Category: <span>News</span>

Fundraiser (Golf Outing) - Massillon Tiger Football Booster Club

Massillon Tiger Football Booster Club Annual Golf Outing

Massillon Tiger Football Booster Club Annual Golf Outing

The Massillon Tiger Football Booster Club would like to invite you to our annual golf outing being held August 17th, at the Elms Country Club with a shotgun start at 1:00 pm. This year’s outing will be our first as reigning state champions. In recognition the golfers’ “goodie bag” will hold unique handouts. This year’s scramble format is open to all levels with awards to lowest team score as well as course challenges for both guys and ladies. Lunch and dinner will be provided, 50:50 raffle, hole in 1 contest, and raffle baskets. Coach Moore plans to attend and once again show his skills on hole #9. Registration $100 per golfer or $400 per foursome is online by opening this link: http://www.massillontigers.com/golfouting2024
Come celebrate last year’s great season and begin the march to the finals in ’24. If you would consider sponsoring a golf hole, an award, lunch, or dinner please email Ron Swartz: tigerron64@sssnet.com.
This golf outing continues as an important fundraiser for your Football Booster club. THANK YOU for your support!
Ron Swartz ‘64
Glen Weirich ‘72

Former Massillon Coach Lee Owens Receives State-wide Honor

 Former Massillon Coach Lee Owens Receives State-wide Honor

by Gary Vogt; Rollie Layfield contributed to this story

On Friday, June 14, 2024, Lee Owens, along with five other outstanding Ohio high school football coaches, was inducted into the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.  Joining Lee in the Hall were Ron Berdis (Youngstown Chaney), John Livengood (Norwalk St. Paul), Andy Olds (Kings), Dan McSorley (Clinton Massie) and Bob Jacoby (Columbus DeSales).

Program Cover

Owens was the head coach at Massillon from 1988 to 1991 and had rescued the football program following a few years of lackluster seasons.  Four years in a row the Tigers had committed the unpardonable sin of losing to Canton McKinley.  Something had to change.  And that change was Lee Owens.

During his four years at the helm his teams compiled a record of 35-14 and won three out of four games against Canton McKinley.  His teams also qualified for the playoffs three times and posted a 6-3 record, including two regional championships.

During his first year Owens’ team played its final game in Tiger Stadium on grass, or rather mud, defeating the Bulldogs 10-7 in overtime.  Recognizing the impact the playing conditions had on such an important game, the following year he launched a fundraising effort to install an artificial surface, which would be the first in the county and one of the first in the state for high school football.  The product selected was Omni Sand Turf, which was innovative at the time.  Thus, the new surface was ready for the 1989 season, but first christened in conjunction with the Ohio High School State All-Star Game.

In 1990 he led a project to construct the 3-level East Press box, which convinced the powers to be at the Ohio High School Athletic Association to bring football playoff state championship games to Massillon.  Tigertown is forever grateful to Lee Owens for what he did for the community.

Following Massillon, he was an assistant coach at Ohio State for three years and parlayed that experience into a head coaching position at the University of Akron, a post he held for nine years.  In 2000 the Zips finished first in the MAC East and in 2003 they were second.  But his greatest achievement there might surely have been making an immediate impact on player graduation rate, improving it from 18% to 83%.

His next eighteen seasons were spent leading the Ashland University Eagles of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.  His overall record there was a very fine 123-44, with his teams capturing four league championships and six NCAA Division II playoff qualifications.  Four times he was named Conference Coach of the Year.

During the recent event, each inductee was introduced by a significant colleague and friend in their life and provided an opportunity to deliver an acceptance speech.  Each, of course, thanked family and supporters, while also speaking of winning; not football games, but winning in life.  The message was consistent within the group, with the formula for success being (1) belief in God and the USA, (2) support from family, (3) caring about people, especially young people, (4) remaining consistent in your beliefs, and (5) genuine love for all people you come in contact with.

The Banquet Committee, which included Massillon Junior High Principal Tony Carr, must have known something, as they saved the best for last.  And he did not disappoint.  The presenter for Lee Owens was past Booster Club president and long-time Tiger supporter Rollie Layfield.  Rollie, sporting his orange Tiger blazer introduced Coach Owens by pointing out his importance to family, as coaches spend countless hours away from their loved ones.  Rollie chronicled the list of Massillonians who contacted Lee to persuade him to take the Tiger job.  Lee, who highly cherishes loyalty, had taken the Lancaster job just one year earlier and felt an extreme gratitude to them.  So, convincing him to leave Lancaster was not going to be easy.  First to call was Cincinnati Bengals General Manager Paul Brown, but Lee declined the offer.  Then Ohio State Coach Earle Bruce called and again Lee declined.  Next, Tiger coach Ducky Schroeder, but with no success.  Former Massillon and Kansas Head Coach Chuck Mather tried, with the same result.  But then, there was Massillon School Superintendent Al Paris.  Al (who was in attendance at the banquet) must have had the correct approach, as Lee accepted the Massillon job.  Needless to say, football community was thrilled at Lee’s decision to become Massillon’s Head Football Coach.

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Owens’ acceptance speech was outstanding.  He first thanked his family: his wife Dianne, son Ben a West Point grad and decorated Army vet, son Andy who is a coach at Richwood North Union High School, daughter Leanne, who is married to Jake White, who owns RES Auction Services, and daughter Molly, who is married to Rob Mahaney, the head coach at Shelby High School.  He also thanked a long list of friends, coaches and supporters who were significant in growing his career.

In typical Lee Owens fashion, he then spoke passionately about the state of football in our country.  He is concerned that the transfer portal and NIL has damaged college football.  Players used to come to college to (1) get an education and (2) play football.  Now they come to be millionaires.  But he credited football with helping so many.  “We need football today more than at any time in our history,” he said.

He concluded his acceptance speech with the following thought: “God bless you and God bless football!

Lee is the fourteenth Massillonian to be inducted into the Coaches Hall of Fame.

The following appeared in the induction program.

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2024 Massillon Football Schedule Released

2024 Massillon Football Schedule Released

Defending Division II state champion Massillon is in preparation to embark on a journey to defend its title with perhaps the most difficult regular season schedule they have ever faced in their 130+ years of football.  Every opponent on the slate was a playoff qualifier last year (except the one from Canada) and three of them captured state championships.  Here is the schedule:

  1. NFL Academy – London
  2. Canton GlenOak – A
  3. Bergen Catholic, NJ – H
  4. Canisius, NY – H
  5. Lakewood St. Edward – A
  6. DeMatha Catholic, MD – H
  7. Football North (Clarkson), ONT – H
  8. (open)
  9. Warren Harding – A
  10. Canton McKinley – H

Unfortunately, Tiger fans will get to enjoy just five home games.  The last time that occurred was 1935, during the time of Paul Brown.  Credit 10th-Year Head Coach Moore (99-22) for at least managing to find nine games to fill the schedule.  But there is still an opportunity to enjoy an additional two home games if the Tigers finish in the Top-4 of the computer rankings by the end of the season.

The Tiger program has steadily improved since Moore was hired nine years ago.  Last season his team captured its first playoff state championship with a 16-0 record, following a 55-7 win over Cincinnati Anderson in the Division II state semifinals and a 7-2 victory over Akron Hoban in the finals, adding to 24 previous state titles awarded by the sportswriters.  The corresponding success and national ranking, coupled with the fact that Massillon is not in a league, has created an unprecedented challenge in finding opponents, as many teams shy away from scheduling the Tigers.  Only four teams return from last season’s slate, highlighted by Lakewood St. Edward.  And they would not have played the Tigers this year unless they hosted the game, having traveled to Massillon the last three times.

So, the Tigers, with just four Ohio schools inked, are faced with more of a national schedule, with teams from New Jersey, New York and Maryland, plus a squad from Ontario that is an all-star group designed to play exclusively U.S. opponents.  There is even a team from Europe.  This undoubtedly creates quite a challenge.  Fortunately, each of these teams is expected to win their fair share of games, which bodes well for playoff computer points even if Massillon falters a few times, they are almost certain to make the playoffs.  And it’s in the playoffs that the local Ohio teams cannot duck them.

The Tigers will open with a pair of road games, including NFL Academy-London and Canton GlenOak.  The match against London is sponsored by Nike as part of their annual Kickoff Classic and will be played on a Thursday evening at the Nike sports complex, which is located in Beaverton, Oregon.  It will also be televised on the NFL YouTube Channel and the NFL Network.  Nike has partnered with the NFL, which hopes to increase football participation in Europe at the high school level.

Bergen Catholic provides the Week 3 home opener.  They have a record over the past five years of 54-7.  Last season they finished 11-1 and captured the Non-Public Class A championship.  Next up is Canisius, New York, which visits Massillon for the fourth time in a series in which the Tigers hold a 2-1 edge.

Back on the road, the orange and black travels to Lakewood St. Edward, the 3-time defending Division 1 state champion.  The Eagles’ coach Tom Lombardo has had enough of Paul Brown Tiger Stadium and got his way to host the game.  Massillon won the last two encounters, by scores of 31-28 and 15-13.

The Tigers return home for the next two games, when they will face DeMatha from Maryland and Football North (Clarkson) from Ontario, Canada, before a Week-8 open date.  DeMatha’s 5-year record is 35-13, which includes a pair of wins last year over St. Johns College, DC, a team that Massillon faced last year.  DeMatha is a common opponent of St. Edward.  Football North also plays St. Eds regularly, in addition to Cleveland St. Ignatius.  They are an all-star team that plays by American rules and only schedules U.S. teams.

The Tigers will wrap up the season with a trip to Warren Harding and a then home game against traditional rival Canton McKinley, Federal League co-champions last year.

So, it appears to be a monumental schedule that Massillon will face this year.  Fortunately, they return ten starters on offense, needing to replace as starters just a couple lineman.  Defensively, they have just three players returning, but several others saw significant duty when the games were on the line.

Enjoy the following opponent breakdowns, plus a preview of the Tigers:

Week 1 – NFL Academy London

  • The NFL constantly strives to promote American football in Europe and this year has invited Massillon to participate in a game against NFL Academy London. Staged in conjunction with Nike, the game will be played at the Nike sports complex, which is located in Beaverton, on Thursday, August 22, at 3:30 pacific time.  The team is expected to fly to Oregon on the Tuesday prior to the game, practice on Wednesday, play on Thursday and then return to Ohio on Friday.
  • The game will not be considered directly in the overall tally of Harbin points for playoff qualification purposes. However, Massillon will receive a seasonal average number of computer points for that week.
  • Per the NFL website: “The NFL Academy is a major global initiative by the NFL and it aims to provide full-time high-school education alongside intensive training in American football under the guidance of a world class coaching staff. This is a key pillar in the NFL’s investment in global football development and creating pathways for international talent.”
  • Over a thousand high students from across Europe try out for the Academy each year, with the goal of earning scholarships to American universities and eventually finding their ways to the NFL. Eighty will secure spots on the team.  There, they receive a heavy education in American football, along with taking a full load of high school-level academics.  They also adhere to the age limits that American schools use for playing eligibility.
  • The Academy this year has played several spring games against other European teams. To date they are 4-0, having outscored the opposition on average, 57-12.
  • The game will be held on August 22 at Ronaldo Field, which is located on the campus of the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 pm Oregon time (6:30 pm Ohio time).  It also will be aired live on the NFL YouTube Channel and via delay broadcast on the NFL Network on Saturday, August 31

Week 2 – Canton GlenOak – A

  • League: Federal League
  • Playoff Division: 1
  • 2023 Overall Record: 7-5
  • 2023 Playoff Results: Lost 35-0 to Lakewood St. Edward in Round 2
  • 2023 Calpreps.com: Ranked No. 29 in D1; rated 29.6
  • 5-Year Record: 15-36 (.294)
  • 5-Year Playoff History: 4 appearances; 1-4 record
  • Last Time vs. Massillon: Lost 56-7 to Massillon in 2023
  • Historical Series Massillon vs. Canton GlenOak: 15-4
  • Bonus: Lost a lot through graduation; returns alternate senior quarterback Adrian Burt; against Massillon he rushed for 54 yards and scored one touchdown; returns 3 of 4 linebackers.

Week 3 – Bergen Catholic, NJ – H

  • League: New Jersey Super Football Conference – United Red Division
  • Playoff Division: Non-Public Group A
  • 2023 Overall Record: 11-1
  • 2023 Playoff Results: Defeated Delbarton to win the Non-Public A state championship
  • 2023 Calpreps.com: Ranked No. 1 in New Jersey; rated 62.8
  • 5-Year Record: 54-7
  • 5-Year Playoff History: State champions in 2021, 2022 and 2023; 9-1 record (no playoffs in 2020)
  • Last Time vs. Massillon: n/a
  • Historical Series Massillon vs. Bergen Catholic: 0-0
  • Bonus: Returns 7 starters on offense and 7 on defense, including No. 1 quarterback Dominic Campanile (131-221-2,208, 30 TDs), No. 2 running back Dante Kain (69-398-5.8, 16 TDs), No. 1 wide receiver Quincy Porter (41-969, 16 TDs), No. 2 wide receiver (35-334, 3 TDs), No. 3 tackler Ethan Cohall Jr. (27-34, 5.5 TFLs) and No. 4 tackler Kaden Irby-Mason (25-35, 9.0 TFLs). In 2023 lost to Chaminade, FL, 61-21; in 2022 defeated Saguaro, AZ, 28-7; in 2021 defeated Akron Hoban, 42-7; Opens the season with IMG Academy.

 Week 4 – Canisius, NY – H

  • League: Monsignor Martin Athletic Association
  • Playoff Division: Ohio equivalent 2
  • 2023 Overall Record: 5-6
  • 2023 Playoff Results: Lost 21-20 to St. Francis, NY, in the semifinals
  • 2023 Calpreps.com: Ranked No. 33 in New York; rated 14.5
  • 5-Year Record: 27-22
  • 5-Year Playoff History: 4 appearances (no games in 2020); 5-3 record; in 2019 defeated Cardinal Hayes (Bronx) 25-24 to capture the Catholic State Championship
  • Last Time vs. Massillon: Lost to Massillon 42-7 in 2022
  • Historical Series Massillon vs. Canisius: 2-1
  • Bonus: In the 2022 game vs. Massillon, Jalen Slaughter completed 7 of 16 passes for 141 yards and 3 TDs. Kyler Wiggins caught 2 passes for 82 yards and a TD and Ja’Meir Gamble caught 2 for 43 yards and a TD and rushed one time for 16 yards.  Peytton Mitchell rushed 4 times for 31 yards.  Mike Wright recorded 2.0 tackles for loss.

Week 5 – Lakewood St. Edward – A

  • League: None
  • Playoff Division: 1
  • 2023 Overall Record: 15-1
  • 2023 Playoff Results: Defeated Springfield 31-21 to capture the state championship
  • 2023 Calpreps.com: Ranked No. 1 in D1; rated 66.6
  • 5-Year Record: 62-7 (.899)
  • 5-Year Playoff History: 5 appearances; 21-2 record; state titles in 2021, 2022 and 2023
  • Last Time vs. Massillon: Lost to Massillon 15-13 in 2023
  • Historical Series Massillon vs. St. Edward: 5-4
  • Bonus: 3-time defending Division 1 state champs.  Finished No. 31 nationally in 2023.  Returns 3 starters on offense and 5 on defense, plus backup quarterback Casey Csanyi (6’-2”, 180). Against Massillon last year Csanyi completed 14 of 29 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns.

Week 6 – DeMatha Catholic, MD – H

  • League: Washington Catholic Athletic Conference
  • Playoff Division: League Playoffs
  • 2023 Overall Record: 9-2
  • 2023 Playoff Results: Lost 7-0 to Our Lady of Good Counsel, MD, in the 2nd round
  • 2023 Calpreps.com: Ranked No. 2 in Maryland; rated 62.0
  • 5-Year Record: 35-13
  • 5-Year Playoff History: League runner-up in 2022 and 2023; 2-4 record
  • Last Time vs. Massillon: n/a
  • Historical Series Massillon vs. DeMatha: 0-0
  • Bonus: In 2023, defeated Springfield, OH, 35-7 and St. John’s College, DC, 21-14 in the regular season and 21-3 in the playoffs.

Week 7 – Football North (Clarkson), ONT – H

  • League: East Coast Power Prep League (plays exclusively teams from the USA)
  • Playoff Division: n/a (game does not count in Harbin System)
  • 2023 Overall Record: 3-3
  • 2023 Playoff Results: n/a
  • 2023 Calpreps.com:
  • 5-Year Record: 9-21 (no games in 2020)
  • 5-Year Playoff History: n/a
  • Last Time vs. Massillon: n/a
  • Historical Series Massillon vs. 0-0
  • Bonus: Regular plays Lakewood St. Edward and Cleveland St. Ignatius. In 2023, lost to St. Edward 35-15 and St. Ignatius 24-21.  In 2022, defeated Mentor and lost to Akron Hoban, St. Edward and St. Ignatius.

Week 8 – Open Date

Week 9 – Warren Harding – A

  • League: All-American Conference
  • Playoff Division: 2
  • 2023 Overall Record: 5-7
  • 2023 Playoff Results: Lost 24-21 to Hudson in Round 2.
  • 2023 Calpreps.com: Ranked No. 23 in D2; rated 24.4
  • 5-Year Record: 25-29 (.463)
  • 5-Year Playoff History: 4 appearances; 4-4 record
  • Last Time vs. Massillon: Lost 48-14 to Massillon in 2022
  • Historical Series Massillon vs. Warren: 60-25-3 (second-longest series)
  • Bonus: Returns 3 starters on offense and five on defense, including quarterback Coleman. Against Massillon last year Coleman completed 9 of 20 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns

Week 10 – Canton McKinley – H

  • League: Federal League
  • Playoff Division: 1
  • 2023 Overall Record: 9-4
  • 2023 Playoff Results: Lost 41-27 to Lakewood St. Edward in Round 3
  • 2023 Calpreps.com: Ranked No. 109 in D1; rated 42.3
  • 5-Year Record: 37-21 (.638)
  • 5-Year Playoff History: 5 appearances; 7-5 playoff record
  • Last Time Massillon vs. Massillon: Lost 35-0 to Massillon in 2023
  • Historical Series vs. McKinley: 76-53-5; Massillon has won 12 of the last 13
  • Bonus: Returns 7 starters on offense and 5 on defense, including 4-star linebacker / wide receiver Dante McClellan (6’-2, 190) (2nd Team All-Ohio), 3-star offensive lineman Dior Garner (6’-4, 285), 2-star running back Nino Hill (6’-0, 200) and 2-star wide receiver Keith Quincy (6’02, 180) (2nd Team All-Ohio). Last year against Massillon McClellan recorded four tackles and caught one pass, Hill rushed 8 times for 2 yards and Quincy caught 4 passes for 35 yards.  Running back Jamar Johnson transferred in from GlenOak.

The Book on Massillon

  • League: Independent
  • Playoff Division: 2
  • 2023 Overall Record: 16-0
  • 2023 Playoff Results: Defeated Akron Hoban 7-2 to capture the Division 2 State Title
  • 2023 Calpreps.com: Ranked No. 1 in D2; Rated 69.7
  • 5-Year Record: 63-8 (.887)
  • 5-Year Playoff History: 5 appearances; 23-4 record; advanced to the state finals in 2019, 2020 and 2023; state champion in 2023; regional champion in 2022
  • Bonus: Coming off a 16-0 season and Division 2 State Championship; defeated Division 1 State Champion Lakewood St. Edward for the second year in a row; returns 10 starters on offense and 3 on defense, plus the punter, the kicker, the long snapper and the short snapper; returning starters include:
    • Quarterback Jalen Slaughter (6’-0, 163); 4-year starter; 34 of 60 for 685 yards and 9 TDs; 4,112 career yards and 49 career TDs
    • Running back Ja’Meir Gamble (5’-9, 190); Honorable Mention All-Ohio; 142 attempts for 948 yards and 5 TDs
    • Running Peytton Mitchell (6’-0, 200); 71 carries for 444 yards and 2 TDs
    • Running back Mylen Lenix (5’-10, 203); 64 carries for 332 yards and 6 TDs
    • Wide receiver Jacques Carter (5’-10, 165); 2nd Team All-District; 41 receptions for 796 yards and 8 TDs
    • Wide receiver Braylyn Toles (5’-8, 145); 3-year starter; Honorable Mention All-District; 46 receptions for 619 yards and 8 TDs
    • Tight end Deangelo Zimmerman (6’-1, 216); 9 receptions for 136 yards and 1 TD
    • Offensive lineman Nolan Davenport (6’-6, 280); 3-year starter; 2nd Team All-Ohio
    • Offensive lineman Mike Looney (6’-0, 243); 3-year starter
    • Offensive lineman Gavin Kappes (5’-11, 250); 2-year starter
    • Defensive lineman Michael Wright Jr. (5’-10, 280); 1st Team All-Ohio; 4-year starter; 28.0 tackle points; 15.5 tackles-for-loss; 10.5 quarterback sacks
    • Linebacker Vito McConnell (6’-4, 215); 27.5 tackle points; 4.0 tackles for loss; 3 pass interceptions
    • Defensive back Tyler Hackenbracht (6’-2, 207); Honorable Mention All-Ohio; 4th leading tackler with 38.5 tackle points; 3 pass interceptions; punter
    • Kicker Mateo Herrera (5’-7, 128); 22 of 22 extra points
  • Current streaks
    • Wins, all games: 16
    • Wins, regular season games: 18
    • Wins, public schools: 23
    • Wins, home games: 18
    • Scoring in games, offense: 202
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2024 Massillon Football Season Officially Kicks Off

2024 Massillon Football Season Officially Kicks Off

 The upcoming Tiger football season is officially underway, christened by the annual Summer Kickoff Event, which was held at Eagles 190.  In front of a packed house of avid Massillon fans, Head Coach Nate Moore and his staff reviewed the challenges ahead within the upcoming schedule and spoke about the returning players and promising varsity newcomers.  The event was led by this year’s Massillon Tiger Booster Club President, Ed Starcher.

The Tigers enter the campaign on the heels of a 2023 Division II state championship, during which they posted a 16-0 record, including a victory in the regular season over Division I state champion Lakewood St.  Edward.  According to Moore, all of that that makes Massillon the undisputed champion of the entire state, regardless of division.  But he was quick to underscore that the Tigers are not satisfied with winning their first ever playoff title (to go along with 24 other crowns) and they plan, with the outstanding talent on the roster this year, to make another deep run at the title.

“It’s great to be here,” said Moore.  “Massillon is a special place.  Home to the 2023 state champions.  In an era when it’s not supposed to happen.  A public school is not supposed to win that.  But try to find another city like Massillon that’s doing what we’re doing.  I’m proud to be the head coach at Massillon.  But we’ve now turned the page.”

Moore then reviewed the 2024 schedule, providing the following remarks.

  • Week 1 – Nothing to report at this time.
  • Week 2 – at Canton GlenOak – Glad that the series continues. As long as Coach Scott Garcia is there, this shouldn’t change.
  • Week 3 – Bergen Catholic, New Jersey – Once again, a challenging home opener, this time against the best team in New Jersey. A national Top 25 team.  Big, talented and very well coached.
  • Week 4 – Canisius, New York – Fourth time on the schedule. The Tigers lead the series 2-1.
  • Week 5 – at Lakewood St. Edward – Division I state champs the last three years. A national Top 25 team.  This has turned into quite a rivalry.
  • Week 6 – DeMatha Catholic, Maryland – On of the best teams in the D.C. area. National Top 25.  Big up front.  Very skilled.
  • Week 7 – Football North (Clarkson), Ontario – This is not a typical Canadian team, like Massillon has seen before. They play a U.S. schedule.  This is a good football team.  Several Division 1 players.  Best players in Canada.
  • Week 8 – Nothing to report at this time. Moore is disappointed that Austintown Fitch “tapped out” and dropped the Tigers from the schedule.  Apparently, they had enough.
  • Week 9 – at Warren Harding – This is the final game with the current contract. Discussions to continue the series are underway.
  • Week 10 – Canton McKinley – The greatest game in high school football. At least for us, this will always be the featured game on the schedule.  The Bulldogs return a fair number of good players.  It should be a much better game.  Great players all over the field.  Ecstatic that it is at home this year.

Next up were the various position coaches.

Dan Studer (strength and conditioning) – The off season has ended.  The effort and production was on par with last year.  Great attendance.  The lifting numbers are well up, with four players squatting over 500 lbs.  Conducted speed training.  Three players are sub 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash.  Moving into pre-season this week.

Joey Studer / Chris Spruill (defensive line) – There will be some new names this year lining up next to 4-year returning starter Michael Moore Jr.  A young group.  They have a lot of heart and Tiger pride.  Now we’re going to get them technically sound.

Bo Grunder (cornerbacks), also subbing for Dan Hackenbracht (safeties) – Tyler Hackenbracht returns at free safety, with the other spot currently open.  Eager to see who wants to make a name for himself.  At corner, Lennox Lemon and Daylan Pringle are showing promise and will get the first look.

Dave Weber (outside linebackers) – Vito McConnell returns at the position, with many young players in the wings.  But there are a lot of promising kids.

Spencer Leno (inside linebackers / defensive coordinator) – A lot of open spots.  Looking for players who can check the boxes for knowledge, trust, effort, physicality and consistency.  The defensive goals this year is to hold opponents to 17 points or less, limit the run to 100 yards, limit the pass to 150 yards, no big plays, create turnovers and get off the field on third down.

J.P. Simon (offensive line) along with Chip Robinson – J.P. has moved from defense to offense this year.  “We’re going to come off the ball.  We’re going to be physical.  We’re going to win games.  We’re coming for another state title.  There’s no letup.”  Nolan Davenport, Michael Looney and Gavin Kappes return and were either starters or saw significant action last year.  Chris Fair is also in the mix.

Travis McGuire (running backs) – “I’m excited about my room.  I have a lot of guys.  My problem is who to give the ball to in the new offense.”  Returning starters are Jameir Gamble, Mylen Lenix and Peyton Mitchell.

Cale Miller (wide receivers) – “I’m blessed with riches every single year.  I just try not to screw it up!”  The Tigers return starters Braylyn Toles, Jacques Carter and Ricardo Wells.  “Plenty of experience.”  We also have some young guys coming up.”  Gio Jackson and Deonte Malone.

Alex Wood (quarterbacks / offensive coordinator) – “Thank you to the Tigers Booster Club.  I’m excited to be here.  Jalen Slaughter, a 4-year returning starter, is in the lead for the quarterback position based on his experience.  Two other players are in the mix, including sophomore Manny Patterson and junior Eli Moore.  Patterson is on the smaller side, but throws a nice football.  And he can run.  Eli has come a long way and will push the other two guys.  Look for a different style of offense this year, in both the run and pass games.  It will be explosive.  Multiple formations and personnel.  The scheme is to get the ball into the hands of the guys that can make plays.  The ultimate goal is to score at least 28 points in every game.  But in order to that, the Tigers will need to run AND throw well.

Moore wrapped up his presentation by giving kudos to the coaching staff, in particular to the fact that ten members are former Tiger players, making it very unique.  Because of that, the coaches are able to pass the Massillon traditions onto the players.  “Our kids will stay in the fight longer,” he emphasized.  “Credit the work and investment of our coaching staff.  Our kids understand the tradition.  It means more to them.  Any of these guys (coaches) can be hired at any school in the country.  But they want to be here.”

The next formal event will be the ring ceremony, which is scheduled for June 27 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium at 6:00 pm.

There will also be a home 7-on-7 scrimmage at noon on June 25.

Go Tigers.

2024 Lift-a-thon Results

2024 Lift-a-thon Results

A good crowd was on hand in the WHS gym for the annual Steve Studer Memorial Lift-a-thon.  It was surely an energetic and muscle-burning event, yet just one more step to the finish line as the Tigers continue the preparation to defend their 2023 Division II state championship.  Once again, Strength Coach Dan Studer did a fantastic job of organizing and conducting the event.

Three lifts were performed by each participant: clean lift, bench press and squat. Each lifter selected his preferred weight for each lift and then attempted as many lifts as he could until his arms or legs gave out. A composite score was then used to determine the winner of each of eleven weight classes based on the total weight lifted and the number of reps (max. 10).  Achievement medals were then awarded to the top three lifters in each category. Here are the winners:

  • 140 lb. weight class – Gregory Corsale (So.)
  • 150 lb. weight class – Richard Harris (Jr.)
  • 160 lb. weight class – LoQuan Young (Sr.)
  • 170 lb. weight class – Griffiths (Sr.)
  • 180 lb. weight class – Lennox Lemon (Jr.)
  • 190 lb. weight class – Jameir Gamble (Sr.)
  • 200 lb. weight class – Ransom Els (So.)
  • 215 lb. weight class – Savior Owens (So.)
  • 230 lb. weight class – Vito McConnell (Sr.)
  • Heavy weight class – Michael Looney (Sr.)
  • Super heavyweight class – Michael Wright Jr. (Sr.)

140 lb. weight class – (l-r) (2) McIntyre, (1) Gregory Corsale, (3) Stephens

150 lb. weight class -(l-r) (2) Braylyn Toles, (1) Richard Harris Jr., (3) Chayce White

160 lb. weight class – (l-r) (2) Manny Patterson, (1) Lo’Quan Young, (3) Nehemiah Stone

170 lb. weight class – (l-r) (2) Deontay Malone, (1) Griffiths, (3) Jacques Carter and Eli  Moore (tie)

180 lb. weight class – (l-r) (2) Lucas Shertzer, (1) Lennox Lemon, (3) Ricardo Wells

190 lb. weight class – (l-r) (2) Francesco Salvin0, (1) Jameir Gamble, (3) Tra’yon Williams

200 lb. weight class – (l-r) (2) Jadyn Williams, (1) Ransom Els, (3) Stephen  Reinhart

215 lb. weight class – (l-r) (2) Peytton Mitchell, (1) Savior Owens, (3) Deangelo Zimmerman

230 lb. weight class – (l-r) (2) Logan Allman, (1) Vito McConnell, (3) Martin

Heavyweight class – (l-r) (2) Andrew Brumfield, (1) Michael Looney, (3) Andrew Robinson

Super heavyweight class – (l-r) (2) Chris Fair, (1) Michael Wright Jr., (3) Nolan Davenport

The following photos are by Rob Engelhardt

The following photos are by Don Engelhardt

 

George Whitfield Jr. to be Inducted into the Massillon…

George Whitfield Jr. to be Inducted into the Massillon Wall of Champions

This coming July, in conjunction with the Booster Club’s Reverse Raffle event, George Whitfield Jr. will be inducted into the Massillon Wall of Champions.  Whitfield will join 42 other former Tiger athletes in that exclusive group and will be honored along with five others who will find their way into the Massillon Tiger Football Hall of Fame.

The Wall of Champions recognizes those Massillon graduates who have participated in any Massillon High School sport and then beyond at the college and/or professional level as either a player or a coach or in another capacity, such as a sports or civic-related endeavor.  Inductees are selected by a committee comprised of designated Booster Club members.  Each inductee is honored with a formal public ceremony and receives a plaque that displays his or her achievements.  A duplicate plaque is mounted in the WHS Sports Hall.  Inductees are welcomed with a formal ceremony and then later presented on the field during the year’s first home football game.

The name “Whitfield” is synonymous with football in Massillon in that three uncles of George Jr., Charlie (1959-61), Tom (1962-64) and Dave (1963-65), each played football for the Tigers, under coaches Leo Strang and and Earl Bruce.  Dave moved on after Massillon to Ohio State University under Coach Woody Hayes and was a starter on the 1968 Buckeye team that captured the national title.  Then there was George Sr. (1966-68), the father of George Jr., who excelled under Coach Bob Seaman and later played football at Wichita State University.  In fact, George Jr. is the sixth of seven Whitfields to play for the Tigers, which also included Dick (1954-56) and Marcus (2011-13).

George Jr. played for Massillon in 1993-95 and became the starting quarterback during his senior year, suiting up at 6’-2”, 209 lbs.  Playing under Head Coach Jack Rose, the team finished the season with a record of 7-3, with close losses to Mansfield, Miami Southridge, FL, and Canton McKinley.  It was against McKinley that Whitfield had his best game of the year, when he completed 18 of 30 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns.  Down 17-7 at the half, he and his teammates nearly pulled off the upset, eventually losing 24-21.  The game ended when the Tigers unfortunately fumbled at the Bulldog five yard line with less than a minute remaining.  For the season, he completed 71 of 140 passes for 929 yards and 6 touchdowns.  Subsequently, he was named the team’s Most Valuable Player and Honorable Mention All-Ohio.

Following high school, Whitfield was recruited by Coach Jim Tressel to play football at Youngstown State University.  After one year during which he was red-shirted, George transferred to Tiffin University and enjoyed a successful 4-year career.  He departed in 2000 as the 3rd all-time leading passer in yards and touchdowns, with 368 completions for 4,391 yards and 30 touchdowns.  He was also named to the All-Mideast League team.

From there, Whitfield began a transition into the coaching arena, serving as a graduate assistant for the University of Iowa in 2001-02.  But playing on the field was never off the table.  In 2003-07 he was a quarterback in the Arena Football League and then attended training camps held by the Washington Redskins and the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL.  His final stop was San Diego, where he served as a coaching intern.

All of the experience Whitfield gained throughout his years with football helped him to establish a solid base of quarterback fundamentals, which led to the creation in 2004 of Whitfield Athletix, a specialized quarterback training academy located in San Diego, California.  It began modestly when he was asked by the owner of a San Diego brewing company to tutor her 5th grade son.  Suddenly, he found his calling.  Soon he was instructing  high school quarterbacks.  But his career really took off in 2010 when Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hired him to be his personal coach.

George Whitfield Jr. with Johnny Manziel (Whitfield Athletix Photo)

Today, Whitfield is sought after by quarterbacks at every level.  And he can look back at several high-level QBs that were the beneficiaries of his knowledge, including Can Newton, Andrew Luck, Donovan McNabb, Josh Allen, Johnny Manziel, Vince Young, Brady Quinn and Jameis Winston.  He also worked with Ohio State’s Terrell Pryor and Braxton Miller.  Three of his students players were NFL No. 1 draft picks.  Even former Massillon quarterback Kyle Kempt spent some time with him while in high school.

One of the draws of his coaching expertise is his unique approach to instruction.  A broom may be used to simulate contact, or the quarterback may be working out in the sand or water at the beach, or he might be dodging sandbags, or he may even be throwing blindfolded while reacting to the sound of a hand clap.  But ultimately, all of the students believe that Whitfield has made them better field generals.

As an aside to this, Whitfield has been a member of the Elite 11 coaching staff and also worked as an ESPN college gameday analyst, having won four Emmy Awards in that position.

In 2016 Whitfield was inducted into the Tiffin University Hall of Fame and now he will be a member of the Massillon Wall of Champions.  The induction ceremony will be held on July 18 at the Eagles 190 in conjunction with the Reverse Raffle event.

Congratulations to George Whitfield Jr.

State-Level Induction Awaits Former Massillon Coach Lee Owens

State-Level Induction Awaits Former Massillon Coach Lee Owens

Former Massillon Coach Lee Owens has been selected by the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association to be inducted into their Hall of Fame.  The ceremony will be held at Hilton Easton in Columbus on June 14, with a social hour at 6:00 pm, followed by the dinner and ceremony at 7:00 pm.  For those wishing to attend, banquet tickets and hotel rooms at a discount can be purchased at ohsfca.net.

Owens was the head coach of the Tigers in 1988-91 and compiled a record of 35 wins and 14 losses.  During that time, he qualified for the playoffs three times, won six of nine playoff games and captured two regional championships.  And he won three of four games against the Bulldogs.  He also spearheaded an effort to install the first ever artificial playing surface at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium and was instrumentation in making many other stadium improvements.

Following Massillon, he was an assistant coach at Ohio State for three years, parlaying that experience into a head coaching position at the University of Akron, a post he held for nine years.  In 2000 the Zips finished first in the MAC East and in 2003 they were second.  But his greatest achievement there might have been making an immediate impact on player graduation rate, improving it from 18% to 83%.

His next eighteen seasons were spent leading the Ashland University Eagles of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.  His overall record there was a very fine 123-44, with his teams capturing four league championships and securing six NCAA Division II playoff qualifications.  Four times he was named Conference Coach of the Year.

Congratulations to Coach Lee Owens.

 

Regional Assignments for the 2024 Football Playoffs Have Been…

Regional Assignments for the 2024 Football Playoffs Have Been Released

The Ohio High School Athletic Association has released its divisional and regional assignments for teams participating in the 2024 football playoffs.  With the release, it is noted that defending Division II state champion Massillon will remain in Region 7, which features primarily teams from the Columbus area and a couple from the Stark County area.  Last year the Tigers defeated Uniontown Lake in the regional finals 35-6 and then went on to down Cincinnati Anderson 55-7 in the semifinals before topping Akron Hoban 7-2 to take the crown.

There are only modest changes to Region 7 from last year, including the following:

  • New Albany and Westerville Central have been moved down from Division I
  • Ashland and Columbus Whitehall have been moved up from from Division III

Other changes of note affecting Division II are as follows:

  • Stow and Wadsworth have been moved down from Division I and assigned to Regions 5 and 6, respectively
  • Louisville and Trotwood Madison have been moved up from Division III and assigned to Regions 5 and 8, respectively
  • Cincinnati Woodward has been moved up to Division I, most likely due to a high competitive advantage number
  • Green, North Canton and Lake have been moved from Region 7 to Region 5
  • Hamilton Badin has been moved up from Region 12 to Region 8

The 6-week span of post-season play will begin on November 1, with the Division II finals presumably on Thursday, December 5.

Obie Logo (Large)

Several Tigers To Be Featured in Ohio All-Star Game

Several Tigers To Be Featured in Ohio All-Star Game

The 2024 Ohio High School Football North-South All-Star Game will be held this Saturday, April 27, at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.  The event is a product of the Ohio High Football Coaches Association.  Two games will be held, with the large-school division (D1-D3) kicking off at 11:00 am and small-school division (DIV-DVII) thirty minutes after.

Four Tiger football seniors and three coaches will be part of the classic’s North squad.  The players are quarterback Da’One Owens, wide receiver Kyler Wiggins, offensive lineman Sam Snodgrass and defensive lineman Malachi Card.  Nate Moore is the head coach of the North.  J.P. Simon and Jon Mazur are two of his assistants.

Other area players in the first game are Nate Baker of Lake, Zach Baglia of Green, Anthony Fuline of Jackson, Avantae Burt of GlenOak and Shauker Hatcher of Canton McKinley.  The second game will feature North players Poochie Snyder and Tavon Castle of Canton South, Carson Colucci of Fairless, Greyson Siders and Grayson Lehman of Dalton and Connor Satterfield of Northwest.

“Massillon Against the World” Book Signing Event a Rousing…

“Massillon Against the World” Book Signing Event a Rousing Success

Several hundred football fans packed the Massillon Museum on Friday to purchase the newly released publication, “Massillon Against the World.”  Jointly authored by Scott Ryan and Becca Moore, the book chronicles the Massillon Tiger football team’s journey through the 2023 season, culminating in their winning the Division II state championship.  It also includes several side stories about Massillon itself and the challenges the football program has faced over the past 53 years in trying to win another state title.  Becca and Ryan were joined by several football players and coaches in a book-signing event that lasted for over two hours.

The book can be purchased through TuckerDSPress.com.