Clinton-Massie stops McNicholas on final play to win DIV regional title

SHARONVILLE — In his 30th season as a head football coach and 26th at the helm of the Clinton-Massie Falcons, Dan McSurley was pretty confident in what his opponent was thinking. 

In the Division IV regional championship Friday night at Princeton, McNicholas scored a touchdown as time expired in regulation to pull the Rockets within a point at 28-27. Instead of sending the game into overtime with an extra point, McNicholas kept its offense on the field for a winner-take-all two-point conversion attempt. 

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McNicholas kept the ball in the hands of dual-threat quarterback Pierce Taylor on a sweep, but Clinton-Massie sniffed out the run, causing Taylor to run backward around a would-be tackler. When the senior signal-caller turned the corner and made a dive for the pylon, Clinton-Massie's defense was there to stop him just inches short and preserve a trip to state. 

Clinton-Massie players celebrate after beating McNicholas 28-27 at the D4 regional final at Princeton High School on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021

"It's unbelievable. I felt like they were gonna go for two. If they would've put their PAT team in I was gonna call timeout to try to set up a block to win it ourselves," McSurley said. "But the guys stepped up and we kinda knew they were gonna run that QB sweep because he (Taylor) was such a dynamic kid. It had to be within an inch or so."

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