There was one piece missing along the Clinton-Massie offensive line as the 2018 season began.
“We had two left tackles we were looking at,” said senior Seth Schmidt. “One of them left (the program) and one of them did not come back this year.”
Schmidt, a massive tight end in 2017, was being recruited by Ball State University as an offensive tackle. So the move seemed like a natural fit.
“That was the driving force,” Schmidt said. “I played so much tight end last year and we’re a run-based team. It kind of carried over because it’s a lot of the same technique, the same priorities. It is a shift but not too far-fetched.”
By moving one spot over, Schmidt gave up his chance for touchdown glory. Wait, the Falcons don’t throw the ball much so his chances of getting a touchdown didn’t go down much.
“They’re pretty low,” Schmidt said with a chuckle.
With Schmidt (6-5, 255) in place, the Falcons offensive line is overpowering most opponents. Matt Phillips (6-3, 275), Davis Wulf (6-2, 240), Seth Stiverson (6-1, 235), Spencer Voss (6-5, 270) and Colton Doyle (5-11, 200) are big and athletic.
They set a goal of 4,000 yards rushing this season.
Led by Brendan Lamb’s 1,090 yards, the Falcons have 4,235 yards on the ground.
Dating back to a 2009 playoff loss to Kettering Alter, 32-7, Clinton-Massie has become more focused on athletic linemen who could move.
“We saw how much better speed was than physical size,” CM coach Jeskee Zantene said.
As a former tight end, Schmidt fits that big perfectly.
“(Being athletic) is a huge advantage,” Schmidt said. “It comes to almost everything we do in the offense. If you’re more athletic, you’re more likely to sustain your blocks, finish them. The offense, in general, is more powerful.”
To reshape the offensive lineman, literally, the CM coaches altered their ways.
“We have changed our off-season training program a little bit to help but we also move kids around that can move.”
Zantene called Schmidt’s move “unselfish.”
“This is a team sport,” said Schmidt. “You can’t have one guy crying over being switched to a position. If the team needs me, I’m going to step up for it. If it’s going to lead us to a state title or whatever, I’m going to do it.”
REVENGE FACTOR: Thomas Myers figures previous meetings between London and Clinton-Massie will become a battle cry for the Red Raiders.
The Falcons were 62-13 winners at London in 2012. They won 49-7 in 2011 at CMHS.
Dating back to the 2005 season, when Massie joined the SCOL, Clinton-Massie has an 8-0 series advantage. The Falcons have outscored the Red Raiders 371-87.
“We kind of beat up on them when we played them all the time,” said Myers, a 6-6, 225-pound defensive end. “So they’ll want their revenge. They’re going to come out with high energy. This is probably one of the biggest games of the year for them.”
PHYSICAL GAME: With both teams employing a run-first offense, this game will likely be won in the trenches.
And that suits the 5-9, 165-pound Nathan Allgeyer just fine.
“They’re pretty physical,” Allgeyer said. “They run similar stuff to Goshen and that puts me inside the box, down on the line as a linebacker instead of out on somebody like twins as a DB (defensive back). I’m a run stopper as opposed to a pass stopper.
“I’d rather be more physical because I wrestle, too. I like taking people down and tackling. I think that’s one of my better skills in football but I’ll go out and cover people, too. Whatever the coaches want me to do.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email email@example.com or on Twitter @wnjsports