The Raiders’ JP Pierce (56) leads quarterback Tyler Showalter (20)  into the hole during their game on Friday night. Wayne Trace defeated Paulding, 53-13, in the annual battle of Paulding County schools. (DHI Media/Tine Eley)
The Raiders’ JP Pierce (56) leads quarterback Tyler Showalter (20) into the hole during their game on Friday night. Wayne Trace defeated Paulding, 53-13, in the annual battle of Paulding County schools. (DHI Media/Tine Eley)
By Kevin Wannemacher
DHI Media Correspondent
sports@timesbulletin.com
HAVILAND – Tyler Showalter and the Wayne Trace offense picked up right where it left off a year ago in the Paulding County rivalry matchup between the Raiders and Paulding Friday night at Raider Field.
Showalter ran for six touchdowns and threw for two more to lead the Raiders to a 53-13 win over the Panthers in the high school football season opener for both schools.
Showalter finished the night 16-for-24 through the air for 206 yards and two touchdowns, the first two scores of the night for Wayne Trace. The senior also added 217 yards on the ground on 15 carries, including touchdown runs of 11, 3, 26, 2, 25 and 63.
“He had an outstanding game tonight,” noted Raider head coach Bill Speller. “He hasn’t practiced there (at quarterback) and he just kind of stepped in and made plays for us. That has been the attitude of this whole team, to take the adversity and just roll through it and play on.”


The Raiders took control of the game early on and never let go.
On the game’s first possession, Wayne Trace needed only four plays before Showalter found David Sinn for a 30-yard touchdown pass to make it 6-0 at the 10:34 mark.
Wayne Trace widened the margin to 14-0 two possessions later.
Set up by a 23-yard punt return by Jake Dingus, Showalter and Sinn again hooked up for the touchdown pass two plays later from ten yards out. Showalter then added the two-point conversion run to put the Raiders on top 14-0 at the 4:54 mark.
The Wayne Trace senior then made a big play on the defensive side of the ball.
Showalter intercepted a pass by Paulding’s Zach Buchman, returning it to the Panther 11 to set up another Raider score.
On the first play of the ensuing possession, the senior scooted 11-yards into the end zone to push the Wayne Trace advantage to 20-0 at the 2:18 mark of the first quarter.
“We got off to the start we wanted,” Speller noted. “We were able to get in front quick and it gave our kids some confidence and I think we just kept building off of that.”
Paulding’s biggest play came on the ensuing kickoff. Panther sophomore Preston Ingol returned the kick 83-yards for the first maroon-and-white touchdown of the season to excite the visiting crowd. Corbin Edwards split the uprights on the extra point, getting Paulding within 20-7.
The second quarter, though, was all Raiders and all Tyler Showalter.
Showalter scored on a three-yard run to push the margin to 26-7 before adding a 26-yard score at the 7:50 mark to make it 32-7.
After Ingol was tackled in the end zone for a Raider safety to push the margin to 34-7 with 5:58 left in the half, Wayne Trace added touchdown runs of two yards and 25 yards by Showalter to make it 46-7 at the intermission.
“We have had to face some adversity and we didn’t even know for sure who we were going to start at quarterback tonight,” commented Speller. “But these kids have just played through that and kind of taken that challenge and built on it.”
The Raiders got their final points early in the third quarter on a 63-yard run by Showalter.
Paulding then picked up the final points of the night late in the fourth quarter. Sophomore quarterback James Mourey found senior wide receiver Aaron Mock for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 2:39 left in the contest.
“It’s always good to win a rivalry game,” concluded Speller. “Now we have to get ready for Otsego and start preparing for them.”
Senior wide receiver David Sinn also had a big night for the Raiders, posting nine receptions totaling 173 yards with two touchdowns.
Ingol led the Panther offense with 52 rushing yards on nine carries.