DEFIANCE – High school football games swing when teams score late in the first half or early in the second half.

The Ayersville Pilots did both of those behind a dominant performance from the offensive line in pulling away to a 28-6 victory over visiting Wayne Trace on Homecoming Night at Craig McCord Field. The Pilots provided a win for Homecoming Queen Maci Froelich and King Jakob Trevino as Ayersville improved to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the Green Meadows Conference.

Leading 7-6, Ayersville put together a 14-play, 65-yard scoring drive that took 8:32 off the clock to extend the margin.

The Pilots capped the drive with a 31-yard touchdown toss from quarterback Jakob Trevino to Blake Hauenstein to extend the Pilot lead to 14-6.

Ayersville’s drive included four first downs and a pair of third down conversions as well as a pair of fourth down conversions. The scoring strike came on a third-and-twelve at the Wayne Trace 31.

“We have been waiting on that all year,” noted Ayersville head coach Chris Dales of the Pilot dominance up front. “That is a group that we have gotten on pretty hard but they came out and did a great job tonight.”

“I was concerned about their ability to control the game at the line of scrimmage,” stated Wayne Trace mentor Matt Holden. “They came out and made plays and we didn’t.”

After taking the 14-6 lead at the intermission, the Pilots extended the margin in the third quarter.

Getting the ball to start the second half, Ayersville ground out a nine-play scoring drive that consumed nearly five minutes before finding the end zone.

On first and goal at the six-yard line, Trevino scrambled the final six yards into the end zone to expand the lead to 21-6 with 7:02 left in the third quarter.

“Those are big momentum scores,” Dales continued. “We have been able to put together long drives all year but we finished them tonight.”

The Pilots got their final score in the final minute when Owen Berner rumbled three yards for a touchdown with 49 seconds on the clock. Berner’s touchdown wrapped up a 14-play, 66-yard scoring drive.

“We told the kids before tonight that our goal was to finish with three straight wins,” Dales noted. “This is number one and we know we have a tough opponent in Fairview coming in here next week.”

Ayersville struck first in the contest, thanks in great part due to a botch Raider punt snap that gave the Pilots possession at the Wayne Trace ten-yard line.

Three plays later, Trevino hooked up with Hauenstein on a six-yard scoring strike to put the Pilots on top 7-0 with 4:34 on the first quarter clock.

Wayne Trace quickly answered, putting together its best possession of the night.

The red, white and blue marched 85-yards in nine plays, capping the scoring drive with a 36-yard touchdown pass from Cooper Wenzlick to Race Price that pulled the Raiders within 7-6 with five seconds left in the quarter.

“We have to get back to work because we know that Paulding will come in and give us a battle,” Holden concluded. “It is a big county rivalry matchup for both of us.”

The Pilots finished the game with 151 rushing yards, led by Berner with 20 carries for 85 yards. Trevino was 9 of 13 passing for 64 yards. Ayersville had 215 yards of total offense in the contest.

Wayne Trace totaled 172 yards with Wenzlick throwing for 137 while completing 13 of 27 attempts. Wenzlick also ran for 39 yards over 11 carries.

Ayersville hosts Defiance County rival Fairview in the final Pilot home game of the season on Friday. Wayne Trace, which falls to 2-6 in all games and 2-3 in the league, also has its last home game of the year on Friday as the Raiders welcome in Paulding County rival Paulding.