Stepping up: Falcons a pretty gritty little team


Late defense, last drive show McSurley his Falcons are growing

By Mark Huber - mhuber@wnewsj.com



Cayden Clutter (5) was the bellcow back on the final Clinton-Massie drive last week in a 31-28 win over Waverly.

Cayden Clutter (5) was the bellcow back on the final Clinton-Massie drive last week in a 31-28 win over Waverly.


Elizabeth Clark | News Journal

Bryce Scalf (23) had a pass break-up to end Waverly’s last offensive possession last week. The Falcons won the game 31-28.


Elizabeth Clark | News Journal

This deep in a normal high school football season, there aren’t many surprises.

The 2020 high school football season was anything but normal.

With Covid-19 cancelling games and causing regular season contests after the playoffs, 2020 has presented unexpected turns at every corner.

Clinton-Massie head coach Dan McSurley and his coaching staff have been trying to fix a pass defense that has surrendered plenty of points and yards.

But no losses.

“I feel like not having any 7-on-7 scrimmages due to Covid before the season had a lot to do with our problems early in the year,” said senior Cayden Clutter. “We have been working hard to improve that side of the ball and I feel like it has shown.”

That “no losses” prospect was in jeopardy, however, when the Falcons punted to Waverly in last week’s game with the score tied 28-28. There was 7:08 to play in the fourth quarter.

The visiting Tigers already had four passing touchdowns and seemed destined to make it five and end the Falcons’ season.

Waverly started its drive 64 yards from the end zone. Completed passes of 5, 7 and 21 yards moved the ball to the Massie 31.

Two runs, inexplicable to be honest given the passing proficiency, put the Tigers back a yard. A third down pass gained 5 and set the stage for a defensive stand.

It was 4th down and 6 at the CM 27. Just over 5 minutes remained on the clock. The Massie offense had 2 fourth quarter yards, so any deficit might have appeared too much to overcome.

But on that fourth down play — and subsequent offensive drive — the Falcons stepped to the fore. Bryce Scalf broke up the pass on defense to give Massie one last shot at securing a victory. The offense, and kicker Trevor McGuinness, took over and made it happen.

“Our defense always steps up when it matters most and that’s what I love about those guys,” said senior Brody Muterspaw.

McSurley, in the driver’s seat of the Clinton-Massie football program since 1997, found out his team, some of its players to be sure, grew up last Saturday.

“I learned we got a pretty gritty little team,” said McSurley. “We had multiple players step up to an extremely talented (Waverly) team loaded with skilled and experienced players. I think that game will provide a lot of confidence for players like Keegan Lamb, Bryce Scalf, Braden Rolf and even Trevor McGuinness.”

Cayden Clutter (5) was the bellcow back on the final Clinton-Massie drive last week in a 31-28 win over Waverly.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/11/web1_FB10_CaydenClutter_1031ec-1.jpgCayden Clutter (5) was the bellcow back on the final Clinton-Massie drive last week in a 31-28 win over Waverly. Elizabeth Clark | News Journal

Bryce Scalf (23) had a pass break-up to end Waverly’s last offensive possession last week. The Falcons won the game 31-28.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/11/web1_FB11_scalf.jpgBryce Scalf (23) had a pass break-up to end Waverly’s last offensive possession last week. The Falcons won the game 31-28. Elizabeth Clark | News Journal
Late defense, last drive show McSurley his Falcons are growing

By Mark Huber

mhuber@wnewsj.com

Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email mhuber@wnewsj.com or on Twitter @wnjsports

Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email mhuber@wnewsj.com or on Twitter @wnjsports