The Tigers will open the season this Friday against Lakewood St. Edward at 7:30 pm. Unfortunately, only family members of players, band and cheerleaders will be able to attend due to the restrictions applied by the Ohio Department of Health on account of Covid-19 pandemic. However, the game will also be aired live on massillonschools.org for the cost of $10.00.
The ticket office announced the disposition of payments by season ticket holders. There are three options available: (1) receive a refund, (2) receive credit toward the purchase of a 2021 season ticket, or (3) donate the money to the football program. If no action is taken, the credit option will automatically be applied.
The Touchdown Club has been postponed until the week of the McKinley game at the earliest. The Club still plans to award the Hardnose Trophy at the end of the season.
The 7th Grade will play St. Thomas Aquinas at home on Tuesday at 6:00 pm. The 8th Grade will play Euclid at home on Wednesday at 6:00 pm. The freshmen will play at home on Thursday at 6:00 pm against Lakewood St. Edward. The JV will play at St. Eds on Saturday morning at 10:00 am. Only relatives of the players are permitted to attend these games.
The Booster Club meeting was moved from the high school to the Eagles 190 due to the virus making the school unavailable. This year’s President Eric Smith chaired the meeting.
The guest players for this week were co-captains Xavier Andrews and Terrence Rankl. “We’re really looking forward to this Friday night,” said Andrews. “We had a good first day of practice and we’re ready for the rest of the week,” added Rankl. “It’s not going to be the same experience (without the large crowd), but we’ll get through.”
The virus has really affected the preparation for the season, especially with the complete loss of team winter workouts. But the leaders on the team really pushed hard and the players have apparently responded well. “These guys have been through a lot and they answered the bell every time,” said head coach Nate Moore. “We looked to our senior players to really lead. And they did a fantastic job. We made gains and they were ready to hit the ground running when they came back.” And in spite of a season shortened to just six games, the coach is happy about playing.
Moore tried to arrange a scrimmage with Wooster last week, but they declined. Which was interesting, since the Generals previously called Massillon to schedule a 2-game series. Maybe they just wanted the big gate a game would provide.
Moore then turned his attention to Lake St. Edward. “We have a really tall task,” he remarked. “We know very little. We looked at prior scrimmages and last year’s game films. If we play well, we’ll have a really good chance.”
Offensively, the Eagles run a very balanced attack, something that is typical of all good programs. The run game is mostly power, while the passing attack features lots of underneath routes. “They’re not flashy, but they are good at what they do,” said Moore. The line averages 6′-2″, 274 lbs. The best lineman, according to Moore, is Thomas Aden, who plays right tackle at 285 lbs. The featured running back is Malachi Watkins, a 5′-10″, 185 lb. senior. Watkins was a backup last year and has good speed and vision. The wide receivers are all new, but Connor Goodall and Broden Bostwick stood out for Moore. Goodall is long at 6′-3″. Junior Christian Ramos mans the quarterback position. He is 6′-1″ and 190 lbs. A starter last year on the JV team, Ramos is a good athlete and has a good arm.
Defensively, St. Edward lines up in a 4-3 with four defensive backs. The best lineman is Treyton Bixby, a 6′-5″, 245 lb. junior. He is a big kid and will be a challenge. The linebacking corp is led by C.J. Hankins, a 5′-11″, 220 lb. senior. Moore says that he is very active and physical, and perhaps the best player on the defense. The defensive backs are all new, but the two cornerbacks, Jaylen and Joel Castleberry, are very good. Expect them to line up in press coverage and create a challenge for Massillon’s outside wide receivers.
This will be a very difficult opener against a team that has won four Division 1 state titles over the last ten years. But don’t count the Tigers out in this one just yet. They are big on the offensive line (286 lb. average), they have powerful running backs and some of the best wide receivers in the country, to go along with an excellent quarterback. Defensively, it’s all about speed and they will challenge any team to drive down the field and score. And the kicking game is second to none. On top of that, Coach Moore says that they are great kids, they work hard and they are very focused. “I feel really good about these guys, about this team,” he said. “They had a really good off-season. I feel good about the depth chart top to bottom.”