Author: <span class="vcard">Don Engelhardt</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo News

2022 Booster Club Report – Post-Middletown, DE

Massillon (5-1) defeated Middletown, Delaware, 42-24.  The Cavaliers are the No. team in Delaware.  This week Massillon plays Canisius, New York (3-2).  The all-time series is tied 1-1.

  • 7th Grade (3-4): Defeated Central Catholic 7th & 8th, 26-12.  Plays Canton at home (PBTS) on Tuesday, October 4, at 6:00 pm.
  • 8th Grade (6-0-1): Defeated Akron Jennings, 35-12.  Plays Canton at home (PBTS) on Thursday, October 5, at 6:00 pm.
  • 9th Grade (4-3): Defeated University School, 58-20.  Plays Cleveland St. Ignatius at home on Thursday, October 6, at 6:00 pm.
  • Junior Varsity (6-1): Defeated Ironton, 14-12.  Plays Lyndhurst Brush on Saturday, October 8, at 10:00 am.

Middletown, DE


The Cavaliers struck early with an effective passing attack.  Scoring on  their first and third possessions of the night, quarterback Austin Troyer completed 10 of 15 passes for 171 yards, including long completions of 29 and 30 yards.  But after that, Massillon pulled up the corners and safeties and blitzed often.  That kept Middletown in check for the better part of the next two quarters, while the Tigers built an insurmountable 35-12 lead by the end of three.

The offense also started out slowly.  Massillon had practiced against an odd front all week and then Middletown came out with an even front.  It took a couple possessions to adjust, but then the “O” just took off, scoring touchdowns on its next three possessions and rolling up 148 yards of offense on 21 plays.

Willtrell Hartson had another good night, recording his 7th consecutive game of 100 yards or more rushing.  This time he rambled for 198 yards and scored three touchdowns, bringing his season totals to 1,096 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns.  Quarterback Jalen Slaughter also had an effective night, tossing three touchdown passes, two to Ardell Banks (7) and a third to Kyler Wiggins, his first of the  year.  The offense converted 6 of 11 third down tries.  For the season, Tigers have been successful 51% of the time on third down, which is the best mark achieved during Nate Moore’s 8-year tenure as head coach.

On defense, the front seven continues to excel, this time holding the Cavaliers to negative ten yards on the ground.  They also sacked Troyer five times for a loss of 57 yards.  Middletown only converted 4 of 12 third down tries.  For the year, the Tigers have surrendered just 2.8 yards per rush, a mark matching that of Massillon’s great rushing defense of last season.  The group has also sacked the quarterback this year 16 times, which ranks 7th all-time for a complete season.  The record is 29 and it may be in jeopardy of falling.

“That was a good football team,” said Moore.  “The quarterback was as good as advertised.  They had treat receivers.  WE got pressure on the quarterback.  Got some stops.  Got the offense going.  And it secured the game.”

The guest players were Willtrell Hartson, Mike Mercurio and Chase Bond.  Their comments were as follows:

  • The team started off slowly and then picked it up. (Hartson)
  • This deep into the season, the game is not necessarily slowing down, but getting easier. (Mercurio)
  • It was a great feeling picking up the fumble.  But the stumble slowed me down.  The next time I plan to score a touchdown. (Bond)
  • Middletown didn’t quit, unlike Fitch, and always played to the whistle. (Mercurio)
  • Constant defensive pressure on the quarterback disrupted the passing game. (Bond)

Stats leaders:

  • Quarterback Jalen Slaughter: 10 of 18 for 148 yards, 0 interception and 3 touchdowns
  • Running back Willtrell Hartson: 28 carries for 198 yards and 3 touchdowns
  • Wide receiver Zach Liebler: 4 receptions for 56 yards and 0 touchdowns
  • Wide receiver Ardell Banks: 3 receptions for 52 yards and 2 touchdowns
  • Safety Ryan Page: 7.5 tackle points (6-3)
  • Defensive lineman Michael Wright Jr.: 4.5 tackle points (4-1), 3.0 tackles-for-loss, 1.0 sack
  • Linebacker Dorian Pringle: 4.5 tackle points (3-3), 3.5 tackles-for-loss, 2.0 sacks
  • Defensive lineman Malachi Card: 3.0 tackle points (3-0), 2.0 tackles-for-loss, 2.0 sacks

Canisius, NY

Massillon will face Canisius this Friday in a battle of Ohio vs. New York.  The Crusaders are making their third trip to Tigertown, having won the first encounter, 45-35, and dropped the second (last year), 23-13.  Canisius appears to be struggling somewhat this season, while dealing with a roster of just 30 players.  Although, they have won three of five games.  Their scores so far:

  • Walsh Jesuit (5-2): 6-48 L
  • Aquinas Institute (1-4): 14-13 W
  • WNY Maritime / Health Sciences (co-op) (0-2): 43-30 W
  • St. Joseph Collegiate (4-1): 33-22 W
  • Lancaster (5-0): 20-24 L

“I like the out-of-state matchups,” said Moore.  “Seeing what they are doing.”  He also said that Massillon in this one represents the state of Ohio.  He’s hoping the team will have an Ohio flag in their hands when they come out of the tunnel on Friday.

Offensively, Canisius lines up in multiple formations, often employing four wide receivers in a twin set.  The offensive line is good up the middle, while they have a big, strong running back in junior Dyrell Howard (6′-1″, 220).  Quarterback Nicholas Penuvchtev is a good player and can make plays.  His primary receiver is sophomore Jayden Clark (5′-11″, 175).  But also keep an eye on senior Mike Doctor (6;-2″, 195).

Defensively, they utilize four linemen, while the secondary aligns in a 2-high set with quarter coverage.  The best player on the line is Howard.  The top linebacker is junior Nyzell Lash (6.-0″, 180), who is their No. blitzer.

Depth and experience could be issue for the Crusaders.  Five starters go both ways.  In addition there are only three seniors on offense and three on defense.  Finally, Moore believes that there are areas that the Tigers can exploit.


2022: Massillon 42, Middletown, DE, 24


Peter Holland Jr., The Repository

Massillon football’s defense brings the pressure, beats Middletown to extend win streak



MASSILLON — On a chilly, fall night at Paul Brown Tigers Stadium, the Massillon Tigers brought some heat to the visiting powerhouse from Delaware, beating the Middletown Cavaliers 42-24 Friday.

Middletown just couldn’t handle the pressure. The pressure of Massillon’s defensive front, which helped the Tigers win their sixth straight game.

The Tigers’ defense got after it as they registered five sacks and a handful of hurries on Middletown’s quarterback Austin Troyer. While he did throw for three touchdowns, two in the first half, the Tigers’ defensive line made their presence known in the backfield. According to Massillon head coach Nate Moore, the key was forcing Middletown to eliminate running the football and making the Cavs a one-dimensional offense.

“I thought they played well,” Moore said after the game. “They couldn’t run the ball on us, at least consistently and that was key to the ballgame. Even when they were a good throwing team, we were able to make them one-handed. Then when you get to them in long situations … we were able to bring the pressure and started to get home during the game.”

2022 Ohio high school football:scores, schedule for Greater Canton

Dorian Pringle, Michael Wright Jr. and Malachi Card were the sack leaders on Massillon’s defense. Brandon Carman forced a fumble, and Chase Bond recovered it early in the third quarter. Cody Fair also recovered a fumble created by Pringle and Ryan Page.

“We had to get the ball out quickly. No. 45 (Wright Jr.) is a wonderful football player,” Middletown’s coach Zachary Blum said. “I’m sure he is going to play Power 5 football somewhere. Their linebackers did a great job in the pressure game. Our thought is to get the ball out quickly, hit on the edges  and the perimeter and make these guys tackle in space.”

Massillon’s defense prevented that for the most part. Middletown did take an early 12-0 lead, then it was all Massillon. The Tigers (6-1) scored 35 unanswered points to take control of the game.

“After that first touchdown, it was kind of a wake-up call for us and it kind of set the tone for us the rest of the game and we knew what we were getting ourselves into,” said Zach Liebler, who led the Tigers in receiving yards with 56 yards and a touchdown.

What was working for the Tigers was running the football, led by senior Willtrell Hartson again. He ran for 198 yards and three touchdowns a week after netting 274 yards in their victory over Austintown Fitch. Sophomore quarterback Jalen Slaughter threw three TD passes and was 10-of-18.

Hartson said the Tigers got off to a slow start, “but we picked it up and started running hard.”

Liebler gave credit to Massillon’s defense for its limitless amount of pressure. “They completely dominated the game … to put the pressure on the quarterback and stop the run game.”


Hartson Hits the Record Book — AGAIN!!!

It’s not often that you see a game like Massillon’s 49-28 victory over Austintown Fitch; one in which the Tigers ran the ball 64 times for 406 yards. The last time the Tigers did that against a good team was in 1991 when they defeated Canton McKinley, 42-13.  In that one, they ran the ball for 402 yards on 60 attempts.   Spearheading that performance was Travis McGuire, who rolled his way through 302 yards, setting a new Massilon single-game rushing record.  He also scored a whopping five touchdowns.

In last Friday’s game it was Willtrell Hartson, who carried the ball 40 times and gained 274 yards, while scoring four touchdowns.  It was also his sixth consecutive 100-yard+ game.  Here’s how those stats stack up historically for the orange and black:

  • 40 attempts – 3rd all time behind Elwood Kammer’s 44 in 1925 vs. Erie Academy, PA and Jamir Thomas’ 42 in 2017 vs. Canton McKinley.
  • 274 yards – 5th all time.  Hartson also holds the record with 324 yards in 2020 vs. Westerville South.  That mark bested Travis McGuire’s record noted above.  It is Hartson’s third entry into the Top 10 for that category.
  • 4 touchdowns – Tied for 10th with a slew of other players.  The record is currently owned by Edwin “Dutch” Hill, who scored eight touchdowns against Akron North in 1922.
  • 6 consecutive 100-yard+ games – Tied for 3rd all time with Travis McGuire and Terrence Keyes.  The record-holder is Jamir Thomas, who produced nine.

With six games in the books, Hartson has now carried the ball 141 times for 898 yards and scored 13 touchdowns.  Should Massillon advance to the state finals, here is what Hartson would need to make the record book for single season records:

  • Attempts – 79 to make the Top 10 (8 per game); 209 to set the record (23 per game)
  • Yards – 474 to make the Top 10 (53 per game); 1,079 to set the record (120 per game)
  • Touchdowns – 8 to make the Top 10 (1 per game); 21 to set the record (2.4 per game)

The team offense also cracked the Top ten for the number of rushing attempts in a single game with 64, tying the Mansfield game of 1993 and placing 3rd.  The record is 69, set by the 1992 team vs. Youngstown East.  Unfortunately, the 406 yards gained on the ground did not make the Top 10.  The current No. 10 mark is 452.

Earlier this year, in Massillon’s 41-12 victory over Warren Harding, quarterback Jalen Slaughter complete 14 of 19 passes for 248 yards and 4 touchdowns with no interceptions, earning an efficiency rating of 252.8.  That performance is now No. 10 in the record book.

Incidentally, Massillon has now scored 30 or more points in six consecutive games, which is ranked 6th all-time.  The record was set by Paul Brown’s 1939 team and later tied by Nate Moore’s 2018 team, which each had nine.

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo News

2022 Booster Club Report – Week 5 – Post-Austintown…

Massillon (5-1) defeated Austintown Fitch, 49-28.  The Tigers now lead the series with the Falcons, 20-8-0.  It was the second consecutive victory over an undefeated, state-ranked team, the former being Lakewood St. Edward.  This week Massillon plays the first of two out-of-state opponents: Middletown, Delaware (2-1), at home.  The Cavaliers are rated No. 1 in Delaware.

  • 7th Grade (2-4): Defeated Austintown, 20-16.  Plays Central Catholic at home (MJHS) on Tuesday, September 27, at 6:00 pm.
  • 8th Grade (5-0-1): Defeated Austintown, 50-28.  Plays Akron Jennings at home on Wednesday, September 28, at 6:30 pm.
  • 9th Grade (3-3): Lost to Austintown Fitch, 14-12.  Plays University School at home on Thursday, September 29, at 6:00 pm.
  • Junior Varsity (5-1): Defeated Austintown Fitch, 28-21.  Plays Ironton on Saturday, October 1, at 1:00 pm.

Austintown Fitch rolled into town last Friday with their high-powered offense, one that was loaded with skilled athletes.  And they did not hide the fact that they were bent on breaking a 5-game losing streak to Massillon in this showcase of two state-ranked teams.  But the Tigers avoided a letdown following the St. Eds game and brought the wood in a literal beat down, sending the Falcons home with their first loss of the season.  They did it with a bruising rushing attack that racked up over 400 yards on the ground.  It was a game that was won in the trenches, on both sides of the ball, with the defense holding Fitch to a mere 49 yards on the ground.  Any offense the Falcons had came through the air.  A one-dimensional attack is just not enough to stay with a team the caliber of Massillon.

For the record, the Tigers rushed 64 times for 406 yards at 6.3 yards per carry.  Nearly all of the runs were up the middle as the offensive line simply punished the Falcon front seven.  It was so devastating that according to the guest players they simply had enough by the end of the third quarter.  Senior Willtrell Hartson, while producing his sixth consecutive 100 yard plus game, racked up 275 yards in 40 carries.  For the season he now has 898 yards.  Junior Dorian Pringle added 77 and sophomore Peytton Mitchell another 44 , which were big nights for both of these players.

But a ball-control ground attack was not the original game plan.  The plan called for more of a balanced attack.  Only, after the first few passes did not end well and it was evident that there was a mismatch in the run game, the coaches decided to just stay with the run for the rest of the game.  By the end, the offense had doubled Fitch’s time of possession and racked up 28 first downs (Top 10 all-time) and seven rushing touchdowns (4 by Hartson and 3 by Pringle), and they never punted.  Although two passes were intercepted in scoring territory.  They also converted 10 of 12 third downs, while picking up the remaining two on fourth down runs.  The 2-back offense was also effective in short yardage situations.

“The story of the game was the offensive line,” said Head Coach Nate Moore.  “It was a dominating game from start to finish.  The backs ran hard.  I know we have the best coaching staff in the state of Ohio.  This is the first time we made Fitch’s defensive line tap out.”  And it may have been the best performance since Moore has been at Massillon.

The game is reminiscent of Massillon 42-13 victory over Canton McKinley in 1991.  In that one, the Tigers rushed 60 times for 402 yards.  And Travis McGuire carried the ball 36 times for 302 yards, setting a Massillon rushing record for total yards in a single game.  Only three passes were thrown.

The Falcons, in spite of their defensive shortcomings, did display some of the offense that they are known for this year, at least in the air.  Junior quarterback Deshawn Vaughn completed 16 of 23 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns.  He also scored a rushing TD.  In the receiving department, Jayden Eley caught six passes for 143 yards and a touchdown and Dan Evans III grabbed six for 48 yards.  But their two stellar running backs were held to a combined 30 yards on 12 carries.

The guest players were:

  • Offensive lineman Mike Mercurio – “This game was won in the trenches.”
  • Defensive lineman / tight end Chase Bond – “It was a great game plan by the coaches.  All the pieces came together.”
  • Special teams player Angelo Salvino – “We made them quit.  They had big names, but we didn’t let it affect us.”

Stats leaders:

  • Quarterback Jalen Slaughter: 6 of 10 for 50 yards, 2 interception and 0 touchdowns
  • Running back Willtrell Hartson: 40 carries for 274 yards (6.8) and 4 touchdowns
  • Running back Dorian Pringle: 10 carries for 77 yards (7.2) and 3 touchdowns
  • Running back Peytton Mitchell: 10 carries for 44 yards (4.4)
  • Safety De-Airre Pringle: 5.0 tackle points (4-2)
  • Defensive back Adonis Vaughn: 4.0 tackle points (3-2)
  • Cornerback Jaden Welch: 4.0 tackle points (2-4); 0.5 TFLs


Middletown, is located in the northern part of Delaware, some 56 miles south of Philadelphia.  With a population in 2020 of 23,192, their football team participates with ten other schools in Division 3A, which is the largest classification in the state.

This year the Cavaliers have a 2-1 record, having defeated rival Smyrna 21-14 and lost to Philadelphia St. Joseph  Prep, the nation’s No. 25 team, 42-0.  In the prior five years they compiled an overall mark of 46-8, including a state championship last year and three prior state runners-up.  Later this year they will play Florida’s IMG Academy, the nation’s No. 5 team.

“They are a very good team,” said Moore.  “Very seasoned team.  Really good at the skill positions.”

Offensively, they operate out of the spread formation, led by junior quarterback Austin Troyer (6′-3″, 185).  He has offers from UConn and Temple.  He’s very accurate and has good arm strength.  The top receiver is Ty’Renne Hynson (6′-2″, 175).  He has good size, good hands, is very athletic and makes a lot of plays.  The running back is senior Michael Pearson (5′-9″, 195), who has committed to Navy.  But they struggle running the ball and therefore put it in the air around 65% of  the time.

On defense, they are normally in a 3-3 odd-stack or 3-4 alignment.  Some 4-man line.  They have really good team speed and skill and fly to the ball.  All are solid players.  Junior safety Ronnell Davis (6′-2″, 180) has an offer from West Virginia.  Junior defensive end Tristen Graham (6′-3″, 245) is a very physical player, who runs a 4.5 40-yard dash.

Football Showcase

Next year Massillon will host a football showcase sponsored by a Northeast Ohio football group.  The event will feature four games at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium during the first week of the season.  Presumably, there will be four top NE Ohio teams, including Massillon, playing four out-of-state teams.

Go Tigers!



2022: Massillon 49, Austintown Fitch 28


Peter Holland Jr., The Repository

Willtrell Hartson, Massillon football runs over Fitch’s defense in fifth straight win



MASSILLON — The Massillon Tigers were on the run, and it’s not referring to their five-game winning streak. The Tigers ran the football a lot Friday night, and Austintown Fitch had no answer for it at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

The Tigers depended heavily on their running attack in handing Fitch its first loss, 49-28, in a battle of state-ranked high school football teams. It’s the second straight game Massillon handed a state-ranked team its first loss of 2022, after knocking off the state’s No. 1-ranked Division I team, St. Edward, a week ago.

Massillon rolled up 406 yards, led by Willtrell Hartson, who delivered yet another big game. The senior finished the night with 274 rushing yards on 40 carries, 50 yards shy of his own school record he set his sophomore year. He scored four of Massillon’s seven touchdowns on the ground.

Hartson entered the game ranked fourth in the area in rushing and he put himself into position to move up higher. He’s rushed for at least 100 yards in all six Massillon games this season.

Dorian Pringle, who also anchored the defensive effort for Massillon, ran for 77 yards and two touchdowns.

Peytton Mitchell added 44 yards on the ground for the Tigers and a rushing touchdown as well.

Massillon head coach Nate Moore refused to comment on the win to The USA Today Network after the game. However, Fitch’s coach TJ Parker credited the Tigers’ offensive line for creating gaps for the Massillon trio in the backfield.

“Don’t get me wrong, Willtrell is special, but I think it’s more on the offensive line, and what they were doing. He won his fair share of one-one ones,” Parker said after the game. “He did that and made some special plays . He’s a special player, and we know that, but there were times we had him bottled up and he made his plays and there were times we had him bottled up and we kept him bottled up, but I think what you saw throughout the game was there push off up front, and they moved us.”

Fitch (5-1) entered the game ranked ninth in Division II by the Associated Press, but had its hands full against the Tigers, who are ranked No. 3 in Division II.

Massillon’s passing attack — which came up big in recent games — was limited in its impact Friday (50 total yards and two interceptions). But the running game more than made up for it as the Tigers controlled the line of scrimmage.

“They beat us up,” Parker said. “We learned a hard lesson tonight.”

Fitch kept it competitive despite trailing by at least two possessions much of the night. Leading the way for the Falcons was their quarterback Deshawn Vaughn, who also plays defensive back and made one of the two interceptions. Vaughn threw three touchdown passes and added one more score on the ground. He completed 16 of 23 passes for 266 yards.

“He’s a complete warrior,” Parker said about Vaughn. “I think early on the first bubble screen that they blitzed really kind of threw him off. From there after he got the jitters out, he got back to his gutsy self and started making some plays and I thought offensively, we kept battling. They took things away. That was a very good box that we went against and we battled.”



Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo News

2022 Booster Club Report – Week 5 – Post-St.…

Massillon (4-1) defeated Lakewood St. Edward, 31-28, to even the series with the Eagles at four wins apiece and record their 924th all-time win.  This week Massillon plays Austintown Fitch (5-0) at home.

  • 7th Grade (1-4): Lost to Akron  East 7th and 8th grade team, 40-6.  Plays Austintown at home (MJHS) on Wednesday, September 21, at 5:30 pm.
  • 8th Grade (4-0-1): Defeated Akron Buchtel, 37-14.  Plays Austintown at home on Wednesday, September 21, following the 7th grade game..
  • 9th Grade (3-2): Lost to Lakewood St. Edward, 14-6.  Plays at Austintown Fitch Thursday, September 22, at 5:00 pm.
  • Junior Varsity (4-1): Lost to Lakewood St. Edward, 21-12.  Plays at Austintown Fitch on Saturday, September 24, at 10:00 am.

It was a tremendous victory for the Massillon program over the defending Division 1 state champs.  Not only was St. Edward unbeaten and ranked first in Ohio, they were also ranked in the Top 50 nationally.  But the win didn’t come easily, for the Eagles are a VERY good team.  It took exceptional play from many Tiger players to pull it off in a game that featured both big plays and crucial mistakes by both teams and came right down to the wire.

Let’s start with sophomore quarterback Jalen Slaughter.  He passed for 295 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner, in what was clearly the best performance of his short career.  After Massillon went behind 14-0 early, lightening struck twice in terms of a Slaughter-to-Ardell Banks combination.  After Eds second touchdown, Slaughter immediately hit Banks on a slant pass and the speedster just ran away from the single defender for a 70-yard score.  After stopping the Eagles on downs at the Tiger 14, Slaughter threw long to Banks, who had stripped himself from press coverage and with the catch advanced the ball to St. Edward 32.  On the ensuing play, the QB tossed a rainbow to a well-covered Banks for another score.  By that time the Eagles had enough of Mr. Banks, who for the game caught five passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns.  So they double and triple-teamed him the rest of the way, at the expense of taking a linebacker off the field and eliminating most opportunities to blitz.  Such is the overwhelming impact Banks had on the Eagle defense.  So, Slaughter needed to find another receiver to keep the momentum going.  That player was Kyler Wiggins, who was single-covered on account of the defensive alignment over Banks.  Wiggins ended up catching seven passes for 63 yards.  Also in the mix was Braylyn Toles, who caught five for 48 yards.  And that included the winning 24-yard touchdown pass, which came with just eleven seconds remaining in the game.

So it was, somewhat alien to this Tiger team, that it was the pass that set up the run.  Thus, in the middle of all that was steady running back Willtrell Hartson, who gained 130 yards, his fifth consecutive 100 yard plus game.  His big play came on the possession following the second Tiger score when he ripped off a 59-yard run to the five yard line, with Dorian Pringle scoring on the next lay.  But credit also needs to go to offensive line, which opened many holes for the running backs and kept the vaunted Eagle rush away from Slaughter in all but two pass attempts.  By games’ end, the Tigers had amassed 421 yards of total offense (7.0 yards per play), which was an unprecedented mark against such a great St. Edward program.

Defensively, every player certainly contributed his best game.  But two really stood out.  Dorian Pringle had eight solo tackles and eight assists and was simply a beast on the field.  And he also came up with the biggest stop of the night.  Prior to Massillon’s winning score, St. Eds had possession of the ball and all they needed late in the game was a first down to kill the clock.  Their running back gained the needed yards, but high school instincts took over and the Eagle players tried to push the ball carrier for additional yards.  Only, Pringle was in the middle of the scrum and simply ripped the ball from runner’s hands and then fell on it to give the Tigers one more chance to win.

The other player was Brandon Carmen, who finished with 5.0 tackle points, three tackles-for-loss and a sack.  Time and again he out-maneuvered the massive Eagle offensive tackles to set the edge and turn sweeping running backs toward the inside, where other players did the clean-up work, negating potential long-gainers.

“I’m really proud of the kids,” said a joyful Head Coach Nate Moore.  “A lot of guys stepped up and made huge plays.  St. Eds made mistakes and we capitalized.  A lot of great performances.  That’s what it takes.  But now we all have to forget about Eds.”

The guest players were:

  • Sam Snodgrass – “It was really fun.  We played great.”
  • Chase Bond – “It was an intense game.”
  • Angelo Salvino – “Coach Moore brought us together (after the 14-point deficit).  It rallied the team to come back.  Today’s a new week and Fitch is a really good team.”
  • Willtrell Hartson – “Craziest game ever.  But it’s a new week.  So, let’s get to it.”

Stats leaders:

  • Quarterback Jalen Slaughter: 18 of 32 for 295 yards, 0 interception and 3 touchdowns
  • Running back Willtrell Hartson: 18 carries for 130 yards (7.2)
  • Ardell Banks: 5 receptions for 164 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • Kyler Wiggins: 7 receptions for 63 yards, 0 touchdowns
  • Braylyn Toles: 5 receptions for 48 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Dorian Pringle: 12.0 tackle points (8-8), 1 fumble recovery
  • Cody Fair: 7.0 tackle points (3-8)
  • Ryan Page: 6.0 tackle points (5-2)
  • De’Aire Pringle: 5.5 tackle points (5-1)
  • Brandon Carman: 5.0 tackle points (5-0), 3 tackles-for-loss, 1 sack
  • Marcus Moore: 4.5 tackle points (1-7), 0.5 tackle-for-loss, 0.5 sack
  • Jaden Welch: 4.0 tackle points (4-0)

Friday marks the 28th all-time meeting between Massillon and Austintown Fitch.  The Tigers currently own a 19-8 edge in the series that began in 1985.  Last year the Tigers came back from a 14-point deficit to defeat the Falcons, 31-21.  Fitch comes into this week’s game with a 5-0 record, having defeated the following teams:

  • Foothill, Nevada (1-4): 42-10
  • Canton McKinley(1-4): 38-14
  • Canton GlenOak (1-4): 48-18
  • Youngstown Ursuline (4-1): 42-34
  • Bennett, New York (1-2): 42-20

The Falcons are averaging 42 points per game and are characterized as a team that has really good skill players.  The standouts include:

  • Junior quarterback Deshawn Vaughn (5′-10″, 175) – Toledo offer.  Good player.  Played safety last year.  Has a big arm and is accurate.  Runs well.
  • Senior running back Jamell James (5′-10″, 210) – Bowling Green offer.  Excellent player.  Good size and speed.  Physical.  Will run some out of the wildcat.
  • Junior backup running back D.J. Williams (5′-10″, 190) – Toledo offer.  Good speed and vision.
  • Senior wide receiver / safety Cam Smith – Iowa State offer.  Athletic.  Number 1 target.
  • Senior Jayden Eley (6′-1″, 165) – Deep threat

The defense is led by:

  • Junior lineman Brian Robinson (6′-5″, 235) – Georgia and LSU offers, among others.  Excellent player.
  • Senior lineman Josh Fitzgerald (6′-3″, 275) – Youngstown State offer.  Big.  Physical.
  • Senior linebacker Christian Latone (5′-10″, 180).  Athletic and fast.  Also, blitzes a lot.
  • Cam Smith

Offensively, Fitch aligns similar to Massillon with their multiple spread formations.  A run-oriented team, they will also throw a lot of short stuff and screens and then go over the top with some deep passes.

The defense utilizes mostly 3-4 alignments, with some 3-3.  According to Moore they “do a lot of things.”

Go Tigers!




2022: Massillon 31, Lakewood St. Edward 28


Peter Holland Jr., The Repository

‘Settle down and play ball’: Massillon football perseveres, upsets No. 1-ranked St. Edward




MASSILLON — A combination of mistakes and penalties threatened to spoil any chance the Massillon Tigers had of coming up with a big win Friday.

But staring at a tough loss, Massillon stood tall at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium and stunned St. Edward, the state’s No. 1-ranked team in Division I. The Tigers rallied for a dramatic come-from-behind victory, 31-28, scoring the game-winning TD in the final 20 seconds.

After a pair of losses to St. Edward in their two most recent meetings, the Tigers broke through to beat the reigning Division I state champs for the first time since 2005. In addition to the Eagles being ranked No. 1 in the state by the Associated Press (the Tigers are 10th in Division II), St. Edward also was ranked 19th nationally.

“We got nothing but respect for St. Ed’s,” Massillon head coach Nate Moore said. “It was a great ballgame tonight, and I’m just proud of our kids playing harder.”

The Eagles arrived Friday 4-0 against a tough schedule, with three wins by four points or less, including a 17-14 win over Cincinnati Elder a week ago.

Just when it looked like the Eagles were on the verge of escaping with another close-call victory after they sacked Massillon quarterback Jalen Slaughter on fourth down, Massillon’s defense recovered a fumble. With less than two minutes left to play, the Tigers had another chance. As the clock continued to run after Massillon called its last timeout, Slaughter took it to the air and found sophomore receiver Braylyn Toles for a 24-yard touchdown with only 11 seconds left.

“All I saw was, the ball was floating in the air, I stopped running, Braylyn caught the ball, and I dropped a tear on my right eye,” said Massillon senior receiver Ardell Banks, who also had a big game Friday. “It was a great ball and a great catch.”

The game was far from perfect for Massillon and St. Edward. The teams combined for 19 penalties for 177 yards and to lose six fumbles. St. Edward also missed four field goals and went 0-for 2 on fourth down conversions. Eagles coach Tom Lombardo, who called Massillon an evenly matched opponent earlier in the week, counted 26 points his team left on the field because of failures in the red zone.

“We just gave them too many opportunities. You play with fire, sooner or later you’re going to get burned,” Lombardo said. “We just have to play smarter. You can’t turn the ball over in the red zone, you can’t make interference calls, you can’t keep giving good teams more opportunities and expect to pull it out.”

St. Edward had the upper hand at the outset when Kyan Mason returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. Then soon after a Tigers fumble, Marvin Ball ran for another Eagles touchdown. The Tigers trailed 14-0 within the first two minutes of the first quarter, Moore didn’t hit the panic button.

“This is going to sound funny, but I just told them to settle down and play ball,” Moore said. “Settle down, play hard. We stick together, there’s no matter of adversity we can’t overcome.”

The Tigers responded with 19 unanswered points. Slaughter and Banks connected for two long touchdown passes. Dorian Pringle added the Tigers’ third touchdown, following a big 59-yard run by Willtrell Hartson, who gained a team-high 131 yards rushing. Banks finished the night with 164 yards receiving on five catches, with the two TDs.

“We are a great team, and we just gotta stick together,” Banks said. “So when it came down to it, all I knew was I have to do what I do because I know my team had me, so I saw the opportunity and took it.”

St. Edward took a 21-19 lead into halftime, setting up a back-and-forth second half. Massillon regained the lead with a rushing touchdown by Peytton Mitchell with 4:55 left in the third quarter. The Eagles stunned the Massillon crowd with a 52-yard touchdown run by Josh Gribble with 9:49 left in the game. Still, there was no quit in the Tigers.

“I can definitely say we will never give up, so it won’t be a Massillon just quit type of game,” Banks said. “Massillon will always fight to the end.”

Slaughter showed that type of fight in overcoming a couple of sacks at key times. It was just one year ago when an injury opened the door for him as a freshman to take over at QB in a loss to St. Ed’s. He kept the job the rest of the year and has built on last year’s success. Friday, Slaughter completed 18 of 32 passes for a season-high 295 yards and three touchdowns.

“He just has a great mentality for playing quarterback,” Moore said. “He’s a next-play guy. I’m proud that he played well tonight.

After the final touchdown pass by Slaughter, the Eagles had one more shot of nailing a game-tying field goal, but they missed, allowing the Tigers to celebrate a big win.

“Our kids went out and played hard,” Moore said. “We made some mistakes, but we hung in there and they just kept fighting.”



2022: Massillon 41, Warren Harding 12


Peter Holland Jr., The Repository

Jalen Slaughter shines with four touchdowns in Massillon’s win over Warren Harding





MASSILLON — The Warren Harding Raiders woke up a sleeping giant behind center.

Massillon sophomore quarterback Jalen Slaughter took a step forward on Friday night as he outshined the Raiders with a four-touchdown performance. The Tigers defeated Harding 41-12, marking their third straight victory.

“I thought he operated very efficiently tonight,” Massillon head coach Nate Moore said about Slaughter. “I’m very proud of him.”

Harding coach Steve Arnold also was impressed by Slaughter’s performance. Slaughter completed 14 of 19 passes for a season-high 248 yards. While a couple of his throws almost resulted in turnovers, Slaughter was poised and confident in the pocket and was able to find the open men, including his No. 1 target, Ardell Banks. Banks caught two of Slaughter’s passing touchdowns and led the team with 132 receiving yards. His other two touchdowns were to his sophomore targets, Nolan Davenport and Braylyn Toles.

“I thought he threw some balls that were spot on,” Arnold said about Slaughter. “Those were some dimes there. He played well tonight, throwing four touchdown passes. I thought he was really impressive as a sophomore.”

Massillon’s defense wasn’t as dominant as the last couple of weeks. The Tigers allowed 246 total yards of offense but made important stops when needed. The Tigers were called for five personal foul calls and gave away 119 yards on penalties overall.

“We got to clean that up and play better, but I thought our kids played with great effort,” Moore said.

The Raiders set the tone first when their quarterback Dalys Jett made an impressive 78-yard scramble at the beginning of the first quarter, making one defender miss and outrunning the rest of the Massillon defense for a touchdown. Jett led Harding with 99 rushing yards along with 125 passing yards and a touchdown through the air.

“I thought we were going to throw the ball, but knowing Dalys, once he gets some space, it was there for him,” Arnold said. “He has had better games. I don’t think he played well and he’ll be the one to tell you because he’s honest with himself, but one thing that he does is compete.”

After the run, Massillon responded with 27 unanswered points. Slaughter threw three touchdown passes and Willtrell Hartson added one on the ground to end the half with the lead at 27-6. The running game picked up the pace in the second half as the Tigers continued to feed the ball to Hartson and Dorian Pringle. Sophomore Peytton Mitchell, who came in late in the fourth quarter, added 50 more yards on the ground and a touchdown to seal the victory.

Special teams miscues also hurt Harding. That included allowing a blocked field goal by Massillon’s Jaden Welch. Arnold was disappointed with those areas on Friday.

“We got tired and worn down,” Arnold said. “We got to execute and play better and continue to practice hard and get better each day. Also the miscues on special teams, we can’t do that. We’ve been working on special teams since May. It was inexcusable.”

The Tigers will be at home for the rest of the regular season. However, they will deal with a tough stretch starting next week, when St. Edward comes to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“We got to have a great week of practice and get a great plan together and play hard,” Moore said.



2022 Massillon vs. Warren Harding Statistics

Score by Quarters     1  2  3  4   Score
-----------------    -- -- -- --   -----
Warren Harding......  6  0  0  6  - 12       Record: (1-3)
Massillon...........  7 20  7  7  - 41       Record: (3-1)

Scoring Summary:
1st 07:59 WARREN - Dalys Jett 85 yd run (Jake Daugherty kick failed), 3-73 1:44, WARREN 6 - MASS 0
    04:59 MASS - Nolan Davenport 34 yd pass from Jalen Slaughter (Vinney Keller kick), 7-80 3:00, WARREN 6 - MASS 7
2nd 11:17 MASS - Ardell Banks 52 yd pass from Jalen Slaughter (Vinney Keller kick), 6-80 2:00, WARREN 6 - MASS 14
    04:00 MASS - Braylyn Toles 45 yd pass from Jalen Slaughter (Vinney Keller kick failed), 6-80 2:08, WARREN 6 - MASS 20
    01:07 MASS - Willtrell Hartson 12 yd run (Nolan Hendricks kick), 4-56 0:58, WARREN 6 - MASS 27
3rd 05:51 MASS - Ardell Banks 16 yd pass from Jalen Slaughter (Nolan Hendricks kick), 10-51 4:24, WARREN 6 - MASS 34
4th 09:45 WARREN - Naujeat Jones 31 yd pass from Dalys Jett (Dalys Jett pass failed), 16-85 8:01, WARREN 12 - MASS 34
    00:22 MASS - Peytton Mitchell 5 yd run (Nolan Hendricks kick), 9-72 5:32, WARREN 12 - MASS 41

                                 WARREN     MASS
FIRST DOWNS...................       15       19
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............   29-121   33-184
PASSING YDS (NET).............      125      248
Passes Att-Comp-Int...........  24-12-0  19-14-0
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS.....   53-246   52-432
Fumble Returns-Yards..........      0-0      0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............      0-0      1-3
Kickoff Returns-Yards.........    6-143      1-0
Interception Returns-Yards....      0-0      0-0
Punts (Number-Avg)............   2-27.5   1-18.0
Fumbles-Lost..................      0-0      1-1
Penalties-Yards...............    8-149    9-115
Possession Time...............    26:32    21:28
Third-Down Conversions........  5 of 13   5 of 9
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   2 of 4   2 of 3
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      0-1      3-3
Sacks By: Number-Yards........     2-12     2-15

RUSHING: Warren Harding-Dalys Jett 13-99; Ryan Powell 10-32; Javonte
Jones 2-7; Oryan Dukes 1-5; Devin Boss 1-minus 4; Team 2-minus 18.
Massillon-Willtrell Hartson 18-109; Peytton Mitchell 4-50; Dorian Pringle 4-37;
Ja'Meir Gamble 1-11; Mylen Lenix 1-1; Kyler Wiggins 1-1; Jalen Slaughter 3-minus
12; TEAM 1-minus 13.

PASSING: Warren Harding-Dalys Jett 12-24-0-125. Massillon-Jalen Slaughter

RECEIVING: Warren Harding-Devin Boss 4-10; Naujeat Jones 3-62; Jacob
Lawrence 2-40; Raylin Weaver 2-12; Javonte Jones 1-1. Massillon-Ardell Banks
6-132; Braylyn Toles 6-76; Nolan Davenport 1-34; Ricardo Wells 1-6.

INTERCEPTIONS: Warren Harding-None. Massillon-None.

FUMBLES: Warren Harding-None. Massillon-Braylyn Toles 1-1.

Stadium: Paul Brown Tiger      Attendance: 0
Kickoff time: 7:00 PM   End of Game: 9:34 PM   Total elapsed time: 2:34
Officials: Referee: John Schuller; Umpire: Bob Rauc; Linesman: Tony Gliozzi;
Line judge: Brian Kroth; Back judge: Jason Barr; Scorer: Jim Barkan Sr;
Temperature: 81 F      Wind: light S   Weather: Clear Sky

           Warren Harding vs Massillon (Sep 9. 2022 at Massillon, OH)

SACKS (UA-A): Warren Harding-Jaden Hudson 1-0; Nysier Coleman 1-0.
Massillon-Kalix Collins 2-0.

TACKLES (UA-A): Warren Harding-Nysier Coleman 4-0; Drew McKowan 3-1;
Dalys Jett 3-0; Airiz Coleman-Bey 1-4; Raylin Weaver 2-1; Javonte Jones 1-3;
Devin Boss 2-0; Cayden Murphy 1-2; Emmanuel Washington 1-2; Bryan Powell 1-1;
Nehemiah Alexander 1-1; Jaden Hudson 1-1; Devin Morgan 1-0; Naujeat Jones 1-0;
Tamairi Jackson 1-0; Brandon Coleman 1-0; Bryson Williams 0-2. Massillon-Vito
McConnell 3-2; Cody Fair 1-6; Deairre Pringle 3-1; Dorian Pringle 3-1; Ta'Shaun
Smith 3-0; Ryan Page 2-2; Marcus Moore 1-4; Kalix Collins 2-0; Malachi Card 1-2;
M Wright Jr 1-1; Jaden Welch 1-1; Christian Kring 1-1; Shon Robinson 1-0; Adonis
Vaughan 1-0; TEAM 1-0; Maverick Clark 1-0; Chase Bond 1-0; Angelo Salvino 1-0;
Vinney Keller 0-1; Zachary Liebler 0-1.

Player participation:

Warren Harding: 3-Bryan Powell, 5-Javonte Jones, 6-Devin Boss, 7-Jaden Hudson, 9-A Coleman-Bey, 10-Dalys Jett, 12-Jake Daugherty,
14-Naujeat Jones, 16-Nysier Coleman, 19-Drew McKowan, 20-Raylin Weaver, 21-Devin Morgan, 22-Ryan Powell, 23-Jacob Lawrence,
25-Oryan Dukes, 28-Brandon Coleman, 54-E Washington, 58-N Alexander, 61-Tamairi Jackson, 67-Cayden Murphy, 68-Bryson Williams.

Massillon: 1-Jaden Welch, 2-Jalen Slaughter, 3-Angelo Salvino, 4-W Hartson, 5-Vinney Keller, 6-Adonis Vaughan, 7-Maverick Clark,
10-Zachary Liebler, 13-Vito McConnell, 14-Kalix Collins, 16-Ryan Page, 18-Ardell Banks, 19-Kyler Wiggins, 20-Ja'Meir Gamble,
21-Braylyn Toles, 28-Mylen Lenix, 30-Deairre Pringle, 32-P Mitchell, 33-Cody Fair, 34-Dorian Pringle, 35-Ta'Shaun Smith,
41-Shon Robinson, 45-M Wright Jr, 49-Christian Kring, 56-Marcus Moore, 80-Ricardo Wells, 84-Chase Bond, 87-Nolan Hendricks,
94-Nolan Davenport, 95-Malachi Card.