FORT WAYNE – Robert Brown’s expectations for his third year as coach are pretty simple – more wins.
After going winless in his first year, the Generals went 3-8 in 2012, winning only two on the field last year with a third coming by forfeit against Bishop Luers. Brown said he thinks experience and confidence will produce more success this season.
“We are learning how to win,” Brown said. “In the first year, we had to learn how to lose and build character and set the bases. Not that losing was our base, but to develop character in the kind of program we want. Last year, we learned how to compete, and this year, we want to learn how to win.”
Even though Brown’s first team failed to win a game (0-10) there were plenty of underclassmen starters – including several freshmen and sophomores – who gained experience and learned hard lessons along the way.
There were signs of that labor paying off late last year when Wayne stunned Kokomo 31-28 in the first round of the sectional. The Generals fell in the second round 45-9 to SAC rival and eventual Class 5A state runner-up Snider.
“We pretty much have everybody back from that team, and we are looking forward to the season,” Brown said. “We have guys who have been playing for two or three years, so we expect them to play well.”
Even Brown himself has learned from the last two years.
“My first year as a head coach, I just felt overwhelmed,” he said. “There were things that I had never even thought of. As a first-year coach, I had no idea. I was just kind of thrown in there, and it was all a learning experience. I am much better prepared.”
It starts for Wayne with a potential potent offense led by senior quarterback Jaylon Thomas, who is in his third year as Brown’s signal-caller.
“We expect big things from him,” Brown said of Thomas.
Other weapons for the Generals are junior running back Austin Yarbro and junior receiver Keion Powers.
“My confidence level is real high,” Powers said of the team. “We have been working hard all summer, and we are just hoping for the best. Just having guys who know what they are doing and know the offense helps us go along as a team to get the wins easier than last year with the experience.”
On defense, the experience comes from junior defensive backs Deion Powers and Kye Black, senior lineman Jari Dada and junior linebacker Curtis Stephens.