ADAMS TOWNSHIP — Clinton-Massie head coach Dan McSurley believes two things stacked the deck against his Falcons going in to the playoff game Saturday night with Valley View.
“Our first five games prepared us for our league,” he said in the aftermath of a 42-28 loss to the Spartans at Frank Irelan Field. “The league didn’t prepare us for the playoffs. It’s obvious.
“We played a lot of 10th graders and that’s not a good situation either in the playoffs.”
Massie finishes its season at 9-2 and a Div. IV Region 16 quarterfinal exit for the first time since 2008 when Badin defeated Clinton-Massie 33-28 in overtime.
The Spartans (9-2) will play Roger Bacon 7 p.m. Saturday at Lakota West High School in the region’s semifinal round. Wyoming and Indian Hill will meet in the other semifinal 7 p.m. Saturday at Princeton High School.
Clinton-Massie swept through the SBAAC American Division, winning all five games by an average margin of 41 points. Valley View, on the other hand, finished third in the Southwestern Division of the Southwest Buckeye League. The Spartans lost league games in weeks 6 and 7 and defeated playoff qualifier Milton-Union in a week 8 slugfest.
“When you sleepwalk through six weeks and play a playoff team, this is what happens,” McSurley said. “They (Spartans) had some really close ballgames (late in the season) and that was the difference, period.”
To avoid another first-round exit, Massie will have to prepare differently in 2020 than it did in 2019.
“It was a good year,” McSurley said. “I told the young guys (who can return next season) remember the fact that next year we can’t control who we play. We have to focus on ourselves and we have to prepare as if we’re going to play a week 11 game. Not saying our seniors didn’t but it’s so hard. You can’t simulate it in practice. If you’re not getting it in the games, you have to do the best you can, coach as hard as you can, try to keep your kids engaged and motivated.”
The Falcons needed to be motivated to stop the Spartans passing game. Quarterback Cade Cradlebaugh and receivers Troy Coulter and Ben Owens combined for 12 catches, 279 yards and all five touchdowns. Massie simply had no answer for that trio.
“They exploited us in the secondary,” McSurley said. “They had some mismatches on us. They had a really dynamic quarterback, tough kid to bring down. They had tall receivers we couldn’t match up with.”
And still Massie had a shot at the victory. After going down 35-14 in the third, the Falcons maintained their game plan and ran the ball right at the Spartans. Early it wasn’t effective but as the game went on, Massie’s depth began to win. Brendan Lamb, who had 189 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, scored at 2:45 of the third and 8:04 of the fourth to get the Falcons within 35-28.
“We couldn’t get a big play early in the game but I thought we wore them down a little,” McSurley said. “Felt we started learning on them pretty good.”
But Valley View took a breath and Cradlebaugh led the way. The left-handed signal caller converted with successful passes a third and eight, a second and 20 and then a third and six on the decisive drive. The third and six play was a 28-yard touchdown pass to Coulter who reached the end zone and ended the Falcons season.
“That killed us,” McSurley said of his defense’s inability to stop the Spartans. “Third and eight, second and 20 … we just couldn’t get off the field.”
Nov 9, 2019
@Frank Irelan Field
OHSAA Div 4 Region 16
Valley View 42 Clinton-Massie 28
CM-Robby Frederick 1 yard run (Trevor McGuinness PAT) 6:35
VV-Fumble recovered in end zone (PAT good) 3:55
CM-Tate Olberding 7 yard pass from Kody Zantene (Trevor McGuinness PAT) 8:17
VV-Troy Coulter 2 yard pass from Cradlebaugh (PAT good) 6:59
VV-Ben Owens 10 yard pass from Cade Cradlebaugh (PAT Good) 22.9
VV-Ben Owens 74 yard pass from Cradlebaugh (PAT Good) 11:43
VV-Troy Coulter 46 yard pass from Cradlebaugh (PAT Good) 9:23)
CM-Brendan Lamb 33 yard run (McGuinness PAT) 2:45
CM-Brendan Lamb 16 yard run (Trevor McGuinness PAT) 8:04
VV-Coulter 28 yard pass from Cradlebaugh (PAT Good) 2:57
Time of Poss^17:28^30:32
Rush: VV-Cade Cradlebaugh 13-50, Dylan Branham 5-44, Lucas Lynch 4-18, Liam Musgrove 2-10; CM-Brendan Lamb 34-189, Robby Frederick 10-53, Carson Vanhoose 9-19, Garrett Trampler 2-6, Kody Zantene 4-(-12)
Pass: VV-Cade Cradlebaugh 13-19-0, 305 yards; CM-Kody Zantene 2-9-2, 49 yards; Brendan Lamb 1-1-0, 8 yards; Devon Noble 1-1-0, 0 yards
Receiving: VV-Coulter 9-184, Owens 3-95, Lynch 1-26; CM-Ireland 1-42, Olberding 3-15
Tackles: CM-Braxton Green 6.5, Carter Frank 5.5, Blake Ireland 3.5, Tate Olberding 3, Garrett Trampler 2, Cayden Clutter 2, Devon Noble 1, Kody Zantene 1, Brody Muterspaw 1, Daelin Maple 1, Brock Speaks 1 Noah Corbett 1, Colton Trampler 1
Reach Mark Huber at 937-382-2574, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports