By: Kipp Branch
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Wayne had a tough season in 2020 finishing with a 3-8 record. The Yellow Jackets ended up with the #4 seed in Region 1-AAAAA and pushed Jones County, a region champion, to the limit before falling 27-25 in the first round of the playoffs. Jones County made it to the final four last year.
One opposing coach this fall had this to say about Wayne “They won’t be decimated by injuries this year like last year and they are well coached. Wayne always has good talent”.
Another area coach had this to say “We have seen them over the summer and they have good skill people and they are big and physical like you always expect Wayne County to be”.
Ken Cribb enters his 5th season as head coach of Wayne County. The Yellow jackets have a 31-14 record during that time with a couple of region championships in 2017 and 2018.
Reclassification in 2020 put Wayne in a brutal AAAAA region that includes Coffee County, Ware County, Warner Robins, and Veterans High School.
Coffee, Ware and Warner Robins are three of the top AAAAA teams in the State and all 3 could be in the top 5 of the preseason rankings.
Improvement in 2021 has to begin on the defensive side of the ball where Wayne gave up 25 points per game last year and over 40 per game in two of their four region contests. If the defense can improve then the win totals will go up.
2021 Schedule/My Predictions:
8/21 @ Statesboro: The game will be played at Georgia Southern University as part of the Erk Russell Classic, I believe. Wayne has handled Statesboro over the past few years and will do so again in 2021. Jackets win a tight one.
8/27 vs Pierce: A defending state champion comes to Jaycee Stadium and gets beat by the home team. Do the power brokers in Jesup take notice or are they secretly flying in Nick Saban to resurrect the program? Jackets go to 2-0.
9/3 vs Richmond Hill: Wayne has beaten Richmond Hill recently and came close to doing so last year. Wayne goes to 3-0 with a big home win over the 7A playing in 6A Wildcats.
9/10 @ South Effingham: Jackets roll over the Mustangs. Wayne goes to 4-0.
9/16 @ Benedictine: Give me Benedictine at home in this one. Folks who know High School football in these parts understand why. Jackets drop to 4-1.
9/24 @ Appling: Rivalry game in Baxley. Appling is breaking in a new head coach and this one could go either way. Give me the Jackets in a tight one. Wayne goes to 5-1.
10/8 vs Veterans: Jackets at home should win this one. Wayne goes to 6-1 and clinches a playoff berth.
10/15 vs. Coffee: Coffee is coming off a huge home game with Ware the week before. Could they overlook the Jackets? I’m putting Coffee on upset alert, but they get it done over Wayne. Wayne serves notice around the state that they will not be an easy out come playoff time. Jackets drop to 6-2.
10/22 @ Warner Robins: Jackets are not ready for prime time on the road here. Drop to 6-3
11/5 @ Ware County: Ware is elite. Wayne finds that out in Memorial Stadium in Waycross. Jackets drop to 6-4 and enter the playoffs as a dangerous #4 seed from region 1-AAAAA.
Interesting Wayne County football facts. Wayne has 2 State Titles in 1954 and 1959.
John Donaldson is viewed as the best coach in Wayne County history with two state titles and five region titles in 18 seasons.
When Ken Cribb won back-to-back region titles in 2017 and 2018 the last Wayne County coach to accomplish that feat was Donaldson in 1976.
From 2017-19 Ken Cribb won 28 games. That is the best three year run in Wayne County football history. Wayne County plays in the best AAAAA region in the state of Georgia. Put that in perspective.