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Tigers light up the scoreboard again
Massillon nets 690 yards of offense and hands Lima Sr. 67-35 whipping

By JOE SHAHEEN
Independent Sports Editor

With temperatures more conducive for baseball than football, Massillon Tiger coach Rick Shepas figured the physical conditioning of his charges would get a test against the visiting Lima Senior Spartans, Friday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

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While the oppressive heat and humidity cooperated, the Spartans offered very little resistance as the Tigers jumped out to a 22‑0 lead after the first quarter and coasted home to a 67‑35 victory in front of 8,363 perspiration‑soaked fans.

Massillon’s high‑powered attack amassed 415 net yards in the first half alone, including 338 yards through the air as the game was decided before the bands took the field.

Junior quarterback Justin Zwick was just as torrid as the weather, completing 14 of 22 aerials in the first half, including three touchdown tosses.

The Tigers took the game’s opening kickoff and used their finely‑tuned aerial attack to go through the Lima Senior defense with virtually no resistance.

Zwick found tight end Jeremiah Drobney over the middle for 13 yards on the first play from scrimmage. One play later, a screen pass to Terrance King picked up 23 yards to the Lima 38. Then Robert Oliver found a seam in the middle of the Lima defense for 24 yards to the Spartan 14.

Zwick went back to Drobney, finding the senior open at the 2‑yard line. Drobney caught the football, then battled his way through two Spartan defenders and into the end zone for the touchdown. David Abdul tacked on the extra point and it was 7‑0 Massillon at 10:12 of the first quarter.

Tiger defensive end Brian Leonard forced Lima to cough up the football on its initial possession of the game with Justin Princehorn falling on the pigskin for the Massillon at the Spartan 28.

“We came out sharper in the first quarter which is something we wanted to do,” said Tiger coach Rick Shepas. “Good offense, good defense in the first quarter. Start fast.”

It didn’t take the orange-and‑black long to turn the Lima turnover into points. Zwick passed 37 yards to Montale Watkins, who came back nicely for the football, to give the Tigers first‑and‑goal at the Lima 2. However, the drive stalled and Abdul hit the chip shot field goal at at 7:30 of the first quarter to make it a 10‑0 game.

The Spartans marched from their 16 to the Tiger 30 before Leonard, Matt Shem and Jason Abbott made outstanding defensive plays to quell the march.

It only took Massillon two plays to score again. Perry James picked up eight yards around right end on first down. Then Zwick ‑ with pressure in his face ‑ found Jessie Robinsin at the Lima 27. The 5‑foot‑6 senior captain leaped high, then turned his body in midair to catch the football. When he came down the Lima defensive back was out of position and Robinson jetted into the end zone for the 63‑yard touchdown as the Tigers led 16‑0 with 5:31 still to go in the first quarter.

Lima went three‑and‑out on its ensuing possession and the Tigers went for the kill.

On a third‑and‑12 play from the Tiger 21, Zwick who finished 19 for 32 for a Washington High single game record of 402 passing yards ‑ completed a short pass to Marquis Williams at the 30. The 5‑11, 168‑pound junior, broke several tackles and was off to the races, finally going down at the Lima 10.

A penalty against the Tigers, one of 14 yellow flags on Massillon, pushed the ball back to the 29. Two snaps later, Zwick underthrew a pass down the right sideline. But Robinson, his eyes on the ball all the way, came back and made the catch, then danced into the end zone. The PAT put Massillon up 23‑0 at 2:31 of the first quarter.

Lima finally got the bugs out, marching 80 yards in 11 plays for its initial score of the game. Junior running back Jeremy Wright, who had a big game himself rushing for 206 yards and three TDs, found a huge hole in the middle of the line and went 14 yards for the score. Travis Wright’s kick made it a 23‑7 game at 9:53 of the second quarter.

“Our defense had a good, solid game plan,” said Shepas. “They did a nice job running the trap on us. They ran a trap cutback off the option play and we had a little trouble dealing with it. Even after we made some adjustments they got us on it early in the second half.”

Massillon – counter punched with a knockout blow.

Robinson fielded the Lima kickoff at the Tiger 10 and picked his way down the left sideline 90 yards to paydirt. Abdul’s kick made it 30‑7 Massillon at 9:42 of the second.

After being shutout last week, Robinson put up three touchdowns against the Spartans.

“I knew tonight was going to be something special,” gushed the diminutive senior captain. “Last week Montale Watkins had a big game so (Lima’s) best DB was on his tail and their weaker DB was on me the whole game. There was no way he could stay with me.

As for the long kickoff return, Robinson credited superior conditioning.

“The ball was short and I guess they were tired running down there,” he explained. “It opened like the Red Sea. I just sprinted as fast as I could to get in for six.”

Abbott produced a huige play on defense on Lima’s next series, hitting quarterback Nick Morris on a blindside blitz, forcing him to fumble. Robert Oliver picked up the loose ball for Massillon and rumbled 20 yards into the end zone for yet another Tiger score. Abdul’s kick made it 37‑7 at 8:39 of the second.

Lima then drove 78 yards in six plays to keep it respectable. Jeremy Wright covered the final seven yards for the points. Travis Wright tacked on the PAT to make it a 37‑14 game at 6:45 of the second.

King ripped off 27 yards on a draw play on the Tigers next possession to key yet another scoring drive. A Zwick to Williams aerial accounted for 33 more, and Abdul put up the points on a 22‑yard field goal.

The junior kicker extraordinaire closed the first half scoring with a 27‑yarder and it was Massillon 43, Lima 14 at the break.

Lima opened the second half with an 80 yard scoring drive, capped off by a 22‑yard Morris to Jeremy Wright touchdown toss. The kick cut the Tiger lead to 43‑21.

Massillon came right back and put up a score of its on. With Lima in an all out blitz, James took the handoff from Zwick and darted up the middle for a 63‑yard touchdown jaunt. The senior running back only toted the ball five times, but picked up 120 yards.

Following a Lima turnover, King got a hole and shot 18 yards to the end zone to make it 57‑21 Tigers at 7:52 of the third.

Abdul’s 29‑yard field goal with 2:38 in the third period got Massillon to the 60‑point plateau at 60‑21.

Trent Seay hauled in a two‑yard pass from Morris at 6:54 of the fourth and the PAT made it 60‑28 Massillon.

The Tigers final score came on a 17 yard run by sophomore Terrance Roddy.

“The game got a little sloppy for a while,” observed Shepas. “We had more penalties than we had last week and we want to work on those things. But it’s good to stay healthy coming out of this.”

“Massillon has a fine team,” said Lima Senior coach Leonard Rush. “We knew they were going to throw it all over the field. You guess when you blitz and we guessed wrong a whole bunch tonight. They’re a good team and we’re not a very good team right now.”

MASSILLON 67
LIMA SENIOR 35
M L
First downs rushing 13 10
First downs passing 11 6
First downs by penalty 3 3
TOTAL first downs 27 19
Net yards rushing 279 278
Net yards passing 411 216
TOTAL yards 690 494
Passes attempted 34 26
Passes completed 21 11
Passes intercepted 0 0
Punts 1 3
Punting average 25 34
Fumbles/Lost 2/0 6/4
Penalties 14 7
Yards penalized 181 70

MASSILLON 23 20 17 7 67
LIMA 0 14 7 14 35

Kreg Rotthoff