Tigers 3-0 after repulsing the Rams
B.J. ‘Paynes’ Garfield ‘11’
By JOE SHAHEEN
Independent Sports Editor
The Massillon Tigers didn’t, wait until after the band show to get going this time, putting up 14 first‑half points on their way to a convincing 28‑7 victory over always‑rugged Akron Garfield before 13,245 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Friday night’
While the Tigers’ offense roared to life in the first half, the game’s turning point did indeed come after halftime, when the Massillon defense forced I he Rams to go three‑and‑out on their first possession of the third quarter.
In fact, Tiger defensive tackle B.J. Payne was a one‑man gang, making three consecutive tackles as Garfield netted zero yards in the key sequence.
After the Rams punted, Massillon drove 53 yards in eight plays Danzy capping the march on a nine‑yard touchdown pass to Ali Dixon in the right corner of the end zone. The score gave the Tigers a 20‑7 lead and Garfield ‑ with its ground based attack ‑ was pretty much out of the game.
“We needed that series right there,” recalled Tigers coach Jack Rose. “They had a chance to go back down and tie it up and that could’ve been a big drive for them. B.J. did a great job. The whole defense did on that we got the ball back and we scored.”
Payne admitted he felt the momentum might be slipping away from the Tigers at that point of the game. They had just received a good kickoff return and a fortunate bounce on a fumble but failed to capitalize with a score.
“Offensively when we got stopped, I knew we had to hurry up and get three plays and out,” [ Payne said. “I just tried to do my job and make some plays to get us out of it.”
On first down, Payne smelled out a draw play and tackled Rams halfback Antoine Winfield for a yard loss. On second clown, Winfield again got the football and Payne took him down for a four‑yard loss. Garfield gave the ball to fullback Frank Idley on third down, and Payne tripped him up just as it appeared he might find some daylight.
“There are certain times in the game when you have to step it up,” Payne. explained. “We have a lot of seniors on defense and we all know we have to step it up at certain times and that was my time right there.”
Garfield head coach Bill McGee couldn’t agree more.
B.J. is an outstanding player,” McGee said. “He’s the ideal size for a defensive tackle. He’s a guy where your offensive linemen have to stay down on him. He was outstanding. They had a lot of outstanding people on defense tonight.
“The turning point in the game was the first touchdown of the second half. Massillon kind of established control with that score. We felt at that point we had to do some things different and they just didn’t allow it. They played outstanding defense. They swarmed us and we couldn’t block them.”
Things didn’t look quite so bright for the locals in the first quarter. Garfield took the opening kickoff and marched 54 yards in 13 plays before a touchdown saving deflection by Lonnie Simpson in the end zone killed the drive. A 29‑yard field goal attempt hit the crossbar and bounced back.
But the Rams got another chance moments later, recovering a Massillon fumble at the Tiger 43. Four plays later, Idley found a hole over his left guard and tackle and rumbled 23 yards to pay dirt. Mark Glockner hit the extra point and it was 7‑0 Garfield with 1:40 to go in the opening period.
The Tigers came right back. On second‑and‑12 from the Massillon 43, Danzy rolled right and hit Eddie Griffith for a first down at the Garfield 44. On the very next snap, Danzy rolled the opposite direction and found Simpson alone in the end zone for a 44‑yard touchdown bomb. Randy Endsley’s conversion kick made it 7‑7 with less than a half minute gone in the second quarter.
More than any other, that score drew McGee’s ire:”
“They made the big play,” he said. “We allowed a guy (Simpson) to get behind us. We play zone coverage and that’s something you simply cannot have happen.”
“It’s a bootleg and there’s a lot of play action,” Danzy explained. “I saw the free safety bite on the play fake. Then Lonnie got behind him and it was just a matter of getting the ball to him. Lonnie was wide open and I hit him.”
“Mike has a good feel for that play,” praised Rose. “We want him to run it sometimes, too. If it’s open deep, throw it. Mike did a good job reading that and putting the ball down there.
“That really turned the momentum our way, especially after fumbling away the ball. The passing game was much better this week and it’s only going to get better.”
Rose admitted this week he’s heard from the fans about the aerial attack. So has Danzy.
“Sure, it becomes a challenge,” Danzy said. “I love challenges. People might criticize but I can take criticism and move on.”
With the game knotted at 7, Garfield retaliated. The Rams drove from their 20 to the Massillon 3S, with Winfield accounting for 42 yards on two slashing carries over the right side of his offensive line.
The Tiger defense stiffened at that point and quarterback Shane Legg dropped back to pass on third‑and‑11. Legg fired a short slant pass but Tim Menches timed it perfectly and stepped in front of the intended receiver for a drive‑killing interception at the 29.
Then Massillon mounted a drive that Garfield fans could appreciate, taking 12 plays to cover 75 yards and eating up over five minutes of game clock in the process. Danzy sustained the march with two key 17‑yard passes, the first to Dixon and the second to tight end Isaiah Jackson.
On second‑and‑goal from the 5, Danzy rolled right and executed the pitch option to perfection, getting the ball to Dixon at the last possible moment. The senior tailback handled the toss and sprinted untouched into the right corner of the end zone for a 14‑7 Massillon lead at 2:31 of the second period.
McGee thinks Danzy’s play is the spark in the Tiger attack.
“Danzy throws the ball well and he’s an outstanding runner,” McGee observed. “He really puts pressure on the defense. When you have to worry about containing him, it puts pressure elsewhere on the defense.”
After the Danzy‑to‑Dixon TD connection in the third quarter put Garfield in a hole, the Tigers threw dirt on top of the visitors with their final scoring drive of the evening. Massillon moved 77 yards in 10 plays as Leon Ashcraft and Dixon took turns running through holes created by the right side of the offensive line.
On third down from the 10 Danzy rolled left after a play fake, took a hit at the 2 but dove into the end zone for the final touchdown of the evening. The senior signal caller hit Ashcraft with a two‑point conversion pass to make it 28‑7 with 6:30 to play.
A late Garfield drive died when Willie Spencer Jr. picked off a pass on the game’s final play.
“The second half of the ball game they were more physical,” McGee said. “I was disappointed with that. We held our own physically in the first half. The second half they were more physical. They came out and went at us harder. They ran right at us and took it to us.”
Payne indicated the Rams may have stirred the Tigers’ emotions with some comments made following last season’s 14-13 Garfield victory.
“They said last year we weren’t physical enough and I think this year we showed them how physical we are,” Payne said.
“This is the kind of game I love. Somebody who’ll bring it right at me. Bring it on. Let’s see what you’ve got. I don’t think there’s anybody who can drop me. That’s my feeling.”
First downs rushing 11 8
First downs passing 7 1
First downs penalty 0 3
Total first downs 18 12
Net yards rushing 171 135
Net yards passing 119 16
Total yards gained 290 151
Passes attempted 11 8
Passes completed 7 1
Passes int. by 2 0
Times kicked off 5 2
Kickoff average 45.8 48.5
Kickoff return yards 70 94
Punts 0 3
Punting average 0.0 32.0
Punt return yards 26 0
Fumbles 1 2
Fumbles lost 1 0
Penalties 7 3
Yards penalized 45 15
Number of plays 47 47
Time of possession 20:44 27:16
GARFIELD 07 00 00 00 7
MASSILLON 00 14 06 08 28
G ‑ Idley 23 run (Glockner kick)
M ‑ Simpson 44 pass from Danzy (Endsley 1kick)
M ‑ Dixon 4 run (Endsiey kick)
M ‑ Dixon 8 pass from Danzy (kick failed)
M ‑ Danzy 10 run (Ashcraft pass from Danzy)
Danzy 7‑11‑119‑0, 2 TDs.
Tigers over the Bulldogs
Akron Garfield head coach Bill McGee knows a good opponent when he plays one.
Garfield has played a couple of them in the first three weeks of the season, arch rivals Massillon and McKinley. The Rams lost to the Pups 7‑0 in Week 1, and 28‑7 to the Tigers Friday.
So, Bill, which is better? Massillon or McKinley?
“At this point in the season, I’d have to rate Massillon an advantage,” McGee said. “They are quicker on defense and there’s the quarterback, situation.
“(Mike Danzy) made some big plays for them tonight. He makes their offense go because he opens things for other people.
“So I’d have to rate them a little bit ahead. But there’s a long way to go until Week 10