Last year’s 33-31 loss to Goshen will be long remembered by Clinton-Massie. The loss ended the Falcons 61-game league winning streak.
Not so much for what it cost the Falcons – they still made the playoffs and finished as state runnerup – but for the lessons to be learned.
“We remind our kids constantly about the lessons we learned from last year’s loss,” Clinton-Massie coach Jeskee Zantene said. “We have talked a lot about being prepared and coming out ready to play. I think that reminding the players that we need to really prepare and be focused has been a direct result from the loss last season.”
Friday night at Frank M. Irelan Field, the Falcons and Warriors will tee it up at 7 p.m. Both teams are unbeaten in the American Division.
“Goshen is a very fundamentally sound football team,” said Zantene. “They have a system and they believe in it. They execute very well and play hard. Offensively they are going to line up and try to run the football. They run and read the option very well and we will have to remain very disciplined. Defensively, they are a 4-4 team and do a nice job of eliminating the big play. We are going to have to win the line of scrimmage to be successful. Goshen’s special teams look very solid. Just like every other week, we need to play well in this phase of the game for it to make a difference.”
Clinton-Massie will play the game without head coach Dan McSurley, who injured his leg earlier in the week.
“The biggest challenge this coaching staff has is to match the intensity that coach McSurley brings to the sideline,” Zantene said. “We have to match his intensity and passion for the game.”
Beyond that, Zantene said there won’t be many noticeable differences in the way the Falcons approach things come Friday night.
“We aren’t really going to change anything,” he said. “Coaches are going to remain in the same role as before. Coach (Scott) Rolf and coach (Jeremy) Phipps will still handle defensive duties while coach (Barry) Wulf and I will still remain on the offensive side of the ball.
“Special teams will still be handled by coach (Doug) Howard and any major decisions will be made as a collective group. We feel like the kids need to stay as close to normal as they can so we don’t want to make any drastic changes.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email email@example.com or on Twitter @wnjsports