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Tigers dominate Mansfield

By GREG KOHNTOPP
Greg.Kohntopp@indeonline.com

The Massillon Tigers didn’t have a letdown a week after defeating Greater Catholic League power Elder. The Tigers rolled up 465 total yards Friday, defeating the Mansfield Tygers 55-0 at Arlin Stadium to improve to 3-0.

Like a week ago, when the Tigers intercepted the Elder quarterback six times, the defense had sticky fingers. The Tigers picked off three passes against the Tygers (1-2), all of which eventually led to touchdowns.

First-year Massillon head coach Tom Stacy said he has never coached a team that intercepted nine passes in a two-game stretch.

“We have a good secondary,” said Stacy. “We’re also going to see some good quarterbacks. Ignatius has a real good quarterback, and I’m sure Mentor’s is going to be a good challenge. But our secondary is solid. We were able to see that in the 7-on-7’s this summer.”

Senior defensive back Neil James started the interception party by picking off a Justin Greene pass at the Tigers’ 24-yard line on the opening possession of the game. The Tigers then marched 76 yards on eight plays, scoring on a six-yard pass from quarterback Bobby Huth to senior receiver Trey Miller on a quick slant. Kicker Steve Schott’s extra point made it 7-0 with 6:09 remaining in the opening period.

“There are a couple of guys who are playmakers I look to,” said Huth, who finished 11-for-14 for 140 yards and two touchdowns. “(Brett) Huffman, (Zack) Vanryzin and those guys. You get them the ball, and they can make things happen.”

The Tigers’ Troy Ellis kept the party going by intercepting Greene’s next pass attempt at the Tygers’ 25 yard line. Ellis returned it to the 3-yard line, setting up a Lanale Robinson one-yard touchdown run with 5:54 remaining in the first quarter.

Ellis, however, was forced to leave the game in the third quarter with an apparent leg injury, but Stacy said he doesn’t believe it is serious. The biggest interception, however, came just before the half.

With the Tigers holding on to a commanding 24-0 lead with less than three minutes to go in the half, senior defensive end Antonio James nailed Greene just as he was about to release the ball. It floated into the arms of Emery Saunders at the Tygers’ 45-yard line, and he returned it for a touchdown to make it 31-0.

The offense, led by Brian Gamble, also hit on all cylinders. Gamble rushed for 109 yards on 11 carries and added three receptions for 60 yards. He also returned a kickoff for 39 yards and scored a 22-yard touchdown early in the third quarter.

“The line was great,” said Gamble, who left the game after the first possession of the third quarter. “They were blocking really well, and I did what I could to see the hole and go through the hole. I haven’t really been catching a lot of passes in games, but in practice I have been. Tonight, I had a couple of catches. It felt really good.”

Gamble played a major part in two of the Tigers’ first-half offensive touchdowns. He carried for 51 yards on four carries in the opening drive.

Gamble also set up another Tigers touchdown by hauling in a 28-yard Huth pass at the Tygers’ 9-yard line.

Two plays later, Huth rolled left and found receiver Vanryzin in the corner of the end zone from seven yards out.

Gamble also set up another Huth touchdown as he hauled in a 28-yard pass on the sideline at the Tygers’ 9-yard line. Two plays later, Huth rolled to his left and connected with a wide-open Vanryzin in the corner of the end zone.

The Tigers finished with 261 total yards in the first half.

It didn’t get much better for the Tygers in the second half. On top of Gamble’s 22-yard touchdown run, the Tigers also scored on an 18-yard run by Robinson and a 47-yard run by K.J. Herring.

If there were any doubts about the legitimacy of the Tigers, both Huth and Gamble believe those were answered. Both believe the Tigers are back to the level they are used to playing at.

“The tradition is definitely back,” said Gamble. “It was a good win. It
was good to finish somebody after letting Elder get back in the game.”

“We’re back for sure,” Huth added. “We believe we are a great team. We can go a long way if we stay focused.”

GAME STATS

Antonio James