Their colors will be different, but that’s just about all that will differentiate Alter and Clinton-Massie in a high school football playoff showdown this week.
Both programs have been on a decade-long dominating run, both favor the throw-back wishbone offense and both are equipped with shutdown defenses.
“It’s a little bit of a mirror image,” Alter coach Ed Domsitz said on Tuesday.
“There are some things that we spend a little more time on and there are things that they do that we don’t spend as much time on. It’s not exactly the same but there are some similarities that are a little bit unusual considering that you’re looking at two teams that line up in the wishbone a considerable amount of time.”
Both teams will put 11-1 records on the line in Friday’s 7:30 p.m. Division IV, Region 14 final at Welcome Stadium. The winner advances to next week’s state semifinals.
That’s just one of seven games on Friday and Saturday that will feature area teams that have advanced three games into the postseason.
Massie, a public school and South Central Ohio League member, is anchored in the Clinton County town of Clarksville. The Falcons are the defending D-IV state champs and have the most likely senior runner to double as a Shakespearean hero, Bayle Wolf.
A running machine, Wolf surpassed 5,000 career rushing yards in a 52-14 hammering of McNicholas last week. And he did it by going for a school-record 365 yards and six touchdowns. That upped his career scores to 104, tied for sixth all-time in Ohio. He is uncommitted on a college.
It’ll be up to Alter senior twin linebackers Tim and Andrew Seifert, three-year starter John Manfreda and a dominant front of senior linemen Lane Breyer, Joseph Kraemer and Donald Kiley and juniors Dean Lemon and Kraig Howe to slow the Falcons’ high-scoring offense.
That core group shut down Valley View last week, 28-0.
There is a one-game history between Alter and Massie. In 2009, Alter beat top-seeded and previously unbeaten Clinton-Massie in another regional final, 32-7. The Knights won their second straight D-IV state title that season.
This time Alter is the No. 1 seed and Massie No. 2. The Knights haven’t lost since Week 2 to Thurgood Marshall, 34-14. Massie fell 21-16 to Columbus De Sales in Week 5.
“From the beginning we felt if we had the right chemistry and could see the improvement, we could have a pretty good football team,” Domsitz said. “It’s been a good ride.”