Jake Furr, Mansfield News Journal
Massillon hands Mansfield Senior first shutout loss since 2015
MANSFIELD — When Mansfield Senior coach Chioke Bradley looked at the stats at the end of the Tygers’ 33-0 loss to Massillon on Friday night, a few things stood out.
The Tygers (2-1) had minus-29 yards rushing, 97 yards of total offense and just seven first downs all night. They allowed 116 yards on the ground and 146 through the air and committed eight penalties for 49 yards. But there was one stat that told him the story of the game. The Tygers were 0-for-11 on third downs.
“I honestly believe we had way too many guys not ready to play,” Bradley said. “Way too many. Talking it is one thing, but when you cross that line you have to be ready to play the game. We had too many talkers tonight. They just weren’t ready to play, and that is on me. I take full responsibility for my team not being ready to play and the undisciplined football we saw tonight, and that is something I will fix.”
The Tygers fell behind Massillon (2-1) midway through the first quarter when Jalen Slaughter found Willtrell Hartson for a 43-yard pass play to start the scoring. Maverick Clark blocked a punt and returned it for a score early in the second quarter and Hartson scored on a 7-yard run to end the half with a 21-0 lead.
“It was a phenomenal job on special teams,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said. “We also ran the ball very well offensively, but we have to get the passing game going.”
The Tigers were balanced on offense with 262 total yards while going 10-for-16 passing with two touchdowns. Slaughter found Ardell Banks on a 51-yarder for the second score through the air, which was sandwiched between field goals of 27 and 37 yards by Nolan Hendricks.
But Moore was more thrilled with the shutout and the defensive effort.
“It definitely is, but we have to put this one away and go back to work next week,” he said.
The Tigers owned the line of scrimmage and made things difficult for the Tygers punt team to get off clean kicks. Massillon piled up five sacks and 17 tackles for losses.
“Our kids played hard,” Moore said. “We thought we would be really good in the front seven this year, and we are starting to develop into the group we thought we would have.”
Hartson finished with 100 yards rushing on 14 carries with a TD while Slaughter threw for 146 and two scores. Banks had 58 yards receiving and Hartson added 43 for Massillon, which hosts Warren G. Harding in Week 4.
Despite the 33 points allowed, Bradley said he was happy with the way the Tygers defense played. Being put in tough situations due to short punts and poor field position, the Tygers held their own for the most part and only allowed 13 points in the second half.
“Defensively, I thought we played with a tremendous amount of heart,” Bradley said. “We were given short fields to defend and just very bad field positioning through special teams debacles. Our offense gave us absolutely nothing, and when you put your defense in those types of predicaments you won’t be successful.
“But, all in all, I think our guys did a great job of fighting through some very adverse situations.”
Mansfield Senior quarterback Duke Reese was 14-for-23 passing for 126 yards and no turnovers. Amarr Davis had six catches for 55 yards while Elias Owens caught two passes for 42 yards.
But the Tygers failed to put points on the board, suffering their first shutout since a 35-0 first-round playoff loss on Nov. 6, 2015, a span of 69 games.
“I hope it resonates,” Bradley said. “I hope it stings. I hope they get a better understanding of where each and every last player is at and where they aren’t. We had two good weeks when we played teams well, but our schedule doesn’t get any easier, and if we don’t bring our lunch pail and our thinking cap we will get demolished.
“I hope that is what every player thinks about tonight when they go to bed. I hope they look themselves in the mirror and know we cannot have the mental lapses we had tonight. We got beat up tonight.”
It was a forgettable performance and one that could be cause for just burning the tape and moving on, but Bradley isn’t about to let a teachable moment go by.
“I can’t wait to watch the tape in the morning,” he said. “I think everything that happened tonight is very teachable. This was a learning experience of what not to do. We will break the film down and we won’t demoralize the kids, but we will coach them hard. We will show them what they were supposed to do versus what they did. We will move forward from that and not make the same mistakes going forward.”
The Tygers will take the weekend to learn from the experience of playing one of the premier programs in the state and get ready for a trip to West Holmes in Week 4 to kick off Ohio Cardinal Conference play.
“After tomorrow, we will turn the page on this one and focus on our league,” Bradley said. “We start conference play after a tough nonconference schedule and now we have to get into the league and make it happen.”