When two evenly-matched teams meet, the team that wins the turnover battle usually wins the game.
Not only the Falcons win the turnover battle in Friday’s regional semifinal against Valley View, but it was where Massie forced the turnovers that were critical in the 28-20 victory.
Clinton-Massie made two critical interceptions with Valley View driving for scores. The first was in the final minute of the first half. Collin Wood had running back Collin Genslinger open in the flat at the CM 15.
Wood tried to lob the ball to Genslinger, but 6-foot, 6-inch Thomas Myers reached up and pulled the ball out of the air.
The second came with 8:29 left in the fourth. Starting from its own 18, Valley View drove to the Clinton-Massie 29. Wood tried to find a receiver on an out pattern, but Luke Richardson stepped in front of it at the 9 and returned it to the 35.
“We had to play great on the back-end,” CM head coach Dan McSurley said. “They have outstanding receivers. There’s a lot of high-skill there. The secondary really had good coverage.”
Massie would kill 7:10 off the clock with a 12-play drive, then would hold off one final Valley View drive to secure the win.
Spartan back hard to handle
While the Spartans suffered their first loss of the season, it certainly wasn’t the fault of senior halfback Collin Genslinger.
The 5-10, 190-pound back ran around and through the Clinton-Massie defense. He finished with 29 carries for 235 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also caught a pass for 21 yards.
Despite missing two games this season, Genslinger finished with over 1,000 yards on the season and 14 touchdowns.
“Genslinger is a handful,” McSurley said. “He’s just so hard to tackle. He’s got that short, stocky build. He’s got good speed. He presented some problems for us.”
Ten Years Later
It’s been 10 years since Clinton-Massie and Wyoming have played in the playoffs. Next week, they’ll meet for a spot in the state semifinals.
Wyoming defeated Indian Hill 25-0 Friday night at Withrow High School.
Ten years and two weeks ago, Clinton-Massie won the last meeting, defeating Wyoming 29-28 in double overtime at Frank Irelan Field.
The two teams will meet 7:30 p.m. Friday at a site to be announced this weekend by the OHSAA.
Clinton-Massie and Wyoming met in the first round of the playoffs three years in a row, from 2005-2007. All three games were at Clinton-Massie, and the Falcons won all three.
Wyoming last defeated Clinton-Massie in week 1 of 2001 at Frank Irelan Field, 49-18. That was the last Clinton-Massie team not to make the playoffs.
• Fellow SBAAC American Division school, New Richmond, advanced to the second round this week but lost 26-21 to Dayton Chaminade-Julienne.
• Clinton-Massie entered the post-season as a No. 4 seed. In the first week of playoff competition, the No. 4 seeds were 14-14 against the No. 5 seeds. No. 1 seeds were 27-1 against No. 8 seeds with Reading defeating Miami East 27-25 as the only 1-8 upset.
• This is Clinton-Massie’s 16th consecutive trip to the post-season. Only four schools have higher totals – Cleveland St. Ignatius 22, Coldwater 21, Columbus St. Francis DeSales 18 and Mogadore 18. The streaks of Coldwater and Mogadore are active, so the Falcons have the third longest active streak.
• In the final Associated Press Div. IV state football poll, Valley View was No. 2 while Clinton-Massie was No. 7. Steubenville was No.1.
• As a No. 4 seed, Clinton-Massie has an uphill climb to win a state championship. Since the OHSAA went to eight qualifiers per region, the No. 4 seed has won just 5 state championships. Ironically, the No. 5 seed has won 7 state titles.
• Among the four Region 16 teams, Wyoming had the most playoff appearances at 23 with Valley View second with 19. The Spartans had a 33-15 post-season record going into Friday night’s game while Clinton-Massie was 28-14. Valley View has three state titles, the last one being in 1997. Massie has two and Wyoming has one (1977).
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton.