ADAMS TOWNSHIP — Clinton-Massie’s schedule is chock full of winning football teams, Anderson, Columbus DeSales, Western Brown.
On the other hand, there are plenty of teams who struggled in 2021. Therefore, Massie had to maintain sharp focus to not only beat the good teams but make sure the teams that struggled didn’t pull off an upset.
“We come out to get business done,” said senior Colton Trampler, who was named the SBAAC American Division defensive player of the year. “We don’t ride the highs very long and when there are lows we don’t wallow in it.”
Clinton-Massie’s season continues 7 p.m. Friday when Waverly comes to Frank Irelan Field for a Div. IV Region 16 matchup. The Falcons defeated the Tigers 31-28 in last season’s playoff thriller.
In the regular season, Massie never played back to back teams with winning records. The Falcons finished with three teams with losing records to prepare for the playoffs.
Kody Zantene, quarterback and defensive back, said the seniors have helped navigate the team through the up and down schedule.
“This senior group … you never know when it’s going to be your last game,” he said. “Just get better each game. Don’t worry about your opponent, just get better.”
And the Falcons have done that in 2021.
Carter Frank, talented running back who missed the last half of 2020f because of an injury, said his experience as a sophomore provides a driving force when it comes to preparation.
“Making sure everybody was ready to play, not overlooking anybody,” he said. “My sophomore year that happened with Valley View (a Massie loss). We just have to know everything we can about our opponents. Learn from our mistakes.”
Unlike the playoffs, many teams on the Massie regular season schedule have very little chance of knocking off the Falcons.
With that in mind, Trampler points to his squad’s practice habits.
“We work everyday on being better,” he said. “Practice is sometimes more difficult than the games because of the level we hold each other to.”
• The senior class defeated Archbishop Moeller in a freshman game three seasons ago, sparking thoughts of a future state championship.
For Zantene, son of coach Jeskee Zantene, the win over Moeller didn’t really add to where most people believe the Falcons year should end … in Canton.
“The expectations here are always high,” he said. “It’s always the same goal, so there’s not really much pressure.”
• According to the Ohio High School Athletic Association, at least one school from every seed won a first-round playoff game last week. Overall in the first round, the better seeded teams went 191-33 at home for an 85.3 winning percentage.
In the final three years (2017-19) of the previous playoff format when the top eight schools per region qualified and only seeds No. 1 through No. 4 hosted, the better seeded teams won their first-round games at a 74.4 winning percentage (250-86).
• CM head coach Dan McSurley wasn’t a fan of the 16-team playoff until last week.
“At first I thought it was a bad idea,” he said. “However after some higher seeds lost to some real low seeds, it kinda changed my opinion.”
McSurley hopes with a more teams advancing to the playoffs, there will be less pressure to schedule easy wins.
“A lot of schools won’t schedule strong programs for fear of losing and not making the playoffs,” he said. “This may change that mindset.”