Clinton-Massie handles previously unbeaten Wyoming in regional finals

Heading into the season, Clinton-Massie football coach Dan McSurely felt this could be a special season.

The Falcons, McSurely believed, had a lot of the same qualities as the teams that advanced to the state semifinals in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

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“We felt this was the team,” he said. “Our senior class has played in so many big games. These guys have traveled across the state and played Steubenville and know how to play a team like that.

“They are hardened and ready to go.”

Friday night in the Division IV, Region 16 finals at Lakota West High School, the Falcons made believers out of Wyoming.

The Cowboys, the top seed in the region, had no answer for the Falcons in a 28-7 Clinton-Massie win that set up a state semifinal date with New Concord John Glenn – a 38-7 winner over Philo.

The Falcons’ magic season looked to hit a bump in Week 8 they lost to Goshen.

Instead of crumbling, it resolved their mettle.

“We just played flat,” McSurely said. “But that game helped us find our stride and after that we stepped up, then stepped up, then stepped up and we stepped up again tonight.”

While the Massie offense was grinding away, it was the defense that stepped up and shut down Pierson Rogers, the Southwest Ohio Division IV Offensive Player of the Year.

Rogers, who entered with over 1,200 yards rushing, was held to 23 yards on 11 carries.

“That’s pretty impressive,” McSurley said. “To hold the player of the year to 23 yards … you can’t ask for more than that.”

The rest of Wyoming’s offense didn’t fare much better. The Cowboys finished with 163 yards and 10 first downs.

“We struggled,” Wyoming coach Aaron Hancock said after his team finished 12-1. “They loaded the box when they needed to load it and brought pressure when they needed to bring pressure.

“They put us on our heels all night.”

And the offense put Wyoming behind the eight ball from the first drive.

Clinton-Massie took the opening kickoff and matched 69 yards on 13 plays, eating more than six minutes off the clock.

The Falcons drive looked stalled on a fourth-and-1 just inside Wyoming territory, but McSurley never flinched and Tyler Beam plowed ahead behind the line for 3 yards.

“Never once thought about it,” McSurley said. “No hesitation. It’s what we do. We rely on our guys up front for our guys to make some big plays.”

Weston Trampler ended the drive with a 3-yard run for a 7-0 lead.

Trampler also scored on the first drive of the second quarter before Luke Richardson pushed the lead to 21-0 with 10 seconds left in the first half, taking a reverse 37-yards for a score on second-and-27.

Wyoming avoided its first shutout loss since Sept 21, 2006 when it scored with 8:56 left in the game.

The Falcons finished with 297 yards and 19 first downs. Daulton Wolfe led the way with 76 yards on 12 carries.

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