Tag: <span>Devoe Torrence</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

Massillon and Mentor Eclipsed 100 Points in 2007 Game

Looking back, it’s hard to believe that this 6-4 Massillon team had put up 52 points on the eventual Division 1 state runner-up.  It’s also hard to believe that they also lost the game.  But the offenses prevailed in this one.  And if you weren’t a fan of either team, then it just might have been one of the most entertaining high school games you ever saw.  The final score was 56-52 in favor of Mentor.

Jason Hall’s Tigers entered Week 5 with a 2-2 record, having unexpectedly lost to both Solon and Parma Normandy.  Mentor, meanwhile, dropped their opener to eventual Division 4 runner-up Youngstown Cardinal Mooney, but stormed back to take the next three, beating Strongsville (44-28), Solon (27-0) and Cleveland St. Ignatius (38-17).  So there was no doubt that Mentor was the favored team.  Only the Cardinals have always struggled when playing in Tigertown and this one turned out to be no different.

The two teams lit up the scoreboard right from the onset, with Mentor taking a 21-17 lead after three possessions by each squad.  Following a 29-yard field goal by Steve Schott, KJ Herring scored from 50 yards out and then JB Price returned a fumbled punt 36 yards for a TD.

The onslaught continued right to halftime with 28 more points, 14 by each team, and Mentor holding onto a slim 4-point lead.  For the Tigers, it was two Devoe Torrence rushing touchdowns, from nine and one-yards out, finishing off a pair of 80-yard drives.  Could either team stop the other in the second half?  Not likely.

Each team scored once in the third quarter to set up a thrilling fourth.  Torrence had tallied his third from the nine yardline following a missed 49-yard field goal attempt from Schott.  So entering the fourth quarter, Mentor was up 42-38.

It was one of those games where the team that scored last was going to win.  It started quietly with a Mentor punt.  Then a 24-yard TD by Torrence with 7:25 remaining, gave the Tigers a 45-42 lead.  Mentor answered with a 2-yard TD with 4:01 to play, completing a 16-play methodical drive.  Now it was Massillon’s turn.  JT Turner returned the kickoff to the Mentor 49, with a 15-yard Cardinal penalty tacked on, placing the ball at the Mentor 34.  From there, it took just eight plays, with big Steve Yoder bulling his way up the middle for 21 yards and the score, seemingly carrying half the Cardinal defense on his back.  Schott’s kick was good and the Tigers were up 52-49.

But scoring was not the intent on that play and the TD came too early, leaving 1:52 on the clock.  Too much time for the high-powered Mentor offense.  And they did just what they were expected to.  The winning 8-yard scoring pass came at the end of a 10-play, 79-yard drive, leaving a mere 24 seconds on the clock.  Not enough time for Tigers to pull it out.

Massillon finished with 498 yards, rushing for 433 and passing for another 65.  Chris Willoughby was 6 of 17.  Devoe Torrence rushed 36 times for 283 yards and four touchdowns and KJ Herring added another 109.

Mentor rolled up 588 yards, rushing for 289 and passing for 299.  Bart Tanski was 25 of 38.  Tom Worden rushed 27 times for 226 yards and 3 touchdowns.

So how could a Massillon team that had been basically written off a week before do this to a Mentor team that was destined for greatness?  Simple.  Pure effort and intensity.  And they kept that up for the rest of the season.  Although they dropped a decision to Cleveland St. Ignatius the following week, the Tigers finished strong, winning their final four games and posting a winning record.



2007: Massillon 23, Canton McKinley 20

Tigers work extra for win. Willoughby’s QB sneak gives Massillon victory over McKinley in OT

The Independent

The track record wasn’t good for the Massillon Tigers. Four times in the first nine weeks of the season, they trailed in the fourth quarter. All four of those times, they ended up on the wrong end of the scoreboard.

So as the Tigers entered the fourth quarter Saturday at Fawcett Stadium looking at a 10-point deficit, they had two opponents staring back at them: history and the McKinley Bulldogs. And they decided to disregard both, sending the orange-clad portion of the 14,642 in attendance home jubilant with a 23-20 overtime victory.

It marked just the third overtime game in the 116 meetings between the rivals. The Tigers have won all three – in 1988, 1994 and Saturday.

The Tigers would not hold the lead in the game until Chris Willoughby fought his way in from a yard out in overtime to give Massillon the win and a 6-4 final record.

“When it was 17-7, we knew there were 12 minutes left in the game,” said Willoughby, who said it was his first quarterback sneak attempt since his freshman year. “We knew we still had time to come back. We had to keep together as a team and play hard and good things would happen, and it did for us.”

The good things were mostly happening for McKinley in the first three quarters, starting with an 83-yard Christian Griffin touchdown run for a 7-0 first-quarter lead. The Bulldogs seemed to have the big-play magic in the third, when Jordan Evans hit Ramon Brown for a 23-yard touchdown for a 17-7 lead with 50 seconds left in the half.

Justin Turner would begin to turn momentum in Massillon’s favor with a kickoff return to the Bulldogs 41. A McKinley personal foul penalty on the play pushed the ball closer to the goal line, at the Bulldog 26.

Buoyed by the short field, Massillon made it a one-possession game on a 5-yard DeVoe Torrence scoring run at the 10:38 mark of the fourth quarter. Torrence finished with a game-high 134 yards on 35 carries, with a pair of touchdowns.

“Boy, you’re down 17-7 over here, it didn’t look good,” said Tiger coach Tom Stacy, whose team was tied 7-7 at half. “J.T.’s kick return was big. It was really a turning point. We were able to come back from that and score, that was big.”

Massillon appeared to see its chances disappearing when it was stopped on a fourth-and-1 at the McKinley 25. But that’s when the second good thing happened for the Tigers.

Faced with third-and-9 from its own 26, McKinley attempted a short sideline pass. Tiger cornerback D.J. Spencer read the play perfectly, jumping the route and intercepting the ball at the Bulldog 31.

All of the sudden, Massillon’s hopes were resuscitated with 3:36 showing on the fourth-quarter clock.

“I felt like I had an opportunity to get it,” Spencer said. “I missed the first one down there around the 20. I seen that (the quarterback) was kind of floating the ball, so I felt like I could get it.”

Massillon would get a shot at a 37-yard field goal to tie, but was whistled for a false start as the kick was going through the uprights. Moved back to a 41-yard try, Steve Schott calmly knocked the ball through to square things at 17-all with 1:10 remaining.

“I kind of knew after I made the first one before the penalty that I wasn’t going to miss the second one,” said Schott, whose fourth-quarter field goal a year ago lifted the Tigers past McKinley. “I was kind of in the zone there. My confidence was up after making the first one. I just knew that once I got the second opportunity that it was going to be good.”

McKinley struck first in overtime, as Andrew Gage – whose 37-yarder in the third quarter gave the Bulldogs a 10-7 lead – kicked a 35-yard knuckleball for a 20-17 edge. But the Tigers came back, moving to the Bulldogs 2 when Willoughby, with a defender in his face, hit Torrence on a swing pass for a 21-yard gain.

“That play’s worked for us in the past,” Willoughby said. “Coach Stacy calls great plays. That was a great call, and it turned out good.”

Not as good as two plays later, when Willoughby plunged into the end zone and set off the Tiger celebration.

Turner’s return is ‘special’ play for Massillon


The Massillon Tigers had just given up a big play to fall behind by 10 late in the third quarter, and all of the momentum was swinging on the side of the McKinley Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon. But as soon as the subsequent kickoff nestled into the hands of Justin Turner, the momentum shifted back more toward Massillon with each yard he picked up.

By the time he was forced out of bounds, he was at the Bulldogs 41. An extra 15 yards tacked on for a personal foul penalty against McKinley gave the Tigers the ball at the Bulldogs 26.

The Tigers would convert that drive into seven points, cutting their deficit to just three with over 10 minutes left in regulation. They would go on to force overtime, where they would prevail 23-20.

“I gave up a big play on defense and they scored off of it,” Turner said. “I wasn’t reading my keys. Then I looked at the clock and realized I had to go out and make a big play.”

That Turner did. Then again, Turner – and the rest of the Tiger kickoff return team – was doing that just about all season long.

Turner came into the game with 252 yards on seven returns, an average of 36 yards per return. As a team, the Tigers were averaging over 27 yards per return,

For much of the game up to that point, McKinley had kept Turner in check on kickoffs. The best starting field position the Tigers had until then following a Bulldog kickoff was their own 30 to start the game.

“I just had to be patient,” Turner said. “We’ve been returning kicks all year. It was just that time, I had to do it.”

While McKinley had kept Turner under wraps for much of the game, Massillon’s coaches felt like he was on the verge of getting free at least once before.

“We told him the one before, we said ‘You hit it too quick,’” Tiger special teams coordinator Jamey Palma said. “We said ‘Be patient and let you’re wall set up. Just be patient, find your seam and go.’ He just did a great job of being patient and making a big play.”

When it came time to make that big play, Turner did so. And because of that, the Tigers brought the Victory Bell back to Massillon with them after the game.

Torrence answers call for Massillon


When DeVoe Torrence transferred from Canton South to Massillon last spring, it was for moments like the one he experienced on Saturday afternoon at Fawcett Stadium playing in the 116th edition of the Massillon-McKinley game. Once he got his chance, he wasn’t about to not capitalize on that opportunity.

Torrence gained 134 hard-fought yards on 35 carries, yards which helped the Tigers pull out a 23-20 overtime victory over the Bulldogs.

“It was wild,” Torrence said. “Just being my first time being a Massillon Tiger playing in the McKinley game, it meant a lot to me. We went out there, I stepped up, Steve Schott stepped up, I mean, we all stepped up. We just got it done.”

For all the big-name opponents Torrence faced for the first time this season, teams like St. Ignatius and Mentor, there is still nothing like the atmosphere surrounding a Massillon-McKinley game. But he wasn’t about to let that effect him.

“There were no jitters,” Torrence said. “(Tiger coach Tom) Stacy got us coached up and had us ready to play.”

The Ohio State-bound senior came into the game needing just 72 yards to top the 1,000-yard plateau. He did that by halftime, when he had 81 yards on 17 carries as the two teams went into the locker room tied at 7-7. He finished with 1,062 yards and 11 touchdowns, after scoring a pair against McKinley.

“DeVoe is just a heck of an athlete,” Tiger center Blake Seidler said. “I give him all the credit in the world. He got over that 1,000-yard mark today, so what’s that tell you.”

Torrence did so despite the fact McKinley was attempting to key on him every time he touched the ball. He only had three plays over 10 yards or more, as he had to fight – like the rest of his Tiger teammates – for just about every yard.

“DeVoe’s a warrior,” Tiger quarterback Chris Willoughby said. “He has heart and he runs the ball hard every play. He did a great job.”

Not that Torrence and the Tigers weren’t used to seeing a defense keying on the run. While the Bulldogs kept Massillon’s offense out of the end zone on all but two drives in regulation, there was little they were doing differently than what the Tigers’ nine previous opponents had been doing.

Still, Massillon was able to gain 233 yards on the ground as a team.

“It was just a case of more guys in the box,” Torrence said. “That was what teams have done all year. They’ve just put guys in the box.

“It came down to who was going to be the most physical,” Torrence added. “We felt like we showed that.”

Torrence and Willoughby burned that defensive scheme for the biggest play of the game in overtime. After Torrence had been dropped for a 3-yard loss on the Tigers’ first play from the McKinley 20, Willoughby threw a swing pass to the tailback – just ahead of the Bulldog pass rush – which turned into a 21-yard gain to the Bulldogs 2.

Two plays later, Willoughby ended the game with his game-winning touchdown plunge.

“We almost didn’t get it off,” Torrence said. “Chris, he got it up there in time. I was just thinking ‘I’ve got to catch this ball.’ I just caught it.”

And the Tigers – and Torrence – have the win to show for it.

Spencer is latest Tiger to step up in big game


Five weeks ago, D.J. Spencer wasn’t even in the Massillon Tigers’ starting lineup. Today, he is just the latest in a long line of unlikely heroes to emerge in the ancient rivalry that is Massillon-McKinley.

With 5:15 left in regulation in Saturday’s 116th installment of the rivalry at Fawcett Stadium, things looked bleak for the Tigers. They had just given the ball back to McKinley on downs at the Bulldog 25 down by three points.

However, Spencer – a senior cornerback – jumped an out pattern on third-and-9 to get an interception at the McKinley 31. That would lead to the game-tying field goal, and Massillon went on to get the 23-20 overtime win.

“My team needed a play, and it was clutch time,” Spencer said. “We had to buckle down. Coach was telling us that that was the time and the crucial point.”

Spencer hadn’t seen a whole lot of time through the first half of the Tigers’ season, as he was behind Kevin Massey at cornerback. However, when Massey was sidelined for the Buchtel game in Week Seven due to a concussion, that opened the door for Spencer to get his chance.

The senior has more than held his own since getting the chance. He hasn’t left the starting lineup since that game, even though Massey returned to action the very next week.

“He didn’t start for us at the beginning of the year,” Tiger defensive backs coach Jamey Palma said. “I remember it was about Week Four or Five, I had a meeting with him, and I said ‘Just hang with us, you’re going to help this team.’”

And he did.

“Right after the St. Ignatius game, we started playing him a lot more. He’s played excellent. He’s going to remember that play for the rest of his life.”

Spencer is just the latest Tiger to go from relative unknown to hero because of what he did in the McKinley game.

A year ago, it was Corey Hildreth getting a blocked punt to help set up a Tiger score. In 2001, it was Craig McConnell whose interception helped to seal a hard-fought Massillon win.

In other years, it has been a Victor Redrick or a Dave Sheegog. Whoever it is, they instantly become immortalized for making a play which turned the tide in favor of the Tigers.

“We’ve got great kids with a great mentality,” Palma said. “They never quit. D.J. is one of those kids. We were down 17-7, we needed to make a play, and he has a great mentality.

“They don’t think about the negative, they’re thinking ‘Let’s make a play’ and go ahead and do it. It’s great for him. He’s a great kid, and people are going to remember him forever here.”


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2007: Massillon 48, Akron Buchtel 14

Tigers beat up on Buchtel


The Massillon Tigers were looking for a prescription to cure themselves of the recent struggles they have been through recently. Fortunately for them, the Buchtel Griffins were just the medicine they needed.

Massillon matched its best first-half point production this season, and carried that on through to the end of a 48-14 win over the struggling Griffins in front of 7,014 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“It’s like a weight off our shoulders, definitely,” Tiger center Blake Seidler said. “I really don’t know how to explain it. It’s a mixed feeling. It’s a win, at the same time, you just have to, I don’t know, take it one at a time, I guess. It’s kind of hard to explain.”

The win snaps a two-game losing streak for the Tigers, who improve to 3-4 with a visit from Warren Harding forthcoming next Friday. Buchtel, which has struggled in Ricky Powers’ first season at the helm of his alma mater, fell to 1-6.

Things were academic by halftime, when the Tigers led 31-6. K.J. Herring added the topper to start the second half, when he returned the kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown and a 38-6 lead.

Herring had his best all-around game of the season, in large part because the Tigers were without the services of DeVoe Torrence. Torrence was out with a sprained ankle.

Making the most of the chance, Herring rushed for 157 yards on 12 carries with touchdown runs of 42 and 70 yards.

“It felt good,” Herring said. “It felt really good. I talked to the linemen – I talked to everybody on the team – and I just asked them, ‘We need to come together and finish this out.’ I’m really proud, because everybody came up, even the people who came in. … We just all came together and it worked out.”

Massillon’s offense scored on five of its seven first-half possessions to build up its 25-point edge. One of the two drives the Tigers were stopped on, they still managed to get the ball back on a fumbled punt at the Buchtel 46.

The Tigers were aided by great field position throughout the half, something that wasn’t the case in last week’s loss at St. Ignatius. Massillon’s worst starting position was its own 34 against Buchtel; its best starting position against the Wildcats was its own 28.

“That’s what you have to do if you want to win in high school football week in and week out,” Tiger coach Tom Stacy said of the field position. “That’s what we did tonight.”

The first two Tiger drives started on the Buchtel side of the 50, including their first drive, which started at the Griffin 2 after a blocked punt. That drive took all of one play – a 2-yard Steve Yoder run – to crack the end zone.

Justin Turner’s 11-yard run on a direct snap made it 14-0 after Steve Schott’s PAT kick.

Buchtel – which actually had more first-half yards than Massillon, 173-165 – cracked the scoreboard with six seconds left in the first quarter. That came on a 27-yard Tahj Dent-to-Dominique Gray pass, although the subsequent two-point run failed to keep it at 14-6.

Massillon scored on its final three second-quarter possessions – after it forced the fumble on the punt less than two minutes into the quarter. The Tigers made it 45-6 after Herring ripped off a 70-yard run on Massillon’s first second-half play.

Buchtel’s offense wasn’t exactly stifled through the course of the evening. The Griffins mustered 310 yards for the game – five fewer than Massillon – and had a 14-play, 75-yard scoring drive to cut it to 45-14 with less than a minute left in the third quarter.

“Our defense was on the field a lot tonight,” Stacy said. “I think in the third quarter, they were on the field for almost the entire quarter.” By then, though, many in the crowd were more interested in what was going on in the Indians’ American League Division Series game against the Yankees. There was a loud, sustained roar from the crowd when Travis Hafner’s game-winning hit was shown on the video screen during a break in the action.

The last bit of intrigue came with 5:52 left, when Schott booted a 28-yard field goal for a 48-14. The kick tied him with David Abdul for Massillon’s career field goal record with 29.


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2007: Massillon 0, Cleveland St. Ignatius 27

No ‘O’ sinks Tigers vs. Iggy


PARMA – The difference is like night and day. Eight days earlier, the Massillon Tiger offense rolled up a season high 52 points, 498 offensive yards and 433 rushing yards in a nail-biting loss to Mentor. On Saturday night at Parma’s Byers Field, they could only muster 13 yards rushing and 75 total yards – both season lows – against a St. Ignatius team which had lost to Mentor just a week before the Cardinals edged the Tigers.

However, it was on the scoreboard where the biggest difference was, as the Tigers were shut out for the first time since 1998 in a 27-0 setback to the Wildcats.

“I don’t know,” said Massillon coach Tom Stacy, whose 2-4 team may have seen its playoff hopes ended with the loss. “If somebody’s got an answer, I’d like to hear it, because I certainly don’t have one for that. It’s unbelievable that you could block that well last week and then not block that well this week.

“They (the Wildcat defense) loaded up the box and said, ‘Hey, if you’re going to beat us, you’re going to beat us throwing the football.’ And we’re just not good enough throwing it right now.”

The last time Massillon was shut out came exactly nine years ago in Week Six of Rick Shepas’ first season. Glen Mills (Pa.) did the honors with a 19-0 win at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Compounding the problem was the injury status of DeVoe Torrence, who rushed for 283 yards against Mentor. Torrence did not start the game because of his undisclosed injury, and like the rest of his teammates, was never able to get into any kind of rhythm running the ball. He finished with just one yard on 13 carries.

“DeVoe was banged up,” Stacy said. “We weren’t even sure he was going to play tonight. He was touch-and-go, and we kept it under wraps because we didn’t want them to game-plan it.”

K.J. Herring finished as the Tigers’ leading rusher with 36 yards on 10 carries.

“I think it was team defense,” said St. Ignatius coach Chuck Kyle, whose team is 5-1. “We were stringing it out as far as the running game, not giving DeVoe a seam, because if you give him a seam, then look out. We tried to string them out a little bit there.”

It was also a night-long issue of field position for the Tigers, whose best starting position was their own 28-yard-line. A big reason for that was the leg of St. Ignatius kicker Nicholas Yako, who put all six of his kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.

Massillon struggled to change that field position, as it failed to record a first down on six of its 13 possessions. The Tigers’ first snap on the Wildcats’ side of the 50 didn’t come until the final play of the game, which was also the first time they picked up more than one first down on a drive.

“We were really bad on offense,” Stacy said. “I thought our defense really played well considering everything. We just couldn’t do anything on offense.”

St. Ignatius – which finished with 182 yards and eight first downs – put the pressure on the Tigers to keep up by jumping out to a 13-0 halftime lead, which proved to be all the points it would need. Yako booted a pair of 40-plus-yard field goals – a 43- and 49-yarder – while Emmett Lydon added a 1-yard run for the Wildcats.

While St. Ignatius’ offense was doing its part getting the lead, the Wildcat defense was setting the tone by making life impossible for the Tigers. Massillon finished the first half with minus-4 yards of offense, a problem exacerbated by a minus-37 rushing performance.

The Tigers also gave up four sacks in the first half for a loss of 39 yards. They were sacked one more time in the second half for a total loss of 49 yards.

“We can’t put all of that on the offensive line,” Stacy said of the sacks. “It’s play-calling; it’s offensive line; it’s running backs blocking; it’s wide receivers not getting open; it’s (the quarterback) holding on to the ball too long. It was a combination of all of that.”



2007: Massillon 52, Mentor 56

Tigers’ explosion not enough


The numbers were mind-numbing Friday night: 66 points, 668 yards of offense, 463 rushing yards, two 160-yard rushers and nine touchdowns.

And then halftime arrived in Massillon’s game against Mentor at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

By the time the smoke finally cleared, some three-and-a-half hours after it all began, the last big play was made by the Cardinals, who scored on an 8-yard Bart Tanski-to-Steve Orkis pass with 24 seconds left in a 56-52 Massillon setback.

“The fans got their money’s worth,” said a dejected Tiger coach Tom Stacy, whose team is now 2-3 headed to next Saturday’s game at St. Ignatius in Parma. “That was a heck of a high school football game, that’s for sure. Their offense is just a juggernaut. … We knew they were good, we just didn’t have a whole lot of answers for them.”

Massillon took the lead – the eighth lead change of the game – with 1:52 remaining when fullback Steve Yoder crashed through the line for a 21-yard touchdown. Steve Schott’s extra point made it 52-49.

But Tanski was an efficient 7-of-7 for 71 yards on the winning drive. The only running play on it was an 8-yard scramble by the Mentor quarterback.

“You have to score when you can,” Stacy said. “You have to punch it in when you can.”

After scoring just 30 points in its last three games combined, Massillon came out with a different look to the offense, lining up in the power-I with Torrence at tailback and K.J. Herring at a halfback next to the fullback. With both Torrence and Herring in the game at the same time, they were able play off of each other with big-time results for the Tigers.

Torrence finished the game with 283 yards and four touchdowns – 168 of those yards and two of those scores in the first half. His 200-yard effort was matched by Mentor’s Tom Worden, who ran for 226 yards – 176 in the first half – and three scores on the night.

Herring added 109 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown run which gave Massillon a 10-7 lead with 4:47 left in the first quarter.

“We wanted to get K.J. more involved in the game,” Stacy said. “We felt we needed another weapon in there to help take some of the pressure off of DeVoe.”

The problem was, the scoring wouldn’t end at that point. In fact, there were still 49 points and three lead changes to go – just in the first half.

The first defensive stop didn’t occur until just over a minute was left in the first quarter, and even then points were scored. Massillon would punt the ball away to Mentor, only to have Dorie Irvin strip the Cardinal return man, while J.B. Price swooped in to recover the fumble and return it 35 yards for a touchdown. Schott’s extra-point kick made it 17-14 Tigers with 1:09 left in the quarter.

Massillon’s biggest pain was Tanski. With the precision of a skilled surgeon, the senior calmly led the Cardinals down the field on drive after drive.

Tanski was 7-of-13 for 69 yards in the second quarter, with a pair of touchdown strikes to Orkis. He added a 15-yard touchdown run, a run which gave Mentor a 35-24 lead with 2:00 left until the band show.

Tanski finished 25-of-38 for 299 yards and three scores. He also ran for 56 yards.

The Tigers, not to be outdone, managed to change the scoreboard one final time before the half, with Torrence scoring from a yard out with 27 seconds left to slice it to 35-31 after the PAT.

The two teams would each score once in the third quarter – Worden scoring from 2-yards out with 8:48 left in the stanza, and Torrence from 9-yards out with 20 seconds left – keeping the Mentor lead at four, 42-38.

Torrence gave Massillon its first lead since the second quarter on a 24-yard run with 7:25 left – 45-42 after the PAT. But Tanski’s second scoring run, a 2-yarder, put Mentor in front 49-45 with 4:01 remaining.

A 40-yard kickoff return by Justin Turner, with an added 15 yards on a Mentor penalty, put the ball at the Cardinal 34. Massillon then was added by a key offside penalty against Mentor on a fourth-and-4 play at its own 28, extending the drive. Two plays later, Yoder scored to give the Tigers – momentarily – their final lead.



2007: Massillon 13, Parma Normandy 27

Offensive woes lead to Massillon’s second straight loss this year


PARMA – The Massillon Tigers arrived in Parma for Friday’s game with Normandy as a team looking to put a disappointing loss to Solon the rear-view mirror. They departed a team which may very well stand at a crossroads in a season which carried such preseason promise, yet now stands on shaky ground.

Such are the facts of life on the heels of a disappointing 27-13 loss to the Invaders at Byers Field.

The loss drops Massillon to 1-2 on the season. All the Tigers have awaiting them in September are home games against a talented Ursuline team and the reigning Division I state runners-up Mentor, and a return trip to Parma to meet St. Ignatius.

Adding injury to insult is the fact the Tigers likely have lost junior Justin Turner for an extended period of time with a high ankle sprain, and reserve safety Cooper Ivan to a leg fracture.

“I haven’t been at a crossroads with a football team in a long, long time,” Tiger coach Tom Stacy said. “I’m not sure what one is. Obviously, we don’t have a lot of confidence on offense. We tried everything.”

Yet, Massillon could not, for the second straight game, discover the offense which was so explosive in the second half against Middletown. The Tigers have scored just one touchdown, a 2-yard run by DeVoe Torrence with 1:08 left which cut the Normandy lead to 20-13, in the last eight quarters.

The Tigers finished Friday’s game with 198 yards of offense, with an equal number on the ground and through the air, 99 yards each. Massillon had 12 first downs in the game, seven of those prior to halftime.

“We tried everything,” Stacy said. “We tried to go outside, we tried to go inside. We tried to throw the ball quick, we tried to throw the ball quickly. We tried pretty much everything we had. We just couldn’t get it going.”

Normandy, meanwhile dominated the line of scrimmage, especially on offense. The Invaders rushed for 205 yards on 41 carries, with Russ Galeti gaining 146 yards and scoring three touchdowns.

“All I preach is we out hit our opponents,” said Normandy coach Rich Turner, whose team is 3-0. “We know we don’t have the skill our opponents have. But if we out hit opponents and control the line, we can turn it into a scrum game, and that’s what it looked like an awful lot.”

The first four minutes of the game summed up the Tigers’ fortunes on the night. The Invaders caught Massillon with an onside kick on the opening kickoff, and recovered it at the Tiger 40.

“We did same thing against Elyria last year,” Turner said. “Elyria was a big favorite in that game. We got two in that game. I’m sort of disappointed we only got one tonight.”

Two plays later, though, Kevin Massey came up with an interception at the Massillon 4. But the Tigers gave it right back six plays later with a fumble at their own 40, which was returned four yards to the Massillon 36.

A 35-yard run by Galeti and the subsequent extra point made it 7-0 Normandy with 8:14 left in the first quarter. The Tigers answered with a drive to the Invader 4, but needed Steve Schott to boot a 22-yard field goal – the first of two first-half kicks for the senior – to cut it to 7-3 with 4:16 remaining in the quarter.

Another long Galeti run, this one of 48 yards, made it 13-3 after the PAT was missed with 8:53 remaining in the half. Again, Schott would help the Tigers whittle away at the lead with a 31-yard field goal with 1:59 left before the band show, making it 13-6.

Galeti would open up a two-touchdown edge with 4:01 left with a 4-yard run, increasing it to 20-6. Torrence would cap a furious Tiger drive against a Normandy prevent defense with his touchdown run, but the subsequent onside kick attempt was returned 50 yards for a score by the Invaders’ Jordan Ebinger.