Score 54 in first half en route to rout
Independent sports editor
MASSILLON Massillon’s first play Friday night went for a touchdown. By the time the Tigers ran a second play, the rout of visiting Bowsher was well underway.
Offense, defense, special teams, it didn’t matter against the winless and overmatched Rebels.
Massillon scored in all three phases – in the first quarter alone – in rolling to a 75-7 blowout at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
“We came out and did what we’re supposed to do,” said Massillon coach Nate Moore, whose team will take a 3-2 record into next week’s home game against Austintown Fitch. “Proud of our kids for doing that. It’s on to next week and looking at Fitch.”
It was the most points scored in a game by Massillon since a 2014 77-13 win over St. John’s Collegiate out of Canada. It’s the most scored against a team from the United States since a 76-6 win over Fremont Ross in 2002.
After stopping Bowsher on the game’s opening drive, Massillon needed just one play – a 74-yard Seth Blankenship-to-Austin Jasinski pass – to take a 7-0 lead. That score would come with 8:59 left in the first quarter.
Just over four minutes later, the Tigers would run their second offensive play. In between those two plays, Kordell Ford would bring an interception back 75 yards for a score and Jasinski would bring a punt back 80 yards for a touchdown to make it 20-0 Massillon.
Such was the kind of night it was for the Tigers, who rolled up a 54-7 halftime lead. Massillon would score every time it touched the ball in that span, a total of six first-half possessions.
The Tigers had 299 total yards on just 23 first-half plays. They would finish with 424 yards on 45 plays.
The rout was so lopsided by that point that not only was a running clock in effect for the second half, but the quarters were reduced to just 10 minutes each.
By that point, however, the night had been long over for most of Massillon’s starters. But what a night it was, especially in the passing game.
Blankenship threw the ball just four times in just over a quarter of work. All four passes were completed for touchdowns totaling 156 yards.
“He’s doing a nice job,” Moore said of Blankenship, who had thrown for 386 yards and eight touchdowns in the last two weeks combined.
Aidan Longwell, the only other Tiger quarterback to throw the ball, was 2-for-2 for 36 yards.
That included a 5-yard touchdown to Jared Slutz.
Three of those passes went to Jasinski, who accumulated 140 yards on those catches. That gives him nine catches for 286 yards and five scores over the last two weeks.
“He’s really fast and he catches the football,” Moore said of Jasinski. “He’s a good player.”
The other touchdown pass was a 16-yard pass to Ethen Jefferson in the first quarter. That came on Massillon’s third offensive play to make it 27-0 after the point-after kick.
Louis Partridge handled a bulk of the rushing with the Tiger first unit. He carried it 16 times for 92 yards and scored his first two varsity touchdowns.
Defensively, meanwhile, Massillon picked back up where it left off in last week’s shutout of Ursuline. The Tigers limited Bowsher to minus-6 rushing yards on 16 first-half carries while forcing four turnovers, two of which were interceptions by Ford.
Bowsher finished with 109 total yards, 106 of those coming in the first half. The Rebels turned the ball over six times.
Of the Rebels’ 112 passing yards, 60 went to talented receiver and University of Toledo recruit Bryce Mitchell on four catches. Mitchell also provided Bowsher’s lone first-half score with an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
That score, though, simply made it a 34-7 Massillon lead 1:50 into second quarter. Less than a minute later, though, Jasinski’s second scoring catch pushed the margin to 40-7 with still 9:23 left until the band show.