcame a 26-16 deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Steve Victoria caught a 28-yard touchdown pass with 11:54 to play. A 28-yard field goal by Trevor Hawley tied the game with 4:09 remaining.
Earlier in the half, Springfield pushed its lead to 10 points on a 24-yard field goal by Braden Carey and a 5-yard touchdown run by Tavion Smoot.
Springfield took a 17-16 halftime lead on a 40-yard field goal in the rain and wind by Carey as time expired. It was the longest field goal in the history of the new high school.
The Wildcats took a 7-0 lead on a 20-yard run by Jeff Tolliver in the first quarter. The score came one play after a 54-yard pass from Moss to Brown-Stephens.
Wayne tied the game on a 6-yard run by Devin Nelson with 2:02 left in the first quarter.
A 12-yard touchdown run by Brown-Stephens gave Springfield a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter.
Wayne scored the next nine points on a 37-yard field goal by Hawley and a 1-yard run by Rashad McKee.
Springfield entered week nine ranked fourth in Division I, Region III. Wayne ranked eighth in the same region.
Each team has an important game ahead in week 10. Springfield plays a home game against Fairmont, which ranks sixth in the region. The Wildcats clinched a share of the GWOC National East Division title by beating Wayne and can win the title outright by beating Fairmont (6-3, 1-2), which lost 17-0 to Centerville on Friday.
Wayne (6-3, 3-1) plays at home against Trotwood-Madison (6-3, 3-1), which ranks seventh in Division III, Region 12, in the final week. The Warriors fell to 10th in the region, according to JoeEitel.com.
Wayne won nine of the last 10 matchups against Springfield. Here’s a glance at the previous scores:
2017: Wayne 28, Springfield 13
2016: Wayne 38, Springfield 14
2015: Wayne 35, Springfield 0
2014: Wayne 53, Springfield 14
2013: Wayne 33, Springfield 15
2012: Wayne 56, Springfield 0
2011: Wayne 47, Springfield 6
2010: Springfield 28, Wayne 21
2009: Wayne 40, Springfield 13
2008: Wayne 20, Springfield 14