ADAMS TWP. – The Ohio Division IV Championship football game in Canton this Saturday will be the last time some of the Falcons take to the field after a decade as teammates. Many of the seniors first ran on to the field together as third-grade students while playing for Clinton-Massie’s Pee-Wee football team.
According to head coach Dan McSurley, one of the strengths in the Clinton-Massie High School football program is the length and depth of experience many players have.
Many of the seniors playing in the state championship game Saturday have played together since third grade (through the pee-wee football program) and continued on as teammates through middle school and high school.
“One of the keys to our success is the flexibility of our players. They’ve been running the wishbone and our program for a lot of years.” said McSurley.
He feels that this allows flexibility to move players around when needed due to injuries and other reasons. “If we have a running back injured, we can move a defensive player into that spot because they know the program, they know the plays, and they know each other,” he said.
Senior teammates such as Weston Trampler and Christian Poynter have played together every year since third grade. The Ohio Division IV Championship game will likely be the last time they play together on the same team.
With a recent injury slowing Poynter down, Trampler has stepped into an offensive role and now has several touchdowns on the books. Poynter plans to play in Saturday’s state championship game and feels ready to face the Big Red from Steubenville.
“That’s just crazy to think about.” Trampler stated as he looked at old team photographs.
Poynter, currently a halfback with 1,434 yards behind him this season, has kept the number “30” jersey throughout the last 10 years. Looking at the third-grade team photo, Poynter reflected, “There’s Sam Brothers, Cody Collingham, Ashdain Adams, Grant Rudy.”
While many look at the path the Falcons have taken this season to earn their place in the Division IV State Championship game, for some of the players, this journey started 10 years ago.