By RYAN EPLING
For HD Media
WINFIELD — Winfield High School’s football team had enough of playing at Wayne’s pace the past two years.
The host Generals controlled the speed of play Friday night from the opening kickoff, on their way to a 37-0 victory over the visiting Pioneers.
The win came with Winfield coach Craig Snyder in the hospital, recovering from a surgery that had been scheduled for some time.
“The last two years, Wayne took the opening kickoff and went on long drives to start the game, and it really got us out of doing what we wanted to do,” Generals assistant coach Will Watkins said. “We thought if we could get the ball first and set the pace fast, it would be to our advantage.”
Winfield (3-1) did just that, scoring all 37 points before halftime. Senior quarterback Nick Vance threw for 166 yards while running for 111 more before halftime and accounting for three touchdowns.
Carson Crouch was on the receiving end of two touchdowns and 109 yards on seven catches in the first half. The versatile slot receiver also had a 21-yard TD run.
Winfield got the fast start it craved, driving the opening kickoff inside the Wayne 10 before settling for a Kadin Jarrouj 24-yard field goal. Wayne (0-3) was penalized on the ensuing kickoff and began at its own 10-yard line. After losing 4 yards on their first three plays, the Pioneers punted, giving Winfield the ball at the Wayne 36 to start the drive.
It didn’t take long for the Generals’ no-huddle offense to again strike paydirt. John Covert capped the march with a 10-yard run to make it 9-0 with 5:10 left in the opening period.
After getting its initial first down of the contest, Wayne had a 15-yard run by Carl Sanchez negated by penalty. A punt and a few plays later, Winfield had extended its lead to 16-0 on the Crouch touchdown run.
“They have a nice football team,” Wayne coach Tom Harmon said. “They came out and did the things they needed to do early to set the momentum, and we had some key momentum killers.”
Wayne ran nine offensive plays in the first quarter and had five penalties assessed.
Winfield put the game out of reach in the second quarter. Vance had touchdown passes of 26 and 11 yards to Crouch while adding a 23-yard scoring run just before half.
Vance finished the game with 320 yards of total offense. Crouch accounted for 135 receiving and 21 rushing. Covert added 98 yards on the ground, striking a balance that would be sure to make the absent coach Snyder happy.
“I haven’t been a part of a football game without Coach Snyder since I was 13 years old,” Watkins said. “It was a little weird. He was texting us all day. He was here in spirit.”