Sometimes the other team is just better.
Maybe not “forever” better.
But “on this day” better.
Such was the case Saturday in Canton.
Clinton-Massie hasn’t experienced losing much in Dan McSurley’s 22 seasons. And you can certainly count on one hand the number of times the Falcons were “upset” by an underdog team.
The 50-36 loss in the OHSAA Div. IV state championship game to Steubenville does not fall into that category.
The Big Red was the real deal on a crisp fall Saturday in Canton.
And you just have to tip your cap to them and say, “Well done.”
“I said all along my greatest fear is getting beat by a lesser team,” McSurley said in the post-game press conference in the bowels of Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. “If you can give everything you’ve got, and get beat by a better team, that’s all you can do.”
Steubenville was the second straight team to dominate Clinton-Massie statistically.
Last week, John Glenn held a 415 to 189 advantage in yards gained yet the Falcons won 28-21.
On Saturday, the difference in numbers was a smidge greater – 464 to 233 – but it had the feel of a much bigger margin.
“It was a matchup issue,” McSurley said. “You kinda could tell. I’ve done this for 32 years, when there is a matchup issue … sometimes the matchups just don’t work out for you. They had athletes galore.”
Jacob Bernard was one of those athletes. A 5-10, 185-pound senior running back gashed the Massie defense for 84 yards and a touchdown on just eight rushes in the opening quarter. The Falcons contained him in the second period – four rushes for 11 yards – and he didn’t carry the ball the rest of the game because of an injury.
But up stepped Javon Davis who carried the Big Red to the state crown.
With Bernard running over and around the Falcons early, Davis wasn’t much of a factor on the ground. He had 5 attempts for 12 yards in the first half.
He was, however, dominant in the passing game where his strong arm was a difference-maker. The son of a former Arena football league player and nephew of former NFL quarterback Nate Davis, Javon was 5 for 5 passing for 109 yards and two touchdowns in the first period and 2 for 3 for 78 yards an two more scores in the second.
That’s four touchdowns on seven completions. That’s Stulz to Richardson type efficiency.
Without the injured Bernard in the second half, Davis’ running skills were unleashed. He helped close out the win by running six times in the fourth quarter for 71 yards and two touchdowns, one a dazzling 44-yard scamper to the end zone that made it 50-29 and all but seal the Falcons’ fate.
That Massie rallied from a 27-7 deficit in the first half to close within 36-29 was nothing short of monumental.
“We kind of limped into this thing,” McSurley said. “We’re a small school and don’t have a lot of depth at some positions. We weren’t 100 percent coming in to the state championship game.”
And despite a banged-up offensive line and backfield, McSurley was more than happy with what he saw from his players and coaches during the week and on game day.
“They (Steubenville) have 21 coaches … I have three volunteer coaches and three (paid) assistants,” he said. “I thought it was a great team effort all the way around.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports