Tag: <span>Braxton Berry</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2014: Massillon 37, Massillon Perry 30


Crabtree, Clark key Massillon Rally

By Chris Easterling
The Independent

PERRY TWP. The lights went out on Perry Stadium late in the first half Thursday night.

That’s when the light appeared to go on for Massillon.

Trailing by 17 points at halftime, the Tigers came roaring back in the second half against a never-quit Perry team, ultimately posting a 37-30 season-opening win in front of a sellout crowd.

“Finally our kids decided to fight back,” Massillon coach Jason Hall said. “I questioned that in the first half. … Our kids responded.”

Massillon took its first lead of the game with 54 seconds left in regulation when Danny Robinson ran it in from 16 yards out.

The previous possession, J.D. Crabtree put the Tigers in position by scoring from 5 yards out, with Danny Clark scoring the game-tying two-point conversion.

Those two scoring drives capped a second half in which Massillon scored on five of six possessions.

In other words, five of the six times after the lights went out.

Perry had just taken a 23-6 lead, then recovered a mishandled squib kick with 18 seconds left in the half when the power went out. But during that 25-minute delay, Hall admitted seeing a difference in his team.

“I saw our kids get real emotional when the lights went out,” Hall said. “I think it finally smacked them in the face a little bit. They knew the score; they had a chance to catch the breath. From that point on, I thought we played good.”

The difference showed in a flipping of the script, as Massillon exerted control of the ground game that Perry had dominated in the first half. The Tigers did so with a steady diet of Crabtree, who rushed for 164 yards and two scored on 17 second-half carries.

Crabtree finished with 197 yards on 25 carries for the game. “We’ve ran that fast of an offense all offseason,” Crabtree said. “That was just almost like a practice to me. Perry’s a good team and they came out a lot stronger than I expected, but we came out and took it to them in the second half.”

Massillon only had 38 rushing yards in the first half, running it just eight times compared to 12 pass attempts. One of those resulted in the Tigers’ lone first-half score, a 30-yard touchdown from Clark to Tre’on Vance to make it 16-6 with 2:37 left in the half.

The problem for Massillon was that Perry was dominating the run game before the intermission. The Panthers had 305 first-half yards on the ground, with just 331 total in the initial 24 minutes.

Braxton Berry and Keishaun Sims were the biggest producers. Berry ran for 161 of his 193 yards in the first half, including a pair of touchdowns that helped Perry open up a 16-0 lead with 4:44 left.

Sims, meanwhile, answered the Tiger first-half score with 79-yard run to make it 23-6 with 24 seconds left in the half. He also answered in the third quarter with an 80-yard run to make it 30-19 after Massillon pulled within four.

Sims finished with 173 yards on nine carries.

“We didn’t finish, I know that,” Perry coach Keith Wakefield said. “We need to finish the game and we didn’t finish the game. Did we?”

Massillon, though, went to the ground 23 times in the second half, compared to 14 passes after the break. The Tigers did have a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Henderson in the third quarter that made it 23-19.

Andrew David’ career-long 49-yard field goal pulled Massillon to within 30-22 four plays into the fourth quarter. Thus setting up the dramatic final charge to the finish line for the Tigers.


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2013: Massillon 35, Massillon Perry 7

Massillon’s “Black Swarm” Defense leads way in win over Perry

Independent sports editor

MASSILLON Much has been made of Massillon’s offensive capabilities. The Tigers boast a massive line and a deep pool of skill players.

Yet, somewhat quietly, they’ve also put together a defense that has a chance to be pretty good as well.

And Thursday night, it was that defense that helped set the tone for Massillon as it opened the season with a 35-7 win over neighboring rival Perry in front of a large crowd inside Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“We just read our guards, followed our keys and made plays,” said Tiger junior linebacker Danny Robinson, whose 23-yard fumble return for a touchdown gave Massillon an 8-0 lead — following the two-point conversion — it would never relinquish.

The Tiger defense lived up to its “Black Swarm” monicker — even while clad in orange and white – by flying to the football on nearly every play. Massillon would limit Perry, which was making its debut in Keith Wakefield’s second tenure as head coach, to just 205 total yard while forcing a pair of turnovers.

“Three fumbles, turnovers,” Wakefield said. “Guys can’t line up right. … That (stuff) ends tomorrow.”

Even on a night when the defense held the key to Massillon getting off to the fast start, the offense became the talk of the town thanks to the debut of not one new quarterback, but two.

Andrew David earned the start after a preseason-long competition, and was 7-of-10 passing for 59 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Rogers that made it 22-7 with 2:13 remaining in the first half.

That score came just over two-and-a-half minutes after Perry’s lone touchdown, a 5-yard Braxton Berry score that cut it to 15-7. That score came after the Tigers fumbled a punt at their own 11.

However, David would suffer a severe leg cramp right before attempting the second-half kickoff. That would open the door for highly-touted freshman Danny Clark to take the reins in the second half.

“We have confidence in all our quarterbacks who run our system,” Massillon coach Jason Hall said. “The offense didn’t change because Danny Clark came in the game.”

And on his first play as the Tiger quarterback, on his first pass, he lofted a perfect pass down the left sideline to Rogers, who ran for the rest of the way for a 59-yard touchdown and a backbreaking 28-7 Massillon lead midway through the third quarter.

“I can’t stop thinking about it,” said Clark, who was 4-of-5 in his debut for 76 passing yards, while adding a 25-yard run. “It was crazy. I wanted to go in there and just stay calm. That was my biggest thing, just staying calm.”

Staying calm may have been the Tigers’ biggest problem, especially early on. Massillon — despite finishing with 416 total yards, including 281 rushing yards, 120 by J.D. Crabtree — was hurt by nine penalties for 70 yards.

The Tigers turned the ball over twice. They also had a couple of misplayed kicks that could’ve been troublesome.

“I think offensively, we were just sporadic,” said Hall, whose team closed out the scoring with a 74-yard Crabtree run in the fourth quarter. “We shot ourselves in the foot with penalties. Then we had penalties and a muffed punt that didn’t. We really have to be more consistent going into next week.”

Massillon will play host to GlenOak next Thursday. Perry travels to Central Catholic next Friday.


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2012: Massillon 41, Massillon Perry 21

Behind Conley, Massillon pulls away from Perry in second half

Chris Easterling

PERRY TWP. It was a backyard brawl on Friday night at Perry Stadium. And neither Massillon nor
Perry was about to give an inch to the other.
But it was the Tigers who delivered the knock-out blow, blowing open a close game in the fourth quarter
in a 41-21 win against the Panthers in front of a standing-room-only crowd.
“I know that (Perry coach Keith) Boedicker and his kids are going to play tough football,” said
Massillon coach Jason Hall, whose team is 3-1 entering next week’s home game with Steubenville. “I
didn’t think we tackled well, but that contributed by them and their kids. They played tough. This
game’s important to both schools. We’re three-and-a-half miles apart; everybody knows each other. It
means something. I’m proud of our kids.”
Gareon Conley removed all doubt with three fourth-quarter touchdowns – two offensive and one
defensively – to turn a seven-point Tiger lead into a 27-point advantage.
Conley finished with 103 yards on four catches with three receiving touchdowns to go with the pick-six.
“There’s a reason why he’s a big-time player,” Hall said of Conley. “Any time’s he’s around the ball,
he’s electric. I think he proved tonight why he’s one of the best, if not the best, player in Stark County, if
not Ohio.”
The Tiger fourth-quarter explosion belied a game that was a battle for three quarters. Perry, in fact,
outgained Massillon 398-362 in total offense, and out-rushed the Tigers 242-119.
Perry’s Braxton Berry gained 103 yards on 24 carries.
“It was a (heck) of a football game,” said Boedicker, whose 2-2 team will host Hoover next week. “We
did what we wanted to do. We made some critical errors late third, early fourth quarter. … There’s no
coach in America that’s more proud of his kids tonight than I am. We fought our guts out for 48
Perry came out of the gates and established itself as a team not about to be pushed around by the Tigers.
The Panthers took the opening kickoff and marched 47 yards to the Massillon 22, but was stopped a
yard shy of converting a fourth-and-9 situation on the drive’s 12th play.

But after Massillon was forced to punt on its first possession, the Panthers went to work on the game’s
first scoring drive. Keyed by a 28-yard pass from Adron Bealer to Brandon Neira that took the ball to
the Tiger 1, Perry took a 7-0 lead with 27 seconds left in the first quarter on a 1-yard Bealer plunge.

The Tigers tried to make their second drive count, but after losing four yards on third-and-goal from the
Perry 5, they were forced to try a 26-yard field goal. The kick sailed right, leaving Perry in front.

Massillon finally squared things up after forcing a Panther three-and-out. Kyle Kempt tossed a 31-yard
scoring pass to Conley — who wrestled it away from the Perry defender in the end zone — to tie things
at 7-7 with 5:27 remaining in the half.

Kempt was 13-of-21 for 243 yards passing Ernie Baez then helped the Tigers get the lead, returning an interception to the Perry 8. Two plays later, Kentrell Taylor ran through a wide-open hole off the right side of the line for a 5-yard touchdown and a 14-7 Massillon lead with 2:50 left in the half.

Perry, though, was undaunted. The Panthers moved right back down the field and tied the game, with
Bealer rolling to his left and finding Dillon McGraw in the end zone for a 16-yard score, as McGraw came back for the diving catch with 48 seconds left to tie the game at 14-14.

But, once again, Baez helped the Tigers gain the lead back. This time, it was a swing pass that Baez caught, broke a couple of tackles and raced 58 yards down to the Perry 6.

Two plays later, Kempt rushed in from two yards out, giving Massillon a 21-14 lead with eight seconds left in the half.

Perry had a chance in third quarter, thanks to a roughing the punter penalty on the Tigers that gave the
Panthers a first down at the Tiger 20. Perry reached the Tiger 2, but a holding call on fourth down pushed the ball back to the Massillon 14.

The Panthers missed a field goal on the subsequent play with just a little more than three minutes left in the third.

“That was huge,” Boedicker said. “That’s a 21-21 game down there.”

It proved costly, because the Tigers made it a 28-14 game on the next possession. The capper was a 20-yard catch-and-run by Conley, who slipped out of a tackle at about the Perry 10 and ran into the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Conley made it 35-14 when he returned an interception 78 yards for a touchdown with 9:31 remaining.

The pick squelched a Panther drive that had reached the Massillon 26.

The Tiger senior added a 46-yard touchdown reception with 7:12 remaining. The kick failed, leaving it
at 41-14.