Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo

Tigers snap 3-game skid in return home

By Chris Easterling
Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON It might not have been the most aesthetically pleasing game in the history of Massillon’s football program. It was, though, just the salve the Tigers needed Friday night.

Massillon returned home for the first time since Week 2 and was able to put to bed its three game losing streak by routing overmatched Toledo Bowsher 43-13.

“We came out and we took care of business the way we wanted to,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said. “We sputtered a little bit in the second quarter. All in all, we handled that game the way it was supposed to be handled.”

The Tigers improved to 2-3 with the win. The Rebels went home with a 1-4 record.

Massillon will look to get back to the .500 mark Friday when it travels to meet 3-2 Austintown Fitch.

“Now we have to put (the win) behind us and move on and get ready for Week 6,” Moore said. When one is stuck in a losing streak the way Massillon was during the previous three games, the quality of the win isn’t something to necessarily quibble over. The Tigers certainly were far from flawless on this night, but the result on the scoreboard was more than enough to make  those things secondary.

The game started out almost exactly how Massillon would have scripted things. Three possessions by the Tigers led to three touchdowns and a 20-0 lead with 4:52 left in the first quarter.

Two of the three Massillon scores came on Foster Jones receptions. Jones, who had six catches for 70 yards, had touchdown catches of 13 and 24 yards from quarterback Seth Blankenship.

Massillon hit a bumpy patch late in the first quarter and start of the second. The Tigers threw an interception, missed a 30-yard field goal and then threw an interception that Delonte Brown returned 74 yards for Bowsher’s lone first-half score, making it 20-6 Tigers.

That pick-6 – the fourth such one by a Massillon opponent this season – seemed to be the slap to the face that woke the Tigers back up.

After that Bowsher score, Massillon scored on its final four possessions of the half to take a 43- 6 lead into the locker room at the break.

“I think it was a little bit of a wake-up call,” Moore said. “They may have started feeling a little good about themselves.”

Keyshawn Watson – who had his third 100-plus-yard rushing performance with 149 yards on 27 carries – scored twice on those final four drives. He had a 1-yard run to make it 34-6, then added a 22-yard scoring reception from Seth Blankenship to make it 43-6.

Mike White also scored in that stretch, a 2-yard run to make it 27-6. Brian Corbin also hit a 20-yard field goal to make it 37-6.

The field goal was both Corbin’s first of his career and the Tigers’ first of the season. They hadn’t even attempted one until the first quarter Friday.

Meanwhile, Massillon’s defense came to play from the start. In the first half alone, the Tigers limited Bowsher to minus-14 yards rushing on 11 attempts, while the Rebels completed just 2-of-15 first-half passes for 14 yards.

Bowsher had just 33 total yards for the game. The Rebels finished with minus-52 rushing yards.

In fact, Bowsher completed as many passes in the first half to Massillon players – Dillon Delong and Kordell Ford had interceptions – as it did to its own players. Ford and Andrew Creger both had second-half interceptions for the Tigers, who picked off four passes.

“I thought our guys in the secondary played really good,” Moore said. “We were able to get some heat on the quarterback and force him into some bad throws. That’s how it’s supposed to work.”