Tag: <span>2018 OHSAA Playoffs</span>


2018: Massillon 41, Cincinnati Winton Woods 20

Massillon tops Winton Woods, heading to Division II title game

Nov 23, 2018 10:54 PM

GAHANNA Massillon faced an early deficit. It faced a second-half comeback. It faced injury to one of its best players.

Now, the Tigers will face three-time state champion Archbishop Hoban for the Division II state championship.

Massillon earned its first trip to the title game since 2005 thanks to a 41-20 victory over Winton Woods on Friday night at Gahanna’s Wilbur C. Strait Stadium. It is the Tigers’ fourth title-game appearance, and first in Division II.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” said Massillon coach Nate Moore, whose team scored 26 straight points in the second and third quarters to rally from a 10-0 deficit and improved to 14-0 while setting a school record for wins in a season. “They played a whale of a ballgame against a great football team. I’m really proud of them.

The Tigers will lock horns against the 14-0 Knights on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. To get there though, Massillon had to exert a bit of revenge on a nemesis from its recent past.

A year ago, Winton Woods overcame a 21-0 Tiger lead in the first half scored the final 56 points to win going away. A year later, the Warriors were the ones who were in possession of the early lead, only to see Massillon roar from behind.

“We’ve been waiting for them all season,” said cornerback Max Turner, whose 38-yard interception return for a touchdown with 21 seconds left in the first half capped a 19-0 Tiger second-quarter run. “I’m talking in the weight room, off-season, 15-for-15 was all for Winton Woods. We knew what it is.”

That didn’t mean Massillon wasn’t in for a little bit of early adversity.

Winton Woods led 10-0 after the first quarter thanks to a 36-yard Yeri Velasquez field goal and a 3-yard Miyan Williams rushing touchdown. The Tigers, meanwhile, had just two first downs and 39 total yards of offense in that same time.

“Just keep playing ball,” Moore said of his message to the team. “Just keep playing football. Keep playing football.”

Jamir Thomas would put Massillon on the board with a 15-yard touchdown run two minutes into the second quarter at 10-7. He would added a 1-yard run with 40 seconds left in the half to give the Tigers the lead for good at 13-10.

Thomas, who would leave the game late in the third quarter with an injury, ran for 83 yards on 12 carries.

Massillon would turn momentum totally on its side just 19 seconds later, when Turner’s pick-six provided it a 19-10 halftime lead. That lead would grow to 26-10 less than a minute into the third quarter when Aidan Longwell hit Tre’Von Morgan for a 58-yard touchdown.

Longwell finished 14-of-27 for 210 yards with one touchdown and one interception. That interception, with Massillon leading 26-13 in the third quarter, was the only crack Winton Woods could find to attempt to get back in the game.

After the pick, the Warriors faced a 3rd-and-29 from their own 24. MiChale Wingfield hit Williams on a screen pass for 75 yard to the Massillon 1.

On the next play, Williams scored his second touchdown of the night to pull Winton Woods within 26-20. Williams, who rushed for 2,742 yards over the first 13 games, finished with 82 rushing yards on 20 carries.

“I thought they did a great job,” Massillon defensive coordinator Craig McConnell said of the defense against Williams. “Honestly, our plan was, if we stop 28 (Williams), we win. I wouldn’t use the words that we stopped him, but limited him. He’s going to make his plays. He’s a great football player.”

With the Tigers’ own All-Ohio running back, Thomas, sidelined for the final quarter, the ball went to junior Zion Phifer. Phifer didn’t disappoint.

“I did it for the seniors,” said Phifer, who gained 76 of his 82 yards on 15 fourth-quarter carries. “When Jamir went down, we had no one else to come up but me. So I did it for me team.”

Phifer’s 13-yard run on the second play of the fourth quarter gave Massillon a two-score lead again at 34-20 after Longwell hit Dean Clark for a two-point conversion. His 1-yard run with 1:34 remaining in the game gave the Tigers a 41-20 lead.

A 21-point lead which Massillon rode into the Division II state championship game.


Reach Chris at 330-775-1128 or chris.easterling@indeonline.com

On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE


2018: Massillon 41, Wadsworth 19

Kickoff return keys Massillon’s return to the state semifinals
Nov 16, 2018 10:39 PM
Chris Easterling

NORTH CANTON Massillon was looking for something to help it get a little separation.

Almost two full quarters into Friday night’s Division II Region 7 championship game against Wadsworth, the Tigers were locked in a tie game. Every time they would seem to grab a bit of momentum, the Grizzlies had the answer.

That is, until the final three-plus minutes of the first half. That’s when Massillon grabbed the separation it needed to send it to its second consecutive regional championship with 41-19 victory in front of a capacity crowd at North Canton Memorial Stadium.

“I knew it was a big key in the game,” said senior Kyshad Mack, whose 82-yard kickoff return with 3:12 remaining in the first half gave the Tigers the lead for good at 17-10. “I went out and made a play for my brothers.”

Mack’s kickoff return was one of two Tiger touchdowns in the final 3:12 of the half. The other was a 12-yard Aidan Longwell-to-Jamir Thomas’ scoring pass with 17 seconds remaining, giving Massillon a 24-10 halftime lead.

The Grizzlies, who bow out at 12-1, would get no closer than 12 the remainder of the game. The Tigers, meanwhile, would use Mack’s return to key a 31-9 game-ending burst.

“The kickoff return was huge,” said Massillon coach Nate Moore, whose team now has the best start in school history at 13-0. “Then, to drive down the field and get a score there to push it to two scores there was big.”

Massillon’s state-semifinal matchup won’t be official until the Ohio High School Athletic Association announces it on Sunday afternoon. However, based upon the results of Friday’s Division II regional finals, it sets up the extreme likelihood of two rematches from a year ago in the final four, with the Tigers facing Winton Woods and three-time state champion Hoban meeting Avon.

Moore, whose team tied the 2005 state runner-up team for most wins in school history, wasn’t prepared to focus too much on the next opponent.

“I have a feeling how it’s going to go,” said Moore, whose team lost to the Warriors in last year’s state semifinals. “I think we’re going to have to wait and see what the OHSAA decides.”

With just under four minutes left in the first half on Friday, Massillon couldn’t afford to look ahead to the state semifinals. At that point in time, it was just trying to shake a very good Wadsworth team.

Massillon took leads of 7-0 and 10-7 in the first half thanks to a 53-yard Longwell-to-Jayden Ballard touchdown pass and a 32-yard Alex Bauer field goal. Wadsworth, though, would get a Trey Shaffer-to-Tyler Montgomery 20-yard pass and a 25-yard Blake Turano field goal to twice square the game.

Wadsworth finished the game with 394 total yards, the second-highest total of the season against Massillon. That included 244 rushing yards, 109 of those by Dom Loparo.

Brock Snowball added 91 yards on the ground for the Grizzlies.

Wadsworth, though, couldn’t get the game tied for a third time. After Mack’s return, the Tigers tried a pooch kick which they recovered, but were called for illegal touching to give Wadsworth the ball at the Massillon 46.

Four plays later, the Grizzlies faced a fourth-and-6 from the Tiger 9 and attempted a field goal. The kick fell short, giving Massillon the football back at its 20.

Ten plays later, the Tigers – who had 403 total yards – had the two-score lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Compounding the issue for Wadsworth was the fact its first second-half possession was stopped on downs at the Massillon 1.

“That was the plan,” Wadsworth coach Justin Todd said of making it a one-score game out of the half. “That’s what we needed to do. We needed to come out in the second half and we had to score. Unfortunately, we didn’t punch it in.”

The Grizzlies would get a safety on the subsequent play after the goal-line stand to pull within 24-12. However, their next drive was snuffed out by a Dean Clark interception at the Massillon 22.

The Tigers would turn their next two possessions into points, essentially removing all doubt. They would get a 33-yard Bauer field goal for a 27-12 lead, followed by a 24-yard Longwell-to-Clark pass for a 34-12 edge.

Longwell, who missed the last three quarters of the regional-semifinal win over Whitehall-Yearling with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder, showed no ill effects. The junior was 17-of-25 for a career-high 306 yards with four touchdowns.

“He played pretty well,” Moore said of Longwell. “He made a lot of good decisions out there and threw a lot of good balls. I’m proud of him.


Reach Chris at 330-775-1128 or chris.easterling@indeonline.com.

On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE

Massillon Tigers Letter Logo News

2018 OHSAA Playoffs: Division 2 Region 7 Semi-Final

Massillon Playoff Ticket Information:

The next playoff game will be Friday, November 9th, 2018 at 7:00 PM at Mansfield Arlin Field

All tickets will be general admission @ $8.00 for adults and students.



Wednesday, November 7th: PUBLIC SALES AT WHS TICKET OFFICE FROM 7:30 AM – 1:30 PM

Thursday, November 8th: PUBLIC SALES AT THE WHS TICKET OFFICE FROM 7:30 AM – 1:30 PM

Friday, November 9th: PUBLIC SALES AT THE WHS TICKET OFFICE FROM 7:30 AM – 1:30 PM

Directions to Mansfield Arlin Field – DIRECTIONS 

Division 2 Region 7 Playoff Bracket

Division 2 Regional Semi-Final Breakdown

Division II – Games at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9

Region 5
1 Akr. Archbishop Hoban (11-0) vs. 5 Garfield Hts. (11-0) at Hudson Memorial Stadium
2 Maple Heights (11-0) vs. 6 Painesville Riverside (9-2) at Mayfield Wildcat Stadium

Region 6
1 Tol. Central Catholic (11-0) vs. 4 Avon Lake (10-1) at Sandusky Perkins Firelands Regional Medical Center Stadium
2 Whitehouse Anthony Wayne (11-0) vs. 3 Avon (10-1) at Clyde  Robert J. Bishop Jr. Stadium

Region 7
1 Massillon Washington (11-0) vs. 5 Whitehall-Yearling (10-1) at Mansfield Arlin Stadium
7 Dresden Tri-Valley (10-1) vs. 3 Wadsworth (11-0) at Dover Crater Stadium

Region 8
1 Cin. Winton Woods (10-1) vs. 5 Morrow Little Miami (9-2) at Hamilton Virgil M. Schwarm Stadium
7 Cin. Anderson (8-3) vs. 3 Troy (10-1) at Miamisburg Holland Field


2018: Massillon 45, Columbus Walnut Ridge 14

Massillon pulls away in fourth to bury Walnut Ridge
Nov 02, 2018 10:35 PM

MASSILLON Kameron Simpson took the pass out of the air and took off running. By the time the senior linebacker crossed the goal line, he and his Massillon teammates were well on their way to Week 12.

That doesn’t mean Week 11 was as easy as Simpson’s 45-yard, game-sealing interception return for a touchdown on Friday. Yet, because of the Tigers’ ability to dominate the fourth quarter, they were able to pull away for a 45-14 Division II Region 7 quarterfinal win over Columbus Walnut Ridge at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“They say Week 11 is the toughest bump,” said Simpson, whose pick-6 with 19 seconds left assured Massillon its seventh running-clock finish in 11 games. “So, to go out here and grind it out with my brothers, and for all of us to do our jobs and keep it going, it’s a great feeling. Four more weeks until Week 15. We plan on winning it all.”

The Tigers, who are 11-0 for the first time since 1982, will continue their quest to “win it all” in a regional semifinal contest next week against No. 5-seeded Columbus Whitehall-Yearling at a site to be announced by the Ohio High School Athletic Association on Sunday. The Rams, 10-1 on the season, upset No. 4-seeded Dover 38-31 in another opening-round game on Friday.

Massillon, the region’s No. 1 seed, made sure it wasn’t a third top-four seed in the Region 7 to suffer a setback thanks to a 28-0 run over the final 16:24 of the game. That includes a 21-0 fourth-quarter burst which started with an Aidan Longwell 2-yard run on the first play of the quarter, and ended with Simspon’s touchdown return on its next-to-last play.

The Tigers only held a 112-90 edge in fourth-quarter yards, as they finished with 351 total yards to the Scots’ 256. However, Massillon’s 3-0 edge in scores was more than enough.

“We found a way to get the win,” Tigers coach Nate Moore said. “I’m proud of the guys for grinding it out. It wasn’t pretty, but we’ll certainly take it.”

Massillon won on a night where its vaunted running game was held to 134 yards on 34 rushing attempts, the second-fewest yards in a game this season (Louisville, 123 yards). Leading rushing Jamir Thomas was held to just 40 yards on 17 carries, although it was his 1-yard run with 4:24 remaining in the third quarter which started the Tigers’ game-ending run.

Zion Phifer led Massillon, which was held to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, with 85 yards on 13 carries. Phifer gave the Tigers the lead for good at 10-7 on an 8-yard run with 6:03 left in the second quarter.

“You have to give credit to those guys,” Moore said of Walnut Ridge, which led 7-3 early in the second quarter on a blocked punt it recovered in the end zone. “They’re fired up on defense. They were playing really, really hard. They were giving us some shifts and some overloads and what-not.”

Massillon’s passing game came through to pick up the slack for the running game. Longwell completed 21-of-33 passes for 216 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jayden Ballard with 2:47 remaining for a 38-14 lead.

The gaps were filled in by the Tiger defense, which held Walnut Ridge to just 27 rushing yards, which was 194 yards below its season average. The Scots did throw for 229 yards, 56 of those on a Isaiah Murphy-to-Qian Magwood touchdown which pulled them to within 17-14 with 9:04 left in the third.

Massillon, though, countered Walnut Ridge’s one touchdown pass with two interception returns for touchdowns. Kyshad Mack gave the Tigers a 17-7 lead with 5:48 left in the first half on a 36-yard pick-6.

“The defense played well,” Moore said. “We put them in some bad spots. They bowed up and got some stops. I’m really proud of them for that.”


Reach Chris at 330-775-1128 or chris.easterling@indeonline.com.

On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE