Tag: <span>Akron Firestone</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2019: Massillon 56, Akron Firestone 0

Longwell sets Massillon’s passing mark in rout of Firestone
Chris Easterling
Sep 27, 2019 11:15 PM

MASSILLON With one flick of his left wrist, Aidan Longwell removed any doubt that existed in Massillon’s game Friday night against winless Firestone.

On the Tigers’ first play from scrimmage, Longwell dropped back and hit Jayden Ballard for a 40-yard touchdown pass. That pass, just 1:59 into the game, gave the Massillon senior quarterback the school’s all-time record for passing yards.

“It’s special,” Longwell said after passing Kyle Kempt as the Tigers’ career passing leader in the 56-0 victory over the Falcons. “I can’t put it into words. Just everything that’s happened at Massillon, all the history behind this program, it’s special to be a part of that.”

Longwell came into the game needing just 31 yards to pass the 6,034 career yards Kempt had compiled from 2010-12. He needed just one throw to pass that mark, the second career record he set in as many weeks after breaking the passing touchdowns mark in Week 4.

That one record-setting throw would be half of Longwell’s output on the night, as he only threw the ball twice – completing both – for 53 yards. His career total now stands at 6,056 yards with still plenty of football to be potentially be played.

“I think it takes a little pressure off,” Longwell said. “Not really for me, I wasn’t really thinking about that stuff. Everybody talking about it, it can be over now.”

There wasn’t much football for Longwell, or any of Massillon’s first-unit players, to play on Friday night against a completely over-matched Firestone team. The Tigers ran just five plays and had the football for just 52 seconds in the first quarter, yet still took a 35-0 lead in that time.

Of Massillon’s five first-quarter plays, three went for touchdowns. Beyond the Longwell-to-Ballard scoring strike, Terrence Keyes and Zion Phifer would each run for scores.

The Tiger special teams would get into the act to help with that lead. Preston Hodges would block and punt and recover it in the end zone for a touchdown to make it 14-0.

Hodges also had an interception to set up the Tigers’ third touchdown, a 10-yard run by Keyes. It’s the team-high third pick for the senior outside linebacker.

“We want to come out and get better every week,” said Hodges, who was part of a defensive performance which limited Firestone to 45 net yards and three first downs on 28 plays. “We just come out and do our jobs. We play the way we were taught.”

Ballard would add a 87-yard punt return for a touchdown as well to make it 28-0 Tigers. It’s the second time this season Ballard returned a kick or punt for a score, having brought back a kickoff for a touchdown against St. Vincent-St. Mary.

The final two quarters were shortened to just eight minutes after the Tigers took a 49-0 halftime lead. The teams played the final three quarters under a running clock, with the coaches agreeing to start it a quarter earlier than it is required to be implemented.

“They did a good job” said Massillon coach Nate Moore, whose team will take a 5-0 record and a 16-game regular-season win streak into next Friday’s road game at Austintown Fitch. “They came out and took care of business. They played well, executed.”

Phifer and Raekwon Venson added first-half rushing touchdowns for Massillon, which had 158 of its 293 total yards in the first half. Tanner Pierce threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Daymiere Adams in the third quarter.

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

On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2018: Massillon 42, Akron Firestone 0

Methodical Massillon moves to 5-0 with rout of Firestone

Sep 21, 2018 10:18 PM
MASSILLON There was a lot of words Massillon coach Nate Moore could’ve conjured up to describe his team’s 42-0 win over Firestone on Friday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

So, how about the word “methodical” to describe the performance?

“I think that’s a fair way to put it,” Moore said after his team improved to 5-0 on the season.

Game Action vs. Firestone

Methodical would fit perfectly with the approach the Tigers used to take care of a winless Falcon team which had come into the game having scored only 12 points in the first four games combined. Massillon, save for a pair of fumbles, came out and scored on four of its five first-half possessions, then added a fifth score to open the second half.

The Tigers would lead 35-0 16 seconds into the third quarter. That gave Massillon its fourth consecutive running-clock game, and the third time in that span in which the rule was put into effect within one play of the second half starting.

“I thought we did a good job during the week,” Moore said. “I liked out preparation. We were OK today, sloppy in a couple of places. We’ve got to get them cleaned up because we’ve got a big one coming up next week (against visiting Austintown Fitch).”

Both teams seemed content to not rush into things throughout the game, even as Massillon was opening up a 28-0 halftime lead. Firestone, in particular, was methodical when it had the football.

Despite the fact the Falcons only had four first-half first downs, and only two true drives in that span, they still owned a 15:51-8:09 edge in time of possession at the intermission. Even when Firestone set itself up with a first-and-goal from the Tiger 10 after a 63-yard quarterback keeper by George Rozier, its deliberate approach – and lack of timeouts – let the clock run out after a third-down run.

Rozier’s run accounted for 55 percent of the 114 first-half yards Firestone gained. The Falcons finished with 130 yards for the game.

“We kind of knew before the game started that it was going to be a very difficult task,” Firestone coach Eric Mitchell said. “(Massillon’s) a very good football team. They’re a disciplined football team. They’ve got players at every level: Skill, line, quarterback. Our game plan was to come in and try to shorten the game and run the ball a little bit and try to have some success with the short passing game and hopefully keep their offense off the field.”

Game action vs. Akron Firestone

The methodical approach by Firestone was countered by a Massillon offensive attack which was more than happy to play ground-and-pound. That was especially true with the Tigers short-handed due to a handful of players sidelined for a variety of reasons, including some team-discipline related.

“We had guys out because of injury and we had guys out tonight because of program expectations,” Moore said.

Massillon ran the ball 23 times – one of which was a quarterback scramble – out of its 32 first-half plays. Those 23, however, still accounted for 172 net yards and all four first-half scores.

The Tigers would finish with 282 rushing yards on 37 attempts. They had 365 total yards on 48 plays for the game.

Jamir Thomas was the primary beneficiary of the run-first approach, as he topped the 100-yard plateau for the fifth game in a row by halftime. Thomas, who had 107 yards and two touchdowns on 10 first-half carries, finished with 110 yards and three scores for the game.

That total gives him 2,900 yards and 43 rushing touchdowns for his career. That leaves him 190 yards behind Art Hasting’s school-record 3,090 yards, and four scores behind Bob Glass’ record 47 rushing touchdowns.

Thomas’s scoring runs of 11 and 21 yards on the first two Tiger drives staked Massillon to a 14-0 lead with 3:42 remaining in the first quarter. His third scoring run, a 3-yarder on the first play of the third quarter, made it 35-0 Massillon.

Marcellus Blake and Zion Phifer also had first-half scores for Massillon. Blake’s 1-yard run made it 21-0 Tigers with :51 left in the first quarter, while Phifer added a 3-yard scoring burst with 3:29 left in the half for a 28-0 lead.

Jean-Luc Beasley added a fourth-quarter touchdown for Massillon.


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

On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2017: Massillon 35, Akron Firestone 6

Tigers bounce back, flatten Firestone

Chris Easterling – The Independent
Oct 13, 2017 10:19 PM

MASSILLON Massillon’s first possession Friday night against visiting Firestone went for a three-and-out. It was the first time the Tigers failed to score on their opening possession.

Problem for the Falcons was that Massillon had plenty of other possessions after that one in which it didn’t go three-and-out. In fact, more often then now, they went for touchdowns, as the Tigers bounced back with a 35-6 win over Firestone at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Game action vs. Akron Firestone

“I think we were focused and dialed in, which is what we needed to do,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said after his team bounced back from a Week 7 loss to Canisius (N.Y.) to improve to 6-2. “I don’t know how much better we got; we definitely played better. We need to get the film evaluated and evaluate this game just like we did the previous games and continue to get better every week.

Massillon also shook off any first-possession disappointment to make sure it established control of the game before the teams went to the locker room for halftime. The Tigers scored on four consecutive drives after its first one to open up a 28-0 lead going into the break.

It would take Massillon until its second possession of the second half to get on the board as well. That’s when Aidan Longwell hooked up with Aydrik Ford for a 17-yard touchdown to make it 35-0 with 4:31 remaining in the third quarter.

That was one of three touchdown passes for Longwell. He also hit Jayden Ballard and Austin Kutscher for touchdowns in the first half.

Game action vs. Akron Firestone

“We wanted to come out and make an effort to be more balanced,” said Moore, whose team racked up 360 total yards in the game. “Certainly not perfect, but I thought we did well”

While the Massillon offense generated the points, the Tiger defense was able to do something it had struggled to do at times, even during the five-game win streak. It was consistently able to get off the field quickly.

Two passes to Darshun Williams – a 13-yarder on the Falcons’ first drive and a 39-yarder on their sixth – accounted for the only two times in the first half in which Firestone managed to get across the 50. The first time, which reached the Tiger 43, ended in a punt from the Massillon 46.

The second one put the Falcons on the Massillon 19. The next four plays netted minus-5 yards before Anthony Ballard intercepted a pass in the end zone on fourth down with :38 remaining in the first half.

Game action vs. Akron Firestone

That was one of two first-half interceptions for the Tigers. Max Turner – who started due to a handful of players being suspended for the first quarter due to a violation of team rules – came up with a one-handed pick to squelch Firestone’s second drive.

Remove Williams’ two big plays and Firestone’s offense netted just 38 yards on 25 first-half plays. Williams would put the Falcons on the board with a 34-yard touchdown catch from Joe Namsick with 8:49 remaining in the game.

The Falcons would finish with 232 yards on 54 plays. Of those, 83 came on the lone scoring drive of the game.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt we played better,” Moore said. “Did we play to our potential? No. We need to continue to evaluate and improve. We’ll do that again this weekend.”

Game action vs. Akron Firestone

That defensive performance was counted by a workmanlike effort by Massillon’s offense. One fact which was obvious from the very first possession was the Tigers’ desire to work both the run and pass.

Of the four first-half touchdown, two were passes by Longwell and two were runs. Ballard and Kutscher each caught a score in the first quarter, while Tyree Broyles and Jamir Thomas each ran for a score in the second quarter.

At halftime, Massillon had run the ball 18 times for 111 yards, while Longwell was 11-of-14 for 136 yards passing. The Tigers would finish with 163 rushing yards on 35 attempts, while Longwell was 15-of-19 passing for 197 yards.


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2016: Massillon 45, Akron Firestone 14

Massillon makes it five straight with win over Falcons

Chris Easterling
Independent sports editor

MASSILLON Nate Moore cautioned anyone who would listen that Firestone wasn’t Bowsher.

He told everyone that a ridiculously-overmatched opponent wasn’t what was coming in to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Friday night.

The Falcons lived up to the Massillon coach’s advance warnings. Yet, the threat put up by Firestone wasn’t enough to derail the Tigers, who were able to pull away for a 45-14 win.

“You have to compliment their team and their coaching staff,” said Moore, whose team has won five in a row to improve to 6-2. “I thought they did a great job tonight and they had their kids prepared to play. We made some mistakes in the first half; we just have to play a little better.”

The Tigers, who saw a 17-7 halftime lead cut to 17-14 two plays into the second half, scored the game’s final 28 points to pull away.

Massillon will try to ride that momentum into next Friday’s home game against St. Vincent-St. Mary, which has won three in a row over the Tigers, all at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Friday marked the first game in a Massillon uniform for highly-touted lineman Thayer Munford, who had to sit out the first seven games after transferring from Cincinnati La Salle in the spring. Munford’s debut, though, didn’t come on offense, but on defense as he started at defensive tackle.

“I have to take a look at the film, but it seemed from the sideline that he blocked well,” Moore said of Munford, who changed numbers from No. 64 to No. 73 in the second half. “He seemed effective at defensive tackle. It looked like he played good, but we’ll have to grade the film and see.”

After Munford and the rest of the Tiger defense stopped Firestone on its initial drive, the Massillon offense – with Munford at left tackle – proceeded to take the lead for good on its first drive. Methodically marching 80 yards in 10 play, Louis Partridge gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead on a 5-yard run on fourth-and-1 with 6:03 remaining in the first quarter.

That was one of three touchdowns on the night for Partridge, who continues to get better each week for Massillon. A week after rushing for what was a career-high 137 yards in a win over Beechcroft, the sophomore topped that with 143 yards on 24 carries against Firestone.

Partridge had 123 yards on 18 first-half carries. His 17th carry – a 6-yard run – gave the Tigers a 17-0 lead with 5:12 remaining in the half.

“He’s getting better,” Moore said of Partridge. “I saw him hit a nice A-gap seam down there. He’s getting better, which is what we ask all the kids to do.”

In between Partridge’s two first-half scores, Nate Gregg added his seventh field goal of the season, a career-long-tying 32-yarder. That gave Massillon a 10-0 lead.

While Partridge continued his growth, Ethen Jefferson found his first extensive carries to his benefit. Jefferson rushed for 136 yards on 18 and scored two key second-half scores that helped provide the Tigers with the necessary cushion.

“I thought Ethen ran really well,” said Moore, whose team gained 501 total yards, 280 on the ground. “I’m really proud of him. He’s just a tough kid; lunch-pail guy who comes to practice every day and practices his tail off.”

Firestone put together three drives in the first half alone that reached Tiger territory, including a 14-play drive that pulled it within 17-7 at the half. Jordon Jones hit Justin Moore on a 3-yard scoring pass with 20 seconds left in the half.

It became 17-14 just 39 seconds into the second half. Massillon fumbled the kickoff and Firestone fell on it at the Tiger 14.

Two plays after that fumble – the second of the game for the Tigers after four consecutive turnover-less games – Joshua Mitchell scored from a yard out for Firestone. The Falcons finished with 248 total yards, 222 of those through the air.

That, though, would be answered by a Massillon scoring drive. Jefferson’s 6-yard run closed that seven-play, 64-yard drive out to make it 24-14 with 8:30 left in the third.

“It was really important,” Moore said of the quick response. “We had to do that and respond on offense and answer with a touchdown. It was good that we did that.”


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2013: Massillon 28, Akron Firestone 14

Tigers struggle, but top Falcons to keep unbeaten season intact

Independent sports editor

MASSILLON Jason Hall has experienced his share of tough, kick-in-the-gut-type of wins in his time at Massillon. And even after the roughest of losses, he has found plenty to say about what transpired in the 48 minutes of football.

But after Hall’s Tigers improved to 6-0 on Friday night with a lackluster 28-14 win over winless Firestone at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, the sixth-year coach found himself at a loss of words.

“I want to say this the right way,” Hall said, choosing each word carefully. “I expect great senior leadership out of the team. I didn’t think we had that tonight. I’m a guy who’s a very honest evaluator. I’m not happy with our staff; I’m not happy with our seniors. Firestone came in and their kids played hard, but if we play like that (next Friday), we might as well not drive to Fitch.”

The Tigers came into the game off of an emotional win at Steubenville, the program’s first win there since 1977. And all week, the state’s No. 1-ranked Division II team had heard about how Friday’s game with Firestone was merely a warm-up act for next week’s showdown at undefeated Austintown Fitch, the No. 4-ranked Division I team.

But Massillon, despite opening up a 28-0 halftime lead thanks to a three-touchdown second quarter, spent much of the night shooting itself in the foot with various mistakes and sloppy play. One week after a 14-penalty performance at Steubenville, the Tigers were flagged 10 times for 105 yards, including two penalties that were marked off on the kickoff following touchdowns.

Hall wouldn’t say if his players had come into the game overlooking a Firestone team that hadn’t scored more than 12 points in any game this season.

“I don’t know, because that’s not how I act,” Hall said. “I don’t know how people like that act.

You’d have to ask them. I don’t act like that. … Winners practice. I was just telling my daughter this the other night, winners don’t practice because they like to practice. Winners practice because they like to win. That’s the message our kids need to get.”

Friday’s game, though, followed a script that the previous four meetings between the two teams had followed. Firestone hangs around early before Massillon catches fire long enough to open up a multi-score lead.

In this instance, the Tigers led 7-0 after the first quarter behind a 14-yard Marcus Whitfield run on their first possession of the game. Whitfield’s 65-yard catch-and-run from quarterback Danny Clark helped give Massillon a two-score lead at 14-0 with 7:53 left in the first half.

Devon Ingram picked up a Firestone fumble a returned it 55 yards for a score with 4:48 left in the half to make it 21-0. After another Falcon fumble, the Tigers made it 28-0 when Clark found Malik Dudley with 40 seconds remaining before the intermission for a 14-yard touchdown.

“We love coming down here,” Firestone coach Tim Flossie said after his team fell to 0-6. “Our big problem is we don’t catch the ball. We dropped five or six balls tonight. We fumble the ball for a touchdown. Massillon’s good, and you don’t do that against a good team.”

But Flossie’s team continued to be a difficult out in the second half. The Falcons intercepted a pass on the first play of the fourth quarter, one play before they broke up the shutout with a 7-yard touchdown run by Brennan Williams.

Firestone added a 55-yard Louis Christian touchdown run with 1:03 remaining.

The Falcons, who had scored just 14 points in the previous four games combined, outgained Massillon 267-252.

The Tigers went to their reserve offensive players on the last series of the third quarter, which ended with them holding a 241-146 yards edge.

“We actually got some offense going,” Flossie said. “It could’ve been more if we had caught the ball. I was happy with that. We’ll be OK.”


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2012: Massillon 62, Akron Firestone 27

Massillon offense shines in 62-27 rout of Firestone

Chris Easterling
The Independent

MASSILLON – It was a memorable defensive effort that helped carry Massillon to a big win over Steubenville last week. On Friday night, it was the Tigers’ offense that carried the day as they cruised to their fourth win in a row.

The Tigers scored on nine of their first 10 possessions – all touchdowns – as they rolled up a 62-27 win over visiting Firestone at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Massillon improves to 5-1, but the task figures to get much, much tougher next Friday night, when state-ranked and undefeated Austintown Fitch comes to town.

“I thought offensively, we played well,” Massillon coach Jason Hall said. “It seems like we either play really good offensively, or really good defensively. Next week’s game, if we don’t come out and play a complete game, we’re not going to put ourselves in a position to be successful.”

No doubt the Tigers would love to bottle up a little bit of the offensive fireworks they put on display against the Falcons of Firestone when they go up against the Falcons of Fitch.

By halftime, Massillon had rolled up 281 yards of offense and had turned a close game into a rout. What was a 15-13 Tiger lead with just less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half after turned into a 36-13 advantage by the time the bands hit the field for intermission.

Massillon finished the game with a season-best 585 yards of offense.

The catalyst for Massillon was a familiar face. Senior quarterback Kyle Kempt completed 15-of-17 passes in the first half alone – with four of those going for touchdowns – and had 194 yards through the air.

Kempt finished the night 20-of-25 for 313 yards with five touchdowns. Two of those went to Gareon Conley, while Zach Volzer, Ryne Moore and Marcus Whitfield each caught one.

“Kyle has been a consistent football player for us all year,” Hall said. “That’s what we expect out of him. He’s a captain; he’s a leader. He’s a Division I football player. Kyle Kempt managed the offense, like he always does. I thought we did a great job of spreading the ball around. You couldn’t ask for much more offensively.”

Conley finished the game with eight catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns – six for 120 and both scores came the first half. The 176 receiving yards were second-most in a single game in school history.

But Kempt also showed off a little bit of his scrambling ability. The 6-foot-5, 200-pounder helped to open up the lead with a 16-yard run that put Massillon in front 22-13 with 8:27 left in the first half.

That score broke the dam wide open for the Tigers, who outscored Firestone 28-7 in the second quarter. They added a 20-7 third-quarter explosion.

Firestone may have come into Friday night’s game with only a 2-3 record and an offense that had scored more than 13 points just once in its first five games, but the Falcons also boasted some big-play ability behind a Division I college running back in Jerome Lane Jr. and a Nebraska recruit in wide receiver Kevin Gladney.

And thanks to two big plays, Firestone found itself within two points with just under 10 minutes left in the first half.

The first was a 58-yard touchdown pass to Gladney that pulled the Falcons within 8-6 with 4:12 left in the first quarter. Gladney simply beat the Tiger defender on a post pattern, caught the ball in stride and ran untouched into the end zone for the score.

The second was a 40-yard scoring strike to Reggie Rogers that once again cut it to a 15-13 Tiger lead. That Firestone score was set up by an interception on a screen pass by Falcon defensive linemen Brennan Williams, the only time in the first half Massillon did not score when it had the football.

“We had a good game in the first half,” Firestone coach Tim Flossie said. “The second half, we just fell apart. (Massillon) did a nice job. They found a way and just kept going to it.”

Despite the lopsided result on the scoreboard, the Falcons still rolled up 474 yards, 227 of those in the first half. They added a 26-yard scoring pass to Lane with less than 90 seconds left in the game to provide the final margin.


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2011: Massillon 27, Akron Firestone 13

It wasn’t pretty, but Massillon moves to 4-1

Chris Easterling
The Independent

MASSILLON – At the end of the night, the Massillon Tigers emerged with a 4-1 record. But that doesn’t mean the Tigers are satisfied.

On Friday night, the Tigers had to overcome a choppy performance to hold off the Firestone Falcons, 27-13, in front of 6,486 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

It was Massillon’s third straight win, all of which have come by double figures. However, the most recent win no doubt left head coach Jason Hall grinding his teeth at some of his team’s own struggles to find the consistency he has emphasized.

“We didn’t play a really good game,” Hall said. “We played obviously good enough to win. We had, offensively, a lot of negative plays. … It is what it is.”

Massillon finished with 293 yards of offense, with 194 coming in the first half as the Tigers opened up a 13-0 lead. However, there were very few sustained, efficient drives for the Tiger offense.

The most efficient drive for Massillon came on its first drive, when it marched 82 yards in six plays to take a 7-0 lead just 1:43 into the game.

The Tigers were 4-of-5 for 72 yards passing on the drive, while Alex Winters capped the drive with a 1-yard run.

After that, the Tigers spun their wheels often, even when they picked up quality field position.

Three times in the first half, Massillon reached the Firestone 30, but only mustered a pair of long field goals by Andrew David for the 13-point lead at the half.

“They came out in a six-man front,” Hall said of Firestone’s defense. “We just didn’t adjust to some of their pressures. Our quarterbacks were taking some hits. It’s things we have to correct.”

Massillon was able to grab a three-score lead when Kyle Kempt capped a 66-yard, seven-play drive with a 1-yard plunge to make it 20-0 with 2:53 left in the third. The Tigers also scored on a 14-yard Winters run with 9:16 left for a 27-7 lead.

“It’s nice to get that cushion,” Hall said. “It’s nice to see us hit two long field goals tonight.

We’d like to see us when we get into that red zone not get negative plays and put us in that situation. Anytime you get that bonus score in the fourth quarter, a little security blanket, it’s nice.”

Maybe the nicest thing for the Tigers on this night was their defense. Despite a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns by Firestone – one which pulled the Falcons to within 20-7 with just over five minutes left – Massillon allowed its guests few sustained drives.

A big reason for that was the Tigers’ ability to come up with the takeaways when they needed it. Brody Tonn intercepted a pair of passes for Massillon, while both Garrett Kreiger and Gareon Conley also picked off Falcon passes.

“We gave up those two red-zone passes, which are things we have to correct,” Hall said of his defense, which ultimately allowed 211 total yards on the night. “In the course of the game when it was crucial, our defense came out and responded. They were able to make some big plays.”

Massillon was playing short-handed, due to a handful of players being suspended due to violating team and school rules. That number included at least three starters.

Hall wouldn’t say what the status of those players would be for next week’s game against winless Hoban at InfoCision Stadium.

“Right now, they’re being dealt with for breaking school and team policy,” Hall said. “The total discipline hasn’t been determined. There’s not much else to say.”


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2010: Massillon 42, Akron Firestone 10

Second-quarter surge carries Tigers to 800th win

The Independent

MASSILLON, OH — For one quarter, the Massillon Tigers found themselves in a tussle with the visiting Firestone Falcons on Friday night. In fact, with less than five minutes remaining until halftime, it was still just a four-point game.

But over the final four minutes or so of the half, the Tigers came alive, and left the Falcons gasping for air as they cruised to the program’s 800th win all-time.

Massillon – which fumbled on the game’s first play to set up a Falcon touchdown – scored three touchdowns in the final 3:15 of the first half to blow open what had been a tight affair and help it roll to a 42-10 win over Firestone at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“I thought we started playing a little better,” said Tiger coach Jason Hall after his team improved to 4-1 on the season. “I thought we started running the ball a little better. That first play of the game makes my stomach turn. … I thought our kids did a good job coming back from that.”

The Tigers were holding onto a 14-10 lead late in the second quarter when Seth Nalbach partially deflected a Firestone punt, which was recovered at the Falcon 39, Three plays later, Kyle Kempt fired a 19-yard scoring strike to Justin Olack for a 21-10 lead with 3:15 remaining in the half.

From there, the floodgates opened up for Massillon.

Tyler Miller returned an interception 60 yards for a score on Firestone’s next possession to make it 28-10. After Ryan Skelly blocked a Falcon punt on the subsequent drive, Nalbach ripped off a 22-yard touchdown run to make it 35-10 with 1:03 left on the first-half clock.

“I thought once we settled down and got control and handled that initial miscue, I thought our kids played pretty well,” Hall said.

The burst to end the half was in stark contrast to the first 18 minutes or so of the game.

Firestone turned a Tiger fumble on the first play of the game into a 3-yard Cody Grice touchdown run and a 7-0 lead just 16 seconds into game. But Massillon went to work grinding out and impressive 22-play, 80-yard scoring drive of its own to tie it up on Jake Reiman’s 7-yard run with 3:57 left in the first quarter.

The time-consuming drive showcased the Tigers’ rejuvenated running game, with Alex Winters and Reiman both getting a chance to showcase their skills. Winters carried the ball seven times on the drive, while Reiman toted the pigskin six times.

Winters would carry the ball just one more time in the game – a 53-yarder on the next Tiger possession – finishing with 77 yards on eight carries. He suffered what Hall reported may be a concussion later in the half which sidelined him for the rest of the game.

Reiman, meanwhile, would go on to rush for 34 yards on 10 carries in the game. Sophomore Kentrell Taylor would add 38 yards on 11 carries, scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

“For the most part, I thought they did a nice job running the ball,” Hall said. “We did some stuff we don’t traditionally do and lined up and ran some power and some iso and some toss. Just some stuff we’ve been working on in practice and will continue to work on.”

While the Tiger rushing game would certainly get its share of work on the night, they didn’t let the gusty conditions keep their passing game from taking off as well. Kempt completed 14-of-23 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns, including a 48-yard scoring strike to Devin Smith early in the second quarter that gave Massillon the lead for good at 14-7.

About the only thing that didn’t go entirely the way of the Tigers was their ability to completely contain Firestone’s bowling ball of a tailback, Cody Grice. The 6-foot-2, 235-pound senior finished with 122 of the Falcons’ 174 rushing yards on the night.

However, the Tigers were able to keep Grice out of the end zone, save for his score early in the game. The only other Falcon score came on a 37-yard field goal by Alana Gaither with 8:07 left in the second quarter.

“I thought our defense played really well for the most part, besides a couple plays tackling,” Hall said.


Massillon 42

Firestone 10

at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium

Firestone 7 3 0 0 10

Massillon 7 28 0 7 42


F – Grice 3 run (Gaither kick)

M – Reiman 7 run (McCarthy kick)

M – Smith 48 pass from Kempt (McCarthy kick)

F – FG 37 Gaither

M – Olack 19 pass from Kempt (McCarthy kick)

M – T. Miller 60 interception return (McCarthy kick)

M – Nalbach 22 run (McCarthy kick)

M – Taylor 3 run (McCarthy kick)

Fire Mass

First downs 9 18

Rushes-yards 37-174 43-162

Passing yards minus-3 225

Comp.-Att.-Int. 1-5-1 15-26-0

Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1

Penalties-yards 4-30 6-55

Records 2-3 4-1



Massillon – Winters 8-77; Taylor 11-38 TD; Reiman 10-34 TD; Nalbach 1-22 TDs.

Firestone – Grice 22-122 TD.


Massillon – Kempt 14-23-209 2 TDs; McCormick 1-3-16.

Firestone – Heimbaugh 0-9-0 INT; Willis 1-6-(minus-3).


Massillon – Smith 5-61 TD; Olack 4-87 TD; Roberson 2-24.

Firestone – Grice 1-(minus-3).