The matchup between the state-ranked Clarksville Clinton-Massie and Hartley high school football teams on Sept. 21 included a fair amount of gutsy decisions but rarely fluctuated from what it was expected to be.

The Falcons and Hawks are two of the best power-running teams in Ohio, and it was host Clinton-Massie that did it just a bit better during a 34-31 victory.

The Falcons, who are sixth in the Division IV state poll, trailed 17-10 at halftime but grabbed the momentum in the third quarter on their way to improving to 4-1.

Hartley, which is ninth in Division III, fell to 3-2.

“It was a tough ballgame and hostile environment,” Hawks coach Brad Burchfield said. “We made a few more mistakes than they did. The effort was tremendous and it was a great football game.”

Leading by a touchdown midway through the third quarter, the Hawks failed to run for a first down on a fake punt at their own 12-yard line on fourth-and-5.

Three plays later, the Falcons’ Brendan Lamb ran for a 1-yard touchdown to tie the game at 17.

Hartley began its next possession at its own 8 and was forced to punt from its own 12. Clinton-Massie took over at the Hawks 43 and scored on an 18-yard run by quarterback Corey Stulz to take a 24-17 lead.

The Hawks tied it at 24 on a 1-yard run by Jalan January with 11 minutes remaining, but Clinton-Massie moved 67 yards on 11 plays to take a 31-24 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Stulz.

The Falcons made it 34-24 with a 30-yard field goal by Grant Avey with 36.7 seconds left.

Hartley cut its deficit to 34-31 on a 55-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Miles Fleming to Angelo Evans with 22 seconds remaining, but the Hawks didn’t recover the ensuing onside kick and Clinton-Massie ran out the clock.

“With the speed they had on the perimeter, we knew it would be tough sledding,” Clinton-Massie coach Dan McSurley said. “We really tried to focus inside the tackles, kept the chains moving and grinded out a tough win.”

The Hawks took a 3-0 lead on a 36-yard field goal by Matteo Agriesti with 8:03 left in the first quarter, but the Falcons answered on the ensuing drive with a 12-yard scoring run by Stulz with 3:04 to go in the period. That touchdown completed an 11-play, 70-yard drive that included a 2-yard run by Lamb on fourth-and-1 from the Hartley 28.

The Hawks marched 72 yards on six plays to take a 10-7 lead with 1:15 left in the first quarter, with January running for a 15-yard touchdown. January also had runs of 15 and 23 yards on the drive.

Hartley held Clinton-Massie to a 28-yard field goal by Avey with 8:32 remaining in the second quarter after Walter Carreker III stopped Lamb for a 2-yard loss on third-and-1 from the Hartley 9.

With 5:38 to go in the first half, Fleming hit Philip Cole for a 58-yard touchdown to give the Hawks a 17-10 lead. January ran for 8 yards on fourth-and-1 from the Hartley 32 to extend the drive.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

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Team 1 2 3 4 Final HARTLEY 10 7 0 14 31 CLINTON-MASSIE 7 3 14 10 34

H—Agriesti 36 FG

CM—Stulz 12 run (Avey kick)

H—January 15 run (Agriesti kick)

CM—Avey 28 FG

H—Cole 58 pass from Fleming (Agriesti kick)

CM—Lamb 1 run (Avey kick)

CM—Stulz 18 run (Avey kick)

H—January 1 run (Agriesti kick)

CM—Stulz 1 run (Avey kick)

CM—Avey 30 FG

H—Evans 55 pass from Fleming (Agriesti kick)