Clinton-Massie head coach Dan McSurley enters his 14th year with eight starters back on
defense and six on offense from a team that went 10-1 last season. Although there are some holes to fill, the Falcons return some serious size with several players who are imposing getting off the bus, let alone in full pads
and helmets. Said McSurley: “It’s the biggest line I’ve had.”
Clarksville Clinton-Massie (10-1)
* Players To Watch – RG/DE Corby Running (6-3, 225, Sr.); RT Mike Stenger (6-3, 310, Jr.); C Paul Singleton (5-11, 260, Sr.); LG James Ebby (6-1, 300, Sr.); RB Jordie Scanlon (5-10, 190, Jr.); MLB Gunner Calhoun (6-1, 210, Jr.); DE Justin Straight (6-4, 225, Jr.); S Damian Alexander (6-0, 170, Sr.); CB Coty Burton (5-8, 170, Sr.); QB Jake Richardson (5-7, 160, Jr.).
* Outlook – The Falcons had almost an identical season to that of Brookville, plowing through the regular season unscathed but losing in the first round of the Region 16 playoffs.
Clinton-Massie posted shutouts in three of its first four games and also routed a very good Waynesville team to set the season in motion. Falcon fans thought destiny lay ahead after C-M finished off Plain City Jonathan Alder in Week 10.
However, heartbreak ensued in the form of a 33-27 overtime loss at home to Hamilton Badin.
“I think that’s definitely a motivator for us,” said head coach Dan McSurley. “They were up 21 at half and we came back and tied the game. Our quarterback got hurt and we had to play Jake.
“It was a tough loss but is gave us an opportunity to face an outstanding spread team and we got guys some really valuable playoff experience, including our future quarterback.”
McSurley enters his 14th year at C-M with eight starters back on defense and six on offense. The most noteworthy losses were quarterback Logan McCormick, middle linebacker Nathan Stouffer and two-way lineman Andrew Fisher, a 6-2, 260-pounder.
Still, the Falcons return some serious size as Stenger, Ebby, Singleton and Running are imposing getting off the bus, let alone in full pads and helmets.
“We’ve got some bulldozers up there,” McSurley said. “It’s the biggest line I’ve had.”
With that core group returning, Scanlon could surpass his production of last season, when he rambled for 1,300 yards on the ground.
“He’ll end up being the best running back I’ve coached,” McSurley said. “He’s got a lot of power, great vision and he’s just a hard kid to bring down. He’ll break tackles and just keep going.”
Most teams will have major problems dealing with C-M’s power rushing game but the hope in Clarksville is that the offense will find even another gear with Richardson under center. He is slippery and ideally suited to run Clinton-Massie’s triple option.
The two most impressive athletes on the team, though, are Running and Calhoun. Running is a state wrestling champ and also anchors the 4×100 relay team. Calhoun has led the football team in tackles the past two seasons and also is a star on the baseball diamond for the Falcons.
McSurley not only returns a majority of his starters, many of the second-teamers are back as well and bring experience of their own.
“That’s a big advantage, and we’re going to be a two-platoon team,” McSurley said. “We’ve got to feel good about it, our overall depth.”
McSurley, though, has been around long enough to know his team, loaded as it is, still has to avoid pitfalls.
“We’ve got to stay healthy,” he said. “If we do that and we can eliminate turnovers and not shoot ourselves in the foot we are going to have a great year.”
Bet on a great year. Clinton-Massie has made the postseason seven years in a row and clearly is one of the power clubs of Region 16 and Division IV. In 2007, the Falcons advanced all the way to the regional finals and finished with an 11-2 record. Several of the most productive players from that season and 2008 return.
This fall, the Falcons appear to have a rather manageable schedule but they will need to pass a big early test when they host Plain City Jonathan Alder on Sept. 11. JA earned the No. 4 seed in Region 16 last season and posted an 8-3 mark.
After that tester C-M faces Division III teams in four of its next five games with the exception of an Oct. 2 home date with London. Also, the last three games will be played on the road.
Still, the Falcons have reason to be confident.
“We know what we can do when we get everybody contributing and playing well,” McSurley said.
Aug. 28 – Blanchester
Sept. 4 – at Waynesville
Sept. 11 – Plain City Jonathan Alder
Sept. 18 – at Hillsboro
Sept. 25 – Washington Court House Miami Trace
Oct. 2 – London
Oct. 9 – Greenfield McClain
Oct. 16 – at Washington Court House
Oct. 23 – at London Madison Plains
Oct. 30 – at Lees Creek East Clinton