Tag: <span>Dave Irwin</span>

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 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 41, Austintown Fitch 7

Tigers rip Fitch
Massillon scores on first play of game and doesn’t look back

Independent Sports Editor

When the Austintown Fitch Falcons were tardy coming out of the locker room for the opening kickoff against Massillon Friday night, some wise guy in the press box cracked the visitors weren’t interested in taking on the undefeated Tigers.

Program Cover

While Fitch showed plenty of enthusiasm on the field, the Falcons surrendered a 58‑yard touchdown to Massillon on the Tigers first play from scrimmage and were never in the game, falling 41‑7 in front of 7,977 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

It got so bad that Fitch attempted a 65‑yard field goal with three seconds remaining on the first half, apparently looking for a moral victor despite a 34‑0 deficit at the time. The kick was well short.

It was apparent early this one would be no contest. After Jesse Scott returned the opening kickoff to the Tiger 41, Massillon quarterback Dave Irwin hit mighty mite Jesse Robinson in stride at the Fitch 35. Robinson skirted the left sideline untouched into the end zone. Brett Marshall’s conversion kick made it 7‑0 Massillon at 11:42 of the first quarter.
“Fitch practiced extra long for us this week, so we wanted to come out hit them quick and let them know this is our house,” said Robinson. “Their strong side linebacker and strong safety blitz a lot so we wanted to hit them off the corner and it was there really early.”
Robinson (5‑5, 141) has now caught six passes on the season for 246 yards and three touchdowns. He’s averaging an amazing 41 yards per catch.
“Jesse is fast and he’s hard to find too,” said Tigers coach Rick Shepas. “He’s a tremendous athlete. We’re happy for him because he had such a great off season. This makes it all worth it.”
Shepas acknowledged the game plan called for the Tigers to go for the throat early.
“We haven’t had a big offensive game in the first half since the Buchtel game, so that was our intention,” Shepas said. “We simplified our blocking schemes up front so we wanted to come out and get into the end zone.”
Fitch went three‑and‑out on its initial possession and was forced to punt. Sam Young gave the Tigers superb field position when he returned the Falcon punt 44 yards to the Fitch 28.
“We got some good punt returns in the first half to give us good field position early,” Shepas noted. “We were able to capitalize on that.”
And how! After the long return, Scott picked up 14 yards on a carry around the right side on first down and Perry James tacked on 11 more to set up first‑and‑goal from the three‑yard line. Scott did the honors, spurting off left tackle for the touchdown at the 8:56 mark of the first quarter. Marshall’s kick made it 14‑0 Tigers.
“We wanted to hit them early and put them away,” Scott said. “We’re always waiting until the fourth quarter to get into the game so it was about time we stopped doing that.”
Fitch’s interception interrupted the Massillon rout monientary but the Tigers got back in synch on their next possession, which began at their own 20. Scott battled for 12 yards up the middle on first down, and Irwin found Dave Bumgarner with a short pass in the right flat that picked up 21 more.
Then, from near midfield, Scott bucked into the line, broke to the left sideline and was off and running for a 36 yard pickup.
Two plays later, James went over his left guard from three yards out for the touchdown at 11:56 of the second quarter. Marshall again tacked on the PAT and it was 21‑0 with most of the second quarter remaining.
A Fitch fumble gave the Tigers possession at their own 45 and on first down Irwin dropped back to pass. He stood in the pocket long enough to count the house as the Massillon line afforded him all the protection he needed. Finally, the senior tri‑captain found Joe Price open at the Fitch 25. Price snagged the aerial then picked his way through the secondary and into the end zone for the touchdown, a 55 yard pass and run to make it 27‑0.
Jason Jarvis closed the first half scoring for Massillon with less than a minute until the band show. The senior safety picked off a Fitch pass and raced 52 yards to pay dirt. Marshall nailed the PAT and it was a 34‑0 contest in the half.
Massillon added only one touchdown in the second half but it was of a spectacular nature. On an innocent looking second-and‑eight play from the Tiger 27, Irwin handed the ball to Scott. The senior speedster found a seam in the Fitch defense and was off to the races.
Seventy‑three yards later he crossed the goal line to close the scoring at 8:01 of the fourth quarter. “We can always do better but we had a good game,” Scott said. “We feel we can beat anyone we play.”
Scott finished the game with 126 yards and two touchdowns on just six totes as the Tigers rolled up 261 yards rushing. Massillon ‑ now 5‑0 – finished with a 424‑208 edge in total yardage but amazingly lost the time‑of‑possession battle 31:04 ‑ 16:56.
Fitch, which fell to 1‑4, averaged just 2.9 yards per play on first down and had three turnovers.


First downs rushing 10 12
First downs passing 5 1
First downs by penalty 0 3
TOTAL first downs 15 16
Net yards rushing 242 181
Net yards passing 182 27
TOTAL yards 424 208
Passes attempted 12 9
Passes completed 7 2
Passes intercepted 2 1
Punts 2 5
Punting average 22 35
Fumbles/Lost 3/0 2/2
Penalties 7 3

MASSILLON 14 20 00 07 41
FITCH 00 00 00 07 07


M ‑ Robinson 58 pass from Irwin (Marshall kick)
M ‑ Scott 2 run (Marshall kick)
M ‑ James 3 run (Marshall kidk)
M – Price 55 pass from Irwin (Kick failed)
M ‑ Jarvis 52 interception return (Marshall kick)
F ‑ Wilson 1 run (Stewart kick)
M ‑ Scott 73 run (Marshall kick)


Massillon rushing: Scott 6‑126, Bumgarner 4‑42, Smith 4‑26, James 6‑23, Robinson 1‑16.
Fitch rushing: Sudetic 20‑82, Wilson 11‑42.
Massillon passing: Irwin 7‑12‑182, 2 TDs, 2 INTs.
Fitch passing: Burnich 2‑9‑27 1 INT.
Massillon receiving: Price 3‑79, Bumgarner 2‑39, Robinson 1‑58.
Fitch receiving: Sudetic 2‑27.

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
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1998: Massillon 36, Akron St. Vincent St. Mary 7

Cat nap is over

Tigers wake up and blow out St. V-St. M

Tigers follow the Script for victory

Independent Sports Editor

Maybe, just maybe the Tigers have finally figured it out.

Program Cover

Massillon scored touchdowns on three of its first four possessions and went on to post a dominating 36‑7 victory over the ­Akron St. Vincent‑St. Mary’s Fighting Irish at Paul Brown ­Tiger Stadium, Friday night.

It was the Tigers first victory, in the last four weeks and marked the first time they, scored as many as three touch­downs in a game since Week 3 against Garfield.

Fighting Irish coach Jim Meyer was not‑surprised to see Massillon play such a dominant game against his team, which was 6‑2 coming in to the contest.

“I’ve got to hand it to them,” Meyer said, “They wanted this game and they came out and were very, very physi­cal.

“I watched tape on them and I knew it was going to be a physical game. I’m not surprised at all. I think they always had the mate­rial. I think they’ve been a sleeping giant for a while. Unfortunately for us they picked this week to wake up.”

Tigers tailback Marc Cleveland broke the century mark‑in. rushing for the first time since mid‑season with 126 yards and two touchdowns in 16 carries. The senior says the team is hitting its stride.

“We’re coming together as a team,” Cleveland said. “We all just came together. We got tired of getting beat. We figured out we have to do what we have to do. We just have to fire off the line and punish the defense.”

Senior tight end Marcus Simpson, who opened the scoring with a six‑yard touchdown reception, was overjoyed at the victory.

“It was just beautiful,” Simpson said. “The offense came together and we all played good. I was just happy.

“That was my first touchdown and being a senior I was just thrilled to get a chance to help the team out. We’ve got a lot of momentum and we’re starting to move.”

Momentum was provided from the get go when Tigers junior Sam Young returned the Irish’s opening kickoff 53 yards to the St. V 43-yard line.

Cleveland gained 10 yards on two running plays and Massillon quarterback Dave Irwin connected with tight end. Ellery Moore for 10 more to the Irish 24.

Then Cleveland bucked over left guard for 10 yards and Irwin scrambled for four more to set up second‑and‑6 from the 9‑yard line.

From there, Irwin tossed a short pass to Simpson, who was all alone in the right flat. He strolled into the end zone for six. Brett Marshall’s PAT was true and Massillon led 7‑0 less than three minutes into the game.

Massillon linebacker Mike Mattox battled down an Irish third down pass and the visitors were forced to punt after just three snaps on their initial possession of the night.

The Tigers began their second drive from their 40 and methodically moved to the Irish 28. From there, Irwin hit Ron Lynn in the right flat for a 10‑yard gain, then Cleveland ran for 17 more on the flanker reverse to the 1-yard line.

Cleveland did the honors from a yard out and Marshall added the PAT to make it 14‑0 Tigers at 5:05 of the first quarter.

St. Vincent‑St. Mary again went three‑and‑out and the Irish punted the ball back to Massillon at its 26. The Tigers got a couple first downs but punted the ball back to St. V’s. But on first down, Massillon’s Brandon Clark made a gorgeous over‑the‑shoulder interception of a Ross Marconi pass to give the locals the ball at the visitors 34‑yard line.

Six plays later Irwin rolled left then threw back right and found Joe Price alone in the end zone for the six‑yard touchdown pass and a 20‑0 lead at 11:25 of the second period.

After another Irish punt, Massillon moved to the St. V’s 1‑yardline, but had to settle for, a 19‑yard field go by Marshall to go up 23-0 with 4:17 left until halftime.

Although the Irish finally got on the scoreboard with a 67-yard march culminated by a 9-yard Marconi to Miquel Irvin touchdown pass, it was a practically perfect first half for the beleaguered Tigers, who led 23-7 at the intermission.

Irwin was especially sharp. The junior completed 9 of 13 aerials for 73 yards and two TDs in the first 24 minutes of play.

“Dave’s pretty calm back there,” Shepas said. “He doesn’t seem to get rattled that much. He made some plays. He was 4-for-4 at one point and they were all at the right time and he put the ball where it needed to be. He did a nice job of directing that offense. We found some things we are good at … finally.”

For the second week in a row, Shepas scripted his team’s plays. And for the second week in a. row, the attack clicked.

“We did 24 plays this time instead of 17,” Shepas revealed, “The first series we had set for six plays. We got the ball and in six plays we were in the end zone. That’s a Bill Walsh thing and Mike Holmgren does it with the Packers.

It works best when you’re struggling to find some continuity. The main thing is when you come out you have to get some gains. When you get the gains the script works well. You lose yardage on first down and the script isn’t going to work well.”

On reason the Tigers didn’t have many negative yardage plays was their ability to control the line of scrimmage. Once again the offensive front of Mike Dean and Greg Dickerhoof at tackles, Joe Meanor and Chris Rich at guards and Dustin Clawson at center moved the defense around at the point of attack.

“In the games we haven’t been successful, people have established the line of scrimmage on us.” Shepas said, “Tonight were able to control the line on both sides of the ball.”

The team exchanged punts on the first four possessions of the second half. Then the tigers defense came up with a big play. After Luke Shilling’s punt rolled out of bounds at the St. V’s 13-yard line, the Akron entry tried to execute a screen pass Massillon middle linebacker Sam Studer made a one-handed interception and fought his way to the six yard line before being gang tackled.

Three plays later, Irwin found Price on a 10-yard curl pattern in the end zone. Marshall’s kick made it 30-7 Tigers at 11:48 of the fourth quarter.

The Irish turned the football over on second down of their ensuing possession and Cleveland applied some icing on the cake, going off his right tackle untouched for a 41-yard touchdown run.

In addition to putting it all together on offense, Massillon got over the hump by putting together two good haves of football.

“We tried not to make too many (halftime) adjustments because when we made adjustments we seem to make mistakes,” Shepas noted.

The Massillon defense did its part registering four interceptions and limiting the Irish to a paltry 54 yards rushing.

One sobering note for the Tigers was an ankle injury suffered by two-way starter Ellery Moore. The junior tight end/defensive end says he’ll be fine.

“It’s McKinley week so I’m coming back,” Moore said, “I’m not done.”

“We played with heart and dedicated tonight . We’re becoming a team. We’re working together and becoming a team. Just like coach Shepas wanted us to do. Play together. Put our heads together and be one.”

And for a night at least it worked to perfection.

ST. V-ST. M 7

First downs rushing 11 4
First downs passing 7 3­
First downs by penalty 1 1
TOTAL first downs 19 8
Net yards rushing 209 54
Net yards passing 93 118
TOTAL yards 302 170
Passes attempted 18 25
Passes completed 12 7
Passes intercepted 1 4
Punts 6 7
punting average 39 35.3
Fumbles/Lost 1/0 0/0
Penalties 3 8
Yards penalized 40 61

MASSILLON 14 09 00 13 36
ST.V-ST.M 00 07 00 00 07

M ‑ Simpson 8 pass from Irwin (Marshall kick)
M ‑ Cleveland 1 run (Marshall kick)
M ‑ Price 6 pass from Irwin (PAT failed)
M ‑ Marshall 19 field goal
St. V ‑ Irvin 9 pass from Marconi (Williamson kick)
M – Price 10 pass from Irwin (Marshall kick)
M – Cleveland 40 run (Kick(failed)


Massillon rushing:
Cleveland 16‑126,
Lynn 7‑33,
Miller 10‑24,
Wagner 4‑20.
St V rushing:
James 15‑59.

Massillon passing:
Irwin 12‑17‑93 3 TDs, 1 INT.
SL V passing:
Marconi 7-25-116 4 INTs, 1 TD

Massillon receiving:
Moore 4-22,
Cleveland 2‑25,
Price 2‑16,
Miller 1‑8,
Simpson 1‑8
St V receiving:
Irvin 4‑87.

Marc Cleveland

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1998: Massillon 19, Cincinnati Moeller 35

Moeller topples Massillon 35-19
Tigers unable to come back in second half;

Repository sports writer

MASSILLON ‑ It was throw­back night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Saturday night. A lot of old memories were brought back, but they left after the half­time show.

Program Cover

Including the way a Massillon High School football team is supposed to play the game they cherish here. At least for two quarters, the Tigers played their best half of the season.

The Massillon Tigers were kicked into gear to start the game, but Cincinnati Moeller came out in the second half and kicked them in the teeth.

The Crusaders handed Massillon its fifth loss of the season in winning 35‑19 in front of’ an inflated crowd announced at 11,518.

There were members of’ Chuck Mather’s 1948‑54 teams on the field before the game. They even formed a tunnel for the Tigers to run through.

The Tiger Swing Band took on the look of George “Red” Bird’s bands, the famed band leader while Paul Brown coached here.

That was enough to inspire Massillon for a half; unfortu­nately, there are two halves in a football game.

“We made a few adjustments, nothing major, but we started running to our trips because they walked off their (weak­side) linebacker to that side,” Moeller head coach Steve Klonne said of’ his team’s sec­ond‑half effort.

Massillon gained less than 100 total yards in the second half, while Moeller ran off 266 and outscored the Tigers 27‑12.

The Tigers took points off the board on the opening drive of’ the game. Massillon took the ball to the Moeller 15, where Brett Marshall made a 32‑yard field goal. However, the Crusaders were called for roughing the kicker and the Tigers had the first‑and‑goal at the 7. Two plays later, though, Massillon fumbled the ball on a bad hand­off and Moeller recovered.

That was not doom.

The Massillon defense forced Moeller to punt. The real Tigers came out this time.

Jason Jarvis returned the punt 17 yards to the Massillon 46. Running back Marc Cleveland was split right in a slot position, went in motion to the left, and took the handoff from junior quarterback Dave Irwin. Cleve­land gained 39 yards and the Tigers had the ball inside the Moeller 20 at the 14.

Fullback Ron Lynn took a trap play, broke a tackle at the line, and scored from 14 yards out to give Massillon a 7‑0 lead with 2:04 left in the first quarter.

As good as Irwin was in his first varsity start, he was not perfect. He was sacked on a third‑and‑18 play from the Mas­sillon 20 and Moeller’s John Oscar recovered at the 27.

But Irwin turned in perhaps the best performance of the year for a Massillon QB. He has spent the entire season as the starting junior varsity QB and running the scout team offense.

Massillon had a slim chance to take the lead before halftime. Defensive back Jamie Allman intercepted a Moeller pass inside the Tigers’ 10 and returned it to midfield. However, Massil­lon was out of timeouts and had less than a minute to score.

A sack and delay of’ game penalty ‑ after Massillon stopped the clock by spiking the ball on third down ‑ squashed any chances of’ a late first‑half touchdown.

Moeller set the tone in the second half when sophomore Marcus Blanks took most of the snaps at tailback. The Crusaders needed eight plays to go 65 yards and score after the second‑half kickoff. On four of’ those plays. Blanks gained 10 yards or more. He had runs of 14, 22, 16 and 10.

Brian Reisert scored on a keeper from a yard out and Moeller led 15‑7.

The Crusaders tacked on another TD in the third quarter. while Massillon could not respond.

“I think the first touchdown took a little wind away from them” Klonne said. “I think the second score is what put them away.

“Massillon’s offense got better from last week, and their defense has always been good. I think if you look at what (head coach Rick Shepas) is working with, and what he’s trying to do … you just need to be patient with them.”

How do you coach heart and effort when the game is on the line?

More than 40 minutes after the game. Massillon head coach Rick Shepas, whose team is 3‑5 for the first time since 1931, was not made available for com­ment.

Moeller 0 8 14 14 35
Massillon 7 0 0 12 19

MAS ‑ Lynn 14 run (Marshall kick)
MOE ‑ Hughes 3 run (Hughes run)
MOE ‑ Reisert 1 run (Murphy kick)
MOE ‑ Reisert 16 run (Seuberling kick)
MAS ‑ Irwin 8 run (pass failed)
MOE ‑ Jackson 10 pass from Reisert (Seuberling kick)
MOE ‑ Ryan 25 pass from Reisert (kick failed)
MAS ‑ Miller 77 kickoff return (pass failed)

Team statistics
Moeller 47‑281,
Massillon 27-115.

Moeller 13‑27‑1‑172,
Massillon 15‑33‑1­-125.

First downs:
Moeller 25,
Massillon 15.

Moeller 2‑1,
Massillon 3‑2.

Moeller 6‑2;
Massillon 3‑5.

Marc Cleveland