Tag: <span>Byers Field</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2001: Massillon 26, Cleveland St. Ignatius 40

Massillon outscored in shootout
Ignatius pins 40‑26 defeat on the Tigers

Independent Sports Editor

They may have to rename Byers Field in Parma the O.K. Corral after the Massillon Tigers and St. Ignatius Wildcats engaged in a high school football shootout there on Saturday night.

Program Cover

In the end, Ignatius was able to mount a key scoring drive to counter the Tigers’ two early second half touchdowns and the Wildcats took home a 40‑26 victory over Massillon in front of 12,286 fans.

Trailing 28‑12 at intermission, Massillon got a pair of scores early in the second half and did so with its trademark quick‑strike style.

The first tally came on a short Justin Zwick to Robert Oliver pass in the left flat that Oliver turned into a 59‑yard touchdown at 11:13 of the third quarter. The senior tailback out‑sprinted the entire Ignatius secondary to bring the Massillon faithful alive.

The second score mirrored the first as Zwick hit Devin Jordan with a sideline pass along the right boundary that Jordan turned into a 71‑yard touchdown at 9:06 of the third quarter. The play was made possible when Zwick got rid of the football in the face of a corner blitz from his left. Then Jordan eluded the Ignatius cornerback and was off to the races for six.

David Abdul nailed both extra points and it was a 28‑26 game with the momentum squarely in the Tigers corner.

But Ignatius rallied back, moving 68 yards in 10 plays.

Facing third‑and‑13, and with the Tiger fans chanting “defense, defense”, Ignatius quarterback Nathan Szep hit running back Carter Welo along the left hash mark with a short pass, and Welo ran back against the grain and into the end zone for a 32 yard touchdown play that put the Wildcats up 35‑26 at 3:35 of the third quarter.

Massillon would never be able to regain its offensive flow as the Ignatius defense harrassed Zwick while the Wildcat offense controlled the line of scrimmage the rest of the way.

“We had the momentum going in our favor,” said Tiger coach Rick Shepas. “We had to stop them on the long drive and we didn’t. And that told the story of the game.

“Our kids have worked hard and have come along way in our program. But in a big game like this on the road, our kids have got to make more big plays. We felt real good about our game plan. We’re going to go back and look at the game film and I think it is going to motivate us to work a little bit harder and execute the game plan a little bit better.”

“Talk about momentum going out the window,” said Ignatius coach Chuck Kyle of Masillon’s two quick second‑half scores. “What we needed to do was get the running game going and give the defense a chance to get its breath and make’ a couple of adjustments.”

St. Ignatius did exactly that, running the football effectively on the first five plays of the scoring drive that essentially put the Tigers away.

Shepas admitted he was disappointed with his squad, despite the entertaining nature of the game.

“Were not happy with our performance at all,” he said. “We made too many mental mistakes tonight.

“Our kids have to learn to play in big games like this. Our town has been backing us. We had a great group of fans out here to watch us and I don’t think we gave them the type of performance they deserve.”

Ignatius broke on top, taking the opening kickoff and marching 80 yards in 13 plays.

Szep, who played flawlessly in completing 24 of 37 passes for 296 yards four touchdowns on no interceptions, opened the drive by hitting tight end Tom Christy for 11 yards to the 31. After an encroachment call on Massillon, the first of four in the first half, Szep picked up the first first down of the game on a quarterback sneak out of the shotgun.

Tigers defensive tackle Matt Webb sacked Szep to set up a third‑and‑11, but the Wildcats picked up the first down when Tony Gonzalez latched onto a Szep pass on a crossing pattern for 15 yards to the Massillon 42.

Carter Welo, substituting for John Van der Oord ‑ who was injured on the very first play from scrimmage – picked up another first down on a ten‑yard run up the middle to the Tiger 24. Three plays later Szep hit Gonzalez on a slant pattern and it was first‑and‑goal at the 2.
Tigers can’t close deal on Ignatius
Welo vaulted into the end zone from a yard away and Ignatius broke on top 7‑0 as Phil Gibbs hit the extra point at 7:30 of the first quarter.

Massillon gave the ball right back on its second play from scrimmage as the Wildcats’ Matt Waldeck fell on a fumbled pitchout at the Tiger 20.

Ignatius capitalized right away when Szep found Gonzalez open in the right corner of the end zone. Gibbs’ kick made it 14‑0 at 7:12 of the first.

The Tigers responded by moving 78 yards in 11 plays.

Zwick hit Jordan along the right sideline for 11 yards to the Massillon 41. Two plays later he found Jordan on a ten‑yard curl pattern to the Ignatius 41.

A pass interference penalty gave the Tigers a first down at the Ignatius 24. Three plays later Zwick bought time with play action fake and completed a pass to Jordan along the right sideline to the 1.

From there, David Hill went over left guard for the touchdown.

A pass for the two‑point conversion failed as Massillon attempted some trickery and it was 14‑6 Ignatius at 4:57 of the first quarter.

The Tiger defense forced Ignatius to punt on its next possession after just three plays and Massillon took over at its own 29.

From there they launched a seven‑play, 71‑yard drive.

Zwick opened the march with a 31‑yard completion along the right sideline to Hill to move the ball to the Ignatius 40.

Two plays later Zwick and Hill hooked up again as the junior running back made a fine catch over the shoulder of the defender for a 20‑yard gain to the Wildcats 12.

Then, on third‑and‑seven from the 9, Zwick rolled right and found Hill open at the two. He turned and strolled into the end zone for the touchdown at :30 of the first quarter.

Massillon attempted a pass for the two‑point conversion, but it failed and it was a 14‑12 game at :30 of the first quarter.

Ignatius, sensing a momentum swing, battled back.

Van der Oord gained 28 yards on the first play of the drive moving the ball to the Ignatius 48.

The Wildcats moved the ball resolutely, finally putting it into the end zone when Szep rolled right and hit tight end Tom Christy on a throwback at the 20. Christy worked his way down the left sideline and ran over a defender at the five for the touchdown. Gibbs’ PAT made it 21‑12 Ignatius at 10:17 of the second quarter.

The teams traded turnovers and later the Massillon defense came up with a huge play, stopping the Wildcats on fourth‑and‑goal one‑yard line.

But Ignatius tallied the final first‑half touchdown on a six‑play drive that covered 32 yards in the final minute of the first half. On third-and‑one from the 11, Szep found Matt Miller in the left side of the end zone for the touchdown.

Gibbs’ kick made it 28‑12 at halftime.

The Tigers would rally after the band show but ‑ as was the case a year ago ‑ St. Ignatius controlled the game from midway through the third quarter to the final gun to extend its winning streak over Massillon to four in a row.

First downs rushing 12 2
First downs passing 17 8
First downs by penalty 1 1
TOTAL first downs 30 11
Net yards rushing 148 11
Net yards passing 296 281
TOTAL yards 444 292
Passes attempted 37 27
Passes completed 24 16
Passes intercepted 0 3
Punts 2 3
Punting average 35.0 27.3
Fumbles/Lost 2/2 1/1
Penalties 6 11
Yards penalized 60 65

IGNATIUS 14 14 7 5 40
MASSILLON 12 0 14 0 26

I ‑ Welo 1 run (Gibbs kick)
I ‑ Gonzalez 19 pass from Szep (Gibbs kick)
M ‑ Hill 1 run (pass failed) M ‑ Hill 9 pass from Zwick (pass failed)
I ‑ Christy 30 pass from Szep (Gibbs kick)
I ‑ Miller 11 pass from Szep (Gibbs kick)
M ‑ Oliver 59 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Jordan 71 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
I ‑ Welo 32 pass from Szep (Gibbs kick) I ‑ FG Gibbs 35
I ‑ Safety, Massillon called for holding in the end zone

St. Ignatius rushing: Welo 21 ‑91, Van der Oord 8‑43.
Massillon rushing: Oliver 9‑20, Hill 2‑9.

St. Ignatius passing: Szep 24‑37‑296 4 TDs.
Massillon passing: Zwick 16‑27‑281 3 TDs, 3 INTs.

St. Ignatius receiving: Miller 6‑54, Gonzalez 5‑78, Christy 5‑77, Welo 2‑40
Massillon receiving: Jordan 4‑99, Hill 4‑69, Oliver 2‑64.

Shepas’ crew
closing gap on Wildcats

Chris Easterling

No team over the last decade has been more of a measuring stick for the elite high school football program in the state of Ohio than Cleveland St. Ignatius.

Eight Division I state championships since 1988 tends to give a program that lofty status.

With a standing‑room‑only throng of 12,286 looking on at Parma Byers Field Saturday night, the Massillon Tigers ‑ a team with more than its share of mystique and history ‑looked to finally take the measure of the Wildcats after three previously unsuccessful attempts to do so.

Much the same way that beating Cincinnati Moeller seemed to mean more than most victories, sans McKinley, for the Tigers in the 1930’s and early 1990s, beating Ignatius is a feather in the cap that is hard to overlook.

Last year, the Tigers looked to be quite the Wildcats’ equals, until the fourth quarter of a 15‑point defeat at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

The Tigers came closer to coming home with the hide of the Wildcats Saturday night, but not quite. A 40‑26 Ignatius victory prevented Massillon from getting over that hurdle, although there was no doubt that the Tigers were certainly more than up to the challenge of showing that the orange‑and‑black still have a mystique worthy of the attention of any program.

These two Ohio powers very easily could meet again, with much more than the top ranking in the state poll on the line, 10 weeks from now on a cold November Saturday evening in the state semifinals.

If that rematch does occur, the Tigers will have plenty of things to remember from a meeting on a chilly September Saturday evening.

Take advantage of the team speed the Tigers have over the Wildcats. On Massillon’s two second‑half touchdowns, both running back Robert Oliver and wide receiver Jordan simply shifted it into another gear to pull away from the trailing Ignatius defenders.

And do take advantage of the cushion that Ignatius was giving up. In the first half, quarterback Justin Zwick was able to dink‑and‑dunk his way down the field, hitting Jordan, David Hill or Oliver on little curl or swing passes that resulted in big plays for the Tigers’.

There were some don’ts the Tigers will store in the memory banks as well. Little things that don’t really matter against 99 percent of the programs in Ohio, but can spell the difference between victory and defeat against Ignatius.

The first is don’t give Ignatius a short field in which to start an offensive series. The Wildcats started five drives on the Massillon side of the 50, twice because of turnovers.

Of those marches, two ended up with Ignatius forcing the scoreboard operator to change the number under its name.

Also, don’t give Ignatius free yards, Massillon was penalized 11 times for 65 yards, but it was the timing of those penalties, which will linger in the Tigers’ mind.

Three times on the Wildcats first drive, Massillon was flagged for encroachment, which gave Ignatius 15 yards it didn’t need to fight for. For the game, the Tigers were flagged for being on the wrong side of the line of scrimmage six times.

There also were pivotal holding and face mask penalties called against the Massillon defense on an Ignatius scoring drive immediately after the Tigers had cut their deficit to 28‑26 in the third quarter.

Those penalties helped lead to an Ignatius touchdown, and a switch in momentum.

The final mistake was a holding penalty in the end zone with 1:37 left that pushed the Wildcat edge out to an even 14.

One thing that is certain is that Massillon for the second straight season showed that it could stand toe‑to‑toe with Ignatius and deliver some blows to the body.

Now head coach Rick Shepas’ Tigers have one more thing to show, that they can deliver the knockout.

It surely will come with time, should the two teams continue to play in the future.

It came against Moeller, and it will come against Ignatius.

Justin Zwick


1993: Massillon 46, Mansfield Senior 6

Tigers rebound: maul Mansfield

Walsh Jesuit next hurdle

Independent Sports Editor

Yes, Virginia, those were the same Massillon Tigers thrashing Mansfield 46-6 Saturday in Parma as the squad that fell to Canton McKinley 21-13 seven days ago.

And, while Mansfield isn’t McKinley, neither is the artificial turf of Byers Field comparable to the muck and mire that is the Fawcett Stadium playing surface.

Now Massillon gets a Walsh Jesuit team that is peaking after an impressive 19-0 victory over McKinley. The Tigers and Warriors will do battle at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Akron Rubber Bowl.

One play underscored why the Tigers are among Ohio’s elite high school football teams when the playing surface isn’t a factor in the contest. It came in the second quarter, about 5½ minutes before halftime. Mike Danzy tried to execute the option around the right side of the Tiger offensive line on second-and-32 from the Massillon 27.

Mansfield got excellent penetration and had the play defensed. So Danzy reversed course in the backfield, looking for some daylight around left end. A wall of blockers formed and Danzy found a seam to the 51-yard line as the pursuit closed in on him.

But the Tigers’ 1993 Most Valuable Player wasn’t satisfied. He cut back against the grain at midfield, leaving a host of defenders grasping at air in his wake. Danzy turned on the afterburners and sprinted to the Mansfield 7-yard line before one of the Tygers’ track stars pushed him out of bounds.

It was the type of play that cannot be scripted, but one which Danzy and several of his teammates are capable of making at any time. Such plays are a big reason the Massillon offense is so explosive.

“You just cannot make that run on a muddy, sloppy field,” Jack Rose said of Danzy’s highlight file scamper.

The Massillon offense, paced by a line that gouged huge holes in the Mansfield defense front and the determined running of Leon Ashcraft (80 yards, three touchdowns), functioned like a well-oiled machine.

But it was the defense that limited Mansfield to a paltry 2.7 yards per rush and 144 yards of total offense that made a statement. The Tygers came into the game averaging more than 30 points per start. Yet Massillon shut the speedsters down, permitting just one meaningless score in the fourth quarter after the issue had long since been decided.

“The defense really was swarming to the football,” Rose said. “We looked quick tonight. That’s the way we looked all year. We were on the right surface. It was good to get on a good playing surface.”

There was more to the way the defense performed than just the playing surface. There seemed to be a higher than usual level of intensity.

“We were pretty disappointed with the way things went last week,” said Tiger tackle B.J. Payne, “and I think we turned that disappointment into anger. Mansfield just happened to be the opponent and they had to deal with it.”

Still, Payne loves playing on the fake grass.

“It helps a lot because we are more of a quick team,” he said. “On turf, we don’t have to worry about the mud making us look like we’re on a roller skates.”

Mansfield played the first half as if it was on roller skates, fumbling four time and losing three to the opportunistic Tiger defense. The first turnover came on a bad punt snap on Mansfield’s first possession. Geoff Osborn recovered at the Tyger eight, and after a penalty Ashcraft plowed into the end zone from four yards out on the first snap and Randy Endsley’s PAT made it 7-0 with just over two minutes elapsed in the game.

The Tygers marched from their 17 to Massillon’s 27, but Tim Menches recovered quarterback Effie James’ fumble to set up the Tigers’ best sustained march of the night. The locals drove 79 yards in 14 plays. A 15-yard Danzy to Greg Merchant pass and Mike Paul’s 22-yard burst highlighted the sequence, which was capped by Ashcraft’s 5-yard TD run behind the blocking of Trevor Paisley and Mark Fair on the left side. Endsley’s boot made it 14-0 at the :43 mark of the first period.

Christmas continued to come six weeks early for the Tigers. On Mansfield’s next play from scrimmage, James’ bad pitch was caught in mid-air by Massillon’s Matt Robinson at the Tyger 16. Three plays later, Paul went in untouched – some trick for a fullback in a goal line situation – and Endsley made it 21-0 at 11:18 of the second quarter.

Massillon scored twice more in the half, on a five play, 71-yard drive keyed by Danzy’s spectacular ad lib run, and on a 12-play, 63-yard march that featured Ali Dixon, who caught a 5-yarder for the TD to make it 34-0 at halftime.

The Tigers drove 52 yards with the second-half kickoff, capped by Courtney Herring’s 2-yard touchdown run at 5:08 of the third period.

Herring’s 53-yard burst over left tackle highlighted Massillon’s final scoring drive. The junior tailback scored from the 2 to make it 46-0 after three periods.

Mansfield head coach Stan Jefferson attributed the outcome more to his team’s errors than anything the Tigers did in the playoff opener.

“we did the damage to ourselves,” Jefferson said. “We had the bad snap. Then we fumbled. Then we had another fumble. I mean, that’s 21 points we gave right now. It was nothing Massillon did to us. It was self-inflicted wounds.

“When we came out there and saw (Massillon) today, they didn’t look as big as the first time we saw them. We felt coming in anything could happen.

First downs rushing 17 5
First downs passing 1 1­
First downs penalty 2 1
Total first downs 20 7­
Net yards rushing 379 131
Net yards passing 25 70­
Total yards gained 395 14
Passes attempted 6 13
Passes completed 3 3
Passes int. by 0 0
Times kicked off 8 2
Kickoff average 39.6 18.5
Kickoff return yards 0 31
Punts 1 3
Punting average 5.0 44.7
Punt return yards 58 0
Fumbles 2 5
Fumbles lost 2 3
Penalties 5 11
Yards penalized 57 71
Number of plays 70 40
Time of possession 30:03 17:57
Attendance 10,312

MANSFIELD 0 0 6 0 6­
MASSILLON 14 20 12 0 46


First Quarter
MASS ‑ Ashcraft 4 run (Endsley kick)
MASS ‑ Ashcraft 5 run (Endslay kick)

Second Quarter
MASS ‑ Paul_2 run.(Endsley kick)
MASS ‑ Ashcraft 2 run (Endsfoy kick)
MASS – Dixon 5 pass from Danzy (kick failed)

Third Quarter
MASS ‑ Herring 1 run (kick failed)
MASS ‑ Herring 2 run (kick failed)

Fourth Quarter
MANS ‑ Lawrence 50 pass from Jones(run failed)


Danzy 8‑86;
Ashcraft 16-80, 3 TDs;
Herring 8‑77, 2 TDs;
Dixon 11-44;
Paul 6-38, 1 TD;
Turner 7-21;
Laughlin 4-16;
Fraelich 2-8;
Hiegl 1-3.
James 6‑50,
Fountain 8‑39,
Barber 5‑6,
Jackson 4‑9.

Mark Fair