Leading Wayne’s second-half comeback was sophomore quarterback Tyler Guffey, who scored two rushing touchdowns and threw for the other Cardinal score. Guffey finished with 60 yards rushing and went 15-for-34 passing for 180 yards.
While it didn’t take Wayne (5-0) long to get its offense clicking in the third quarter, it did take a while to score with Wayne needing 14 plays to go 64 yards. Guffey had three rushes for first downs in the drive that he finished with a 2-yard keeper.
After a three-and-out by Lincoln, Wayne was back in possession of the ball. Guffey used his arm to move the drive along, hitting Dagan Shelton for a 19-yard pass then connecting with Logan Gardner for a 28-yard touchdown pass with 2 minutes, 5 seconds left in the third to tie the game at 14-all.
Guffey used six different receivers throughout the game but Gardner was his favorite target, getting eight grabs for 117 yards.
“We got no pressure on the quarterback, which didn’t help in the second half, and then we just didn’t play good coverage,” Settles said. “It’s frustrating when you know who they are going to throw it to and still don’t stop it. You’ve got to give them credit.”
The game would remain deadlocked for most of the fourth quarter as both offenses sputtered. Lincoln’s TJ Torres intercepted Guffey late in the game but the Patriots could not convert.
Wayne looked destined for the end zone with just over four minutes to play after the Patriots bungled a fourth-and-14 fake punt and Otto was taken down at the Lincoln 15.
“It was just a fluke play,” said Settles. “The previous punt they didn’t cover Hunter Mason, so we just thought we’d throw it to him. The problem was, he was covered at the time and Ryne had already committed and got caught.”
But Lincoln’s defense held its ground. Wayne later fumbled the ball and lost 12 yards then the Patriots broke up a fourth-down pass attempt to Shelton in the end zone.
“That was a great play by the defense,” said Settles.
After the defensive stand, Otto, who led Lincoln’s offense with 179 yards on 11 of 27 passing, threw to Vinny Morris for a 15-yard pass and to Mason for a 10-yard pass to the Patriot 45. But two incompletions and the Gardner pick killed the drive, giving the Cardinals possession at the Pat 38.
And Wayne made Lincoln pay. On the first play, Guffey found Gardner for a 35-yard pass to the Patriot 3 and Guffey took it the rest of the way to give the Cardinals a 21-14 lead with 58 ticks left.
Otto tried to give Lincoln one last shot at victory as he took over the final drive from the Pat 22. The senior hit Morris and Cameron Honaker for 22-yard and 15-yard passes. but Lincoln only got as far as the Wayne 30 before time expired.
Settles said he knew at halftime that the Patriots were in for a battle the second half, and his fears were confirmed as he stepped out of the locker room.
“We knew we were in for a war. We talked about that at halftime and how we had to come out like it was 0-0 and be ready to play. And then we heard their fans when we came out,” he said. “They were so excited and were pumping them up and they did a good job getting them going.
“They (Wayne) came out and made plays and we didn’t make the plays when we needed too. When you get outscored 21 points the second half, you’re not going to be victorious.”
Lincoln was making the plays in the first half.
It took Lincoln just over a minute to get on the scoreboard. Shannon, who led the Pat rush with 57 yards, ran 19 yards for a first down, Otto threw a 15-yard pass to Zach Byrd and then Shannon took it the rest of the way for the Patriots’ first lead of the season.
Lincoln took over at the Cardinal 43 late in the period and needed just four plays to score, with Otto and Mason connecting on the 36-yard TD pass.