MASSILLON – One week after beating the top passing offense in the nation, Clinton-Massie finished its state championship run Friday evening by defeating one of Ohio’s most storied programs.
Bayle Wolf’s two-yard touchdown run with 1:10 left broke a 21-all tie and gave Clinton-Massie a 27-21 victory over Youngstown Cardinal Mooney in the Division IV state title game Friday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
It was Massie football played in Massie football weather.
Snow started falling early in the day in Stark County, but didn’t intensify until just before the 3 p.m. kickoff. There were several delays throughout the game and at halftime to try to clear the snow off the field.
The formula for winning a second straight state championship appeared to be the same formula used to nullify Kenton’s high-powered offense – long scoring drives and great second half defense.
“It was a team effort,” said McSurley. “Our game is all 11 guys have to play a role. I think where the game was won was up front in the trenches. Our offensive line has just stepped up each week – progressively gotten better and better and better.
“Those guys really were the heart and soul of our football team, because they got it done when we needed to get it done. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Just like a week ago against the Wildcats, Clinton-Massie found itself trailing in the second half. Mooney lead 21-14 at the intermission.
After deferring the coin toss, the Falcons took the ball to start the third quarter and marched down field. Twelve plays later, Bayle Wolf scored and Callum Jones evened the game with the extra point.
Mooney scored touchdowns on three of its five possessions in the first half. The sledding would prove much more difficult for the Cardinals in the second half.
On its first drive of the second half, Mooney would get across midfield. Big stops by Dustin Sietz, Kelson Gauden and Devin Salley forced a Mooney punt with 3:38 left in the third.
Clinton-Massie’s offense would run out the final 3:38 of the third and the first 2:18 of the fourth before being forced to punt from the Mooney 42. The Cardinals would start from their own 12.
Again, the Falcon defense stood tall. After allowing a pass completion on third and 11 which kept the Mooney drive alive, Massie would knock down another third down pass from quarterback Jon Saadey.
After having played a solid game to that point, Mooney finally blinked. Denver Martin’s punt careened off the side of his foot, going out of bounds at the Cardinals 39.
With excellent starting field position and 6:53 left in regulation, the Falcons began their march. It was exclusively runs by Bayle and Chayse Wolf that took the Falcons down to the Mooney 20.
Faced with a fourth and five, the Falcons decided to pass. Hunter Fentress used a play-fake, then looked right and saw nobody open. He then looked to the middle of the field where Dylan Rose was in single coverage against Mark Handel.
Rose jumped for the football, and Handel jumped behind him. Rose tipped the ball, and before he could grab the deflection, Handel pulled him down, which is legal once the pass is tipped. However, the back judge threw the flag and pass interference was the call.
“Obviously I’ll have to look at it on tape,” said Mooney head coach PJ Fecko. “I thought Mark made a great play. The ball was thrown high, as (Rose) was reaching for it, Mark poked at it, and then they both went at it. Obviously there was going to be contact at that point.”
Fecko said when he asked for an explanation, the one he said he got was that Handel was flagged for “playing defense from behind.”
Massie would make the most of the opportunity. From the 10, Bayle Wolf carried twice, the last one a touchdown run from two yards away to give Massie its first lead of the game, 27-21. Only 70 seconds remained.
Mooney had one last chance, starting from its own 21. Saadey started the drive with a 22-yard run to the 43. He then found Handel for six to the 49 with 39 seconds left.
On third down from the 49, Saadey rolled right and threw for the middle of the field. He found Clinton-Massie’s Jared Halley for the interception, which sealed the state title victory for the Falcons.
The second half was dominated by Clinton-Massie. The Falcons had the ball for 17 minutes, 6 seconds of the 24 minutes of the half. They outgained Mooney 136 to 86.
“I said all week that touches of the football – possessions of the football – were something that was going to be an important factor in this game,” said Fecko. “(Massie) loves to run the football. They love to control the clock and the tempo of the game.
“They felt that possessions were of the importance because they were eating as much clock as they could throughout the game. It was difficult to get enough touches on the ball. When you play a good running team that like, that’s sure as heck going to happen.”
Playing in his final high school game, Bayle Wolf went out with a bang. He rushed the ball 33 times for 172 yards and three touchdowns, which put him over 100 rushing touchdowns for his career. Chayse Wolf had 20 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown.
“Both the Wolf boys just tore it up,” McSurley said. “They ran like beasts. Kelson (Gauden) did his role at fullback. Jared Halley did his role at fullback.”
For Mooney (10-5) Handel finished with 16 carries for 140 yards and two touchdowns. The Cardinals were unable to score in the second half against a Falcon defense that didn’t allow more than 21 points in a game all season.
“We’ve played in some extremely big-time games,” McSurley said. “Kenton, last week, was the number one pass team in the United States of America. They came in putting it on everyone … we held them down.
“Kettering Alter … they’re one of the traditional powerhouses in our area. We won that game. What these guys did, both offense and defense, it’s been incredible. Probably, in the 28 years I’ve been coaching … this, without a doubt, tops anything I’ve been a part of.”
CM 7 7 7 6 27
Mo 14 7 0 0 21
Mo – CJ Amill 25-yard run (Zak Kennedy kick) 9:32
CM – Bayle Wolf 8-yard run (Callum Jones kick) 2:17
Mo – Mark Handel 68-yard run (Kennedy kick) 1:55
CM – Chayse Wolf 20-yard run (Jones kick) 9:14
Mo – Handel 13-yard run (Kennedy kick) :58
CM – Bayle Wolf 1-yard run (Jones kick) 7:03
CM – Bayle Wolf 2-yard run (kick failed) 1:10
PLAYS: CM 61, Mo 38; FIRST DOWNS: CM 21, Mo 10; RUSHES-YARDS: CM 58-267, Mo 31-238; PASSING YARDS: CM 26, Mo 20; COMPLETIONS-ATTEMPTS-INTERCEPTIONS: CM 2-3-0, Mo 2-7-1; TOTAL YARDS: CM 293, Mo 258; PENALTIES-YARDS: CM 1-15, Mo 6-45; FUMBLES-LOST: CM 1-1, Mo 0-0. TIME OF POSSESSION: CM 30:45, Mo 17:15.
RUSHING (Rushes-Yards): CM – Bayle Wolf 33-172 3 TDs; Chayse Wolf 20-91 TD; Hunter Fentress 2-6. Mo – Mark Handel 16-140 2 TDs; CJ Amill 12-67 TD; Jon Saadey 2-26.
PASSING (Completions-Attempts-Interceptions): CM – Hunter Fentress 2-3-0 26 yards. Mo – Jon Saadey 2-7-1 20 yards.
RECEIVING (Catches-Yards): CM – Chayse Wolf 1-17; Dylan Rose 1-9. Mo – Tim Durkin 1-14; Mark Handel 1-6.