ADAMS TOWNSHIP – It won’t be any time soon Clinton-Massie football players forget Oct. 13, 2017.
Goshen 33, Clinton-Massie 31.
That was the end of a 10-year, 61-game league winning streak and motivates the players to never take an opponent for granted.
“When we have been caught looking to the next week, it bites us in the butt,” Massie linebacker Tyler Beam said. “Goshen last year. We kinda underestimated them and the came out and punched us in the mouth.”
The Falcons came back this season and routed the Warriors, 21-2, but that loss will linger much longer in the minds of the players.
“We might have won this year but it’s not good enough,” Beam said.
Clinton-Massie will open the post-season 7 p.m. Saturday against Springfield Shawnee at Frank M. Irelan Field.
While Clinton-Massie is 9-1 and finished as state runnersup last season, Shawnee is just 6-4 and hasn’t been in the post-season since 2013 when the current seniors were eighth graders.
“Everybody is here (in the playoffs) for a reason,” said Matt Phillips, anchor of the Falcons offensive line. “You can’t overlook anyone in the playoffs. Everyone has to be extremely focused this week. We can’t take anyone lightly.”
Brendan Lamb, who transferred to Clinton-Massie this year from Lebanon, said he can see why the Falcons have had success in recent years.
“It’s more intense here. I guess there’s a different mindset here,” he said. “It may feel a little different because we know there’s a little bit more of a sense of urgency because we know that if we lose we’re done. We know what we need to do so we just need to handle our business.”
The Massie seniors were eighth graders the last time the Falcons lifted the state championship trophy in 2013.
They came close last season but lost to Steubenville 50-36 in the title game.
“For this senior class, it’s our last chance to take a shot at it,” said quarterback Corey Stulz. “Losing that game (to Steubenville) has really motivated us. We definitely don’t want our season to end the same way. We’d like for it to end on theother end of that game, so we’re all really wanting to get back there.”
The road to Canton begins Saturday night.
• NO, COACH: For the fourth game in a row, Clinton-Massie will play without head coach Dan McSurley on the sideline.
“It’s like not having your father in your life,” Beam said. “He’s the biggest motivator for this team.”
Beam said practices are one thing without McSurley but game nights are dramatically different.
“The biggest difference is Friday nights, not having him on the sidelines yelling at us, getting us going,” he said.
“He’s a big part of our energy,” said Lamb. “Our other coaches have stepped up to get that energy back but there’s always that little part missing because he’s such an energizing guy.”
• LAST TIME: Clinton-Massie defeated Shawnee 30-7 in 2017. Stulz remembers that games and said the Falcons have changed since then.
“We ran, not a completely different offense, but we’ve put in a lot of new things since they last saw us,” he said. “We’ll have a couple (new) things up our sleeve.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports