ADAMS TOWNSHIP — While Clinton-Massie will clearly be focused on Kettering Alter come Friday night, there will be a moment or two for all players and coaches when their thoughts go elsewhere.
Rather than being on the field, Clinton-Massie junior Tyler Beam will be in street clothes watching his teammates.
“He’s going to be rooting us on from the sideline,” said CM coach Dan McSurley.
Beam was involved in an automobile crash Saturday morning on state Route 380 following the team breakfast.
“It was such a freak thing,” McSurley said. “He flipped (his vehicle) and rolled and it shot him out. He’s a tough kid. He’s very fortunate. You can look at it on the bright side and say it could have been a lot worse. We could be here mourning a terrible tragedy.”
A sturdy 5-11, 195-pound linebacker, Beam had 27 solo tackles for the Falcons this season. He had eight quarterback sacks.
“It’s going to hurt us that he’s not here,” said Cole O’Bryon, a senior. “But we’ve come up with a defensive game-plan that I think will help us out.”
Trey Uetrecht, a 6-3, 220-pound defender, said Beam’s absence will serve as motivation for the Falcons on Friday night.
“Tyler’s a great kid, a great friend … we all love him, so I think it’s an extra boost for us all to come together,” Uetrecht said. “He will be missed but we’re going to have to fight through it and play on.”
Said McSurley, “He’ll be back next year and we’re thankful we’re going to have him back … but life is more important than a game of football.”
• Last week against Cincinnati Taft, the Falcons faced one of their largest deficits in recent memory … nine points when the Senators led 12-3.
The season, some thought, simply couldn’t end this way.
O’Bryon said there wasn’t any panic in the Falcons when the team convened in the lockerroom at halftime.
“I talked to guys and said we have to stay relaxed. We have 24 minutes to go out there and make it happen,” O’Bryon said.
Uetrecht said the Falcons could tell things would change eventually.
“We could tell they were wearing down,” Uetrecht said. “They had a lot of guys going both ways. We were confidence. Coach (McSurley) was confident. We made a couple of adjustments and they just wore down.”
• As mentioned in Wednesday’s News Journal article, Alter has 33 seniors on its roster.
The Knights roster totals 90 players.
One of those players, David Rueth, will have a busy couple of days. Prior to facing Clinton-Massie Friday night at Centerville Stadium, Rueth and his Alter soccer teammates faced Columbus St. Francis DeSales in a Div. II state semifinal game Wednesday night at London High School.
Rueth, a 6-1, 205-pound linebacker on the football team, is the goalkeeper for the Knights boys soccer team.
• Of the four teams in the Region 16 semifinal round, Clinton-Massie is at the bottom when it comes to playoff history and total appearances.
Massie has been to the playoffs 16 times in school history. Germantown Valley View, many years in the playoff under former Clinton-Massie coach Jay Niswonger, has made the post-season 18 times. Cincinnati Wyoming and Kettering Alter both have made 22 playoff appearances.
Alter is 38-19 all-time in state playoff history while Valley View is 32-14, Clinton-Massie 27-13 and Wyoming 16-20.
With a state championship in 2013, the Falcons are the most recent state title-holder among the four teams in the region.
• There were 716 high schools in Ohio with a varsity football team at the beginning of the 2016 season. There are 31.3 percent of those 716 teams that make the playoffs.
Now in its 45th season, Ohio football playoffs started in 1972 with 12 teams qualifying for the post-season.
Last week, higher seeded teams were 80-32. Last year, higher seeds were 81-31. Also in the 2016 first week of playoff games, five No. 8 seeds defeated No. 1 seeds.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports