FAIRFIELD — Greater Miami Conference prep football foes Fairfield and Mason put on a show Friday night in a constant downpour at Fairfield Stadium.
Both teams had already clinched a Division I, Region 4 playoff berth, but with a Week 11 home game on the line, the rivals let it all hang out in a 24-21 overtime win by the visiting Comets.
Charles Sipe nailed a 42-yard field goal to send the game into overtime, and after Mason stopped the Indians on the first overtime possession, he ended the dramatic affair with a 30-yard field goal.
The Comets improved to 8-2 overall and 7-1 in the Greater Miami Conference, finishing second behind Colerain. They will await the official Ohio High School Athletic Association playoff pairings Sunday, though it appears Mason will host Lakota East (7-3) next Friday.
“Naw, I don’t care who we play, I really don’t,” Comets coach Brian Castner said. “We have been home four years in a row now. We’ll show up and play next Friday. Doesn’t matter if the opponent shows up in a blue jersey, a grey jersey … it doesn’t matter.”
It looks like the Indians (7-3, 6-2) will be on the road to face Milford (8-2) next Friday.
Fairfield coach Jason Krause lamented his team’s missed opportunities, but welcomed a chance to compete in the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
“That is the interesting part of this evening, waiting to see what the results are and how the chips fall,” Krause said. “Obviously we could have took care of that business tonight on our own, but you know, we just didn’t.”
After a slow first half that saw Mason grab a 10-6 lead, the final quarter provided high school football at its finest.
Trailing 13-10, the Comets faked a field goal and used a Nick Niehoff run to get the ball to the Fairfield 1. Quarterback Collin Brown finished the drive before Niehoff did it again, taking the snap on the conversion and running in for an 18-13 lead with 2:01 left.
Fairfield answered when Phil Thomas returned the ensuing kickoff 45 yards. The Indians retook the lead on the next play when Erick All outwrestled the Comets for a 22-yard TD reception from Jeff Tyus, who added a conversion run to make it 21-18 with 1:44 remaining.
Brown, who was 14-of-25 for 189 yards and a score, made good use of the sideline to move the Comets right back down the field, and Sipe’s 42-yard field goal with 12 seconds left forced overtime.
Fairfield had the ball first, but a holding call and two incompletes led to a blocked 38-yard field goal. Mason ended the affair with three straight runs to set up Sipe’s game-winner.
“We just kept answering the bell,” Castner said. “This team has shown so much resolve, just perseverance. They never say die. You have to execute in two-minute situations, and we were good in spots tonight..”
Niehoff was a force all night, racking up 148 yards on six catches, including a 80-yard scoring reception, while LoganDalton rushed for 104 yards.
All-everything back JuTahn McClain rushed for 179 yards and a score for the Indians. Peyton Brown had a 61-yard scoring jaunt in the third quarter to put the Tribe up 13-10.
“We just have to prepared for whoever we play,” Krause said. “Obviously you don’t like going in like this, but we are happy to be in. We will meet on Sunday, get refocused and get ready for whoever we are matched up with.”
F: JuTahn McClain 4 run (Kick failed)
M: Nick Niehoff 80 pass from Collin Brown (Charlie Sipe kick)
M: Sipe 27 field goal
F: Peyton Brown 61 run (Elgin Phillips kick)
M: Collin Brown 1 run (Niehoff run)
F: Erick All 22 pass from Jeff Tyus (Tyus run)
M: Sipe 42 field goal
M: Sipe 30 field goal