Don’t feel too sorry for Coldwater having lost 19 seniors from last season’s Region 24 championship game qualifiers.
There’s plenty returning for the Cavaliers, who host Clinton-Massie Friday night in one of the marquee non-league games in Ohio prep football this season.
“The atmosphere for this game ranks right up there with any play-off game and a win will give either team major Harbin points,” said Clinton-Massie head coach Dan McSurley. “This is really going to be a special game for Ohio high school football.”
Clinton-Massie defeated Coldwater 24-14 last season at Frank M. Irelan Field. Massie finished 13-2 and state runnersup in Div. IV. Coldwater was 9-4.
The Cavaliers have won six OHSAA state football championships, the latest in 2015. They’ve been regional champions 15 times, all since 1995.
In the Midwest Athletic Conference, the elite small-school conference in Ohio, Coldwater has claimed 19 championships.
Chip Otten is the head coach and owns a 102-17 record since 2010.
“They have one of the most storied programs in the nation and it will take a great effort on their home field to get a win,” McSurley said.
To open the 2018 season, Coldwater defeated Kenton 52-27 last week. The Cavs led 28-21 at the half, then went up 31-21 with a field goal late in the third.
But Coldwater broke the game open with three fourth quarter touchdowns within 3:54.
Jake Hemmelgarn, CHS quarterback, completed 21 of 27 for 247 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 66 yards on 11 carries.
The Cavs had more of a grind-it-out running attack, averaging just under 5 yards a carry but none were longer than 12 yards.
Kenton was able to move the ball but had four turnovers that proved costly. Coldwater had three one-play touchdown drives.
“The one thing that really stands out from other teams is the IQ of their players,” McSurley said of Coldwater. “The players know football and the coaches put them in positions to be successful.”
That’s a recipe McSurley has used with the Falcons over the years.
To begin the 2018 campaign, Clinton-Massie steamrolled an overmatched East Clinton squad 77-7 in Lees Creek.
Massie had 562 yards (46 plays) on offense and allowed just 86 (36 plays).
The Falcons had 519 yards rushing by nine players, none carrying the ball more than eight times. Tyler Beam had 108 yards on just six carries. Brendan Lamb, a transfer from Lebanon, scored three touchdowns on his eight attempts.
Grant Avey converted 11 extra point kicks.
The only statistical blemish for the Falcons last week came with nine penalties for 105 yards.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports