Tag: <span>Brock Hymes</span>


2003: Massillon 8, Canton McKinley 40

Bulldogs bottle up Tigers at Fawcett
Brinson’s four touchdowns key McKinley’s 40-8 victory

Joe, Shaheen@ I ndeOnline.com

You had the feeling the Massillon Tigers were in for a long day when they fumbled the first offensive snap of the game, then took a safety on the very next play.

Program Cover

It all pretty much went downhill from there as Massillon absorbed a 40‑8 thumping at the hands of their arch rivals the McKinley Bulldogs in the 111th meeting between the two storied high school football programs on Saturday at Fawcett Stadium in Canton.

The loss marked the first time in the history of Massillon Tiger football the team has dropped five games in a row.

“Well, you know, that would have been a touchdown pass,” Shepas said of the game’s opening play from scrimmage which backed the Tigers to the 1-yard line. “Then we missed another touchdown pass. And we missed a couple of other open receivers. Then we had some interceptions, but that’s the way it goes.

“One way or the other it’s about making plays. They made more than we did today.”

in a tearful post‑game huddle, Shepas apologized to his players, saying he and the coaching staff may not have done as good a job of preparing them for McKinley as they could have.

“I thought our kids fought hard all season,” Shepas said. “We dealt with some different types of adversity and a lot of injuries.

“I’d like to apologize to the Tiger fans. We did not give them a good showing today and I feel responsible for that. One way or the other, I’m the leader of this program. Massillon is a great community. Our community came out and supported us in that parade. It was fantastic. It was just a disappointing day.”

McKinley’s 2‑0 lead held up through the first quarter. But even at that point, McKinley running back Ryan Brinson felt the game belonged to the Bulldogs.

“That first drive, when we got that safety, I knew it was over,” Brinson said. “When we got that safety, I knew we had their hearts.

“We were ready to play. They were scared. They had that sophomore quarterback and he wasn’t ready for this type of game. So we took it to them.”

Massillon penetrated to the Bulldog 22 late in the opening period but gave the ball up on downs following a delay of game penalty.

The Bulldogs began their first scoring drive at midfield after a 15‑yard punt return by Christian Smith. The Pups ran the ball effectively on their first three plays of the march, then junior quarterback Mike Shaffer used play action to freeze the Tiger linebackers and hit tight end Alex Rehfus for 20 yards to the Massillon 14.

On third down, the Tigers dropped a potential interception on a screen pass, and on fourth down Shaffer found Antwon Hight for 16 yards for a first down at the Tiger 2.

Brinson went over left guard and tackle for six on the next play. Zach Campbell tacked on the extra point and McKinley led 9‑0 at 7:11 of the second quarter.

Brinson picked off the Tigers near midfield on Massillon’s ensuing possession, then opened the game up by bursting up the middle for a 49‑yard touchdown at 5:19 of the second quarter. Campbell’s kick made it 16‑0 McKinley.

The Tigers’ second interception of the day ‑ they had four picked off ‑ set up McKinley’s final tally of the first half, a 22‑yard Campbell field goal that made it 19‑0.

“I didn’t think at any one point that we felt that we were going to be out of this football game,” Shepas said. “Even down 19 points I didn’t think so.”

But the Tigers never did get untracked offensively, finishing with 214 total yards, much of it coming after the game was decided. Massillon quarterbacks completed just 10 of 30 aerials for 130 yards.

“The plan that I had was to mix both Steve (Hymes) and Quentin (Paulik) into the game plan,” Shepas said of his quarterbacks. “It just didn’t work out. The idea was to mix up the shotgun run with the pass.”

They were confused on offense,” observed McKinley coach Brian Cross.

“Our defensive coaches did a great job with the game plan. Massillon just couldn’t get into a rhythm. Once they fell behind, we knew they had to throw the ball just about every down.”

Shepas admitted his charges didn’t seem to be at the top of their game mentally.

“I think we could have been more focused,” he said. “But it’s a great lesson.

“Hey, we’ve been on top in most. Sometimes you have to go through this to respect it and work hard to get back on top. We’ve been there before. This team has a lot of young guys. This football team is going to be good down the road.”

McKinley finished with a little more than 300 yards of total offense, but were presented with the short field on several occasions as Massillon’s spate of turnovers continued for the fourth straight week.

Brinson finished with 155 yards in 13 carries, including a 43‑yard touchdown scamper around the right side of the McKinley line. On that play, the 5‑10, 168‑pound junior was virtually untouched and he sprinted down the right boundary.

“I was running and Billy (Relford) was looking inside and I ran right by him so I just kept going,” Brinson said. “It was an excellent call by Coach Cross. I just ran as hard as I could.”

Massillon avoided the shutout on a 16‑yard Paulik‑to-Relford pass play, set up by three fine runs by sophomore Lanale Robinson late in the fourth quarter.

“We’ll be back,” Shepas said. “We’ll be back. We have a lot of young kids who have played.

“We’ll get rid of the distractions that have plagued us and get ready for the future.”

Asked if the brutal schedule his Tigers played this season may have sapped the team, Shepas refused to use that as an excuse.

“You’ve got to deal with it,” he said. “Bottom line, we played a playoff schedule. Our guys are not going to the playoffs. We’ve got to rise above it and that will be taking the next step. It’s all part of the journey.”

McKinley 40
Massillon 8


Massillon 0 0 0 8 8
McKinley 2 17 21 0 40

McK ‑ Safety McK ‑ Ryan Brinson 2 run (Campbell kick)
McK ‑ Brinson 49 run (Campbell kick)
McK ‑ Campbell 22 FG
McK ‑ Brinson 21 run (Campbell kick)
McK ‑ Goodright 1 run (Campbell kick)
McK ‑ Brinson 43 run (Campbell kick)
M ‑ Billy Relford 16 pass from Quentin Paulik (Kurt Jarvis pass from Relford)

Massillon rushing: Lanale Robinson 4‑35, Ramon Kelly 3‑21, Tuffy Woods 12‑20
McKinley rushing: Ryan Brinson 13‑147, 4 TDs, Theo Goodright 13‑64, 1 TD

Massillon passing: Quentin Paulik 8­-21‑108, 1 TD, 1 INT, Steve Hymes 2‑9‑22, 3 INT
McKinley passing: Mike Shaffer 3‑9‑55

Massillon receiving: Eric Copeland 3­-54, Wayne Gates 2‑26, Billy Relford 2‑23
McKinley receiving: Alex Rehfus 1‑20, Tyrone Gillespie 1‑20

Brock Hymes

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2003: Massillon 15, Warren Harding 31

Shepas still sees progress and promise in Massillon Tigers’ ferocity in defeat to Warren Harding has coach proud, excited

Joe.Shaheen @ IndeOnline.Com

You don’t want to be in the midst of a four-game losing streak as you prepare to play your biggest rival, but that’s the scenario facing the Massillon Tigers this week with five days until they face off with Canton McKinley for the 111th time this Saturday at Fawcett Stadium in Canton.

Program Cover

The scoreboard at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Saturday night past displayed the bottom line: Warren Harding 31, Massillon 15.

What it didn’t reflect was how hard the Tigers battled against the No. 3 team in the nation, sending the Raiders back to Warren with injuries to quarterback Alex Engram (Left shoulder), running back Delbert Ferguson (broken right leg), running back Richard David (ankle) and starting split end Peter Sparks.

The Tigers, meanwhile, come into McKinley Week with more to play for than pride and a win over their longtime rivals.

“Believe it or not there is still an outside shot to make the playoff,” Tiger head coach Rick Shepas revealed. “Believe it or not, there is (a chance to get in.) Mathematically some things have to happen but they happened for us last year and we made a run.”

The Tigers are also much more confident about their quarterback position than a week ago. Sophomore Quentin Paulik connected on 23 of 42 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns against one of Ohio’s elite high school football teams.

“Quentin Paulik showed a lot of poise in the pocket,” observed Shepas. “Early on he had a couple of balls get tipped but I think he will learn from it. He’s one week better from last week.

“I thought it was a nice changeup with what we did with Steve Hymes, not to knock him up too much, get him an extra week of rest but still have him on the field.”

Warren Harding head coach Thom McDaniels, a high school and college quarterback himself who takes a great deal of pride in coaching that position, thinks the Tigers may have another rgood one in Paulik.

“We’re going to try to pressure a guy like Paulik who is inexperienced to find out whether or not he can handle that kind of pressure,” McDaniels said. “He more than met the test because he did some good things, his receivers did some good things, and they generated some offense. We just were able to get some turnovers.”

Ah, yes. The turnovers. Massillon gave up six, including five interceptions, continuing a troubling trend that began with St. Edward and continued with Dayton Chaminade-Julienne and was evident against Warren Harding. In that three-game span, the Tigers have turned the ball over 20 times.

Shepas pointed out not all of the turnovers against Warren are on his quarterback.

“We’ve got to catch the ball too,” he said. “some of the turnovers we had were from tipped passes. I thought (Paulik) came out and played well.”

“We started getting back into our style of offense a little bit with Quentin. You see, you need to throw the ball to keep people off balance.”

That’s exactly what the Tigers did on their first possession of the night against Warren. Trailing 7-0 following a nine play, 72-yard opening march by the Raiders, Massillon went back to the ‘pass first, ask questions later’ attack that has been so successful during the Shepas era.

On the Tigers first play from scrimmage beginning at their own 20, Paulik meshed with junior tight end Wayne Gates on short slant over the middle that became a 45-yard gain. Then the sophomore found Ryan Schindler for eight yards, and one play later hit Gates in full stride for an 18-yard touchdown.

Zach Smith’s extra point made it a 7-7 game with 6:16 to play in the first quarter.

“We had them reeling a little bit,“ Shepas said. “We put together one of our best drives of the season early on in the game. It made it exciting for awhile. We’re going to be better from this schedule.”

Warren retaliated with a 35-yard field goal to make it 10-7.

But what sent Massillon sliding down that slippery slope was an interception just three plays into its ensuing possession, giving Warren the ball at the Tiger 46.

Three plays later, Engram hit Sparks on a 10-yard slant and the senior wideout turned on the jets for a 36-yard touchdown. The PAT made it a 17-7 game with most of the second quarter still to be played.

The Massillon defense forced Warren to punt on its next two possession but a Tiger fumble inside their own 20-yard line at the outset of the second half gave Engram and Sparks an opportunity to reprise their touchdown connection and the Raiders were up 24-7.

Warren’s next four possessions ended with a punt, a blocked field goal, and two Engram fumbles as the Tiger defense scrapped and clawed.

“I’m really proud of the way our kids played,” Shepas said. “I’m proud of the way they practiced after the three losses we had coming into this game and playing the No.2 team in the state and No 3 in the country. Plenty of teams could have turned tail and run from that but I don’t think our kids did.”

“We tried to utilize our guys to the best of their ability. I’m excited about it. I’ve always been excited about our kids. I’m happy with the way we played. We’re playing this schedule for a reason and it’s going to pay off for us.”

An Engram to Jonte Stroud touchdown pass made it 31-7 Warren with six minutes to play.

Massillon answered with a 40-yard Paulik to Billy Relford scoring aerial and Relford’s two-point conversion run to cut the Tigers deficit to two touchdowns and two two-point conversations. The ensuing onside kick, though was recovered by Warren, sealing Massillon’s fate.

Warren Harding 31
Massillon 15


Warren Harding 10 7 7 7 31
Massillon 7 0 0 8 15

W – David 1 run (Spain kick)
M – Wayne Gates 18 pass from Quentin Paulik (Zach Smith kick)
W – Spain 35 FG
W – Sparks 36 pass from Engram (Spain kick)
W – Sparks 7 pass from Engram (Spain kick)
W – Stroud 30 pass from Engram (Spain kick)
M – Billy Relford 40 pass from Quentin Paulik (Relford run)

Massillon rushing: Tuffy Woods 6-22.
Warren Harding rushing: Engram 10-89

Massillon passing: Paulik 23-42-310, 2 TD, 5 INT.
Warren Harding passing: Engram 8-12-107, 3 TD.

Massillon receiving: Wayne Gates 7-122, TD; Billy Relford 2-72, TD.
Warren Harding receiving: Sparks 3-50, 2 TD.

Brock Hymes

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2003: Massillon 24, Dayton Chaminade-Julienne 45

Role reversal
C-J’s Ringer devastates Tiger defense

Joe.Shaheen @ IndeOnline.Com

The shoe was on the other foot and the Massillon Tigers didn’t much like the fit.

A veteran Dayton Chaminade‑Julienne team coming off a state title and ranked No. 7 among Ohio’s, Division III football teams, came into Paul Brown Tiger Stadium and put a 45‑24 thumping on the Tigers in front of 7,748 on an idyllic autumn Friday evening.

Program Cover

Two years ago, it was a sophomore‑laden C‑J squad that came to Massillon and left on the short end of a 48‑27 score to a Tiger team featuring Justin Zwick and Shawn Crable.

On Friday, C‑J had the Division I prospects in running back Javon Ringer ‑ who rushed for 259 yards and three touchdowns ‑ and quarterback Anthony Turner, who completed 8 of 8 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown.

Chaminade‑Julienne coach Jim Place admitted he had mixed emotions as he looked up at the scoreboard and saw his team’s margin of victory, which was the same 21 points that his team lost by in 2001.

“It’s a great win for me and my kids but at the same time I’m looking around and where was No. 33?” Place said. “Where was No. 16? Where was this guy? Where was that guy? Where was No. 5?

“It’s a wonderful feeling. I’m thrilled but it’s tempered with feeling for the other guy. No one from Massillon wants our pity. But I have some empathy for the other side. Massillon is just a young team that is beat up.”

Tiger coach Rick Shepas emerged from an emotional post‑game address to his team and put the 21‑point setback in perspective.

“Jim Place came up here two years ago to get a young team ready to play for a state championship down the road,” Shepas recalled. “They were a sophomore group and the situation was reversed. Now they’re seniors and a talented group of guys.

“Ringer, what can you say? I love Turner and No. 1 the wideout (Ryan Patrick), he’s special.”

Shepas explained the Tigers are trying to prepare their youngsters the same way Place did in 2001.

“We’re in the same situation this year,” Shepas said. “We’re playing a lot of young people. We’re playing the same kind of schedule. We want to play people so that hopefully things will work out the same way. We don’t want to lower the bar just so we can win football games, so we’ve raised the bar and we’re finding out how we respond and that’s the way it goes.”

C‑J jumped out to an early 14‑point lead on Patrick’s 82‑yard punt return at 7:10 of the first quarter and a 47‑yard Turner‑to‑Patrick pass play that began as a 10‑yard slant and ended up in the end zone.

But the Tigers clawed their way back in the game. Tuffy Woods capped off a five‑play, 59‑yard march with a one‑yard touchdown plunge at 11:11 of the second quarter. It was set up by a 25‑yard sweep by Lanale Robinson and a grinding 21‑yard run by Woods.

Billy Relford ran under the ensuing pooch kickoff and the Tigers regained possession at the 31. After a 12‑yard run by Woods, the drive stalled and Zach Smith drilled a 28‑yard field goal to pull Massillon back to within four points at 14-10.
Relford came up with another huge play on C-J’s next possession, stripping Patrick after a pass completion and falling on the pigskin to give the Tigers the ball at the visitors’ 43.

Again Woods ran effectively gaining 12 yards on first down. Three snaps later, though, on third‑and‑seven, the Tigers fumbled the ball back to the Eagles, who took just four plays to cover the 67 yards to the end zone.

“That’s something that happened to us when we first came here.” Shepas said of the key turnover. “Our resilience after a turnover. We survive one, we survive another. But when stupid things start to happen like the miscues with the bad snaps and stuff like that, those are things our guy have to learn from and get better from.”

C‑J’s lead was 21‑10 at 4:33 of the first half. The Eagles then forced Massillon into a three‑and‑out series, and followed with a seven‑play, 80‑yard scoring march capped by Ringer’s never‑say‑die 24‑yard touchdown run that made it 28‑10 at halftime.

“The one time (Ringer) ran for a touchdown, we missed six tackles,” Shepas said. “There were times when we didn’t line up correctly. We had them in some third‑and‑long situations. Our guys have to line up. That’s the bottom line.”

Massillon finished with six fumbles, losing five. That comes on the heels of a nine turnover game a week ago against St. Edward.

In his first varsity start after being idled for more than a month with a broken wrist, sophomore quarterback Quentin Paulik struggled but passed for 119 yards and a touchdown without being intercepted.

“Here he comes in his first start after those injuries and he has to play against the fastest team we will face all year,” Shepas pointed out. “That’s a tough thing to do.”

Massillon falls to 4‑4 and will host No. 2 ranked Warren Harding next Saturday.

Chaminade‑Julienne improves to 7‑1, locks up a playoff berth, and now has two games to secure home field advantage. But the way the Eagles played on the road Friday, being at home may not matter much.

Dayton C‑J 45
Massillon 24


Dayton C‑J 14 14 14 3 45
Massillon 0 10 0 14 24

CJ ‑ Ryan Patrick 82 punt return (kick failed)
CJ ‑ Ryan Patrick 47 pass from Anthony Turner (Patrick run)
M ‑ Tuffy Woods 1 run (Smith kick)
M ‑ Smith 28 FG
CJ ‑ Javon Ringer 25 run (Grant kick)
CJ ‑ Javon Ringer 24 run (Grant kick)
CJ ‑ Javon Ringer 86 run (Grant kick)
CJ ‑ Turner 5 run (Grant kick)
CJ ‑ Grant 24 FG
M ‑ Billy Relford 57 pass from Quentin Paulik (Smith kick)
M ‑ Hendricks 35 pass from Weisand (Smith kick)

Massillon rushing: Woods 13‑72, 1 TD
Chaminade‑Julienne rushing: Ringer 24‑261, 3 TDs, Turner 11‑47, 1 TD

Massillon passing: Paulik 7‑22‑119, 1 TD
Chaminade‑Julienne passing: Turner 8‑8‑172, 1 TD

Massillon receiving: Relford 3‑72, 1 TD
Chaminade‑Julienne receiving: Patrick 5‑109, 1 TD

Brock Hymes

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2003: Massillon 6, Lakewood St. Edward 27

Melt Down
Too many turnovers, too little offense

By Joe Shaheen

The Massillon Tigers turned the ball over nine times and the offense failed to dent the end zone in a 27-6 defeat at the hands of No.10-ranked Lakewood St. Edward in front of 8,306 fans at rainy Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Friday night.

Program Cover

Massillon trailed 10-6 at halftime and was down just 13-6 late in the third quarter when disaster struck. The tigers muffled a punt to give St. Edward possession at the Massillon 20. On the first snap, the Eagles scored when Ryan Adkins came free on a counter play and waltzed into the
end zone to make it 19-6.

Things went downhill from there for the Tigers, who fall to 4-3 with a visit on tap next week by defending Division II state champion Dayton Chaminade-Julienne.

“We play good defense in the third quarter and then we give ourselves a chance in the fourth quarter and we muffed the punt,” said tiger coach Rick Shepas. “That was it right there. We’re at 13-6 and we fumble the punt and then its over. That’ the bottom line.”

Actually, Massillon had a chance to draw first blood in the third quarter when its kickoff landed at the St. Edward 30, backed up and hit a Tiger coverage team member before it was finally covered by the Eagles.

“I really thought at halftime that they had outplayed us in the first half and we go in down just 10-6,” Shepas said. “That’s a situation that’s pretty good. Then we come out, kick the ball against the wind and we have a chance to recover the ball and we don’t.”

It was one of several missed opportunities for the Tigers. Another came in the first half when- after a shanked St. Edward punt – Massillon took over on the visitors’ 29-yard line. The tigers moved the ball inside the one-yard line and had two cracks from there but failed to reach pay dirt.

“That was very critical,” Shepas concurred. “We’ve got the ball on the six-inch line. We have two attempts from six inches and we don’t get in. I think that pretty much sums up the evening from the offensive standpoint. I mean, we really didn’t get an offensive touchdown.”
Was it a hangover from last Saturday’s drubbing by St. Ignatius? Shepas didn’t think so.

“I felt like the guys came out ready to play,” he said. “Our defense did an outstanding job, no question.”

Then Shepas got to the crux of the Tigers problems, and offensive line that has had different personnel in different positions in each game this year.

“We continue to juggle offensive linemen and you get some injuries here or there but it’s the juggling of the offensive line that’s giving us a lack of consistency,” said Shepas.

“We moved the football a little bit but never consistently at all. Never consistently.”

And there were those nine turnovers, not to take anything away from St. Edward, which moves to 7-1 with St. Ignatius up next.

“I called them a feisty group,” St. Edward head coach John Gibbons said of his Eagles. “They’ve been on the road all year and sometimes a team can be fazed by that. But these guys just go out and play football from the moment they get off the bus. That’s just the personality of this team.

St. Edward broke on top when Joe Kleinsmith, with the aid of a strong tail wind, drilled a 48-yard field goal at 6:24 of the first quarter.

It was set up by a 26-yard Kyle Skoczen to Haruki Nakamura completion after Massillon utilized the quick kick on third-and-15 from the Tiger 30.

Paris McCall then gave Massillon the short field when he fell in a fumbled center snap at the St. Edward 33. Five plays later, a 36-yard field goal attempt was blocked by St. Edward and returned for an apparent Eagle touchdown. However, a late flag for blocking in the back too the points off the scoreboard, enraging Gibbons.

St. Edward fumbled the ball away on its second play following the change of possession, only to get it right back as the Tigers fumbled on their first snap.

St. Edward took over at the Massillon 42 and the teams exchanged 15-yard penalties before Skoczen displayed his speed on a keeper play around left end. The 6-foot-3, 193 pound junior got to the corner and sprinted untouched 31 yards for the touchdown.

Kleinsmith nailed the point after and St. Edward was up 10-0 at 11:52 of the second quarter.

Taking over at their own 13 following the ensuing kickoff, Massillon embarked on its best drive on the game. With Steve Hymes mixing short passes to Billy Relford and Wayne Gates with keeper plays, the Tigers moved to the St. Edward 24, where they faced a fourth-and-two play call.

Hymes took the shotgun snap, rolled left, then attempted what appeared to be a push pass. St. Ed junior Nate Smith made a fine interception, then inexplicably ran toward and into the tiger end zone, where Relford stripped away the ball and recovered for a Massillon touchdown.

A two-point conversion run was stopped cold but the Tigers were back in the game, trailing 10-6 at 7:12 of the second quarter.

The Massillon defense responded by holding St. Edward to a three-and-out series and a wind blown shanked punt gave the Tigers the short field once again at the Eagle 29.

Three plays later, Tuffy Woods broke free on a quick hitter up the middle for 11 yards to the St. Ed 5.

The Tigers got it to the 1-yard line but failed to penetrate the end zone in two plays and the Eagles had dodged a bullet.

St. Ed scored on a 35-yard Kleinsmith field goal midway through the third period as the tiger defense continued to play inspired football in the second half.

The muffed punt followed and it all went south from there for the Tigers.

“We’re 13-6 with these guys and they’ve gone overtime against Warren and we’re right there with them until we make the mistake,” Shepas concluded.

St. Edward 27
Massillon 6


St Edward 3 7 9 8 27
Massillon 0 6 0 0 6

Brock Hymes

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2003: Massillon 12, Cleveland St. Ignatius 37

Tigers shake off Iggy loss, turn eyes ahead


Rick Shepas had one admonition for his charges following Massillon’s 37‑12 loss to St. Ignatius at Byers Field in Parma Saturday night.

“Don’t feel sorry for yourselves,” Shepas said in the postgame huddle at midfield.

Program Cover

The Tigers don’t have time for self‑recrimination. On Friday they play host to No. 8‑rated Lakewood St. Edward, which is coming off a 37‑0 win over Huntington (Ind.) North on Saturday.

“We’re 4‑2 and we’ve got a decision to make on how much better we’re going to get,” Shepas told the Tigers, who can give their playoff hopes a huge lift with a victory this week over computer points rich St. Eds.

“This is what we want,” Shepas said. “We’ve put ourselves in a playoff‑type, atmosphere during the regular season. It’s going to be a great opportunity for our kids to show what they can do. It will be a great opportunity for us to play well and have a chance to get in the playoffs as well.

“But one way or the other, our team is going to come out of this with a lot. We’re going to benefit from this one way or the other.”

A cardinal sin against any team boasting the talent that St. Ignatius puts on the field is falling behind early, but that’s the fate that befell Massillon. The Wild cats scored on a botched punt snap then converted a 21‑yard punt return off a Tiger three‑and‑out series into a 21‑yard Brian Hoyer touchdown pass less than four minutes into the game.

“You can’t come up here and go down 13‑0 to a team like St. Ignatius and expect to do anything,” Shepas said.

“The last time we were up here that happened. It happened again tonight. It’s just up to us as far as the way we play, the way we coach.”

Joe Palcko’s short touchdown run capped a 10‑play St. Ignatius drive to make it 20‑0 with 10:03 until halftime.

The Tigers countered with a four‑play, 76‑yard scoring drive that featured a 19‑yard Steve Hymes to Erie Copeland aerial and a 46‑yard catch and run by junior tight end Wayne Gates.

Caleb White caught a perfectly thrown swing pass from Hymes and sprinted 16 yards for the score.

“We just started catching the football and making some plays,” Shepas explained.

But St. Ignatius iced it after the Tigers turned the ball over on downs at midfield late in the half. Two Hoyer to Josiah Kedzior passes netted 36 yards and then Hoyer carried it in himself from 10 yards out to make it 30‑6 at the intermission.

“Early on we felt like we had a really good game plan,” Shepas said. “We did stop their run in the first half. We thought we put our guys in some pretty good situations tonight. For the most part our guys played hard. We were a little bit disappointed at the end. We have a young football team. We’re going to get better from being in situations like this against a great football team like this.

“For as many distractions as we have in Massillon I think our kids did a great job.

St. Ignatius 37
Massillon 12


Massillon 0 6 6 0 12
St. Ignatius 13 17 0 7 37

SI ‑ Gallagher 19 fumble recovery (Kedzior kick)
SI ‑ Ramella 21 pass from Hoyer (Kick failed)
SI ‑ Palcko 3 run (Kedzior kick)
M ‑ Caleb White 16 pass from Steve Hymes (Kick failed)
SI ‑ Kedzior 30 FG SI ‑ Hoyer 9 run (Kedzior kick)
M ‑ Relford 4 pass from S. Hymes (Kick blocked)
SI ‑ Palcko 5 run (Kedzior kick)

Massillon rushing: C. White 6‑19, Tuffy Woods 7‑15, Steve Hymes 11‑14.
St. Ignatius rushing: Palcko 20‑80 2 TDs, Stancus 8‑71, Hoyer 4‑50 TD.

Massillon passing: Hymes 21‑37‑276 2TDs.
St. Ignatius passing: Hoyer 14‑28‑195 TD.

Massillon receiving: Wayne Gates 6‑101, Eric Copeland 6‑96, Billy Relford 5 41 TD, Caleb White 2‑21 TD.
St. Ignatius receiving: Kedzior 9‑117, Ramella 3‑54 TD.

Brock Hymes

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

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2003: Massillon 34, Findlay 17

Second half again belongs to Tigers

Joe.Shaheen @ IndeOnline.com

For the second week in a row, the Massillon Tigers turned it up a notch in the second half, enabling them to roll past the Findlay Trojans 34‑17 in a match‑up of 2002 Division I state semifinalists witnessed by 8,644 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Friday.

Program Cover

Massillon, now 3‑1, was clinging to a tenuous three‑point halftime lead despite being on the short end of every first‑half statistic, including a time of possession disparity of 18:16‑5:44.

The Tigers were a different team after the band show, marching 64 yards in 11 plays on their first possession to take a 10‑point lead, then going 81 yards in 13 plays to jump out by 17 points.

Findlay, which falls to 2‑2, rallied with an 80‑yard touchdown drive of its own but Massillon took advantage of some favorable field position thanks in part to a 43‑yard Max Shafer punt than pinned the Trojans deep in their end ‑ to put the game away with a 29‑yard scoring possession midway through the fourth quarter.

“They waxed us in the third quarter and we couldn’t stop them,” said Findlay head coach Cliff Hite. “That was the whole thing right there. We couldn’t stop their offense. They were quicker than we were. We didn’t tackle well. They executed brilliantly.

“They are the best team we’ve played by far. By far. They were bending but they didn’t break. They kept us out of the end zone better than anybody in a long time.”

“We didn’t start off as good as we can but we had a lot of leadership in the locker room at halftime and we took it out on the field in the second half,” said Tiger co‑captain Billy Relford. “We had a lot of guys step up. Steve (Hymes) stepped up at quarterback in the second half and drove the team down the field. Max (Shafer) stepped up in the kicking game. Brock (Hymes) stepped up at linebacker.

“When Steve stepped up at quarterback, it rubbed off on other people. It was like ‘I’m going to step up. I’m going to step up.’ We just started playing well as a team.”

Hymes hit on two long passes in the opening drive of the second half, connecting with Ryan Schindler for 30 yards on a third‑and‑eight play, then finding Brad Hauser for 22 yards on a third‑and‑14 situation. Five plays later, Tuffy Woods dove into the end zone behind left guard Tim Dewald and left tackle Vince Volpe to put the Tigers up 20‑10.

Findlay responded, moving from its 20 to the Massillon 11 in eight plays. But on the ninth play of the drive, Tiger sophomore lineman Dirk Dickerhoof made a diving interception of a pass in the right flat to repel the Trojan incursion.

“I just saw the quarterback fake, the running back come out and I just dove and got it,” Dickerhoof explained. “It swung the momentum.”

“That was the play of the game,” said Tiger coach Rick Shepas. “They were on a good drive and then Dirk intercepts that pass and that really took a lot of air out of their sails at that point.

“When you watch Dirk play basketball, he’s kind of a garbage man. He’s rebound after rebound. He’s junk point after junk point, and that’s kind of the way he plays for us on defense. He’s always where he’s supposed to be and he keeps playing hard. When you’re consistent like that and play like that, good things happen to YOU.”

After the turnover, the Tigers went to their ground game, as Woods and Ramon Kelly took turns gouging out real estate against the tiring Findlay defense. Hymes sustained the drive when he hit Eric Copeland for 16 yards on a third‑and‑seven play. Another pass to Wayne Gates got the ball inside the Trojan 10, and Hymes then went back to Copeland for an 8‑yard touchdown with :12 remaining in the third quarter.

Shafer’s kick put the Tigers up 27‑10 and although both teams would find the end zone once more, that tally all but sealed the deal for Massillon.

Hymes finished with 58 yards rushing to go with 191 yards passing, 106 of which came in the second half.

“Steve was sick all week,” noted Shepas. “He got bit by the flu bug.

“We woke him up a little bit at halftime. It was just a little extra. A little extra. That’s him getting better and coming into his own. We just had to rattle him up and little bit and get his attention and then he focuses a little better.”

“We just kept pushing it and pushing it,” Hymes said. “We wouldn’t let up on them. I made sure I told the guys ‘Don’t let up. Don’t let up. We’re not finished yet.’

“We were just too powerful. Too powerful.”

Massillon scored the first time it touched the football after forcing Findlay into a three‑and‑out off the opening kickoff.

Taking over at the Findlay 43, Steve Hymes kept the ball on an option play, galloped through a gaping hole over his left guard and into the Trojan secondary. The elusive senior then cut toward the right sideline and went untouched for a 43‑yard touchdown run.

The point‑after was no good but Massillon was up 6‑0 at 10:11 of the first quarter.

Findlay took the lead on its third possession of the game after Massillon failed to convert a fourth‑and‑four at the Trojan 35. It appeared the Massillon defense had forced its second three‑and‑out but Findlay faked the punt on fourth down, and instead completed a 15‑yard pass that produced a first down at the Tiger 43.

One play later, Baker hit Brady Schneider on a post pattern at the 10‑yard line and the Trojan bounced off two shoulder tackles and into the end zone for a 43‑yard touchdown. Mark Snodgrass converted the point‑after kick and Findlay was up 7‑6 at 2:45 of the first quarter.

Snodgrass then capped a 16‑play drive for Findlay with a 24‑yard field goal with 5:45 left in the first half to put the Trojans up 10‑6.

The Tigers hit the Findlay defense with a lightning bolt on their ensuing possession.

On third‑and‑12 from the Massillon 38, Hymes took the shotgun snap and threaded the needle to Relford at he Findlay 40. Relford ran through one tackle as he sprinted left to right across the field, then simply ran away from the Trojan pursuit for a 62‑yard scoring play with 4:51 remaining until half.

Shafer was true with the point‑after kick and Massillon carried a 13‑10 edge into the locker room. It was a lead they would build on to ensure their third victory in four starts.

Massillon 34
Findlay 17


Findlay 7 3 0 7 17
Massillon 6 7 14 7 34

M ‑ Steve Hymes 43 run (Max Shafer kick failed)
F ‑ Schneider 43 pass from Baker (Snodgrass kick)
F ‑ Snodgrass 23 FG
M ‑ Billy Relford 62 pass from Hymes (Shafer kick)
M ‑ Woods 2 run (Shafer kick)
M ‑ Copeland 7 pass from Hymes (Shafer kick)
F ‑ Almond 31 pass from Baker (Snodgrass kick)
M ‑Ramon Kelly 1 run (Shafer kick)

Massillon rushing: Hymes 10‑58, 1 TD, Kelly 7‑35, 1 TD, Woods 13‑24, 1 TD
Findlay rushing: Almond 9‑39

Massillon passing: Hymes 11‑23‑191, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Findlay passing: Baker 25‑45‑311, 2 TDs, 1 INT

Massillon receiving: Copeland 3‑29, 1 TD, Relford 2‑78, 1 TD
Findlay receiving: Curtis 18‑144, Almond 4‑64, 1 TD

Brock Hymes


2003: Massillon 24, Akron Garfield 14

Tiger ‘D’ dominates second half

Joe.Shaheen @ IndeOnline.com

Each team’s first possession of the second half told the tale as the Massillon Tigers rallied from a seven‑point deficit to defeat the Akron Garfield Golden Rams 24‑14 in front of 9,900 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Friday.

Program Cover

The game was knotted at 14‑14 when Garfield took the second half kickoff, marched to midfield, then ran into a brick wall wearing a black jersey imprinted with the No. 7. Tiger inside linebacker and co‑cap­tain Brock Hymes sniffed out a Garfield reverse for a two‑yard loss on second down, then shot a gap and took down sophomore sensa­tion Chris Wells for another two‑yard loss on a third down shuttle pass to force the Rams to punt.

“That first drive in the second half is always im­portant,” Brock Hymes explained. “It’s always important to stop them and take the starch out of them a little bit. We were getting pretty excited when we got that stop. We knew we had something there.”

With quarterback Steve Hymes directing the attack, Massillon then zipped 62 yards in eight well‑orchestrated plays. Tiger junior Ramon Kelly capped off the drive with a 10­-yard touchdown run around right end for a 21‑14 Massillon lead with just under five minutes to play in the third quarter.

Garfield never got beyond its own 35‑yard line the rest of the night as the Tigers improved to 2‑1 with undefeated Findlay set to invade Massillon next Friday night.

Early on it appeared the Tigers might be in trouble as Garfield rushed the football for 205 yards in the first half. But the Rams found the going much more difficult after the band show as Massillon’s defense limited them to 26 yards on the ground in the third and fourth quarters.

“In the first half we were playing an odd front and they were running to our minus side,” explained Tiger coach Rick Shepas. “We had one less player and we didn’t have much safety support.

“In the second half we went to more of a cover‑two look with corner support. We kept our safeties close enough where they could be a factor in the run game. We just didn’t want them to bust any long runs.”

Garfield coach Bob Sax thought the Tigers were ripe for the picking when he called for the reverse and then the shuttle pass on the Rams’ first possession of the second half. It didn’t work out that way.

“We really thought the reverse was going to hit,” Sax said. “On the shuttle pass, the weak side line­backer (Hymes) snuck through and we didn’t pick him up. If we take care of that guy, it was go­ing to be huge.”

Massillon’s go‑ahead touchdown drive be­gan with two Steve Hymes‑to‑Brett Huffman aerials that picked up 22 yards. Three Caleb White runs accounted for 17 more yards, be­fore a Hymes scramble and a sprint around left end set up Kelly’s scoring run.

On the evening, Steve Hymes meshed on 10 of 15 passes for 113 yards and a touch­MES down. It was his best passing performance of the young season and Sax admitted the Tiger signal caller was better than he expected.

“We were giving them some things out there be­cause we really felt (Steve Hymes) wasn’t going to go out there and pick us apart,” Sax said. “We were playing too far off some guys and I was impressed with him. He really made some nice throws.”

Shepas liked everything he saw of his first‑year quarter­back, except the two throws Garfield picked off.

“If Steve would have pro­tected the ball in a couple of other situations, he would re­ally have had a solid game for himself,” Shepas said. “He did improve and that’s what we want him to do. Remem­her he’s really a first‑year starter. But he protected the ball pretty well right up until the end there. But we’re get­ting better and we’re trying to do things he can do well.”

White and Kelly split the running back duties for Mas­sillon, combining for 103 yards in 17 carries. The pair clearly had more running room than in the season’s first two games.

“We got better up front,” Shepas said of his offensive line. “We made some person­nel adjustments up front. We tried to keep people fresher. We got a little bit of a rota­tion going and we got one week better.”

Leading 21‑14, Massillon had an opportunity to really put some distance between itself and Garfield when the Rams were forced to punt from deep in their own terri­tory after a muffed kickoff. But on first down from the Garfield 45, the center snap went over Hymes head lead­ing to a 16‑yard loss. One play later, Hymes dropped a quick kick over the Rams’ second­ary. It rolled dead at the 11-­yard line and Garfield never could regain field position.

“We were pinned near our end zone the entire second half,” lamented Sax. “They had field position on us and that quick kick really caught us by surprise. They pinned us back down inside the 10 and they were bringing guys. I didn’t want to fool around down there in our own end.

“Massillon made some ad­justments at halftime and they did what they needed to do in the second half and we didn’t. They came out in the second half and they wanted it more than we did.”

Garfield broke on top 7-0 with an 18‑play, 80‑yard scor­ing march that ate up over nine minutes off the game clock. It was a drive that would have made Woody Hayes proud, as the Golden Rams lined up in the full house T‑formation and sim­ply pounded the football at Massillon. No single play broke for more than eight yards.

Wells capped the drive for Garfield when he went over his left guard, bounced off the pile and then reversed direction around right end for a 7‑yard scoring run. Justin Gibson added the point after at 11:26 of the second quarter.

Massillon came right back and appeared to be ready to score when a pass went off the hands of the intended Tiger receiver and was intercepted by the Rams’ Erique Dozier at the Garfield 7.

The Rams got one first down but were forced to punt. A high snap from center rolled free inside the 5‑yard line. Just as the Garfield punter was about to pick up the pigskin, it was batted from his grasp by Tiger senior Jameel Lemon and Kelly picked it up in the end zone for a Massillon touchdown. Max Shafer’s point‑after kick was true and the game was tied at 7‑7 with just under six minutes until halftime.

Garfield responded quickly. Two first downs gave the Rams the ball at their own 42. From there Wells ‑ who rushed for 127 yards in the first half ‑ went off right guard and tackle, bounced to the outside and was off to the races for a 58‑yard touchdown jaunt. Gibson converted and the Rams led the Tigers 14‑7 at 3:34 of the second quarter.

Massillon rode the right arm of Hymes to tie the game. The senior hit Ryan Schindler for 11 yards, then following White’s 14‑yard run ‑ hooked up with Huffman along the right sideline for 25 yards to the Garfield 12. One play later, Hymes sprinted left and found Brad Hauser open in the end zone for six. Shafer tacked on the extra point and it was a 14‑14 game at halftime.

Massillon 24
Akron Garfield 14


Garfield 0 14 0 0 14
Massillon 0 14 7 3 24

G ‑ Chris Wells 7 run (Gibson kick)
M ‑ Kelly fumble‑recovery (Shafer kick)
G ‑ Chris Wells 58 run (Gibson kick)
M ‑ Hauser 11 pass from Hymes (Shafer kick)
M ‑ Kelly 10 run (Shafer kick)
M ‑ Shafer 32 FG

Massillon rushing: White 10‑65, Kelly, 7‑32, 1 TD
Garfield rushing: Wells 16‑143, 2 TD

Massillon passing: Hymes 10‑15‑113, 1 TD
Garfield passing: Cowans 2‑8‑6

Massillon receiving: Huffmann 4‑52, Schindle 4‑49, Hauser 1‑11, 1 TD
Garfield receiving: Brown 1‑8

Brock Hymes

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2003: Massillon 20, Cleveland Benedictine 34

Bengals wrest control in the fourth quarter


Missed opportunities and big plays spelled doom for the Massillon Tigers, who fell to 1‑1 in the young 2003 season with a 34‑20 setback to a veteran and talent‑laden Cleveland Benedictine team Friday evening at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Program Cover

Massillon led 17‑14 at intermission but the Tiger margin could have ‑ and should have ‑ been much larger. The Bengals scored their touchdowns on Jon Huddleston’s 92‑yard kickoff return and Raymond Williams’ shocking 65‑yard run from scrimmage as time expired before the band show.

“I knew we needed a big play to get the momentum on our side,” Williams said. “So I had to go all out on that play because there were only a few seconds left in the first half. Massillon’s defense expected us to go deep but the draw play was there all night. Fortunately we ran it and I got into the end zone.”

Benedictine head coach Art Bortnick cited Williams’ scoring dash as the game’s turnaround play.

“Momentum was clearly on Massillon’s side and there was no time left on the clock,” Bortnick recalled, “and in the blink of an eyelash, Raymond came down that sideline and put that score in and all of a sudden the game is very manageable from our standpoint. Now we’re within striking distance, and the game can go either way in the second half.

“He has the ability and he read a couple of good blocks. Once he got in the secondary, he
was so determined to make a big play and Massillon was caught with not enough people back and they lost their angles. Once he cleared that second level there was no one there to defend him. When you’re defending Raymond, you can never relax, and they may have relaxed there for a moment.”

In the first half, Massillon ran 41 plays to Benedictine’s 17. The Tigers also won the giveaway‑takeaway battle 4‑1, yet their lead was just three points.

“They run a kickoff back for a touchdown and they have one run at the end of the half ‑ that accounts for their 14 points,” acknowledged Tiger coach Rick Shepas. “Other than that we controlled the ball, we controlled the clock. We controlled the whole game at that point. We had them tired. We did the very best we could on both sides of the ball and I thought our defense played really well. There is no question we didn’t take advantage of the turnovers as much as we could. We had four turnovers in the first half and we didn’t take near advantage of that. We should have had 28 points on the board in the first half.

‘We had four turnovers in the first half and we didn’t take near advantage of that. We should have had 28 points on the board in the first half.’

Rick Shepas, Tiger coach

“Last week we came out and played pretty much mistake‑free. Other than not capitalizing on the turnovers, we didn’t make a whole lot of mistakes tonight, but there were a whole lot of points on the board that we could have got.”

Massillon extended its lead to 20‑14 on Zach Smith’s 25‑yar d field goal with under three minutes to play in the third quarter. From that point on, there wasn’t much to cheer about for the Tiger partisans.

After a Max Shafer punt pinned Benedictine at its own 28 early in the fourth quarter, disaster struck Massillon. On first down, Bengal quarterback Joe Laffey looked to his right for sophomore split end Lorenzo Hunter, who was covered by Billy Relford. But ‑ ‑ Relford tripped, Hunter grabbed the ball and sprinted unimpeded to the end zone for a 72‑yard score that tied the game at 20‑20.

Massillon recorded one first down on its next possession but was forced to punt, and Shafer boomed a 50‑yarder. Benedictine began inside its own 20 and on second down Maurice White ‑ Williams’ understudy found a hole over his right guard and exploded through the gap for a 72‑yard touchdown. Sam Koyl drilled the extra point and the Bengals were up 28‑20 with 8:49 to play.

Williams applied the knockout punch when he picked up a Tiger fumble on Massillon’s next possession and scampered 37 yards for a touchdown with 6:35 to play.

Massillon had another shot at cutting into the deficit when Vince Volpe came up with his second fumble recovery of the game inside the Benedictine 10 with 4:30 to play, but the Tigers could get no closer than the 2‑yard line before turning the ball over on downs.

“Our defense played as hard as any defense can play because if you look back, Massillon was so many times in the red zone and they had so many opportunities,” Bortnick observed. “But we made them work so hard and if we made them settle for a three, it kept us within striking distance and let us come back on them.”

Benedictine kept Tiger quarterback Steve Hymes in check, limiting the elusive senior to an average of 2.5 yards per carry.

“He has such a great knack of finding seams,” Bortnick said of Hymes. “In the second quarter we started cutting the seams down and we really, really hustled and played with tremendous amounts of determination on that side of the football.”

“I just think we made more mistakes in the second half,” Shepas said. “We kind of lost confidence a little bit.”

A highly entertaining first half began well for Massillon when Relford returned a Benedictine punt 56 yards for a touchdown. The versa tile senior ran out of a Bengal tackle near midfield, then cut back across the field at the Benedictine 35 and went the rest of the way untouched for six.

Benedictine drove from its 27 to the Massillon 16 on its ensuing possession but Relford killed the march with an interception at the goal line.

Tiger sophomore Dirk Dickerhoof pounced on a Benedictine fumble at the Bengal 35 to set up Massillon’s second tally.

On the fourth snap after the turnover, Steve Hymes lofted a pass to Relford near the goal line. Relford cut inside the defensive back, snared the football and stepped into the end zone for the score. Smith’s point‑after conversion made it 14‑0 at 9:43 of the second quarter.

But Benedictine bounced back immediately as Huddleston fielded the ensuing kickoff at his 8, found a huge gap in the kick coverage and sprinted 92 yards to pay dirt. A fumbled snap doomed the extra point try, and Massillon’s lead was 14‑6 at 9:27 of the second quarter.

Williams made a superb play on Massillon’s next possession, tipping away what looked to be a fourth down 30‑yard touchdown pass to Relford at the last possible moment, displaying phenomenal closing speed in the process.

Williams closed the first half scoring as the clock wound down with his 65‑yard
touchdown run. It turned the game around.

Benedictine 34
Massillon 20


Benedictine 0 14 0 20 34
Massillon 7 10 3 0 20

M ‑ Billy Relford 56 punt return (Zach Smith kick)
M ‑ Relford 24 pass from Hymes (Smith kick)
B ‑ Huddleston 92 kickoff return (kick failed)
M ‑ Smith 20 FG B ‑ Williams 65 run (Williams run)
M ‑ Smith 25 FG B ‑ Hunter 72 pass from Laffey (kick failed)
B ‑ White 72 run (Koyl kick)
B ‑ Williams 38 fumble return (Koyl kick)

Massillon rushing: Hymes 28‑70, Lanale Robinson 14‑31
Benedictine rushing: Williams 23‑155, 1 TD, White 5‑72, 1 TD

Massillon passing: Hymes 9‑22‑170, 1 TD
Benedictine passing: Laffey 2‑8‑118, 1 TD

Massillon receiving: Relford 2‑62, White 1‑49
Benedictine receiving: Hunter 1‑72, Brown 1‑46

Brock Hymes

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2003: Massillon 23, Akron Buchtel 12

Poised precision Steve Hymes quarterbacks Tigers past Griffins in debut as starter

By Chris Easterling

The Buchtel Griffins were supposed to be the ones with a poised quarterback and experience all over the field. Somebody must have forgotten to tell the Massillon Tigers.

Program Cover

Led by the steady hand of first-year starting quarterback Steve Hymes, as well an opportunistic defense, the Tigers opened the season with a thrilling 23-12 victory over Buchtel at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“This was very big,” said Hymes, who put Massillon up for good with a 27-yard run with 4:42 left. “We weren’t going to be nothing. I think our guys took that in.”

The deal was wrapped up until Tiger cornerback Billy Relford grabbed an overthrown pass at the Massillon 11, cut to the left and outran the Buchtel offense down the sideline for an 89-yeard touchdown with 27 seconds left. It was the fourth turnover the Tiger defense forced on the evening.

“It couldn’t have come at a better time,” Relford said. “I didn’t start out very good. But when it came down to it, I stepped up.”

That defense found itself getting tested in the second half by a Griffen offense that all but scrapped the passing game while keeping it on the ground with Ohio State-bound tailback Antonio Pittman and hard-running fullback Anthony Norman. After being held to just 40 yards on 13 first-half carries, Pittman gained anther 134 yards and scored on the Griffins’ first two second-half possessions. Norman would chip in 50 yards on 13 carries, with all but two of those yards coming in the second half.

Massillon’s defense was only on the field for four possessions in the second half. However, three of those four were substantial drives by Buchtel, with two resulting in touchdowns.

We’re just a bunch of hard workers,’ Tiger cornerback Mike White said.”We already knew coming into this game that they were a running team. We just decided to keep on hitting them and we thought that if we did that, they were going to give up.”

Still, it was the play of Hymes that stole the show for the Tigers, and may have stole the show for the Tigers, and may have stole the game away from Buchtel. While only completing 7-of-19 passes for 130 yards, the Massillon senior showed off the running ability that made him a threat a year ago by rushing the ball 13 times for 72 yards.

“He needed to get settled in and he needed to get a feel for how he was
going to handle game night as a starter,” Massillon coach Rick Shepas
said. “He really came alive. He plays with great confidence. He protected
the football.

“Our offensive line really did a nice job keeping them off Steve. I was kind of surprised they didn’t pressure them a whole lot.”

Twice, the Griffins grabbed the lead from Massillon in the second half. And twice, it was Hymes who gave the Tigers the lead back.

The first time came after Buchtel took the second-half kickoff and marched 86 yards on 11 plays to take a 6-3 lead on a two-yard Pittman run with 7:39 left in the third quarter. The extra-point kick sailed wide left.

But the Tigers answered by driving from their own 35 to the end zone in eight plays. Hymes was forced to complete a 24-yard pass to Brent Huffman on third-and-six, as well as pick up 26 yards on three totes on the drive.

Hymes would make it a 9-6 Tiger advantage when he fought his way into the end zone for a touchdown with 5:01 remaining in the third. Zack Smith tacked on the extra point for a 10-6 Massillon edge.

Buchtel answered to take a 12-10 lead by methodically going from its own 4 in 14 plays. Primarily keeping it on the ground, Pittman again powered his way in from two yards out for the score. The two-point conversion failed to keep it a two-point Griffen advantage with 10:25 showing in the fourth quarter.

The teams traded punts before Hymes guided the Massillon offense on what proved to be the go-ahead scoring drive. Starting at heir own 42, the Tigers kept the ball on the ground, alternation between Tuffy Woods who carried six times for 55 yards in the game – and Hymes.

“Coach just said we were going to go to ‘gun run’ and we were going to keep running it,” Hymes said. “Coach felt like they were getting tired. We just kept gassing them and gassing them, and after a while they were done.”

On third and four from the Buchtel 27, Hymes kept through the line of scrimmage, turned to the left and coasted into the end zone for the score. The two-point conversion failed, but Massillon was holding a 16-12 lead with 4:42 left.

That left it up to the defense. After Buchtel mover down to the Tiger 13 with just under 2:00 left, Massillon arched its back and stuffed Pittman on two straight rushing plays before Relford would get his chance to stamp his mark on the game and end the Griffins’ hopes.

“That was the first time we had called that coverage in the whole game,” Relford said, “It was ‘corner over.’ They came over with their two wide receivers and that was the first time they had done that the whole game.”

Defense was essentially the name of the game before halftime, with the Tigers halting Buchtel’s first possession when White broke on an under thrown pass in the end zone for an interception. White would have a fourth quarter interception called back due to a penalty.

“We wanted them to put the ball up in the air,” White said. “I feel we have the best secondary. As long as the line put pressure on the quarterback and makes him throw bad passes, that’s the key. It wasn’t the secondary, it was the linemen.”

It wasn’t until the third Massillon possession that the scoreless deadlock was broken. Thanks to a 27-yard Hymes-to-Ryan Schindler pass play and a 17- yard run by Lanale Robinson, the Tigers were able to move to the Buchtel 18. However, the drive stalled and Smith was forced to boot a 35-yard field goal for a 3-0 Tiger lead with 2:35 remaining in the first quarter.

That lead would hold up through the rest of the first half, but not without threats by both teams.

The Tigers would miss a pair of field goal attempts. One time, a bad snap prevented them from getting the ball off at all, while they also missed on a 52-yard attempt.

Buchtel failed to score on its final first-half possession after driving inside the Massillon 5. On third-and-goal from two, Buchtel quarterback Steve Walker tried a keeper to the right and dove for the goal line. However, the ball popped out of his hands and hit the pylon, giving the ball to the Tigers on a touchback with 43 seconds left.

“I was indifferent,” Shepas said of the precarious 3-0-halftime edge. “Sometimes you feel like you had some opportunities that you didn’t cash in. But at the same time, it was a great opportunity for our team to show what the were made up.”


M – Zack Smith 35 FG
B – Antonio Pittman 1 run (Kick failed)
M – Steve Hymes 8 run (Smith kick)
B – Pittman 2 run (Pass failed)
M – Billy Relford 89 interception return (Smith Kick)

Massillon rushing: Steve Hymes 13-72, 2 TD, Tuffy Woods 6-55, Lanale Robinson 6-20
Buchtel rushing: A Pittman 28-174, 2 TD.

Massillon passing: Steve Hymes 7-19-130.
Buchtel passing: S Walker 7-13-123 2 INTs.

Massillon receiving: Brett Huffman 3-46, Billy Relford 1-43-.
Buchtel receiving: V. Singfield 3-73.

Brock Hymes