Dan McSurley isn’t one for hyperbole. He’s pretty much a straight shooter.
And he’s never been one to duck the competition.
So take note when he says Friday’s matchup between his Clinton-Massie Falcons and the Bishop Hartley Hawks is a big one.
“This is one of the biggest football games Clinton County has ever hosted,” he said. “So we’re very excited.”
Hartley is currently No. 3 in the Div. III Region 11 playoff rankings while Clinton-Massie is No. 6 in Div. IV Region 16.
After losing big on opening day to unbeaten Toledo Central Catholic, 42-17, the Hawks have reeled off three straight wins in impressive fashion – 51-20 over Wheelersburg, 49-19 against Bishop Ready and 49-10 over Chillicothe.
The Falcons have a couple of easy wins – over East Clinton 77-7 and Miami Trace 54-0 – sandwiched around two tough battles – a 31-28 loss to Coldwater and a 21-18 win over Bishop Fenwick.
Hartley throws the ball more than Massie but not much. The Hawks are 15-for-31 passing for 360 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
Hartley has a vaunted run game.
“Coldwater had an extremely advanced passing attack and now Hartley is definitely one of the strongest rushing teams in the state.”
Jalan January hopes to make his name on Lebanon Road a few months early. He’s rushed 79 times for 573 yards to lead the Hawks.
But Miles Fleming (268 yards), Mason Sawyer (223) and Phillip Cole (186) also have impressive running numbers. Both Cole and January have five touchdowns.
Sawyer is the top tackler with 32 this season while Kiron Anderson and Antonio James Tucker also are key defenders.
Matteo Agriesti is perfect as a kicker this season – 22-22 on extra points and 4-4 on field goals.
McSurley is anxious to see his defense square off against the Hawks powerful run game.
“Our defense is really playing fast and the two-platoon system seems to be working,” he said. “Everyone is all in for this one. No excuses, plenty of time to heal after Friday.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports