Author: <span>Eric Smith</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo News

IMPORTANT: Beat McKinley Parade Information 2023

IMPORTANT: Beat McKinley Parade Information 2023

Follow the Massillon Tiger Football Booster Club on Facebook.

McKinley Week is here. The culminating event prior to Saturday’s game is the annual Beat McKinley parade. The parade is scheduled to begin at 7pm Friday October 20th with the route going right through the heart of downtown. Staging on 8th street will begin at 5:30pm

Below you will find an interactive map showing the planned route and planned drop off area. The staging area will be on 8th street and the drop off area is noted within the interactive map.


IMPORTANT INFORMATION: If you would like to participate in the Beat McKinley parade, please send an email to register for your participation to

Please include the following in the body of the email (COPY and PASTE the detail below):

Your name: 
# of people in your party :
vehicle type: 
license plate: 
email address & Phone Number: 

This information is REQUIRED for participation in the parade. At the time of registration you will receive a confirmation number that you will need to provide at the staging area.

All parade registrants must positively promote the Massillon Tiger Football Program, Massillon City Schools, Massillon Athletics and the City of Massillon.





Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo Booster Club

IMPORTANT: Beat McKinley Parade Information

Follow the Massillon Tiger Football Booster Club on Facebook.

McKinley Week is just few short weeks away. The culminating event prior to Saturday’s game is the annual Beat McKinley parade. The parade is scheduled to begin at 7pm Friday October 22nd with the route going right through the heart of downtown. Staging on 8th street will begin at 5:30pm

Below you will find an interactive map showing the planned route and planned drop off area. The staging area will be on 8th street and the drop off area is noted within the interactive map.


IMPORTANT INFORMATION: If you would like to participate in the Beat McKinley parade, please send an email to register for your participation to

Please include the following in the body of the email (COPY and PASTE the detail below):

Your name: 
# of people in your party :
vehicle type: 
license plate: 
email address:

This information is REQUIRED for participation in the parade.

All parade registrants must positively promote the Massillon Tiger Football Program, Massillon City Schools, Massillon Athletics and the City of Massillon.





Thank You Fireworks Sponsors for 2021

Your support keeps a long standing tradition of BOOMS alive and is greatly appreciated.
FUN FACT: the tradition of single BOOMS after Tiger TDs originated as a notification system to workers in the many factories around Massillon. The BOOMS could be heard throughout the city alerting those not in attendance that the Tigers had just scored. GO TIGERS!
In addition to our BOOMS at PBTS, look for our modern day alert system on social media. Look for this graphic after Tiger TDs.

2020: Massillon 14, Cincinnati LaSalle 10

Heart-stopping win sends Massillon back to state finals


Chris Easterling

MARYSVILLE Time was winding down on Massillon’s season. It hadn’t hit all zeros yet, though, when it found one more huge play to keep its championship hopes alive.

Zach Catrone hit Martavien Johnson for a 48-yard touchdown pass with 2:22 remaining in Friday night’s Division II state semifinal, erasing a three-point Cincinnati La Salle deficit. That proved to be the winning margin for the Tigers, as they dethroned the reigning state champs — and last team to beat them in the playoffs — with a 14-10 victory at Marysville’s IMPACT Stadium.

“We were confident in our offense,” Catrone said. “We didn’t score as much as we wanted to, but we knew it was going to be a hard-fought game. We knew they had their dudes still; we knew we had our dudes. I always thought we had the upper hand on them.”

The win sends Massillon, now 10-1 after its 10th consecutive win, to its third Division II state title game in as many seasons next Friday night at 7 at Fortress Obetz outside of Columbus. Awaiting the Tigers will be Hoban, which beat Avon in the other state semifinal on Friday.

Long before Massillon could turn its attention to the Knights, against whom it’s split the last two seasons, it had to deal with La Salle. The Lancers, who are 8-3, beat the Tigers in last year’s state title game.

“Great ballgame,” said Tiger coach Nate Moore, whose team trailed 10-7 with less than 2:30 remaining. “Two worthy opponents. Our kids fought hard and it came down to the wire. We play to win, and I’m just proud of them.”

While Massillon struggled all game to get in front of La Salle, it never completely let it out of its sight either. Two drives, really, were all that the Lancers mustered against the Tiger defense.

Those two drives, though, were enough to give La Salle a pair of leads.

The first one came in the first quarter, when Lancer quarterback Zach Branam ripped off a 76-yard run to the Massillon 4 on a third-down play. Three plays later, Branam put the Lancers in front 7-0 with a 1-yard run with 20 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Branam rushed for a game-high 158 yards on 28 attempts. However, save for that one big run, he rarely found any room to get loose for big plays.

“I thought our defensive coaches had a great game plan,” Moore said. “We had a good week of preparation and practice. The kids went out and executed. We gave up the one long run, but I don’t know how many snaps we played defensively, maybe (59), and (58) of them were pretty good.”

Massillon got its own big third-down play to forge a 7-7 tie by halftime. On third-and-19 from the La Salle 45, Catrone found Caiden Woullard down the left sideline for a 39-yard pass to the Lancer 11.

Three plays later, Jumacius Portis scored on a third-and-1 play from the La Salle 3 with 5:03 remaining in the half.

La Salle put together its most sustained drive of the night over the third and fourth quarters. Starting at its own 12, it drove 72 yards in 16 plays to the Massillon 15.

However, on third-and-3 from the Tiger 15, Branam was stopped for a yard loss. Mason Luensman then hit a 33-yard field goal to give the Lancers a 10-7 lead with 7:57 remaining.

Massillon’s next drive reached its own 48, but it was forced to punt it away with 4:07 remaining. The Tigers, though, got the ball back after stopping La Salle on a third-down pass from its own 30.

They also caught a break on the punt, which hit a Lancer player trying to cover it at their 48. On the very next play, Catrone hit Johnson for the go-ahead touchdown.

“That play there was a play-action play on a post,” said Catrone, who was 5-of-13 for 109 yards in the game. “We actually had (Jayden) Ballard on a post on the backside as well. That was really just reading the defense.”

La Salle got one first down on its final possession at its own 30. But four straight incompletions set off a Massillon celebration.

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On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE


2020: Massillon 43, Massillon Perry 13

Second-half surge helps Massillon run by Perry to regional championship
Chris Easterling, The Independent


PERRY TWP.Massillon had just fallen behind Perry more than six minutes into the second quarter of Friday night’s Division II, Region 7 championship game. Not only that, but the Tigers hadn’t even touched the football in the quarter.

Turns out, Massillon needed just one play to turn all of that around.

Zach Catrone hit Jayden Ballard for a 72-yard touchdown pass, and the subsequent point-after kick put the Tigers in the lead for good.

Massillon then scored 36 second-half points to blow open a tight game at halftime, rolling to a 43-13 regional-final win over the Panthers at Perry Stadium.

“We just came out and played hard,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said. “It looked like we needed to get some drives going on offense and give our defense some rest. … We came out and played hard and got off the field and got some offense going.”

Catrone had a perfect night passing, Ballard delivered big plays, sophomore running back Willtrell Hartson delivered another strong game and the Tigers are moving on.

Massillon won its ninth consecutive game to improve to 9-1. More importantly, the Tigers won their fourth consecutive regional title, extending a school record run for the program.

Up next is a state semifinal next Friday night against Region 8 champion Cincinnati La Salle, which defeated Massillon in last year’s Division II state championship game. Early indications are the game will be played at Marysville High School, but the OHSAA will confirm the site this weekend.

“We’re excited to be in the dance,” Moore said. “We’re excited to be going to state. We’re certainly looking forward to it.”

Halfway through the first half, though, it looked as though it was Perry which stood poised to win its third regional title in the last six years. A big reason for that was simple, it didn’t really give Massillon a chance to possess the football.

The Panthers ran 40 first-half plays, gaining 167 yards. That compared to just nine plays for the Tigers for 103 yards, 72 of those were on the go-ahead TD pass to Ballard.

“We didn’t block them great, but we blocked them good enough to move the ball,” said Perry coach Keith Wakefield, whose team finishes 9-1 on the season. “You just can’t give up (over-the-top passes). You just can’t.”

Perry’s most impressive drive came on its third possession, after having punted from its own 43 and missing a 40-yard field goal earlier. This time, the Panthers drove 81 yards in 15 plays, including a pair of fourth-down conversions.

They capped the drive with a 5-yard Josh Lemon TD run with 5:18 left in the second quarter to go in front 6-0 after the PAT was missed. It was one of two scoring runs for Lemon, who finished his last game at Perry with 190 yards on 34 carries.

The problem for Perry was Lemon’s second TD didn’t come until there was 3:40 left in the game. At that point, it pulled Perry within 35-13.

In between those two Lemon runs, Massillon scored 35 straight points, reaching the end zone on four of five possessions. The Tigers also got an Austin Brawley punt return for a touchdown for a 28-6 lead late in the third quarter.

Catrone hooked up with Ballard for three touchdowns on the night, part of a 10-for-10, 234-yard passing night. Ballard finished with 150 yards on seven catches.

“Fantastic,” Moore said of Catrone. “Made a lot of really good decisions first off. Threw some really nice balls, and our receivers did a really nice job of catching them. The line protected. Proud of all of them.”

Hartson added 111 yards rushing and two scores for Massillon. It was his 4-yard TD that opened the third quarter to make it 14-6, then his 1-yarder to make it 35-6 midway through the fourth quarter.

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On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE


2020: Massillon 45, Westerville South 36

Record run: Willtrell Hartson’s mark carries Massillon into regional final

Chris Easterling, The Independent
Oct 30, 2020 11:45 PM


MASSILLON Five weeks ago, Willtrell Hartson wasn’t even starting for Massillon. Five weeks and four games later, Hartson has helped carry the Tigers back into the regional championship game — breaking a school record in the process.

Hartson set Massillon’s single-game rushing record with 324 yards on Friday night. That helped the Tigers run to a 45-36 Division II, Region 7 semifinal win over previously-undefeated Westerville South at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

The sophomore’s rushing total, which included three touchdowns on 27 carries, broke Travis McGuire’s old record which he set in 1991 against McKinley. McGuire rushed for 302 yards in that game, the only back to top the 300-yard plateau in Massillon history.

Until Hartson joined him Friday night. In doing so, he helped the 8-1 Tigers advance to next Friday night’s regional final at No 1-seed and undefeated Perry.

“Where he really separates himself is once he gets to that third level,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said of Hartson, who has rushed for 773 yards on 68 carries over the last four games since replacing the injured Raekwon Venson. “How he’s able to both break tackles and accelerate and choose to correct angles and cuts to finish runs through that third level. That’s where he’s been outstanding.”

The win also provided Moore with his 100th career head-coaching win. He is 100-37 in 11 years as a coach, including 58-16 in six years at Massillon.

More important, though, to Moore was the fact his team is making its fourth consecutive regional final appearance.

“It really doesn’t matter what they mean to me,” Moore said. “This football team’s been working hard to get to the point that they’re at right now. We’re 8-1 heading into the regional championship. We don’t really sit around and think about that. We have a tall task at hand and have to have a great week of preparation this week.”

The first of Hartson’s three TD runs, a 53-yarder with 7:50 remaining in the second quarter, gave the Tigers the lead for good at 14-9. Hartson’s last two scoring runs, of 54 and 25 yards, gave Massillon a 42-9 lead with 1:33 remaining in the third quarter.

As good as the middle quarter-and-a-half were for the Tigers, the first quarter-and-a-half and the final quarter were enough to give Moore plenty to work with over the next week. Westerville South led 6-0 after Kaden Saunders’s 4-yard touchdown catch from Peter Pedrozo on its first drive, and 9-7 with 8:52 remaining in the second quarter on Matthew Bame’s 32-yard field goal.

After Massillon forced the running clock on Hartson’s third scoring run, Westerville South scored 27 points and rolled up 219 total yards in the fourth quarter. Pedrozo, who completed 25 of 48 passes for 337 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, threw and caught scoring passes in the final 9:07 of the game.

“You just have to give all the credit in the world to Westerville South,” said Moore, whose team’s previous season-high in points allowed was 24 Week 1 against St. Edward and yards allowed was 361 last week against Hoover. “They played well, played hard. Fought back into it. Congratulations to them.”

Saunders, the junior Penn State commit, finished with 169 receiving yards on nine catches. He had two TDs, including one off of a deflected pass with four seconds remaining in the game to provide the final margin.

Massillon forced a pair of turnovers, both interceptions by Isaiah Clark. The biggest of those came late in the second quarter when Clark outfought Bame for the ball in the end zone to preserve a 21-9 Tiger halftime lead.

“The first half, I think we missed a couple of opportunities for scores,” Westerville South coach Matthew Christ said after his team falls to 7-1. “Put it on my shoulders at the end of the day for the clock management at the end of the half. We probably should’ve just kicked the field goal. I thought that was a touchdown, but interception, it is what it is.”

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On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE



2020: Massillon 48, North Canton Hoover 23

Willtrell Hartson, Massillon run wild in knocking out Hoover
Chris Easterling, The Independent


MASSILLON It was almost like a sign.

Willtrell Hartson took the handoff, hit the hole and raced untouched into the end zone for the 23-yard Massillon touchdown with just over two minutes left in the third quarter. No sooner had he crossed the goal line than lightning flashed above Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

To Hoover’s defense, Hartson must have felt like a flash of lightning himself. The sophomore running back found the end zone four times Friday night, helping the Tigers take down the Vikings 48-23 in a Division II, Region 7 quarterfinal.

The lightning after Hartson’s scoring run with 2:18 remaining in the third quarter, sent the game into a delay at 8:54 p.m. with Massillon up by what would be the final margin. The teams returned to the field at 10:32 p.m., with the Tigers failing on a 2-point conversion pass.

“He ran well, ran hard,” said Massillon coach Nate Moore, who won his 99th career game, including 57th with the Tigers. “He played with great vision. Ran with speed, ran with power. A really good day.”

Massillon, which has won seven in a row to improve to 7-1, will likely play host to Westerville South next week in a regional semifinal. South led Olentangy Berlin 42-10 in the third quarter on Friday when that game was suspended due to storms.

The storm was about the only thing to slow down Hartson on the night. He finished with 196 yards on 13 carries, gashing Hoover for six runs of at least 13 yards.

It’s the second time in three games since replacing the injured Raekwon Venson as the starting running back that Hartson has rushed for at least 180 yards. Turns out, he may really like running against Stark County defenses.

Hartson’s other 100-plus-yard rushing game came in Massillon’s Week 6 win over rival McKinley. He gained 188 yards and scored two TDs in the 35-7 win.

That game against the Bulldogs was also the Tigers’ best rushing performance as a team coming into Friday’s contest, with 286 yards on the ground and five touchdowns. By the time Massillon finished off the Vikings, they had gained a season-high 335 yards on 36 attempts.

“This game was won in the trenches,” Hoover coach Brian Baum said. “Their offensive line did a great job. Their backs found the open hole. I knew it was going to come down to the trenches. I was worried about the size of their O-line, and they were able to move some people and did a good job.”

It wasn’t just Hartson. Cam Beasley added 54 yards on 11 carries, while receiver Martavien Johnson had 47 yards and one score on just three carries.

For all of the running, though, Massillon actually threw it efficiently as well. Zach Catrone was 9-of-10 for 142 yards and a touchdown, with Jayden Ballard catching six passes for a season-high 96 yards.

“I thought Zach did a really nice job operating our offense,” Moore said. “Spreading the ball around. Very efficient.”

Ballard had the spectacular play of the night on his 42-yard TD catch that put Massillon in front 35-10 with just under two minutes left in the first half. He was hit by a Hoover defender as the ball hit his hands, knocking it free, but he secured it as he hit the ground for the score.

Despite the Tigers’ steady offensive success, the 5-3 Vikings were able to stay within striking distance through the early portion of the third quarter. A big reason for that was the play of senior quarterback Connor Ashby.

It was Ashby’s ability to keep plays alive that helped him connect twice with Brock Henne, on catches of 22 and 29 yards, on Hoover’s first scoring drive. That drive, which pulled the Vikings within 14-7 with 3:57 left in the first quarter, was capped by a Drew Robinson 3-yard touchdown run.

“I didn’t think they were going to be able to beat us doing that,” Moore said, referring to Ashby’s ability to prolong plays. “The couple they completed on that drive really were, especially that second one, desperation passes. Kudos to them for making the throw and the kids catching it. It was a little different than escaping the pocket and having a really nice throw to an open receiver.”

Ashby connected on a 46-yard pass to Robinson, then followed that up with a 17-yard run of his own, as the Vikings pulled within 28-10 with 1:55 left in the first half on Yanni Velas’ 26-yard field goal. He connected again with Robinson, this time on an 11-yard TD pass, to make it 35-16 Massillon just 37 seconds into the second half.

Hoover recovered an onside kick after that score at the Tiger 49. However, that drive, hurt by an offensive pass interference call, ended on a punt from the Viking 44.

The Viking senior was 9-of-18 passing for 209 yards with a touchdown. However, he netted just 17 rushing yards on 16 carries thanks to the pursuit of the Tiger defense which dropped him for a total of 33 yards lost.

“I thought our guys did a pretty good job overall,” Moore said.

Michael Billman had a pair of sacks on Ashby as part of a 3.5 tackle-for-loss night. Mike Miller added one sack, while Xavier Andrews had 1.5 tackles for loss.

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2020: Massillon 56, Columbus Walnut Ridge 0

No rust as Massillon has no problem with Walnut Ridge
Chris Easterling, The Independent


MASSILLON There was a certain amount of uncertainty surrounding Massillon as it came off of a first-round bye on Friday night. There was a question of rust after having a week off while Columbus Walnut Ridge had played a game.

Turns out, it was unfounded uncertainty.

The Tigers scored early and often, rolling to a 56-0 win over the Scots in a Division II Region 7 second-round game at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Massillon (6-1) advances to next week’s home regional quarterfinal against Hoover (5-2), which defeated Lake on Friday.

“They did everything we asked them to do,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said. “Good performance. Pretty clean game. Very efficient. Did a good job.”

Massillon had already topped its season high in points at halftime, at which time it led 42-0. The previous high for the Tigers this season was 35 points against Columbus Bishop Sycamore in Week 2 and McKinley in Week 6.

It also was Massillon’s third shutout in seven games. It blanked Bishop Sycamore and Warren Harding in back-to-back games in Weeks 2 and 3.

“How about our backups and JVs holding the shutout?,” Moore said. “That doesn’t happen all the time. I’m really proud of those guys. The starters did their job in the first half, went into the locker room at halftime 42-0, and our younger guys or backups or whoever was playing in the second half, the non-starters, put two scores on their No. 1 defense.”

The question of rust was put to bed in just over a minute of play. On the Tigers’ third play, Zach Catrone hit Jayden Ballard for a 63-yard touchdown pass, putting them in front 7-0 only 1:09 into the game.

Just 1:44 later, it was 14-0 Massillon after Catrone’s second touchdown pass in as many attempts, this one a 32-yarder to Andrew Wilson-Lamp. The score was set up by Jaidan Wise’s interception at the Walnut Ridge 37.

Catrone was 5-of-8 for 121 yards with two TDs and an interception in a quarter-and-a-half of work. Sophomore Jay Crable played the final two-and-a-half quarters.

The Tigers made it 21-0 with 3:43 left in the first quarter on Cam Beasley’s 5-yard scoring run to cap their third possession. Beasley finished with 108 yards on 15 carries.

“Cam did a nice,” Moore said. “Really happy for him. The offensive line and fullbacks blocked it up well for him.”

Massillon added another 21 points in the second quarter. Two scores came on runs by Jumacius Portis (3-yarder) and Willtrell Hartson (47-yarder).

Hartson finished with 65 yards on six carries, while Portis added a fourth-quarter scoring run to make it 49-0. The Tigers rushed for 199 yards for the game.

The other score, sandwiched between the two runs, came when T.J. Williams picked up a fumbled pitch at the Scot 21 and raced untouched to the end zone. The fumble recovery was one of five turnovers the Tiger defense came up with in the game.

“Happy for T.J.,” Moore said. “He deserved that. He’s doing a great job for us. He’s a senior. I’m really proud of him.”

Massillon’s defense limited Walnut Ridge to just 43 first-half yards on 33 plays, including minus-11 rushing yards on 15 attempts. For the game, the Scots had 56 total yards, including just 2 net rushing yards.

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On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2020: Massillon 21, Cleveland St. Ignatius 14

Fourth-quarter rally carries Massillon football past St. Ignatius


Chris Easterling

MASSILLON A little more than fifteen seconds. That, in real time, is barely more than a couple of blinks of the eyes.

On Friday night, it was enough time for Massillon to turn a potential loss into a 21-14 win over St. Ignatius.

“Those guys play hard,” Tigers coach Nate Moore said after his team improved to 4-1 heading into next Saturday’s home showdown with rival McKinley. “I’ve said that from the start. Led by the senior class. These guys just play hard, man. You just let everything play out.”

With 7:17 remaining in the fourth quarter, Raekwon Venson’s 1-yard touchdown, plus Jayden Ballard’s two-point conversion pass to Zach Catrone, allowed the Tigers to tie the game at 14-14. That, however, was just the start.

On the first play of the Wildcats’ next possession, Jaidan Wise fell on a lateral at the Ignatius 15. The next play, Venson tore up the middle of the defense into the end zone for a TD, giving Massillon the 21-14 lead with 7:02 remaining.

“I mean, I think that’s effort,” Moore said of Wise’s recovery. “Why wouldn’t you? I think that’s the right question. It’s not, ‘Why did he?,’ it’s ‘Why wouldn’t he?’ I think that’s effort.”

Venson finished with 96 rushing yards on 29 carries.

The two fourth-quarter TDs contrasted with what the Tigers had been able to generate through the first three quarters. Despite a 209-147 yardage advantage over the initial 36 minutes, their only two scores were a pair of Alex Bauer field goals which gave the Tigers a 6-0 lead with 26 seconds into the second quarter.

St. Ignatius, meanwhile, was able to make sure its two scores were touchdowns. The first came on a 20-yard Marty Lenehan TD run with 3:45 remaining in the first half.

The second TD, even bigger for both, was Emmett Hanna’s 80-yard interception return with 2:56 remaining in the third. That gave the Wildcats a 14-6 lead.

“The defense did a nice job,” said St. Ignatius coach Chuck Kyle, whose team fell to 1-2. “They were out there really too long. Let’s face it, that’s what we started seeing.”

As good as the Wildcats’ defense was, the Massillon defense was just as good. If not better. The Tigers limited St. Ignatius to 152 net yards.

Wise’s recovery was one of three turnovers the Tigers were able to get their hands on. The senior linebacker also came up with an interception in the first quarter which helped to set up Bauer’s second field goal.

Austin Brawley also made an interception in the fourth quarter to set Massillon up at the St. Ignatius 26 with just under six minutes remaining.

“Discipline and effort,” Moore said of his defense.

The Tigers, though, would give the Wildcats a bit more life when they reciprocated with their own interception on a fourth-and-14 play that Chris Snyder returned to midfield with just over four minutes left. Massillon’s defense did not let St. Ignatius get any closer than the Tiger 41 before taking over on downs.

Venson and Jumacius Portis, who added 58 yards on 12 carries, then ran out the rest of the clock.

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On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2020: Massillon 28, Cleveland Benedictine 10

Massillon football plays takeaway to take down Benedictine


MASSILLON The last two games, Massillon’s defense has been like a brick wall for opposing offenses to try and penetrate. On Friday night against Benedictine, that defense had a little more give to it than previously, but it was still far from giving.

And when the Tigers needed a big play, that defense was more than happy to provide it as well. That was a big reason why Massillon was able to win its third consecutive game, a 28-10 victory over the Bengals at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“I’m really proud of the guys,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said after his team improved to 2-1 heading into next Friday’s game with St. Ignatius. “They really answered the bell from last week. … Defense played really well again. Ran to the football, physicality, tackling and picked up some turnovers, which were huge.”

Benedictine was able to post 285 yards of offense on 68 plays, both of which were season highs for Tiger opponents by a wide margin. The Bengals also scored the first points – a first-quarter Ivan Shuran 42-yard field goal – and first touchdown – a fourth-quarter 26-yard Ronnie Schultz-to-Christopher Gales pass to make it 14-10 – that Massillon had allowed since Week 1 against St. Edward.

However, none of that ultimately hurt the Tigers in the final tally. That’s because their defense was able to get the big takeaway when it needed to get one.

“They had 285 yards, which is more than we want,” said Moore, whose offense had 266 total yards on 49 plays. “It’s a huge number, but they ran 68 plays. That’s the biggest thing. Our offense has to protect our defense more. We have to retain possession more, keep the chains moving more and that will help our defense out.”

On three different occasions in the second half, the Tigers were able to come up with interceptions to keep Benedictine from making things more difficult for them. Not only that, but Massillon converted all three of them into touchdowns to turn a 7-3 halftime lead into the final margin.

Two of those interceptions were courtesy of Martavien Johnson on consecutive fourth-quarter possessions. The biggest, though, may have come courtesy of Isaiah Clark late in the third quarter.

Benedictine, which only trailed by four, had marched on 17 plays to the Tiger 10, where it faced third-and-goal. Clark jumped the route at the 5, picking off the pass and bringing it back to Bengal 43.

“Just a great break on the ball,” Moore said. “Played very aggressive.”

Three plays later, Raekwon Venson runs it in from the 3 to give Massillon a 14-3 lead with 1:41 left in the third. It was the second of what was three touchdown runs for Venson, who finished with 108 yards on 23 carries.

Johnson would set up Venson’s third scoring run with his first pick of the night, which was brought back 38 yards into Benedictine territory. Five plays later, aided by a Bengal personal foul, Massillon made it 21-10 on a 5-yard scoring run with 6:54 left.

“I just thought he came out and ran hard,” Moore said of Venson. “That’s all we’re asking him to do. He answered the bell. He came out and ran hard.”

Benedictine’s third pick in four possessions came when Johnson pulled one in on Massillon’s side of the 50. The Tigers would turn that into a game-sealing Jumacius Portis 6-yard run with 29 seconds remaining.

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