Warren Harding snaps Tigers’ win streak
By CHRIS EASTERLING
WARREN, OH – Much was made in the past week about Massillon’s big win over previously undefeated Steubenville. But head coach Jason Hall cautioned everyone who would listen that the Tigers were facing just as big a rival – if not bigger – this week in Warren Harding.
Hall’s words proved prophetic.
With the Raiders’ Demond Hymes celebrating his 19th birthday with a 348-yard rushing performance, Warren snapped the Tigers’ six-game win streak with a 20-6 victory in front of about 7,500 at Mollenkopf Stadium.
“They came out with a win-or-die attitude and we didn’t,” said Hall, who was engaged in a verbal altercation following the game with a Warren fan on the field. “We really didn’t. At the end of the day, as coaches and players, we have to look ourselves in the mirror. … We definitely didn’t play like we played last week, and we needed to play (like that) to have a chance to win this football game.”
The Tiger coach said his team took a step forward in becoming the type of tough football team he wants to see after last week’s win. Warren, though, was all about testing just how far Massillon’s toughness had come.
And the Raiders found out that it wasn’t nearly as far as the Tigers, now 6-2, had hoped. Warren held a 388-37 edge in rushing and picked up three sacks on defense.
“We’re not a big team, so we have to play physical,” Hall said. “We didn’t play physical football tonight and they did. (Warren) won the battle up front, and we have to do a better job.”
Hymes was the biggest beneficiary of the Raiders’ victory in the trenches. The senior back carried the ball 37 times to reach his career high, topping the 236 he gained two weeks ago against Euclid.
“I was seeing they were blitzing off the outside,” Hymes said. “My line said to cut it up, and that’s what I did. I got into the open field and I only had one safety out there. I just had to shake him.”
Warren scored on its first three drives, often by controlling the line of scrimmage with a massive offensive line.
“That was something we wanted to do,” said Warren coach D.J. Dota, whose team kept its playoff hopes alive at 6-2. “Our guys just went out and established the run. I thought it was something we could do. They believed in that and they accomplished it.”
The Raiders’ 15-play opening ended on a 33-yard Moses Sosa field goal.
On the next possession, Hymes – who had 144 yards on 13 first-quarter carries – picked up a loose ball behind the line of scrimmage and raced 49 yards for the Raider touchdown and a 10-0 lead with 2:47 left in the first quarter.
Sosa’s 37-yard field goal on the fourth play of the second quarter made it 13-0 Warren.
While Warren was turning the number under its side of the scoreboard, the Tigers were grinding their wheels on offense. After a 29-yard Kyle Kempt-to-Jacar Roberson pass on its first play, Massillon would net just 26 yards and one first down on its next 17.
The Tigers finally cracked the scoreboard when Kempt, who completed just 5 of his 17 first-half passes before finishing 19 of 38 for 274 yards, hit Roberson for a sliding 22-yard touchdown on the last play of the half to cut the deficit to 13-6. Roberson, though, was injured on the play and had to be helped to the locker room.
Hall didn’t have an update on Roberson’s injury after the game, other than to confirm it was a leg injury.
That scoring drive was the only time the Tigers capitalized when reaching Warren territory. All four of Massillon’s second-half drives crossed into Raider territory with one ending on a punt, two ending on downs and a third ending on a game-sealing fumble that was returned 49 yards to the Tiger 3 with under 1:30 remaining.
“We didn’t capitalize on anything offensively,” Hall said. “We had a couple of 10-play drives that we didn’t capitalize on.”
at Mollenkopf Stadium
Massillon 0 6 0 0 6
Warren 10 3 7 0 20
W – FG Sosa 33
W- Hymes 49 run (Sosa kick)
W – FG Sosa 37
M – Roberson 22 pass from Kempt (Kick failed)
W – Hymes 1 run (Sosa kick)
First downs 16 16
Rushes-yards 19-37 50-388
Comp-Att-Int 19-38-0 2-10-0
Passing yards 272 14
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-0
Penalties-yards 7-65 11-90
Records 6-2 6-2
Massillon – Taylor 13-59; Winters 3-12.
Warren – Hymes 37-348 2 TDs.
Massillon – Kempt 19-38-274 TD.
Warren – Seawood 2-9-14; Powell 0-1-0.
Massillon – Smith 8-144; Roberson 3-73 TD; McCormick 3-23; Olack
3-12; Taylor 1-18; Kreiger 1-0.
Warren – Powell 1-9; May 1-5.