BARBERTON Barberton was lying in wait for Massillon. Getting their first true home game against the Tigers since 1957, the Magics came ready to try and spoil their visitors’ undefeated season.
The problem for Barberton was that Massillon brought Terrance Keyes Jr. with it to the Magic City. And Keyes made certain the Tigers didn’t allow the purple-clad home fans a chance to end the night in celebration.
In a game which saw both teams struggle at times with composure, as they combined for 22 penalties and 230 penalty yards, Keyes provided a certain calming influence on the Massillon offense. His 255 yards and five touchdowns rushing helped the Tigers pull away for a 49-24 victory in front of a capacity crowd at Rudy Sharkey Stadium.
“I don’t think there’s anything really calm tonight, but he’s the guy who’s carrying the ball,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said after his team improved to 8-0 while winning their 19th consecutive regular-season game. “The offensive line starts it and does a nice job blocking. You have to give those guys credit first, but Terrance made some nice plays tonight.”
The last three games have seen Keyes take control of the Massillon running game. Since Week 6, the senior has gained 582 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground, with his latest performance the best of his career.
His previous high was 198 yards as a sophomore at St. Vincent-St. Mary against, ironically enough, Massillon. He cleared that with his final scoring run, a 62-yarder which put the Tigers in front 42-16 early in the fourth quarter.
“It’s a definite plus when you running back is a plus-one,” Moore said. “A lot of times, he can account for somebody himself. Terrance is that kind of back, and he did a good job tonight.”
It was Keyes’ five scoring runs which helped the Tigers first rally from behind before pulling well ahead. He gave Massillon the lead for good with his first score, a 7-yarder with 6:46 left in the second quarter to make ti 14-9.
His second, an 8-yarder, made it 21-9 Tigers with 3:34 left in the half. Barberton, though, would come up with its own big play to stay within striking distance.
After giving the ball up to Massillon on an interception, the very next play Charlie Hornacek stepped in front of a Tiger pass and picked it off at his own 48. He would race 52 yards for the touchdown to pull Barberton within 21-16 with 2:03 remaining.
“As a sophomore, Charlie led us in interception,” said Barberton coach Tony Gotto, who 5-3 team led 9-7 on Ryan Watkins’ 60-yard touchdown catch from Chase Haywood with 9:21 left in the first half. “He’s a playmaker. That was huge. I don’t know what the score was at the time, but it put us right back there.”
The problem for Barberton was that it left Massillon plenty of time to regain control before the half. That’s exactly what the Tigers did, as Keyes capped a seven-play, 66-yard possession with a 1-yard run to make it 28-16 with 46 seconds left in the half.
Keyes would make it 35-16 when he capped Massillon’s first possession of the second half with another 1-yard run at the 7:24 mark of the third quarter. Barberton would take virtually the remainder of the quarter to reach the Tiger 2, but Caiden Woullard came up with an interception in the end zone on fourth down to turn away the threat.
Four plays after that pick, Keyes would get free on the fifth and final scoring run of the night to turn it into a 36-point Tiger advantage. It marked the seventh time in eight games Massillon has had a running clock at some point in the game.
“That’s a freaking good football team,” said Gotto, whose team was outgained 409-309 by Massillon. “They have athletes everywhere. They have size.”
Reach Chris at 330-775-1128 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE