Big Red overcomes Clinton-Massie for state title

CANTON — No. 1 Steubenville defeated No. 8 Clarksville Clinton-Massie 50-36 to win the 2017 OHSAA Division IV state championship at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on Saturday, earning its fourth OHSAA football state title and first since 2006.

Steubenville (15-0) was led by senior quarterback Javon Davis who accounted for 324 yards of total offense and six touchdowns. Davis completed nine of his 13 passing attempts for 213 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for 111 yards and two touchdowns. Senior running back Jacob Bernard added 96 yards rushing and a touchdown before going down with an injury late in the first quarter.

It was Steubenville’s third straight and ninth overall state championship game appearance. Columbus Bishop Hartley bested Steubenville the previous two years by a combined six points. Steubenville also finished as the Associated Press poll state champions.

Steubenville’s 50 points tied an OHSAA Division IV state championship game record, and the two teams’ combined score of 86 was tied for the sixth most in OHSAA championship game history.

“I just want to thank everybody involved, the players and the coaches,” Steubenville coach Reno Saccoccia said. “We had so many guys out (with injuries) yet they found a way. Everyone played great.”

Clinton-Massie (13-2) senior wide receiver Luke Richardson was the lone player in the game to finish with over 100 yards receiving (three catches for 110 yards). The Falcons were aided by two first-half special teams touchdowns. Sophomore Garrett Trampler took a Steubenville kickoff back 72 yards for a touchdown, and Richardson closed the first half with a 53-yard punt return touchdown. Trampler’s kickoff return touchdown was the first such touchdown in OHSAA Division IV championship game history.

Steubenville broke into the scoring category quickly as it took just four plays for the Big Red offense to drive 91 yards for the game’s first touchdown. Bernard ended the drive with a 32-yard touchdown run.

On the ensuing Clinton-Massie possession, Steubenville forced a fumble on the first play and took over at the Clinton-Massie 25 yard line. Four plays later, Davis connected with senior receiver Alec Taylor for a 19-yard Steubenville touchdown, putting the Big Red up 14-0.

With 5:10 remaining in the first quarter, Clinton-Massie got on the scoreboard when junior quarterback Corey Stulz found junior tight end Seth Schmidt in the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown pass.

Just one minute and 59 seconds later, Davis found Taylor in the end zone, again, this time from 26 yards out to cap off a five-play, 65-yard drive.

The two quarterbacks combined to go 7-for-7 passing for two touchdowns in the first quarter.

The second quarter was highlighted by the Trampler kickoff return for a touchdown, two Davis touchdown passes, a safety for the Steubenville defense via an intentional grounding call in the end zone, and the Richardson punt return for a touchdown on the final play of the half. Steubenville led 36-20 at the half.

Richardson’s punt return for a touchdown and a 28-yard field goal by Derick Carlisle with 4:28 left in the third quarter brought the score to 36-29, and gave Clinton-Massie 15 unanswered points.

Steubenville pushed it back to a two-possession lead when Davis scored his first rushing touchdown from 13 yards out seven seconds into the fourth quarter.

On the following kickoff, the Big Red special teams unit converted an onside kick to keep the thriving Clinton-Massie offense off the field.

Two plays later, Davis put Steubenville up 50-29 with a 44-yard rushing touchdown.

Clinton-Massie senior running back Christian Poynter scored the final touchdown of the game with 7:52 remaining.

Clinton-Massie had won the title in its two prior trips to the state title game.

The attendance for the game was 10,251.

STEUBENVILLE: 20-16-0-14–50

CLINTON-MASSIE: 7-13-9-7–36

S: Bernard 32 run (Phillips kick)

S: Taylor 19 pass from Davis (Phillips kick)

CM: Schmidt 9 pass from Stulz (Carlisle kick)

S: Taylor 26 pass from Davis (kick blocked)

S: Agresta 18 pass from Davis (Phillips kick)

S: Safety, C-M called for intentional grounding in end zone

CM: G. Trampler 72 kick return (Carlisle kick)

S: Blackmon 60 pass from Davis (Phillips kick)

CM: Richardson 53 punt return (pass failed)

CM: Beam 20 run (run failed)

CM: Carlisle 28 field goal

S: Davis 13 run (Phillips kick)

S: Davis 44 run (Phillips kick)

CM: Poynter 3 run (Carlisle kick)

RUSHING: Big Red 46-251-3 (Davis 16-111-2; Bernard 12-95-1; Petteway 12-30; Blackmon 3-9; Agresta 3-8); Clinton-Massie 35-114-2 (Poynter 17-36-1; Stulz 4-33; Richardson 2-33; Beam 5-15-1; W. Trampler 3-1; Collingham 2-6; Wolfe 2-(-9)).

PASSING: Big Red 9-13-213-4 (all by Davis); Clinton-Massie 5-11-119-1-1x (Stulz 5-10-119-1-1x; Richardson 0-1)

RECEIVING: Big Red 9-213-4 (Taylor 5-83-2; Agresta 3-70-1; Blackmon 1-60-1); Clinton Massie 5-119-1 (Richardson 3-110; Schmidt 1-9; W. Trampler 1-0).

FIRST DOWNS: Big Red 22; Clinton-Massie 10.

PENALTIES-YARDS: Big Red 7-60; Clinton-Massie 6-44.

PUNTS: Big Red 3-39; Clinton-Massie 1-27.

FUMBLES-LOST: Big Red 1-1; Clinton-Massie 1-1.