HILLIARD — Dan McSurley has witnessed some outstanding performances in his time at Clinton-Massie.
He hadn’t seen anything like Luke Richardson’s performance Friday against John Glenn.
Richardson accounted for three touchdowns — one of which was set up by 67-yard kick return by Richardson. He had 56 yards receiving and two touchdowns and 83 yards on kick returns.
He also had the game-winning 46-yard interception return for a touchdown.
“Just phenomenal – I’ve never seen anything like it,” McSurley said. “I’ve had players in the past will their team to victory. I think Luke had one of those games.
“He just absolutely willed this team to a victory. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
It wasn’t just what Richardson did, but when he did it. His 67-yard kick return was after John Glenn took a 21-14 lead late in the third quarter.
A penalty and a sack at the end of that drive gave Massie a 4th and goal from the 25. Corey Stulz found a crossing Richardson, who caught it in stride, turned up the sideline and dove inside the pylon for the score. The game was tied a 21 with 8:41 left.
Then, with 5:59 left, Richardson struck again. John Glenn QB Justin Heacock was hit by Trey Uetrecht as he released his pass. The ball fluttered right to Richardson, who scampered 46 yards to give CM a lead it would not relinquish.
“He’s a threat, and we’re going to use him when we need to,” McSurley said. “That’s one of the best high school performances I’ve seen since I’ve been coaching.
“It’s nice to have him on our team. I can guarantee you that.”
Big Red awaits
A familiar foe awaits in the state championship game next week.
Clinton-Massie will play Steubenville 3 p.m. next Saturday at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium. Steubenville rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Shelby 35-22 Friday at the University of Akron.
Steubenville and Clinton-Massie were unlikely schedule-mates two years ago. Thanks to the loss of Waynesville on the schedule, the Falcons and Big Red connected for a one-game series in Steubenville.
In front of nearly 10,000 Big Red fans, Steubenville pulled away late for a 37-18 victory.
Stark County reunion
As the OHSAA state football championship games return to Stark County, so do the Clinton-Massie Falcons.
The state championship weekend made a three-year stop in Columbus at Ohio Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University.
The last time the state finals were in Stark County was in 2013. That year, the Falcons defeated Youngstown Cardinal Mooney 27-21 at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
Bayle Wolf’s two-yard touchdown run with 70 seconds remaining gave Clinton-Massie the second of back-to-back state titles.
This year, all seven state title games will be held at the newly-renovated Fawcett Stadium in Canton. According to The Canton Repository, the renovations to the 23,000-seat stadium adjacent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame cost $137 million.
Clinton-Massie won its first state title in 2012 at Fawcett Stadium. In a wild shootout, the Falcons defeated St. Clairsville 46-36. The game still ranks fifth in combined yards in a state title game (988), and that Falcon team is second all-time in points scored in a season (822), only eclipsed by the 2014 Athens Bulldogs.
A Wilmington connection
One John Glenn player with a local tie had a solid night on defense for the Little Muskies.
Parker Zachrich, defensive back for the Little Muskies, is the grandson of Wilmington’s Butch and Dollie Peelle. Parker is the son of Tracey Peele Zachrich, a 1988 graduate of Wilmington High School, and nephew of Carrie Peelle Zeigler.
Zachrich finished Friday’s game with 4 tackles, 3 solo, in John Glenn’s 28-21 season-ending loss.
Coming into Friday’s game he was in on 60 tackles this season for JG and led the team with 8 pass break-ups.
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton