Tiger defense stands
tall over Little Giants
By JOE SHAHEEN
Independent Sports Writer
Fremont Ross head coach Mark Wetzel said one thing was for sure when he brought his Little Giants to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium to take on the Massillon Tigers.
Wetzel vowed his charges would give the Tigers a better game
than did Youngstown Woodrow Wilson, a 56-8 loser to
Justin Zwick cranked up his right
arm for five touchdown passes and the
A week after eschewing the pass in favor of the running game Zwick let it all hang out and the Little Giants were virtually helpless to stop him. The senior signal caller tied the school record with six touchdown passes while connecting on 22 of 37 aerials for 238 yards.
The Tigers tallied with less than two minutes elapsed in the
game and the defense set it up by recovering a
Robert Oliver went around right end for 13 yards and a first
down and Zwick hit Devon
On second down from the five, Zwick rolled right and hit Oliver at the two yard line. The senior running back stretched to haul in the football, then turned and found the end zone at 10:11 of the first quarter.
David Abdul’s kick made it 7-0
“We really go off our defense,” asserted Tiger coach Rick Shepas after the game. They’ve been sparking us.
“We’ve been playing on a short field all year long. When we don’t have a lot of yardage or limited time of possessin at the end of a football game, it’s because our defense puts us in great field position.”
The Tigers went to the ground game on their ensuing
possession with senior Ryan Boyd ripping off a 24-yard gain to advance the ball
to the 44. Three snaps later, Oliver hit into the middle of the line and burst
free for a 16-yard gain to the
Oliver gained nine yards on the next play then picked up the first down with a two-yard buck to the 24.
Then on third-and-six from the 20, Zwick made a nice play-action fake and hit Marquis Williams, who made a leaping catch at the 6.
Oliver and Boyd, who played extensively because Rickey Johnson was out sick all week, combined for 155 yards rushing in 17 carries.
“Robert Oliver is becoming a more complete back every week,” said Shepas. “Ryan Boyd has kept practicing and working hard and tonight he got another opportunity and came through for us again.”
After the Tiger defense force
Five plays later Zwick rolled left
and zipped the ball to David Hill in the end zone for the touchdown. Abdul’s
kick made it
Another three-and-out series by
The Tigers final touchdown of the first half capped a four
play, 27 yard drive. Zwick found
The score was set up by the Tiger defense, which not only
The Little Giants – who scored 25 points against Cleveland St. Ignatius three weeks ago – ran 44 plays but managed just 13 net yards of total offense.
“We’re just coming together,” said junior linebacker Shawn Crable. “We’re communicating better and working as a unit out there.
“It all starts up front. The line is playing so well that it lets the rest of us roam and make plays. The line deserves a lot of the credit.”
“We’re playing better together,” agreed senior defensive tackle Dan Speicher. “I think it’s because we’re spending more time together. We’re becoming more of a team.”
The Tigers didn’t let up after the halftime homecoming
ceremonies, taking the second half kickoff and moving 78 yards for a touchdoen. Zwick’s best pass of
the evening came on the drive when he found a streaking Stephon
Achcraft in stride along the left side line for 35
yards to the
Two plays later, Zwick hit Marquis
Williams in the end zone and it was 41-6
Craig McConnell, who had five punt returns for 47 yards,
gave the Tigers great field position with a ten-yard return to the
Nine plays and two penalties later, Zwick
rolled right and hit Oliver in the end zone from a yard away. Abdul’s kick made
A high snap from punt formation resulted in a Fremont Ross safety early in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers final tally came on James Helscel’s one-yard quarterback sneak with severn minutes to play. Kris Reinhart tacked on the point after to account for the final margin.
Schedule taking shape –
The Tigers will open the 2002 campaign at home against
Westerville South. Then comes games at
Week eight is open at the moment, with a week nine game at Warren Harding and week Ten at home agains McKinley.
If the Tigers can find a suitable foe for week seven they
First downs rushing 10 2
First downs passing 9 0
First downs penalty 2 1
TOTAL first downs 21 3
Net yards rushing 185 -17
Net yards passing 270 20
TOTAL yards 455 3
Passes attempted 40 20
Passes completed 25 9
Passes intercepted 0 1
Punts 2 8
Punting average 35.0 32.0
Fumbles/Lost 3/2 3/2
Penalties 14 7
Yards penalized 105 53
M – Oliver 5 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
FR – Martin 99 kickoff return (kick blocked)
M – FG Abdul 42
M – Hill 1 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M – FG Abdul 45
M – Williams 5 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M – Oliver 1 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M – Heiscel 1 run (Reinhart kick)
Fremont Ross rushing: Dickman 1-11.
Fremont Ross passing: Clark 8-17-26 1 INT; Martin 0-2, Yost 1-1-2.
Fremont Ross receiving: