If what’s up front counts – and it does in football – Clinton-Massie will be good again in 2018.
Long-time head coach Dan McSurley is excited about the offensive line for the Falcons this season.
“We’ll never get three to four all-state guys but I feel we have at least four all-state interior offensive linemen,” said McSurley.
Seth Schmidt, Davis Wulf, Matt Phillips, Spencer Voss and Seth Stiverson make up the tackle to tackle lineup.
Schmidt and Voss are receiving Div. I college offers. Schmidt moves to tackle from tight end. McSurley said colleges are looking at the 6-6, 250-pound senior as a tackle “so we might as well get him ready for that this year.”
Voss, 6-6, 280, was honorable mention All-Ohio last season. Wulf has bulked up this season and Phillips missed all of last season with an injury. He’ll anchor the line at center. Stiverson is a “technically solid kid” who is just now getting his chance to start, McSurley said.
“Those guys are the backbone of our team,” the coach said. “We’ve had some good lines … that 2012 group averaged 220 pounds and were very athletic. This line averages 260 pounds. They’re battled tested.”
Clinton-Massie was 13-2 last season. The Falcons had their 61-game league winning streak stopped by Goshen in mid-season then lost to Steubenville, 50-36, in the Division IV state championship game.
The offensive ball-handlers this season will be led by Corey Stulz, a 6-1 senior quarterback.
“He seems more confident,” McSurley said. “He’s been to the mountain. He’s real comfortable with what we do. Last year, he was a little nervous, his confidence wasn’t real high.
“But I’m pleased with how he’s taken over that leadership role as far as our offense goes.”
Clayton Sheeley, Thomas Myers, Griffin Laake, Tate Olberding and Corey May make up the tight ends and receivers … or downfield blockers on offense. But McSurley does say Stulz can throw the ball a lot better this season than last.
However there isn’t a threat like the dynamic Luke Richardson on this side of the ball. Richardson had several historic moments for the Falcons the last three seasons.
In the backfield, Daulton Wolfe and Ty Beam were in the mix last season, especially when bellcow runner Christian Poynter was injured. Brendan Lamb, a transfer from Lebanon, could assume the role of primary ballcarrier this season, McSurley said.
“He’s been very impressive,” McSurley said of Lamb.
On defense, Massie lost first team All-Ohio linebacker Trey Uetrecht but has seven starters coming back.
Myers, a third team All-Ohio defensive end, is the top lineman while Beam is the lead linebacker. McSurley said Clayton Sheeley and Spencer Branham will be key defenders up front.
The secondary, though, will be the strength. And in today’s age of pass-happy offenses, that is huge. Laake and Olberding, both in the 6-3 range, provide speed and play-making ability at safety. Garrett Trampler is the top cover corner.
Other 2018 graduates no longer wearing the red, white and blue are All-SBAAC players Sam Brothers, Cody Collingham, Weston Trampler and Jacob Treisch.
“It’s early, but the biggest thing is keeping everybody healthy,” the coach said. “Hopefully we’ll have enough depth that if something happens, they’ll be able to step in. Everybody’s confident but it’s, hopefully, a 15-week season and you never know what’s going to happen.
“They know what it’s all about to play at an extremely high level. I don’t think the pressure is going to get to these guys. We’ll just take it week by week.”