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Wayne’s offense explodes with 48-point second half
On Sept. 13, Wayne’s varsity football team traveled to Mormon Trail without their starting quarterback Dillon Lain. After a shaky first half for both teams, Wayne overpowered the Saints on the ground. Allowing 461 yards to Twin Cedars the previous week, the Falcons held Mormon Trail to only 140 yards and forced 4 fumbles.

“Going into this game we knew it would be a tough, physical game,” Head Coach Bart Elliott said. “With several friends and family from both teams and communities, we knew it would be an emotional, hard fought battle.”

In the end, Wayne won by 44 points after trailing at halftime, moving to 2-1 on the season.

In the first half, the offense, led by first-time starter at quarterback Trent Moore, moved the ball well but did not finish drives when they had the chance.

“They were fired up and we weren’t,” Elliott said. “Going into halftime losing 6-2 was, to say the least, very disappointing. We made a few adjustments at halftime, and talked about playing more physical and more consistent, especially on offense. We came out in the second half a different team.”

Clayton Kiefer ran for 5 touchdowns in the second half alone and 192 yards for the game, while leading the defense with 13 tackles. Trent Carpenter rushed for 76 yards and caught 2 passes for 56 yards, with a touchdown on the ground and one receiving. Ethan Horton had a strong game on offense and defense—recording 12 tackles—as did Tate Van Dyne, who finished with 11 tackles and blocked well for a much improved offensive line, while playing against three of his cousins.

Horton, Tyler Jamieson and Carson Kiefer each caught one pass. Blayde Baker had 12 tackles, while Keyton Nickell had 7 tackles, Levi Overstreet 6 tackles and Trevor Wilson 5 tackles. Evan Sinclair recorded Wayne’s only solo sack.

Moore finished with 77 yards passing and a touchdown, showing maturity, confidence and good decision-making as only a sophomore. Hard work in the offseason helped prepare Moore for this opportunity.

“I am very pleased with our second half performance,” Elliott added, “but we have to learn how to play 4 quarters. We have to learn it very quickly—we are heading to Murray this Friday to play a very good football team.”

Sep 17, 2013, 10:15

Precision passing guides Twin Cedars over Wayne
On Sept. 6, Wayne’s varsity football team traveled to Twin Cedars. Against a defense that had held their previous two opponents to a combined 20 points, the Falcons bested that statistic in one game, but lost to a Twin Cedars team led by 16 seniors, 54-21. The Sabers moved to 3-0 and maintained their lead in the conference.

“This was a very frustrating and disappointing loss,” Coach Bart Elliott said. “They are a good team, with a very good quarterback who has some talented receivers. Their type of offense is tough to prepare for.”

For Twin Cedars, quarterback Brent Parker accounted for as many touchdowns—5 through the air and 1 on the ground—as incompletions, 6. The senior threw for 242 yards and ran for 56 more. On the season, Parker has passed for 16 touchdowns against only 2 interceptions. His accuracy helped Twin Cedars hold a 33:55 to 14:05 advantage on the clock, wearing Wayne’s defense down in another hot game.

“Our defense has to do a better job of adjusting to what formation the offense is running,” Elliott said, “and do a much better job of getting pressure on the QB and covering receivers.”

Despite an injury to Lain, Wayne fought back to make it a 17 point deficit early in the 3rd quarter, when Clayton Kiefer crossed the goal line for a 3 yard touchdown run. But Twin Cedars pulled away from there.

Wayne’s rushing attack was potent, averaging almost 5 yards per carry, with Kiefer running for 83 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also intercepted a pass on defense and recorded 7 tackles. Trent Carpenter had a solid game with 43 yards receiving and 37 yards rushing. But with the injury to Lain and inconsistency in the passing game, the team made moving the ball difficult on themselves.

“Our offense needs to play more consistent throughout the game,” Elliott explained. “Several problems occurred because we didn’t have proper communication. This is something we’ve worked on and will continue to work on. We just didn’t play up to our potential or ability.”

Lain finished with 65 passing yards and a touchdown, while rushing for
65 yards in limited action. In relief, sophomore Trent Moore completed
2 of 3 passes for 12 yards. Carson Kiefer led the defense with 7.5 tackles and 3 tackles for loss. Blayde Baker and Ethan Horton both had 6 tackles. Evan Sinclair recorded 1 sack, while Baker and Tate Van Dyne
combined for the other.

With the defeat, Wayne fell to 1-1 on the season.

Sep 17, 2013, 10:03

Wayne football holds off Meskwaki 57-32 after fast start
Wayne varsity football got off to a good start this year despite temperatures in the 90s, rolling to a 38-6 lead at halftime. The Falcons took advantage of good field position to reach the end zone 6 times in the first half. The defense forced several turnovers and special teams blocked a punt to give Wayne a short field in the early stages of an away game.

“Meskwaki played very aggressive on defense,” Coach Bart Elliott said, “bringing 6, 7 and sometimes 8 guys up to stop our running attack. This caused some problems for us at times throughout the game.”

“We do have several positions where we have some experienced players, but we also have several [positions] where guys were getting varsity experience for the first time. We relied on the experience and leadership of quarterback Dillon Lain.”

Lain threw for 4 touchdowns and ran for 1, with no interceptions, passing for 132 yards. He also intercepted a pass on defense.

Running back Clayton Kiefer led the team in both rushing and receiving, accounting for 6 touchdowns. He finished with 263 yard of total offense. His brother Carson Kiefer led the defense with 6.5 tackles, including 2.5 sacks, while rushing for 41 yards and catching a touchdown pass. Blayde Baker also had 6.5 tackles to lead the team. The Wayne defense was disruptive all night, finishing with 7 sacks.

Wide receiver Trent Carpenter caught 2 passes for 38 yards and a touchdown for an offense that never had to punt.

Despite the convincing victory, Elliott found things the players need to fix.

“We had a bit of a letdown in the second half. Meskwaki plays a shotgun spread offense, working on getting their athletes in space to cause problems for the defense. With a combination of this offense, their athletes and our guys getting tired and bringing subs in that didn't have much experience, they scored 4 touchdowns in the second half including several long passing plays.

“To finish the way we did was disappointing, but overall we did a lot of good things on offense, defense and special teams. Our older guys played well and they realize where we need to improve. Our young guys got much needed experience playing in a varsity game.”

Wayne has a short practice week to prepare for a tough Twin Cedars team with an explosive passing game and a defense that has surrendered only 3 touchdowns in 2 games thus far this season.

Meskwaki was the beginning of a 4-game away stand that ends with perennial power Murray on Sept. 20. Wayne finally returns to Corydon for homecoming on Sept. 27 against Moravia.

Sep 4, 2013, 12:48

Berndt emphasizes intensity as volleyball season approaches
As Holly Berndt prepares her players for the volleyball season, she expects her seventh year to be much different from the first, when Wayne won only one match. There will be no more rebuilding.

“I hate to lose,” Berndt says.

Last fall, the team finished 10-15, but was competitive in almost all of their matches. Berndt has put an emphasis on mental preparation. She would like the girls’ to shed their self-image of their team as an underdog. At some point this can serve an athlete as motivation, but after seeing her team take early leads last year and not finish, Berndt wants them to find their killer instinct. She is teaching them to maintain intensity. And to get comfortable winning.

Along with this mental preparation, the girls themselves have taken care of Berndt’s other emphasis—off-season physical preparation.

“The players we have are really hard workers,” she says. “Once a week during the summer we have open gym. I never had to ask them to come in—they were just there.”

Three years ago, Berndt and softball coach Heather Fortune started the Wayne Athletic Leadership Council. The two coaches knew it would be difficult at first for the girls, especially mentally, because the results would not be immediate. They assigned extra workouts for girls out for sports, and in turn, the girls pushed each other to keep practicing and to put in the extra time. Many softball players also play volleyball. So they’ve seen success and the effort it takes.

Berndt singles out former student-athlete Casara Willey as an example of her kind of player. Willey was used sparingly her junior year. Then she worked hard in the off-season and became not only a starter but also an all-conference hitter her senior season.

But Berndt’s competitive nature is tempered by her understanding of individual player needs. That comes first. “The best part of [being a coach] is seeing that the girls really get it, and as both a teacher and a coach to build close relationships.” She wants them to understand and appreciate the game. There is also a difference in attitudes related to gender, she admits.

“You have to coach to win the game. But you have to maintain their confidence in you. Communication is important. Sometimes you have to put the girls first.” This relates to mental game preparation. “I say, ‘push it to the deep corner.’ Sometimes the girls ask why? It makes better players when they understand. I’ve emphasized knowing the purpose of a certain strategy.”
As far as her in-game philosophy, Berndt employs a 6-2 offense with two setters on the court—tall players to set the ball and then get ready for a kill. She has also taken advantage of the relatively knew rule allowing a defense-only ‘libero.’ Scotlan Bunnell was first-team all-conference last year and holds the school record for digs. Liberos can’t play the front row, and must wear a different colored jersey. They do not count against substitutions.

Berndt has four returning starters. Breanna Fortune was second-team all-conference as a junior. This will be her fourth year as a starter. Berndt says Fortune is smart and gets the ‘why.’ Mandie Gassman is the team’s best hitter and is an excellent blocker. Makayla Andrews, according to Berndt, “Does whatever you ask of her. She’s a good senior leader.” And Gabrielle Buban is strong, a good hitter that will move in to replace Willey’s spot. There are four or five other girls with potential to fight it out and emerge this year, as well.

The hardest match this fall will be the first, against East Union, state qualifier two out of the last three years. Last season, Wayne won their own tournament for the first time. This year, Berndt’s goal is to repeat and to get farther in the regionals. And to shed the label of underdog.

Aug 20, 2013, 07:53

Coach Elliott expects a lot from football team
When Bart Elliott talks about the kids he coaches, there’s a tone of admiration for the level of commitment from his players. By the end of the season, he believes this self-motivation and sacrifice will give Wayne an edge when it comes to speed, strength and mobility. And it will be this hard work in the off-season that eventually carries his team into the playoffs.

Mincing no words, Elliott states that the goal this year is to host a home playoff game. To do so, they must finish in the top two spots in their district.

That’s an admirable goal for a team in only its second year of eight-man football. The learning curve is smaller because of the preparation Elliott himself put into that first season. When he learned of the transition at Wayne, he talked to his former coach at Melcher-Dallas, which had already made the switch to eight-man. He then traveled to Worth County, Mo., to speak with a coach with success in eight-man, and to study hours of film.

“I tried to talk to players and their parents to educate them on the difference between eight-man and 11-man,” Elliott says. “I also taught football more often as a PE teacher.”

There are differences. The field is 80 yards by 40 yards, and with fewer players the game is more wide open. Once a ball carrier breaks through to the secondary, many one-on-one match-ups take place. Final scores resemble arena football.

When you step on the field, there’s more room on the sidelines, but once the helmet is on, the game is not much different.

“It’s still football,” Elliott says, after having coached 11-man for 11 years. He will be in his fifth year as head coach at Wayne. “It’s still about the basics of tackling and blocking, and the fundamentals of each position.”

This year’s squad can build on the many positives from the previous fall, when Wayne started 5-0 in route to its first postseason since 1989. They played some tough teams and found out how good they really were, Elliot explained. The most satisfying moment was a victory over Corning at home, after a string of two losses. They needed to go into the playoffs with a positive mindset, and it wasn’t an easy win, as the coaching staff made some adjustments at halftime and Corning fought hard. Wayne finished 7-2 to end the year.

Before last season, as motivation, Elliott focused on the tradition at Wayne. He brought the 1989 playoff trophy to practice. Assistant Coach Scott Valentine introduced the idea of honorary captains—former coaches and players for every home game, including Paul Epperly and Tork Hook. Some of the players had never heard of Hook, the former safety at the University of Iowa who still holds the school record for interceptions in a bowl game. They also brought in some of the players’ fathers and uncles that played on those great 80s teams.

This fall, success will be built from the off-season. A workout program meant to improve speed, quickness and strength saw its fifth and most successful year. After averaging between 30 and 35 participants the previous three years, regular attendance nearly doubled to around 70. Elliott believes that it is not just because he pushed the program—students from 6th through 12th grades practice three times a week for half-an-hour a day from February through May, and it became a routine the kids liked. They got hooked. And the students encouraged each other to keep working.

Combine this with a weight-training program Elliott calls the best it’s ever been, and the number of football players participating in track, and you see a foundation being built.

In addition, eight to 10 members of the team participated in a passing camp at Graceland University, best described as an organized touch football game. This allowed a greater familiarization with the playbook. It built confidence between quarterback and receivers, especially for guys that hadn’t played as much, but also helped with defensive preparation. The highlight of this camp was a victory over a sound Mt. Ayr team—a high school that still plays 11-man—which Elliott described as exciting and a confidence booster for the upcoming season.

Though this fall’s squad lost five seniors to graduation, there is reason for continued optimism. All-around athlete Dillon Lain returns at quarterback after passing for over 1,200 yards and being named first team all-district.

“He’s grown as a passer and as a decision maker,” Elliott says. “He’s a smart kid that picks up on things really well.”

Lain finished fifth in state at last year’s high jump, and he is effective both running and throwing the ball.

Much of the offenses success, however, will fall on the shoulders of running back Clayton Kiefer, who ran for over 1,300 yards last year. Elliott describes him as a hard worker with good speed, who has been clocked at a 4.6 in the 40.

Kiefer will run behind linemen Evan Sinclair and Tate VanDyne. They boast experience, size, and speed and neither are afraid to hit. Expect big years from them on both sides of the ball.

Trent Carpenter will be one of Lain’s main targets. He plays wide receiver and occasionally running back. Elliott describes him as a big playmaker that is very quick with good hands.

One major obstacle will be the loss of leading tackler C.D. Kunzie, who tore his ACL and will be sidelined for the entire season. He was one of Elliott’s hardest workers, playing linebacker, fullback, and wide receiver. Kunzie will be sorely missed his senior year.

During the fall, expect more young players to step up and fill the holes left by Kunzie and the departed seniors. The team is looking for depth on the line, and for a tight end to replace Tanner Robinson, who caught passes for over 500 yards a year ago. Levi Overstreet, Tyler Jameson and Carson Kiefer are all possible breakout players, with many others looking to emerge and fill roles.
Elliott’s offensive philosophy includes employing multiple formations and attacking the defense in a variety of ways. He believes this creates confusion for the opposition, and that it is beneficial for his players to experience different sets and to be flexible. Offense, of course, varies with personnel. Expect the run 60 percent this year, and for the offense to flow through Clayton Kiefer behind Sinclair and VanDyne. But, Elliott adds, “We’ll definitely be able to throw the ball as well.”

The defense will align mostly in the 3-3 to take advantage of team speed and to get to the opposing ball carrier. Elliott feels their foremost goal should be to control the defensive line of scrimmage, and to do a better job than last year of stopping the run.

This fall’s schedule features a match-up with long-time rival Seymour and homecoming with Moravia, but the biggest game might be in week four at powerful Murray. Corning consolidated with Villisca in the off-season, returning to 11-man, which caused a need to shuffle teams around. In stepped Murray, the runner-up at state two years ago.

“It will definitely be a challenge playing at their place,” Elliott says. “And good for our guys to play a team with that level of success.”

With hard work and motivation from past greats, Elliott and the football team hope to return to that level of success made familiar by Tork Hook and Wade Harmon. They hope to build their own legacy.

Aug 20, 2013, 07:51

© 2005 Corydon Times