Trailing Nation Ford 21-20 on the road in overtime, McKinstry swept to the outside, off right tackle, looking to make the 2-point conversion that would give the Griffins the come-from-behind win.
With all zeroes showing on the scoreboard clock, McKinstry was smashed at the goal line, his knee going down at the 1-inch line.
The game was over, and the Falcons had accomplished something never before accomplished in their school’s brief history.
Without a single region win in the history of their program, the Falcons of Nation Ford had conjured up a homecoming miracle against the visiting Griffins, shocking their region foes 21-20.
The Griffins, who had played a miserable first half, outscored the Falcons 7-0 in the second half to tie the game 14-all and force the overtime.
The Falcons got the ball first in the extra frame, scoring on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Cameron Wells to Andrew Komornik, giving Nation Ford the 21-14 edge.
The Griffins answered on their shot from the 10 on a 2-yard fourth-down scoring run by Shaffarole Jones to make it 21-20.
Then Fairfield Central head coach Demetrius Davis rolled the dice, sending McKinstry on the fatal end-around run in a daring gambit for the victory.
While both offenses struggled to find their way in the second chapter, the Griffins managed to tie the game at 14 on a 27-yard pass from McKinstry to Dana Macklin with just 8 seconds left in the third quarter.
The first half, meanwhile, belonged almost entirely to the Falcons.
Behind the rushing attack of junior running back Daniel Jackson, the Falcons shredded the Fairfield Central defense for the first two quarters, storming out to a 14-0 lead and stunning the zombie-like Griffins. Jackson rushed for 74 first-half yards – more than the entire Griffin offensive output combined – while Wells threw for 65, including a 30-yard touchdown strike to Clemson commitment Jay Jay McCoullough with 8:31 left in the first frame.
The Griffin offense was nothing short of anemic during the first half, achieving a total of four first downs – all of which came during their sole scoring drive during the half’s closing minutes. Even then, the Griffins had to overcome not one, but two, crucial fourth down scares to keep the drive alive. Their second do-or-die snap, a fourth-and-20 from just the other side of the Nation Ford 20, yielded pay dirt on a 20-plus-yard touchdown toss from McKinstry to Randall Adams with 48 seconds left in the half.
Fairfield Central, which has struggled to put together a complete four-quarter performance for most of the season, saw opportunities go by the wayside, including on their first possession of the second half.
That drive, which the Griffins took from their own 25 down to the Nation Ford 25, ended on a failed fourth-and-11 conversion attempt and the Falcons took over on downs.
Late in the third, as the Falcons saw their offensive output dwindle, the Griffin defense just missed a golden opportunity to snatch the game away when Adams dropped what appeared to be a sure pick-6 with 1:32 left in the quarter.
The loss drops the Griffins to 4-2 and, more importantly, 0-1 in the region. The Falcons, meanwhile, improve to 4-2 overall and 1-0 in region play.
NF – McCoullough 30 pass from Wells. Condron PAT. (8:31)
NF – Jackson 1 run. Condron PAT. (6:33)
FC – Adams 20 pass from McKinstry. McKinstry PAT. (0:48)
FC – Macklin 27 pass from McKinstry. McKinstry PAT. (0:08)
NF – Komornik 10 pass from Wells. Condron PAT.
FC – Jones 2 run. PAT failed.
Rushing – Carries/Yards
FC – McKinstry 22/108. Walker 18/72. Jones 5/13. Scott 2/25. Macklin 1/1.
NF – Jackson 28/104. Wells 6/16. Sturdivant 2/6. McCoullough 1/-1.
Passing – Comp./Attmpt./Yds/INT/TD
FC – McKinstry 8/16/74/0/2
NF – Wells 7/16/46/0/2