Rare is the occasion the game’s very first drive can have a big momentum shift that changes the tone of the game, but it certainly did when Clinton-Massie stuffed Waverly on 4th-and-2 at Massie’s 47 with just two-and-a-half minutes into the game. “It was huge,” CM head coach Dan McSurley said. “It got us jacked up. Then we scored on the next series and it cascaded after that.”

Second-quarter heartbreak

With Massie up 14-6 late in the first quarter, Waverly was driving to tie the game. Aided by a roughing the punter penalty, the Tigers marched to the Falcon 5. On 4th-and-2, Wade Futhey hit Penn Morrison at the 3. Morrison spun out of a tackle and walked two more yards before stretching the ball out for what he thought was a touchdown. However, a Falcon knocked the ball out of Morrison’s hand and another Falcon recovered.

“They said he wasn’t across the line. I don’t know. In all reality, he shouldn’t have done that and should have finished it. He thought he was close enough. It was a great play by their kid. But, again, I don’t have end zone film, but what I’ve seen or what we saw, it probably was a touchdown. If he just gets in the end zone, it’s a moot point. It was probably something that didn’t need to happen,” Waverly head coach Chris Crabtree said.

Waverly did force a Massie punt on the ensuring drive but Morrison muffed the punt and Massie recovered.

“He just dropped it, and their kids hustled down the field and our guy didn’t get on it quick enough,” Crabtree said. “Those are examples of things you can’t do against really good programs. Those are example of mistakes that can cost you. We probably really never got momentum on our side, which in games like this is key.”

Carson Van Hoose scored the second of his five touchdowns to put Massie up 21-6.

What a difference a year makes

This year’s edition of Waverly-Massie was much different than last year’s thriller that ended with a Massie field goal. Last year, Waverly outgained Massie 407-340 and had no turnovers. This year, Massie outgained Waverly 475-255 and Waverly had four touchdowns. But CM head coach Dan McSurley said having a healthy secondary was a huge difference this year. “We were without Carter Frank. Blake Ireland had a broken leg. So that was a big difference.”

The great Zantene gets defensive

Quarterbacks should stay away from interceptions, but not when you’re Clinton-Massie’s Kody Zantene who spends half the game on the other side of the ball. He’s thrown one INT as a quarterback but has picked off his counterpart on four occasions, including Friday against Waverly. “He’s our quarterback on the defensive said of the ball,” CM head coach Dan McSurley said. “He gets guys in position, makes the calls, he’s like an extension of the coach on defense.” When asked if Zantene reminded him of anyone, he mentioned Coldwater great Brody Hoying who was an Associated Press Division V Ohio Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team all-conference selection as a defensive back. “This kid can play, flat out,” McSurley added about Zantene.

Four-headed monster

Clinton-Massie has four players with at least 770 yards of total offense this year – Carson Van Hoose (1,530), Kody Zantene (892), Carter Frank (851) and Colton Trampler (776) – according to Massie’s stats. “Trampler, you have to load up on him. And when you load up on Trampler, you can’t put four or five guys on not expect Carson to take it to the house. It’s a nice combination of four guys in the backfield. If you stop one of them, you can’t stop the other two. And then you throw Kody in the mix, it’s tough. The wishbone in November is tough to stop when you’re executing.”

Wyoming, we meet again

Clinton-Massie will face Wyoming in a Region 16 semifinal Friday, Nov. 12, at a site to be determined. Massie defeated Wyoming 28-7 in 2017 on its way to the state title game. Last year, Wyoming won the Region 16 title game over Massie 28-9, holding Massie without a touchdown for the first time since 2016. Last year, Massie entered the game as the Associated Press Division IV poll champion. This year Wyoming holds that title. McSurley said he expects “a power football team that can throw it when it needs to.” C.J. Hester leads Wyoming with 2,207 yards and 33 touchdowns (entering Friday’s playoff game versus St. Paris Graham).

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By Shawn Robinson

WNJ Sports Writer