WAYNE — Josh Way carried the load once again for Wayne.
But at crucial times, Wayne's other ball carriers proved they can come up with big plays as well as Wayne beat Minco 47-40 Friday to advance to next weekend's Class A semifinals.
Way ran for 220 yards and three touchdowns as Wayne avenged its only loss of the regular season.
“Dude's a heck of a back,” Wayne junior quarterback Sam Martin said. “There's not many better than him in the state.”
The senior ran hard all night, none harder than a 15-yard touchdown run on fourth down with 1:28 left. The score all but put the game away.
“I actually do surprise myself every once in awhile still,” Way said. “I thought on that one I was done after three yards but I just kept going and all of a sudden I'm in the end zone.”
Minco came back to score with 31 seconds left, but the onside kick went out of bounds to seal the Wayne win.
Wayne (12-1) will play Carnegie next week at a neutral site to be determined. Minco's season ends 12-1.
In Week 2, Minco beat Wayne 29-20 at home.
“We didn't turn the ball over this time and we're in better shape than we were then,” sophomore Louden Johnson said. “We felt like we had a great chance to win coming in. We always think we can win. We feel like we're a state-championship caliber team.”
Wayne certainly looked the part Friday night, bouncing back from an early deficit to go up 19-7 early in the second.
On the first play of the second half, Johnson took it up the middle on a dive play for a 62-yard touchdown.
“We always know that everybody wants to fly to Josh,” Johnson said. “But me and Sam and David (Davenport) and some of our other guys can break them too.
“We've got a lot of plays we can mix in there. It feels like we've got a bigger playbook than some colleges.”
Martin also came up with a big run, a 48-yarder for a touchdown in the first half.
“That's why I feel like our option is so dangerous,” Martin said. “Because you've got to defend all three of the guys we've got back there.”
Jacob Smart ran for 136 yards and a touchdown for Minco and caught seven passes for 109 yards and a pair of scores.
But Smart's effectiveness on the ground was limited after halftime as Wayne adjusted and Minco was forced to go more to the air as it tried to make up the deficit.
Just 26 of Smart's rushing yards came after halftime.
Now, Wayne is looking forward to continuing its quest to win the school's first football state title.
“It's going to be different,” Way said. “This is something that hasn't been done here. But we're ready to keep making history. We're going to work harder this week than we ever have to keep working on getting the gold ball.”