Ursuline rallies past Tigers
Irish post 17 points in second half to knock off Massillon
By CHRIS EASTERLING
Youngstown, OH —
For the first three games of the season, the Massillon Tigers have been a strong third-quarter team. On Friday night at Youngstown State University’s Stambaugh Stadium, they had the tables turned on them by the state-ranked and unbeaten Ursuline Fighting Irish.
Leading by seven at halftime, the Tigers saw the Irish outscore them by two touchdowns in the third quarter as Ursuline pulled away for a 23-13 win to drop Massillon to 2-2 on the season.
“Up front, I thought they did a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage,” Tiger coach Jason Hall said. “That’s high school football. They won the battle up front.”
The Tigers were held to just 30 yards in the second half, after gaining 136 in the first half. Ursuline had 153 of its 340 yards of offense after halftime.
Massillon must now regroup quickly, as a tough Garfield team visits Paul Brown Tiger Stadium next Friday. The Golden Rams are 2-1 with a game today against Akron North (3-0).
“It’s like I told our kids, it’s a true test of character for everybody,” Hall said. “It’s not always going to be easy. That’s what’s going to determine the rest of our season.”
The first half was all about Massillon and the opportunities it was presented by Ursuline mistakes.
The Tigers took the ball away from Ursuline – the No. 2-ranked team in Division V – three times in the first half, not counting a kickoff that Massillon fell on before the Irish could. The Tigers converted those into 13 points as the they grabbed a 13-6 halftime lead.
“We put ourselves in a bad situation,” said Ursuline coach Dan Reardon, whose team is 4-0. “I think good football teams find a way to win when you put yourself in a bad situation. We were fortunate we were able to do that.”
The first two Ursuline possessions ended in fumble recoveries by Massillon. The first was recovered by J.B. Price, which he brought back inside the Irish 35. However, a clipping penalty against Massillon moved the ball back to its own 48. That drive would never get going, and the Tigers would punt it back to the Irish.
On Ursuline’s second possession, the Tigers forced a second fumble after an Irish reception and Brian Arelt fell on it at the Irish 45. Massillon would march down to draw first blood, with Price capping the 12-play drive with a 1-yard run at the 1:02 mark of the first quarter for a 7-0 Tiger lead after the extra point.
Ursuline answered on its next drive, marching from its own 37 into the end zone in 10 plays, with Allen Jones running it in from one yard out for the score. However, the Irish tried the swinging gate on the point-after try, with Dale Peterman taking the direct snap. But the Tiger defense was up to the task, and stopped the two-point try to keep Massillon ahead 7-6 with 8:11 left in the first half.
A third Ursuline fumble in the first half – at its own 47 – gave Massillon a chance to pad its lead right before the intermission. Aided by a 30-yard pass from Michael Clark to J.T. Turner, the Tigers moved just outside the Irish 11.
Clark and Turner would hook up to give Massillon a 13-6 lead with 1:08 left until the band show. This time, it was a 13-yard strike to a wide-open Turner in the end zone. The PAT bounced off the upright to keep it a seven-point lead.
Massillon would get the ball right back when Tyler Miller recovered the kickoff at the Ursuline 21 after the Irish failed to cover the kick. But the Tigers failed to convert when a 39-yard field goal went just left with 32 seconds left in the half.
“Not scoring at the end of the first half really hurt us,” Hall said. “Looking back on that, that was huge. We needed some points there.”
The Tigers, though, started the second half as generous guests. Peterman intercepted a Massillon pass and returned it to the Tiger 15.
“That was an emotional swing in the game, obviously,” Hall said.
Two plays later, Darrell Mason scored on a 7-yard run for the tying score – after the extra point – just 1:07 into the second half.
Ursuline’s next possession – helped out by an 18-yard run on a fake punt – moved to the Massillon 5, where it was fourth-and-2. Dawalyn Harper managed to pick up the first down with a two-yard run, then scored from a yard out two plays later to give the Irish their first lead of the game at 20-13 with 48 seconds left in the third quarter.
Kevin Patrick added a 20-yard field goal with 5:50 left in the game for a 23-13 Irish lead.
At Stambaugh Stadium
Massillon 07 06 00 00 13
Ursuline 00 06 14 03 23
M – Price 1 run (Geier kick)
U – Jones 1 run (Run failed)
M – Turner 13 pass from Clark (Kick failed)
U – Mason 7 run (Patrick kick)
U – Harper 1 run (Patrick kick)
U – Patrick 20 FG
First Downs 9 18
Rushes-Yds 29-69 53-223
Comp-Att-Int 8-17-3 7-9-0
Passing Yards 97 117
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 6-4
Penalty yards 35 0
Price 1-1 TD.
Harper 10-71 TD;
Mason 14-55 TD;
Jones 16-48 TD;
Clark 8-17-97 TD, 3 INTs.
Turner 3-42 TD;