Tag: <span>Dan Studer</span>


1999: Massillon 6, Massillon Perry 23

Panthers stun unbeaten Tigers
Massillon’s 0ffense is shut down

Independent Sports Editor

The Perry Panthers, apparently unimpressed with their opponents’ 10‑0 record and No. 3 ranking in the Associated Press Division I poll invaded Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Saturday evening and handed the Massillon Tigers a convincing 23‑6 setback in a regional quarterfinal playoff game in front of 12,250 shocked spectators.

Perry’s victory no fluke. The Panthers held a 282‑228 advantage in total yards and converted 5 of 11 third downs to Massillon’s 3 of’ 14.

The Tigers, who had averaged nearly eight yards per first down play all season, were held to just over five yards per first down snap by a blitzing Perry defense that registered seven sacks of Massillon quarterback Dave Irwin.

“They did a couple of things with their blitzes where they showed some blitz on one side, came back with a blitz on the other side and they caught us after Dave had set the protection with the backs,” explained Tigers coach Rick Shepas. “That was pretty good on their part. It was a good scheme they used on us.”

The biggest sack of the game came on Massillon’s second possession of the evening with the Tigers already leading 7‑0 and looking to score another with the ball at the Perry 13.

The Tiger’s were facing facing a fourth‑and‑four situation and decided to eschew the field goal attempt and try for an early knockout. Instead, it was Massillon that got decked as Perry junior Brian Janson swooped in to take Irwin down before he could release the pass, for a six yard loss.

From that. point on it was all Panthers. They have such a good offense and very good skill kids,” said Perry coach Keith Wakefield. “We were more aggressive on defense than we were the first time we played them.

“We started off very well the first game (won by Massillon 35‑14). This time we just finished the game.” After Janson’s sack, Perry. went to work offensively.

Junior quarterback Joe Shimek scrambled for 20 yards to wipe out a third‑and‑nlne dilemma and then Perry pounded the football right at Massillon, advancing to the Tiger 40 as Spencer Wyatt and Jordan Henning each toted the pigskin twice. From there, Shimek made another big Play, connecting with Joel Bailey on a deep curl pattern for 21 yards to the Tiger 19.

Four snaps later, on second‑and‑goal from the 6, Eric Heinzer got the handoff on an inside counter and burst through a cavity in the line for a touchdown. Shimek’s kick was true and Perry led 7‑6 with 6:29 until the half.

The Tigers appeared to be ready to retaliate, moving from their 20 to the 38 on four running plays. However, on third‑and‑three, a premature center snap left the ball rolling around in the Massillon backfield. Finally, Bailey found the handle for Perry at the 20 and ran untouched into the Massillon end zone. The PAT was wide but it was all good for the Panthers who held a 13‑6 edge with 3:36 remaining in the first half.

Perry fumbled the ball away on its first possession of the second half after forcing Massillon to punt on its initial series of downs after the band show.

The Tigers returned the favor just three plays later as Panthers junior defensive back Anthony Ranalli picked off a pass at the 45 and returned it the Massillon 29.

Now Perry could smell blood and the Panthers moved in for the clincher. Wyatt gained four yards over left guard and Henning bucked for three more before Wyatt went around left end for three yards and a first down at the Tiger 19.

On second‑and‑nine from the 18, Shimek went around his right side on an option keeper, cut back to the middle of the field at the 12 and carried it down to the Tiger 2. Heinzer swept right end on first-and-goal and raced the pursuit to the end zone for six. Shimek’s PAT try was true and Perry was celebrating a 20‑6 lead at 3:58 of. the third quarter.

Massillon had one final bullet in its gun, marching from its 45‑ after Jessie Scott’s long kickoff’ return to the Perry 16. On second down, Irwin hit Rocky Dorsey inside the five on a sideline pattern but the senior wideout caught the ball out of bounds.

A holding call on the Tigers nullified a touchdown pass on the next play and Massillon never got close again. Meanwhile, Perry’s offensive line continued to do the job up front as, Heinzer, Henning, Wyatt and Doug Hutchinson took turns carrying the football for positive yardage and eating up the game clock.

The Panthers tacked on a 26‑yard Shimek field goal with 3:06 to play.

After getting the ball back on downs deep in Tiger territory in the waning moments, Shimek took a knee as the final seconds wound off the clock.

The first half began as if Massillon was going to run away and hide from the Panthers. After forcing Perry to punt after just three snaps, the Tigers mounted their initial drive of the game from their 37‑yardline line and made it look easy.

Scott picked up 14 yards on two plays, then Irwin found Dorsey along the right Sideline for 10 more to the Perry 36. An incompletion and two sack by the fired-up Panthers defense set up fourth 4th and 11 for the Tigers and Shepas opted to go for it. Irwin dropped back and launched a high arching bomb toward the left corner of the end zone. Joe Price was well covered but the pass was perfect and the senior widout pulled it in for a 30‑yard gain to the Perry 6.

On second down, Perry registered its third sack of Irwin as tackle Bill Turner did the honors. But the Tigers were unfazed. On third‑and‑goal, Scott swept around his left end, leaped at the 3 and hurdled a Panther defender landing in the end zone for a touchdown. The kick was wide as Massillon led 6‑0 at 5:40 of the first quarter. Little did the Tigers know that would be their final tally of the football game.

Inside a disconsolate Massillon locker room Shepas couldn’t find it in himself to be critical of his charges. “It’s always tough considering what’s gone on over the course of the last year,” he said. “For a football program to be so low back in the winter time and then to climb that mountain and come back from some odds and reach what looks like a summit after beating McKinley. There’s a lot these kids have accomplished. They stuck together. They showed great character. We have outstanding kids. They played together from start to finish. Tonight they got bit.

“The legacy they leave our football program … we will never be able to thank them enough. What they’ve been able to do to get this pro gram going in the right direction, I’ll be eternally grateful for these kids. Without them I wouldn’t have a job.” Arid Shepas did not hesitate to tip his hat to the Panthers.

They’re a team that is very well coached,” he said. “They play such a solid game. They rarely turn the ball over. And they did turn it over once. We just couldn’t turn it into points. “Perry played hard and they deserved to win. There are no excuses on this side “‘

First downs rushing 11 6
First downs passing 1 7
First downs by penalty 0 1
TOTAL first downs 12 14
Net yards rushing 261 76
Net yard passing 21 152
TOTAL yards 282 228
Passes attempted 2 24
Passes completed 1 10
Passes intercepted 0 1
Punts 4 4
Punting average 27 30.5
Fumbles/Lost 1/1 3/1
Penalties 6 3
Yards penalized 40 27

PERRY 00 13 07 03 23
MASSILLON 06 00 00 00 06


M Jesse Scott 4 yard run (Kick failed)
P Eric Heinzer 6‑yard run (Joe Shimek)
P Joe Bailey 20‑yard fumble recovery (Kick failed)
P Heinzer I ‑yard run (Shimek Kick)
P Shimek 25‑yard field goal


Perry rushing: Heinzer 13‑105, Henning 16-70,
Spencer Wyatt 12-43
Massillon rushing: Scott 12‑80, Perry James 7‑17

Perry passing: Shimek 1‑2‑21
Massillon passing: Dave Irwin 10‑24-152 1 INT.

Perry receiving: Bailey 1‑21
Massillon receiving: Drobney 3‑50, Jesse Robinson 2-24, Rock

Dan Studer

Massillon vs. McK - Throwback (Large) History

1999: Massillon 35, Canton McKinley 7

Massillon mauls McK in 2nd half
Tigers’ Black Swarm defense gives attack chance to awaken

Independent Sports Editor

The Massillon Tigers, the ultimate second half team throughout the 1999 high school football season, did it again on Saturday by thrashing arch‑rival McKinley 35‑7 with a four‑touchdown outburst after the band show that had Bulldog fans exiting Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium with over 11 minutes left to play.

Program Cover

Massillon snapped McKinley’s five‑game winning streak in this storied series and at the same time put the final touches on a 10‑0 regular season, the Tigers’ first since 1982. The Orange‑and‑Black will be back in action this coming Saturday with a first‑round Division I playoff game at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, probably against Perry.

The Tigers first possession of the second half set the tone for the final 24 minutes. Massillon marched 74 yards in 14 plays to break a 7‑7 halftime tie. Quarterback Dave Irwin, who was woozy at‑the-end of the first half after absorbing a big hit from the McKinley defense, got the drive going by hitting tightend Charles Hendricks for 11 yards over the middle for a first down at the Massillon 40.

After converting a fourth‑and‑inches with a sneak up the middle, Irwin looked to Ellery Moore but the pass fell incomplete. However, a personal foul penalty against McKinley for taunting on the play gave the Tigers a first down at the Pups’ 26.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1999

Three plays later, on second‑and‑eight from the 12, Irwin looked off the McKinley defense then dropped a pass into the arms of fullback Jon Stanke, who carried it into the right corner of the end zone for six. Brett Marshall’s PAT made it 14‑7 Massillon at 5:21 of the third.

“We just put that play in,” Irwin revealed. “We put Ellery in to decoy them. I told Stanke they were going to jump Ellery, so keep looking for the ball and don’t turn away. “I delayed, looking off to Ellery. I had to put a touch pass over the top. Jon made a great catch and a great run to the end zone.”

While that score wobbled McKinley, the next series of events KO’d the Bulldogs. Massillon kicked off and the Pups’ kick returner coughed the ball up after a 20‑yard run back. Tigers senior Dusty Wilbur came up with the loose ball and momentum was swinging Massillon’s way.

Irwin picked up five yards on a first‑down bootleg keeper around right end. Then Jessie Scott swept left end for 14 more to the McKinley 11.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1999

After a first down run gained just a yard, Irwin dropped back and looked to his right. The senior tri‑captain stood in the pocket for what seemed like an eternity, looking to his right. Finally, Irwin turned left and found tight end Jeremiah Drobney wide open for a 10‑yard scoring pass. Marshall’s PAT made it 21‑7 Tigers with 4:13 left in the third.

McKinley moved the football on its next possession but turned it over on a second‑and‑ten fumble at its own 45. Tiger linebacker Dan Studer hammered the Bulldogs quarterback, who lost the football. Moore, who also had penetrated the pocket, was right there for the recovery.

The Tigers then moved in for the kill. On third‑and‑23 from the McKinley 39, Irwin tossed the football laterally to Anthony Battle, who had lined up as a tailback. Battle rolled right, wound up and hit a wide open Rocky Dorsey along the right sideline at the 5. The senior wideout strolled into the end zone and the rout was on with 11:53 to play. Marshall’s extra point made it 28‑7 Massillon.

The Tigers added a final touchdown on a 36‑yard Irwin‑to‑Jessie Robinson bomb with 4:15 to play. It was Irwin’s 20th touchdown pass of the season, a new Massillon Tiger record.

“It feels real good,” Irwin said afterward. “We battled back. Our defense came out and played tough all day long. That’s why they call them the Black Swarm. You could see it. They just swarmed to the football all daylong.”

Irwin nearly didn’t get a chance to enjoy the Tigers’ 10th straight victory. “I got hit real hard there in the second quarter and I forgot every play we ran in the first half,” he revealed. “I didn’t know if I was going to make it back. But I just had to suck it up and come back a little bit.”

Moore confirmed the Tigers victory over their long‑time rivals was a long time in coming, five years to be exact. “When we play this well we can’t be beat,” Moore proclaimed. “McKinley didn’t touch the end zone on nothing. The defense shut them out. The offense put it together in the second half and we’re going to the playoffs.

“We knew we were going to come out and play hard and if they folded the tent like they did we were going to capitalize on it like we have all year.”

Senior linebacker Dan’ Studer, who was in on seven tackles to lead the Tigers, is another who has endured McKinley’s recent domination of this series. He wasn’t worried at halftime, despite the offense’s turnover woes.

“There wasn’t a doubt in my mind after the first half,” Studer said. “If the offense is down the defense steps up. If the defense is down, the offense steps up. That’s just typical of the unity on this team.”

Shepas also tipped his hat to the defense.

“Our defense did a great job from the outset and that’s what told the story today,” the coach said as he held one of his daughters on his shoulders. “Hats off to our defense, to coach (Mike) Babics and the defensive staff and all the defensive players who stepped up to make this happen.

“Our kids were mad at themselves at halftime about the turnovers and that we didn’t score points. So we came out in the third quarter and controlled the line of scrimmage, threw some high percentage passes and got it into the end zone. We wanted to get up on them by two touchdowns and we were able to that. That changed the game.”

Seth Stefanko, who battled back from a serious knee sprain in Week Four to start on the Tiger offensive line, sat in the locker room afterward and just soaked in the emotional scene.

“It’s been a matter of a lot of hard work and dedication from the whole team that helped get me back,” Stefanko said. “I knew I couldn’t miss this game. I knew I had to come back. This is great. This is fun.”

Stefanko pointed to the Tigers two‑platoon system as the reason for their ultimate success .

The first half our main thing was to wear them down, which we did,” he said. “The second half they were done. They were wore down and our big players made the plays we needed to go out on top.

The first half was a comedy of errors, though no one on the Tiger sideline was laughing. Massillon turned the ball over to McKinley five times, four on interceptions.

McKinley couldn’t take advantage of all of the Tiger generosity. The Bulldogs had just 76 total yards in the first half and were 0 for 6 on third down conversions.

The Tigers moved from their own 31 to the McKinley 27 on six plays on their initial possession of the game. But Bulldogs cornerback Andre Hooks stepped in front of the Massillon wideout Rocky Dorsey, who was running a deep post pattern, for a pickoff at the two‑yard line.

Four plays later, Steve Eyerman got the ball back for the Tigers and then some, intercepting Pups QB Ben Palumbo after Massillon cornerback Sam Young careened into intended receiver Marcus Quincy along the sideline.

Palumbo’s pass deflected into the air, Eyerman snagged it and ran down the sideline 30 yards to pay dirt. Brett Marshall’s kick was good and the Tigers led 7‑0 with 5:06 to play in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs next possession ended at the Massillon 29 after a fake punt failed to gain a first down.

On first‑and‑10 at that Point, the Tigers attempted a shovel pass. McKinley’s Preston Chevers smelled the play out, grabbed the pass and rumbled 25 yards to the end zone to put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard at 10:13 of the second quarter. Matt Prendes added the PAT and it was a 7‑7 ballgame.

Massillon 35, McKinley 7

Massillon 7 0 14 14 35
McKinley 0 7 0 0 7

First Quarter
Mass ‑ Eyerman 29 interception return (Marshall kick), 5:06
Second Quarter
McK ‑ Chavers 25 interception return (Prendes kick), 10:13
Third Quarter
Mass ‑ Stanke 12 pass from Irwin (Marshall kick), 5:21
Mass ‑ Drobney 10 pass from Irwin (Marshall kick), 4:13
Fourth Quarter
Mass – Dorsey 39 pass from Baffle (Marshall kick), 11:53
Mass – J. Robinson 35 pass from Irwin (Marshall kick), 4:15

Attendance ‑ 23,987

Mass McK
First downs 20 12
Rushes‑yards 36‑180 40‑184
Passing 169 33
Comp-Att-Int 13‑23‑4 4‑15‑2
Return Yards 62 75
Punts‑Avg. 1‑30 4‑41
Fumbles‑Lost 4‑2 3‑2
Penalties‑Yards 7‑47 2‑30
Time of Possession 23:44 24:16


Massillon: Scott 13‑93, James 11‑51, J.Robinson 1‑17, Irwin 6‑14, Stanke 3‑6, Marshall 2‑(minus 1).
McKinley: Daniels 6‑58, Quincy 12‑51, D.Robinson 6‑39, A. Abdul‑Zahir 4‑19 Gilmer 5‑14, H. Abdul‑Zahir 1‑10, Anderson 1‑2, Maragas 1‑1, Palumbo 5‑(minus 10).

Massillon: Irwin 12‑21‑3‑130, Battle 1‑1‑0‑39, Marshall 0‑1‑1-0
McKinley: Palumbo 2‑9‑1‑20, Daniels 2‑6‑1‑13.

Massillon: Dorsey 5‑81, Price 4‑20, Hendricks 1‑11 Stanke 1‑12, Drobney 1‑10, J. Robinson 1‑35.
McKinley: Geiselman 3‑21, Quincy 1‑12.


McK = McKinley territory
Ma = Massillon territory

MASSILLON: McKinley quarterback Ben Palumbo throws from inside his own 10 to Marcus Quincy down the right sideline. Massillon linebacker Steve Eyerman intercepts the pass and runs it back 29 yards for a TOUCHDOWN with 5:96 left in the first quarter. Brett Marshall PAT good. Massillon 7, McKinley 0.

MCKINLEY: Massillon quarterback Steve Irwin, set up in the shotgun, fields a low snap and attempts a shovel pass. McKinley puts heavy pressure on Irwin, and Preston Chavers intercepts the pass and runs 25 yards for a TOUCHDOWN with 10:13 left in the second quarter. Matt Prendes PAT good. Massillon 7, McKinley 7.


MASSILLON: Massillon’s Jesse Robinson returns second‑half kickoff 16 yards to his own 26. 1‑10, Ma26, Perry James runs for 4 yards. 2‑6, Ma30, James stuffed for no gain. 3‑6, Ma30, Irwin pass to Charles Hendricks for 11 yards over middle. 1‑10, Ma41, Jessie Scott takes lateral around right end for 8 yards. 2‑2, Ma49, Irwin pass to Joe Price for no gain on left side. 3‑2, Ma49, Scott runs for 1 yard on option play to the right. 4‑1, 50, Irwin runs 1 yard up the middle. 1‑10, McK49, James runs 4 yards. 2‑6, McK45, Scott runs 4 yards. (KEY.PLAY) 3‑2, McK41, Irwin throws incomplete to Ellery Moore; McKinley penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. 1‑10, McK26, Scott runs 6 yards. 2‑4, McK20, James runs 6 yards. 1‑10, McK14, James runs 2 yards. 2‑8, McK12, Irwin pass to Jon Stanke in right flat for 12 yards and a TOUCHDOWN with 5:21 left in the third quarter. Marshall PAT good. Drive: 14 plays, 74 yards. Massillon 14, McKinley 7.

MASSILLON: Massillon’s Dusty Wilbur recovers fumbled McKinley kickoff at the McKinley 30. 1‑10, McK30, Irwin scrambles right for 5 yards. (KEY PLAY) 2‑5, McK25, Scott runs 14 yards to the left. 1‑10, McK11 1, James runs 1 yard up the middle after colliding with Irwin. 2‑9, McK10, Irwin pass to Jeremiah Drobney in the left side of end zone for 10 yards and a TOUCHDOWN with 4:13 left in the third quarter. Marshall PAT good. Drive: 4 plays, 30 yards. Massillon 21, McKinley 7.

MASSILLON: Massillon’s Ellery Moore recovers a fumbled McKinley handoff at the McKinley 39. 1 10, McK39, Massillon penalized for illegal procedure. 1‑15, McK44, Irwin pass incomplete. 2‑15, McK44, Scott runs 1 yard. (KEY PLAY) 3‑14, McK43, Robinson runs 17 yards around left end on a reverse. 1‑10, McK26, Scott runs 4 yards. 2‑6, McK22, Massillon penalized for holding. 2‑23, McK39, Irwin pass incomplete. 3‑23, McK39, Irwin laterals to Anthony Battle, who throws a halfback pass to Rocky Dorsey down the middle of the field for 39 yards and a TOUCHDOWN with 11:53 left in the fourth quarter. Marshall PAT good. Drive: 7 plays, 44 yards. Massillon 28, McKinley 7.

MASSILLON: Massillon’s Tyrell McElroy makes an interception in the end zone of a pass by Marcus Daniels. A clipping penalty against Massillon on the runback results in the ball being placed at the Massillon 7. 1‑10, Ma7, Scott runs 13 yards; McKinley penalized for face mask. 1‑10, Ma35, Irwin sacked for 6 yard loss. (KEY PLAY) 2‑16, Ma29, Scott runs 37 yards through the left side. 1 ‑10, McK34, Massillon penalized for illegal procedure. 1‑15 McK39, James runs 4 yards. 2‑11 McK35, Irwin pass down the middle to Robinson for 35 yards and TOUCHDOWN with 4:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. Marshall PAT good. Drive: 5 plays, 93 yards. Massillon 35, McKinley 7.


Massillon 35, McKinley 7
– Chris Beaven

Dan Studer

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1999: Massillon 31, Lakewood St. Edward 14

Massillon cruises with
Marshall at controls
Independent Sports Editor

Maybe it doesn’t matter who’s under center. The Massillon Tigers, without the services of starting quarterback Dave Irwin for the first half, hardly missed a beat in handing the Lakewood St. Edward Eagles a 31-14 defeat in front of 8,351 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Friday night.

Program Cover

Brett Marshall filled in for Irwin – who suffered a gashed right index finger in metal shop on Monday – and threw for three touchdowns as Massillon remained undefeated at 9-0.

Irwin even got into the act, starting the second half with a glove on his injured hand. The senior tri-captain still completed seven of 12 aerials for 113 yards and one touchdown. That scoring pass, his 17th this year, set a new Massillon single-season TD mark.

But this night belonged to Marshall, who could barely contain himself afterward. “I couldn’t feel better right now,” Marshall said. “I expected to go out and do a good job but nothing like this. This is great.” Right from the start, Massillon’s Air Raid Attack of­fense seemed to be in synch despite the change in the triggerman.

Massillon’s first possession began at its 49 after a St. Edward punt and Jessie Scott got things rolling with a 35 yard gain off right guard and tackle that moved the ball to the Eagles’ 12. On second and 12 from the 14, Marshall dropped back and lofted a perfectly throw pass over Jon Stanke’s right shoulder and into his waiting arms in the end zone for a quick six.

“We had a play action fake and I told the linemen, `You get the job done and I’ll get the job done,”‘ Marshall said. “They gave me time and I laid it out there. At first I thought I overthrew it. Then I saw his arms outstretched and touchdown. From there on I had all the confidence in the world.”

The referee had barely raised his arms to signal a touchdown before Marshall was changing into his kicking shoe. The senior drilled the point after kick and Massillon led 7-0 at 6:43 of the first quarter.

Tigers junior safety Jared Frank, filling in for the injured Jason Jarvis, Stripped the football away from a St. Ed receiver on the Eagles next possession and Ty McElroy recovered for Massillon near midfield.

However, the Tigers were unable to move the ball as the teams went on to exchange three punts.

St. Ed’s quarterback Joe Marcoguiseppe hooked up with Michael Bowman on a post pattern that went for 47 yards to set the Eagles up with a first and-10 at the Tiger 12-yard line. Two snaps later, Alphonso Hodge took a handoff, faked to the outside and cut up the middle for an 11-yard touchdown jaunt. Chris Bonezzi was true with the extra point kick and the game was tied 7-7 at 1:27 of the first.

The score remained deadlocked until late in the first half when Tiger linebacker Steve Eyerman took Hodge down for a loss of three and defensive tackle Ellery Moore forced Marcoguiseppe to throw away a fourth down pass to give Massillon the ball at its own, 34.

An illegal procedure call set the Tigers back five yards and then the fireworks began. On first-and-15, Marshall dropped to pass and began to scramble left as the Eagles pass rush began to penetrate. The Tiger QB then changed direction, heading toward the right sideline before releasing a short pass to Scott.

The lightning quick senior worked his way along the right sideline to midfield, then cut back into the open at the 40 and left the St. Ed’s defenders in his wake for a 71-yard touchdown pass and run. Marshall’s kick made it 14-7 Tigers at 2:24 of the first half.

After Massillon’s defense forced a quick punt’, Marshall connected on consecutive aerials to Dave Bumgarner and Anthony Battle to move the ball 33 yards to the visitor’s 25. Then he scrambled for 12 more yards before the drive stalled at the Eagles 12. From there, Marshall calmly switched shoes and was perfect on a 29-yard field goal to make it 17-7 at the break.

Irwin took just about everyone by surprise by starting the second half. But it wasn’t until the Tigers fifth possession of the half, early in the fourth quarter, that they put up their third touchdown of the night.

The score was set up by Matt Shem’s interception and return to the St. Ed’s four-yard line. Two penalties and a sack set up second-and-goal from the 30 but Irwin never wavered. He dropped back to pass and found Jessie Robinson striding toward the end zone.

The pass was under thrown and Robinson stopped dead in his tracks as the defensive back blew past him at the 2. The Tiger wideout calmly caught the football and walked into the endzone for the touchdown at 10:05 of the fourth quarter to make it a 24-7 contest.

“It really doesn’t matter who the quarterback is,” Irwin said modestly. “The offense runs the same way. As long as the line blocks and the receivers run their routes, we’ll be fine.”

Massillon put up one last score after St. Edward made it 24-14 on Alphonso Hodge’s one-yard TD plunge at 6:38 of the fourth.

After the Eagles’ onside kick was recovered by Massillon, the Tigers went to work at their own 38-yard line. Two running plays netted two yards to set up third-and-eight from the 40. Marshall dropped to pass and pitched it to Dave Bumgarner along the left sideline. The senior fullback did the rest, breaking two tackles and racing the rest of the way to pay dirt. Marshall’s PAT made it 31-14 with just over five minutes to play.

“That felt good,” Marshall said. “I had a little break. The coaches came up and told me Irwin wanted to get some snaps in to get confident for McKinley. I’d feel the same way. “I went back out there and finished the job. Coach DiLoretto told me to put one more on the board and we put one more on the board.”

“We’re really glad to get that win with Brett in there at quarterback,” said Rick Shepas. “He really did a nice job. “We were fortunate to get Dave Irwin some snaps and Seth Stefanko got some snaps too. This is a game before we get ready for next week that you want to get healthy and get out of there.”

Next week, of course, is the 106th meeting between the Tigers and the McKinley Bulldogs. Game time at Fawcett Stadium one week from today is 2 p.m.


First downs rushing 7 9
First downs passing 8 7
First downs by penalty 0 2
TOTAL first downs 15 18
Net yards rushing 125 114
Net yards passing 300 134
TOTAL yards 425 248
Passes attempted 26 35
Passes completed 16 9
Passes intercepted 0 1
Punts 6 7
Punting average 29.7 33.3
Fumbles/Lost 4/2 4/2
Penalties 8 6
Yards penalized 65 40

MASSILLON 07 10 00 14 31
ST. EDWARD 07 00 00 07 14


M – Stanke 14 pass from Marshall (Marshall kick)
S – Hodge 11 run (Pierce kick)
M – Scott 71 pass from Marshall (Marshall kick)
M – Marshall 29 field goal
M – Robinson 30 pass from Irwin (Marshall kick)
S – Hodge 1 run (Pierce kick)
M – Bumgarner 60 pass from Marshall (Marshall kick)


Massillon rushing: Scott 12-85, James 6-13, Smith 2-34, King 2-16.
St. Ed rushing: Hodge 25-100.

Massillon passing: Marshall 8-13-183 3 TDs, Irwin 7-12-58 1 TD
St. Ed passing: Marcoguiseppe 9-34-­134 1 INT.

Massillon receiving: Battle 5-75, Bumgarner 3-76, Scott 2-73.
St. Ed receiving: Hodge 3-41

Dan Studer

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1999: Massillon 20, Fremont Ross 14

Little Giants give Massillon a big scare
Tigers remain undefeated with 20‑14 win

Independent Sports Writer

For the second time in their last three games, the Massillon Tigers were living on the edge at halftime. Playing before an inspired Fremont Ross team, the Tigers dug themselves a 14‑point hole in the first quarter. But just like they proved against Youngstown Chaney on October 1, the Tigers kept their poise and wore down the host Little Giants, rallying for a 20‑14 victory before an estimated crowd of 6000 at Harmon Stadium Friday night.

“We played against the Fremont Ross team we expected to see when we scheduled them,” Massillon coach Rick Shepas said. “They’re a good, solid athletic team with a great offensive mix.”

With the victory, the Tigers improved to 8‑0. None of their last three wins were decided until the second half. In those games against Chaney, Perry and Ross, the Tigers outscored their opponents by a combined 59‑7 over the last two quarters.

“We’re a second‑half team,” Shepas said. “We’ve been to able to keep our poise.”

The Tigers also tightened their belts defensively in the last three quarters. Operating out of a double wing formation that resembled former Massillon coach Mike Currence’s run‑and‑shoot offense.

Ross amassed 144 yards of total offense on its first two possessions. But in their last eight series, the Little Giants only picked up 170 yards.

“We got caught over‑pursuing the first two times they had the ball,” Massillon defensive tackle Ellery Moore said. “We didn’t change our (scheme), we just stayed at home and made the plays.”

As the game progressed, the Massillon offense managed to control the football with its running game. With tailback Jessie Scott leading the way, the Tigers exploded for 251 rushing yards, including 148 in the second half.

“We normally use the pass to set up the run,” said Scott, who finished with a game‑high 154 yards on the ground ‑ 92 in the second half. “But our coaches saw some things they did on defense that helped us with our running game. Our coaches told us at halftime that the linebackers were sitting back for the pass, and their defensive ends were rushing and that set up the sweep.”

Ross, which slipped to 3‑5, held a narrow 14‑12 lead entering the fourth quarter. But the momentum of the game changed on the first play when Ross attempted a pass out of a field goal formation from, the Massillon 15, and the Tigers broke it up in the end zone.

On its next possession, Massillon pounded the ball at Ross, marching 85 yards in 10 plays. With Scott‑breaking contain on off tackle plays and getting to, the outside, he played a major factor in the drive, picking up 50 yards on four carries. But Massillon didn’t entirely forget the pass on that drive.

Quarterback Dave Irwin hit Rocky Dorsey for 12 yards, advancing the ball to the Ross S. Two plays later, Irwin found uncovered tight end Jeremiah Drobney in the middle of the end zone and the five‑yard pass play gave the Tigers the lead for good with 9:04 left in regulation.

Irwin hit Scott for the two point conversion to complete the scoring.

Ross had two final chances to pull out a victory, but it went three‑and‑out on each possession.

While Massillon controlled the final three quarters, it was all Ross in the opening quarter. With elusive quarterback David Rhodes directing a balanced offensive attack, Ross stunned Massillon with two long scoring drives on its first two possessions.

Rhodes, a 6‑foot, 180‑pound junior, engineered a 60‑yard march on his team’s first possession. Fullback Aaron Hines capped the 10‑play drive with a five‑yard plunge at the 7:30 mark of the first quarter.

On their second possession, Rhodes marched the Little Giants 84 yards. The eight‑play drive was capped by a 15‑yard pass from Rhodes to 6‑4 wide receiver David Root, who made a diving catch in the middle of the end zone.

Brian McCord kicked the extra point, and Ross led 14‑0 with 23 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Tigers answered quickly, moving 47 yards in four plays. Scott covered the final eight yards of the drive by cutting off left tackle and into the end zone at the 11:49 mark of the second quarter making it a 14‑6 game.

Massillon closed to 14‑12 when tailback Perry James scored on a one‑yard touchdown plunge with 1:08 left in the first half. The drive covered 90 yards in 10 plays.

Massillon missed both of its attempts for two‑point conversions, setting the stage for another second‑half comeback.

NOTE ‑ The Massillon defense played a good portion of the game without defensive back Jason Jarvis, who was on crutches at the end of the game. Shepas said the 6‑1, 189‑pound senior suffered an ankle injury, but was unsure of its severity.



First downs rushing 13….. 7
Fi st downs passing 6…… 7
First downs by penalty 0…… 0
TOTAL first downs 19…. 14
Net yards rushing 251.. 169
Net yards passing 137.. 145
TOTAL yards 388.. 314
Passes attempted 20…. 17
Passes completed 11….. 7
Passes intercepted 2 0
Punts 4…… 5
Punting average 35.5.. 37
Fumbles/Lost 1/0.. 0/0
Penalties 11….. 4
Yards penalized 95…. 19

MASSILLON 00 12 00 08 20
FREMONT 14 00 00 00 14


F ‑ Heins 5 run (McCord kick)
F ‑ Root, 15 pass from Rhodes (McCord kick)
M ‑ Scott 8 run (Run failed)
M ‑ James 1 run (Run failed)
M ‑ Drobney 5 pass from Irwin (Scott pass f

Dan Studer

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1999: Massillon 35, Massillon Perry 14

Perry has ‘Rocky’ time against Tigers
Dorsey’s two TD receptions are key

Independent Sports Editor

The Massillon Tigers and Perry Panthers battled it out Friday night and they did it the right way, without the involvement of lawyers, judges or athletic association commissioners.

Program Cover

Massillon and Perry, embroiled in a months­ long recruiting controversy that remains in litigation, waged a spirited and well-played football game in front of 14,185 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. When the final whistle sounded the Tigers were still undefeated, securing a 35-14 victory over their neighbors to the east.

While the game was crisp and clean on the field, there were post-game developments that underscored the lingering hard feelings be­tween the two programs.

Tigers coach Rick Shepas was not happy that his counterpart, Perry mentor Keith – ­Wakefield, avoided him as the teams shook hands. “Coach Wakefield is an outstanding coach,” Shepas said afterward. “I developed a respect for him when I was a player back in Youngstown and he was (coaching) at Austintown Fitch. “I’m very disappointed he wouldn’t shake my hand after the game.”

While Wakefield declined comment after the contest, he was overheard chastising Perry athletic director Frank Gamble for signing the two-year contract to play Massillon on the gridiron. Gamble, a former assistant for Wakefield, responded angrily as the two retreated into the visitors’ locker room.

On the field, Tigers senior Rocky Dorsey snared touchdown passes of 22 and 43-yards from quarterback Dave Irwin as Massillon pulled away from a 7-7 halftime tie to win go­ing away. It is Massillon’s seventh victory in as many starts.

Dorsey’s first scoring reception capped a six-play, 59-yard drive. The two-year starter was well covered but out-fought a Perry defender to secure the football in the end zone in what appeared to be a jump-ball situation.

“We talked about making plays for the football,” said Shepas. “Dave is going to make some great passes but he’s not going to make a per­fect pass on every down. So our receivers have to go up and make a play on the foot­ball every now and then and we have guys – like Rocky Dorsey – who can do that.”

Irwin also had praise for his receiver’s spectacular catch. “Rocky made a great play on that pass,” Irwin recalled. “The ball was kind of slippery and I underthrew him. All of our receivers are aggressive. They’ll go up and get the foot ball.”

Dorsey’s first TD made it 21-7 Massillon with three minutes left in the third quarter. But Perry battled back behind the hard­nosed running of junior fullback Jordan Henning, who rushed for 102 yards in 19 carries on the night.

Henning keyed a 14-play, 74-yard drive with four carries that garnered Perry first downs. Junior quarterback Matt Miller put the score on the board, after faking to Henning and going around right end from a yard out.Joe Shimek’s kick cut the Tigers’ advantage to 21-14 with 8:36 still to play.

Massillon, however, put the game away in short order. The Tigers got the football near midfield after a facemask call on Perry on the kickoff return. Three plays later, an Irwin pass hit Dorsey in stride down the left sideline for a 43-yard touchdown aerial. Brett Marshall’s kick made it 28-14 and while there was over seven minutes still to play, the Pan­thers were unable to respond.

Shepas indicated there was no panic in the Tiger locker room, despite the 7-7 half­time deadlock. “We didn’t make many ad­justments because we didn’t have that many touches of the ball in the first half,” he explained. “So we took a calm, cerebral approach in the locker room at halftime. We let the kids tell us what we should do. We went out and did that. “But give Perry credit. They really did move the football on us. They pos­sessed it on us. They have tough kids.”

Massillon came out of the halftime break and pieced to­gether an 11-play, 55-yard march that took just 3:57 off the clock. A 13-yard Irwin to Jeremiah Drobney completion erased a third-and-10 situa­tion and set the Tigers up with first-and-goal at the Per­ry 5. From there Jesse Scott took a handoff and skirted right end for the touchdown, that put the orange-and-black ahead for good.

Irwin then connected with Dave Bumgarner for the two ­point conversion and it was Massillon 15, Perry 7 with eight minutes remaining in the third.

The first half was contest­ed on even terms. Perry took the opening kickoff and moved from its 29 to its 48-yard line on six consecutive running plays but was forced to punt. Massillon opened things up from the get-go as quarter­back Dave Irwin found se­nior wide-out Joe Price along the left sideline for 19 yards on first down.

Scott, who’s transfer from Perry to Massillon sparked the recruiting charges, against the Tiger football program, picked up nine yards over left guard and tackle on the next snap to move the ball across mid­field. Irwin hooked up with Price for nine yards to the Perry 32 and the duo repeated their act as the Tigers moved to the 13.

Then Irwin found tight end Anthony Battle with a quick pass to the 5 and the senior fought his way to the 1. On first and goal from there, Scott dove over his left tackle and into the end zone. Marshall’s conversion kick made it 7-0 Massillon at 4:13 of the first quarter. The ten-play, 74-yard march only took 2:13 off the clock.

Perry went three-and-out on its next possession. Massillon managed one first down after receiving the panthers punt but its drive quickly stalled and the Tiger punt rolled into the end zone for a touchback.

On the Panthers’ ensuing possession, Henning gained 12 yards on two carries for a first down. Two plays later, Miller found Brian Janson open for 15 yards to midfield. A pass interference call and an encroachment penalty against the Tigers moved the ball to the Massillon 30. Three snaps later, Henning went over his left guard for nine yards and the Panthers had a first-and-goal at the Massillon 9.

A holding call against Per­ry appeared to have stalled the visitors’ drive. But on third and goal from the 22, Miller threaded the needle with a pass to Joe Bailey at the 5-yard line. Wakefield called timeout and decided to go for six. Miller dropped back, got solid protection from his line, and found senior tight end Joe Croston open in the left corner of the end zone for the touchdown. Shimek booted the extra point to cap off the 13-play, 80-yard march and knot the score at 7-7 with 6:43 left in the first half.


First downs rushing 6 11
First downs passing 13 3
First downs by penalty 1 1
TOTAL first downs 20 15
Net yards rushing 94 180
Net yards passing 279 62
TOTAL yards 373 242
Passes attempted 25 13
Passes completed 18 6
Passes intercepted 2 1
Punts 2 5
Punting average 30.5 22.6
Fumbles/Lost 0/0 0/0
Penalties 6 6
Yards penalized 59 61

MASSILLON 07 00 14 14 35
PERRY 00 07 00 00 14


M – Jesse Scott 1 yard run (Brent Marshall kick)
P – Joe Croston 6 yard pass from Matt Miller (Joe Shimek)
M – Scott 6 yard run (Dave Bumgarner pass from Dave Irwin)
M – Rocky Dorsey 22 yard pass from Irwin (Kick failed)
P – Jordan Henning 1 yard run (Joe Bailey kick)
M – Dorsey 43 yard pass from Irwin (Marshall kick)
M – Joe Price 9 yard pass from Irwin (Marshall kick)


Massillon rushing: Scott 11-55, Perry James 10-48.
Perry rushing: Henning 19-102, Doug Hutchison 8-39, Miller 11-17.

Massillon passing: Irwin 18-25-273 3 TDs, 2 INTs.
Perry passing: Miller 5-8-63 1 TD, Shimek 1-5-20 1 INT.

Massillon receiving: Dorsey 3-101, Price 6-68, Anthony Battle 3-38.
Perry receiving: Bailey 2-29, Brian Janson 2-12, Hutchison 1-15.

Dan Studer

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1999: Massillon 23, Youngstown Chaney 14

Tigers awaken at half to corral the Cowboys

Independent Sports Editor

The Cowboys of Youngstown Chaney played like the Cowboys of Dallas in jumping out to a 14‑0 halftime lead over unbeaten Massillon, Friday night.

Program Cover

But the Tigers responded to the challenge in the second half with four unanswered scores to secure a 23‑14 victory in front of 8,420 on homecoming night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, upping their record to 5‑0.
While Massillon’s margin of victory was nine points, the game was very much in doubt with four‑and‑a‑half minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers were clinging to a 17‑14 lead when Chaney began its final march from its 33‑yard line with only seconds remaining in the third.
Fifteen plays and eight‑and‑a‑half minutes later the Cowboys were at the Massillon 15‑yard line, facing a do‑or‑die fourth‑and‑six situation. Chaney coach Ron Berdis eschewed the field goal and went for the drive sustaining first down.
Chaney quarterback Brad Smith, who had made big plays all night long in compiling 134 yards of total offense, rolled to his right and let fly a pass. But Tigers strong safety Jason Jarvis was in the right place at the right moment, breaking up the aerial and breaking the hearts of the Cowboys.
“They lined up in a double wing and it was the first time they’d come out in that formation the entire game,” Jarvis explained. “I just read my keys like I was taught to do and came up with the big play.”
Chaney coach Ron Berdis couldn’t believe Jarvis was in a position to make a play.
“We ran boot keep and they were loaded up to the short side of the field,” Berdis recalled. “We tried to slip it in to our wingback to get the first down. But they had their strong safety over to the boundary, almost like they knew the play and we’ve never run it before. He just made a good play.”
There were all too few good plays from the Tigers in the first half and coach Rick Shepas told his team that at halftime.
“We expected this Chaney team to come in here and be scrappy,” Shepas said. “We knew they had talent. Our kids weren’t into the game early on and I think it showed in the first half. But, like they’ve done all year long, they were able to turn it up a notch and get it going.”
Massillon came out in the third quarter and established its superiority at the line of scrimmage, producing a seven‑play, 61‑yard touchdown drive that featured three straight running plays to the left side behind tackle Greg Dickerhoof and guard Joe Meanor that produced 43 yards.
“It was a shame in the first half that we couldn’t move them off the ball,” Shepas said. “That’s what we talked about doing at halftime. The kids said they could take advantage of our left side and they did.”
The Tigers’ first score came when Dave Irwin found Rocky Dorsey in the end zone from 10 yards out. Dorsey made a diving catch, his body parallel to the ground when he caught the football.
“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to the offensive line and to Dave Irwin for putting the ball out there,” Dorsey said modestly. “I’ve dropped a few passes in the past but I just thought about that famous quote, ‘Catching a pass is all mental.’ You can put all the stick‑um on your hands you want but what it comes down to is pure concentration.”‘
Brett Marshall’s 22‑yard field goal capped the Tigers’ next possession and it was a 14‑9 Chaney lead with 5:13 left in the third period.
Massillon’s defense then forced the Cowboys into their second straight three‑and‑out possession and the Tiger offense only took six plays to stick the football in the end zone. Jesse Scott took a pitch, exploded through a seam off his left tackle and found pay dirt from 13 yards away to give Massillon its first lead of the night at :26 of the third quarter.
Jesse Robinson added the two point conversion on an end‑around to give the locals a 17‑14 advantage.
Dave Bumgarner closed the scoring for Massillon after Jarvis and the Tiger ‘D’ stopped Chaney’s final drive. The senior fullback capped a seven‑play, 85‑yard drive with a 13yard scoring run to account for the final margin. “We dug down deep and found out what this team was all about,” Jarvis said. “We made a decision at halftime we weren’t goinq to lose this game and we came back and did it. We faced adversity in the first half and came back and showed we’re Tigers.”
Chaney came out for the opening kickoff with a greater sense of urgency than the Tigers and established field position before giving the ball up on downs at Massillon’s 33.
The, Massillon offense was ineffective on its initial possession, punting after just three snaps and the Cowboys took over on their 41.
On first down, Brad Smith kept the football on a bootleg and skirted around left end for 47 yards to the Tigers’ 12.
After two plays netted two yards, Smith made another play. The 6‑foot‑3 junior took a half roll to his right, then found tailback Marcus Patton with a short pass at the Tiger two‑yard line. Patton, back to the goal line, fought his way into the end zone for the touchdown at 7:13 of the first quarter. Chris Jaminet added the extra point and Chaney led 7‑0.
Massillon got one first down on its second possession of the evening but two incompletions doomed the drive and the Tigers again were forced to punt.
Chaney then embarked on a 13‑play drive that began at its own 25. While the Cowboys were unable to put any points on the board with the march, they ate seven minutes off the game clock before giving the football back at the Massillon 27.
Jesse Scott appeared to have lit a fire under his teammates with a spinning, twisting 35‑yard run. But a clipping penalty against the Tigers negated the play and doomed the drive.
Chaney took over at midfield after a Tiger quick kick on third down from the Massillon 14.
Massillon’s defense seemed to have found its groove as Chaney appeared to be stalled on third‑and‑eight from the Tiger 37. But Patton took a pitch back from Smith, cut off his right tackle, then spun to the inside at the 25 and sprinted into the end zone for the touchdown.
Jaminet was again true with the PAT kick and the Cowboys led 14‑0 at 5:38 of the second quarter.
The Tigers then launched their first sustained drive of the night, beginning at their own 42.
On second and eight, Irwin found Dorsey for eight yards and a first down along the right sideline. Perry James went off left guard for six yards and a first down two snaps later as Massillon moved to the Chaney 35.
It appeared the drive had stalled when the Tigers were faced with a fourth‑and‑12 situation at the Chaney 37, but Irwin connected on a clutch throw to tight end Jeremiah Drobney, open over the middle at the 15.
Scott got another first down on the next play, ripping off 11 yards off right tackle to the four. On fourth‑and‑goal from the 3, Irwin’s pass to Price was complete but the Chaney defensive back pulled him down inches short of the TD.

First downs rushing 11 9
First downs passing 6 4
First downs by penalty 0 0
TOTAL first downs 17 13
Net yards rushing 213 207
Net yards passing 104 62
TOTAL yards 317 269
Passes attempted 18 11
Passes completed 10 5
Passes intercepted 0 0
Punts 3 1
Punting average 30.3 12
Fumbles/Lost 0/0 1/1
Penalties 6 2
Yards penalized 56 21

MASSILLON 00 00 17 06 23
CHANEY 07 07 00 00 14


C ‑ Patton 9 pass from Smith (Jaminet kick)
C ‑ Patton 37 run (Jaminet kick)
M ‑ Dorsey 10 pass from Irwin (Pass failed)
M ‑ Marshall 22 field goal
M ‑ Scott 12 run (Robinson run)
M ‑ Bumgarner 13 run (Kick failed)


Massillon rushing: Scott 16‑109, James 9‑64, Irwin 3‑22.
Chaney rushing: Patton 23‑105, Smith 10‑74.
Massillon passing: Irwin 10‑18‑101 1 TD.
Chaney passing: B. Smith 5‑11‑60 1 TD.
Massillon receiving: Price 3‑35, Dorsey 3‑23, Drobney 1‑21.
Chaney receiving: T. Smith 2‑33.

Dan Studer

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1999: Massillon 24, Mansfield Senior 7

Massillon’s defense carries the day

Independent Sports Editor

Chalk one up for the defense. The Massillon Tigers, saddled with injuries to three starters on offense, turned in a defensive performance worthy of its Black Swarm nickname to hand the Mansfield Tygers a 24‑7 defeat in front of 10,041 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Friday.

Program Cover

The final score is somewhat deceiving in that the only score Mansfield managed was on a fumble recovery the Tygers returned 43 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter.

“The defense had an outstanding week of preparation and I really felt they were ready for whatever Mansfield threw at them and they showed that tonight,” said Tigers coach Rick Shepas. “If we hadn’t fumbled the ball on offense, we would have pitched a shutout. We want to make sure the people know that we played that well on defense. It was an offensive turnover that gave them seven.”

In one first‑half Mansfield offensive series, Tigers defensive lineman Mike Mattox made three consecutive tackles for losses to force a punt. It was typical of his play all night long. “They weren’t really pass blocking that great and I was coming in unblocked practically every time,” Mattox explained. “I really wanted to beat these guys bad. We wanted the shutout but the offense let them score seven points.”

“Mike is outstanding at that position,” added Shepas. “He is so quick off the ball and against those big offensive linemen he did the job.” One reason Mattox was so effective was Mansfield was paying a great deal of attention to his running mate, Ellery Moore. Despite that, Moore also was a force on defense with several tackles behind the line of scrimmage against the frustrated Tyger attack.

“We pitched a shutout,” Moore said. “We stepped it up for the offense and was patient with them because they had some adversity. But we’re used to adversity. We’ve been going through it since December. So we’re ready for that.”

And Moore echoed Mattox’s sentiments that last year’s 21‑0 defeat at Mansfield was a motivating factor. “Payback was on our mind from jump street,” Moore exclaimed. “We knew we had to come in and play hard . We knew they were going to play hard. It’s a rivalry now. We’re loving it.”

While Massillon (4‑0) dominated the game statistically ‑ the Tigers owned an advantage in total yards of 357‑134 ‑ things were a little dicey for the locals for much of the second half after Mansfield (2‑2) cut the lead to 10‑7 on the fumble recovery and runback for a touchdown.

The Tigers finally got some breathing room mid‑way through the fourth quarter when quarterback Dave Irwin found junior wide receiver Jesse Robinson running free in the Mansfield secondary.

Irwin was on target with his pass and Robinson pulled away from the defense after gathering it in for a 64‑yard scoring play. Brett Marshall’s point‑after kick was true and the Tigers had the cushion they needed at 17‑7 with 7:28 to go.

An 11‑yard Irwin to Rocky Dorsey scoring pass with 2:08 to play closed the scoring, but the Massillon defense had to rise up once again in the final moments to keep Mansfield out of the end zone. As was true throughout the game, the Black Swarm was equal to the task.

“Massillon’s defense gave us some problems,” admitted Mansfield coach Stanley Jefferson.”They definitely created some problems. It was difficult for us to get our zone schemes going. We couldn’t move the ball in a consistent manner. “They controlled the line of scrimmage in terms of us trying to zone block and that created some problems.”

Mansfield also hurt itself, getting flagged 13 times for 125 yards in penalties, a statistic that bothered Jefferson. “I’m not allowed to speak on it,” he said afterward. “If I speak on it … I, um, I can’t speak on it. It’d be best for me not to say anything about some of those penalties.”

Massillon was flagged 10 times for 74 yards. The game began as it was going to be a long night for the Tigers, who were without starting linebacker and tri‑captain Dan Studer and leading ground gainer Jon Stanke, both of whom were out with injuries.

Things went from bad to worse almost immediately when starting center Seth Stefanko went down with a severe knee injury on just the fifth play of the game. Stefanko’s absence was often magnified because the Tigers utilize the shotgun formation in which the center must snap the ball three to four yards back to the quarterback.

The senior’s absence was felt on Massillon’s second series, which ended when Mansfield recovered a fumbled snap. But the Tigers persevered, thanks to their defense which forced Mansfield into punts on each of its first three possessions.

Massillon’s first scoring drive of the evening began on its 37 yard line but appeared to be over when Mansfield intercepted the ball on third‑and‑seven from the 40. But the Tygers were flagged for roughing the passer and the locals took advantage of the break.

On first down from midfield, Stanke’s replacement senior Dave Bumgarner got the football on a fullback counter and rumbled 39 yards to the 11. Two plays later, Irwin rolled to his left and, with a Mansfield defender in his face, tossed the ball to tight end Jeremiah Drobney at the 5. Drobney carried a Tyger defender into the endzone for the game’s initial touchdown at 8:47 of the second quarter. Brett Marshall’s conversion kick was good and the Tygers led 7‑0.

Mansfield looked as if it was going to retaliate, running the football for two first downs on the first three snaps of the ensuing possession.
But Mattox took over and almost single‑handedly stopped the march. The 6‑1, 213‑pound senior tripped up Mansfield’s Maurice Bradley for a loss of three yards on first down, then recorded back‑to‑back sacks of Tygers QB Kris Kline on second and third downs for a total of 18 negative yards.
Massillon then launched a 12‑play drive from its own 15. It ate up all but 14 seconds of the final five minutes of the first half. Perry James gained 17 yards to move the ball to the 43, then consecutive completions to Drobney and Bumgarner advanced the ball to the 24. Three snaps later, Marshall was perfect on a 37 yard field goal to make it 10‑0 at halftime.

Mansfield failed to penetrate deeper than the Massillon 38 in the first 24 minutes of play. It would be that way all night long.


Mas Man
First downs rushing 8 4
First downs passing 7 3
First downs by penalty 5 0
TOTAL first downs 20 7
Net yards rushing 134 52
Net yards passing 223 82
TOTAL yards 357 134
Passes attempted 22 12
Passes completed 15 7
Passes intercepted 0 1
Punts 4 8
Punting average 35.8 34.5
Fumbles/Lost 3/2 0/0
Penalties 10 13
Yards penalized 74 125

MASSILLON 00 10 00 14 24
MANSFIELD 00 00 07 00 07


Mas ‑ Drobney 8 pass from Irwin (Marshall kick)
Mas ‑ Marshall 37 field goal
Man ‑ Berry 43 fumble recovery return (Wolf kick)
Mas ‑ Robinson 64 pass from Irwin (Marshall kick)
Mas ‑ Dorsey 11 pass from Irwin (Marshall kick)


Massillon rushing: Scott 9‑56, Bumgarner 6‑51, James 9‑31.
Mansfield rushing: Berry 8‑31, Bradley 5‑20, Dandy 3‑14.

Massillon passing: Irwin15‑22‑223 3 TDs.
Mansfield passing: Taylor 5‑9‑80, Kline 2‑3‑2 1 INT.

Massillon receiving: Bumgarner 5‑39, Drobney 4‑70, Hendricks 2‑4, Dorsey 2‑37, Robinson 1‑64, James 1‑9.
Mansfield receiving: C. Smith 4‑64.

Dan Studer

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1999: Massillon 33, Lima Senior 19

Tigers win at Lima Sr
Massillon makes big plays in fourth period

Independent Sports Writer

They have played only two regular‑season games, but the Massillon Tigers have proven they can come from behind at home and on the road. Exploding for 26 fourth quarter points, the Tigers improved their record to 2‑0 following a 33‑19 victory over host Lima Senior at Lima Stadium this past Saturday.

“This was a big win,” said Massillon head coach Rick Shepas. “We played well in the fourth quarter. We won on the road. We beat a good program. Lima is a (former) state champion.” Massillon has now beaten Akron Buchtel and Lima Senior, two teams whose forte is speed, speed and more speed.

The next challenge is against Akron Garfield at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Garfield improved to 1‑1 with a 14‑0 victory over Cleveland Benedictine this Saturday. “They’re another good team,” Shepas said. “They were picked to win the Akron City Series over Buchtel and we know Buchtel has a good team.”
Shepas said his charges elevated their level of play defensively against Lima. “We tackled very well,” he said. “We faced two good backs. And we didn’t allow them to break off a big run.” Lima finished with 110 rushing yards in 40 plays, a meager 2.8 yard average.

While they wore their new visiting white jerseys and orange pants, the Massillon defense lived up to its newly adopted Black Swarm moniker, gang tackling on almost every play. The interior linemen stuffed the majority of quick openers between the tackles. The outside linebackers crisp pursuit angles on option plays, forcing the speedy Lima backs to run laterally, instead of allowing them to turn the corner.

“We made some plays (offensively) the fourth quarter,” said Massillon quarterback David Irwin. “But our defense played great the entire game.” Still, Lima held a 12‑7 lead heading into the fourth quarter, scoring on two big third down pass plays.

But Irwin proved he could make the clutch throw in crunch ‘time, connecting on three big third down passes in the fourth quarter. That first completion resulted in a 37‑yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jesse Robinson on the first play of the fourth quarter. Robinson, a 5‑foot‑5, 141 pound junior, ran a fade pattern to the left corner and Irwin hit him perfectly.

While the two‑point conversion failed, the Tigers had gained a 13‑12 lead just eight seconds into the fourth quarter. Lima, now 1‑1, responded, moving the ball from its 45 to the Massillon 13. With a fresh set of four downs, the Spartans were in position to reclaim the lead.

Running back Greg Johnson bulled his way for three yards on a dive play. After the play was whistled dead, a flag in the Massillon secondary flew. Lima was penalized 15 yards for a dead‑ball personal foul. A second down‑and‑seven became second‑and‑22, forcing Lima to pass. It failed to connect on both subsequent attempts, with Massillon safety Jason Jarvis ending the drive with an interception at his team’s 10, and a 44‑yard return to the Lima 46.

“We needed somebody to make a play and Jarvis stepped it up,” Shepas said. “That was a big turning point in the game.” Massillon, which used a noback look with three wide outs in the slot and two tight ends, went back to a more conventional set, lining up two running backs.

Improve record to 2-0 following a biq fourth quarter against Lima

On the first play from scrimmage, running back Perry James took a handoff from Irwin on a draw play, exploding up the middle for 41 yards to the Lima 5. The Spartans stiffened defensively, forcing the Tigers to lose a combined eight yards on two running plays, bringing up a third‑and‑goal from the Lima 13.

Wide receiver Anthony Battle angled toward the left corner, as Irwin dropped back to throw. Battle had gotten behind the Lima defender and Irwin hit him in stride for a 13‑yard touchdown. Brett Marshall’s extra‑point made it 20‑12 with 7:20 remaining.

With plenty of time to force a tie, Lima took advantage of a pass interference penalty and had the ball to its 47. But the Spartans were held to one yard in the next three downs and were forced to punt.

Trent Seay, who averaged 39.8 yards a boot with high driving kicks, boomed another floater that pinned the Tigers back on their own 17.

Two running plays netted a combined two yards and the Tigers were facing a third-and‑eight situation. With Lima blitzing, Irwin launched a bomb to the right sideline in the direction of wide receiver Rocky Dorsey near midfield. Dorsey, who was wide open, caught the ball and wasn’t hauled down until he reached the Lima 16.

That was the third straight third down pass Irwin completed in the second half. “They were blitzing six or seven people every play,” Irwin said. “I got some great pass protection.”

Emotionally charged, Massillon went back to its ground game. Running back Jon Stanke was given the ball on a draw plau, broke the line of scrimmage and cut to his right. Tight end Jeremiah Drobney knocked down two defenders with one block, and Stanke ran untouched into the end zone. Marshall’s extra‑point made it 27‑12 with 3:32 left.

We wanted it more in that fourth quarter,” said Massillon defensive end Ellery Moore, who was a force along with nose guard Mike Mattox, and linebackers Dan Studer, Steve Eyerman and Robert Oliver.

Any miraculous comeback by Lima was nixed when Massillon sophomore linebacker Robert Oliver picked off a pass and returned it 15 yards to the Spartan 20.

Irwin hit wide out Joe Price for 12 yards on the first play and then was replaced by Marshall at quarterback. Three plays later, Marshall hit Drobney on a tight end screen in the left flat. Drobney, a 6‑3, 197 pound junior, then ran 10 yards for a touchdown that made it 33‑12 with 2:09 to go.

Lima quarterback Nick Morris hooked up with wide out Trent Seay for a 48‑yard touchdown pass that closed out the scoring.

In the first half, Massillon took its first lead. A 33‑yard screen pass from Irwin to Drobney moved the ball to the Lima one. On the next play, James went off left guard for the touchdown, capping a four‑play, 56‑yard drive. Marshall’s extra‑point kick made it 7‑0 at the 4:45 mark.

Lima got on the scoreboard at the 9:52 mark of the second quarter, when Morris turned a third‑and‑17 into six points, hitting running back Jeremy Wright on a crossing pattern for 20 yards., The extra‑point kick was wide left, and the Tigers still led 7‑6.

Morris delivered on another third down pass play that gave Lima its first and only lead, hooking up with wide out Richard Mahone. That 41‑yard touchdown pushed the Spartans ahead 12‑7 at the 5:40 mark of the third quarter.

But Massillon regained control of the game in the’ fourth quarter, posting a 185‑101 edge in total yards.

First downs rushing 8 8
First downs passing 7 6
First downs by penalty 0 3
TOTAL first downs 15 17
Net yards rushing 144 110
Net yards passing 242 165
TOTAL yards 386 275
Passes attempted 23 26
Passes completed 13 8
Passes intercepted 1 2
Punts 6 7
Punting average 29.8 40.7
Fumbles/Lost 1/0 2/0
Penalties 9 2
Yards penalized 86 20

MASSILLON 07 00 00 26 33
LIMA SR 00 06 06 07 19

Dan Studer

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1999: Massillon 35, Akron Buchtel 25

Tigers ‘Battle’ past Buchtel in the 4th

Anthony Battle’s two touchdown receptions ensure initial victory

Independent Sports Editor

It was a season opener to remember as the Massillon Tigers rallied from a 12‑point deficit to whip the Akron Buchtel Griffins 35‑25 Friday night in front of 9,511 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Program Cover

Buchtel led by as many as 12 points at 19‑7 late in the first half. But Massillon came back to score a touchdown with just over two minutes remaining in the second quarter, then outscored the visitors 15‑0 in the fourth quarter for the victory.

“I’m happy about the character we showed,” said Tigers coach Rick Shepas. “We came from behind two or three times. We didn’t hang our head. We didn’t go out there and do anything crazy offensively.”

What the Tigers did offensively was amass 356 total yards. Surprisingly, 238 yards of that total came on the ground as seniors Jon Stanke and Jessie Scott combined for 186 yards rushing in 20 totes, an average of over nine yards per carry.

It wasn’t easy for Massillon. The Tigers, trailing 25‑20 with under two minutes left in the third quarter, missed a short field goal. The defense got the ball back in short order, but the offense went three‑and‑out and things weren’t looking good as Buchtel had shown the ability to score at will throughout the contest.

But Massillon’s Black Swarm defense forced a second consecutive three‑and‑out series by the visitors and this time the Tiger offense would not let the opportunity slip away.

On first down from near midfield, a Massillon receiver dropped a sure touchdown bomb. One play later, an unsportsmanlike conduct call against the Griffins set the Tigers up with first and ten at the Buchtel 40.

Stanke ripped off 28 yards over right guard after breaking a tackle at the line of scrimmage. On the very next play, Irwin found senior tight end Anthony Battle wide open in the left side of the end zone for six points. Then, after two time outs, Irwin hooked up with Rocky Dorsey for the two point conversion to make it 28‑25 Tigers with over seven minutes left in the game.

Battle, who did not play football, a year ago, admitted he had some doubts. “I didn’t play all last season and I didn’t know if I could still do it,” he said. “But I went out and did it. When the ball came my way, I just knew I was going to catch it and I knew it was touchdown. We’re going to score a lot of points this year.”
Irwin indicated the dropped pass earlier in the go‑ahead drive is not something he is going to worry about. “If they catch it, they catch it,” Irwin said. “If they drop it, they’ll catch the next one. If they drop the ball, I’ll come right back to them.

“Everyone makes mistakes. They might miss a block or drop a ball. If they drop a ball, I’ll come right back to them.”

Buchtel opened the scoring on the third play from scrimmage when quarterback Steve Reynolds kept the ball on the option and swept around the left side for a 69‑yard scoring run at 11:09 of the first quarter. The Griffs missed the extra point.

The Tigers answered on their second possession with a 13‑play, 98‑yard drive following a Buchtel punt. Stanke gained 23 yards up the gut on the first two plays of the series, then Scott swept around left end for 23 more to move the ball to near midfield.

The only third down play of the drive, was third and three at the Buchtel 17. Irwin calmly found Battle along the right sideline with a five yard aerial for the first down. Two plays later, Irwin found Scott wide open for a two‑yard touchdown pass. Brett Marshall’s kick made it 7‑6 Massillon at 2:47 of the first.

Buchtel answered with its own sustained drive, marching 71 yards in 12 plays. Tim Murphy dove in from a yard out at 10:21 of the second quarter. A Griffins’ two point pass attempt failed and it was 12-7 Buchtel.

The Tigers went three-and‑out and Buchtel responded with a 10‑play, 71‑yard march, capped by Reynolds eight‑yard option keeper over right guard and tackle. The conversion kick put the guests up 19-7 with 3:11 until the band show.

Scott’s 15‑yard return of the ensuing kickoff and a facemask penalty against Buchtel gave the Tigers superb field position at the Griffs’ 37. Scott then bucked off right tackle for 19 yards and Stanke gouged out nine more to set up second‑and‑one at the 9‑yard line.

Shepas called Stanke’s number again and the fullback went over left guard, juked two potential tacklers and found pay dirt. The PAT kick failed but the Tigers had regained momentum before halftime, though still trailing 19‑13.

Massillon regained the lead with a six‑play, 72‑yard drive capped by Perry James 1‑yard run at 8:55 of the third quarter, but Buchtel came right back to reclaim the advantage on a five‑play, 71‑yard drive that included pass plays of 42 and 36 yards. Murphy’s 1‑yard scoring burst at 5:22 of the third made it Buchtel 25, Massillon 20.

That led to Battle’s heroics as the Tigers got the 1999 season off to a flying start. “Our first possession was our only bad possession,” Irwin said. “After that the offense settled down. Our offense is so wide open. We can do anything we want. The backs played a great game tonight. It opened up the passing attack for us.”

Shepas took note of the Tigers rushing statistics and tipped his hat to the offensive line of Greg Dickerhoof, Kreg Rotthoff, Seth Stefanko, Dan Leonard and Matt Shaffer. “Their defense is talented,” Shepas said. “They were bringing six, seven, eight guys all the time. “During the week we put in that empty set which allows us to spread things out a little bit. That helped our guys pick up the blitzes and we were able to protect a little bit.”

The offense protected the lead with a five‑play, 49‑yard scoring drive, capped by yet another Irwin to Battle touchdown pass at 2:05 of the fourth quarter. Marshall’s PAT wrapped up the scoring.


First downs rushing 13 8
First downs passing 5 4
First downs by penalty 2 1
TOTAL first downs 20 13
Net yards rushing 229 224
Net yards passing 127 158
TOTAL yards 356 382
Passes attempted 21 13
Passes completed 12 6
Passes intercepted 0 0
Punts 3 5
Punting average 31.3 28.4
Fumbles/Lost 2/0 2/0
Penalties 4 11
Yards penalized 30 103

MASSILLON 7 6 7 15 35
BUCHTEL 6 13 6 0 25


B – Reynolds 69 run (Pass failed)
M – Scott 2 pass from Irwin (Marshall kick)
B – Murphy 1 run (Pass failed)
B -Reynolds 9 run (Jones kick)
M – Stanke 9 run (Kick failed)
M – James 1 run (Marshall kick)
B – Murphy 1 run (Pass failed)
M – Battle 12 pass from Irwin (Irwin pass to Drobney)
M – Battle 12 pass from Irwin (Marshall kick)


Massillon rushing: Stanke 11‑97, Scott 9‑90, James 8‑49.
Buchtel rushing: Reynolds, 6‑103, Lovelace 8‑47, Murphy 16‑77.

Massillon passing: Irwin 12‑21‑127 3TDs.
Buchtel passing: Reynolds 3‑5‑110, Keith 2‑7‑29.

Massillon receiving: Dorsey 4‑44, Battle 3‑28, Robinson 1‑31, James 1‑11, Hendricks 1‑6, Stanke 1‑5.
Buchtel receiving: Chapman 4‑115.

Dan Studer