Category: <span>News</span>

Signing Day for Massillon Class of 2023

February 1, 2023, marks official NCAA signing day, with Massillon Washington High School recognizing thirteen outstanding athletes across four sports and two military services who inked their intents to pursue their careers at the next level.  “This is a really exciting day,” said Athletic Director Nate Moore.  “A day to recognize the achievements of these great athletes.”  Moore remarked that the players certainly excelled at their chosen sports, but there was a lot of work behind the scenes, from the players and their parents and the coaches.  “We’re proud of everyone,” he said.

The group included:

  • Andrai Jones – Sienna Heights University- football
  • Ardell Banks – University of Kentucky – football
  • Chase Duplain – Heidelberg University – baseball
  • Damian Coram – United State Marines
  • De’Aire Pringle – Edinboro University – football
  • Freddie Lenix – Kent State University – football
  • Jewell Shaffer – University of Mount Union – swimming
  • Kendyl Wagner – Seton Hill University – volleyball
  • Matthew McGeorge – Mercyhurst University – baseball
  • Marcus Moore – University of Akron – football
  • Race Miller – United States Air Force
  • Xavier Hamid – Capital University
  • Willtrell Hartson – The Ohio State University – football (absent for the event; already enrolled at OSU)

Enjoy the photos.

Front row (left to right): Kendyl Wagner, Jewell Shaffer, Freddie Lenix, De’Aire Pringle, Damian Coram and Matthew McGeorge; back row (left to right): Xavier Hamid, Marcus Moore, Ardell Banks, Chase Duplain, Coach Nate Moore, Andrai Jones and Race Miller.

Football players (left to right): Marcus Moore, Freddie Lenix, Ardell Banks, De’Aire Pringle, Andrai Jones, Coach Nate Moore, Becca Moore.

The Pringle brothers (left to right): Dorian, De’Aire and Daylan.

Baseball players (left to right): Chase Duplain, Xavier Hamid and Matthew McGeorge.

Andrai Jones – Sienna Heights University – football

Ardell Banks – University of Kentucky – football

Chase Duplain – Heidelberg University – baseball

Damian Coram – United States Marines

De’Aire Pringle – Edinboro University – football

Freddie Lenix – Kent State University – football

Jewell Shaffer – University of Mount Union – swimming

Kendyl Wagner – Seton Hill – volleyball

Matthew McGeorge – Mercyhurst University – baseball

Marcus Moore – University of Akron – football

Race Miller (son of former Massillon  player Steve Miller) – United States Air Force

Xavier Hamid – Capital University – baseball

Willtrell Hartson – The Ohio State University – football

 

Mike Hershberger – Wall of Champions

Norman Michael Hershberger is the epitome of a Massillon Wall of Champion inductee.  He excelled in varsity sports, parlayed that into a college football scholarship, made a his mark at the professional baseball level and was active in his community.

“I remember how true he was to himself and everyone he met,” said Tom Meldrum, a childhood friend of Hershberger’s who played on many of the same teams when both were young. “He was a man’s man, a guy’s guy and he had a faith that was unshakable. He went to church religiously and he was a big influence in my life.  “He was a great representative for Massillon.”  Jack Morris from SABR.

High School

Hershberger was born in Massillon, Ohio, on October 9, 1939, and like most boys in town he embraced Tiger football.  Although he didn’t play during his junior year of high school in 1955 due to an injury, he made up for it with a stellar senior year, earning 1st Team All-Ohio honors.  He was also a team co-captain.

Playing at 5’-9”, 155 lbs., his primary position was right halfback, where he became the second leading scorer with 54 points, behind Ivory Benjamin, who had 90.  That included seven rushing touchdowns, six PATs and a 79-yard kickoff return for a score against Canton Lincoln.  Two of his rushing touchdowns came against Cincinnati Elder in a 27-12 victory, while he ripped off an 83-yarder against Mansfield.  He was also the punter and part-time kicker.

The team finished 8-2 that year, under the mentorship of new Massillon head coach Lee Tressel, with losses to Mansfield and undefeated Canton McKinley.  Against the Bulldogs, Hershberger rushed 13 times for 68 yards, in spite of playing with a bad knee.

But the athlete also played baseball.  Little information is available on his high school exploits in this area, although we do know he played pitcher and outfielder.  The highlight came during his sophomore season when the team finished second in the state, defeating Cleveland Benedictine 4-1 in the semifinals, but losing to Elder 3-0 in the finals.  The Tigers were coached by Ducky Schroeder.

“The first thing I remember is that he was an excellent outfielder. He was known for his arm. It was known all over the (Canton) Class A league that you didn’t want to run on Mike Hershberger.  He was a clutch hitter, a good contact hitter and he was a tough out.” – Central Catholic Baseball Coach Doug Miller on The Independent (David Harpster, 07/03/2012, ‘Baseball great, Tiger standout Mike Hershberger remembered’).

College

After high school, Hershberger headed to the University of Cincinnati on a football scholarship and was slated to be the starting tailback in his second year.  But instead, he opted to leave Cincinnati in 1961 and signed with the Chicago White Sox organization to play baseball.

Professional

Hershberger first played with the White Sox AAA Club Pacific Coast League’s San Diego Padres where he batted .310.  But it didn’t take long before he was called up by the big club, where he played outfield from 1961-64.  The next two stops were Kansas City and Oakland, covering 1965-69.  His final home was the Milwaukee Brewers in 1970.  But before retiring, he returned to the White Sox for one final year.

His career numbers were as follows:

  • Played at 5’-10, 175
  • Starter in 1962-68
  • Played in 1,150 games, batting .252
  • Had 3,572 at bats
  • Scored 398 runs
  • Recorded 900 hits, including 150 doubles, 22 triples and 26 home runs
  • Knocked in 344 runs
  • Stole 74 bases
  • Was walked 319 times
  • Led the American League in sacrifice flies (7) while with the Athletics
  • Led the American League in outfield assists in both 1965 and 1967
  • His best year was in 1963 with White Sox, when he batted .279 and scored 64 runs

Post-Baseball

After retirement from baseball, Hershberger worked in the sporting goods business.  He also gave back to the community:

  • Joseph’s Orphanage
  • Special Olympics
  • The Massillon Boys Club
  • Coached Massillon American Legion Post 221
  • Challenger Baseball Team of Canton

In 1994 he was named a Wall of Champion Honoree and in 2021 a Massillon Distinguished Citizen.

He died July 1, 2012 and rests in his home town of Massillon.

 

Andy Alleman – Wall of Champions

Andy Alleman played just one year for Massillon, but he must have made quite an early impression, for he was named a team captain before the season even began.  And he didn’t disappoint on the field, especially from his middle linebacker position, where he was a dominating force, wreaking havoc against opposing quarterbacks.  He also played a little offense, lining up at blocking fullback.

In 2001 the Tigers finished 12-2, with both losses coming to eventual Division 1 state champion Cleveland St. Ignatius: one in the regular season and the other in the state semifinals.  Led by the 6’-4”, 234 lb. Alleman and his ferocious linebacker play, the Tiger defense held opponents to an average of just 3.2 yards per carry, which is Massillon’s 3rd best all-time against spread offenses.  That translated into a mere 114 yards rushing allowed per game, which is 4th best.  For his play, Alleman was named 2001 WHBC Stark County Player of the Year

After high school, Andy received a scholarship offer from the University of Pittsburgh and played on the defensive line from 2002-2004.  But in 2005 he transferred to the University of Akron, where he completed his final two years of eligibility, as a full-time starter, only this time on the offensive line.  He must have found this position to his liking, for in his second year he was named both Most Valuable Offensive Lineman and Weight Lifter of the Year.  In addition, he was part of the 2005 Zips team that captured the Mid-American Conference East championship and played for the MAC title.  Post-Akron, Andy was invited to participate in both the Hula Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game, and he was also invited to the NFL Combine.  Recently, he was inducted into the University of Akron Hall of Fame.

In 2007, the New Orleans Saints drafted Alleman in the 3rd round as the No. 88 pick overall as an offensive guard.  As such, he became the 4th highest U. Akron grad to be drafted in their long history.  But, as with many NFL players, he was a journeyman and, throughout his 3-year pro career also played for the Miami Dolphins, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Indianapolis Colts.  In all, he saw action in 24 games (15 for Miami and 9 for Kansas City) and started in seven.

After football Alleman returned to U. Akron to complete his bachelor’s degree in Business and Organizational Communication and currently works in sales.

In 2016 Alleman was inducted into the Massillon Tiger Football Hall of Fame.  In 2022 he was inducted into the Wall of Champions.

 

2022 Football Season Closes with Annual Banquet

A packed house of players, parents, coaches and fansput closure to the season at St. George’s Church by recognizing of the outstanding performances exhibited by the members of the 2022 football team on and off the field.  It was a team that finished with a 12-2 record and a 15th regional playoff title, their fifth in the last six years.  It  was also a team that, although they didn’t bring home the Division 2 state championship trophy, did defeat during the regular season Lakewood St. Edward, the No. 1 team  in Division 1.

2022 Nate Moore at the 2022 banquet

“This has been a group since Day 1 that has answered the bell,” said Head Coach Nate Moore.  “These guys have been awesome.  Thanks to our senior class.  It was a small senior class; small but powerful.  They ground it out every day.  It’s those guys that really make our program special.  We had a tremendous season.  I’m very proud of that.  A final four appearance.  Six straight 10+ win seasons.  Six straight appearances in the regional finals.”

Moore said that defeating St. Edward was a memorable moment, since (1) they were the No. 1 team in the state and (2) the quarterback / wide receiver corps came out “firing hot.”  But he also mentioned Austintown, an undefeated team the Tigers faced the following week.  Rather than having a let down following such a maximum effort against St. Eds, the Tigers held it together and produced one of their best performances of the season.  “We played an absolutely tough game,” said the coach.  “We dominated the game.  It was a memorable victory.”  Then there was the win over Canton McKinley, the seventh in a row.  “The Tigers went out and took care of business,” said Moore.  ‘Nuff said.

Academically, the team recorded an outstanding 3.55 GPA collective average.

Along the way, several No. 1 player and team records were set, including:

  • Willtrell Hartson – Single season total yards rushing (2,042), single season points (208), single season touchdowns (tie) (34) and career yards per game (132.8).
  • Dorian Pringle – Single season tackles for loss (21.5) and tackles for loss yards (114).
  • Brandon Carman – Single season quarterback sack yards (57).
  • Team – Single season tackles for loss (109), tackles for loss yards (476) and quarterback sack yards (205).  In addition five different players recorded at least ten tackles for loss, more players than any other team since defensive records were kept.

Six players were named All-Ohio, including:

  • Willtrell Hartson – Senior running back – 1st Team
  • Ardell Banks – Senior wide receiver – 1st Team
  • Dorian Pringle – Junior inside linebacker – 1st Team
  • Marcus Moore – Senior defensive lineman – 2nd Team
  • Evan Sirgo – Junior offensive lineman – Honorable Mention
  • Cody Fair – Junior inside linebacker – Honorable Mention

Outgoing Booster Club President Harry Haines addressed a Tiger gathering for the last time and introduced 2023 President Rob Maylor.

Following dinner, the assistant coaches presented the various participation awards, while expounding on each player’s individual achievements and effort.  Then the special awards, most of which were selected by the players themselves, were presented by various teammates to the winners.  They included:

  • Coach of the Year – Spencer Leno (inside linebackers)
  • Captain Awards – Zach Liebler, Angelo Salvino, Marcus Moore and Willtrelll Hartson
  • Brandon Burlsworth Character Award – Michael Mercurio
  • Thayer Munford ACT Award – Christian Kring
  • John Pizzino, Sr. Academic Football $1,000 Scholarship – Christian Kring
  • Paul David Memorial Academic Award – Yanii Berry
  • Bob Smith / Bill Snyder Sportsmanship Award – Christian Kring
  • Coach Lee Tressel Citizenship Award – Christian Kring
  • Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year – Ransom Els and Jacques Carter
  • Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year – Deangelo Zimmerman
  • Hardnose Award – Willtrell  Hartson (presented earlier at the Touchdown Club)
  • Carl “Ducky” Schroeder Outstanding Lineman Award – Marcus Moore
  • Offensive Player of the Year – Ardell Banks
  • Defensive Player of the Year – Dorian Pringle
  • Special Teams Player of the Year – Angelo Salvino
  • Lifter of the Year – Cody Fair
  • Tom Harp Coaches’ Award – Zach Liebler
  • Most Valuable Player – Willtrell Hartson

Most Valuable Player Willtrell Hartson.  A commemorative football was also presented which displays the rushing and scoring records he set.

Offensive Player of the Year Ardell Banks and Defensive Player of the year Dorian Pringle.

John Pizzino Sr. Academic Football $1,000 Scholarship Award winner Christian Kring.  Also shown are Mark Fair and Anthony Repp.

Coach of the Year Spencer Leno and Academic Award winner Yanii Berry.

Nate Moore receiving a commemorative photo display for breaking Paul Brown’s win record.  Also shown are Rob Maylor and Ed Starcher.

Special Teams Player of the Year Angelo Salvino and Lineman of the Year Marcus Moore.

Through the Roof Award Winners Willtrell Hartson (Offensive Player of the Year), Marcus Moore (Leader of the Year) and Dorian Pringle (Defensive Player of the Year) presented by Ray Jeske (WTIG) (left) and and Fred Horner (Advanced Industrial Roofing) (right).

Six Tigers Named All-Ohio for 2022

Six football players from Massillon’s 12-2 team have been named by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association to the Division II All-Star Team.  They include:

  • Willtrell Hartson – Senior running back – 1st Team
  • Ardell Banks – Senior wide receiver – 1st Team
  • Dorian Pringle – Junior inside linebacker – 1st Team
  • Marcus Moore – Senior defensive lineman – 2nd Team
  • Evan Sirgo – Junior offensive lineman – Honorable Mention
  • Cody Fair – Junior inside linebacker – Honorable Mention

All six were previously named 1st Team Northeast Inland All-District.  Strangely missing from the list was De’Airre Pringle, who  was also named 1st Team Northeast Inland All-District.

The Offensive Player of the Year is Akron Hoban running back Lamar Sperling.  The Defensive Player of the Year is Jermaine Matthews, Cincinnati Winton Woods.  The Co-Coaches of the Year are Dave Bors of Painesville Riverside and Maurice Harden of Xenia.

All-Ohio Players from Tiger opponents:

Cincinnati Moeller

  • Jordan Marshall – running back – 1st Team – Co-Offensive Player of the Year
  • Brandon Martin – defensive lineman – 1st Team
  • Joe Ginnetti – linebacker – 1st Team
  • Tennel Bryant – wide receiver – 3rd Team
  • Ethan Page – punter – 3rd Team

Canton GlenOak

  • Avantae Burt – running back – 3rd Team
  • Romeo Magueyal – offensive lineman – Honorable Mention

Mansfield

  • Ricky Mills – defensive lineman – 1st Team
  • Mekhi Bradley – linebacker – 1st Team
  • Amarr Davis – defensive back – 1st Team
  • Duke Reese – quarterback – Honorable Mention
  • Sean Putt – kicker – Honorable Mention

Austintown Fitch

  • Josh Fitzgerald – offensive lineman – 1st Team
  • Davion Pritchard – defensive back – 2nd Team
  • DeShawn Vaughn – quarterback – 3rd Team
  • Brian Robinson – defensive lineman – 3rd Team
  • Cam Smith – defensive back – 3rd Team
  • Jamell James – running back – Honorable Mention

Lakewood St. Edward

  • Ben Roebuck – offensive lineman – 1st Team
  • Ricky Wolverton – offensive lineman – 1st Team
  • Michael Kilbane – defensive lineman – 1st Team
  • Wyatt Gedeon – linebacker – 1st Team – Co-Defensive Player of the Year
  • Ben Levelle – punter – 1st Team
  • Marvin Bell – running back – 2nd Team
  • Casey Bullock – quarterback – 3rd Team
  • Kyan Mason – wide receiver – 3rd Team
  • Devontae Armstrong – offensive lineman – 3rd Team
  • Deonte Armstrong – offensive lineman – 3rd Team
  • Nate Gregory – linebacker – 3rd Team

Canton McKinley

  • Cynceir McNeil – wide receiver – 1st Team
  • Garrett McCole – offensive lineman – 2nd Team
  • Kylier Jenkins – defensive lineman – 2nd Team

Massillon Perry

  • De’Andre Church – running back – 3rd Team
  • Max Millin – offensive lineman – Honorable Mention

Canal Winchester

  • Harlee Hanna – linebacker – 3rd Team
  • Mason Fry – offensive lineman – Honorable  Mention

Big Walnut

  • Nate Severs – running back – 1st Team
  • Ethan Clawson – linebacker – 2nd  Team
  • Matt VonAlmen – offensive lineman – 3rd Team
  • Cam  Gladden – punter – 3rd Team

Uniontown Lake

  • Evan Brady – linebacker – 1st Team
  • Will Butler – defensive back – 1st Team
  • Dylan Snyder – wide receiver – 2nd Team
  • Celton Dutton – punter – 2nd Team
  • Jack McAvinew – offensive lineman – 3rd Team

Akron Hoban

  • Lamar Sperling – running back – 1st Team – Offensive Player of the Year
  • Drew Holt – offensive lineman – 1st Team
  • Jason Martin III – defensive lineman – 1st Team
  • Tysen Campbell – defensive back – 1st Team
  • Devin  Bell – defensive lineman – 2nd Team
  • Rickey Williams – linebacker – 3rd Team
  • Jayvian Crable – wide receiver – Honorable Mention
  • William  Satterwhite – offensive lineman – Honorable Mention

 

 

 

Twelve Tigers Earn All-District Award

The Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association (OPSWA) has released its Northeast Inland District All-Star Team for Division II.  Twelve Massillon players are included, with special recognition going to Dorian Pringle, who was named Co-Defensive Player of the Year.  Massillon finished the 2022 season with an 12-2 record and was the regional champion.

First Team

  • Ardell Banks – Senior wide receiver.  3-year starter.  Caught 43 passes for 791 yards and 12 touchdowns.  Averaged 20.0 yards per catch.  Caught six passes against Warren Harding and six against Massillon Perry.  Second on the team in scoring with 74 points.  Honorable Mention All-District in 2021.  Holds several offers from Division 1 colleges, including Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Arizona State and Iowa State.
  • Willtrell Hartson – Senior running back.  3-year starter.  Led the team in rushing with 2,042 yards, setting a new single-season rushing record.  Tied a season scoring record that was set 100 years ago.  Also, finished in the Top 10 of several other rushing and scoring categories.  Against Austintown Fitch, rushed 40 times for 274 yards and three touchdowns.  Led the team with 34 touchdowns and 208 points.  Received the Touchdown Club’s Hardnose Award.  Honorable Mention All-State in 2020.
  • Marcus Moore Jr. – Senior defensive lineman.  2-year starter.  Recorded 33.0 tackle points (17-32).  Had 5.5 tackles-for-loss and 2.0 quarterback sacks.  Helped defense hold opponents to 3.0 yards per rush.  Also played some on the offensive line.  First Team All-District and Second Team All-Ohio in 2021.  Will play for the University of Akron next year.
  • De’Airre Pringle – Senior defensive back.  Tied for second on the team in tackle points with 63.5 (50-27).  Recorded 4.5 tackles-for-loss and 5 pass breakups.  Had 11.0 tackle points against Akron Hoban.
  • Cody Fair – Junior inside linebacker.  Tied for second on the team in tackle points with 63.5 (40-47).  Recorded 13.5 tackles-for-loss (2nd on the team) and 1.5 quarterback sacks.  Recovered two fumbles.
  • Dorian Pringle – Junior inside linebacker.  Named NE Inland District Co-Defensive Player of the Year.  Led the team with 69.5 tackle points (50-39).  Set a new Massillon single season record with 21.5 tackles-for-loss.  Recorded 5.5 quarterback sacks.  Had 12.0 tackle points against Division 1 state finalist Lakewood St. Edward.  On offense, rushed 54 times for 298 yards and scored six touchdowns.
  • Evan Sirgo – Junior offensive lineman.  Instrumental in helping the team average 35 points per game, rush for 207 yards per game and limit opponents to just 13 quarterback sacks.

Second Team

  • Jalen Slaughter – Sophomore quarterback.  2-year starter.  Completed 139 of 234 passes (54.7%) for 2,043 yards and 24 touchdowns.  Had an efficiency rating of 146.4.  Threw for 295 yards and 3 touchdowns against Division 1 state finalist Lakewood St. Edward, including a 24-yard game-winner with eleven seconds remaining in the game.  Threw for 248 yards and 4 touchdowns against Warren Harding.  Honorable Mention All-District in 2021.
  • Michael Wright Jr. – Sophomore defensive lineman.  2-year starter.  Recorded 28.0 tackle points (28-16).  Second on the team with 6.0 quarterback sacks and tied for second on the team with 13.5 tackles-for-loss.  Helped defense hold opponents to 3.0 yards per rush.  Honorable Mention All-District in 2021.

Honorable Mention

  • Sam Snodgrass – Junior offensive lineman.  2-year starter; moved from center to tackle for 2022.  Instrumental in helping the team average 35 points per game, rush for 207 yards per game and limit opponents to just 13 quarterback sacks.  Honorable Mention All-District in 2021.
  • Nolan Davenport – Sophomore tight end.  Used principally as a blocker.  Caught one pass for a 34 yard touchdown.  Has good size and potential at 6′-6″, 230 lbs.  Has a Division 1 offer from Pittsburgh.
  • Michael Looney – Sophomore offensive lineman.  Instrumental in helping the team average 35 points per game, rush for 207 yards per game and limit opponents to just 13 quarterback sacks.

The Offensive Player of the Year was Lamar Sperling of Akron Hoban.

The Co-Defensive Player of the Year, along with Dorian Pringle, was Roosevelt Andrews of Barberton.

The Coaches of the Year were Mike Gibbons of Medina Highland and Jeff Gough of Hudson.

Willtrell Hartson Receives Touchdown Club Award

At the end of each season, the Touchdown Club honors one of the players with the “Bob Commings Memorial Hardnose Award.” That player would have received the most votes from among weekly tallies taken by the club members. Past players honored include John Mulbach (Ohio State), David Whitfield (Ohio State), Chris Spielman (Ohio State), Shawn Crable (Michigan) and Brian Gamble (Illinois/Ashland).

Bob Commings was a very successful coach for the Tigers from 1969 to 1973, compiling a record of 43-6-2, including Massillon’s last state championship (1970) and qualification for Ohio’s first ever state playoff games (1972). Commings departed following the 1973 season to become head coach of the University of Iowa and later coached at GlenOak High School, for which their field was later named.

This year’s hardnose award winner is Willtrell Hartson, the Tigers’ record-setting running back, who led his team this year to a 12-2 record and playoff regional championship.  Willtrell received the award from George Mizer, this year’s president of the Touchdown Club.

Hartson burst onto the Massillon football scene as a sophomore running back in 2020 against Canton McKinley, as a replacement for the injured Raekwon Venson.  A little used backup prior to the game, Hartson proceeded to rush for 188 yards and scored two touchdowns in a 35-7 victory.  He continued to excel throughout the playoffs and finished the year with 1,110 yards (8.0 ave.), with nearly all coming in the final seven games of the season.  He also scored 13 touchdowns.  For his performance he was named Honorable Mention All-Ohio.

His junior year was hampered by an injury and he only played in six games.  But he did manage to rush for 831 yards (7.3 ave.) and score 9 touchdowns.

Hartson , now at 5′-10″, 200 lbs.,  had a breakout year this past season, rushing for 2,042 yards (6.1 ave) and scoring 31 touchdowns, while tying or breaking many records along the way.  With his speed, power, and deceptive cutting ability, and the attributes to run the ball both inside and out, he became the main focus of the offense, accounting for 41% of the total yardage production and 42% of the points scored.  He was recently named All-Stark County and All-Northeast Inland District.  Hartson is also a team co-captain.

Here are Hartson’s many record book accomplishments:

  • Single game rushing yards – 324 vs. Westerville South in 2020 (1st); 287 vs. Warren Harding in 2021 (3rd); 274 vs. Austintown Fitch in 2022 (5th)
  • Single game rushing attempts – 40 vs. Austintown Fitch in 2022 (tied for 3rd); 40 vs. Uniontown Lake in 2022 (tied for 3rd)
  • Single game rushing yards per attempt – 15.1 vs. North Canton in 2020 (tied for 8th)
  • Single game rushing touchdowns – 4 vs. North Canton in 2020 (tied for 10th); 4 vs. Warren Harding in 2021 (tied for 10th); 4 vs. Austintown Fitch in 2022 (tied for 10th)
  • Single season rushing yards – 2,042 in 2022 (1st) *
  • Single season rushing attempts – 334 in 2022 (2nd)
  • Single season rushing yards per game – 145.9 in 2022 (2nd)
  • Single season rushing touchdowns – 31 in 2022 (2nd)
  • Single season touchdowns – 34 (tied for 1st) *
  • Single season points – 208 (2nd)
  • Career rushing yards – 3,983 (2nd)
  • Career rushing attempts – 586 (2nd)
  • Career rushing yards per game – 132.8 (1st) *
  • Career rushing touchdowns – 53 (2nd)
  • Career touchdowns – 56 (2nd)
  • Career points – 340 (3rd)

*Notes:

  • The record for single season rushing yards was previously held by Travis McGuire, who rushed for 1,976 yards in 1991.
  • The record for single season rushing touchdowns is held jointly with Edwin “Dutch” Hill, who scored 34 touchdowns in 1922.
  • The record for career rushing yards per game was previously held by Homer Floyd, who rushed for 118.5 yards per game in 1952-54.

Left to right: Hardnose Award winner Willtrell Hartson, Touchdown Club President George Mizer, Head Coach Nate Moore, Assistant Coach and previous Hardnose Award winner Bo Grunder, defensive lineman Marcus Moore and long snapper Angelo Salvino.

Willtrell Hartson receiving the Hardnose Award from Bo Grunder.

Willtrell Hartson and family

Head Coach Nate Moore with Willtrell Hartson.

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo

2022 Booster Club Report – Week 15 – Post-Akron…

Massillon lost to Akron Hoban (14-1) in the state semifinals, 41-20.  Hoban advances to the state finals to face Toledo Central Catholic (14-1).

GAME STORY

PLAYOFF BRACKET

“It’s really tough,” Head Coach Nate Moore said about the loss.  “What it came down to was our inability to gain first downs.”  The Tigers were successful on first downs 67% of the time, against a season average of 81%.  Most of that difficulty was on account of Hoban blitzing the entire front-7 on every play, which closed off all the running lanes and put tremendous pressure on the quarterback.  The Knights traditionally blitz a lot, but once they were up by 14 points, this became a steady diet.

“I thought our defense played well,” said Moore.  “But they were on the field a long time against an offensive team like that.  We have phenomenal kids and they played their hearts out for Massillon.  I’m proud of our kids.  It’s tough to end the season like that.  It’s tough to process that.”

The guest players were senior running back Willtrell Hartson, junior defensive lineman Chase Bond and junior offensive lineman Evan Sirgo.  The players said that Hoban played more physically, were better disciplined and just wanted it more.  They felt that they needed to win the line of scrimmage as a group and didn’t do that.

Player stats:

  • Running back Willtrell Hartson: 19 carries for 66 yards and 1 touchdown.  Also caught a touchdown pass.
  • Quarterback Jalen Slaughter: 15 of 32 for 200 yards and 1 touchdown.
  • Wide receiver Braylyn Toles: 10 receptions for 125 yards.
  • Wide receiver Kyler Wiggins: 3 receptions for 43 yards.
  • Safety De’Airre Pringle: 11.5 tackle points (9-5)
  • Inside linebacker Dorian Pringle: 5.0 tackle points (4-2); 1.5 tackles-for-loss
  • Inside linebacker Cody Fair: 5.0 tackle points (4-2); fumble recovery

Massillon closes out the season with a record of 12-2 (61-9 over the past eight years).  Although the Tigers fell short of their ultimate goal of winning a state championship, they were not without many accomplishments.  Here’s a summary:

Playoffs: Massillon played in its 6th consecutive regional finals game, defeating Uniontown Lake 24-6;  it was the Tigers’ 15th regional championship (5th in the last 6 years), which is third highest mark in the state among D1 and D2 schools, behind Cincinnati Moeller and Cleveland St. Ignatius; the Tigers lost in the Division 2 state semifinals 41-20 to Akron Hoban, the eventual state champion.

Youth: Massillon fielded one of its youngest teams ever with just four seniors starting on offense and three on defense; in addition, six starters were sophomores.

McKinley: The Bulldogs were defeated for the seventh consecutive time; The Tigers have now won 11 wins of the last 12 games.

Lakewood St. Edward: Quarterback Jalen Slaughter connected with Braylyn Toles on a 24-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds remaining in the game to pull out an upset victory over St. Edward, 31-28; it was St. Ed’s only regular season loss; the Eagles, ranked in the Top 50 nationally and No. 1 in Ohio at the time, went on to play for the Division 1 state championship.

Austintown Fitch: Massillon handed Fitch their only loss of the regular season, 49-28.

Middletown, Delaware: The Tigers defeated the No. 1 team in Delaware, 42-24.

Strength of Schedule: Tiger opponents compiled a record of 115 wins against 56 losses, a winning percentage of 67.4%; excluding Massillon games, the winning percentage was 72.9%; of the seven Ohio teams on the schedule, six qualified for the playoffs and each won at least one game, except for GlenOak, which lost to McKinley.

Federal League: The Tigers finished 4-0 against Federal League teams, including wins over co-champions McKinley and Lake, GlenOak and Perry.

Player Records: Running back Willtrell Hartson set or tied several records, including those for single season yards rushing (Travis McGuire, 1991), single season total touchdowns (Edwin Hill, 1922), single season total points (Edwin Hill, 1922) and career rushing yards per game (broke own record); linebacker Dorian Pringle set a new single-season record for tackles-for-loss (Caiden Woulard, 2019) and tackles-for-loss yards (Stefan Laury, 2011); the defense set new records for tackles-for-loss (2005) and tackles-for-loss yards (2021).

Winning streak: Following a season-opening loss to Moeller, Massillon racked up 12 victories in a row.

Grades: The football team ended the first grading period with a 3.55 GPA; Moore believes that a high GPA reflects maximum effort in the classroom and translates into high performance on the football field.

All-time wins: Head Coach Nate won his 81st game, against Canal Winchester, overtaking Paul Brown in this category.  Brown posted a record of 80-8-2.  Moore’s record currently stands at 83-22.

On January 4 the players will regroup and begin preparations for the 2023 season.  Owing to the youth of the 2022 squad, the Tigers will return quite a few starters including:

  • 1 quarterback
  • 1 fullback
  • 1 tight end
  • 2 wide receivers (with 3 regular replacements)
  • 3 offensive linemen
  • 2 defensive linemen (with 2 regular replacements)
  • All 4 linebackers (with 1 regular replacement)
  • 1 cornerback (with 1 regular replacement)
  • 1 safety
  • 2 kickers / 1 punter
  • 3 kickoff returners / 2 punt returners

In addition, the running back position is well-stocked for replacing Hartson.

Moore continues to finalize the schedule for next year and will hold a press conference sometime in December to formally announce it.  Confirmed though is a football classic in Week 1 at PBTS with Massillon facing an out-of-state team on Friday, with three other Ohio teams playing out-of-state opponents on Saturday.  Other opponents expected to return to the schedule include Canton GlenOak (H), Mansfield (H), Austintown Fitch (A), Warren Harding (H) and Canton McKinley (A).

The football banquet will be held on December 15th at St. George’s Church.  Doors will open at 5:30 and dinner will be served at 6:00 pm.  Awards will follow.  The cost is $30.00.  Tickets can be obtained from Bill Brown at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm and at the Washington High School Ticket Office. Tickets go on sale to player parents on November 29th.  Tickets for the general public will be available starting Monday, December 5th.

Go  Tigers!

 

2022: Akron Hoban 41, Massillon 20

Hoban, Sperling Too Much for Massillon in State Semifinal Loss

STATS

BRACKET

In high school football a single player can turn a good team into a great one, mostly through his individual performance, but often just by being on the field.  That was the case in Akron Hoban’s win over Massillon in the Division II state semifinals, which played at The University of Akron’s Infocision Stadium in front of an estimated 8,000 fans.  Lamar Sperling, the heir-apparent for Ohio’s Mr. Football award, rushed for 226 yards and scored four touchdowns to lead his team to a 41-20 victory.  But he also had a big impact in the passing game, in spite of not catching a pass.

Over the past several years, the Tigers have been extremely stingy against the run.  Not only do they have athletic players in the front-7, they also get the safeties involved in run support, which is a big part of this scheme.  Knowing the talent possessed by Sperling, the safeties were surely needed to keep the speedster in check.  So they played closer to the line of scrimmage than normal.  And it worked well at the beginning.  Except, with the safeties cheating up, it made the secondary vulnerable to the deep pass.  That’s the tradeoff.  So, on Hoban’s second possession, JacQai Long, a 5-star recruit from West Virginia, faked a handoff to Sperling on play-action, which froze the safeties.  He then delivered an easy toss to a wide-open slot receiver Deon Rogers for 50-yard touchdown.  The safeties, of course, had bit on the fake and were not in position to cover.

On the Knight’s next series, they did the same thing, this time to Jalen Crable for a 64-yard touchdown.  Now, Massillon was forced to play both safeties deeper, which of course opened up the edge for Sperling.  It just wasn’t a good matchup now, especially against Hoban’s 311 lb. offensive line.  Such was the impact of Sperling on the entire defense.

Those two plays put the Tigers in a 14-0 hole and they were forced to play from behind, something you don’t want to do against a good team.

Offensively, Massillon had hoped to establish the run and throw when necessary.  But Hoban game-planned to take away the run and force Jalen Slaughter, the sophomore quarterback, to beat them with his arm.  In essence, the Knights covered each wide receiver man-to-man, with a single safety over the top, cheating over toward Ardell Banks.  The remaining players they committed to the box to stop the run.  In essence, they always had more defenders to block that available blockers.

In addition, on EVERY play they blitzed the house, giving Slaughter little time to set up, while closing off all the running lanes.  In the end, they limited 2,000 rusher Willtrell Hartson to just 58 yards on 20 carries and forced three pass interceptions out of Slaughter, who completed 15 of 32 passes for 200 yards,while nimbly avoided the sack for the most part.  Fortunately, Massillon found some passing routes that worked in the second half and were able to put up a couple scores.  Nine of the receptions went to sophomore Braylyn Toles, who totaled 135 yards, most often on skinny post routes, as he was able to blow past the cornerback.

The Tiger offense was completely stymied throughout the first quarter, but started to get untracked in the second with a nice touchdown drive.  Hartson finished it off with 20-yard run off an outside zone play.  Left tackle Marcus Moore effectively sealed the edge and Hartson was able to easily turn the corner, quickly threading his way through the Hoban secondary and into the end zone.  The PAT failed, making the score 14-6.

Hoban followed that up with an 11-yard touchdown run by Sperling, making the halftime score 21-6.  The score was set up by a long catch-and-run pass completion to Crable.

In the third quarter, the Tigers scored again when Dorian Pringle went over from the seven and Slaughter converted a 2-point PAT with a pass to Ja’Meir Gamble.  The score was now 21-14 and the Tigers certainly were in it.

But the defense appeared to tire.  And it didn’t help that offensive tackle Sam Snodgrass could not go due to an injury in the Lake game and Marcus Moore was required to play both ways.  But he hung in there, while taking few breaks.

Nevertheless, the Knights dominated the rest of the way on Sperling runs both inside and outside.  Massillon did manage to sneak in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Slaughter to Hartson, during which Willtrell literally stole the ball from the defender in the end zone.  Meanwhile, Sperling tallied three more TDs, including a long one of 55 yards.

Hoban (13-1) will now face Toledo Central Catholic (13-1) next Thursday in the state finals at Benson Stadium.  Toledo defeated Kings 52-49 in the other semifinal game to advance.  For each of these teams, their only loss was against Lake St. Edward, which will play in the Division I finals next Friday.  Massillon bows out at 12-2, having won their 15th playoff regional title and their fifth in the past six years.

Strangely, beating St. Edward comes back to haunt Massillon football vs. Hoban in OHSAA state semifinal

 

By Steve Doerschuk, The Repository

AKRON — In terms of raw postseason winning, these are the good old days for Massillon football.

In terms of raw satisfaction, the Tigers keep ending on the note of a Rolling Stones tune dating to before the OHSAA playoffs were born 50 years ago.

They try. And they try. They succeed quite a bit. In the end, they can’t get any satisfaction.

In the frigid final moments of a 41-20 loss to Akron Hoban on Friday night, quarterback Jalen Slaughter turned the open end of his orange helmet toward a blast roaring from a tubular heat blower.

Slaughter had another series to play. He popped his warmed helmet on. But it was too late.

He was replaced at the heat blower by a teammate, who sighed and said, “Maybe next year.”

Akron Hoban, 14-1, advanced to Thursday’s state finals in Canton, against Toledo Central Catholic. Massillon, 12-2, dropped the Division II semifinal in front of an estimated 8,000 at the University of Akron.

“We have a great group of kids who played their tails off all year,” Massillon head coach Nate Moore. “I’m proud of them.”

It seemed plenty plausible the 50th anniversary of the start of Ohio’s playoff system could bring the Tigers their first tournament championship.

Their 12-game winning streak featured a 31-28 win over defending Division I state champ Lakewood St. Edward. It was St. Ed’s only 2022 loss, and the Eagles are back in the D-I title game after trouncing Gahanna Lincoln 31-7 Friday.

Hoban, on the other hand, fell 41-20 to St. Edward in a regular-season finale.

“Our heads were really big at the time we were going into the St. Ed game,” Hoban head coach Tim Tyrrell said. “I talked to them all week about the difference between being arrogant and confident. We were arrogant.

“Our coaches get mad at me for saying this, but St. Ed needed to whip our butt. If we had beat Ed’s, I don’t know if we’d be here at right now.

“And I think it helped St. Ed that that Massillon beat them. Ed’s has not looked like that since then. Sometimes undefeated is not the best thing.”

Did somebody mention good old days?

At the 40th anniversary of the OHSAA playoffs, when Massillon competed exclusively in the OHSAA’s big-school division, the program’s postseason record was 27-20.

Across the last 10 seasons, since the Tigers went to Division II, the record is 25-9.

Few in Ohio in any division have been as hot as the Tigers, who have won 23 postseason games across the last six years under Moore.

“We can definitely play with anybody,” Moore said. “We had to go out and play well tonight. We just didn’t play well enough.

“Credit to Hoban. They’re really good.”

The Tigers struggled against two Hoban seniors, Ohio Mr. Football finalist Lamar Sperling and 6-foot-3 receiver Jayvian Crable. Through three decisive quarters, Sperling had 226 rushing yards; Crable had 139 receiving yards.

Crable transferred from Massillon to Hoban before the 2020 season. The son of former Massillon All-Ohioan Shawn Crable, Jayvian Crable played quarterback last year before transfer JacQai Long claimed the position this year.

“JacQai is a really good quarterback,” said Crable, whose 2022 positions are receiver and linebacker. “It was great playing against Massillon and some guys who are my friends, but the goal was to get to the state championship game. That’s all I was thinking about the whole time.”

The Tigers fell to 1-3 in playoff games against 10th-year Hoban pilot Tyrell, who has a slight connection to Tigertown. It traces to Lee Tressel, who was Massillon’s head coach in 1956 and ’57.

Lee’s son Jim was two weeks short of his fifth birthday when Joe Sparma ran for a touchdown and threw for another in Massillon’s win over McKinley in the ’57 season finale.

 

 

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo

2022 Booster Club Report – Week 14 – Post-Uniontown…

Massillon (12-1) defeated Uniontown Lake (12-2), 24-6, to run their winning streak to 12 games and advance in the playoffs.  It was all-time win No. 932, which ranks 3rd in the nation.  The Tigers will play next against Akron Hoban (13-1) in the state semi finals, this Friday at 7:00 pm at The University of Akron’s Infocision Stadium.

GAME STORY

PLAYOFF BRACKET

Uniontown Lake

Massillon captured its 15th all-time regional playoff title in a game played at Parma Byers Field. The halftime lead was only 9-0, but could have much greater, save for a stop at the one yard line on their first possession and a fumble at the five near the end of the half.  Nevertheless, Massillon was in control for the entire game and had it salted away midway through the fourth when quarterback Jalen Slaughter connected with Dorian Pringle on a 5-yard touchdown pass.

The playing conditions were miserable for the players, who were forced to battle the sub-freezing cold, a 20 mph wind and an icy playing surface.  “The field was full of ice,” said Head Coach Nate Moore, who thought the game managers could have scraped it one more time before kickoff.  “It was a dangerous playing surface.  And it’s not nice to be tackled on.  The cold was not a big deal, but the wind was.  The wind was affecting the ball differently on each side of the field.”  So, the Tigers were limited to the most part with tag screens to the sidelines.  But in spite of those constraints, the Tigers still managed to roll up 293 yards of offense. But they did it more by tip-toeing to stay upright rather than all-out running.

“I’m really proud of our guys, taking on the Federal League Player of the Year and the Federal League Coach of the Year,” said Moore in jest.  “We couldn’t have started any better,” Moore remarked more seriously, referring to Zach Liebler’s 40-yard kickoff return to midfield to start the game.  Although the Tigers were stopped at the one yard line on their first drive, they tackled Lake in the end zone for a safety on their initial play after taking over the ball.  After the kick from the 20, they then they drove 49 yards in ten plays to go up 7-0, all while consuming the remaining time in the first quarter.  “We just continued to play,” said Moore.  “The defense had an unbelievable game.  Very dominant in a regional final.”

Willtrell Hartson led all rushers with 40 carries for 175 yards a touchdown.  His season total now stands at 1,976 yards, which ties Travis McGuire, who set the record in 1991.  But let’s not forget Pringle in this phase of the game, who time and again entered on 3rd and short to help his team to a first down.

Meanwhile, the defense ruled the night, holding the Blue Streaks to 65 total yards, with zero yards gained on the ground.  Lake’s lone touchdown came late in the game against the second team.  The defense also recorded seven tackles-for-loss, which brings their season total to 106, setting a new Massillon team record.  The previous record was held by the 2005 team, which advanced to the Division 1 state finals.  They are also one quarterback sack shy of tying that record, also set in 2005.

Guest players were Christian Kring, Cody Fair, Ardell Banks and De’Airre Pringle.

Stat leaders:

  • Running back Willtrell Hartson: 40 attempts for 175 yards and 1 touchdown
  • Running back Dorian Pringle: 13 carries for 46 yards and 1 touchdown; 1 receiving touchdown
  • Quarterback Jalen Slaughter: 11 for 17 for 52 yards and 1 touchdown
  • Wide receiver Kyler Wiggins: 9 receptions for 46 yards
  • Linebacker Dorian Pringle: 4.5 (3-3) tackle points
  • Safety Ryan Page: 4.0 (4-0) tackle points
  • Linebacker Cody Fair: 4.0 (2-4) tackle points; 1.0 tackles-for-loss
  • Special teams player Zach Liebler: kickoff return for 40 yards

Akron Hoban

Hoban finished first in Region 5 with a 9-1 record and is currently 13-1.  Their lone loss was a 41-20 setback in Week 10 to Lake St. Edward, a team that Massillon defeated 31-28 in Week 5.  Their regular season signature win this year came against Walsh Jesuit (8-3), 32-20.  They average 40 points per game and give up 14.  The offense is led by running back running Lamar Sperling, who last week against Hudson rushed 34 times for 256 yards and five touchdowns.

Playoff wins were as follows:

  • Willoughby South (4-7): 57-14
  • Barberton (7-5): 31-13
  • Akron St. Vincent (8-4): 47-7
  • Hudson (13-1): 41-7

According to Moore, this is a very good football team with a lot of good players.  Very good up front, with an all-state caliber running back.

On offense, the Knights use several formations, including a lot of bunch sets, where two fullbacks and a wide receiver line up on the edge of the offensive line to create massive interference for the running back on a toss sweeps.  They will also use an alignment whereby Sperling lines up in the pistol with a running back on either side of the quarterback.

Obviously, the offense revolves around 2000-yard rusher Sperling (5-10, 190).  He is a great running back.  As good as Massillon has seen this year.  Very active feet.  Strong and fast.  Will need to gang tackle him.  Will also line up at wide receiver and become the primary target.  So, the Tigers will need to know where he is on every play.  Sperling has committed to Buffalo.

The quarterback is 5-star recruit junior Jacqai Long (6-2, 195), a recent transfer from West Virginia.  He replaces senior Jayvian Crable, who struggled at the position last year.  Long has good arm strength and accuracy.  Athletic and will run some.  He is very effective at what he does (mostly giving the ball to Sperling).

The Knights use four wide receivers.  The best among them is Crable (6-2), 210.  He has very good hands, is big and strong and runs good routes with decent speed.

The offensive line is good as a group, with the best player being senior right guard Drew Holt (6-1, 285).  Right Tackle junior William Satterwhite (6-5, 290) has offers from Kentucky, Michigan State and Pittsburgh.  The line averages 6′-3″, 311 lbs.

The defense aligns in a 4-3 with cover-2.  When two receivers are on one side of the field, they drop a safety down into press coverage against the slot and go to cover-1.  The strength of the defense is the front-7.  Expect a blitz around 30% of the time.

The best player on the defense line is 4-year starter senior Jason Martin (5-11, 295).  He plays like a bigger version of Massillon’s Mike Wright Jr.  Comes off the ball well and is a good at penetrating the line.  The group averages 6′-1″, 253 lbs.

Two linebackers stand out.  The Sam is junior Caleb Jones (5-9, 180), who will play both inside and outside.  He is physical, a great tackler and has quick reactions.  The Mike is junior Rickey Williams (6-1, 220).  He is physical and plays downhill.  A good tackler.

The best defensive back is junior Tysen Campbell (5-11, 170), who has offers from  Michigan and Kentucky.

Massillon is considered the home team for this game.  However, fans will sit on the visitors side.

Massillon

The Tigers with their 12-1 record are bidding for their 25th state title and first since the playoffs were initiated in 1972.  They participated in the playoff state finals in six previous years, losing three times in Division 1 (1980, 1982, 2005) and three times in Division 2 (2018, 2018, 2020).  They average 37 points per game and give up 15.  On offense, they are successful on third down conversions 50% of the time, which is the best all-time performance in at least the last twenty years.  Defensively, Massillon holds opponents to 2.6 yards per rushing attempt, the Tigers’ best all-time mark during the era of the spread offense.

Massillon is led by senior running back Willtrell Hartson, who has gained 1,976 yards (6.3 ave.) and scored 30 rushing touchdowns.  Sophomore quarterback Jalen Slaughter has completed 124 of 222 passes (56%) for 1,843 yards and 23 touchdowns.  Three players have caught at least 30 passes: senior Ardell Banks (33-779-12), sophomore Braylyn Toles (33-441-5) and junior Kyler Wiggins (31-331-2).  The leading tackler is junior Dorian Pringle, who has 63.5 (45-37) tackle points, 18.0 tackles-for-loss, 5.5 quarterback sacks and one fumble recovery.  Other defenders recording excellent tackle numbers include junior Cody Fair (58.5), junior Ryan Page (57.5), and senior De’Airre Pringle (52.0).  Hartson and Banks have several Division 1 offers, while defensive lineman Marcus Moore has accepted an offer from The University of Akron.