Clinton-Massie’s defense will be faced, yet again, with a high-powered offense in Friday’s state championship game.
Youngstown Ursuline may be the best of them all.
Clinton-Massie (13-1) will meet Ursuline 10:30 a.m. Friday in the OHSAA Div. IV state championship game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.
The Fighting Irish (11-3) has their offense on cruise control, totaling 612 points in 14 games. Ursuline got off to a 4-3 start — including a 36-27 loss at Division III state finalist Chardon in the third week. The Irish have won seven straight games, averaging 47.6 points a game during their winning streak.
“We are not the type of team that does the same thing every year,” Ursuline head coach Dan Reardon said on a statewide teleconference Tuesday morning. “This year, we’re mostly a spread team, playing with one running back and four receivers.
“But we’re always of the mindset to get the best players on the field, regardless of position. So from year to year, we may look different. Once we figure out who those best players are, we narrow it down and try to play to their strengths.”
The best player on the Fighting Irish squad is running back DeMarcus McElroy, a 5-8, 183-pound dynamo.
In 14 games, McElroy has rushed 315 times for 2,191 yards and 41 touchdowns. McElroy has nine touchdowns in his last seven quarters. Wyoming’s CJ Hester was a talented back and Massie contained him but McElroy is clearly on a different level.
“They’re very explosive,” CM head coach Dan McSurley said. “Their quarterback (Brady Shannon) does a nice job running the offense The McElroy kid is something. They have a good group of receivers. We’re going to have to contain them.”
McElroy, while the leading rusher on the YU team last season, was more of a defensive stalwart for the Irish.
“If you look at the numbers (last year), you’d say he really blew it up on offense, and he did, but he was much more valuable last year on defense,” Reardon said.
As a runner, McElroy has “good vision and patience. He’s not the biggest kid but he’s strong, really good in between the tackle. He’s talented but he works his butt off for us.”
Shannon is a big (6-3, 210) quarterback who has thrown for 2,647 yards and 27 touchdowns. Shannon broke the school passing record set by Darryl Clark, who went on to start at Penn State. Shannon has accepted a baseball scholarship to the University of Central Florida.
Four Irish receivers have 28 or more receptions, with Dean Boyd leading the way with a 52-916-9 receiving line.
• From the For What It’s Worth Dept., Ursuline defeated Bishop Hartley 62-58 in the season opener and Hartley defeated St. Francis De Sales 31-20 who lost to Clinton-Massie 17-7.
• Adult tickets for the state championship game is $15 with student tickets set at $12. All tickets must be purchased online at www.hofvillage.com.
• Parking information for Tom Benson’s Hall of Fame Stadium is online at www.hofvillage.com. Parking around the stadium in residential neighborhoods is available at the homeowner’s discretion. Parking is prohibited on city streets. Handicap parking is available in Lots A and C. There is limited paid parking ($10) available at McKinley High School next to the Hall of Fame as well as adjacent neighborhoods.
• The bag policy for the state championship games is the same as for an NFL game. More on that at www.hofvillage.com.
• As for items not permitted inside the stadium, those are but not limited to bags that are not clear, cinch bags, coolers of any kind, diaper bags, large purses, noisemaking devices, plastic bottles, signage, strollers, thermoses and umbrellas.
• Ursuline is in the state title game for the sixth time — winning in 2000, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and finishing as state runner-up in 2007.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email email@example.com or on Twitter @wnjsports