Tag: <span>Brett Huffman</span>


2005: Massillon 17, Cincinnati St. Xavier 24

Tigers’ incredible season falls just one short of title


Right now, it hurts.

The pain of the Massillon Tigers 24‑17 state championship game defeat at the hands of No. 1‑ranked Cincinnati St. Xavier in front of 20,227 at Fawcett Stadium on Saturday will linger for days … maybe weeks.

But when the emotions of being so close to the big prize die down and thoughtful reason takes over, everyone will reflect on how these Tigers restored the pride, tradition and excellence to this storied football program.

“It’s tough to think about it now after a tough loss,” first‑year Tiger coach Tom Stacy said. “We’ve got a great group of kids. We have a bunch of seniors we are really going to miss. It’s a special group. We’re going to have a hard time replacing those guys.”

Massillon pushed Ohio’s top rated football team to the brink, rallying from a 24‑3 chasm to pull to within seven points. After battling back to 24‑17 on a Bobby Huth to Trey Miller touchdown pass and Andrew Dailey’s 75‑yard strip and return, the Tigers had three possessions in the final six minutes of play. One ended on an interception, the second was a three‑and‑out series and the third, which began with 1:22 remaining, was doomed by a couple of quarterback sacks by the unrelenting St. Xavier defense.

“The fact we were playing some younger guys on our offensive line in the playoffs caught up with us,” Stacy said. “We tried to buy some time with some of those younger guys and bring them around. We took Antonio James and played him just on defense. I think taking him away from our offense caught up with us a little bit tonight.”

So did the Tigers’ kickoff and punt coverage. St. Xavier returned the game’s opening kickoff to midfield, leading to a 37‑yard field goal and a quick 3‑0 lead, But the killer was a 71‑yard punt return for a touchdown by Bomber senior Brad Brookbank as time expired in the first half.

Tigers fight back, down 21

“That was big,” Stacy said. “That’s something we haven’t done all year in the kicking game. We’ve done a great job of covering kicks so it was a little bit disappointing, but give their kid credit. Brookbank made a great play.”

“(St. Xavier is) the best football team we’ve played. I don’t think they’re the most talented team we’ve played but I think they’re the overall best team as far as coaching and play.”

St. Xavier won because its defense shut down the Massillon ground game, limiting the Tigers to 46 net yards rushing, and forced two key turnovers, a third‑quarter fumble inside the Bomber 30‑yard line and a fourth‑quarter interception after the Massillon defense had forced the St. X to punt with 6:17 to play.

St. Xavier, the fourth straight Cincinnati team to garner the big‑school state title, generated 303 yards of offense. Sophomore tailback Darius Ashley had 153 yards rushing, including a 50‑yard touchdown run at 5:48 of the third quarter that made it a 24‑3 game, and senior quarterback Brad Scherer rushed for 97 yards in just 15 totes to keep the Massillon defense off balance.

“We didn’t tackle as well as we have,” Stacy said. “We’ve tackled better in previous games.

“(Ashley) runs very hard. He’s very quick. They do a good job of blocking up front. For whatever reason we didn’t tackle as well as we have in recent weeks.”

Massillon and St. Xavier exchanged punts after the Bombers took their early 3‑0 lead, with the Tigers taking over at their 24.

Massillon’s first big play of the evening was a 28‑yard Huth to Ricardo Wells aerial to the St. X 43‑yard line. The Tigers worked the ball to the 25 but the first of four Bomber sacks in the game stalled the drive.

Sophomore place kicker Steve Schott came to the rescue, drilling a season best 44‑yard field goal, to knot the game at 3‑3 on the opening snap of the second quarter.

The teams again exchanged punts with St. X getting the better of the field position at its 42‑yard line. Scherer picked up 13 yards on a quarterback draw and a reverse netted 18 more to the Tiger 27.

The Bombers dropped a pass in the end zone but were undeterred, reaching the 16‑yard line on three running plays. On first down, Scherer completed his first pass of the evening, threading the needle on a 16‑yard scoring toss to wideout Matthew McFarland in the back of the end zone. Danny Milligan added the point after for a 10‑3 St. Xavier lead at 6:56 of the second quarter.

Massillon drove from its 20 to the St. X 36 on the ensuing possession but three plays from that spot yielded zero yards and the drive died.

The Bombers would then miss a 43‑yard field goal and the Tigers, after gaining one first down, were forced to punt when St. Xavier called time out with :08 remaining in the first half.

A punt block was set up but the Tigers gave Shawn Weisend time to get the kick away. Brookbank fielded it at the St. X 29, worked his way to the left sideline and then all the way to the Massillon end zone for a 17‑3 halftime lead.

“It was not like us to give up a punt return especially in that type of a situation,” Stacy said. “But give Brad Brookbank a lot of credit. He had a great return.

“That was a big momentum swing on their part to get that. It was a big play in the game.”

Massillon took the second half kickoff and advanced from its 20 to the St. Xavier 28 on nine plays, the biggest of which was a 28‑yard Huth to Gamble pass. On that play, Huth scrambled away from intense pressure from the St. X defensive front and lofted the ball down the right sideline toward the junior tailback. Gamble soared above the Bomber coverage and snatched the ball in spectacular fashion.

Two plays later, a Tiger fumble was recovered by St. Xavier’s Joe Ries, and the Massillon scoring threat went for naught.

After an exchange of punts, Ashley broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage on a first‑down running play, and dashed 50 yards to pay dirt to give St. Xavier a 24‑3 lead at 5:48 of the third quarter.

Lanale Robinson’s 36‑yard kickoff return gave Massillon solid field position at the 41 on the Tigers next possession. Huth then connected with Trey Miler for eight yards and a first down to the St. X 46.

Two snaps later, Huth once again deftly avoiding the pass rush ‑ gunned the ball to the end zone, where Miller out‑jumped two Bombers for the ball and a 32‑yard touchdown.

Schott’s point after was good and the St. Xavier lead was down to 24‑10 at 3:49 of the third quarter.

The Bombers mounted a drive after the Tiger kickoff, converting two third-and‑longs and marching to the Massillon 19.

Just as it appeared St. Xavier was going to put the game away for good, Andrew Dailey donned his Superman outfit and made a play. Ashley tried to skirt his left end on a running play but Dailey pulled the ball away near the sideline and headed in the opposite direction. He didn’t stop until he reached the end zone and suddenly Massillon was back in business, trailing by seven points with most of the fourth quarter to be played.

“We were stuck in a hole there for a little bit, ” Dailey said. “We had to start going after the ball defensively. So I did.”

The Tiger defense forced St. Xavier to punt three more times after Dailey’s heroics, but the Bomber defense was equal to the task each time, finally knocking Huth out of the game before coming up with an interception with less than a minute to play.

“It would have been easy for them when they went down 24‑3 to buckle,” said St. Xavier coach Steve Specht. “They didn’t. They fought back hard and they made it a game. My hat’s off to them.”

“We wanted to win our 23rd state championship’ Stacy said. “We weren’t quite able to do that. We came up a little bit short.”


Antonio James
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2005: Massillon 49, Chardon 7

Tigers blitz Chardon early, roll to fourth straight


It’s shaping up as a very special season of Mas­sillon football.

The Tigers amassed over 500 yards of total offense and scored a school record 35 first quarter points in dealing the Chardon Hilltoppers a 49‑7 setback in front of 8,495 yards at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Friday.

For Jim DiPofi, Chardon’s sixth‑year head coach, it was his worst nightmare. Hoping to get into a ball control bat­tle in which his Wing‑T offense could eat up the game clock, DiPofi watched in hor­ror as the Tigers scored on their first five possessions to make it a rout early.

“That,” said DiPofi, “is a great football team. They hit us square on the chin early.

“They have a quarterback who was throwing darts to receivers with great hands. When you start chasing them that opens up a lot of gaps. Then they have that speed that just slices you. It’s like a three‑headed monster.”

Tiger head coach Tom Stacy was aiming to land a knockout punch early and that’s how things transpired.

“We got some big plays,” Stacy said. “In this stadium that’s what you’ve got to do to teams. We’ve got some guys who can make some big plays. We wanted to establish some domination early and we were able to do that.”

Massillon opened the game with a nine‑play, 90‑yard drive that took 4:12 off the clock and was culminated by a 12‑yard Bobby Huth to Brett Huffman touchdown pass.

Huth opened the march with a 26‑yard pass comple­tion to Brian Gamble. Five plays later, Huth rolled to his left and with pressure in his face found Huffman running free over the middle. The senior tight end juggled the ball momentarily, regained control and left the Tigers in the red zone when he finally went down at the Chardon 14.

“We started off throwing the ball a lot more tonight,” Huffman said. “Bobby threw one my way and I went up and got it for him.

“It was great getting into the end zone for the first time this year. I forget what it felt like. It was great. I was happy to get back there.”

Stacy was thrilled at that development also.

“As good as player as Brett is we haven’t used him quite as much as we should,” Stacy said. “It was nice to see him get involved more.”

Chardon went three‑and-­out on its initial possession and the Hilltoppers punt left the Tigers with first down at their own 45.

Huth dropped back and quickly found Gamble open at the Chardon 35. The junior running back cut to his right and was off to the races for a 55‑yard scoring play. Schott’s kick put Massillon up 14‑0 at 5:58 of the opening stanza.

It was another three‑and-­out for Chardon on its second possession and again the Hilltopper punt gave Massil­lon possession at its own 45.

Once again Tiger lightning struck the Chardon defense but this time there was a lit­tle trickery involved. Backup quarterback Shawn Weisend snuck into the game at a wideout position and took a pitch from Huth on what ap­peared to be an end around. But Weisend pulled up and~ threw a strike to Trey Miller at the Chardon 28. Miller was in the clear and easily raced, to the end zone. Schott did the honors again and the Tigers were running away and hid­ing at 21‑0 with 3:56 to play in the first quarter.

“We’ve got to keep people off balance and that play gives people something they have to prepare for in the fu­ture,” Stacy said of Weisend’s strike to Miller. “We talked about that this week as a coaching staff, that we have to do some more of those wrinkles to give people something else to prepare for.”

Chardon only ran two plays on its ensuing possession, fumbling on second down. Tiger cornerback Neil James recovered at the Hilltopper 28.

Lanale Robinson opened the possession for Massillon with a 12‑yard burst up the middle. One play later Robinson took a handoff and again attacked the middle of the Chardon defense. He broke through the line to the 12, bounced to the outside and raced to the corner of the end zone for Massillon’s, fourth touchdown in less than 10 minutes of play. Schott’s point after kick made it 28‑0 at 2:53 of the first.

The Hilltoppers fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Mike Porrini recovered for Massillon at the Hilltopper 15.

“You don’t want to give them the ball inside the 15 yard line,” DiPofi said. “They don’t need any help. That’s great football team. You can’t give them the ball inside the 15.”

Massillon fullback Robert Morris gained nine yard around right end on first down, and Robinson traversed the final six yards to the end zone ‑ again around tight end ‑ and Massillon was up 34‑0 on Schott’s conversion boot.

Massillon’s final first half touchdown capped off an eight‑play, 71‑yard drive. Gamble covered the final 3 yards on an innocent looking run off left tackle. He was cornered at the 20‑yard line by a Chardon defender but ran through the tackle and didn’t stop sprinting until he reached pay dirt. Again Schott obliged and the Tigers carried a 42‑0 bulge into the locker room at halftime.

“You have to give credit where it’s due,” DiPofi said. “That’s a great football team. It is very well coached. We played our hearts our but it, wasn’t anywhere near enough. ,
“Tom is doing the right thing with these kids. He has them playing no‑nonsense downhill football. He has them executing.”

Huth’s final statistics were Roethlisberger‑like. He com­pleted 9 of 11 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns.

“Bobby is playing with a lot of confidence,” Stacy said. “He is making great deci­sions. He made a couple of great plays with his feet tonight to get balls to re­ceivers in tough situations. He continues to improve and impress. With the teams we play in the future, he needs to get better. We all do.”


Antonio James
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2005: Massillon 55, Mansfield Senior 0

Tigers dominate Mansfield


The Massillon Tigers didn’t have a letdown a week after defeating Greater Catholic League power Elder. The Tigers rolled up 465 total yards Friday, defeating the Mansfield Tygers 55-0 at Arlin Stadium to improve to 3-0.

Like a week ago, when the Tigers intercepted the Elder quarterback six times, the defense had sticky fingers. The Tigers picked off three passes against the Tygers (1-2), all of which eventually led to touchdowns.

First-year Massillon head coach Tom Stacy said he has never coached a team that intercepted nine passes in a two-game stretch.

“We have a good secondary,” said Stacy. “We’re also going to see some good quarterbacks. Ignatius has a real good quarterback, and I’m sure Mentor’s is going to be a good challenge. But our secondary is solid. We were able to see that in the 7-on-7’s this summer.”

Senior defensive back Neil James started the interception party by picking off a Justin Greene pass at the Tigers’ 24-yard line on the opening possession of the game. The Tigers then marched 76 yards on eight plays, scoring on a six-yard pass from quarterback Bobby Huth to senior receiver Trey Miller on a quick slant. Kicker Steve Schott’s extra point made it 7-0 with 6:09 remaining in the opening period.

“There are a couple of guys who are playmakers I look to,” said Huth, who finished 11-for-14 for 140 yards and two touchdowns. “(Brett) Huffman, (Zack) Vanryzin and those guys. You get them the ball, and they can make things happen.”

The Tigers’ Troy Ellis kept the party going by intercepting Greene’s next pass attempt at the Tygers’ 25 yard line. Ellis returned it to the 3-yard line, setting up a Lanale Robinson one-yard touchdown run with 5:54 remaining in the first quarter.

Ellis, however, was forced to leave the game in the third quarter with an apparent leg injury, but Stacy said he doesn’t believe it is serious. The biggest interception, however, came just before the half.

With the Tigers holding on to a commanding 24-0 lead with less than three minutes to go in the half, senior defensive end Antonio James nailed Greene just as he was about to release the ball. It floated into the arms of Emery Saunders at the Tygers’ 45-yard line, and he returned it for a touchdown to make it 31-0.

The offense, led by Brian Gamble, also hit on all cylinders. Gamble rushed for 109 yards on 11 carries and added three receptions for 60 yards. He also returned a kickoff for 39 yards and scored a 22-yard touchdown early in the third quarter.

“The line was great,” said Gamble, who left the game after the first possession of the third quarter. “They were blocking really well, and I did what I could to see the hole and go through the hole. I haven’t really been catching a lot of passes in games, but in practice I have been. Tonight, I had a couple of catches. It felt really good.”

Gamble played a major part in two of the Tigers’ first-half offensive touchdowns. He carried for 51 yards on four carries in the opening drive.

Gamble also set up another Tigers touchdown by hauling in a 28-yard Huth pass at the Tygers’ 9-yard line.

Two plays later, Huth rolled left and found receiver Vanryzin in the corner of the end zone from seven yards out.

Gamble also set up another Huth touchdown as he hauled in a 28-yard pass on the sideline at the Tygers’ 9-yard line. Two plays later, Huth rolled to his left and connected with a wide-open Vanryzin in the corner of the end zone.

The Tigers finished with 261 total yards in the first half.

It didn’t get much better for the Tygers in the second half. On top of Gamble’s 22-yard touchdown run, the Tigers also scored on an 18-yard run by Robinson and a 47-yard run by K.J. Herring.

If there were any doubts about the legitimacy of the Tigers, both Huth and Gamble believe those were answered. Both believe the Tigers are back to the level they are used to playing at.

“The tradition is definitely back,” said Gamble. “It was a good win. It
was good to finish somebody after letting Elder get back in the game.”

“We’re back for sure,” Huth added. “We believe we are a great team. We can go a long way if we stay focused.”


Antonio James
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2003: Massillon 35, Mansfield Senior 12

Blown away
Tiger storm quicky inundates Mansfield

William.Sanderson @ IndeOnline.com

All the controversy over the David Phillips recruiting scandal seemed to make very little difference to the Massillon Tigers on Friday night.

Right from the get‑go, Massillon dominated both sides of the ball in an impressive 35‑12 victory at Arlin Field in Mansfield.

Program Cover

Mansfield Senior was minus its starting quarterback Deonte Weatherspoon due to a dislocated thumb suffered against Lexington last week, and the Tyger offense never got on track. After the first, half, Massillon led 23‑0 and Mansfield had only 11 net yards to its credit.

As far as the person at the center of the controversy, Phillips was held to a modest 41 yards on 25 carries.

Massillon coach Rick Shepas didn’t allow the Phillips situation to be a distraction.

“There are no distractions in our locker room from beginning to end with anything surrounding the Phillips situation,” Shepas said. “It’s an unfortunate situation, but we’ve moved on.”

Quarterback Steve Hymes echoed his mentor’s sentiments.

“We know Phillips is a good running back,” Hymes said. “That was an issue we had to deal with, but that’s over. It’s ancient history.”

The Tigers took an early lead mainly on the strength of Hymes’ arm.

After turning back Mansfield Senior on the game’s opening possession, Hymes twice found Eric Copeland. The second time was good for 10 yards and a touchdown to make it 6‑0 Tigers at 8:15 of the first quarter.

“I was rolling out,” Hymes recounted. “Eric got open and I threw it in there.

“My receivers did a great job tonight. They did their thing and all I had to do was throw it to them.”

A few minutes later it was Brett Huffman’s turn to be on the receiving end. First came a 24‑yard toss over the middle. On the next play, Huffman twisted around a Tyger defender to haul in a 22-yard throw by Hymes for the touchdown.

Max Shafer’s kick made it 13‑0 Massillon at 6:29 of the first quarter.

“It was a great throw,” Huffman said. “I just did that up‑and‑under move that we practice every day and it fell right in.”

Hymes finished the game with 24 completions on 33 attempts for 316 yards and the two touchdowns.

Anticipating a physical battle with Mansfield Senior, Shepas wanted to get off to a good start with the passing game.

“We just wanted to open the game up,” Shepas said. “Mansfield is physical and we wanted to keep them spread out. We picked our places to close it down as well.”

As if to show it didn’t need to simply pass the ball, Massillon ground out a 16‑play drive that covered 68 yards before Shafer booted a 22‑yard field goal to make it a 16‑0 Tiger lead at 10:11 of the second quarter.

Shepas was particularly pleased with the offensive line.

“Jason Reinmann was out sick,” Shepas said. “He didn’t even come on the trip. I thought our offensive line coaches did a nice job adjusting things. We played a lot of guys up front. David Portello got some playing time. Lashawn Edge started at a tackle. All in all, we’re pretty pleased.”

Matters only got worse for Mansfield. Not only could its offense not sustain a drive against the Massillon defense, but a special teams mistake paved the way for a Tiger touchdown.

Midway through the second quarter, a snap sailed over the head of the Tyger punter. The ball finally rolled dead at the Mansfield one-yard line, where the punter downed it instead of kicking it into his own end zone for a safety.

Instead of two points, the Tigers took another six when Hymes ran it in at 6:57. The Shafer kick made it 23-0 Tigers.

Massillon (4‑1) had a chance to make it more before the half, but fumbled the ball inside the Mansfield 20 with a couple of minutes left in the second quarter. It also narrowly averted a last‑second disaster when Tim Dewald made a touchdown‑saving tackle on Mansfield’s Rashad Jones on an interception return.

The Tigers kept their foot to the accelerator to start the third quarter. After stopping Mansfield Senior’s first drive of the half, the Tigers drove 49 yards for another Shafer field goal. His 37‑yarder made it 26‑0.

The drubbing continued when Tuffy Woods broke in from one yard out for a touchdown that was set up by a 36‑yard throw from Hymes to Wayne Gates. The kick failed and the score was 32‑0 with 4:43 left.

Mansfield Senior (2‑3) finally got on the scoreboard with 1:22 left in the third quarter. Justin Green threw up a long pass that bounced off both his receiver and the Tiger defenders before Josh Harkness was able to gather the ball in for the score. That made it 32‑6 Massillon.

Green, who replaced Weatherspoon, drew praise from his coach despite the loss.

“Not having (Weatherspoon) took away our option attack, but Justin played well,” Mansfield Senior coach LeRoy Smith said. “Justin is a sophomore and it’s tough to throw him in against a team like Massillon. Justin actually throws the deep ball better and we wanted to exploit that.”

Shafer would add another 23‑yard field goal before the final gun that made it 35‑6.

Mansfield would score a touchdown on an 11‑yard run by Phillips with no time remaining for the final score.

With the likes of St. Ignatius, St. Edward, Dayton Chaminade‑Julienne and Warren Harding coming up, it was a big win as far as Huffman was concerned.

“This game was important,” Huffman said. “It’s Week Five so this was the hump game. We wanted to win this to help carry us through the rest of the season. We were pretty focused this game and all week in practice.”

Massillon 35
Mansfield 12


Massillon 13 10 9 3 35
Mansfield 0 0 6 6 12

Mas ‑ Eric Copeland 10 pass from Steve Hymes (kick failed)
Mas ‑ Brett Huffman 21 pass from Hymes (Max Shafer kick)
Mas ‑ Shafer 22 FG
Mas ‑ Hymes 1 run (Shafer kick) Mas ‑ Shafer 37 FG
Mas ‑ Tuffy Woods 1 run (kick failed)
Mans ‑ Josh Harkness 38 pass from Greene (run failed)
Mas ‑ Shafer 23 FG
Mans ‑ David Phillips 11 run

Massillon rushing: Hymes 7‑45, 1 TD, Lanale Robinson 7‑23
Mansfield rushing: Tony Shaw 8‑52 Phillips 25‑59, 1 TD

Massillon passing: Hymes 24‑33‑316, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Mansfield passing: Greene 2‑10‑77, 1 TD, 1 INT

Massillon receiving: Huffman 7‑121, 1 TD, Copeland 5‑67, 1 TD, Wayne Gates 4‑61
Mansfield receiving: Josh Harkness 2‑77, 1 TD

Brock Hymes