It only took eight seasons for head coach Paul Winters to tie Joesph Gembis for a title of “winningest coach” at Wayne State with 42 wins. His latest victory came Oct. 8 when WSU defeated Lake Erie, 45-24. The Warriors are now 6-0 (5-0 in GLIAC) and his focus remains -- not on his personal achievement -- but on the next opponent.
"I can focus on this game or I can focus on the next game, nothing else really matters," Winters said. "We played well in this game offensively, from a defensive standpoint we played really well in the second half; I was happy about that."
Lake Erie is now winless in the GLIAC (1-5, 0-5). But Winters and his team did not overlook the struggling storm.
"They want to bring nine guys every down and really attack your run game," Winters said. "Our game plan going in was we were going to throw on first down. We’re going to throw come-backs, and throw gos, and throw post routes; make them defend the field. Obviously we had some success with that."
More than “some” success, the Warriors were dominate through the air, led by quarterback Mickey Mohner’s record-setting game. Mohner passed Jason Charron for most passing yards in a single game, totalling 439 yards on 18-for-24 passing and no interceptions.
"He's really having a good year," Winters said. "It's a tribute to him, it's a ttribute to the wide receivers, it's a tribute to the lineman and the backs who block and the tight ends. It's a total offensive thing, it's not just Mickey, it's not just the receivers. Every one's doing their job."
Like Winters, Mohner does not care much for personal accolades.
"It’s important, but at the end of the day all I care about is wins and loses right now," he said. "To have all those records is great but if we’re one-and-whatever it doesn't matter. But right now we’re 6-0. (The record is) great as long as it helps us win."
The Warriors gained a quick lead early in the first quarter. Running back Josh Renel, back from an injury last week, scored on a 5-yard run on the first drive of the game (a 10-play, 73-yard drive). He finished the game with 21 carries for 129 yards.
WSU jumped out to a 24-7 lead, but the pesky Storm cut the lead to 24-17.
Mohner executed an effective two-minute offense and drove Wayne State 80 yards in 10 plays. It was capped with a completed 23-yard pass to receiver Troy Burrell with 13 seconds left in the half, giving the Warriors a 31-17 lead. It was the duo’s third scoring connection of the game (other TD catches of 73 and 37 yards).
Lake Erie cut the lead to one-possession with a 10-yard run by Storm quarterback Sean Bedevelsky, who finished with 169 yards on 17-for-31 and two passing touchdowns.
"We had to keep pressure on them, that was really what we were able to do," Winters said. "They scored, we score twice. Now, it's not a 14-point lead, it's a 21 point game. Now they’re throwing the ball. They’re good with play-action and stuff like that, not as good throwing the ball deep and spreading it out and throwing it. We had some success that way."
After their second-half score, the Warriors’ defense held firm led by defensive back Jeremy Jones’ ten tackles (1.5 for a loss) and linebacker Ed Viverette’s nine tackles (two for a loss).
“Defensively, it's hard to play against an offense like that,” Mohner said. “I think we played pretty well overall."
But the story of the game was an electric offense that piled up 638 yards -- tied for second behind only a 1967 team who gained 644 yards. It was also the second game this season the Warriors had more than 700 all-purpose yards (705). And Mohner led all the way.
His passing was accurate and long. If Burrell was his go-to target the first half it was Dominique Maybanks in the second. They connected for a 80-yard touchdown pass and 39-yarder late in the third.
"Mickey was excellent, it's the best he's ever played," said Maybanks, who finished with 132 yards on four catches. "Coach always tells us when the quarterback is playing good, it's up to us to stay with him and play to his level. If were not playing up to him then were not playing on the same page, when were on the same page everythings great."
Burrell made sure he stayed on the same page with Mohner, the result was a career high 189-yard game for Burell who had three of Mohners five touchdowns.
"I was out there just trying to make big plays for the team," Burrell said. "At halftime our receiving coach came in and told us that it's on us because Mickey is on. He's going to get us the ball.
“Just to see him come out here and play the way he did, it's great to see."
The Warriors are back on the road for two weeks, starting at Ashland, Oct. 15.
_J. Ryan Pas contributed to this article._