Coach Rick Vernon preached consistency all week long. Friday, his squad lived up to the football sermon against Rolla at home.
An early illegal procedure penalty eliminated a Waynesville first down and forced a third-and-long, whch was unsuccessful. After trading field position several times, the two teams ended the first quarter in a scoreless stalemate.
"We created some bad situations for ourselves, especially in the first half," Vernon said. "We did things like line up offsides and things like that kept us from going."
Thirty-five seconds into the second quarter Rolla struck first on a 1-yard touchdown rush, taking a 7-0 lead.
The ensuing kickoff was returned for 26 yards to the Waynesville 47-yard line. Senior quarterback Dylan Newcomb recorded Waynesville's first first down of the game on a 10-yard scamper to cross midfield. A few plays later, senior running back Warren Womack ran for 30 yards to take his team deep into Rolla territory, then later capped the drive for a 3-yard touchdown run. A missed PAT attempt made the score 7-6.
After forcing Rolla three-and-out, Waynesville elected to go for it on fourth down and Newcomb weaved his way through Rolla's special teams for a first down to keep the drive alive. Newcomb's number was called again on the next play, this time for a 34-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Varon Martinez. A successful two-point conversion gave Waynesville the lead, 14-7 with 4:11 remaining in the first half.
Rolla capitalized on missed tackles and a personal foul on its next posession scoring another touchdown in eight plays to tie the game at 14.
A long kick return set Waynesville up at its own 42-yard line. Newcomb ripped off a 35-yard pass to the Rolla 25-yard line on the second play of the drive. With no timeouts remaining, Waynesville ran the ball twice and time expired with the game locked at 14.
Newcomb struck again on Waynesville's first posession of the third quarter on a 58-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Anthony Johnson to take a 21-14 lead. The quick score ate only two minutes off the clock
Three minutes later, after a 53-yard kickoff return, Rolla connected on two consecutive deep fade routes, the second for a 26-yard touchdown, knotting the score once again, 21-21.
Waynesville returned the ensuing kickoff for 65 yards to the Rolla 17-yard line. Womack added his second touchdown of the day on a 10-yard go-ahead touchdown run pushing the score to 28-21 with 5:23 left in the third quarter.
"We had tgreat punting, returns and overall great field position," Vernon said.
Another Rolla three-and-out gave Waynesville the ball with a chance to run some time off the clock. A bad snap exchange, however, was recovered by Rolla at the Waynesville 41 to end the third quarter.
Page 2 of 3 - Five seconds later, the Rolla quarterback connected on another deep fade route for a 32-yard touchdown to tie the game at 28.
Defensively, Rolla stepped up on the next drive by forcing Waynesville to punt. Another successful fade route put th Rolla offense in position to take a lead. But, with 5:43 left to play, a Rolla field goal attempt missed, giving Waynesville a golden opportunity to win.
Womack took over and bruised his way for more than 45 yards on seven carries to take Waynesville to the opposing 19-yard line. On fourth down, with six yards to go, Vernon elected to go for it for the second time in the contest. Rolla's defense stood its ground and forced a turnover on downs with less than two minutes left in regulation.
"[Womack] has been playing hard all year," Vernon said. "Our offensive line and other people create those holes for him and if we get him loose, he can go."
Two plays into the potential Rolla game-winning drive, Newcomb came through, this time on defense with an interception return to the Rolla 31.
With Waynesville knocking on the door, Newcomb's pass on first down fell incomplete. The quarterback ran to the 11-yard line of Rolla on the next play, leaving 43 seconds on the clock. Two consecutive runs by Womack took Waynesville to the 1-yard line. Again Waynesville was out of timeouts and time expired with a 28-28 gridlock.
In overtime Rolla began by completing a pass to the 4-yard line. Just when things seemed bleak for Waynesville, senior linebacker Tim Moore recorded back-to-back sacks to put Rolla's kicker out of range. The defense held again on fourth down forcing a Rolla pass to fall incomplete.
"Moore had the big quarterback sacks for us and that was big; it got them out of their field goal range and allowed our kids to come back," Vernon said.
Consecutive runs for a total of five yards forced Waynesville into a third down on its first posession in overtime. Womack came up big, keeping his balance and inching his way for a first down. On the next play, Womack took the ball to the Rolla 11. Two plays later, senior kicker Austin Payne booted a 32-yard field goal for the win, making up for an early missed PAT.
"It was the first time [Payne] ever played football [this season]," Vernon said. "He works every day and hit the big one [Friday]."
In dramatic fashion, Waynesville won its second game of the year by a slim margin, 31-28.
"We said we were going to get in the I-formation, challenge the offensive lineman and run old-fashioned Tiger football," Vernon said. "We got that etablished and got some good play-action tonight [because of the rushing offense]."
Page 3 of 3 - Waynesville scored two of its four touchdowns on the ground in addition to rushing for more than 200 yards.
"[Waynesville] keeps playing hard every ballgame," Vernon said. "We've had great practices and our kids keep a very level head. We're going to continue to do that each week and try to make something happen."
The win pushed Waynesville to 2-3 and into a tie for sixth place in Ozark Conference play.
Waynesville will play Joplin at home Friday at 7 p.m.