FORT WAYNE – The Wayne football coaches were a little lost after last week’s 61-27 season-opening home win over Anderson. The Generals haven’t had any experience with what that feels like in Robert Brown’s tenure as coach.
Wayne’s last home win came in 2010, 55-20 over Concordia, a year before Brown became coach.
After the game the coaches were like, What do we do?’ Brown said Wednesday. But it was good to start off with a win. It kind of validates what you have been doing over the winter, spring and summer.
Wins, especially ones at home, have been hard to come by for the program in the last couple of seasons. After going 0-10 in Brown’s first season in 2011, the Generals were 3-8 last year, but all three wins came on the road, one was by forfeit at Bishop Luers, one at South Bend Riley and one came during the sectional at Kokomo.
By the time Wayne got home at 1 a.m. or so, no one was around to help celebrate, and in the playoffs, the coaches had already turned their attention to the next opponent.
We hadn’t won a home game since I have been here so that’s nice for the fans and the faculty and makes you feel good, said Brown, a former Harding player and Snider assistant coach. But at the same time, we have to keep it in proper perspective. The game isn’t going to make or break our season.
And Wayne has a chance to do what the program hasn’t done since 2009 – get more than one home win – when Kokomo comes to Wayne tonight in a rematch of last year’s 31-28 upset win by the Generals.
We can’t just chalk that up as another home win, said Brown, whose team lost 52-0 at Kokomo in a 2011 sectional game. I can only speculate, but if I were them this game would have a little more meaning because we put them out of the playoffs last year. That would definitely motivate me. At the same time, we have to fight complacency and thinking we have arrived. We have to make sure we are ready for Kokomo because we know they will be ready.
Another sign the Generals might be headed in the right direction was the play of their offense under new offensive coordinator Derrick Ball, who previously coached at Park Tudor.
The 61 points against Anderson last Friday was the most by a Wayne team since a 61-0 over Northrop in 2009.
Junior running back Austin Yarbro had 115 yards and a touchdown, while senior quarterback Jalen Thomas threw for 79 yards and two scores and ran for 49 yards and two touchdowns.
He was very clear in what he expected, Brown said of Ball. When we talked, we both put on the table what we expected.
Both of us had very high expectations for the offense. Guys who have been here a few years know exactly what their role is and what they are asked to do.
The Generals also benefited by playing their two nonconference games in the first two weeks of the season. Interestingly, Anderson and Kokomo are both members of the North Central Conference.
Obviously the benefit is if we want to try something out new, those are the weeks to do it, Brown said. But our No. 1 goal is to win an SAC title, and those (conference) games are the ones that count toward that.