Massillon QB Huth knocked out as Moeller rolls to 48‑14 victory
By CHRIS EASTERLING
The Massillon Tigers hoped Saturday’s late afternoon game with Moeller inside Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati would answer some questions about themselves. Instead, the 48‑14 loss at the hands of the Crusaders simply opened up many more queries in search of answers.
“I thought we were better than that.” Tiger coach Tom Stacy said. “We didn’t get tested the first two weeks. But we’re going to have to find out where our weaknesses are, maybe make some personnel changes and go from there.”
It was a potentially costly game for the Tigers, as quarterback Bobby Huth was knocked out of the game on the next‑to‑last play of the third quarter on a passing play. He spent the remainder of the game in an apparent daze on the bench.
Stacy would not speculate on the nature of the injury. The Tiger coach didn’t expect a diagnosis until today at the earliest.
“I don’t know to what extent he’s hurt without the doctors looking at him first,” Stacy said.
No one questioned the fact the Tigers were going to face their first legitimate test of the season when they teed it up against Moeller. Massillon outscored its first two foes ‑ North Park (Ont.) and H.D. Woodson (D.C.) ‑ by a 127‑13 margin, but neither boasted a rugged, tough, hard‑hitting defense like the Crusaders.
But what transpired on Saturday afternoon was a splash of cold water in the face for the Tigers, who felt they had an offense which could still score points against Moeller’s 3‑3‑5 defense.
Outside of the Tigers’ second‑quarter scoring drive and a last‑ditch possession at the end of the game, Massillon snapped the ball just once on the Moeller side of midfield in accumulating just 198 yards off offense.
“We need to try to get better and do what we do‑best.” Stacy said. “Maybe there are some things we’re doing that we shouldn’t doing. Maybe we got some false information from playing two opponents in those first two games who weren’t very good’. We’ll have to regroup and look at the tape and try to get better.”
Things don’t exactly get easier for Massillon, with or without Huth. The Tigers return to the friendly confines of Paul Brown Tiger Stadium this Saturday, but the opponent is nationally ranked Arizona power Hamilton.
The Tigers will hope the return home can bring with it a better start than the one they had against Moeller. The Crusaders scored four times – three touchdowns and a field goal ‑ in a span of 5:30 late in the first quarter to jump on top 24‑0 after a Ryan Sunderland 37‑yard field goal with six seconds left in the stanza.
That fast start by the Crusaders was as much a result of Massillon miscues as it was Moeller plays. The Tigers surrendered a punt return for a score by Chedrick Cherry, an interception return for a touchdown by Dean Gaier and then set up the Crusaders’ third touchdown with a fumble at their own 21.
For the game, Moeller had more return yards ‑ punt and interception – than ‑ it had offensive yardage. The Crusaders had 245 return yards ‑ 146 of those punt return yards by Cherry – compared to 205 offensive yards.
“We’ve been working our tails off on special teams,” Moeller coach Bob Crable said. “Our special teams came through.”
A year ago, Massillon had to hold off a furious Elder rally after jumping on top 35‑7 before eventually prevailing 35‑31.
The Tigers tried to pull off one of their own, cutting the deficit to 24‑7 on a 3‑yard Brian Gamble run with 6:29 left in the second quarter.
Massillon cut it to 24‑14 when Corey Hildreth blocked a punt off the foot of the punter, and without breaking stride, grabbed the ball and raced 24 ‑ yards for a touchdown just 1:39 into the second half.
“There’s no question,” Stacy said of his faith in a comeback. “I always believe our kids and their ability to comeback. We have enough guys who played last year who believe the same things. We just didn’t execute.”
Nor did they have much of a chance to in the third quarter. Massillon ran all of eight plays in the third stanza, compared to 20 for Moeller, which led 27‑14 after three.
Any Massillon comeback attempt was negated by three Crusader scores on fourth‑quarter possessions. Two of those touchdowns were set up by turnovers by the Tigers, who gave the ball up five times on the day.
“I thought defensively we played well,” Stacy said. “We just gave them short field after short field. You have to give them credit.”
Massillon 0 7 7 0 14
Moeller 24 0 3 2 48
Moe ‑ Chedrick Cherry 49 punt return (Ryan Sunderman kick)
Moe ‑ Dean Gaier 50 interception return (Sunderman kick)
Moe ‑ Cherry 11 pass from Ross Oltorik (Sunderman kick)
Moe ‑ Sunderman 37 field goal
Mas ‑ Brian Gamble 3 run. (Steve Schott kick)
Mas ‑ Corey Hildreth 21 blocked punt return (Schott kick)
Moe ‑ Sunderman 45 field goal
Moe ‑ Oltorik 9 run (Sunderman kick)
Moe – Oltorik 11 run (Sunderman kick)
Moe – Bemary 4 run (Sunderman kick)
Gamble 11‑55 TD; J.T. Turner 6‑34; K.J. Herring 4‑21; Tommy Leonard 1‑7.
Patrick Blanks 17‑54.
Huth 10‑19‑69 2 INTs; Steve Ryder 1‑3‑6
Oltorik 12‑20‑142 TD 2 INTs.
Bryan Sheegog 4‑70; Andrew Dailey 3‑17; Giorgio Jackson 2‑8; Trey Miller 1‑8.
Brian Albrink 3‑53; Patrick Curtin 3‑28; Cherry 2‑26 TD; Blanks 2‑2.