Heading into this football season, the Wayne Christian football team knew this season would be different because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Eagles were scheduled to play six games this season, but the Eagles will only play three games this season.
Due to the lack of games, the Eagles are ineligible for the playoffs, but Wayne Christian head coach Luis Miranda said the Eagles (2-0 overall) made enormous strides on and off the field this season.
“I told the boys after a practice that I’m so proud of how they came together,” Miranda said. “It would’ve been easy for the kids to mail it in or say it’s not worth it, but the way that they’ve come together, and the way they’ve played is the culmination of this team’s potential and what they’re capable of.”
The Eagles host Pungo Christian in their season finale on Friday. Wayne Christian defeated Pungo Christian 56-22 last season, but Miranda said the Eagles put last season in the rearview, and the Eagles are ready for whatever Pungo throws at them on Friday.
“Right now, this team is clicking on all cylinders,” Miranda said. “The practices are good, morale is good, and they are itching to play on Friday. They can’t wait for it.”
In two games this season, opposing defensive coordinators have not figured out a scheme to render Wayne Christian a one-dimensional football team this season.
It’s more like pick your poison.
Do they concentrate on the quarterback, who doesn’t shudder and makes a play when an opposing player charges toward him?
Do they attempt to shut down the Eagles’ high-flying receivers who can smoothly run past a defender?
Or do they stack the box in an attempt to stop the Eagles’ hard-hitting ground game?
It’s enough to give defensive coordinators nightmares for weeks leading up to the game.
“Right now, it’s an abundance of riches,” Miranda said about his team. “I would hate to be a defensive coordinator trying to figure out how to stop this team.”
Wayne Christian quarterback Devin Nixon has thrown for 397 yards and six touchdowns in two games this season.
So far, Nixon has attempted only 12 passes, and 14 of those passes have dropped into four receivers’ hands — Jayquan Curry (four catches, 148 yards), Trent Elliott (three-93), Josh Sutton (two-91) and Shiquan Ethridge (three-66)
Should the passing game sputter, look for Curry, Ethridge and Elliott to carry the rock. The trio has combined for 404 yards on 23 touches and seven touchdowns, while Nixon has rushed for 77 yards and two touchdowns this season.
“If you key in on Jayquan, then we just go to one of our other players,” Miranda said. “Ethridge has been phenomenal as a back up running back, and receiver, and then Josh Sutton has only touched the ball five times, and he’s accounted for three touchdowns, so it’s a plethora of weapons offensively.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Eagles will have to slowdown Pungo’s offense, which averages 52 points per game. The Raiders have a dual-threat quarterback who is capable of leaving a defender in his dust. Junior Thomas Mann leads the Raider offense and accounted for 1,117 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns last season.
Michael Mills leads Wayne Christian with 25 tackles this season, and Miranda said the Eagles’ defense needs to use their 56-0 win against Lawerence Academy as fuel against Pungo on Friday.
“Our defense is clicking,” Miranda said. “It’s a credit to hard work they put in to be great.”