Last season, the Wayne Pioneers finished with a 4-6 record but had several close calls. This year, they bring a lot of returners back and hope to make that next step to bringing Wayne football back to its usual standards by qualifying for the Class AA playoffs.
“We’ve had to suffer through some subaverage seasons,” said Wayne head coach Tom Harmon. “We finally have a group of guys who are battle tested.”
KEY RETURNERS: Jaxson Damron (RB), Rylen Murdock (RB), Colton Mathis (RB), Fisher Frye (QB), Zane Adkins (SE)
Last season, Brady Spradlin was the starting quarterback heading into the season, but he was injured early in the year against Winfield. Spradlin is back, but junior Fisher Frye is expected to get the nod as the starting quarterback for the Pioneers.
The backfield is loaded for Wayne. Jaxson Damron returns for his senior season after rushing for 1,086 yards and 16 touchdowns. He is joined back there by fellow seniors Rylen Murdock and Colton Mathis. Ronnie Staley and Kaiden Hayton are expected to also see significant time in the backfield.
Zane Adkins and Kade Estep will serve as the split ends.
Jackson Deweese, Conner Marshall, Brycen Queen and Braden Bloss will anchor the offensive line.
Tanner McMillion is expected to be a force on the defensive line. Tristan Turner and Harry Sowards will help lead the linebacking corps.
The defensive backs will be led by Mathis.
Wayne will once again play a tough Cardinal Conference schedule with some other contests mixed in.
“The Cardinal Conference is always tough,” said Harmon. “You’re tested every game. If you make it into the playoffs from the Cardinal Conference you are tested and capable of making a run.”
8/25 – Tolsia
9/01 – @ Scott
9/15 – @ Winfield
9/22 – Nitro
9/29 – @ Lincoln County
10/06 – Herbert Hoover
10/13 – @ Chapmanville
10/20 – @ Sissonville
10/27 – Logan
11/03 – Poca
The Pioneers were much better than what their record showed last season. With a few breaks, they could have been in the playoffs. Fortunately, almost all of that talent returns. With another year to improve and grow, expect Wayne to fight for a playoff spot and potentially make a run in November.
Photo Courtesy of Steve Stapleton