GLENHAYES — Whatever Tolsia wanted to do, it did, dominating all three phases of the game in the battle of two storied Wayne County high school football teams on Friday night.
The Rebels defeated the Wayne Pioneers 59-6 in their first meeting since 2017 and have now won three of the last four contests between the two.
“It’s always personal when we line up against Wayne. It’s a rivalry,” Tolsia coach Eric Crum said. “A lot of these kids were freshmen the last time we played Wayne and it was a tight game up until the end. They remembered that and they’ve been looking forward to this game since it was put on the schedule.”
Tolsia drew first blood when running back John Wilson broke free along the sideline for a 27-yard score, but Wayne was able to counter the Tolsia rushing attack in the air, as quarterback Hayden Owens connected with Brody Maynard for a big gain into Rebels’ territory on the offense’s first drive of the game.
The Pioneers capitalized on the drive, as Owens took the quarterback keeper in from a yard out, but Wayne failed on the two point conversion and trailed by one.
On the ensuing kickoff, Tolsia’s Gavin Meadows dashed through the Wayne special teams unit on his way to a 79-yard kickoff return for touchdown, putting the Rebels up 14-6. When the Pioneers offense took the field next, Owens threw his first of two interceptions on the night.
It was all the momentum Tolsia needed, as they’d go down to score again before the first quarter clock hit triple-zeros, this time a 1-yard sneak from Muncy to lead 21-6.
“They had a better football team. Over the course of a game you can usually tweak things and stay close but better players rule out. They’ve got a nice football team and they did what they wanted to do when they wanted to do it,” Wayne coach Tom Harmon said.
On the first play of the second quarter, Muncy threw a touchdown pass to Devin Stull, extend the Rebels’ lead to three scores.
The Pioneers seemed prepared to answer the call once the offense took the field again, driving inside the Tolsia 30 before Owens second interception of the night cut the drive short.
Zach Ball returned the interception near midfield and soon after Muncy would find Stull again, this one from 32 yards out.
Two penalties went against the Pioneers in between the touchdown and the ensuing kickoff which had the Rebels kicking off from the Wayne 30. A successful onside kick and one play later, the Rebels scored again on their way to building a 47-6 lead by halftime.
“I thought we had a good game plan and we had them shell-shocked there after it started, maybe. Offense, defense and special teams all played well. You’re never going to be perfect, but that’s our goal every week,” Crum said.
The Rebels added a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter to set the final score at 59-6 and for the final quarter, the reserves saw most of the playing time. It was a win Tolsia will celebrate, but only briefly.
“They know the opportunity they have ahead of them and that starts next week at East Carter,” Crum said of the playoff-hopeful Rebels. “Hopefully we get to keep playing but either way our guys have been hyper-focused these first few weeks of the season.”
The Rebels are schedule to travel to face East Carter next week. Wayne is scheduled to travel to Nitro, though Kanawha County currently is red on the state’s COVID-19 map, which means its prep teams can neither practice nor play.