Tag: <span>Alex Bauer</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2020: Massillon 28, Cleveland Benedictine 10

Massillon football plays takeaway to take down Benedictine


MASSILLON The last two games, Massillon’s defense has been like a brick wall for opposing offenses to try and penetrate. On Friday night against Benedictine, that defense had a little more give to it than previously, but it was still far from giving.

And when the Tigers needed a big play, that defense was more than happy to provide it as well. That was a big reason why Massillon was able to win its third consecutive game, a 28-10 victory over the Bengals at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“I’m really proud of the guys,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said after his team improved to 2-1 heading into next Friday’s game with St. Ignatius. “They really answered the bell from last week. … Defense played really well again. Ran to the football, physicality, tackling and picked up some turnovers, which were huge.”

Benedictine was able to post 285 yards of offense on 68 plays, both of which were season highs for Tiger opponents by a wide margin. The Bengals also scored the first points – a first-quarter Ivan Shuran 42-yard field goal – and first touchdown – a fourth-quarter 26-yard Ronnie Schultz-to-Christopher Gales pass to make it 14-10 – that Massillon had allowed since Week 1 against St. Edward.

However, none of that ultimately hurt the Tigers in the final tally. That’s because their defense was able to get the big takeaway when it needed to get one.

“They had 285 yards, which is more than we want,” said Moore, whose offense had 266 total yards on 49 plays. “It’s a huge number, but they ran 68 plays. That’s the biggest thing. Our offense has to protect our defense more. We have to retain possession more, keep the chains moving more and that will help our defense out.”

On three different occasions in the second half, the Tigers were able to come up with interceptions to keep Benedictine from making things more difficult for them. Not only that, but Massillon converted all three of them into touchdowns to turn a 7-3 halftime lead into the final margin.

Two of those interceptions were courtesy of Martavien Johnson on consecutive fourth-quarter possessions. The biggest, though, may have come courtesy of Isaiah Clark late in the third quarter.

Benedictine, which only trailed by four, had marched on 17 plays to the Tiger 10, where it faced third-and-goal. Clark jumped the route at the 5, picking off the pass and bringing it back to Bengal 43.

“Just a great break on the ball,” Moore said. “Played very aggressive.”

Three plays later, Raekwon Venson runs it in from the 3 to give Massillon a 14-3 lead with 1:41 left in the third. It was the second of what was three touchdown runs for Venson, who finished with 108 yards on 23 carries.

Johnson would set up Venson’s third scoring run with his first pick of the night, which was brought back 38 yards into Benedictine territory. Five plays later, aided by a Bengal personal foul, Massillon made it 21-10 on a 5-yard scoring run with 6:54 left.

“I just thought he came out and ran hard,” Moore said of Venson. “That’s all we’re asking him to do. He answered the bell. He came out and ran hard.”

Benedictine’s third pick in four possessions came when Johnson pulled one in on Massillon’s side of the 50. The Tigers would turn that into a game-sealing Jumacius Portis 6-yard run with 29 seconds remaining.

Reach Chris at chris.easterling@indeonline.com.


2019: Massillon 17, Akron Hoban 14

Massillon Brings an End to Hoban Dynasty

by Chris Easterling
November 22, 2019

AKRON Style points can be for some sports. When it comes to ending a high-school football dynasty, though, the only points that matter come on the scoreboard.

The only points that mattered on Friday night in the Division II Region 5 championship game inside The University of Akron’s InfoCision Stadium: Massillon 17, Hoban 14.

“We just wanted to score more points than they did,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said. “That’s all.”

Like that, the Tigers not only won a program-best third consecutive regional title, but also ended the Knights’ run as four-time state champions.

For Massillon, it’s off to its second consecutive 13-0 start. The Tigers will play Avon, also 13-0, in a state semifinal next Friday night. The likely site will be Brunswick, although that will be made official on Sunday by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

“Everybody came out and played hard,” Moore said. “Everybody played hard. I’m really proud of all of them.”

Hoban, which finishes 11-2, was denied a chance to join St. Ignatius as the only school to win five consecutive state playoff titles. The Wildcats had done that from 1991-95.

The Knights never led in the game, although they were able to tie it twice at 7-7 and 14-14. Alex Bauer’s 31-yard field goal for Massillon with seven seconds left in the first half provided the difference in the game, a play set up by one of two Hoban fumbles.

“Everything has to end,” Knights coach Tim Tyrrell said. “You don’t want it to end, but it has to end. Next year’s our time to restart our tradition and keep moving forward.”

Massillon made sure Hoban wouldn’t be able to keep moving forward because of a defensive effort, especially in crunch time. No time was bigger than with just over two minutes remaining and the Tigers holding on to their three-point lead.

Hoban faced a fourth-and-11 from the Massillon 19. A week earlier against Mayfield, the Knights had taken the lead for good when Shane Hamm hit Kharion Davis for a 13-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-6 play with just under 90 second remaining to erase the exact same deficit

Ben Krichbaum, though, made sure history wouldn’t repeat itself. The Massillon senior linebacker swarmed Hamm for a three-yard loss to give the Tigers the ball back with 2:05 left.

“Our kids held, man,” Moore said. “They held. Backs against the wall.”

Massillon would make sure that would be the final time Hoban touched the ball. Facing third-and-2 from its own 30, Zion Phifer would be given the ball and would fight his way forward to get the necessary yards to move the chains.

It was Massillon’s only first down of the second half. It was enough, though, to set off the celebration as the Tigers got into victory formation.

“A huge first down at the end,” Moore said. “That was huge. I’m just proud of them.”

Massillon’s ground game proved to be huge throughout the game. Terrance Keyes and Phifer combined to rush for 147 yards on 38 carries.

Keyes finished with a game-high 87 yards on 17 carries. The senior running back played despite a 30-hour period leading into the game of question surrounding his involvement in an August incident in Akron, one which came to the surface on Thursday.

Moore would not comment on the controversy.

“Everybody came out and played hard,” Moore said. “I’m really proud of all of them.”

As a team, the Tigers finished with 138 net rushing yards. They would have 80 passing yards on the night, 53 of those on Aidan Longwell’s touchdown pass to Andrew Wilson-Lamp to give Massillon a 7-0 lead with 6:30 remaining in the first quarter.

Longwell would also throw a nine-yard shovel pass to Phifer to give Massillon a 14-7 lead with 1:02 remaining in the first quarter. The senior quarterback was 4-of-12 with two interceptions.

Hamm would hit Brayden Fox for a 40-yard scoring pass to tie the game at 7-7 with 4:39 left in the third. Victor Dawson would add a four-yard touchdown run to tie it at 14-14 with 6:30 remaining in the second quarter.

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

On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE