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By JOE SHAHEEN
Joe.Shaheen@IndeOnline.com

The Massillon Tigers could only muster a field goal from a couple of early turnovers, then was unable to deal with Akron Buchtel’s athleticism and trailed the Griffins 25-10 at halftime when lightening forced postponement of Friday’s opening game of the 2004 high school football season.The game will be resumed at 10 a.m. today at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Gates will open at 9 a.m.

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The Tigers actually drew first blood, moving 67 yards in six plays to take a 7-0 lead. The payoff came when senior running back Jermaine Moncrief hit into the middle of the line then bounced outside and swept around his left end for a 13-yard touchdown run. Steve Schott added the point after at 6:41 of the first quarter.Buchtel came back on its ensuing possession and moved 65 yards in just five plays, the final 45 yards on Bryan Williams’ burst over left tackle to the end zone.

Rayshon Dent added the extra point to knot the score at 7-7 at 4:06 of the first quarter.Williams run would have never taken place if not for Buchtel’s fake punt on fourth-and-four that gave the Griffins a first down.Massillon got a huge break when Buchtel failed to execute a punt snap on its next possession and the Tigers recovered at the Griffin 9-yard line.

But two running plays and an incomplete pass forced Massillon to call on Schott who was true with a 28-yard field goal to give the hosts a 10-7 lead at 11:52 of the second quarter.Buchtel received the ensuing kickoff and got superb field position when a Tiger was flagged for grabbing the facemask, giving the Griffins the football at the Massillon 42.On first down, Williams – whom Buchtel coach Claude Brown said would not play on offense due to a shoulder injury – found a gaping hole around the left side of his offensive line and went the distance for a touchdown.

The point after was botched but the Griffins owned a 13-10 lead at 11:34 until halftime.Massillon was forced to punt but Buchtel fumbled on its third play from scrimmage and Tiger linebacker Robert Morris fell on the pigskin at the Griffin 40.Tiger running back Paris McCall picked up nine yards and a first down to move the ball to the 28.Two plays later, on third-and-8, Quentin Paulik hit Zack Vanryzin for what appeared to be a 26-yard touchdown pass. However, the Massillon tally was nullified by an illegal procedure penalty against the Tigers and a subsequent 48-yard field goal attempt was wide left.After the game’s initial lightning delay held the contest up for about 45 minutes, Buchtel came out with a little lightning of its own.

Senior quarterback Dorrell Knight connected with Teon Stallworth on a 62-yard bomb over the outstretched hand of the Tiger safety. The conversion pass failed and Buchtel led 19-10 at 6:36 of the second quarter.It went from bad to worse for Massillon as the Tigers fumbled a handoff on first down on its very next possession. Buchtel’s Kristopher King picked up the loose ball and went 36 yards for a touchdown. Once again the Griffins’ conversion pass fell incomplete but the visitors had built a a 25-10 lead.The Tigers had two more possessions before the game’s second and final lightning delay but could not generate a first down.

GAME STATS

Kurt Jarvis