CINCINNATI — Kody Zantene was one of the last players off the pile when the final whistle blew Friday night in Clinton-Massie’s heart-stopping 28-27 win over McNicholas for the Region 16 title at Pat Mancuso Field at Princeton High School.
The Massie senior quarterback and safety was, admittedly, smoked on the play by Rockets running back Ty Snyder.
“He blindsided me and I didn’t see him,” Zantene said.
Though he was the last to get up, Zantene said, “I’m fine,” after the celebration had subsided.
• The regional title game final scores Friday night were Region 15 final, Bloom Carroll over St. Clairsville 14-3, in Region 14 it was Port Clinton over defending state champion Van Wert 49-21 and in Region 13 it was Youngstown Ursuline 64 Beloit West Branch 35.
So it’s Clinton-Massie against Bloom Carroll in one state semifinal and Youngstown Ursuline against Port Clinton in the other semifinal.
The site for all state semifinal games will be announced Sunday by the OHSAA.
• Defensive coordinator Scott Rolf said he “coached harder than I ever have” in this epic contest.
On the final play, Colton Trampler — Rolf’s hands-down choice for defensive player of the year in Southwest Ohio — waded his way through a myriad of players to take down McNicholas quarterback Pierce Taylor before he could reach the end zone to preserve the Falcons’ berth in the Div. IV Final Four.
Rolf said this group of players and coaches watches more film than any he’s been associated with in the past.
• Rolf was the topic on many people’s minds after the game. Because the final play took place on the opposite side of the field of the Falcons sidelines, the outcome was in doubt until the officials could be seen waving off the two-point attempt.
Rolf was asked by many people after the game if he was OK but he’s not sure why. He couldn’t see the final play and may not have reacted as quickly as others but he was clearly in control, just cautious with his celebration.
• Nate Wildermuth was all over the field Friday for the Massie defense, recording 12 tackles, including 11 solos, and five tackles for loss.
• It’s been a while that Clinton-Massie has had multiple 100-yard rushers and one of them wasn’t Carson Vanhoose.
In fact, you have to go back to September 20, 2019 in a 38-3 win over Blanchester. Brendan Lamb rushed for 255 yards and Robby Frederick ran for 100. Vanhoose had four rushes for nine yards in that game.