That’s all Clinton-Massie’s vaunted offense had to negotiate in order to beat Waverly last week in a Region 16 semifinal game at Frank Irelan Field.
No biggee, right?
Well, the Falcons offense had limited time on the field in the fourth quarter against the Tigers stout defense. Six plays, one of them a punt, produced just two yards and a fumble.
Picking up 73 wasn’t a guarantee.
Fans were on edge.
Coaches and players were calm outside but stomachs were churning on the inside.
The game was tied 28-28. There was 5:08 on the clock.
Could this be the end of the Falcons’ 2020 run?
“The coaches just told us to do what we had done all year and told us that the game was in our (offensive line) hands and we knew we had to take care of business and go win the game,” confident lineman Brody Muterspaw said. “I felt good about the drive because we’ve had plenty of big drives this year and have always got the job done.”
Many of those big drives, however, were one or two plays then Carson Vanhoose or Carter Frank or Cayden Clutter or Colton Trampler or Kody Zantene would bust a long touchdown run.
But Waverly wasn’t likely to be as forgiving. Though Massie finished with 340 yards on the ground, they accumulated those numbers at just under 6 yards a try. That’s a far cry from a season average coming in to the game of more than 9 yards per carry.
So, 73 yards must have seemed like a mile to some. Not Clutter.
“We went out there and we knew what we had to do. We have been in those situations before,” he said.
Clutter believes the Falcons had finally wore down the Tigers, something Massie does to a lot of teams.
“We knew they were tired and that it was time to take advantage of that,” Clutter added.
As the drive began, head coach Dan McSurley looked up kicker Trevor McGuinness on the sidelines.
“I told Trevor to start warming up when we got the ball back after Bryce Scalf broke up the pass on the fourth down play,” McSurley said.
The 5-11, 200-pound Clutter turned out to be the bellcow on the final drive. He carried 6 times for 28 yards.
Vanhoose (4-31), Trampler (2-5) and Zantene (1-2) also carried the ball as the offensive line of Muterspaw, Joe Baughman, Garrett Vance, Colton Doyle and Lane Schulz paved the way. In all, with the drive ending at the WHS 7, Massie went 66 yards in 13 plays, all rushes.
Said Clutter of the O-line, “They are the heart of the team and, to be honest with you, all we did was run through the holes they created for us. That drive was all on them.”
Still, the outcome came down to the leg of McGuinness. McSurley was confident even though his kicker had not attempted a field goal all season.
“I remember him smiling,” McSurley said of his meeting with McGuinness as the final drive got underway. “I felt pretty good about him making that kick.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email email@example.com or on Twitter @wnjsports