Defense strong in finale

By Mark Huber -

Clinton-Massie’s Trey Uetrecht (right) and Tommy Williams (81) led the defense in tackles Saturday night against Fenwick.

Clinton-Massie’s Trey Uetrecht (right) and Tommy Williams (81) led the defense in tackles Saturday night against Fenwick.

XENIA — Bishop Fenwick coaches in the pressbox were not happy with their Falcons inability to block Clinton-Massie’s Trey Uetrecht.

Uetrecht, a 6-2, 215-pound sophomore linebacker, seemed to be all over the field Saturday night. Clinton-Massie was defeated by Fenwick 10-3 in overtime in the Div. IV Region 14 championship game at XHS’s Doug Adams Stadium.

“He’s really grown up this year,” CM defensive coordinator Aaron Seewer said of Uetrecht.

Thomas Williams, a 6-0, 175-pound senior, was credited with 13 solo tackles Saturday night while Uetrecht and Devon O’Bryon, a 6-0, 180-pound junior, were credited with 6 solos each.

Clinton-Massie’s defense was extremely young this season. Late in the year as the playoffs unfolded, several seniors were moved to the defensive side of the ball but most of the season the Falcons were inexperienced.

“We played a lot of young kids,” Seewer said. “We took them to the Death Valley experience over in Steubenville and at one point in time over there we had four sophomores on the field (against then No. 1 Steubenville).”

Those young, inexperienced players paid dividends. Against Fenwick’s vaunted Wing-T offense, Clinton-Massie allowed 215 yards rushing but just over 4 yards an attempt. Fenwick did not complete a pass.

“When you play a team like that, you have to be fundamental,” said Seewer. “That Wing-T can really make you look unprepared if you’re not fundamentally sound.”

Clinton-Massie also allowed just one touchdown, but that came in the overtime and ultimately gave Fenwick the win.

“They really started to target the weak side,” Seewer said. “(Vincent Durham) just drug a couple guys into the end zone. It could have been exhaustion. I’d have to look at it on film to see if we had a misalignment.”

Regardless of the outcome, Seewer was more than pleased with this defense.

“To see the growth of the defense, I thought we progressively got better in little areas and phases from week to week,” he said. “I was really pleased overall with the defense’s effort (against Fenwick), the execution and the attention to detail.”

ONE THAT GOT AWAY: McSurley said Fenwick simply “whipped our butts inside the tackles” as he looked back on the defensive battle.

“They beat us inside the tackles flat out,” said McSurley, now 185-53 in his 20 years at CMHS. “Have to give it up to them (Fenwick).”

But the veteran coach felt like this is one that his squad let slip away.

“That was a game … we shoulda won that game,” he said. “I think we beat ourselves. That’s what we talk about all the time. If you’re going to get beat, get beat by a better team. This is not any disrespect to them (Fenwick) but we flat out beat ourselves and that’s disappointing.”

McSurley lamented the five turnovers and three other times his team fumbled but was able to recover. While Massie had just four penalties, they seemed to occur at inopportune times.

“We had some penalties, we turned it over … when that happens it’s going to take a miracle (to win),” McSurley said.

And yet the Falcons almost pulled it out.

“We had opportunities,” McSurley admitted. “We blocked a punt and couldn’t get anything going on that. The offsetting penalties (late in fourth quarter) just gashed us; that was a big one.”

Seewer wrapped up the season-ending loss.

“An old classic defensive battle,” he said. “Which team was going to be able to hold through to the end. The first half we played field position on the short end. We played inside the 10 on two or three possessions. Losing the field position battle, losing the turnover battle … that usually ends up in a loss at this stage of the playoffs.”

SENIORS: Regardless of the sport, regardless of the timing, the final game in any season is a time for tears to be shed.

For Clinton-Massie’s senior class, the loss also closed one of the winningest four-year spans in the school’s football history.

The seniors on the CM roster include Bryce Boyd, Colton Chandler, Davey Tunon, Hunter Fentress, Jackson Grigsby, Jadon Flannery, Jake Cantrell, Jake Garrison, Max Keeley, Nathan Elliot, Ryan Weiss, Thomas Williams and Wyatt Jefferson.

“Gosh, the winningest class ever in school history, so they have that to hang their hat on,” said McSurley. “Hopefully we can regroup, some of these younger guys can learn from this experience and be right back here. That’s what we’re counting on.”

As freshmen, the current seniors mostly looked on as the Falcons won their first state championship in 2012 and went 15-0.

In 2013, several seniors, including quarterback Fentress, were integral parts of the second straight state championship and a 14-1 record.

Overall, the seniors have a four-year record of 52-4. Last year’s seniors also compiled a 52-4high school record.

Clinton-Massie’s Trey Uetrecht (right) and Tommy Williams (81) led the defense in tackles Saturday night against Fenwick.’s Trey Uetrecht (right) and Tommy Williams (81) led the defense in tackles Saturday night against Fenwick.

By Mark Huber

Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports.

Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports.