Tag: <span>David Abdul</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2001: Massillon 27, North Canton Hoover 7

Tigers display mettle In topping Hoover
Massillon moves into state semifinals with 27‑7 win

Independent Sports Editor

They might want to change the Massillon Tigers theme song from “Eye of the Tiger” to “We Shall Overcome.”

With three starters missing due to injury and illness, and two others battling to stay on the field despite being hospitalized within the past week, the Tigers dug deep and dealt the North Canton Hoover Vikings a 27‑7 setback to win the Division I Region 2 regional championship in front of a near capacity crowd at Fawcett Stadium, Saturday night.

Rick Shepas knew all week he would be without starting running back Ricky Johnson and starting defensive lineman Marquis Johnson. But on Friday night, as he and his wife were watching her nephew play in a Division IV regional final at Central Catholic High, Shepas got a telephone call from offensive coordinator Dan Murphy and the news wasn’t good.

Starting right guard Tony Thornsberry, possibly the Tigers’ most consistent offensive lineman this season, was hospitalized. He would have his appendix removed at 1 a.m. Saturday.

“I thought God was testing me a little bit,” Shepas said. “I said, ‘I’m going to have a little faith and trust in him and go to sleep and whatever is meant to be is meant to be.’”

Then as the team began to gather later Saturday morning, starting right offensive tackle J.P. Simon turned up sick. He had spent most of the early‑morning throwing up and was taken to the hospital where he was given a couple of liters of fluid intravenously.

“I told J.P., ‘Buddy you’ve got to tough it out,”‘ Shepas said. “We didn’t want to have that whole right side of the line gone. He toughed it out.”

Simon was wobbly but he played. Tim Dewald filled in for Thornsberry and did an outstanding job, according to Shepas.

Meanwhile, cornerback Jamaal Ballard, who didn’t play last week after having surgery on his thumb, returned to the lineup. The junior, his hand in a cast to protect the thumb, came up with not one but two interceptions as the Massillon defense rose to the occasion for the third consecutive week in post‑season play.

“I had to come out tonight and make a statement playing with my team,” Ballard said. “I gave up a touchdown but I picked off two and took one to the house.”

Game Action vs. North Canton Hoover

That interception return for a touchdown was called back because of a clipping penalty on the runback. But Massillon would score just the same as David Hill went around the left side of the line for an 18‑yard touchdown run that put the Tigers up 24‑7 with 6:30 to play in the football game.

“All I saw was an opening from Robert (Oliver) blocking and I just took it to it,” Hill said. “Coach told me at halftime to run like I normally run, which is hard. The team had belief in me and I didn’t want to let them down. So I did what I had to do.”

Hill finished with 61 yards in 11 carries and may become an even bigger part of the offense next week as Oliver, who had 67 yards in 12 carries, suffered a knee injury that did not look good at game’s end.

“We’ve been overcoming adversity for a long time,” Shepas said. “It just seems to be a norm now.”

The Tiger defense held North Canton to 95 yards of offense in the second half as Massillon took control of a 14‑7 game after intermission.

The Vikings rushing total for the entire contest was minus‑1 yard.

“We stuffed the run,” said linebacker Justin Princehorn. “They got us on a couple of pass plays deep in the first half. We put in some adjustments and came out the second half and held them to no points.”

“Coming off the first McKinley game, we don’t want nobody to run on us,” said linebacker Shawn Crable. “So when teams are running on us we get a little mad. We played kind of soft in the first half. The second half we came out with a little more fire and things went our way.”

A 54‑yard quick kick by Justin Zwick helped set up Massillon’s first scoring drive as North Canton was pinned deep in its own territory and was forced to punt when Dan Speicher stuffed a DeAngelo Thomas running play at the Vikings 8‑yard line.

After North Canton punted, two Zwick‑to‑Devin Jordan sideline passes generated 31 yards to give the Tigers a first down at the North Canton 23. Oliver picked up eight yards over left tackle and Zwick found Hill for four yards and another first down at the 11.

From there Zwick tossed a short pass to Oliver in the left flat. The senior snagged the ball at the 9 and went in untouched. David Abdul’s kick made it 7‑0 Massillon at 9:16 of the second quarter.

North Canton showed its mettle on its next possession. Brad Reifsnyder lobbed a perfect pass to Jared Gulling for 22 yards to the Vikings 43‑yard line. On the very next play, Reifsnyder ‑ off play action ‑ went long to Curt Lukens for 57 yards and a touchdown. Reifsnyder tacked on the point‑after and it was a 7‑7 game at 7:45 of the second quarter.

Massillon turned the ball over on an interception on its ensuing possession but the Tiger defense rose up and forced the Vikings to punt, thanks in part to Craig McConnell’s fine open field tackle on Thomas on a second down running play.

Massillon took over at its 14 and embarked on a 14‑play drive that included three Zwick runs that yielded three first downs and 33 yards.

On third‑and‑nine from the North Canton 18, Zwick floated left with the shotgun snap then threw back to Jordan on the right hash mark in the end zone for the score. Abdul’s boot made it Massillon 14‑7 at halftime.

Abdul was true with a 22‑yard field goal that capped a 12‑play, 68‑yard drive to open the second half and the Tigers’ 17‑7 lead held into the fourth quarter.

The Vikings penetrated down to the Massillon 13 in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter but a fourth-and‑two pass to Lukens was ruled incomplete and North Canton’s last, best chance was gone.

“Not coming up with that score, we needed that to make it a 17‑14 game,” said North Canton coach Don Hertler Jr. “We would have been right where we wanted to be.

“We knew they were talented, big and strong. Offensively they can beat you a lot of ways. I was just proud of the way our team fought.”

A few minutes after that big fourth down play, Ballard’s second interception would set up Hill’s touchdown run.

Abdul closed the scoring with a 33‑yard field goal with 3:43 to play, setting up a rematch with St. Ignatius, a 40‑33 winner over Warren Harding in the Region I title game in Akron.

“We’re just warming up fellows, just warming up,” Princehorn shouted in the post‑game Tiger huddle. “It is meant to be.”

First downs rushing 9 3
First downs passing 12 11
First downs by penalty 0 1
TOTAL first downs 21 15
Net Yards rushing 165 (-1)
Net yards passing 252 248
TOTAL yards 417 247
Passes attempted 38 35
Passes completed 23 15
Passes intercepted 2 3
Punts 4 5
Punting average 41.3 43.4
Fumbles/Lost 0/0 1/0
Penalties 11 5
Yards penalized 101 25

MASSILLON 0 14 3 10 27
N. CANTON 0 7 0 0 7

M ‑ Oliver 9‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
NG ‑ Luken 57‑yard pass from Reifsnyder (Reifsnyder kick)
M ‑ Jordan 18‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Abdul 22‑yard field goal
M ‑ D. Hill 18‑yard run (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Abdul, 33‑yard field goal

Massillon rushing: Oliver 12‑65, D. Hill 11‑57, Zwick 5‑41.
N Canton rushing: Thomas 10‑23.

Massillon Passing: Zwick 23‑38‑252 2 TDs, 2 INTs.
N. Canton passing: Reifsnyder 13‑30‑208 TD, 3 INTs; Savage 2‑5‑40

Massillon receiving: Jordan 8‑105, Oliver 4‑31, Ashcraft 3‑46, Jovingo 3‑38, Williams 3‑29.
N. Canton receiving: Lukens 6‑104, Gulling 6‑97, Saylor 1‑30, Kline 2‑17.

– Statistics courtesy of RICHARD CUNNINGHAM

Justin Zwick

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2001: Massillon 48, Dayton Chaminade-Julienne 27

Massillon reins in speedy Chaminade
Tigers’ fifth win in a row improves record to 8‑1

Independent Sports Editor

The Massillon Tigers have shown they can run the football this season, but on Friday Rick Shepas’ crew sharpened up the aerial attack and racked up over 400 yards passing to torch Dayton Chaminade‑Julienne 48‑27, in front of 8,138 fans at Paul brown Tiger Stadium.

Program Cover

It was a record‑setting performance for two Tigers. Quarterback Justin Zwick passed for 407 yards to eclipse his own single‑game record of 403 set one year ago. Wide receiver Devon Jordan totaled 206 yards receiving to break the record of 169 yards setback in 1977 by Curtis Strawder.

“Too much Justin Zwick,” said C‑J head coach Jim Place after the game. “Just too much Zwick. Plain and simple, too much Zwick.”

Place wasn’t exaggerating. The 6‑foot‑5, 221‑pound senior completed 24 of 39 passes for four touchdowns, and at least four other throws were dropped. He was sharper than at anytime this season and scored a touchdown on a scramble for good measure.

Jordan wasn’t the only beneficiary of Zwick’s marksmanship. Senior wideout Joe Jovingo had a career night, snaring six passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns.

“I’m happy with my performance but it is a team game,” said Jovingo. “We could’ve put more points on the board. We’ve got some good running backs and that’s the reason we get open because the defense is playing the run and that leaves fewer guys to cover us.”

Shepas was pleased his quarterback spread it around.

“You never know who he’s going to,” Shepas said. “You know how you like to have it ‑ different receivers catching the ball each week.”

Zwick had plenty of time sit in the pocket and find open receivers, thanks to an offensive line that was without starting tackle J.P. Simon and began the game without starting center Chad Hennon.

“Our guys up front did a nice Job of pass protecting,” said Shepas. “A lot of it has to do not only with our offensive line getting better but also our backs checking up into protection with them.”

Starting guard Doug Dickerhoof revealed the Tiger coaching staff prepared the line for C‑J’s pressure.

“We gave Justin a lot of time and picked up all the blitzes,” said Dickerhoof. “He got the ball to his receivers. They caught the ball and took it in.”

While all is good with the Massillon offense, Chaminade’s 426 yards of total offense ‑ 230 of it on the ground ‑ did not sit well with Shepas, who knows McKinley scouts were in the stands and saw his team miss a few tackles.

“I really wasn’t happy with the defense,” Shepas admitted. “We were just a little sloppy tonight. It just felt sloppy tonight.”

Were some Tigers looking ahead?

“I don’t think so,” said Shepas. “I don’t know what to attribute it to. Our guys have maintained a high level of intensity throughout the season. We saw a good, fast football team and we had to get adjusted to their speed. Mckinley has great speed.”

David Abdul opened the scoring with a 22‑yard field goal on the Tigers second possession. Massillon advanced the ball from its 41 to the C‑J 5, thanks to a 14‑yard Zwick to Jordan completion on a curl pattern, and a 34‑yard pickup when Zwick found Jovingo running free on a post pattern.

Chaminade’s Anthony Turner showed that Zwick wasn’t the only talented quarterback in the house when he hit Andre Chattams with a 34‑yard laser on the Eagles ensuing possession. That throw advanced the ball to the Massillon 36.

Three plays later, Pernell Williams took an option pitch around left end and exploded past the Tiger defense and into the end zone for a 22‑yard touchdown. Bryan Fecke nailed the extra point and Chaminade owned a 7‑3 lead at 3:24 of the first quarter.

Stephon Ashcraft provided the Tigers with a shot on the arm by returning the C‑J kickoff 47 yards to the Eagles 45‑yard line.

After an incompletion on first down, Tiger junior Ricky Johnson turned a sweep that had no gain written all over it into a 45‑yard touchdown run. Johnson started around left end, changed direction and found daylight to his right. He cut back to the middle of the field at the 30 and sprinted untouched into the end zone.

Abdul’s kick was true and Massillon had regained the lead at 10‑7 with 3:08 left in the opening stanza.

A dropped pass doomed Chaminade’s next possession and Massillon made the visitors pay. Beginning at their own 14, the Tigers drove the length of the field, mixing the run and pass effectively. A swing pass to Robert Oliver picked up 16 yards, and Zwick later hit Jordan with a 23‑yard strike to the C‑J_ 8.

Two plays later, Zwick scrambled into the end zone from eight yards out. Abdul’s conversion kick was true and Massillon’s lead was 17‑7 at 8:40 of the second quarter.

Craig McConnell picked Turner off on the first play of the Eagles next possession, returning the football 26 yards to the C‑J 25.

On first down Zwick found a wide open Jovingo at the 8. The senior wideout turned, found no one within 10 yards and scooted into the end zone for the score. Abdul made it 24‑7 Massillon at 6:56 of the second quarter.

Chaminade still had some life and marched 30 yards in eight plays to get back in the ball game. Turner’s 33‑yard run got things going for the Eagles. The sophomore signal caller would score from eight yards out on a broken play. Fecke’s kick made it 24‑14 Massillon at 2:37 of the second.

But the Tigers regained momentum quickly, thanks to a 21‑yard kickoff return by Ashcraft that gave Massillon a first‑and‑10 at its 38. After advancing to midfield, Massillon struck. Zwick dropped back, looked right, then back left where he found Jordan running wide open at the 10. The junior snagged the football and raced into the end zone. Abdul’s kick made it Massillon 31, C‑J 14 with 1:02 left before the band show.

Massillon took the second half kickoff and Zwick again went to work. He hit Jordan for 23 yards, Jovingo for 33 more, and capped off the drive with a 14‑yard pass to Jordan, who spun past a defender and turned it into a 44‑yard touchdown. Abdul’s kick made it 38‑14 Massillon at 9:34 of the third period.

Craig McConnell’s interception and slick 34‑yard runback set up the Tigers next tally. David Hill made a juggling catch for a 19‑yard gain to the C‑J 8, then Jovingo latched onto his second TD pass of the night from 13 yards out. The scoreboard read Massillon 45, C‑J 14 after Abdul’s PAT.

First downs rushing 2 12
First downs passing 18 7
First downs by penalty 1 1
TOTAL first downs 21 20
Net yards rushing 75 230
Net yards passing 407 196
TOTAL yards 482 426
Passes attempted 39 24
Passes completed 24 13
Passes intercepted 0 2
Punts 2 5
Punting average 31.5 32.8
Fumbles/Lost 1/1 3/0
Penalties 9 5
Yards penalized 49 35

MASSILLON 10 21 14 3 48
CHAMINADE 7 7 0 13 27

M ‑ Abdul 22‑yard field goal
C‑J ‑ Williams 22‑yard run (Fecke kick)
M ‑ Johnson 45‑yard run (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Zwick 8‑yard run (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Jovingo 25‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
C‑J ‑ Turner 6‑yard run (Fecke kick)
M ‑ Jordan 46‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Jordan 44‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Jovingo 13‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
C‑J ‑ Williams 1 ‑yard run (Fecke kick)
M ‑ Abdul 48‑yard field goal
C‑J ‑ Sanford 30‑yard pass from Turner (Fecke kick)

Massillon rushing: Johnson 9‑61, Oliver 5‑5, Zwick 3‑5, Hill 1‑10.
Chaminade rushing: Williams 17‑112, Turner 15‑109.

Massillon passing: Zwick 24‑39‑407 4 TDs.
Chaminade passing: Turner 13‑24‑196 TD, 2 INTs.

Massillon receiving: Jordan 9‑206, Jovingo 6‑137, Williams 5‑24.
Chaminade receiving: Chattams 6‑91, Patrick 3‑24, Sanford 2‑38.

‑ Statistics courtesy of RICHARD CUNNINGHAM

Justin Zwick

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2001: Massillon 54, Austintown Fitch 14

Tigers flatten Fitch
Massillon rallies from 7-0 deficit for 40-point win

Independent Sports Writer

If ever there was a perfect opponent for the Massillon Tigers on the heels of their disappointing loss at St. Ignatius last week, it was the reeling Austintown Fitch Falcons.

Program Cover

Fitch, a program that gave the Tigers fits during the mid‑ and late‑1980s and early‑90s, put up precious little resistance after an impressive game‑opening drive as Massillon rolled to a 54‑14 victory in front of 8,528 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Friday night.

It was a game that saw several impressive individual performances by the Tigers.

– Justin Zwick passed for 314 yards and five touchdowns with an 18‑of‑32 performance.
– Devon Jordan caught nine passes for 149 yards and five touchdowns.
– Robert Oliver rushed for 131 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries.

“We wanted Justin to do the job he is capable of doing as a quarterback and he did that today,” said Tiger coach Rick Shepas. “And we just want to continue to improve. We’ve been in a number of big games the last couple of years and it is going to payoff. Our guys continue to get better all year long and it’s going to be a fight every week.”

“We knew after last week we had to bounce back and show everyone we weren’t bogged down and everything,” said Jordan. “Now we have a bigger game next week.”

With undefeated Mansfield waiting in the wings for a date with Massillon at Arlin Field next week, the last thing the Tigers needed was a knock‑down, drag‑out contest with Fitch. Early on, however, it appeared they might be in for just that sort of game.

Fitch executed its first possession with a passion and precision that belied its 1‑3 record, taking the opening kickoff and marching 80 yards in 12 plays to take a 7‑0 lead.

The Falcons utilized a no‑huddle offense to keep the Massillon defense on its heels. Fullback Ray Betts, a 5‑foot‑11, 190‑pound senior, was Fitch’s go‑to guy, carrying the football on six plays. He picked up only 15 yards in those half dozen totes but picked up three first downs in the process.

Falcon quarterback Steve Burnich was on target early, hitting wideout Ross Watson for 15 yards and a first down to move the ball to the Massillon 36, then finding wideout Miles Williams at the Tiger 28.

The drive appeared to have stalled when the Falcons set up for third‑and‑10 at the 26. But Williams ran a fade route to the left corner of the end zone and outfought the Tiger defensive back to haul in Burnich’s high‑arcing pass for the touchdown. Shea Stewart added the extra point at 6:47 of the first quarter.

The Tigers countered by moving from their 31 to the Fitch 32 as Oliver ran for 23 yards and caught a 14‑yard pass from Zwick. After a nine‑yard Zwick‑to‑Joe Jovingo aerial, the drive stalled.

David Abdul salvaged it by connecting on a 49‑yard field goal to make it a 7‑3 game at 4:22 of the first quarter.

Fitch got two first downs on its ensuing possession on two Burnich‑to‑Williams passes but the drive stalled at midfield and the Falcons’ punt rolled out of bounds at the Massillon 10.

The Tigers then drove the length of the field, moving 90 yards in 11 plays while eating almost five minutes off the game clock.

Again Oliver was the main man, rushing the football seven times for 42 yards.

Massillon scored when Zwick, after a fine play action fake to Rickey Johnson, hit Jordan in the end zone from five yards out. Abdul’s point‑after made it 10‑7 Tigers at 8:04 of the second quarter.

A holding penalty on Massillon gave Fitch its only first down on the Falcons’ next possession. The visitors, however, were forced to punt after just three snaps.

The Tigers took over at their 35 and went back to the quick‑strike mode that characterized their offense in the first four weeks of the season.

On third‑and‑eight from the 37, Zwick rolled right and threw a strike to Jordan along the right sideline. The 6‑3, 193‑pound junior wideout hauled in the pass at the Fitch 40, shook off an arm tackle and raced down the boundary untouched into the end zone for the touchdown.

Abdul was true on the conversion kick and Massillon led 17‑7 at 5:28 of the second quarter.

Massillon’s final first half score came after Fitch’s fourth punt, on a possession that began at the Fitch 48.

Zwick zeroed in on Jovingo for a 16‑yard gain on second down to advance the ball to the Falcon 28.

Three plays later, a Zwick pass went through the hands of A.J. Collins and into the hands of Jovingo for an eight‑yard pick‑up and another first down at the 13‑yard line.

After two incompletions, Jordan broke open over the middle on a slant pattern and Zwick put the football between the 8 and the 2 on his wideout’s jersey for the touchdown to make it a 23‑7 contest at halftime.

“Devin Jordan is really proving to be a big‑play receiver,” said Shepas. “He has done it all year. He continues to run well with the football after the catch.

“The neat thing about Devon is he is catching the football everywhere. He is catching it in traffic. In the downpour he catches the wet ball above his head which is one of the tougher catches you have to make.”

Massillon opened the third quarter with a nine‑play, 77‑yard scoring drive that once again featured Oliver. He opened the possession with a 10‑yard burst over left guard, had two more runs that totaled 31 yards, and capped it with a three‑yard touchdown dive at 9:18 of the period. Abdul’s conversion put Massillon up 30‑7.

Fitch, taking advantage of a 51‑yard kickoff return, drove to the Massillon 8 on its initial second‑half possession. But senior tackle Dan Speicher sacked Burnich for a 15‑yard loss on fourth down to get the ball back for the Tigers.

On first down from the Massillon 23, Zwick hit Jovingo with a 15‑yard pass to the 40. Taking advantage of a sensational block by Rickey Johnson, Jovingo went down the sideline to the end zone for a 77‑yard scoring play to make it a 37‑7 contest.

“Rickey Johnson ran 20 yards downfield to make the block,” gushed Shepas. “That was the best block of the night and a very unselfish play by Rickey.”

The Tigers tacked on 17 more points on an 11‑yard Zwick‑to‑Jordan touchdown pass, a jaw‑dropping 53‑yard field goal by Abdul, and Johnson’s 55‑yard scoring jaunt down the left sideline that was made possible by a textbook seal block by Jordan.

“Coaches tell us we all can catch but the thing we have to do is block,” Jordan said. “So I just try to show that every game and every practice. It’s getting better.”

First downs rushing 9 6
First downs passing 14 7
First downs by penalty 1 3
TOTAL first downs 24 16
Net yards rushing 248 56
Net yards passing 314 188
TOTAL yards 562 244
Passes attempted 33 24
Passes completed 18 12
Passes intercepted 0 2
Punts 1 5
Punting average 30 36
Fumbles/Lost 1/0 4/2
Penalties 13 2
Yards penalized 110 20

MASSILLON 3 20 24 7 54
FITCH 7 0 7 0 14

F ‑ Williams 26‑yard pass from Burnich (Stewart kick)
M ‑ Abdul 49‑yard field goal
M ‑ Jordan 5‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Jordan 63‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Jordan 13‑yard pass from Zwick (Kick failed)
M ‑ Oliver 3‑yard run (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Jovingo 77‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
F ‑ Williams 69‑yard pass from Burnich (Stewart kick)
M ‑ Jordan 11 ‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Abdul 53‑yard field goal M ‑ Johnson 55‑yard run (Abdul kick)

Massillon rushing: Oliver 17‑131, Johnson 3‑66, Boyd 7‑34.
Austintown Fitch rushing: Betts 17‑47, Tate 9‑41.

Massillon passing: Zwick 18‑32‑314 5 TDs; HeIscel 0‑1‑0.
Austintown Fitch passing: Burnich 12‑24‑188 2 TDs, 2 INTs.

Massillon receiving: Jordan 9‑149, Jovingo 4‑109, Oliver 3‑41.
Austintown Fitch receiving: Williams 5‑123, Betts 2‑11.

Justin Zwick

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2001: Massillon 54, Mt. Lebanon PA. 20

Massillon goes deep to dump Mt. Lebanon
Passing attack clicks early; Tigers rush for over 300 yards

Independent Sports Editor

On a night in which Mike Cur­renee was honored during pre‑game festivities, Massillon utilized a deep passing attack that would have made the former Tigers mentor proud and blitzed Mt. Lebanon (Pa.) 54‑20, in front of 8,971 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Friday.

Program Cover

Mt. Lebanon, which reached the Pennsylvania Class AAAA state semifinals a year ago, had neither the speed nor the skill to match Massillon’s multiple deep threats.

The Tigers jumped to a 14‑0 lead on their first two possessions and were never headed by the Blue Devils, who were playing their sea­son opener.

Massillon’s quick‑strike, no‑huddle attack was razor sharp in the first 24 minutes of play. None of the Tigers’ four first half touchdown drives took more than five plays and each covered at least 50 yards.

Quarterback Justin Zwick and wideout Devin Jordan had the Mt. Leb defense on its heels early, hook­ing up on the deep post pattern for 45 yards on the Tigers very first play from scrimmage and then con­necting on a 38‑yard touchdown aer­ial that put Massillon up 21‑7 mid­way through the second quarter.

“When we hit that one deep on the first play, we knew we’d have that the whole game,” Jordan said after­ward. “We watched film this week and we knew the middle of the field would be open the whole game.”

But Jordan wasn’t the only Tiger receiver on the same wavelength with Zwick in the first half. On Mas­sillon’s second possession of the evening, Stephon Ashcraft made a lunging 33‑yard reception down the left hash mark. Two plays later, Zwick executed the bootleg, then rolled to his right and found Jordan at the 5. The 6‑foot‑3, 190‑pound ju­nior dove into the end zone to put the hosts up 14‑0.

“From the scrimmage tape we saw, we thought we could get over top of them,” said Tiger coach Rick Shepas. “We burned them deep a couple times and that really helped us in those drives. We mixed up the plays pretty good and got in the end zone.”

Robert Oliver opened the scoring for the Tigers, scor­ing from two yards out on a stretch play around right end at 5:58 of the first quar­ter.

Jordan’s 17‑yard touchdown pass from Zwick at 1:04 of the first culminated a three‑play 50-­yard drive. David Abdul’s second point‑after made it 14‑0.

Mt. Lebanon answered with a well‑conceived 12‑play, 80‑yard march, capped by Brian Young’s one‑yard plunge. Young carried the ball nine times on the drive, which ate over five minutes off the clock.

The Tigers came right back and did it in stunning fashion. On first down Oliver gained 11 yards on a draw play to the Massillon 40, then the senior tailback tore off 22 more yards to the Mt. Leb 38. From there, Zwick found Jordan wide open over the middle for six. Abdul’s kick was true and Massillon was up 21‑7 at 7:03 of the second.

“That score was really big,” Shepas said. “Really big. The touchdown after their score was big because they had some momentum going and they’re a big phys­ical football team and they know how to win.”

Abdul boomed a 51‑yard field goal capping a seven‑play drive to make it 24‑7 at 3:29 of the second quarter.

The Tigers closed the first half scoring with a five‑play, 87‑yard drive. It began when junior running back Ricky Johnson skirted right end for 25 yards.

Three plays later, Zwick found Joe Jovingo along the left sideline for a 37‑yard gain to the Mt. Leb 17.

On first down from there, Ashcraft came open along the left hash mark, pulled in a Zwick aerial at the 3‑yard line and stepped into the end zone.

Abdul’s PAT made it 31‑7 at the intermission.

“They’re probably even better skilled that we saw on film,” said Mt. Lebanon coach Chris Haering. “Their skill players are outstanding and they have great depth at those positions.

“You could tell there was a difference athletically too. They are a well‑prepared team and they played out­standing tonight.”

Mt. Leb scored early on the second half when Dan Breid­ing picked up a Tiger fumble and ran 19 yards to pay dirt to make it a 31‑13 ball game.

After the teams exchanged punts, the Tigers put it out of reach by marching 87 yards in 13 plays. Oliver ran the ball on seven of those snaps, picking up 43 yards as the Massillon offensive line asserted itself.
Defeats Mount Lebanon 54‑20
Zwick rolled to his right and hit Jordan in the end zone from eight yards out for the touchdown. Abdul’s kick made it Massillon 38, Mt. Lebanon 13 with less than a minute to play in the, third quarter.

“The threat of having Zwick is big,” said Oliver, who rushed for 135 yards in 18 carries. “It opens holes up for me and the whole offensive line really stepped it up this week.

“The whole week we were talking about how big and physical this team was coming in and the line stepped up and met the challenge. Coach Shepas thought we needed some work since last week the line and the running game wasn’t that good. We got the work and it was good.”

“We had to step it up tonight,” Jordan said. “Justin is leading our team right now and we’ll get even better. We’re getting better.”

Haering said the tone was set early in the game when Jordan and Ashcraft got behind the Mt. Leb defense and Zwick got them the football.

“Giving up those long balls gives them the sense they could do that whenever they wanted,” Haering said. “It gets our guys thinking about backing up, and then they started running the ball effectively too. They just do a tremendous job.

“They have so many tremendous players that you can’t take away any one guy and over commit because then they’ll beat you with some other guys. Coach Shepas has done an outstanding job putting together this group and they have to be proud with the product they’re putting on the field.”

First downs rushing 18 9
First downs passing 8 3
First downs by penalty 3 1
TOTAL first downs 29 13
Net yards rushing 310 217
Net yards passing 235 41
TOTAL yards 545 258
Passes attempted 25 12
Passes completed 12 7
Passes intercepted 0 1
Punts 1 6
Punting average 29 37.8
Fumbles/Lost 3/1 1/0
Penalties 7 6
Yards penalized 77 75

MASSILLON 14 17 3 16 54
MT. LEBANON 0 7 6 7 20

M ‑ Oliver 2‑yard run (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Jordan 17‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
ML ‑ Young 1‑yard run (Schnirel kick)
M ‑ Jordan 38‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Abdul 51‑yard field goal
M ‑ Ashcraft 17‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
ML ‑ Breiding fumble recovery in end zone
M ‑ Jordan 8‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Jovingo 2‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
ML ‑ Young 62‑yard run (Schnirel kick)
M ‑ Abdul 48‑yard field goal
M ‑ Boyd 2‑yard run (Kick failed)

Massillon rushing: Oliver 18‑135, Johnson 7‑114, Boyd 5‑37.
Mt. Lebanon rushing: Young 31‑199.

Massillon passing: Zwick 12‑25‑235 5 TDs.
Mt. Lebanon passing: Goff 7‑12‑41 1 INT.

Massillon receiving: Jordan 5‑118, Ashcraft 2‑50, Jovingo 2‑39.
Mt. Lebanon receiving: Klett 2‑15, Hrebinko 2‑12.

‑ Statistics compiled by RICHARD CUNNINGHAM

Justin Zwick

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2001: Massillon 41, Westerville South 7

Tigers whip past Westerville South

Independent Sports Editor

It took the Massillon about a quarter of football to get their bearings but once they got rolling it was no contest as the Tigers scored three times in a span of five minutes in the first half on their way to a 41‑7 demolition of Westerville South, in front of 11,165 fans Friday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Program Cover

The vaunted Massillon passing attack fizzled early, misfiring on five of’ its first six throws. But a slick 16‑yard punt return by junior Craig McConnell seemed to spark Massillon in the latter stages of the first quarter.

Taking over at midfield and trailing 7‑0, the Tigers began their first scoring drive of the 2001 season.

It wasn’t a sustained drive by any means. Justin Zwick completed a swing pass to tailback Robert Oliver for nine yards to the Westerville 42, then rolled to his right and nailed Devin Jordan for a 19 yard completion to the 23.

Zwick then rolled left and found junior wideout Stephon Asheraft all alone in the left corner of the end zone for a 23‑yard touchdown. David Abdul hit the point after and it was a 7‑7 game at 1:26 of the first quarter.

Massillon got two huge defensive plays from two sophomores on Westerville South’s ensuing possession to give the Tigers momentum that they kept the rest of the evening.

Inside linebacker Brock Hymes stopped Westerville’s Anthony Gordon with a fine open field tackle after a four‑yard pass completion on a third‑and‑six play, forcing the Wildcats into an apparent punting situation.

Then, on a fake punt, Tiger safety Michael White crunched intended receiver Tom Coleman just as the ball arrived, jarring it loose for an incompletion to give Massillon the ball on downs at the visitors’ 28‑yard line. Coleman got up after about a minute on his back, and walked slowly to the sideline, trying to shake the cobwebs.

“What a hit!” Shepas said. “I think that changed the momentum of the game. From that point on it seemed every hit we made that was big, it seemed to hurt them a little bit.

“Michael White is an outstanding young player with great speed. He’s a hell of a player. He’s going to be around for a long time.”

Following the change of possession, Massillon went for the jugular. A 23‑yard Zwick to Ashcraft completion along the left sideline moved the ball to the Westerville 5. Two plays later Oliver swept around right end for six. Abdul’s PAT made it 14‑7 Massillon at 11:23 of the second quarter.

Westerville managed two first downs on its ensuing possession but was forced to punt the ball from near midfield.

White fielded the punt for the Tigers at the 40 and found a seam along the right sideline to midfield. White then turned on the jets, cutting back across the field and sprinting all the way to the 8‑yard line before being brought down by the punter.

Two snaps later, Zwick rolled right and dove into the end zone. Abdul’s kick was true and Massillon now owned a 21‑7 lead.

The two teams exchanged fumbles midway through the second quarter before Massillon began its fourth scoring drive at midfield.

Zwick got the drive started with an eight‑yard completion to Joe Jovingo and a roughing the quarterback penalty moved the ball to the Westerville 27.

Two plays later Zwick rolled right and hooked up with Jovingo in the right corner of the end zone for a 24‑yard scoring pass. Abdul’s kick made it 28‑7.

The senior place kicker wrapped up the first half scoring with a 28‑yard field goal as time expired.

Massillon’s defense dominated the second half of play. Westerville’s Teter was sacked on consecutive plays early in the third quarter by Humes and Keith Wade, while Gordon ‑ a 1,000‑yard rusher a year ago as a sophomore ‑ could find absolutely no daylight running between the tackles.

He finished with just 12 yards rushing in 17 carries.

“We came out a little too pumped up and Westerville moved the ball in the first half by doing a nice job of mixing it up,” Shepas said. “We really didn’t have a lot to work with as far as what they were doing.

Wasn’t a lot they could come back to in the third and fourth.”

Oliver keyed the Tigers final touchdown drive of the evening, carrying the football three times for a total of 47 yards, including a 12‑yard burst over right tackle for the touchdown.

Abdul closed the scoring with a 51‑yard field goal.

“I was disappointed in our line up front and in how sluggish we played in the second half,” Shepas said. But not with the final outcome.

First downs rushing 3 5
First downs passing 7 5
First downs by penalty 1 3
TOTAL first downs 11 13
Net yards rushing 89 116
Net yards passing 181 130
TOTAL yards 270 246
Passes attempted 29 25
Passes completed 13 14
Passes intercepted 2 3
Punts 5 5
Punting average 32.2 31.2
Fumbles/Lost 3/2 1/1
Penalties 11 7
Yards penalized 126 59

MASSILLON 7 24 0 10 41
SOUTH 7 0 0 0 7

S ‑ Powers 9 pass from Teter (Slomovitz kick)
M ‑ Ashcraft 23 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M ‑Oliver 5 run (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Zwick 7 run (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Jovingo 24 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M ‑Abdul 28 field goal
M ‑ Oliver 12 run (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Abdul 51 field goal

Massillon rushing: Oliver 14‑64, Johnson 3‑16, Zwick 3‑8.
Westerville South rushing: Gordon 17‑12

Massillon passing: Zwick 13‑29‑181 2 TDs, 2 INTs.
Westerville South passing: Teter 13‑24‑100 1 TD, 3 INTs.

Massillon receiving: Jordan 4‑76, Jovingo 3‑38, Ashcraft 2‑47, Oliver 2‑12, Williams 2‑8.
Westerville South receiving: Powers 6‑40 Walker 5‑49, Odom 2‑36.

Justin Zwick
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2000: Massillon 28, Lakewood St. Edward 27

Tigers survive a shootout with St. Ed
Abdul’s clutch 36‑yard field goal gives Massillon a 28‑27 victory

Independent Sports Writer

Maintaining their poise with the outcome on the line, the Massillon Tigers executed the two‑minute offense to perfection, putting themselves in position to win a football game.

Program Cover

And junior kicker David Abdul delivered a 36‑yard field goal with 12 seconds remaining, lifting the Tigers to a 28‑27 victory over Lakewood St. Edward before 6,000 at Lakewood Stadium, Friday night.

“We told him he would get opportunities to kick a lot of field goals and he has done a great job for us,” said Massillon head coach Rick Shepas.

Abdul booted the game winning field goal after Massillon had called time out to set up the kick, followed by back‑to‑back St. Edward time‑outs to ice the kicker.

“I didn’t mind the wait,” smiled Abdul. “Those two (St. Edward time‑outs) kind of relaxed me.”

Abdul, a 5‑foot‑9, 174‑pound junior, booted the ball from the left hashmark. The kick cleared the uprights by 15 yards.

“Everything was perfect,” Abdul said. “The snap by (sophomore) James Helschel was perfect. Marquis Williams is a great holder and he got the ball down quickly.”

Williams, a 5‑ 11, 168‑pound junior, gave Helschel plenty of credit. “He isn’t our regular snapper,” Williams said. “He did a great job in a pressure situation of making a good snap.”

Massillon, which improved to 7‑2 heading into next Saturday’s rivalry against McKinley, got the ball back on its own 16‑yard line and trailing 27‑25 with 2:00 left.

Following a five‑yard penalty, the Tigers came up with a big play that set the stage for Abdul’s game‑winning field goal.

Quarterback Justin Zwick rolled right and was pressured by two St. Edward defenders. Throwing on the run, Zwick found a wideopen Montale Watkins on the right side around the Massillon 45. Watkins, a 5‑11, 180‑pound senior, raced upfield before he was hauled down at the St. Edward 37.

“The cornerback pushed me to the inside, then released,” Watkins said. “The safety never came over, so I just sat there.

“It seemed like the ball took forever to get there, but I just made sure I caught it” before I did anything else.”

The pass play covered 52 yards. There was 1:39 remaining.

Zwick hit running back Perry James over the middle for 12 yards, but St. Edward linebacker Dan Tyler sacked Zwick for a nine‑yard loss, pushing the ball back to the Massillon 34.

James, who rushed for 110 yards in the first half, then got the call on a draw play. He ripped off 15 yards to the 19. Shepas promptly called his final time‑out.

“We have confidence in our offense, no matter how much time is left,” Zwick said.

And Abdul delievered.

St. Edward trailed at halftime, but moved ahead 20‑18 at the 3:42 mark of the third quarter.

Running back Raishaun Stover, a 5‑9, 162‑pound junior, found daylight on an isolation play to the left, running 40 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Troy Smith added the two‑point conversion on a running play, putting the Eagles ahead.

On St. Edward’s next possession, Smith hit Tyler for a 45‑yard gain on a seam route, moving the ball to the Massillon 34.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, St. Edward was faced with a fourth‑and‑one from the Massillon 25. Smith optioned left for three yards, picking up the first down.

Three plays later, Smith optioned right and pitched the ball to Stover. The running back angled toward the end zone and scored, capping a nine‑play, 82‑yard drive. Brian Pierce added the conversion kick to give the Eagles a 27‑18 lead with 10:22 to play.

Undaunted, the Tigers kept their composure and battled back.

“This was a good win because we had to come from behind against a good football team,” Shepas said. “It also helps to have players who can make big plays.”

St. Edward scored on its first possession of the game, with Smith engineering a six‑play, 61‑yard drive.

Two big plays keyed the drive. Smith hit wide out Michael Bowman for 30 yards on a post pattern that moved the ball to the Massillon 21‑yard line. Two plays later, Smith ran a quarterback draw for 19 yards and a touchdown. The extra‑point kick was wide, but St. Edward led 6‑0 at the 8:39 mark of the first quarter.

The Eagles missed a golden opportunity to expand their lead in the first quarter after the Tigers failed to get off a punt from their own 20‑yard line.

Starting 20 yards away from paydirt, St. Edward failed to pick up a first down. A 29-­yard field goal attempt sailed wide to the right and the Tigers were still only six points down.

Capitalizing on the defensive stand, Mas­sillon made the first of several big offen­sive plays on its second possession. James motored 30 yards to midfield on a draw play. Following a St. Edward offside penal­ty, James picked up nine more yards on a stretch play to the left.

The march bogged down, so Abdul was summoned for a field‑goal try, His attempt from 52 yards out barely cleared the up­right, but the Tigers were on the scoreboard, trailing 6‑3 at the 4:05 mark of the first quarter.

After Massillon failed to pick up a first down when a running play was stopped four yards short of a first down on fourth‑and-six from the St. Edward 43, the Eagles padded their lead.

Stover took a handoff, found a gigantic running lane to his left, and outran the Massillon secondary for a 57‑yard touchdown run. The try for the two‑point conversion on a running play failed, but St. Edward opened up a 12‑3 lead with 8:45 left until halftime.

Wasting little time on each snap, the Tigers managed to take lead before in­termission, scoring on each of their next two possessions.

After the Stover touchdown, Jesse Robin­son’s 22‑yard kickoff return combined with a personal foul penalty called against St Edward gave Massillon the ball at the St. Edward 45.

Wasting little time off the clock, Zwick completed passes of 10 yards to Watkins and 14 yards to Williams, moving the ball to the St. Edward 19.

James then took over, picking up six yards on a draw play, 10 more yards on a sweep to the right, and one more yard on an­other sweep to the right. With St. Edward concentrating on James, King got the ball on a counter play, and rumbled untouched into the end zone. Abdul’s extra‑point made it 12‑10 with 6:02 left in the first half.

St. Edward mounted another drive. Sophomore quarterback Shaun Carney teamed with Tyler for a 68‑yard pass play that moved the ball to the Massillon 10. However, the Tigers stiffened defensively. A fourth down pass to Bowman in the end zone was battled away by cornerback Matt Shem and the Tigers regained possession on their seven with 3:24 remaining in the first half.

Massillon quickly moved 93 yards in nine plays, the last four through the air. Zwick and Robinson hooked up on a 42‑yard pass play that moved the ball to the St. Edward 28.

Zwick came back with a six‑yard completion to James in the right flat, then hit Robinson for 15 more yards, setting up a seven‑yard touchdown strike to tight end Jeremiah Drobney. Zwick hit a wide‑open Robinson in the middle of the end zone, giv­ing the Tigers an 18‑12 lead with 33 seconds left until halftime.

And setting up a wild second half.

First downs rushing 9 11
First downs passing 9 8
First downs by penalty 1 1
TOTAL first downs 19 20
Net yards rushing 194 256
Net yards passing 263 278
TOTAL yards 457 534
Passes attempted 30 17
Passes completed 17 11
Passes intercepted 0 1
Punts 2 2
Punting average 47.0 40.0
Fumbles/Lost 3/2 0/0
Penalties 6 9
Yards penalized 74 99

MASSILLON 3 15 0 10 28
ST. EDWARD 6 6 8 7 27

SE ‑ Smith 19 run (kick failed)
M ‑ FG Abdul 52
SE ‑ Stover 57 run (run failed)
M ‑ King 2 run (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Drobney 7 pass from Zwick (Robinson pass from Zwick)
SE ‑ Stover 40 run (Smith run)
SE ‑Stover 9 run (Pierce kick)
M ‑ Watkins 20 pass from King (Abdul kick)
M ‑ FG Abdul 36

Massillon rushing: James 21‑143, Zwick 3‑61.
St. Edwards rushing: Stover 21‑167 Smith 11‑72.

Massillon passing: Zwick 16‑29 243 yards, 1 INT; King 1‑1 20 yards 1 INT
St. Edwards passing: Smith 5‑9 123 yards, 1 INT; Carney 6‑8 155 yards.

Massillon receiving: Robinson 5‑95, James 4‑22, Watkins 3‑83; Drobney 3‑51
St. Edwards receiving: Tyler 4‑148, Bowman 2‑56

Kreg Rotthoff

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2000: Massillon 27, Mansfield Senior 7

Massillon, Perry on a collision course
Tiger running attack and defense spark 27-7 victory over Mansfield

Independent Sports Editor

The Mansfield Tygers had an invitation for Massillon offense and the Tigers accepted, utilizing the running game more than at any time previously this season to post a 27‑7 victory in front of 9,422 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Friday night.

Program Cover

Massillon rushed the football for 182 net yards and got a key interception in the early stages of the second half from senior cornerback Matt Shem that led directly to a back‑breaking touchdown, in remaining undefeated in four starts this fall.

“Mansfield wanted us to run the football,” observed Tiger coach Rick Shepas moments after the game ended. “They came out and played a nickel alignment with three down linemen and four linebackers and four deep.

“They played clock management offense just to keep the ball out of our hands. Then they tried to force us to run the football. They knew we were going to score some points but they wanted to stop the big points.

“If that’s what they’re going to give us, that’s what we’re going to take.”

Perry James was the focal point of the Massillon attack against the Tygers, who were 3‑0 and ranked No.9 in Ohio coming into the game. The 6‑foot, 211‑pound senior toted the football 26 times for 180 yards, including a long run of 37 and a touchdown in the early stages of the second half.

That score came after Shem picked off a Mansfield pass at the Tyger 42‑yard line and ran it back to the 2. Two plays later James went off right tackle for the score. A Justin Zwick to James aerial added two points and Massillon was up 21‑7 with 9:33 left in the third quarter.

It was just what the doctor ordered after an unevenly played first half that saw Massillon turn the ball over twice in the second quarter and take a tenuous 13‑7 lead into the locker room.

For Shem, it was his fourth interception in two games.

“The ball pretty much just stuck to my hands,” Shem explained in the Tiger locker room. “I didn’t see it until the last moment.”

Despite generating four takeaways for the Tiger defense in the last two games, Shem was not completely satisfied with his game.

“There were a couple of opportunities I missed today ‑ a couple of picks I should’ve had but I’m feeling pretty good right now,” he said. “We’re playing really good right now. I’m really excited about our defense.”

Shepas was a bit more effusive about Shem’s key interception and return.

“That was awesome,” the third year Tiger mentor exclaimed. “Matt Shem had three last week for great returns, then he gets that one for a great return and we were able to get a quick score on the board just at the right time.

“Our defensive effort against Buchtel was very good but this one was great because we gave up no points on the defensive side of the ball. It was an outstanding job by defensive coordinator Chris DiLoreto.”

After sniffing out a fake punt by Mansfield, Massillon put the game away with a 10‑play, 61‑yard drive, culminated by a 5‑yard Zwick to Jeremiah Drobney touchdown toss. The Tiger quarterback, facing third‑and‑goal from the 5, rolled left and lofted a perfectly thrown lob pass to his tight end in the back of the end zone to make it 27‑7 with 2:01 left in the third period.

While Zwick and Drobney collaborated on the TD, it was James who made the drive, carrying the ball or catching a pass on eight of the ten plays in the game‑clinching march.

“I give all the credit to my line and the wide receivers,” James said. “They did a good job blocking.

“I had a good week of practice and that’s part of the reason I got the ball so much tonight.”

The Tigers took a six‑point lead into the halftime locker room but it very easily could’ve been a 14‑13 Mansfield advantage.

With less than two minutes remaining in the first half, the Tigers faced a second‑and‑18 play from their own 11 following an offensive pass interference penalty.

Looking for the screen pass to beat the Mansfield blitz, the Tigers threw into coverage.

The ball bounced into and out of the hands of Tyger linebacker Maurice Bradley, who had nothing but green between himself and the end zone. Had Bradley caught the ball cleanly, he would’ve been gone for a touchdown.

Instead, the Tigers retained possession and punted the ball away one play later, preserving their six‑point cushion at the break.

The teams exchanged punts on their initial possessions of the game but Massillon got all the better of the field position, taking over at the Mansfield 43 after the Tygers were unable to move.

Zwick found James with a swing pass for seven yards. Then, with Mansfield in a blitz, James got the handoff and slashed for 13 more to the Tyger 22.

After a holding penalty pushed Massillon back to the 37, Zwick looked long. With the rush in his face, the junior lofted a high arching ball into the end zone where Jesse Robinson patiently waited for the sphere to come back to earth. It did and Robinson cradled the ball in his arms for the touchdown.

David Abdul drilled the point after kick and Massillon was up 7‑0 at 5:34 of the first quarter.

The Tiger defense forced Mansfield into its second straight three‑and‑out possession and the Tyger punt went out of bounds at their own 45.

Zwick found Robinson in the right flat for six yards on first down. Then James picked his way for five more and a first down. Two Mansfield encroachment penalties resulted in another first down at the 23.

Drobney caught his first pass of the game on a curl pattern that picked up 13 yards to the Mansfield 10. James got it down to the 3 on a draw play, and two plays later Zwick rolled right and hit fullback Terrance King for the touchdown.

The PAT failed and it was 13‑0 Massillon at 1:39 of the first quarter.

After an exchange of punts, Mansfield took over at its 10 and marched to the Massillon 35 on six running plays. The Tiger defense stiffened and the Tygers punted but the hosts failed to field the ball cleanly, losing ground to the Massillon 9.

After a Tiger first down, a holding call pushed the ball back to the 10‑yard line. Two plays later, Mansfield’s Tarek Berry picked off an overthrown pass and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown. Holister Histed hit the point after kick and it was a 13‑7 game with 2:49 in the half.

That would be as close as Mansfield would get, thanks to an interception the Tygers didn’t get and one that Massillon did get.

First downs rushing 7 5
First downs passing 8 0
First downs by penalty 1 1
TOTAL first downs 16 6
Net yards rushing 182 155
Net yards passing 132 0
TOTAL yards 314 155
Passes attempted 27 12
Passes completed 17 2
Passes intercepted 2 1
Punts 5 7
Punting average 29.2 29.6
Fumbles/Lost 2/1 1/0
Penalties 7 8
Yards penalized 65 40

MASSILLON 13 0 14 0 27
MANSFIELD 0 7 0 0 7

Mas ‑ Zwick 36 pass to Robinson (Abdul kick)
Mas ‑ Zwick 4 pass to King (Kick failed)
Man ‑Berry 27‑yard interception return (Histed kick)
Mas ‑ James 1 run (Zwick pass to King)
Mas ‑ Zwick 5 pass to Drobney (Kick failed)

Massillon rushing: James 26‑180, King 1‑3, Hill 1‑1.
Mansfield rushing: Taylor 11‑63, Bradley 13-53, Stanford 3‑39.

Massillon passing: Zwick 17‑27‑132 3 TDs, 2 INTs.
Mansfield passing: Andress 2‑12‑0 1 INT.

Massillon receiving: James 5‑25, Robinson 3‑48, Jordan 3‑16, Drobney 2‑18, Watkins 1‑8, Corsale 1‑8, Williams 1‑5, King 1‑4.
Mansfield receiving: Basilone 1‑7.


Kreg Rotthoff

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2000: Massillon 40, Akron Buchtel 7

Massillon’s team effort leads to rout of Buchtel

Repository sports writer

MASSILLON ‑ Massillon and Buchtel both stressed the need for a balanced offense entering the high school football season.

Balanced the Tigers were, on offense, defense and the kicking game.

Program Cover

With new quarterback Justin Zwick throwing for five scores, kicker David Abdul booting two long field goals and the defense throttling Buchtel back Tim Murphy, Massillon posted a surprising 40‑7 victory Friday in the 2000 opener at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Zwick’s first game in orange and black was about as good as it gets. The Tigers’ offense scored three times on two Zwick‑to Jeremiah Drobney passes and 46‑yard Abdul field goal the first half to build a 17‑7 lead it never relinquished.

Zwick then fired another scoring pass to Drobney and two to Montale Watkins in the third quarter to tie the school record of five in a game. The feat tied 66‑year‑old mark set by Mike Byelene against Niles in 1934.

In the third period, Massillon outgained the Griffs 127 to minus‑17 yards.

“I could get open, They were blitzing a lot,” said Drobney, who caught seven passes for 62 yards and the three scores. “We were just trying to stop their blitzing from working,

“I thought he threw the ball pretty well tonight,” Drobney said of Zwick, 18‑for‑32 passing

“That’s not usually the case,’ Massillon head coach Rick Shepas said of the receiving of Drobney and Watkins. “Usually it will be more spread. It will change as the season goes.”

Watkins snared six for 107 yards to complement Drobney’s effort.

Massillon also ran the ball effectively. Perry James contributed 81 yards on eight carries. But it was the passing that moved the chains for the Tigers.

The aerial attack also ran the Buchtel defense ragged.

“You just can’t make mistakes against Massillon and win games,” said Buchtel coach Claude Brown. ‘We needed to put pressure on (Zwick), but they picked it up.

“My hat off to them. They just beat us.”

The Massillon defense was on fire, too. While new Buchtel quarterback Charlton Keith struggled (3-for-10), 30 yards) in his debut, Murphy was doing more with his one leg (seven punts) than two (15 rushes, 71 yards).

Murphy scored the Griffins’ touchdown on a run of 52 yards for Buchtel’s lone highlight. The Griffins never got closer than seven points early in the second period, when Abdul nailed his 46-yarder for a 10-7 lead. He added a school record 50-yarder in the third quarter.

“We knew we were going to have a chance in the kicking game.” Shepas said. “Anytime you can get points from any place on the field, it’s nice.”

Kreg Rotthoff