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It’s up and It’s good

Tigers will face Pickerington; Perry ends year at 10‑2

By CHRIS PUGH
Independent Staff Writer

A pair of Matts gave the Tigers a winning hand.

The Massillon Tiger football team rode the arm of Matt Martin and the foot of kicker Matt Shafer to a thrilling last‑second 23‑21 victory over the Perry Panthers Saturday night. The Ohio High School Athletic Association regional semifinal contest was played before an estimated crowd of 17,000 at Fawcett Stadium.

Shafer kicked a 35‑yard field goal at the game’s final gun, capping a 57‑yard drive sparked by the passing of Martin.

Martin finished the game 21 for 29 through the air for 294 yards and added a 65‑yard punt on a quick kick for good measure.

The Tigers’ heroics were necessary after Perry came back from a 20‑7 deficit in the third quarter with two touchdown runs by Chris Kortis, the second giving Perry a 21‑20 lead with 1:17 left in the game.

The drive was set by a stunning sequence of plays just a minute earlier.

The Tiger defense sacked Perry quarterback Bob Perez on a fourth down to give the team possession with a little over two minutes to play.

The Panthers took the ball back and promptly scored, giving Massillon the final shot.

Martin completed six straight passes on the game winning drive, setting up Shafer’s winning kick.

With the win, the Tigers avenged two recent losses to Perry, including a 23‑6 loss in an opening round playoff game in 1999.

Massillon advances to play Pickerington, who crushed Gahanna Lincoln, 48‑13.

Within 30 minutes of the Victory, fans flooded downtown Massillon. Lincoln Way was closed off as revelers ‑ included Rick Shepas’ charges danced in the streets.

The game gave the Tigers bragging rights over the Federal League, giving them a 2‑0 record over the conference this season.

The Tigers defeated North Canton 31‑0 last Saturday in the opening round of the playoffs.

Meanwhile, Warren Harding, which handed Massillon one of its two losses this season, barely escaped Byers Field in Parma with a 18‑16 win over Lakewood St. Edward, also on a last second game‑winning field goal.

Massillon 23
Perry 21
M P
First downs rushing 2 8
First downs passing 12 6
Firsst downs by penalty 0 1
TOTAL first downs 14 15
Net yards rushing 28 141
Net yards passing 294 117
TOTAL yards 322 258
Passes attempted 29 15
Passes completed 21 7
Passes intercepted 1 1
Punts 5 7
Punting average 42.2 27.9
Fumbles/Lost 5/3 1/1
Penalties 5 2
Yards penalized 52 6

Massillon 00 13 07 03 23
Perry 00 07 00 14 21

SCORING

M ‑ Johnson 3 run (Shafer kick) 9:27
M ‑ Jordan 68 pass from Martin (kick failed) 5:43
P ‑ Cerreta 31 pass from Perez (Perez kick) 1:41
M ‑ Jordan 25 pass from Martin (Shaffer kick) 11:44
P ‑ Kortis 1 run (Perez kick) 6:42
P ‑ Kortis 1 run (Perez kick) 1:17
M ‑ Shafer 35 FG 0:00

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Massillon rushing: Johnson 13‑24, Woods 4‑12.
Perry rushing: Kortis 15‑68, Perez lt29, Schleiden 8‑28.

Massillon passing: Martin 21‑29‑294 TD, INT.
Perry passing: Perez 7‑15‑117 TD, INT,

Massillon receiving: Jordan 7‑170 2 TDs, Ashcraft 4‑44, Relford 4‑32.
Perry receiving: Cerreta 4‑62 TD, Woodard 2‑37.

Shawn Crable