Clinton-Massie’s 21-2 win over Goshen in Week 8 had many layers.
The game was stopped on Friday and resumed Saturday when Clinton-Massie fan Jamie Parsons passed away in the stands.
The SBAAC American Division contest was the first for Massie without head coach Dan McSurley, who missed the game with a leg injury.
This week the Falcons travel to New Richmond with a chance to clinch a share of the American Division crown with a win. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Massie is 7-1 overall, 3-0 in the conference. The Lions are 6-2 overall, 2-1 in the American.
The Lions lost to Western Brown in what could be considered an upset last week, 22-14. It put the Lions in must-win mode if it wants to share a league crown and/or to make the playoffs.
“New Richmond is a team to watch out for right now,” CM coach Jeskee Zantene said. “They are coming off what I know was a disappointing loss to Western Brown last week. This makes them dangerous because they still have some goals in front of them that they can achieve and beating us is a must to reach those goals.”
Without McSurley on the sidelines, the Falcons were the same old Falcons, grinding out 310 yards on the ground and squashing the Goshen offense to the tune of just 98 yards.
“Games like last week help you tremendously when you are nearing the end of the season,” Zantene said. “If you look at the stats from last week, we had several time-consuming drives on offense. We held the ball for close to 32 minutes. When we do this and hold the opponent to under 100 yards of offense, we will be hard to beat. This is the recipe we used last season in our playoff run. This will be the same type of game because New Richmond will try to run a lot of plays and go up-tempo. We will need to slow that pace down. We will see many of the same type of teams later in the year so these types of game are extremely helpful.”
Zantene said the coaches are in regular contact with McSurley.
“He is doing fine. He hates being stuck at home but he is still helping out in any capacity that he can,” said Zantene. “He has been watching film and giving ideas to us. He is still our coach, whether he is on the field or not, so if he wants something done a certain way it is our job to make that happen.”
Otherwise it’s business as usual for the Massie coaching staff.
“Life wasn’t really that different for the coaching staff,” he said. “I did feel that the kids were affected by his absence. These kids are so used to being in a routine that anything out of the ordinary tends to throw them off a bit.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports