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Gary Vogt contributed to this story

2023 Championship Football Season Wraps Up with Awards Ceremony

This one was 53 years in the making.  For it’s been that long since Massillon last won a state championship in football.  But, what a memorable year 2023 was.  A 16-0 record, winning more games than any previous Tiger team.   A defense that surrendered just one touchdown on the ground when the first unit was on the field.  A spectacular season-opening win over Valdosta, Georgia, which owns more wins than any other school in the country.  A second consecutive victory over Lakewood St. Edward, which has won the last three Division I state titles.  A 35-0 victory over Canton McKinley, recording the first shutout against the Bulldogs in 15 years.  Holding high-scoring, up-tempo Cincinnati Anderson to a single touchdown in a blowout win at Historic Crew Stadium.  A victory over Akron Hoban, on the back of a great defensive effort.  And that elusive Division II State Championship.  It all culminated in an awards ceremony for a host of deserving players.

In prior years an elaborate dinner banquet was held.  But, with the high demand for tickets on account of the state championship, it was changed to an awards ceremony at the high school auditorium.

Father Ed Gretchko opened the event with the invocation.  Father Ed has been a mainstay with the Tiger program, having been involved now for 25 years.  In fact, he  has led the team in grace over 250 times.

Rob Maylor, outgoing Booster Club President, gave his final address.  He also introduced next year’s president, Ed Starcher.

Trainer Lee Kuntz presented awards to the team student trainers, followed by Randy Berkley, who presented awards to the student team managers.

Three players were honored for their exceptional performances on the JV team.  They included Offensive Player of the Year Bishop Cupp, Defensive Player of the Year Jadyn Williams and Lineman Player of the Year Frankie Salvino.

Annually, Through the Roof and Ray Jeske of WTIG have an opportunity to present their season-ending awards, which included a couple of new ones this time around.  This year’s winners were:

  • Offensive Player of the Year – Da’One  Owens
  • Defensive Player of the Year – Dorian Pringle
  • Next Man Up Award – Shon Robinson
  • Leadership Award – Cody Fair

In an earlier event, the Touchdown Club presented its Hardnose Award to Dorian Pringle.

Each of the position coaches recognized their players and presented participation awards.  This was followed by the following player performance awards:

  • Coach of the Year – Spencer Leno (defensive coordinator)
  • Captain Awards – Chase Bond, Cody Fair, Zach Liebler, Da’Owens, Ryan Page, Dorian Pringle and Sam Snodgrass
  • Brandon Burlsworth Character Award – Sam Snodgrass
  • John Pizzino, Sr. Academic Football $1,000 Scholarship – Zach Liebler
  • Paul David Memorial Academic Award – Evan Sirgo
  • Bob Smith / Bill Snyder Sportsmanship Award – Malachi Card and Nick Paul
  • Coach Lee Tressel Citizenship Award (Sideliners) – Evan Sirgo
  • Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year – Bishop Cupp
  • Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year – Shon Robinson and Frankie Salvino
  • Offensive Player of the Year – Da’One Owens
  • Defensive Player of the Year – Michael Wright Jr. and Chase Bond
  • Special Teams Player of the Year – Lucas Shertzer and Tyler Hackenbracht
  • Carl “Ducky” Schroeder Outstanding Lineman Award – Brady Jones and Sam Snodgrass
  • Lifter of the Year – Cody Fair
  • Tom Harp Coaches’ Award – Ryan Page and Shon Robinson
  • Most Valuable Player – Dorian Pringle

Several new player and team records were set, including:

  • Jalen Slaughter – Single Season Yards per Pass Attempt – 11.4
  • Jalen Slaughter – Single Season Pass Efficiency – 188.7
  • Mateo Herera – Single Season PAT Kick Percent – 100% (tie)
  • Emy Lewis Jr. – Single Season Kickoff Return Touchdowns – 2 (tie)
  • Dorian Pringle – Single Season  Tackles for Loss – 24.5
  • Dorian Pringle – Single Season Tackles for Loss  Yards – 126
  • Michael Wright Jr. – Single Season Quarterback Sacks – 10.5
  • Michael Wright Jr. – Single Season  Quarterback Sacks Yards – 76
  • Dorian Pringle – Career Tackles for Loss – 46
  • Dorian Pringle – Career Tackles for Loss Yards – 240
  • Michael Wright Jr. – Career Quarterback  Sacks – 19.0
  • Michael Wright Jr. – Career Quarterback Sacks Yards – 134
  • Team – Tackles for Loss – 117
  • Team – Tackles for Loss Yards – 504
  • Team – Quarterback Sacks – 45
  • Team – Quarterback Sack Yards – 308

Ten players were named All-Ohio, including:

  • Dorian Pringle – Senior inside linebacker – 1st Team (Co-Defensive Player of the Year)
  • Da’One Owens – Senior quarterback – 1st Team
  • Michael Wright Jr. – Junior defensive lineman – 1st Team
  • Chase Bond – Senior defensive lineman – 2nd Team
  • Nolan Davenport – Junior offensive lineman – 2nd Team
  • Jacques Carter – Junior wide receiver – Honorable Mention
  • Ja’Meir Gamble – Junior running back – Honorable Mention
  • Tyler Hackenbracht – Junior defensive back – Honorable Mention
  • Brady Jones – Senior offensive lineman – Honorable Mention