Moeller, Clinton-Massie look ahead to state
November 18, 2012Cincinnati Moeller High School
By Tom Ramstetter
Moeller and Clinton-Massie were the final local high school football teams standing in the Ohio high school football playoffs after regional finals played Nov. 16 and 17 and both teams will play in state semifinal match-ups Friday and Saturday.
Moeller (10-3) won its 14th regional championship with a 24-21 win over top-seeded Colerain and advanced to the Division I state semifinals for the first time since 1997. The Crusaders will play Region 3 champion Pickerington North (12-1) next Saturday at 7 p.m. at Dayton Welcome Stadium. Pickerington North beat Hilliard Davidson 21-0 Saturday night.
Clinton-Massie (13-0) advanced to the Division IV state semifinals for a second straight season with a 35-7 rout of Milton-Union in the Region 16 final and hopes to reach a state final for the first time. The Falcons will take on Columbus Bishop Hartley (13-0) Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Northmont. Bishop Hartley was ranked No. 1 in the final Associated Press Division IV state poll and beat and Ottawa-Glandorf 41-31 Friday for the Region 14 title.
“Last year we came up against Maty Mauk and a real good Kenton team,” Clinton-Massie coach Dan McSurley said. “We got nicked up in the second half (of that game). These kids are just hungry now. They’ve been there before but we’re just going to have to finish it next week. We’re going to have to be ready to try to get to Canton.”
Clinton-Massie has won every game this season by at least 25 points behind a dominant offense that has thus far tied the state single-season record for points with 731, according to Ohio High School Athletic Association records.
“It’s not just the talent we have,” Clinton-Massie junior running back Bayle Wolf said. “Our line is smaller than it has been in the past but we make up for it with speed. Our line is still strong and our coaches come up with a good game plan to fit the offense we run and the players we have. It’s an all-around group effort.”
While the Falcons have reached the state semifinals for the second time in school history, Moeller is back to a point it reached throughout much of the 1970s and 1980s. The Crusaders have won seven big-school state titles since high school football playoffs began in Ohio in 1972, but the last championship was won in 1985. Moeller stands two wins away from No. 8.
“When you take the job at Moeller, you’re expected to win a state championship and I understand that,” Moeller coach John Rodenberg said. “I had a vision and we stuck to it. I really congratulate the kids because it’s the kids who buy in. It’s the kids who do all the work. This football team should be really proud of themselves.”
The Crusaders were ranked No. 1 in the Enquirer Division I area coaches’ poll through Week 4, but suffered a stretch of three losses in five games to St. Xavier, Elder and Lakewood St. Edward. The Moeller offense got going again with a 48-13 rout at Indianapolis Cathedral Week 8 and, despite the Week 9 loss to St. Edward, Moeller has been rolling since.
In the past four weeks, the Crusaders have upset Kentucky Class 6A No. 1 Louisville Trinity to close the regular season, routed Huber Heights Wayne and Lakota East in the postseason and upset No. 1 Colerain.
“It’s our captains,” senior running back Keith Watkins said. “They’ve been leading us all season. It really doesn’t matter what happens in the regular season, what it comes down to is the playoffs. We’re still in it right now. We’ve got two more games, one more game to get to a state championship. I love my team.”
The Division IV state final will be played Nov. 30 at 3 p.m. and the Division I final will kick off Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. Both games will be played at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium.