To say Clinton-Massie’s 42-14 win over Wyoming last week was a lopsided contest would be an understatement.
Head coach Dan McSurley said his team was more than ready to face the team that knocked them out of the post-season in 2020.
“I think the Tri-State Football website really motivated our guys last week,” said McSurley. “It said that Wyoming’s defense was better than our (defense) and our offense wasn’t diverse enough to win. We kind’a used that as bulletin board material.”
Though the Cowboys led 8-7 at one point, once the Massie machine got rolling, the WHS defense offered little resistance even though the Falcons made no secret they were going to run the ball.
The Cowboys offense wasn’t much of a threat either. CJ Hester, the Div. IV Southwest District offensive player of the year, was bottled up on every play but one. His one big play was called back by penalty.
The Falcons, maybe not better than the Cowboys going in to the game, came out as the clear-cut best … in all phases of the game.
“We were prepared (for Hester) wherever he came from,” said Charley Hale, one of the Massie defensive ends charged with keeping the speedy Hester from getting to the perimeter.
“He was their guy,” McSurley said. “He wasn’t going to beat us. We were fortunate.”
• The OHSAA has released the matchups for next week’s state semifinal games. Div. IV games are on Friday night.
The McNicholas-Massie winner will play Van Wert if Van Wert wins against Port Clinton.
If Port Clinton wins the regional matchup with Van Wert, the Rockets or Falcons will meet either Bloom Carroll or St. Clairsville in the semifinal round.
The site for all state semifinal games will be announced Sunday by the OHSAA.
• McSurley said his squad is “pretty good health wise.” At this time of year, 12 games in to the season, the Falcons are in better shape physically than they have been in a several post-seasons.
• Massie’s dismantling of Wyoming was as complete a win as the Falcons have had in a number of years.
But there were a couple plays that stood out, one on each side of the ball.
First, Blake Ireland. Wyoming had an 8-7 lead after one quarter. The two teams traded punts in the second period before CM went back on offense at the CM 8. Three Carter Frank runs gave the Falcons a first down and some breathing room.
But Kody Zantene’s first down pass on the next play was ticketed for an interception in CM territory.
However, intended receiver Blake Ireland was quick-thinking enough to save Massie. Rather than try to knock the pass down — the Wyoming defender was between Ireland and Zantene — Ireland simply took the WHS defender out of the play with pass interference.
Instead of WHS ball, Massie took the 15 yard penalty, regrouped and scored four plays later.
“Blake came up big,” McSurley said. “We told them, ‘Guys, look, if you have to interfere, you have to interfere. You can’t give up the big play.”
On either side of the ball.
Second, Colton Trampler. With Massie up 21-8 late in the first half, Wyoming was driving. On a second and goal play from the CM 9, the Cowboys attempted a throwback pass to Hester. The standout runner (40 total touchdowns on the year) caught the ball at about the 12 and appeared to be in the open field.
Trampler, though, as if shot out of a cannon, made a bee-line to the WHS ball carrier and dropped him for a three-yard loss. That play typified the Falcons defensive prowess on this night.
“In the offseason I made it a point to become faster,” Trampler said. “I had the size to play defense and offense, but I felt like I was a step short on every play. I didn’t lose much weight but definitely got faster.”
Wyoming failed to score on that drive, Massie took the opening kick in the third period and scored to go up 28-8 and the game was all but over at that point.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email [email protected] or on Twitter @wnjsports