WAYNE — On fourth-and-2 late in the fourth quarter last week against Minco, there was no question who was getting the football for Wayne.
Sam Martin would take the snap and give it to senior running back Josh Way, and there probably wasn't a lot Minco could do to stop Way from getting the first down.
When lineman Garrett Reed went to block the defensive end, he saw that Way was going to get hit in the hole.
With all the numbers Way has produced — more than 2,400 yards this season — Reed still wasn't prepared for what he saw.
Minco defenders kept piling on the running back, but the pile just kept moving forward with Way still chugging along.
“He was dragging people toward the end zone and then I just knew,” Reed said of the play that wound up being a deciding 15-yard touchdown run. “That is a special kid right there.”
It wasn't the flashiest play Way has ever made, but it might've been his defining run — to this point.
Way and Wayne are in the Class A semifinals for the first time in school history. They'll take on Carnegie at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Newcastle.
Way and Bulldogs coach Brandon Sharp track the beginning of his turnaround as a player to early last season. Minco had held Way in check, and he eventually left with an injury in a 33-21 loss.
The next Monday, Sharp called Way into his office.
“Hey man, what do you want to be remembered as?” Sharp asked Way. “A guy that gets carried off the field or what?”
Way responded forcefully.
“I want to be the best player that's ever come out of here,” Sharp remembers Way saying. “Since that point, he's been living up to it.”
Lineman Kael Groff, who has played football with Way dating back to middle school, said he thinks Way has achieved that standard.
“You've just got to block,” Groff said. “You give him just a little hole, and sometimes you don't even have to do that.
“He makes you look good. It's an honor running with him.”
Groff has watched his buddy transform from a lineman, who once forgot his helmet to a game, into a running back who has a chance to lead his team to a Class A title.
“It's weird seeing him now and remembering where he was at then,” Groff said. “It's crazy.”
Way's drive has been what has kept his legs moving, Sharp said.
“He's got something inside of him that he doesn't want to fail,” Sharp said. “He's a pleaser. He doesn't want to let his coaches down, his family, his teammates. He's got that drive and it just takes over.”
Way sees it a bit more simply.
“Coaches just tell me to keep my legs going and lower my shoulder and that's what I do, just keep my legs going and put my shoulder down and hopefully I can keep moving along,” he said.