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Massillon turns five turnovers into rout of Hoban

Chris Easterling

AKRON The Massillon Tigers ventured away from the friendly confines of Paul Brown Tiger Stadium for the first time in the 2011 season Friday night as they faced Hoban. And they weren’t about to be a rude guest when it came time to accept the generosity of their hosts.

Massillon capitalized on multiple Hoban mistakes to blow open a close game in the second half and keep the Knights winless with a 38-16 win in front of a couple thousand fans inside the University of Akron’s InfoCision Stadium.

The Tigers scored 17 points off Hoban turnovers, as the Knights gave up the ball five times.

They also converted a blocked punt into a score, while also recovering an onside kick that didn’t result in points.

“We played a good third quarter,” Massillon coach Jason Hall said after his team improved to 5-1. “We did some things with the turnovers and the field positions. But we had way too many negative plays for a Massillon football team.”

Leading 10-7 at halftime, the Tigers took the second-half kick and drove 42 yards in nine plays to make it 17-7 on Kyle Kempt’s 2-yard pass to Beau Huffman.

On the second play of the subsequent Hoban possession, the Tigers recovered a fumble at the Knight 28. One play after the Tigers would miss a field goal to end that threat; Hoban fumbled again on its own 20.

This time, Massillon converted. Three plays later, Brody Tonn would just get the ball over the plane of the goal line, giving the Tigers a 24-7 lead – post-PAT with 4:07 left.

“I was pleased with how our kids came out in the third quarter,” Hall said. “Instantly, our defense started playing like we expect them to.”

A fourth-quarter interception ended with Massillon grabbing a 38-10 lead on Jason Boykins’ 5-yard run with 2:25 left.

The second-half burst was merely a continuation of a first half filled with as many missed scoring chances as it was converted chances. Both teams turned the ball over in the first half, and both ended up costing the offending team on the scoreboard.

Massillon capitalized on a pair of Hoban mistakes for both of its first-half scores. The first scoring chance came late in the first quarter, after Eric Copeland blocked a Knight punt at the Hoban 14.

Four plays later, Alex Winters fought his way into the end zone from the Knight 2 for a 7-0 Massillon lead at the 39-second mark in the quarter.

The Tigers’ final score of the half could have been higher, as Garrett Kreiger recorded the first of two interceptions on the night and returned it over 50 yards for a touchdown. However, a block in the back penalty against Massillon took the score off the board with just over a minute left in the half.

It appeared the Tigers weren’t going to get any points out of the chance after a pair of sacks and a procedure penalty pushed the ball all the way back to the Hoban 29, where it was fourth-and 27.

But freshman Andrew David, despite kicking into a hard, swirling wind, put a 46-yard field goal just over the crossbar for a 10-7 lead with 17 seconds left in the half.

“Andrew can kick that; we know he can,” Hall said. “We have no hesitation sending him out there. It was a little concern with the wind … but he has a powerful leg.”

While the Tigers were able to capitalize on Hoban’s mistakes for their points, they also were partially responsible for much of the Knights’ scoring. Massillon turned the ball over two times in the game, resulting in 10 Hoban points.

“We want to win the turnover battle, and we don’t want negative plays,” said Hall, whose team was outgained, 289-218.

Hoban, which outgained Massillon 167-71 in the first half, missed on a 21-yard field goal try at the end of a 13-play, 78-yard drive to start the game. However, the Knights recovered a Tiger fumble at their own 21 midway through the second quarter, which opened the door for their only first-half scoring drive.

Buoyed by a Tiger personal foul penalty, along with a 14-yard completion on third-and-10 from the Massillon 24, Hoban got on the scoreboard on the 13th play of the drive. Hoban’s Dominic Orsini rolled to the left, then threw back across the field to a wide-open Jimmy Martter in the end zone for an 8-yard scoring pass to tie the game at 7 with 4:42 left in the half.

“They came out and they did some funky stuff offensively that we had to adjust to,” Hall said. “We didn’t win the line of scrimmage in the first half. They controlled the time of possession.”

A muffed punt by the Tigers gave Hoban the ball at its own 43 early in the fourth quarter. Nine plays later, Matty McGee booted a 29-yard field goal to make it 24-10 Tigers with 8:41 left.