Milestone for Massillon: Tigers pick up win No. 900 against Bishop Sycamore
Sep 04, 2020 11:11 PM
MASSILLON The win itself was historic for Massillon. The path to getting to the historic win, though, had more than its share of bumps for the Tigers.
Massilon became the first team in Ohio history to win 900 games all-time on Friday night thanks to a 35-0 victory over Columbus Bishop Sycamore at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. The Tigers’ win total is tied for fourth with Mayfield (Ky.) nationally.
In order to get No. 900 in the books, though, Massillon had to battle through both its share of choppy play as well as some key injuries both before and during the game. In the end, though, the Tigers were able to overcome all of that to not just hit that milestone, but also move to 1-1 this season.
“We’re really happy to put another brick on the pile,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said. “Whether it’s 900 or 901 or 902, I don’t think that really makes much of a difference to us. That’s more a 30-years-down-the-road question, I think. We’re just trying to stack bricks right now.”
The Tigers played the entire game without starting quarterback Zach Catrone, who did not dress due while recovering from an injury suffered in the season opener. Moore declined to comment on Catrone’s injury, or any other injuries Massillon suffered during the first half Friday.
In Catrone’s place started Jayvian Crable, the son of former Tiger and University of Michigan star Shawn Crable. The sophomore appeared to get more and more comfortable as the game went on, both running the ball and throwing it.
Crable threw his first career touchdown pass with 11:07 remaining, finding Austin Brawley for a 20-yard strike to go in front 28-0. It was a milestone he had appeared to gain the previous play, when he found Martavien Johnson on a 10-yard strike, but a holding call negated the play.
The sophomore finished 11-of-18 passing for 123 yards with the one touchdown and one interception. He also ran the ball eight times for a team-high 78 yards.
“I don’t think he was, I guess, nervous going into the game,” Moore said of Crable. “I thought he was ready to go. When you’re out there with bullets flying for the first time, that’s always going to take some getting used to. Even that being said, when he pulled the ball down and took off, those were good plays.”
Multiple lengthy injury delays took some of the rhythm out of the first half. However, the two teams also contributed the choppiness by combining for four turnovers — two each — as well as 14 penalties, 11 by the Centurions, over the initial two quarters.
Despite that, however, Massillon was able to make the most of its opportunities to open up a 21-0 halftime lead. Like the game itself, it was an unconventional way the Tigers took to get to that number.
They bookended the half with a pair of safeties thanks to two bad punt snaps by Sycamore. They also got a pair of Raekwon Venson touchdown runs, an 8-yarder and a 4-yarder.
Alex Bauer’s 25-yard field goal with 11:08 remaining in the second quarter was the middle of the scoring sandwich Massillon put together in the first half. That boot gave the Tigers a 12-0 lead.
That lead alone would’ve been enough against Sycamore, a non-OHSAA online-only charter school which was a late replacement when the regular season was reduced to six games in mid-August. The Centurions struggled to consistently move the ball throughout the evening, often hurting themselves with penalty after penalty.
At halftime alone, Sycamore was flagged 11 times for 76 yards, while its 24 offensive plays netted just 3 yards. By the time the game was over, the Centurions had 18 flags for 108 yards, compared to just 46 net yards on 43 plays.
“Our defense played lights out,” Moore said. “There’s a lot of really good things going on over there. So, I think the first thing you have to acknowledge is to tip your hat to the defense. Those cats played their tails off and played really well.”
The deepest penetration for Sycamore was to the Massillon 21 on the first possession of the third quarter. That possession, though, ended with an dropped pass on fourth down from the Tiger 38.
Only two other Centurion drives moved into Tiger territory, but both never got past the 44.
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