The wealth of skill-level talent on this year’s Massillon football squad was on full display in Berea as the Tigers put on an impressive offensive display in their second of three scrimmages.  Both the running and passing games were uncorked, helping Massillon to move the ball almost entirely at will.  Defensively, the players were aggressive and brought a high degree of physicality to the game, completely shutting down the Titan running attack.

Midpark is a D1 team that one would probably rate as average, except for having a very good quarterback in Trevor Bycznski, a 6’-5”, 230 lb. senior.  He makes the Midpark eleven something special offensively.

The scrimmage was staged in two phases, the first involving two 10-play series for each team and the second one half of football.  Here is a rundown of each drive:

10-Play Series

Massillon – Advanced from their own 35 to the MIdpark 2 using a mix of running and passing plays.

Midpark – Advanced from their own 35 to the Massillon 10 using exclusively pass plays designed for short receptions.

Massillon – Scored on a 35-yard pass from Aidan Longwell to Jayden Ballard.  With five plays remaining in the series, advanced from the Massillon 35 to the Midpark 1.

Midpark – Advanced from the MIdpark 35 to the Massillon 45.

One Half of Football

Massillon – Scored on a 58-yard Jamir Thomas run, with a fine block thrown by Jayden Ballard at the ten springing Thomas free for the score.  Jamir seemed to kick it into a second gear once he passed the line of scrimmage.  Score: 7-0.

Midpark – Scored on a 63-yard pass from Bycznski.  Massillon missed an open-field tackle at the 50.  Score: 7-7.

Massillon – Scored on a 3-yard run by Preston Hodges.  Score: 14-7.

Midpark – Scored on a 55-yard pass from Bycznski.  Massillon was in a blitz and missed an open-field tackle at the Tiger 40.  Score: 14-14.

Massillon – Scored on a 57-yard pass from Aidan Longwell to Aydrik Ford.  The score came on the second play of the drive, which was set up by an 18-yard bubble screen to Ford.  Score: 21-14.

Midpark – Moved the ball 13 yards and punted.  End of the first quarter.

Massillon – Scored on a 1-yard run by Zion Phifer.  Score: 28-14.

Midpark – Scored on a 33-yard pass from Bycznski.  Score: 28-21.

Massillon – Game stopped with the ball at the Midpark 21.

Toward the end of the first quarter, play between the two teams started to get chippy and then some cheap shots and retaliations were seen after the whistle well into the fourth quarter.  This is something that the referees should have gotten control over immediately.  But with their failings, the chippiness just escalated.  Following the final recorded play, a Massillon player removed of the action appeared to be targeted and was unceremoniously punched to the ground.  The Midpark offender was immediately ejected, but the referees elected at that time to vacate the field with just over two minutes remaining, marking the end of the scrimmage.  Unfortunately, the JV teams did not get their opportunities.

Regarding statistics for one half of football, Massillon led in total yardage, 319 to 238.


Offense – run: Many running backs stood out, but particularly Zion Phifer, who ran with both power and speed while bursting time and again through a bevy of would-be tacklers to pick up chunks of yardage.  The new split backfield was also effective in producing good results.

Offense – pass: Aidan Longwell was much improved from the last scrimmage and connected on most of his passes.  It didn’t matter if they were short, medium or long.  The passes were where and when they needed to be.  The receivers also showcased the athletic talent this group possesses.

Defense – run: Midpark never got untracked, many times being caught in the backfield.  On a few occasions, the outside linebacker would blitz, which allowed the back to spring for some yardage.  But this did not appear to be the result of any errant play.

Defense – pass: It appeared that the Tigers were willing to give up the short pass and concentrate on making the sure tackle.  This worked all day, except for the two touchdowns noted above.  All of the deep passes were well-covered.  It’s just a matter of making the play.

Kicking game: All of the extra points were made.  Kickoffs landed around the 10-15 yard line.

The final scrimmage is scheduled for Friday, August 17 against Lakewood St. Edward.  Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 pm at St. Edward High School at 13500 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood.