WSU football concluded their three game home stand with a 41-30 victory over the Hillsdale Chargers on Oct. 1 celebrating Wayne State’s 80th homecoming game.
The Warriors have won 11 of their last 12 homecoming games under head coach Paul Winters. Before last years’ loss to Grand Valley State University (17-38), WSU had won ten straight homecoming games. Winters said the importance of homecoming was stressed as soon as he arrived.
“When I took the job, I sat with the athletic director and he said ‘we don’t win homecoming games, and for us to be a successful football team we have to win homecoming games,’” Winters said. “That was a mandate.”
The Warriors began the game hitting on all cylinders as they managed to score on their first two drives. Junior running back Romello Brown opened the game with a 35-yard run followed by a 29-yard pass to sophomore running back Deiontae Nicholas. Brown would score the game’s first touchdown on a four-yard run to cap the eight play, 87-yard drive.
The next drive was much of the same, beginning with a 60-yard completion from Donovan Zezula to Jamel Hicks and ending with a TD from running back Demetrius Stinson.
The Warrior defense held Hillsdale to 173 total yards in the first half, sacking the quarterback twice and not allowing the Chargers to cross midfield in the first quarter. WSU entered halftime with a 21-10 lead.
“Playing great defense and being physical is what we pride ourselves on here at Wayne State,” Winters said. “If you look at our games, we have a lot of dropped balls against us and that’s because our guys will light you up once you catch the ball.”
The rest of the game would be much of the same for both teams. The Warrior offense scored on its next three drives to make the score 41-10 early in the fourth quarter.
Winters credited most of the team’s success to depth. Once again, Brown and Stinson each scored two touchdowns with Brown adding 157 yards on 23 carries. Nicholas, who entered the game with four catches for 75 yards, finished with three catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
“I think it was a matter of time before this happened, I just got my chance today and I went out and executed,” Nicholas said. “When I see Romello doing good and Meech [Stinson] doing good, it makes me want to compete with them as brothers.”
The Chargers scored touchdowns on their last three drives, but it was all too late for a complete comeback.
Wayne State grad student and Warrior Zone Leader Zachary Rich said it has been great to always walk out with a homecoming win.
“It’s great being part of that. Every year they haven’t disappointed us,” Rich said. “One word to explain the Warrior Zone is hype.”
The Warriors will go out on the road to face the Findlay Oilers next week before returning to Tom Adams field Oct. 15. For more stats and play-by-play of last night’s game, visit wsuathletics.com.