By Cort Reynolds
Ada Herald Writer
LIMA - Wayne Trace quarterback Colby Speice threw for nine touchdowns and ran for another as the Raiders blew out Ada 68-14 in their Div. VI, region 20 final playoff at chilly Lima Stadium Friday night.
The Bulldogs ended their successful season 9-4 while Wayne Trace advances to the state semifinals with a 12-1 mark. It was Ada's fourth quarterfinal appearance.
The seventh-seeded Bulldogs never led as athletic, speed-laden WT reached the end zone on seven of its nine first half possessions. The Raiders raced to a 36-0 margin and led 50-8 at the half.
WT drew first blood with an 80-yard, seven-play scoring march that took just 87 seconds. The speedy Speice completed two passes for 27 yards and then scampered for 16 yards.
The QB then kept it and sped 25 yards to paydirt with 7:42 left in the first period. The two-point conversion by running back Jake Gerber made it 8-0.
Ada went three and out on its ensuing possession and was forced to punt a second consecutive time, with Wilcox booming a 60-yarder.
A penalty on the return pinned WT back its own eight. But on the very next play Speice completed a 92-yard catch and carry TD pass. A two-point toss by Speice made it 16-0 with less than half of the first period gone.
Three solid runs by Wilcox earned a first down for Ada on its next possession. But then a short pass for a loss and a sack of the Ada signal-caller necessitated another punt.
WT took over at its own 39, where Speice was dropped for a three-yard loss by Blake Ansley. A screen to Korbin Showalter was completed and he outran the defense for a 64-yard TD.
The conversion attempt failed and with 2:53 left in the opening stanza the score was 22-0.
Ansley snagged a pass for a 19-yard gain into WT territory on the next play from scrimmage. Wilcox scrambled four yards out of bounds. A three-yard pass over the middle to Austin Dumbaugh brought up third and three.
Wilcox was then sacked for a big loss of nine. On fourth and 12 the Bulldogs went for it but the pass to Ansley fell incomplete.
The Raiders took possession on downs at their own 47. A nine-yard run by Jared Sherry was followed by a Spiece six-yard carry as the first quarter came to a close.
Spiece scrambled and gained nine yards to the Ada 29. A bubble screen picked up seven more yards. Two incompletions brought up third and 10. Sherry then hauled in a 17-yard aerial to make it first and goal at the Ada five.
A Bulldog defensive back fell down and Spiece completed a five-yard scoring toss with 10:25 left in the half. The two-point pass by Spiece made it 30-0.
Ada began its fourth possession at its own 25. The pass by Wilcox was intercepted by Jake Arend and returned to the Bulldog 33. A pass to Arend gained 16 yards, followed by an eight-yard toss to Gerber.
On fourth and two from the Ada eight, Spiece had his underthrown pass picked off by Hunter Waller in the end zone to force a touchback.
After a false start penalty, Wilcox ran for 11 yards up the middle. Dumbaugh moved the chains on a seven-yard pass. On third and five Ansley gained four yards on a pass. On fourth and one, Ansley was stopped for no gain on a run by Speice.
WT gained possession at the Bulldog 42. Sherry gained seven yards to bring up third and three. Spiece scurried out of bounds after a QB draw run of seven yards.
A 13-yard pass to Sherry moved the Raiders to the Ada 14. Sherry ran for six more yards. Spiece ran for four yards to make it first and goal at the Ada four.
Bulldogs Lane Nitchie and Levi Bass combined for a loss of four tackle. But Sherry made a sliding catch just past the goal line on an eight-yard aerial from Spiece to make it 36-0. Spencer Archer intercepted the two-point pass with 4:04 left in the first half.
A 55-yard return by Luke Long-Green on the ensuing kickoff gave Ada excellent field position at the WT 45. Ansley pulled in a 20-yard pass to the Raider 25.
On third and nine, Wilcox made a fine throw over the middle amid heavy traffic to freshman Owen Conley for a 25-yard TD catch that got Ada on the board. With 3:07 left in the half, Wilcox completed a two-point pass to cut the deficit to 36-8.
The five-play drive took just 60 seconds and covered 45 yards after the table-setting Long-Green return.
A pass to the speedy Showalter broke free for a 70-yard score on the very next play. The second WT one-play scoring "drive" made it 42-8 with 2:55 left in the half.
Two Conley receptions earned 14 yards and a first down to start the next Ada drive from their own 20. But the Raider defense forced another Wilcox punt, and WT took possession at its own 41.
A bubble screen gained eight yards. Speice gained a first down with a run of four. On third and 10 with 31 ticks to go in the half, Spiece completed a 10-yard pass to Arend.
The Raider signal-caller fired a 14-yarder to Sherry, followed by a 10-yard toss to Showalter augmented by a late hit penalty down to the Ada seven.
On second down, Speice found Arend in the corner for a seven-yard TD pass, and after the two-point pass WT held a commanding 50-8 bulge with just three seconds left before intermission.
The quick drive took 84 seconds and nine plays over 59 yards.
Ada began the second half at its own 36 and drove downfield quickly. A pass to Conley netted eight yards. Wilcox ran out of bounds after a gain of five yards. A pass to Ansley gained 16 yards.
Waller then hauled in a long aerial, broke a few tackles and scored from 36 yards out. The two-point pass was dropped and Ada trailed 50-14 with just under 11 minutes to go.
Arend converted a third and 11 screen for 16 yards just across midfield to ignite the next WT drive. On third and five, Speice connected with Showalter on a 31-yard reception down to the Bulldog 12.
On third and eight, Speice found Gerber open in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard scoring strike. The extra point kick was blocked to make the count 56-14 with just over eight minutes left in the third period.
Three consecutive incompletions forced a Wilcox punt and the Raiders began at their own 36. A third and 10 screen to the speedy Showalter picked up 41 yards.
Gerber then hauled in yet another TD aerial from Speice from 16 yards out. Another PAT kick try was low and blocked to extend the lead to 62-14.
Speice hooked up with Showalter on another long TD pass amid traffic to build the lead to 68-14 with 2:03 left in the third. The PAT kick went wide left.
Ansley made a fine run after a catch to gain 52 yards into Raider territory. However, the next Wilcox pass was intercepted and returned to the WT 32 with 6:54 remaining to end the final scoring threat.
Notes and stats
Speice threw for 377 yards and six TDs - while running for the other score - in the first half alone. He finished with unofficially 534 yards passing, approximately 57 yards short of an Ohio playoff passing record, despite not playing in the fourth period.
Speice also rushed seven times for 72 yards and one TD.
Wilcox completed 14 of 31 passes for 207 yards and two scores with two interceptions. He also ran for 38 yards on 13 tries.
Wilcox ended his season with 34 TD passes and 2,879 yards passing. The senior also ran for a team-best 780 yards in his only season as a quarterback after earning all-league status as a receiver.
Ansley caught seven passes for 115 yards to end the season with 61 catches for 703 yards. Conley added four receptions for 46 yards to finish with 38 catches this fall. Dumbaugh finished 2013 with a team-high 70 receptions, nine TDs and just over 600 yards.
The 68 points were the most allowed by the Bulldogs since they lost 67-38 to Hardin Northern in the 2006 season opener in their first game under Mike Fell.
The Raiders racked up 27 first downs compared to 14 by the Bulldogs.
WT coach Bill Speller and Ada mentor Bob Olwin faced off many times in the Green Meadows Conference when Olwin was at Fairview.
Ada is now 12-9 in nine post-season appearances, including 1-3 in regional finals. Their last run to the regional finals came in 2009, when the Bulldogs fell in overtime to eventual runner-up Delphos St. John's.
Their only quarterfinal victory in four tries came in 2007 when they edged Arlington, 31-28.
WT was making its first region final appearance. The Raiders will next face Mechanicsburg (11-2) Friday, Nov. 29 at a site TBA. Mechanicsburg edged West Liberty Salem 34-28 in overtime in the region 22 final.
1 2 3 4 F
Ada 0 8 6 0 14
WT 22 28 18 0 68