Clinton-Massie beats McNick for bid to state

SHARONVILLE, Ohio – After giving up a touchdown with one second left on the clock, the Clinton-Massie Falcons made a stop on a two-point conversion to preserve the Division IV, Region 16 title over the McNicholas Rockets, winning 28-27 Friday night at Jake Sweeney Automotive Stadium.

“Every person on this field gave 110 percent tonight to go and get this dub,” Clinton-Massie running back Colton Trampler said. “McNick is a heck of a team. We had to play up to a very high level tonight and I think we accomplished that.”

The Falcons got out to a hot start, quickly putting up two scores on a pair of rushing touchdowns. Carter Frank found the end zone first from two yards out, quickly followed by a long 75-yard Colton Trampler run. Despite missing the extra point, going up 13-0 early gave Clinton-Massie momentum.

“We felt like we could control the game, with our guys up front and our backs,” Clinton-Massie head coach Dan McSurley said of the early lead. “They’ve been doing this all year. It was just a great high school football game.”

That momentum shifted midway through the second quarter when Clinton-Massie quarterback Kody Zantene’s 4th-and-9 pass was picked off by the Rockets’ Jake Rees. The turnover proved costly, as the Rockets drove down the field to score on an 11-yard pass from Pierce Taylor to Tyler Haynes.

McNicholas kept that momentum and took the lead on the first Rocket drive of the second half, quickly scoring on a 46-yard scamper by Snyder for his first of three rushing scores of the night. A Rollie Gabriel extra point gave the Rockets a brief 14-13 lead.

“They came in and had a nice game plan,” McSurley said of McNick taking the lead out of halftime. “The quarterback made some great plays, he was just an elusive kid and we had a hard time containing him.”

Clinton-Massie wasted no time in taking back the lead, going on a long drive that ended with a three-yard rushing touchdown by Carson VanHoose. Frank followed by punching the ball in for the two-point conversion.

“I think answering right away was big for us,” McSurley said. “We always kept ourselves poised and we didn’t panic after they tied it up. We came down and played real good football.”

The Rockets waited until the fourth quarter to tie the game back up when Snyder found the end zone again on a seven-yard run. With that score, Clinton-Massie attempted to run the clock as much as possible.

That mission was accomplished when over eight minutes were taken off with the Falcons’ next drive, which culminated in a one-yard rushing touchdown by Trampler. McGuinness’ extra point gave the Falcons a seven-point lead with just over two minutes left.

McNicholas took full advantage of every second left, tearing up the Falcons defense through the air before getting within one point after Snyder found the end zone for the third time on the night as time expired. That forced a difficult decision by McNicholas Head Coach Mike Orlando: whether to go for the tie or the win. On the other sideline, McSurley was also making a decision.

“I was going to call a timeout, but then thought ‘I’ll let it play out,’” McSurley said. “We were prepared for a quarterback sweep. We were prepared enough.”

The Rockets lined up to go for two and the win. Quarterback Pierce Taylor attempted to roll out and find the corner of the end zone, but was stopped short by the Falcons defense, sealing the victory and the regional title for Clinton-Massie, while also continuing its magical season.

“It’s been so special, this being my last high school season and all,” Trampler said. “We’re living the dream so far.”

Clinton-Massie moves on to the Division IV state semifinals, where the Falcons will take on Bloom-Carroll.


Clinton-Massie 13-0-8-7-28

McNicholas 0-7-7-14-27


C: Carter Frank 2-yard rushing TD (Ean McGuinness kick no good)

C: Colton Trampler 75-yard rushing TD (Ean McGuinness kick)

M: Pierce Taylor 11-yard TD pass to Tyler Haynes (Rollie Gabriel kick good)

M: Ty Snyder 46-yard rushing TD (Rollie Gabriel kick good)

C: Carson VanHoose 3-yard rushing TD (Colton Frank runs for 2-point conversion good)

M: Ty Snyder 7-yard rushing TD (Rollie Gabriel kick good)

C: Colton Trampler 1-yard rushing TD (Ean McGuinness kick good)

M: Ty Snyder 1-yard rushing TD (2-point conversion fails)

RECORDS: Clinton-Massie (12-1); McNicholas (11-2)

UP NEXT: OHSAA Playoffs: Clinton-Massie v.s. Bloom-Carroll

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