Fenwick High School’s defense limited a relentless Clinton-Massie ground attack to one touchdown Friday night.
That was good. But it wasn’t enough.
Massie returned a pair of interceptions for scores and fought off host Fenwick 21-18 in a nonconference football slugfest at rain-drenched Krusling Field.
“I’m disappointed that we lost, but sometimes you’ve got to have a game like this to learn how to win a game like this,” Fenwick coach Dan Haverkamp said. “I’m very proud of the way our guys fought. That was by far our best defensive effort of the season. We stood up and battled them all night. I just feel like I’ve got to look at myself and figure out what I can do better to help us win.”
Freshman Colt Bradshaw and sophomore Logan Miller ran for touchdowns for the hosts, with Bradshaw gaining a team-best 72 yards on nine carries. Jack Fessler (nine carries, 44 yards) played in the early and late stages of the game, but was sidelined with a leg injury in between.
Sully Janeck completed 10-of-27 passes for 147 yards and a 53-yard touchdown to Thomas Vogelsang. But Janeck’s two interceptions were transformed into TDs by Massie (2-1), last year’s Division IV state runner-up.
“I don’t know what the rest of D-IV looks like, but I would expect that team to be playing deep into November,” Haverkamp said.
Fenwick, which fell to 2-1, opens Greater Catholic League Coed Division play at home next Friday against Badin.
“I knew a GCL team wasn’t going to be a pushover, and they weren’t,” Massie coach Dan McSurley said. “They played their butts off. They’re a formidable team.”
The visitors have been dealing with multiple injuries this season and got another key one Friday night when fullback/linebacker Tyler Beam hurt his shoulder in the second period. He did not return to action.
Massie also had to overcome a number of critical penalties and a determined Fenwick squad that refused to go down quietly.
“The message at halftime was, we have to be able to overcome adversity,” McSurley said. “The guys didn’t really flinch. It was just one of those games where it took everybody to grind out a tough win.”
Massie’s running game is difficult to contain. It has powerful backs, a big offensive line and a you-can’t-stop-us mentality.
Brendan Lamb (32 carries, 118 yards), Jake Vaughan (10 carries, 59 yards), Beam (five carries, 46 yards), quarterback Corey Stulz (12 carries, 40 yards) and Robby Frederick (eight carries, 32 yards) did the running Friday. Stulz scampered for a touchdown and converted 3-of-5 passes for 30 yards.
“They like to pound it up the middle, outside, every which way,” Fenwick senior outside linebacker Ben Gustely said. “You’ve just got to keep hitting them like they hit you. I think our defense really stepped up today. The offense made a couple mistakes, but still played great. We’re going to fix some things in the next week.”
The Janeck-to-Vogelsang scoring toss gave Fenwick a 6-0 lead with 2:29 left in the first quarter. Massie countered with a 54-yard touchdown run by Stulz with 7:13 showing in the second period, and it was a 6-6 affair.
Just over a minute later, Thomas J. Myers stepped in front of an errant Janeck pass, grabbed the ball and went 39 yards for his first prep touchdown.
“I just had to go. Keep the ball high and tight and run,” said Myers, a 6-foot-6 senior end. “It was just awesome. It was super exciting to get the crowd pumped up like that.”
Stulz ran for the 2-point conversion, and Massie had the lead for good. But Fenwick was far from finished.
Bradshaw took off for a 44-yard touchdown on the hosts’ next possession. A 2-point conversion run was stopped short, leaving Massie with a 14-12 advantage.
That’s the way it stood until Griffin Laake picked off a Janeck aerial and took it 19 yards to the house with 5:04 remaining. Grant Avey’s extra point made it a two-possession game.
Fenwick closed the gap to 21-18 on Miller’s 2-yard TD run with 2:53 on the clock. Janeck got sacked on the 2-point conversion attempt after Haverkamp opted to go that route instead of risking a snap, hold and kick in the driving rain.
“That’s what I was thinking,” Haverkamp said. “In hindsight, it was probably the wrong call. Well, we didn’t make it, so it was definitely the wrong call.”
Frederick recovered the ensuing onside kick for Massie, which was forced to punt soon thereafter. Fenwick started its final drive at its own 34 with 2:16 left, but four straight incompletions sealed the outcome.
“Fenwick kept coming. They never stopped. They’re a good GCL team,” said Myers, who also recovered a fumble. “Our defense has finally showed up. They had a lot of two-way players, so we had to wear them out.”
Leo Bell contributed a fumble recovery for Fenwick. Gustely said the squad is eager to start GCL Coed play.
“I think teams should be scared of us now,” he added. “That’s a state team we played tonight, and I think we’re a tough team to beat. We’re coming for Badin. We’re coming for everyone.”
Massie will host Washington Court House Miami Trace next Friday.
F: Thomas Vogelsang 53 pass from Sully Janeck (Run failed)
C: Corey Stulz 54 run (Kick blocked)
C: Thomas J. Myers 39 interception return (Stulz run)
F: Colt Bradshaw 44 run (Run failed)
C: Griffin Laake 19 interception return (Grant Avey kick)
F: Logan Miller 2 run (Run failed)