DAYTON, Ohio – Clinton-Massie's defense came up big when it had to Friday night at Welcome Stadium.
The Falcons turned back Alter on fourth down in the red zone with under a minute remaining, sealing a 21-14 victory in a thrilling Division IV Region 14 championship game.
"These guys have played hard all year," Clinton-Massie coach Dan McSurely said. "I'm very proud of these guys. This is what you play for right here."
Clinton-Massie (12-1), last year's state champ, will meet undefeated Kenton (13-0) in the state semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Dayton Welcome Stadium.
Clinton-Massie running back Bayle Wolf scored the first of his three touchdowns with 4:06 remaining in the first quarter on a 2-yard run.
Alter (11-2) would answer on the next possession. Nick Coleman capped a five play, 63-yard drive with a 28-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7.
Wolf scored the only points of the second quarter on a 7-yard touchdown run, giving Clinton-Massie a 14-7 lead at halftime.
The Clinton-Massie offense controlled the third quarter with an 18-play, 74-yard drive that took 11:41 off the clock. Wolf wrapped up the impressive drive with a 1-yard scoring run to give the Falcons a 21-7 lead going in to the fourth quarter.
Alter's defense forced their second turnover of the game when defensive back Jordan George intercepted a Clinton-Massie pass. The Knights took possession on Clinton-Massie's 31-yard line after a 15-yard penalty was called on the Falcons.
Alter running back Thomas Alig cashed in the turnover, scoring from 1-yard out to cut the Clinton-Massie lead to 21-14 with 6:20 remaining.
After forcing a Clinton-Massie punt, Alter took possession on its own 7-yard line with 3:19 remaining.
The Knights drove to Clinton-Massie's 11-yard line before being stopped on fourth down by the Falcons' defense.
Clinton-Massie's Wolf ran for 122 yards on 38 carries.
"The offensive line has improved every single week this year," Wolf said. "It's phenomenal, the strides that they have made."
Alter running back Nick Coleman ran for 67 yards and a touchdown, while adding 31 yards receiving.
Alter out gained Clinton-Massie 231-174.
This season marks the 13th consecutive playoff appearance for Alter. They won back-to-back state championships in 2008 and 2009.