The uncertainty Covid-19 has put on everyone is an added element players and coaches of high school football teams have to deal with.
As the number of students in quarantine rises at Clinton-Massie, football coach Dan McSurley, his staff and players have to be extra careful as they continue their quest for a state championship.
So last week’s bye week was welcomed, wholeheartedly. And not for physical reasons.
“Covid has really challenged the coaching staff,” McSurley said. “With everything going on with the virus, it’s been very stressful. It’s such a grind. We needed that week off.
“We have coaches that deal with football and are also responsible for in-person and online instruction during their day job. That schedule is incredibly difficult, given our team expectations. The more any team has to deal with, the more stress we put on them. Believe me that’s tough.”
The Falcons, 7-0 on the year, will face Bethel-Tate 7 p.m. Saturday night at Frank Irelan Field in a Division IV Region 16 playoff game.
The two teams were champions of their respective divisions in the SBAAC, Massie in the American and Bethel-Tate in the National.
“This week is kinda like the (SBAAC) football World Series; American versus National of the SBC,” said McSurley. “Why we can’t play each other in the regular season is beyond me.”
The teams last met in 2003 and 2004. Massie won those games by scores of 50-0 and 56-0.
The Tigers lost their first game of the season to New Richmond, 27-18, but have won seven straight games since then, including 54-14 over Urbana and 22-17 over Waynesville in the playoffs.
“They’re a passing team,” McSurley said. “With the teams we’ve played so far, I think we’re ready to take it on. We just have to do what we do and win and move on.”
BT quarterback Chris Long has been good this season but has really stepped up his play in the playoffs, going 37-74 for 618 yards and 10 touchdowns in the two wins.
Running back Mikey Molloy has 431 yards and two touchdowns in the past three games.
Gauge Dunn has 13 receptions for 142 yards and five touchdowns in the playoffs.
The Tigers defense has caused 15 turnovers. Patrick Salvatore and Owen Mattes are the defensive leaders for the Tigers.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports