HUBER HEIGHTS — Wayne had the ball in victory formation in the final two minutes, seemingly a couple kneel-downs away from clinching its first victory against Springfield since 2017 on the opening night of Greater Western Ohio Conference play Friday.
Then the wildest finish of the high school football season — maybe anywhere in Ohio — turned the game around twice in the final minute.
Wayne lost a fumble while trying to run out the clock, giving Springfield the ball deep in Wayne territory. Springfield’s star recruit, cornerback Aaron Scott, a 2024 Ohio State commit, took over at quarterback and produced a miraculous touchdown. He ran left and then threw back across the field to Jayvin Norman, who took it 72 yards down the sideline in front of the Springfield bench for the touchdown.
Scott then threw a two-point conversion pass to Da’Shawn Martin to give the Wildcats a 22-21 lead with 26 seconds to play.
Springfield didn’t get to rejoice long. Jussiah Williams-West returned the kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown with 14 seconds to play to secure a 27-22 victory for Wayne.
“I give our guys credit for persevering and continuing to grow,” Wayne coach Roosevelt Mukes said. “We always talk about how it’s never over. You’ve just got to keep believing.”
Wayne (3-1) has won two games with late kick returns. It beat Fairfield 58-51 on an 80-yard return by Jamier Averette-Brown in the fourth quarter in Week 1.
Springfield (1-3) suffered its second straight heartbreaking loss. It fell 21-20 at Trotwood-Madison a week earlier with a missed extra point in the final minutes proving decisive.
“We’ve got a bunch of young guys on the kickoff team,” Springfield coach Maurice Douglass said. “That’s why you’ve got to take advantage of every moment.”
Wayne ended a five-game losing streak in the series. Wayne had not beaten Springfield since 2017.
Springfield beat Wayne 21-7 in 2022, 21-14 in 2021, 21-14 in the opener of the 2020 season, 38-13 in 2019 and 33-26 in overtime in 2018. Prior to 2018, Springfield had not beaten Wayne since 2010.
Scott almost saved the Wildcats. He didn’t see much action at cornerback as Wayne avoided throwing to his side of the field for the most part. He attempted two passes as a freshman at quarterback.
This was a case of Douglass trying to make something happen by getting the ball in Scott’s hands with starter Brent Upshaw sidelined by injury and Braylon Keyes and CJ Wallace splitting time at quarterback.
“I told (Scott), ‘By any means necessary,’” Douglass said.
“I was just trying to turn nothing into something,” Scott said.
Springfield took the lead on Scott’s conversion pass for the first time since the first quarter when Deontre Long ran five yards for a touchdown.
Wayne scored the next three touchdowns to build a 21-7 lead. Jackson Solomon caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Tyrell Lewis in the first quarter. Then Lewis ran 23 yards for a score in the second quarter. Lewis then threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Averette-Brown in the third quarter.
Springfield cut Wayne’s lead to 21-14 on a 66-yard run by Norman. The teams traded punts in the fourth quarter until the wild finish.
Wayne plays at Miamisburg next week, while Springfield plays a home game against Beavercreek,
“We’re going to keep fighting,” Douglass said. “That’s all we do is fight. We’re 1-3 right now, but it’s only Week 1 in the GWOC.”