2023 Season Outlook

Under ninth-year Head Coach Nate Moore Massillon has won 61 of its last 70 games in a span of five years and advanced to the state championship finals three times.  Last season, playing in Division 2, the Tigers compiled a record of 12-2, which included a victory over Division 1 state champion Cleveland St. Ignatius.  The two losses were to Division 1 regional champion Cincinnati Moeller and to Akron Hoban in the Division 2 state semifinals.

This season, with the return of eight starters on each side of the ball, the Tigers are setting their sites on a seventh trip to the state championship game.  Coach Moore has assembled an extremely challenging schedule with which to prepare his charges for post-season play.  It starts with an opener against Valdosta, Georgia, the winningest program in the country.  Later, they will face a pair of USA Top-25 teams in Lakewood St. Edward and St. John College, from D.C.  And, of course, the Tigers will wrap up the season against their traditional rival, the Canton McKinley Bulldogs.  Other opponents, such as Middletown, Delaware, and Austintown Fitch, will also present excellent challenges.

Jalen Slaughter

The offense will be quarterbacked by 3rd year starter junior Jalen Slaughter, who completed 139 of 254 passes (55%) for 2,043 yards and 24 touchdowns.  Newcomer senior Daone Owens is also expected to see action at the position.  Returning at the receiver spots are junior Braylyn Toles, who caught a team-high 43 passes for 566 yards and 5 TDs, plus senior Kyler Wiggins, who was in the No. 3 position with 34 catches for 374 yards and 2 TDs.  Several other players are also expected to be major contributors, including senior Zach Liebler and juniors Ja’Meir Gamble, Ricardo Wells, Joseph Musleve, Jacques Carter and Chris Louis.

Three players saw significant time at running back.  Senior Dorian Pringle was a regular when called upon for short yardage.  He rushed 54 times for 298 yards (5.5/att.) and 6 touchdowns.  Playing in backup roles were junior Peytton Mitchell (43-263-6.1, 3 TDs) and junior Mylen Lenix (34-237-7.0, 4 TDs).  These three, along with sophomore Jadyn Williams are expected to share duties this year, as no featured runner is currently in the plan.

The offensive line boasts an uncharacteristic amount of depth for a high school team and is expected to be extremely talented and experienced this year.  Up to twelve players may challenge for the 8-player rotation.  The line will be anchored by several returning starters, including senior Sam Snodgrass (6-0, 280), senior All-Ohioan Evan Sirgo (6-3, 240), senior Brady Jones (6-2, 240), senior Seth Voshel (5-10, 240) and junior Michael Looney (5-11, 270).  Others challenging for starting positions include juniors Jaezen Lewis (6-6, 315), Nolan Davenport (6-6, 230), Gavin Kappes (5-10, 270) and Andrew Brumfield (5-10, 225).

Expect the offense to once again be run-oriented, but it does have a wealth of talent in the skill positions to open it up when needed.  Last season they averaged 35 points and 355 yards per game, rushing for 5.3 yards per attempt.

In the front spots of the 3-4 defense are three returning starters, including senior Chase Bond (6-4, 245), senior Malachi Card (6-2, 225) and junior Michael Wright Jr. (5-11, 280), a 3rd year starter who recorded 13.5 tackles-for-loss and six quarterback sacks.  Senior Isaiah McElroy (5-10, 300) also saw some time at the position.

The entire linebacker corps returns.  This group is led by 1st Team All-Ohioan senior Dorian Pringle (6-0, 220), who led the team in tackles from his inside linebacker position, with 5.35 tackle points per game.  He also recorded 21.5 tackles-for-loss.  Paired with him is senior Cody Fair (6-1, 223), who was second in total tackles and had 13.5 tackles-for-loss.  Backing up will be senior Shon Robinson.  The outside linebackers will be rotated from among senior Maverick Clark (6-2, 210), senior Brandon Carman (5-10, 225) (6.5 quarterback sacks) and junior Vito McConnell (6-3, 200).

The secondary returns two starters in senior cornerback Zach Liebler and senior safety Ryan Page.  Also seeing some action last year were senior Adonis Marshall at corner and junior Tyler Hackenbracht at safety.

Junior Matt Keller returns to handle the placekicking chores.

The Tiger defense is expected to be extremely physical on the line, aggressive at linebacker and quick in the secondary.  Last season the defense gave up just 3.0 yards per rush and more of the same is expected this time around.

In the playoffs this year, the Tigers are favored to win their region, but will face stiff competition beyond that from Akron Hoban, Avon, Cincinnati Winton Woods.

“We’re looking forward to a tough schedule,” said Moore.  “This is Massillon.  That’s what we want.  We couldn’t be more excited about our schedule.”