CANTON, Ohio — This Clinton-Massie state football championship won't ever be forgotten.
"Surreal," senior running back Colton Trampler said.
Clinton-Massie football coach Dan McSurley let the seniors decide whether to go for a two-point conversion with 45 seconds left and a state championship on the line early Friday afternoon.
"I think all the seniors said, 'Coach, let's win this thing,'" McSurley said.
Senior quarterback Kody Zantene pitched the ball to senior running back Carson Van Hoose, who ran to the right and into the end zone for a two-point conversion that gave the Falcons a 29-28 win in the Division IV state final.
"My dad (Clinton-Massie assistant coach Jeskee Zantene) said he was watching a state championship game about four or five years ago and they won a state championship on that play and it was awesome," Clinton-Massie senior quarterback Kody Zantene said.
The Falcons (14-1), winners of 14 consecutive games, captured their third state football title in school history.
"It means so much to me," Clinton-Massie senior running back Colton Trampler said. "I think back to every second that we spent in the offseason working and just doing everything we could to try to get this win and this was always the dream. It has been since third grade. I could walk into that locker room right now. There is going to be tons of people laughing and crying. It's just so exciting that were able to get it done this year."
The Falcons trailed 28-7 with 5:23 left in the third quarter but never lost faith. Zantene scored on a 49-yard touchdown run nearly two minutes later.
Then, senior offensive lineman Garrett Vance recovered a fumble in the end zone to put the Falcons within seven points early in the fourth quarter. It was the first career touchdown for Vance.
"This feeling is great, especially having the community here," Vance said. "It's the best feeling in the world."
Zantene rushed for a 1-yard touchdown run with 45 seconds left in the game.
Final: Clinton-Massie 29, Youngstown Ursuline 28. Clinton-Massie (14-1) wins the Division IV state title. It is the third state title in program history (2013, 2012). @WCPO— Mike Dyer (@MikeDyer) December 3, 2021
The Falcons finished the game scoring 15 unanswered points in the third and fourth quarters. This was Clinton-Massie's third state title after winning back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013.
"This was such a fitting end to these seniors and their whole career starting back in third grade," said McSurley, who earned his 250th win at Clinton-Massie. "It's an unbelievable group. I probably will never have another opportunity to coach a group of seniors like this the rest of my life. This will without question go down in history as one of the greatest comeback victories in high school history. I'm just so pleased and so happy to be a part of it."
Trampler had 19 carries for 117 yards while Van Hoose had 15 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter. Zantene had seven carries for 91 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Zantene had 12 tackles, while junior defensive lineman Leyton Bell had 10 tackles.