FINDLAY — Clinton-Massie’s two-point conversion with 39 seconds to play failed and Avon Lake held on for a thrilling 24-23 victory Friday night here at Donnell Stadium.
The Falcons made a game of it after trailing 17-7.
But the final drive seemed almost improbable as Massie was faced with 90 yards and 1:38 to play to win the game. The Falcons trailed 24-17.
After losing a yard on the first play, Clinton-Massie went into its bag of tricks when Devon Noble threw a beautiful spiral to Carson Vanhoose that gained 75 yards. The end-around reverse pass put the ball at the 15.
“We put that play in this week (in practice),” CM coach Dan McSurley said.
On the next play, Brendan Lamb ran around the right end for an easy touchdown to make it 24-23.
After kicker Trevor McGuinness went out to kick the extra point, McSurley called timeout and reconsidered. He went instead with a two-point conversion pass play that Avon Lake sniffed out and swarmed quarterback Tate Olberding. The wobbly pass hit the turf and ended the Massie hopes.
“I fully intended on going for two,” McSurley said just outside the team locker-room. “The play was open. The way the game went, you have to go for the win.”
The outcome evens both teams’ records at 1-1 on the year.
“(Avon Lake) is a hell of a football team,” said McSurley. “We stepped up. Our kids played with so much heart. It would have been great to win but I think what we got out of this game was incredible. Our kids know now how good they can be when we get all the pieces together.”
On their opening drive of the game, the Shoremen put together an impressive series of runs and passes (6 plays, 67 yards) and reached paydirt at the 7:00 when Griffin Lidyard scored from 3 yards out.
After going back 4 yards on its opening series, Massie gained some traction on its second drive, buoyed by a 39 yard run around left end by Carson Vanhoose.
But that drive ended with a Brendan Lamb fumble that was recovered by Alex Padgett at the 28.
Avon Lake went right back on the prowl, putting together another strong drive.
Tate Olberding ended that drive with a nifty 72-yard interception return for a touchdown as time expired in the first quarter. Trevor McGuinness added the extra point to tie the game 7-7.
Gage Duesler took over the next series for the Shoremen, running four straight times for 36 yards. A penalty temporarily stalled the drive and AL settled for a 34-yard Hebert field goal to take a 10-7 lead at 8:52.
Massie defender Cayden Clutter made a nice open field tackle to force a punt on the next Avon Lake drive. However, that punt pinned the Falcons at their own 5 yard line.
Braxton Green almost single-handedly halted a Shoreman drive on the next series, picking up a quarterback sack and then getting a quarterback hurry on a two-man rush. Those key defensive plays forced an AL punt, another play that put the Falcons inside the 5 at the 1 with 22 seconds to play in the first.
The Shoremen went 65 yards in 10 plays to open the third period with a touchdown. But the controversial play came early in the drive when Massie appeared to either … 1, stop Avon Lake on a fourth and 1 play, or 2, recover a fumble.
As it turned out, neither happened the Avon Lake was awarded a first down, much to the chagrin of Clinton-Massie head coach Dan McSurley.
Six plays later, Gage Duesler scored from 27 yards out as AL went up 17-7.
Massie answered with a Trevor McGuinness 25 yard field goal at 2:24, a drive kept alive with a 32 yard run by Carson Vanhoose on a fourth down fake punt play. Still CM trailed 17-10.
However on its next offensive possession, the Falcons looked like a Massie team of old. Vanhoose had a big run as did Frederick, who showed off his side-stepping footwork to avoid a couple of would-be tacklers. Following the fullback’s 22 yard run, Lamb hit paydirt with a strong 33 yard jaunt. McGuinness tied the game with the extra point with 8:24 to play in the fourth quarter.
Sept 6 2019
@Donnell Stadium, Findlay
Avon Lake 24 Clinton-Masie 23
AL-Griffin Lidyard 3 yard run (Harry Hebert kick) 7:00
CM-Tate Olberding 72 yard interception return (Trevor McGuinness kick) 0:00
AL-Harry Hebert 34 yard field goal 8:52
AL-Gage Duesler 27 yard run (Harry Hebert kick) 8:09
CM-Trevor McGuinness 25 yard field goal 2:24
CM-Brendan Lamb 33 yard run (Trevor McGuinness kick) 8:24
AL-Gage Duesler 4 yard run (Harry Hebert kick) 1:44
CM-Brendan Lamb 15 yard run (Pass failed) 0:39
Mark Huber is on Twitter @wnjsports. He can be contacted by calling 937-556-5765.