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2023 Booster Club Report – Week PO6 – Post-Akron Hoban

Massillon (16-0) captured the Division 2 State Title with a hard fought 7-2 victory over Akron Hoban.  It was the first fully unbeaten season since 1970 and first time that the Tigers had won 16 games in a single season.

Link to the Akron Hoban Game Story

Link to the Akron Hoban Game Statistics

Review of the Akron Hoban Game

It was win No. 948, which vaults Massillon into the No. 2 position nationally for all-time wins, now tied with Louisville Male, KY, and four games behind Valdosta, GA, a team that the Tigers defeated in the season opener.

Massillon held off national power Akron Hoban (13-2) 7-2 to finish the season undefeated at 16-0 and capture the Division 2 State Championship.  The crowd size was announced at 14,846, but it was surely larger as 20,000-seat Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium appeared at near capacity.

The game was defensive struggle throughout, with both teams yielding rushing yardage grudgingly and negating the passing attacks.  The two teams combined for eleven punts and there were only two penetrations into the red zone, one by each team.

The Tigers scored their touchdown in the second quarter following a blocked punt by Chase Bond that gave Massillon the ball at the Hoban 28.  Six plays later Mylen Lenix, lined up in the “jumbo” package, ran six yards through the middle of the Hoban line for the score, behind some great blocking by the offensive line.  Vinny Keller added the PAT.

Later in the quarter the Knights punted to the one, then scored a safety when quarterback Da’One Owens could not get the ball across the goal line.  On Hoban’s final drive of the night they attempted a 4th down, 17-yard pass to take the lead.  But the receiver could not secure the ball, with Dorian Pringle on coverage and breaking up the pass.  The Tigers then ran out the clock.

After returning to Massillon, the team, coaches, band and cheerleaders were greeted by several thousand boisterous Tiger fans, who celebrated the achievement into the night.  It was Massillon’s first state championship during the playoff era and the first since 1970.  The Tigers now own 25 crowns and continue to lead all Ohio schools in that category.

Statistics leaders:

  • Da’One Owens: 17 carries for 82 yards; 3 of 11 passing 17 yards
  • Mylen Lenix: 6 carries for 11 yards and 1 touchdown
  • Jacques Carter: 2 receptions for 12 yards
  • Dorian Pringle: 10.5 tackle points; 3.0 tackles-for-loss
  • Cody Fair: 7.0 tackle points; 1.0 TFL
  • Adonis Marshall: 7.5 tackle points
  • Ryan Page: 6 tackle points; 0.5 sacks; 0.5 TFL
  • Maverick Clark: 0.5 sacks; 0.5 TFL
  • Chase Bond: blocked punt
  • Vito McConnell: pass interception

Booster Club Meeting

Booster Club President Rob Maylor opened the meeting and was simply ecstatic over the team winning the Division 2 State Championship and the their accomplishments throughout the season.  What an enlightening experience he must have had this year.  And to be the president of the club when the Tigers won their first playoff championship is something that will certainly be cherished by him for the rest of his life.

Head Coach Nate Moore brought the entire team to the meeting to share in the enthusiasm of the many club members in attendance.  “How ’bout those Tigers!,” he shouted.

Here are the remarks from the team co-captains:

Ryan Page – “It was a great game.  A hard fought win.  It was amazing seeing a whole city behind you.”

Zach Liebler – “The energy and atmosphere was amazing.  It was an honor to play with these guys behind me.”

Sam Snodgrass – “I dreamed of this.  I just wanted to bring one home for the city.”

Cody Fair – “We had a great game.  We scored and they didn’t.  That was the difference.  I had so much fun this season working hard with my teammates.”

Chase Bond – “It wasn’t the prettiest from the stands.  But from the field it was a beautiful thing.  Playing great defense.  We finally got it all done.”  Regarding his blocked punt, he said it didn’t feel as amazing at the time he did it.  But only later when he realized it led to the only touchdown of the game.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that we have the best coaching staff in the country,” said Moore.  They are tireless workers in giving our players the best opportunity to win.”

Defensive Coordinator Spencer Leno – “Our kids take a lot of pride.  Special players make special plays.  Play together.  Do your job.  Read your keys.  Buy in and good things happen.”

Special Teams Coordinator Jason Jarvis – “Thursday night was a special night for me and my family (noting that his father, who also coached football, is currently ailing and was watching the game from home).  We put players in the best positions to make plays.  But these guys have to do it.  I’m proud of the guys.”

Offensive Coordinator Jarrett Troxler – “Obviously, this was a special year.  The win over Valdosta jump started our season.  Everybody contributed.  It wasn’t just one guy (as seen in the game statistics).  It was everybody.  The offensive line did a fantastic job this year.  Thursday night was tough.  We struggled at times.”  So the offense went conservative in the play calling during the second half to keep the risk level down since the defense was playing so well.  “It was quite an experience.  Quite a year.  16-0!”

Strength and Conditioning Coach Dan Studer – “To win a state title you need a group of guys than can withstand a 16-game season.  To be able to do what we do; not everybody can do it.  We start on January 2nd and it’s just hard, brutal work.  And it pays off.  They’re willing to do it.  And it showed on Thursday.  We’re state champs!”

Coach Moore wrapped up the meeting with some final remarks, starting with the senior class.  “It is a special group,” he said.  “A great mix of good players.  They’re tough and they love Massillon.  I couldn’t be more proud of this Class of 2024.”

Then he addressed the underclassmen.  “We had a lot of juniors step up and make great plays.  And the younger players contributed on special teams.  Very soon it will be time to turn the page and prepare for the 2024 state championships.”

He also lauded the scout teams, specifically in preparing the varsity for the game against Cincinnati Anderson, with their high-tempo offense.  Even some first team players participated.  “It was one of the things that make this a special group,” said Moore.

“What a great season,” he ended with.  “Hoban; shouldn’t have happened any other other way.  What a great performance by our defense.  So many incredible events to look back on.  And we didn’t win the title just to prove that we have the best program in the country!”

Booster Club President Rob Maylor with the senior players.