Author: <span>Don Engelhardt</span>


2023 Booster Club Report – Week 5 – Post-St.…

2023 Booster Club Report – Week 5 – Post-St. Edward; Preview of the Middletown Game

Massillon (5-0) defeated Division 1’s No. 1 team Lakewood St. Edward (4-1), 15-13.  It was the second straight win over the Eagles in a series that the Tigers now lead 5-4.  The victory also vaulted Massillon into the national rankings of several publications.  This week the Tigers hosts Middletown, Delaware (3-0), which so much enjoyed their visit last year that they requested a return visit.

Link to the St. Edward Game Story

Link to the St. Edward Game Statistics

Other scores:

  • 7th Grade (3-1): Plays at Austintown – Red on Wednesday, September 20 at 5:30 pm.
  • 8th Grade (5-0): Defeated Akron East, 22-14.  Plays at Austintown – Blue on Wednesday, September 20, at 7:00 pm.
  • Freshmen (5-1): Lost to Lakewood St. Edward, 7-6.  Plays at Akron Hoban on Thursday, September 21, at 6:00 pm.
  • Junior Varsity (2-3): Lost to Lakewood St. Edward, 22-12.  Plays at Ironton on Saturday, September 22, at 2:00 pm.

Review of the St. Edward game

Entering the contest both teams were unbeaten and highly ranked in Ohio.  The game was also judged by to be the second biggest game in the country for that week.

“Win No. 937,” said Massillon Head Coach Nate Moore.  “What can you say about last week!  The kids played great.  We set goals last week and checked every box on our goals.  Our lines played phenominally.  We had a fine day on special  teams.  We played smart, mostly.  We knew we needed to make some plays and we did.  It was a great performance.  Very physical.  Came down to the wire.  I’m proud of our guys.”

During the week’s preparation several starters volunteered to participate on the scout team.  Coach Moore was very proud of that effort and said that it was instrumental in helping the players fine tune their game.  And four of them ere named Scout Team Players of the Week.

The guest players were defensive lineman Chase Bond and quarterback Da’One Owens.  “They were big up front and well coached,” said Bond.  “We just wanted it more.  We executed well.”  Owens spoke about St. Eds having the best offensive line in the nation, with an average of 6′-5″, 299 lbs.  And the Tigers held them to a mere 59 yards in 31 carries (1.9 ave.).

In the question and answer part of the meeting, Moore addressed the decision to go for two points following the second touchdown.  “The decision was made at halftime,” he said.  “It was a great call by Coach Jarrett Troxler.”  He also praised center Brady Jones, who pushed the Eagle nose tackle backwards four yards, thereby clearing the way for Owens to score the points.  The benefit of the successful two-point conversion was that it put the Tigers ahead by two scores and entirely changed the complexion of the game.

Moore noted that the Eagles nearly always align in an even front on defense and the Tigers worked all week in preparation for that.  However, St. Eds changed to an odd front for this game, which allowed them to employ two deep safeties rather than their traditional one safety, fearing the speed of the Massillon receivers.  But the offensive line did a great job adjusting to the switch.  It turns out that overall the Tigers just had too much team speed for the Eagles to manage.

Moore finished by saying that it was a big win and well-enjoyed, but following the game the team immediately turned its attention to this week’s opponent, undefeated Middletown.

Statistics leaders

  • Da’one Owens: 8 of 11 passing for 50 yards; 26 carries for 176 yards and 2 touchdowns
  • Braylyn Toles: 5 receptions for 30 yards
  • Dorian Pringle: 8.5 (7-3) tackle points; 2.0 sacks; 3.5 tackles for loss
  • Cody Fair: 5.5 (5-1) tackle points; 1.0 sacks; 1.0 tackles for loss
  • Vito McConnell: 4.5 (4-1) tackle points
  • Ryan Page: 4.0 (4-0) tackle points
  • Adonis Vaughan: 1 pass interception

Middletown Scouting Report

The Cavaliers are 3-0 and currently ranked No. 1 in Delaware by  Their scores so far:

  • Urbana (Ijamsville, MD) (2-1), 41-14
  • Sussex Central (Georgetown, DE) (1-1), 41-7
  • Odessa (Townsend, DE) (0-3), 56-0

Last year the Tigers defeated Middletown, 42-24.  After falling behind 12-0 by early in the second quarter, Massillon rallied to take a 21-12 lead into the locker room.  The advantage swelled to 35-12 by the end of the third quarter, before the Cavaliers scored twice in the fourth.  Willtrell Hartson rushed for 198 yards and scored three touchdowns and quarterback Jalen Slaughter completed 10 of 18 passes for 148 yards and three TDs.

Middletown boasts good skill players on both sides of the ball, which according to Moore will provide a great challenge for Massillon’s  counterparts.  But the Tigers should have a sizeable advantage on the lines.

The Cavaliers run a spread offense, with a single running back and four wide receivers.  At times they employ a tight end in the formation.  The quarterback is senior returning starter Austin Troyer (6′-3″, 195).  He has a good arm and is very accurate.  He can push the ball down the field.  Last year against Massillon he completed 20 of 35 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns.  Moore believes that he may throw the ball fifty times on Friday.

On the receiving end are four very sizeable, talented receivers, including:

  • Senior returning starter Ronnell Davis (6′-1″, 180), a 3-star recruit who has an offer from Duke.  He is quick, has great hands and is very good at running routes.
  • Senior returning starter Matt Priestley (5′-11″, 175).  He is a very good route runner and has great hands.  Last year he caught four passes for 98 yards and a touchdown.
  • Sophomore BJ Garrett (6′-3″, 175), a 3-star recruit who has an offer from Pittsburgh.  Quick with a long stride.
  • Senor Aviyon Matthews (6′-2″, 210).  A good sized receiver who runs routes well.

At running back is sophomore Amare Glover (6′-0″, 200), who has an offer from Syracuse.  He is very athletic and has good speed.

Defensively, Middletown aligns in a 4-3 front.  They are not a heavy blitzing team.  The best player is senior returning starter, defensive end Tristen Graham (6′-2″, 250), a 4-star recruit who has committed to Syracuse.  Moore said that he may be the best defensive lineman they will see this year.  He is extremely physical, comes off the ball well and uses his hands well.  Keep an eye on junior linebacker Malachi Stewart (5′-11, 215), a physical, downhill player.

Both safeties are good.  Start with 2-way player Ronnell Davis.  He is a great open field tackler and runs to the football. A big hitter.  Then there is senior Akendre Matthews (6′-3″, 180), a 2-star recruit.  He is big and physical and runs to the ball well.

Go Tigers!


2023: Massillon 15, Lakewood St. Edward 13

Tigers are Legit; Down Ohio No. 1 Lakewood St. Edward in Powerhouse Showdown

Game Statistics

It was billed as the second-best matchup in the country for this week.  No. 9 Lakewood St. Edward vs. No. 20 Massillon.  And it didn’t disappoint.  Big offensive plays.  Stifling defenses.  Special teams highlights.  And points left on the table.  But most of all, it had heart.  Lots of heart.  By both teams.  In the end, The Tigers came out on top 15-13, but the game itself showcased two of the best teams in the state, if not the country.

The scoring

The Eagles got on the board in the second quarter following a pass interception at the Massillon 31 yard line.  On 2nd down at the 31 quarterback Thomas Csanyi hit Brian Sullivan on a skinny post at the ten and he ran the rest of the way for the score.  But the Tigers’ Dorian Pringle broke through the line and blocked the PAT attempt.  Score, 6-0.

Massillon came right back and engineered an 8-play, 69-yard drive that ended with quarterback DaOne Owens running it in from the eight yard line.  It came on the last of his eight carries on that drive that netted 42 yards.  Vinny Keller’s kick was good and the Tigers took a 7-6 lead into the locker room.

Late in the third quarter Owens got loose again, outracing the St. Ed secondary around the left side for a 20-yard touchdown run.  It capped a 4-play 62-yard drive.  Now, seizing a point differential opportunity, the Tigers elected to go for two to make it a 2-score advantage.  The gamble paid off when Owens found a seam up the middle and the margin improved to 15-6.

The score remained that way throughout most of the fourth period, with the clock continuing to expel precious time and thereby limit opportunities for the Eagles to find two scores.  Eventually, Csanyi found Kyan Mason along the right sideline on a 38-yard pass to convert a fourth down and 32 with about a minute and a half left in the game.  That placed the ball at the 15 yard line.  Then on third down, Sullivan outjumped the Massillon defender in the corner of the end zone and came down with the touchdown pass.  The PAT made the score 15-13 and all that now remained was the onside kick, which the Tigers’ Owens recovered.

The entire game can simply be described as a slugfest.  Clean, but brutal.  Massillon ended up punting three times, while losing the ball three times on turnovers.  Meanwhile, St. Edward punted six times and was intercepted once.

The offenses

The Eagle mantra for all of last season and up to this game was quarterback Casey Bullock running the read-option.  Although he is considered an average but effective passer, his forte was running the ball.  And he was instrumental in using his feet to lead his team to the Division 1 state title last year.  But he was injured last week at the end of the game against Elder and was not available for this one.  In stepped junior Thomas Csanyi.  Although he is not the runner Bullock is, he is certainly a very good passer.  Last week he led the Eagles to victory with his arm and against Massillon he threw for 153 yards and two touchdowns.  St. Eds may have been hampered a bit with the loss of Bullock, but not too terribly much.  Six of his catches went to Mason and another five to Sullivan.

Owens was the first Massillon quarterback on the field and he immediately drove the team near the goal line, on the heels of an explosive 42-yard run.  Slaughter was on next and brought the air game.  But it fizzled on account of a stiff Eagle pass rush, which included three future Power-5 players in their front-6.  So, the coaching staff opted to remain with Owens for the rest of the game.  After searching for what would work against a stout Eagle defense, they settled on an empty backfield set with three wide receivers and put the ball in Owens’ hands.  He responded admirably by rushing 26 times for 176 yards (6.8) and scored two touchdowns.  He also completed 8 of 11 passes for 50 yards, five of which went to Braylyn Toles for 30 yards.

The defenses

The Eagles were able to completely control any ground game by the Tiger running backs.  They held the combination of Peyyton Mitchell, Ja’Meir Gamble and Dorian Pringle to just 30 yards in 9 attempts (3.3).  They also controlled the middle of the field in defense of middle and long-range passes.  But the corners and safeties played a bit off the edge wide receivers and that’s where Owens exploited them with his passes, converting several third downs to move the sticks.  Of course, they were not able to fully shut down Owens with his running.  St. Edward switched to an uncharacteristic for them odd front defensive line for this game, although the Massillon offensive line was able to adequately adjust.

Meanwhile, the Tiger front-7 was facing one of the largest offensive lines in the country.  The Eagles average 6’-5”, 299 lbs.  They have two players going to Ohio State and one to Michigan, and all were 4-star recruits.  On paper, it was an obvious mismatch.  But someone forgot to tell Massillon.  Especially, linemen Mike Wright Jr., Chase Bond and Malachi Card.  And particularly, linebackers Dorian Pringle and Cody Fair.  Collectively, along with a swift defensive secondary, they held the Eagle ground game to just 59 yards off of 39 carries.   1.9 yards per attempt.  Not a bad night’s work.  St. Edwards did find some modest success up the middle behind that massive line, with their running backs gaining 78 yards.  And speedy Akron commit Kyan Mason ran four times in the jet sweep for another 15.  But Csanyi was sacked three times for a loss of 34 yards.

Special teams

Dan Tome, the Eagle punter, did a great job, several times pinning the Tigers back toward their own end zone.  He finished the game with a 37.7 yard average and placed three punts within the 20 yard line.  But then St. Edward had that extra point blocked and in the end it made all the difference.

The onside kick following the final St. Ed score took a nice hop over the first line of defense.  But Owens was right behind to secure the ball and fall to the ground.  It also locked up the win.

Missed opportunities

 For St.  Edward

  • 3rd quarter – Drove to the Massillon 29 and was intercepted by Adonis Vaughn. Mike Wright was putting all kinds of pressure on the quarterback, which caused Csanyi’s pass to fall short in the attempt to throw it away to avoid the sack.
  • 4th quarter – Drove to the Massillon 31 but lost the ball on downs when the running back was tackled in the backfield.

For Massillon

  • 1st quarter – Drove to the St. Edward 7, aided by a 42-yard run by Owens to the Eagle 14. The Tigers were stopped on downs at the seven when Pringle was caught in the backfield on fourth and one.
  • 2nd quarter – Da’One Owens completed a long touchdown pass to Jacques Carter, but called back for holding in an area remote from the play.
  • 3rd quarter – Drove to the St. Edward 23 and fumbled the ball.
  • 4th quarter – Drove to the St. Edward 31 and was stopped on downs.


It was the second consecutive season that Massillon knocked off St. Edward.  Last year it ended up being the Eagles’ only loss enroute to a state title.  So, with another potential undefeated season gone by the wayside, this year’s loss had to sting a little.  But regardless, the Eagles are certainly not any less of a team after having lost and the Tigers have great respect for them.  In addition, this game is beginning to turn into nice little rivalry.

Next week Massillon (5-0) will host Middletown, DE (3-0).  Last year the Tigers came out on top, 42-24.  St.Edward (4-1) hosts River Rouge, MI (1-3).


2023 Booster Club Report – Week 4 – Post-Elkhart

2023 Booster Club Report – Week 4 – Post-Elkhart; Preview of the St. Edward Game

Massillon (4-0) defeated Elkhart, Indiana (1-3), 55-0.  It was the third straight game that the Tigers eclipsed the 50-point mark and the first time since 1935 that this feat was accomplished.  This week Massillon hosts Lakewood St. Edward (4-0), the 2-time defending Division 1 state champions.

Link to the Elkhart Game Story

Link to the Elkhart Game Statistics

Other scores:

  • 7th Grade (3-1): Lost to Warren, 56-14.  Plays home vs. Akron Firestone on Tuesday, September 12, at 6:00 pm.
  • 8th Grade (4-0): Defeated Warren, 28-0.  Plays home vs. Akron City Schools on Wednesday, September 13, at 6:00 pm.
  • Freshmen (5-0): Defeated University School, 38-0.  Plays at Lakewood St. Edward on Thursday, September 14, at 6:00 pm.  This game will be broadcast live on the Eagle website.
  • Junior Varsity (2-2): Lost to Avon, 13-12.  Plays at Lakewood St. Edward on Saturday, September 16, at 10:00 am.

Review of the Elkhart game

“Win No. 936,” said Massillon Head Coach Nate Moore.  “I’m proud of our guys.  They played hard.  They played fast.  They played physical.  They took care of business.  A  lot of guys played well.  We were overwhelming in all phases of the game.  And we didn’t play down to the level of our competition.”  But Moore did admit that he thought the Lions would present a better challenge.

Guest players were senior inside linebacker Dorian Pringle and cornerback Adonis Vaughn.  “I thought our offense, defense and special teams all played very good,” said Pringle.  “It was great to get a shutout.”  When asked about the distribution of tackles being more even among the players as opposed to last year when a handful of players dominated the stats, Pringle responded that it was a mark of a much improved defense.

“I thought we had a really good game,” added Vaughn.

Statistics leaders

  • Jalen Slaughter: 5 of 7 passing for 130 yards, 1 interception and 2 touchdowns
  • Da’one Owens: 2 of 3 passing for 18 yards; 3 carries for 55 yards and 2 touchdowns
  • Peytton Mitchell: 11 carries for 91 yards (8.3)
  • Braylin Toles: 3 receptions for 23 yards
  • Jacques Carter: 3 receptions for 112 yards and 1 touchdown
  • Braylyn Toles: 2 receptions for 18 yards and 1 touchdown
  • Cody Fair: 4.0 tackle points (3-2)
  • Tyler Hackenbracht, Daylan Pringle: 1 pass interception each
  • Maverick Clark, Francesco Salvino: 1 sack each

Lakewood St. Edward Scouting Report

The Eagles are the 2-time defending Division 1 state champions.  In the past 2-1/2 seasons they have compiled a record of 34-2, with regular season losses of 28-21 (o.t.) to Cincinnati Moeller in 2021 and 31-28 to Massillon last season.  Massillon and Eds have played each other eight times throughout history with the series record even at four wins apiece.

So far this year the Eagles are 4-0 with the following results:

  • Center Grove, IN (3-1): 27-10
  • Good Counsel, MD (1-1): 28-7
  • Rock Creek Christian, MD (1-2): 42-14
  • Cincinnati Elder (2-2): 34-33

The offense operates out of the spread, with a base set of three wide receivers, one tight end and one running back, with the quarterback in the shotgun.

Receiving the snap is senior returning starter Casey Bullock (6′-2″, 205).  He is an adequate passer, while excelling in the run game off the read-option.  He possesses good speed and power, and runs like a running back.  Last year the Tigers were able to keep his run production under control, when he carried the ball 13 times for 34 yards.  In the air he completed 12 of 21 passes for 166 yards and one touchdown.

At running back is is senior Josh Groudle (5′-11″, 200).  He runs with power and normally needs more than one defender to bring him down.  The top receiver is senior returning starter Kyan Mason (5′-8″, 155), a 3-star recruit and commitment to the University of Akron.  As the No. 1 target he is explosive and fast, and is adept at going high for the ball.  Against the Tigers last year he caught two passes for 18 yards.  He also returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown.  Also, keep an eye on senior returning starter, receiver Brian Sullivan (6′-1″, 175).  He is considered to be a deep threat.

But the strength of the offense is the massive, talented line, which averages 6′-5″, 299 lbs.  Three of the players are committed to Power-5 universities.  Begin with senior 2-year returning starter, right tackle Ben Roebuck (6′-8″, 320), a 4-star recruit who is committed to Michigan.  Then, there is senior returning starter, left guard Devontae Armstrong (6′-5″, 305), a 4-star recruit who is committed to Ohio State.  Finally, there is Devontae’s brother Deontae (6′-7″, 295), who plays right tackle.  He is also a 4-star recruit and committed to Ohio state.  He is very physical and will finish blocks.  Coach Moore considers Deontae to be their best offensive lineman.

Defensively, the Eagles use mostly four down linemen, while occasionally opting for three.  The secondary has transitioned from a 1-high look to a 2-high.  But watch for a 3-high on 3rd-and-long, against which Moore believes that any team will struggle.  Expect lots of blitzes, particularly on 3rd down.

The strength of the defense is the front-7.  The two inside linebackers are really good, making this position much improved from last year.  The Mike is junior returning starter Nate Gregory (6′-0″, 230), who has received an offer from the University of Illinois.  He is very active and physical.  The Will is senior returning starter Jon Slaper (6′-0″, 210).

Senior Loghan Thomas (6;-4″, 210) mans one of the defensive end positions.  He is a 4-star recruit and Notre Dame commit who transferred in from Texas just prior to camp.  His expertise appears to be in the pass rush.  Senior returning starter Troy Regovich (6′-5″, 255) plays defensive tackle.  He is also a 4-star recruit and has committed to Northwestern.  He is strong and has good technique.

The bottom line, according to Moore, is that every player on this team is good.  But there are enough VERY good players to make this a great team.  With two of the top teams in the state going after each other this should be an outstanding matchup and without argument Ohio’s Game of the Week.

Go Tigers!


2023: Massillon 55, Elkhart, IN, 0

Massillon Rolls Over Elkhart, Indiana, to Post Fourth Straight Win

Game Statistics

It’s time for the Tigers to get more serious and down to business.  The tune-ups are over.  For Lakewood St. Edward, the No. 1 team in Ohio and defending Division 1 state champion, is rolling into Paul Brown Tiger Stadium next Friday bent on erasing the bad taste the Tigers handed them last year in a 31-28 upset.

Those prior tune-ups involved victories over Canton GlenOak, Mansfield and Elkhart, on the heels of a win over a pretty good Valdosta, Georgia, team in the season opener.  In the last three weeks Massillon has posted scores of 56-7, 51-10 and 55-0, marking the first time since 1935 that the Tigers scored at least fifty points in three consecutive games.  On top of that, the first team defense in those three contests has given up just one lone field goal.

It didn’t take long for Massillon to assume control against an overmatched Lions team.  After holding them to a 3-and-out in the game’s initial possession, quarterback Da’one Owens needed just one play to sprint 42 yards off a fake jet sweep untouched into the end zone.  On the next possession Dorian Pringle capped off a 5-play, 39-yard drive of run/pass combination with a 1-yard run.  Then, on the Tigers’ third possession following a Lion turnover Owens did it again, this time from seven yards out.  By the end of the first quarter Massillon was on top 21-0.

Elkhart attempted to get back into the fray with a nice drive toward the Tiger goal line.  But they were held on downs and the Tigers immediately responded with a 3-play 98-yard drive.  It ended when quarterback Jalen Slaughter connected with a wide-open Jacques Carter at around the 20 yard line.  Carter subsequently broke a tackle and sprinted to the goal line to complete a 60-yard TD pass.

Three more scores came in the second quarter, including:

  • A 48-yard punt return by Kyler Wiggins.
  • A 1-yard pass from Slaughter to Braylyn Toles.
  • An 18-yard return by Adonis Vaughan following a Lion fumble during a kickoff.

That made the score 48-0 as the two teams headed for the locker room.

Halftime involved a great performance by the combined Tiger Swing Band and the alumni band, totaling around 200 musicians.

Aside from the first five plays following halftime, the Massillon backups held sway for the rest of the night’s action, under a running-clock situation.  In the fourth quarter Jaydyn Willams scored the final Massillon touchdown from the two yard line.  The play was set up by a boot around the left side by quarterback Eli Moore.  Meanwhile, Elkhart never threatened after their first quarter challenge.

The No. 1 offense played like a finely tuned instrument throughout most of the game, except for the few times when Elkhart’s massively athletic line was able to break into the backfield to stop a Massillon runner.  But in the end the Tigers were able to roll up 457 yards of total offense, including 271 on the ground (7.7 ave.) and 199 in the air.  And they did not need to punt for the second consecutive week.

Peytton Mitchell led the rushing attack with 11 carries for 91 yards.  Owens added another 55 and two scores with his three carries.  Passing-wise, Slaughter had another good night, completing 5 for 7 for 130 yards and two touchdowns.  His one errant throw was a near miss TD on a post pattern when the defender was just able to step in front of the intended receiver for the interception.  Owens completed 2 of 3 for 18 yards.

Defensively, Massillon was just too much, particularly in the speed and technique categories.  Elkhart managed just 24 net yards on the ground off of 21 carries (1.1 ave.) and 9 of 20 passing for just 77 yards.  There was just not much going Elkhart’s way.  One success, however, was a long pass completion when the Tiger secondary lost track of the receiver that advanced the ball to the Massillon five.  The other modest success was when they switched their offense to a Perry wing-T type look and used their big line to pound the ball up the middle.  But that worked only for a short while, as the game became more and more out of reach for them.

Go Tigers!


2023 Booster Club Report – Week 3 – Post-Mansfield

2023 Booster Club Report – Week 3 – Post-Mansfield

Massillon (3-0) eclipsed the 50-points mark for the second straight week in a 51-10 victory over Mansfield (1-2).  This week the Tigers host Elkhart, Indiana (1-2), the second of four out-of-state opponents the Tigers will face this year.

Link to the Mansfield Game Story

Link to the Mansfield Game Statistics

Other scores:

  • 7th Grade (3-0): Defeated Akron Jennings, 24-20.  Play at Warren on Wednesday, September 6, at 6:00 pm.
  • 8th Grade (3-0): Defeated Maple Heights, 38-14.  Plays home vs. Warren on Wednesday, September 6, at 6:00 pm.
  • Freshmen (4-0): Defeated Youngstown Ursuline, 34-14, and Mansfield JV, 35-12.  Plays home to University Thursday, September 7, at 6:00 pm.
  • Junior Varsity (2-1): Defeated Canton Canton McKinley, 27-13.  Plays home vs. Avon on Saturday, September 9, at 10:00 am.

Review of the Mansfield game

“Win No. 935,” said Massillon Head Coach Nate Moore.  “Mansfield was a good team.  They had a lot of good players.  We’re happy we won.  Happy with a lot of things.  I thought the offensive line played well.  The defense gave up three points and played a lot of good football.  But not happy with the turnovers.  We still have things to work on.  But we need to keep the pedal to the metal.”

Guest players were senior inside linebacker Cody Fair and junior offensive lineman Michael Looney.  “At halftime we got a little lazy,” said Fair.  “The quarterback ran over us.”  “We need to expand on the little things,” added Looney.  “We threw the ball really well and the pass protection was good.”

Statistics leaders

  • Jalen Slaughter: 6 of 9 passing for 84 yards, 2 interceptions and 2 touchdowns
  • Da’one Owens: 2 of 5 passing for 39 yards, 1 interceptions and 1 touchdown; 5 carries for 130 yards (26.0) and 2 touchdowns
  • Peytton Mitchell: 17 carries for 112 yards (6.6) and 1 touchdown
  • Braylin Toles: 3 receptions for 23 yards
  • Ja’Meir Gamble, Emy Louis and Jadyce Thigpen: 1 touchdown receiving each
  • Cody Fair: 5.5 tackle points (4-3); 2.5 tackles-for-loss
  • Isaiah McElroy: 2 tackles-for-loss

Elkhart Scouting Report

As an independent school Massillon often begins with a nearly clean slate when filling out a schedule.  By chance early in the year both the Tigers and Elkhart both had open dates in Week 4.  So, Massillon offered the game to the Elkhart and they accepted.  One game only.

Elkhart, a suburb of South Bend, participates in Division 6A, the largest in Indiana, which is comparable to Division 1 in Ohio.  Over the past five years the Lions have compiled a record of 38-18 and appeared in the state playoffs each year.  Three times they advanced to the regional finals.  Their best record in this time period was 9-1 in 2020.  Last season they finished with a 7-3 record, losing 14-9 to Warsaw in Round 1.  So far this year Elkhart is 1-2, having defeated Hammond Morton (1-2) 38-28 last week, while losing 16-6 to Concord (2-1)  and 35-29 Northridge (2-1).

The strength of the Elkhart team is found on the offensive and defensive lines, which each boasts good size.  The offense averages 6′-3, 270 lbs. and is led by junior Ethan Mann (6′-6″, 260).  He has good feet and a has good punch off the ball.  He also protects well in the pass game.  The 4-front defensive line averages 6′-4″, 254 lbs.  “The defensive line is the biggest we will see all year,” said Moore.  All of these players are good and bring physical play to the game.  But Mariyon Dye, a 6′-5″, 275 lbs. junior stands above the rest.  He is a 3-star recruit who is being looked at by Tennessee, Cincinnati and Minnesota.  Dye is very athletic, uses hands well and is a good pass rusher.  “They’ve got some good looking guys,” said Moore.

Elkhart operates normally out of the spread with a 3-receiver set; one back next to the quarterback and a fullback on the edge of the line.  Receiving the snap is junior Quinn Rost (6′-0″, 190).  Moore calls him a “savy player”, one that can audible his team into a favorable play.  He can also pass and scramble effectively.  The running back is junior Conner Dow (5′-9″, 185 lbs.).  He has decent speed and is a downhill, tough runner.  The best skill player may be junior wide receiver Zach Anderson (5′-10″, 175 lbs.).  He can get downfield quickly on deep routes and also runs some jet sweeps.

The defense aligns in a 4-3.  The best skill player on that side of the ball is cornerback Darreon Newson (6′-1″, 185), a senior.  He covers well and has the ability to shed blocks.

The punt game is a different animal in that they use a unique alignment of players.  They line up with three players on either side of the center, but spaced a good way from the center, while the punter is around 10 yards from the line, protected by three blockers.  From there they will either punt or fake the punt, which they have done three times in three games.  Moore said the defense will need to be coached up to handle either option.

Moore believes that with the personnel they have the Lions should be better than 1-2 at this point in the season.  they are not a bad team.  But they have given up some big plays, particularly against Northridge.

Season Statistics Leaders

Through three games

  • Jalen Slaughter: 14 of 24 passing for 262 yards and 4 touchdowns
  • Da’one Owens: 12 of 23 passing for 223 yards and 4 touchdowns; 18 carries for 371 yards (20.6) and 4 touchdowns
  • Peytton Mitchell: 36 carries for 263 yards (7.3) and 1 touchdown
  • Kyler Wiggins: 6 receptions for 116 yards (19.3) and 2 touchdowns
  • Ja’Meir Gamble: 5 receptions for 68 yards (13.6) and 1 touchdown
  • Dorian Pringle: 24 points; 13.0 tackle points; 6.5 tackles-for-loss; 2 sacks
  • Cody Fair: 12.0 (6-12)  tackle points; 4.0 tackles-for-loss

Go Tigers!


2023: Massillon 51, Mansfield 10

Massillon Cruises to 3-0 with a Dominating Win Over Mansfield

Game Statistics

The Mansfield Tygers rolled into Paul Brown Tiger Stadium fresh off a 24-14 victory over defending Division 3 champion Canfield.  But they were no match for a Massillon team that appears headed for another deep run in the state playoffs.  The Tigers led at the half 35-10 and never looked back enroute to a running clock finish of 51-10.

Mansfield’s football capability appeared to be somewhere between Valdosta and Canton GlenOak, the Tigers’ previous two opponents, in that they had many skilled athletes within a very potent offense.  They were led by 6’-4” quarterback Duke Reese, who finished the night passing for 136 yards, while rushing for another 54, tops on the team.  On the receiving end was the very dangerous Amarr Davis, who has incredible speed and can catch the ball in traffic.  Also used as a runner in spots, he caught six passes for game-high 109 yards.

Massillon countered with a constant blitz from the linebackers, rather than sitting back in coverage and permitting Reese to target Davis unopposed.  As a result, Reese spent most of the night running away from would-be tacklers in the backfield.  Forty-one times he dropped back to pass.   And on nearly every occasion he was forced to scramble out of the pocket to either keep the ball or attempt to throw while on the run.  Twice he was caught for a sack.  Reese did manage to get off 28 passes, while completing only eleven, with very few originating from the pocket.

Defensively, once again the Tigers held the running backs in check, this time limiting them to a negative 19 yards in 13 carries.  The Massillon front-7, and particularly the constantly-rotating front-3, just played in the Tyger backfield.

On the other side of the ball the Tygers just didn’t match up, surrendering 320 yards rushing on 37 attempts for an average of 9.0 yards per carry.  Junior Peytton Mitchell rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown, while quarterback Da’one Owens got loose for two good runs, of 72 and 23 yards, both for scores.  He finished with 130 yards.

Massillon continues to alternate quarterbacks.  Jalen Slaughter connected on 6 of 9 for 84 yards and two touchdowns, while Owens completed 2 of 5 for 34 yards and one score.  Slaughter also had a nice called-run for 17 yards.  On the receiving end, Braylin Toles caught three for 23 yards and Ja’Meir Gamble grabbed two for 39 and a TD.

The Tigers jumped on Mansfield early, like they did in the previous week against GlenOak.  After holding their foe to a 3-and-out on their first try, Massillon drove 65 yards in four plays for their initial score, a nifty 32-yard pass from Slaughter to Emy Lewis Jr.  Vinny Keller’s PAT was good, the first of seven he connected with on the night.  Owens came in next and he needed just one play to skirt through the center of the line following a fake jet sweep and traverse the necessary 72 yards.

Slaughter’s turn, following a Mansfield fumble.  Four plays covering 15 yards, with Dorian Pringle doing the honors from the three.

One quarter.  21 points.  Game over.  Well, not quite.  On Massillon’s next possession Owens telegraphed a 10-yard sideline pass that was picked by Ja’ontay O’Bryant at the 28 and returned for a touchdown.  Fortunately, the Tigers came right back with an 8-play, 54-yard drive, ending when Owens hit Gamble on a 31-yard strike.  After that the Tigers simply extended the lead, taking a 35-10 advantaga into the locker room, aided by Owens’ 23-yard jaunt for a score.

The Tigers put two more on the board in the second half.  The first was a 1-yard run by Mitchell and the second off a 28-yard pass from Slaughter to Jadyce Thigpen, after the ball deflected off the hands of Ricardo Wells at the goal line.  The safety came when Mansfield snapped the ball over the punter’s head and after the kicker retrieving the ball in the end zone conceded the safety rather than punt.

In spite of the lopsided score, it wasn’t perfect game for Massillon.  Two areas need to be improved upon.  The first is in the passing game, where the two quarterbacks combined for three interceptions.  The first was a pick-6, the second was a long pass thrown up for grabs and the third appeared to be off-target.  The other area is with the pass rush.  The blitzers seemed to always pinch in rather than contain to the edges.  That allowed the QB to constantly escape the rush from either side.

Next week the Tigers (3-0) will entertain Elkhart, Indiana (1-2).  Mansfield (1-2) will play league rival West Holmes (2-1) in a match that may determine the eventual Cardinal Conference champion.


2023 Booster Club Report – Week 2 – Post-GlenOak

2023 Booster Club Report – Week 2 – Post-GlenOak

Massillon (2-0) easily disposed of Canton GlenOak (1-1) last Friday with a 56-7 victory.  For the Golden Eagles, it was the second worst defeat in their football history, behind the 1999 loss to Perry by the score of 62-0.  This week the Tigers play home against Mansfield (1-1).  Massillon defeated the Tygers last year 33-0 and leads the overall series, 44-4-5, the first game having been played in 1909.  The series is the Tigers’ fourth longest, behind Canton McKinley (133 games), Warren Harding (87) and Alliance (75).

Link to the GlenOak Game Story

Link to the GlenOak Game Statistics

Other scores:

  • 7th Grade (2-0): Defeated Canton GlenOak, 20-6.  Play home vs. Mansfield on Tuesday, August 29, at 6:00 pm.
  • 8th Grade (2-0): Defeated Canton GlenOak, 46-24.  Plays at Maple Heights on Wednesday, August 30, at 6:00 pm.
  • Freshmen (2-0): Defeated Canton GlenOak, 46-0, leading 40-0 at the half.  Plays at Mansfield on Saturday, September 2, at 10:00 am.
  • Junior Varsity (1-1): Defeated Canton GlenOak, 48-36.  Plays home vs. Canton McKinley on Monday, September 4, at 1:00 pm.

Review of the GlenOak game

“I thought our kids played really, really well,” said Head Coach Nate Moore.  “We executed.  We played hard.  We made big plays.  Our defense was lights out.”  He also stated that it was good to get the JV players on the field.

The guest players were defensive lineman Chase Bond and quarterback Da’One Owens.  “GlenOak was well-coached,” said Bond.  “Nothing negative to say.  We were just better.”  He also remarked that the experience the front-7 gained last year as starters keeps this group “one step ahead.”  Owens added that GlenOak was a pretty good team.  “They played hard,” he said.  “We were just better.”

During the film presentation, Moore said that the special teams had another good day.  The offense got a good push in the run game, especially in the red zone.  But it was the passing game that appeared to be emphasized in both of the past two weeks.  Is this by design?  Perhaps.  Moore said that he aims to put the ball into the hands of the team’s best play makers, in this case the quarterbacks and wide receivers.  Not to say the running backs don’t also have some good talent to throw into the mix.

Statistics leaders:

  • Jalen Slaughter: 4 of 6 passing for 153 yards, 0 interceptions and 2 touchdowns
  • Da’one Owens: 5 of 8 passing for 125 yards, 0 interceptions and 3 touchdowns
  • Peytton Mitchell: 12 carries for 127 yards (10.6), 0 touchdowns
  • Jacques Carter: 3 receptions for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns
  • Kyler Wiggins: 2 receptions for 60 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • Deangelo Zimmerman: 2 receptions for 59 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Dorian Pringle: 6 tackle points (6-0), 1 sack, 3 tackles-for-loss
  • Team offense: 40 plays for 467 yards (11.7)

Mansfield Scouting Report

Offensively, the Tygers operate out of the spread, usually with four wide receivers.  It is within this group that Mansfield showcases its best all-around player, 6′-0″, 175 lb. senior Amarr Davis, who is a returning starter.  This is definitely the player the Massillon defense must keep an eye on, for he can take it to the house from any position on the field.  As the Tygers’ primary receiving weapon, his yards after catch are often used to great advantage.  He runs fast and can leap high over the defender to catch the ball.  At times, he will line up as a running back or wildcat quarterback.  And he also plays cornerback on defense.

Moore likes three of Mansfield’s offensive linemen:

  • Senior tackle Ahmaan Thomas (6′-4″, 290), a returning starter.  Good run blocker.  Physical.
  • Senior tackle Jahmere Dotson (6′-4″, 280), a returning starter.  Good on pass protection.  High effort.  Good hands.
  • Senior guard Carmelo Smith (6′-2″, 250), a returning starter.  Athletic.  Physical.  Plays hard.  Best lineman.

The quarterback is returning starter, senior Duke Reese.  He is a better runner than a passer.  Conversely, last year against the Tigers he completed 15 of 24 passes for for 125 yards in a 33-0 loss.  Although, he didn’t add much to the run game.  His status is questionable due to an injury, but his backup, junior Nate Dismuke (5′-10″, 185), can be just as effective.  The running back is returning starter, senior Zyion Brown (5′-9″, 190).  He has good speed and runs hard.

Defensively, Mansfield will line in up what Moore calls the “flavor of the week.”  Some 3-front,  Some 4- front.  Cover-1, cover-3 and cover-4.  Mostly based on the offensive formation.  Moore said that as a group they are pretty good, but only one player particularly stands out.  That is senor Carmelo Smith (6′-2″, 250).  He is their best defensive lineman.  A quick, physical, down hill player.  He’s also very aggressive when he moves to linebacker.

Go Tigers!


2023: Massillon 56, Canton GlenOak 7

Massillon Makes Short Work of Canton GlenOak

Game Statistics

Every car owner knows that periodically they must check under the hood to see if everything is running okay.  A football team can apply that same reasoning, as they search for inherent defects in their play schemes.  That was the case on Friday for Massillon in the game against local rival Canton GlenOak.  And if the 56-7 shellacking of the Golden Eagles is any indication, the Tiger engine is purring along just fine.

For GlenOak, however, it was a different story.  But not necessarily a bad one.  Surely, they were playing a team that was a good bit above their level.  But it was an opportunity to have their weaknesses exposed as they prepare for a slate that is more suitable to their liking, one against their Federal League brethren.

As was the case in last week’s game against Valdosta, Massillon went immediately to the air the first time they touched the ball.  It might have been that the Tigers are breaking in some running backs that have limited varsity experience and they wanted the ball more in the hands of their two very talented quarterbacks along with their speedy receiving corps.  Or it might have been that mismatches were evident in the Eagle secondary and the coaches deemed that was the area to exploit.  Regardless of the reasoning, positive results were found immediately.

On the first play from scrimmage quarterback Da’one Owens completed a 23-yard pass to fullback (yes, fullback!!!) Deangelo Zimmerman, giving the Tigers a first down at the GlenOak 33.  Then Owens completed the drive with a perfectly thrown pass to Jacques Carter for the touchdown.  It was the first of five first-quarter TDs enroute to a 49-0 halftime lead.

With the Tigers quarterbacks alternating possessions throughout the first unit’s time on the field, it was now Jalen Slaughter’s turn to enter the fray.  A 40-yard pass to Carter on his first play advanced the ball to the Eagle 4 yard line, from where Micheal Wright Jr. powered it in for the score.

After that, the points continued to rain down.  A 30-yard pass from Owens to Kyler Wiggins, who continues to make spectacular catches in coverage.  A 3-yard run by Dorian Pringle.  A 30-yard pass from Owens to Wiggins.  A 71-yard pass from Slaughter to Carter.  And a 36-yard pass from Slaughter to Zimmerman to end the half.  As is the norm, the first unit saw one possession in the second half, with Mylen Lenix carrying the ball in from the 15.

Meanwhile, the Tigers punted just once, while GlenOak managed just four first downs.  The Massillon defense controlled the action and was stifling against both the run and the pass, except for on one Eagle drive that ended near the goal line when they fumbled the ball into the end zone for a touchback.

The two quarterbacks ended up a combined 9 of 15 passing for 278 yards and 5 touchdowns.  On the ground the Tigers gained 183 yards, led by Peytton Mitchel, who carried 12 times for 127 yards.  In spite of averaging 7.6 yards per carry, the running game was sluggish at times on account of GlenOak blitzing on nearly every down after falling behind in an attempt to halt the passing barrage.  The blitz also clogged up the running lanes.  But it had minimal effect on the passing game, as no sacks were recorded and the quarterbacks easily eluded the rush to complete passes.  Overall, Massillon gained 467 yards (11.7 ave.), their second straight 400+ yard game.

GlenOak got on the board on the second to last play in the game when Avante Burt scored from the one on fourth down against the Massillon backups.  The Eagle rushing attack was stymied for most of the night until Adrion Burt moved to the quarterback position.  He ended up rushing for 54 yards, while teammate Jamar Johnson had 81.  But the two quarterbacks completed only 5 of 18 passes for 77 yards.

Massillon will host Mansfield (1-1) next week, while GlenOak is home to Austintown Fitch, a future Tiger opponent.  The game will surely give fans a chance to compare scores.

Go Tigers!


2023 Booster Club Report – Week 1 – Post-Valdosta

2023 Booster Club Report – Week 1 – Post-Valdosta

Massillon (1-0) overcame a 14-0 deficit last Friday and defeated Valdosta, Georgia (0-1), 28-17.  This week the Tigers face Canton GlenOak (1-0) in the 19th renewal of this local rivalry.  Massillon defeated the Eagles last year 35-7 and leads the overall series, 14-4.

At halftime of the Valdosta game, the 2023 inductees for the Tiger Football Hall of Fame and the Massillon Wall of Champions  were introduced.  They include:

  • Arvine “Tink” Ulrich – First Booster Club President, Hall of Fame
  • Gary Vogt – Past Booster Club President and current Club Historian, Hall of Fame
  • Larry Larsuel – Football player, Hall of Fame
  • Devin Smith – Football player, Hall of Fame
  • Ron Ertle – Football player, Hall of Fame
  • Rick Spielman – Football player, former general manager of the Minnesota Vikings, Wall of Champions

Link to the Valdosta Game Story

Link to the Valdosta Game Statistics

Other scores:

  • 7th Grade (1-0): Defeated Akron Ellet, 20-0.  This week they defeated GlenOak, 20-6.
  • 8th Grade (1-0): Defeated Akron Ellet, 12-8.  Plays home to GlenOak on Wednesday, August 23, at 6:00 pm.
  • Freshmen (1-0): Defeated Lakewood St. Edward, 34-0.  Plays at GlenOak on Thursday, August 24, at 6:00 pm.  Against St. Eds the freshmen rolled up over 250 yards of offense in the first half, leading 21-0.  The Eagles never penetrated beyond the Massillon 45 yard line throughout the game.
  • Junior Varsity (0-1): Lost to Lakewood St. Edward, 21-7, in an evenly played game.  Plays home vs. GlenOak on Saturday, August 26, at 10:00 am.

Review of the Valdosta game

“It was an historic game,” said Head Coach Nate Moore.  “Win 933.  Historic win.  Fifty years in the making.  So proud of our kids.”  Moore was also appreciated the support of the Massillon crowd.  “You guys were phenomenal,” he said.  “It gave us an advantage.  Our guys could feel the energy.”

Valdosta struck early with a long run, followed by a touchdown a few plays later, off a formation that hadn’t been shown during the pre-season.  But the defense immediately made the proper adjustments and held the Wildcats to a mere 40 yards on the ground the rest of the night.  “The defense did a great job adjusting to the unbalanced looks,” said Moore.  “We want to close the gaps and build a wall.  We had lots of guys running to the ball.

Offensively, Moore said the Tigers’ first drive was looking good until they were flagged with a chop block at the Valdosta 33 that set them back.  Eventually, they were forced to punt.  But in the long run Massillon just made more plays.  More than Valdosta.  “Our kids played with great effort,” he said.  “Against good teams you need to make the plays.”  Meanwhile, after the Wildcats’ first two scores on back-to-back possessions they appeared to wane on defense and the players just started running after the ball rather than playing good assignment football.

Moore also singled out the specialty teams.  Good kicks and coverage in kickoffs.

Statistically, Daone Owens’ 241 yards rushing in a single game ranks 10th all-time among all players.  The mark also the most ever gained by a Massillon quarterback in a single game.  His 18.5 yards per carry ranks second all-time among all players.

The guest players were offensive lineman Sam Snodgrass and safety Ryan Page.  “We were very proud of playing in that game,” said Snodgrass.  “We started out slow (negative 13 yards rushing in the first half).  We didn’t plan on that happening.  I challenged our offensive line.”  The Tigers ended up rushing for 361 yards the rest of the way.

“We plan on starting out strong the rest of the year,” added Page.  It was such an historic game and an honor to play in it.”  Both Page and Snodgrass agreed that near the end of the second quarter Valdosta appeared gassed and the game started to turn in the Tigers’ favor.

Statistics leaders:

  • Da’one Owens: 5 of 10 passing for 59 yards, 0 interceptions and 0 touchdowns; 13 carries for 241 yards (18.5) and 2 touchdowns
  • Jalen Slaughter: 4 of 9 passing for 25 yards, 0 interceptions and 0 touchdowns
  • Dorian Pringle: 13 carries for 65 yards (5.0); 2 touchdowns; 5.0 tackle points; 1 sack
  • Kyler Wiggins: 4 receptions for 56 yards, 0 touchdowns
  • Ja’Meir Gamble: 3 receptions for 29 yards, 0 touchdowns
  • Ryan Page: 4.0 tackle points
  • Zach Liebler: 4.0 tackle points
  • Vito McConnell: 1 pass interception returned for 16 yards
  • Team offense: 43 carries for 348 yards (8.1)

Canton GlenOak Scouting Report

GlenOak features two outstanding athletes in the Burt brothers.  Senior Avantae Burt (5′-9″, 170) starts at wide receiver, but will also play some running back.  Junior Adrion Burt (6′-1″, 190) starts at outside linebacker and backs up at quarterback, from where he will mostly run the ball.  Last year Avantae was the starting running back and he carried the ball 17 times for 21 yards.  Adrion started at quarterback and completed 3 of 7 passes for 31 yards and was sacked four times.  Shortly after he was replaced and moved to another position.

This year’s starting quarterback is senior Cole Anderson (6′-0″, 165), who is the better thrower of the two.  The starting running back is Jamar Johnson (5′-11″, 200).  He is physical and has good speed.  Avantae Burt is the best wide receiver and GlenOak is most effective when the ball is in his hands.  Also, keep an eye on speedy wide receiver Katour Ashcraft (6′-2″, 180).  The offensive line is on the smaller side and averages 6′-0″, 238.

Scheme-wise, some of the things they do resemble the Tigers.  Yet, they do add a few wrinkles, using the tight end more and utilizing some pistol formations.

Defensively, the 3-man front lacks size, averaging 6′-1″, 224.  The best player in this group is nose tackle, 2-way player Magueyal (5′-10″, 240), who comes off the ball well.  Cornerback Brailon Wilcox (5′-9″, 160) leads the secondary.  He has good speed and can close the gap on coverage.

2023 Massillon Tiger Captains

Go Tigers!


2023: Massillon 28, Valdosta, Georgia, 17

Tigers Stiffen, Mount a Comeback in Classic Game

Game Statistics

It was billed as a classic game, involving two of the winningest programs in the country, and it absolutely lived up to its billing.  Stifling defenses.  Big plays.  Outstanding individual performances.  A large, noisy crowd.  All coupled with the electricity of a season-opening game at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.  In the end it was Massillon that overcame an early 2-touchdown deficit to overtake Valdosta, Georgia, 28-17.

Both teams were loaded with athletic speedsters and ultimately it was their big plays that factored the most in the outcome for each team.  On Valdosta’s first play from scrimmage running back Shakevious Wright skirted the right end and wasn’t stopped until he was run down by Kyler Wiggins at the Massillon ten.  Just prior to the play the Wildcats had shifted their tight end and fullback from the left edge to the right edge and the Tigers didn’t adjust.  For it was all about the numbers in their offense in that Valdosta was trying to place more blockers than defenders at the point of attack.  Three plays later the Wildcats were in the endzone when quarterback Todd Robinson hit Eli Lewis on a 16-yard pass.

Following a Massillon punt, Valdosta struck again, this time on a 63-yard pass from Robinson to Prince Jean.  Off an outlet pass, coupled by some good blocking near the line of scrimmage, the potential Tiger tacklers just couldn’t get into position to make the play.  Once the speedy Jean got going there was catching him.  Suddenly, the Tigers were down 14-0 and it wasn’t looking good.  Especially with Massillon having gained just 13 yards through the first quarter of play.

Throughout the early part of the game the Tigers were swapping quarterbacks within each possession, between Jalen Slaughter and Daone Owens.  Slaughter appeared to be the main QB, as he seemed to be favored for passing, while Owens was used in play situations.  But, with the running game totally stymied and the Wildcats utilizing close man-to-man coverage in the secondary, the offense just wasn’t getting untracked.

So, in the middle of the second quarter, on the Tigers’ fourth possession of the night, Coach Nate Moore went to Plan B.  The Tigers lined up with three wide receivers, a wing-back on each side of the five linemen and Owens alone in the backfield.  From there, he became the running back and was able to effectively use his running skills, while the line blocked like on traditional running plays.  On Owens’ first attempt he alluded a few tacklers at the line of scrimmage and then it was a foot race to the endzone, eventually being caught at the Valdosta five.  Four plays later the Tigers chalked up their first touchdown of the night on a 1-yard run by Dorian Pringle.  Vinny Keller then kicked his first of four extra points.

Two series later Valdosta had driven the ball to the Massillon 37, but Vito McConnell came up with a big interception to squash the attempt.  The Tigers then drove to the Wildcat 13, but ran out of time.  So, at the half it was 14-7.

Massillon stayed with Owens to start the second half and on the first play he once again got into the Valdosta secondary and sped 69 yards for the tying score.  The Tigers tacked on the go-ahead points when Pringle capped off a 55-yard drive with a 21-yard run.  Valdosta responded with a 49-yard pass from Robinson to Jamill Williams, advancing the ball to the Massillon 8.  But they failed to move any further and settled for a 29-yard field goal.

Two series later the Tigers put up the clinching points when Owens broke free on a 65-yard touchdown run, making the final score 28-17.  Owens finished the night rushing 13 times for 241 yards.  The total yards places him 9th in the Massillon record book and his 18.5 yards per carry is 2nd.

Overall, in spite of gaining just 13 yards in the first quarter, Tigers rolled up 432 yards of offense.  The ground game accounted for 348 yards and the two quarterbacks combined completed 9 of 19 passes for 84 yards.  Meanwhile, Valdosta rushed for 110 yards, 80 of which came on their first play.  In the air, Robinson hit 12 of 24 for 211 yards and two touchdowns.

For a first game of the season, with limited preparation time, it was a very well-played game between two outstanding teams stocked with many experienced players.  Four intangibles, however, made the difference.  First, Massillon was able to find the answer to breaking the Wildcat defense with the use of Owens in the empty backfield formation.  Second, the Tigers were able to make the necessary adjustments to shut down the Valdosta offense.  Following their two touchdowns and aside from the one long pass, the Wildcats gained just 78 yards.  Third, Valdosta was flagged for 14 penalties, accounting for 124 yards.  And fourth, the Wildcat quarterback, who is a great runner, began cramping up in the middle of the second quarter and was relegated the rest of the night to handing off the ball and throwing passes, while eliminating the option plays.  Nevertheless, they did account for 321 yards of total offense.

Next week Massillon will face Canton GlenOak.