Game Summaries

Week 1 – Cincinnati Moeller – Lost 49-31.  Crusader quarterback Luke Dunn completed 10 of 15 passes for 259 yards and four touchdowns and running back Jordan Marshall added 139 yards and three touchdowns.  It was evident through the many defensive miscues throughout the game that inexperience was the biggest factor impacting the Tigers.  Nevertheless, they were still in the game going into the fourth quarter.  On a bright note, Massillon running back Willtrell Hartson rushed for 126 yards and scored four touchdowns.

Week 2 – at Canton GlenOak – Won 35-7.  Massillon started slowly, but finished strong, with the first team defense pitching a shutout.  Willtrell Hartson had another fine outing, rushing for 158 yards and scoring three touchdowns.  Meanwhile, the defense held the Golden Eagles just 51 yards on the ground.

Week 3 – at Mansfield – Won 33-0.  The Tigers showed continuous improvement in blanking the Tygers, a Division 3 playoff-bound team.  Massillon scored 21 points in the first half and coasted home the rest of the way.  Quarterback Jalen Slaughter completed 10 of 16 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns.  The defense held Mansfield to 95 total yards, including negative 30 on the ground.

Week 4 – Warren Harding – Won 41-12.  Warren’s quarterback Dalys Jett broke loose for an 85-yard touchdown run on the game’s opening play, but it was all Massillon after that, as they ended the half up 27-7.  Willtrell  Hartson eclipsed 100  yards for the fourth consecutive game.  Jalen Slaughter had his best performance of the season, completing 14 of 19 passes for 248 yards and four touchdowns, two to Ardell Banks and one to Braylyn  Toles.  Each caught six passes.

Week 5 – Lakewood St. Edward – Won 31-28.  Massillon’s victory over Ohio’s No. 1 team was the biggest upset in the state.  The game was a shootout of two high-powered offenses, with the Tigers  putting up 421 yards to the Eagles 395.  With the Tigers down 28-25 and less than two minutes remaining in the game, linebacker Dorian Pringle stripped the St. Eds running back of the ball and then recovered it to give his team new life.  A few plays later, Jalen Slaughter connected with Braylyn Toles on a perfectly thrown 24-yard touchdown pass to grab the victory.

Week 6 – Austintown Fitch – Won 49-28.  In another shootout, the Tigers needed 456 yards of offense to put the game away.  In the way was the Falcon’s Deshawn Vaugn Jr., who found the range in the passing game by completing 16 of  23 for 266 yards and three touchdowns.  But the Raider ground game netted just 49 yards and that made all the difference in the end.  Willtrell Hartson had a Top-10 night, rushing 40 times for 274 yards and four touchdowns, as the Tigers kept it on the ground for nearly the entire game.

Week 7 – Middletown DE – Won 42-24.  The Cavaliers entered the contest as the No. 1 team in Delaware and they showed why offensively.  But defense was a different animal, as they couldn’t stop Massillon’s balanced attack.  The Tigers rushed for 225 and passed for 148 and opened up a 35-12 lead late in the third quarter.  Willtrell Hartson led all rushers with 198 yards and scored three touchdowns.  Jalen Slaughter was 10 of 18 for 146 yards and three scores, two to Ardell Banks.  Ryan Page had 7.5 tackles.

Week 8 – Canisius, NY – Won  42-7.  The Crusaders were having an uncharacteristically down year and the Tigers took full advantage.  By early in the third quarter Massillon had put up 35 points, moving the ball at will.  Jalen Slaughter threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers and Willtrell Hartson recorded his seventh consecutive 100-yard night.  The defense had ten tackles-for-loss.

Week – 9 – Open date.

Week 10 – Canton McKinley – Won  23-13.  This one wasn’t  as close as the score indicated.  Nevertheless, the Tigers defeated the Bulldogs for the seventh consecutive time and eleventh time in the last twelve games.  Defense ruled the day as Massillon held their counterpart to 26 yards on the ground, with stellar running back Nino Hill gaining just 27.  It was the ninth straight 100-yard game for Willtrell Hartson (35-131-2).  Jalen Slaughter was 10 of 14 for 157 yards and a touchdown to Ardell Banks, who caught four passes.  Braylyn Toles also caught four balls.  McKinley’s two scores came in the air, the first with five seconds left in the first half and the second with 2:41 left in the game.

Week 11 – Massillon Perry – Won 48-7.  The Tigers opened the playoffs with a rout of their neighborhood rival.  A running clock was in effect from the middle of the third quarter on.  Perry did gain some yardage off their vaunted wing-T attack, but were held to a mere 24 yards in the air.  Meanwhile, Massillon put up 410 yards of offense.  Ardell Banks caught six passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns, including a 72-yarder to open the game.

Week 12 – Canal Winchester – Won 34-0.  Once again, defense proved to be difference, with Big Walnut managing just four first downs, 59 yards rushing and 3 yards passing.   It was 20-0 at the half and the outcome pretty much decided at that point.  The backups got plenty of action.

Week 13 – Big Walnut – Won 42-21.  The Eagles surprised the Tigers with a 92-yard kickoff return to start the game and then kicked a field goal after a Massillon pass interception to open a 9-0 lead.  But by early in the third quarter, it was 28-9 with the Tigers in complete control.  The offense was led by Willtrell Hartson, who rushed 29 times for 241 yards and scored three touchdowns.  Jalen Slaughter tossed three touchdowns passes, two to Braylyn Toles and one to Ardell Banks.  The defense recorded 12.0 tackles-for-loss, Top-10 all-time.

Week 14 – Uniontown Lake – Won 24-6.  The cold, wind and icy playing surface kept this one from getting out of hand.  Although the Tigers held the Blue Streaks to zero yards on the ground and 65 yards in the air, they just couldn’t get consistently in their offense, owing to the skating rink field.  Nevertheless, Massillon captured their 15th all-time regional title.  Willtrell Hartson rushed for 175 yards and scored a touchdown.  Dorian Pringle scored twice.  Kyler Wiggins caught nine passes from Jalen Slaughter, mostly of the tag screen variety.

Week 15 – Akron Hoban – Lost 41-20.  In the state semifinal game, Massillon fell behind early 14-0 and was forced to play catch-up the rest of the game.  In spite of closing the margin to 21-14 with four minutes remaining in the third quarter, they couldn’t stop Hoban’s speedy All-Ohio and Mr. Football running back Lamar Sperling, who carried the ball 40 times for 316 yards and scored four touchdowns.  Tiger quarterback Jalen Slaughter completed 15 of 32 passes for 200 yards and a touchdown.  Running back Willtrell Hartson scored twice, on a 20-yard run and a 20-yard pass reception.  But the Knights held Hartson to just 66 yards with their blitzing defense, the first time all year that he was kept under 100 yards.