Wayne hosts the No. 4 ranked Stroud Tigers Friday night to begin District play.
Stroud returns a ton of talent from last season’s 11-1 team. The Tigers finished first in District A-7, just ahead of the Bulldogs.
They lost in the quarterfinals of the State playoffs to eventual State runners-up Christian Heritage.
Stroud’s quarterback, Grant Elerick, might be the best quarterback Wayne will see this season.
“He’ll probably be the best we’ll face this season,” said Wayne Head Coach Brandon Sharp. “He’s a coach’s kid and a film nerd,” Sharp said with respect to his preparation.
Elerick is indeed a coach’s kid, as his father Chris is the Tigers’ head coach.
The Elerick’s make it a family affair on Friday nights when they are joined by Grant’s twin brother, Drew, who plays linebacker and running back or receiver.
Stroud will line up in multiple formations on offense and try to get opposing teams outnumbered at the point of attack.
“Coach Elerick will always show a million formations,” Sharp said. “He doesn’t run a whole bunch of plays but he’ll try to get more hats on you.”
Up front the Tigers have good size and will be physical along the line of scrimmage.
“They have their run game put together and they’re senior dominated,” Sharp said. “Their guys have played a lot of football.”
Defensively Stroud runs a base 3-4 but will bring in another lineman to show a 4-4 look at times.
“They’re hard to run on up front and also have skill in the back end,” Sharp said.
Wayne’s game with Stratford didn’t go as planned Friday night after weather delays and an eventual power outage resulted in a cancelled game.
“We were delayed with about eight minutes to play in the third quarter and then the power went out,” Sharp said. “We were down 12-6 and were driving.”
Despite the close score Sharp thought his team played far from a crisp game before it was called.
“We keep shooting ourselves in the foot,” he said. “In nine trips to the red zone we only have one touchdown this season. We also keep committing undisciplined penalties.”
After holding Stratford on their opening drive Wayne drove the ball down inside the five yard line only to fumble.
Wayne’s lone touchdown came late in the first quarter when sophomore signal caller Ethan Mullins ran it in from two yards out.
Mullins finished the night with 170 yards rushing on 17 carries. He was 1-2 passing for 30 yards.
His completion was to senior James Spencer, who was back in action after suffering an early knee injury.
Wayne edged out Stratford in the rushing category but Sharp said his team gave up too many yards on the edge of the defense .
“We’ll address it. In a couple weeks when we get our full team back (from injury) we’ll be better,” Sharp said. “We held up okay against a good running back.”
Brannon Lewelling led the team in tackles with eight. Brian Ibarra and Mullins each had three stops.
Coach Brandon Sharp nominated quarterback Ethan Mullins for Heart of Oklahoma Player of the Week after the abbreviated game against Stratford. Mullins scored one touchdown and ran for 170 yards on 17 carries. He also had 30 passing yards.
Kickoff Friday is at 7 p.m.