PLAIN CITY — Clinton-Massie is back in the Division IV football state title game for the first time since 2017 and will be looking for a third state title to add to the trophy case along with the back-to-back crowns in 2012 and 2013.
The Falcons (13-1) earned the trip to Canton’s Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium with a 24-21 victory over previously unbeaten Carroll Bloom-Carroll (14-1) Friday at Jonathan Alder High School.
Massie will play Youngstown Ursuline (11-3) for the state championship 10:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 3. Ursuline owns quite the state championship pedigree as well, taking home the top prize in 2000 and 2008 through 2010.
“We’re going to state. There’s only two teams left in the state in Division IV. We’re one of them,” CM head coach Dan McSurley said.
Clinton-Massie overcame Bloom-Carroll’s 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the game, two fumbles and a missed field goal to lead 14-7 at the break.
Carter Frank had both Massie scores in the first half, a 50-yard scamper on the first play of the second quarter during which he stiff-armed a defender away at the 20 and a 20-yard dash to the pylon with 4:44 left in the half.
The Bulldogs ran just four plays in Massie territory in the first half.
“That kickoff to start the game, we could’ve sputtered, but our kids kept their poise, came back, played our football,” McSurley said. “We knew we were going to get the ball back (to start the second half). We had a couple nice adjustments offensively. We were fine defensively. Our defense played a hell of a game.”
Massie chewed nearly half the third quarter clock to open the second half, marching 73 yards in 11 plays to the Bloom-Carroll 4 where it settled for a 21-yard field goal and 17-7 lead. The big play on the drive was Carson Vanhoose’s 42-yard run to the Bulldog 35, helped in part when CM quarterback Kody Zantene leveled a defender with a devastating block.
“That was a big one, man,” McSurley said, lighting up when asked about the block.
One play after Massie’s third fumble of the evening, Bloom-Carroll used a 31-yard halfback pass for a touchdown to pull within 17-14.
“We had it practiced. We had it snuffed out. It wasn’t unexpected. We just didn’t execute the play,” McSurley said. “Anytime after a turnover, that’s what you try to do, pull one out of the bag, and that’s what they did.”
However, Massie answered with a 10-play, 63-yard, 4:14 drive that ended when Colton Trampler rumbled into the end zone from three yards out.
The Bulldogs trimmed Massie’s lead back to three, 24-21, with 3:29 left in the game when KJ Benedict hit Brandon Totten in the back of the end zone for a five-yard TD pass. Bloom-Carroll’s drive started at Massie’s 49 thanks to a short punt.
Bloom-Carroll had a chance for victory after stopping a Massie fake punt attempt, which included recovering another Massie fumble at the Falcon 33. However, the Bulldogs fumbled the ball back to Massie at the 3 with 2:14 left in the game.
Massie was able to run out the clock to secure its trip to Canton.
“We just punted out here on the 30 and we had a 10-yard net, and they were close to blocking it. It was 4th-and-3. We had practiced that for the last two to three weeks. It was there. Rather than having a block or a bad punt, let’s go for it, and get the first down and win the game,” McSurley said. “But it didn’t work out like that.
“We were going to have to play defense. It got hairy right there. We made a couple big stops.”
Final stats can be found at https://stats.digitalscout.com/football/boys/game/14564081.
November 26, 2021
@Jonathan Alder High School
Clinton-Massie 24 Bloom-Carroll 21
BC – Armentrout 85 kickoff return (McKee kick), 11:45.
CM – Frank 50 run (McGuinness kick), 11:52.
CM – Frank 20 run (McGuiness kick), 4:44.
CM – McGuinness 21 FG, 6:22.
BC – Totten 30 pass from Wisecarver (McKee kick), 3:20.
CM – Tramper 4 run (McGuinness kick), 10:46.
BC – Totten 6 pass from Benedict (McKee kick), 3:29.