The Hartley High School football team found itself in an offensive shootout for the first time this season when it played Ottawa-Glandorf for the Division IV, Region 14 title Nov. 16 at Piqua.
The Hawks’ defense could have its hands full again this week.
After rallying for a 41-31 win over Ottawa-Glandorf to win its second regional championship in three seasons, Hartley will play in a state semifinal Friday at Clayton Northmont against Clarksville Cinton-Massie.
While both the Falcons and Hawks have rushed for just more than 5,000 yards this season, Clinton-Massie already has tied the state single-season record for points with 731.
The Falcons are in the playoffs for the 11th consecutive season, but are seeking their first berth in a state final.
Both teams are 13-0, as Hartley was ranked first in the final state poll and Clinton-Massie was fourth.
The winner gets Creston Norwayne or St. Clairsville in the state final at 3 p.m. Nov. 30 in Canton Fawcett Stadium.
“I know they’ve had a great season and they’ve really not been tested yet,” coach Brad Burchfield said. “They’ve got a lot of seniors and are a hard, downhill running team. They’re going to control the football and have a similar philosophy to what (Ottawa-Glandorf) had in terms of running the ball.”
A year ago, Hartley lost to Kenton 30-28 in the Region 14 final and Kenton beat Clinton-Massie 36-6 the next week.
The Falcons have blown by every opponent they’ve faced since that time, including beating West Milton Milton-Union 35-7 in the Region 16 final Nov. 16 at Centerville.
Although Clinton-Massie outgained Milton-Union 438-254, it was the Falcons’ lowest-scoring game all season.
Clinton-Massie’s top offensive threats are junior running back Bayle Wolf and senior running back Wyatt Running. Wolf has rushed for 1,757 yards and 32 touchdowns and made first-team all-Southwest District. Running has 1,564 yards and 21 touchdowns on just 111 carries (14.0 average) and was second-team all-district.
Senior quarterback Tyler Uetrecht has passed for 756 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushed for 330 yards and nine touchdowns.
Sophomore kicker Callum Jones has made a state-record 94 extra points.
Hartley also has used a two-running-back rotation to perfection this season.
Ja’Wuan Woodley, who was the district’s Offensive Player of the Year, has rushed for 1,811 yards and 25 touchdowns and Marcellus Calhoun has 1,538 yards rushing and 25 scores.
Woodley contributed in numerous ways in Hartley’s win over Ottawa-Glandorf, as he threw a 56-yard first-quarter touchdown to Alonzo Saxton, had a 21-yard reception and rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns.
Hartley trailed Ottawa-Glandorf 17-14 at the half and fell behind 24-14 early in the third period but got a 4-yard touchdown run by Sam Mackowiak, a 2-yard scoring run by Woodley and touchdowns of 9 and 2 yards by Calhoun on the way to the comeback.
The Hawks gave up 283 yards and four touchdowns rushing but held the Titans to four second-half first downs.
After taking a 34-31 lead on Calhoun’s 9-yard run, Nick King recovered a fumble four plays later with 3:53 remaining.
“All I could think of was last year (in the playoff loss) and what we’ve wanted to do for the last 365 days,” King said. “It feels good because all of the hard work from the summer is paying off.”
“(Ottawa-Glandorf) has been scoring a lot of points, so to hold them to 31 is probably OK,” Burchfield said. “We probably played a little better (defense in the second half). It’s never pretty when you play a team of that caliber and it’s always going to be hard-fought.
“We’ve just got to play our game and obviously it’s going to be an important week of practice. We’re excited to be practicing on Thanksgiving.”