Tag: <span>Gareon Conley</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2012: Massillon 34, Maumee 12

Massillon pours it on Maumee in weather-shortened game

Chris Easterling
The Independent

MAUMEE A 20-minute trip across Stark County proved to be too much for the Massillon Tigers to handle a week ago in a loss at GlenOak. On Friday night, they tried their hand at dealing with a two-and-a-half-hour trek to the northwest corner of Ohio as they paid undefeated Maumee a visit.

The long journey seemed to revitalize the Tigers, who caught fire midway through the first quarter and never looked back in rolling to a 34-12 win over the Panthers at Richard Kazmaier Stadium.

The game was called after one half of play as a storm moved into the area. The officials pulled the plug at 10:30 p.m.

“You travel three hours for a rain delay, but I thought, by the second quarter, our kids were playing well,” Massillon coach Jason Hall said after his team improved to 2-1 entering next week’s game at Perry. “We settled in defensively. We were pleased with the way we played.”

The secret to the Massillon rout was an offense that was the exact opposite of the previous week. Against GlenOak, the Tigers were held to minus-4 net yards rushing on 21 carries, albeit 32 of those yards lost came on six sacks by the Golden Eagles.

However, on this night, Massillon decided the way to go was to ground and pound the ball down the field. The Tigers powered their way to 225 rushing yards on 20 carries, including big games by both Ryne Moore and Kentrell Taylor.

Moore took an 11-carry, 157-yard, two-touchdown performance into the locker room. Taylor had 78 yards and two scores on just five carries.

“We were real happy with our running backs,” Hall said. “They didn’t get a chance to really see Ernie Baez either. … We really have three guys we’re real confident when they carry the ball. I thought Trelly really showed some of his speed in the open field on that one (50-yard touchdown) run. We were able to rotate some guys in there and let them play. I thought they really ran well in the first half.”

The huge way the half – and ultimately, the game – ended, with Massillon scoring on five straight possessions before finally being forced to punt on its final first-half possessions. That was belied by a slow start caused by many of the same issues that troubled the Tigers last week.

Their first drive reached the Maumee 20, only to get short-circuited by a 13-yard loss on a bad snap followed three plays later by a missed 44-yard field goal.

The Tigers had a pair bad snap. They also were plagued by eight penalties for 65 yards.

“I thought our kids just needed to settle in,” Hall said. “We shot ourselves in the foot on that first drive with a bad snap.”

And, for a stretch, it was Maumee – not Massillon – that was controlling the pace of the game.

The Panthers moved into Tiger territory on each of its first three drives. The first, though, resulted in a Massillon score when Brody Tonn stepped in front of a Maumee screen pass and raced 52 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Tiger lead with 8:32 left in the first quarter.

But Maumee scored on its next two possessions to take a 12-7 lead. Andrew Schultz capped a seven-play, 80-yard drive with a 1-yard run with 5:11 remaining in the first to cut to 7-6.

Dominique King then hauled in a 57-yard touchdown pass from Steve Duby on the first play of the next Maumee possession for a five-point lead with 3:28 left in the first quarter.

But the Tigers came back with a three-play, 64-yard drive, capped by a 1-yard Moore run, to take the lead for good at 14-12 just 24 seconds later. And from there, they started to roll.


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2012: Massillon 24, Canton Glenoak 26

Massillon turnovers halt rally against GlenOak

Chris Easterling
Updated: Friday, August 31, 2012

PLAIN TWP. The scoreboard said the Massillon Tigers lost to the GlenOak Golden Eagles 26-24 on Thursday night at a soldout Bob Commings Field. And they did.

But what ultimately cost them the game wasn’t just the points on the scoreboard. It was also the five turnovers the Tigers had that ultimately prevented them from emerging with the win.

“You can’t have that many turnovers; you can’t play that sloppy and expect to win big football games,” Massillon coach Jason Hall said after his team fell to 1-1. “We did not play good enough to win that football game. It might have been (26-24), but the game wasn’t that. We just played so sloppy.”

All five of the Tigers’ turnovers came inside Golden Eagle territory. Twice, they came within two plays after GlenOak – which had four turnovers itself – had turned the ball over itself.

Those turnovers often negated any momentum Massillon was building as it spent all night playing from behind. The Tigers fell behind 7-0 after GlenOak turned the first of their five turnovers – a fumble five plays into the game – into a 13-play, 63-yard scoring drive capped by Justin Smith’s 2-yard plunge.

Massillon, which trailed 7-3 at halftime thanks to an Andrew David 45-yard field goal, quickly fell behind 20-3 after GlenOak scored on its first two possessions of the second half. Tyler Lancaster’s 80-yard run on the half’s first play, and Reid Worstell’s 1-yard plunge to cap a 12-play, 66-yard scoring drive put the Tigers in a 17-point hole with 4:36 left in the third.

The key to GlenOak opening up the lead – outside of the Tigers’ turnovers – was its ability to control the line of scrimmage. The Golden Eagles had 227 rushing yards on 48 carries.

“Both teams have great athletes, but we told our kids that up front’s where it’s going to be won,” GlenOak coach Scott Garcia said after his team improved to 2-0.

The Tigers, meanwhile, found their offense – when it wasn’t turning the ball over – struggling to keep quarterback Kyle Kempt clean. GlenOak brought constant pressure during the game, especially in the first three quarters.

The result was five sacks by the Golden Eagles and several other hurried throws by Kempt, who still completed 29 of 41 passes for 327 yards.

“They blitzed their inside linebackers all night,” said Hall, whose team netted minus-4 yards rushing thanks to those sacks and a 20-yard loss on a bad snap. “They were able to push that line of scrimmage back into Kyle, and at times, he just couldn’t make good plays.”

That passing helped Massillon climb back into the game. But it started with a 4-yard rushing touchdown by Ernie Baez with 7:29 left in the game, a score that cut it to 20-10.

After a GlenOak fumble, the Tigers made it 20-17 when Baez capped a quick three play drive with a 2-yard run with 6:11 remaining. The big play, however, was a 40-yard Kempt-to-Gareon Conley pass to the GlenOak 2.

GlenOak appeared to regain control, methodically marching 80 yards in eight plays – with Worstell rushing three times for 44 yards – to take a 26-17 lead with 3:00 left.

Fullback Vince Cuenot gashed the Tigers for an 18-yard run on a trap play for the score.

Massillon’s final answer came courtesy of a 30-yard Kempt-to-Conley touchdown pass with 2:11 remaining to make it 26-24. However, the Golden Eagles secured the win when Worstell hit Cuenot on a play-action pass into the flat for 15 yards.

“They did well on third down, even on the last drive,” Hall said. “They did well on third down. You have to tip your cap to them.”


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2012: Massillon 52, Akron Buchtel 21

Massillon cruises past Buchtel 52-21 in opener

Chris Easterling
Updated: Thursday, August 23, 2012

MASSILLON – It was expected the Massillon Tigers would be able to score some points this season. And they didn’t waste any time in showing just how easy they could change the scoreboard.

The Tigers turned an early Buchtel turnover into a touchdown, then rolled from there in routing the Griffins 52-21 in Thursday night’s season opener at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“I thought we moved the ball real well at times,” Tiger coach Jason Hall said after his team opened 1-0. “We got sloppy a little bit at times. We put some of our young guys in and they played like young guys. … We’ll get back to work and keep coaching them up.”

The tone was set in the first half, as Massillon scored on four of its first five possessions to take a 28-6 halftime lead. The only one of the five drives that didn’t result in points still crossed the Griffin 25, but ended with a missed field goal.

Massillon came into the season boasting of a new spread offensive scheme that spread the ball around to a variety of different weapons. But the key to that offense was to be senior quarterback Kyle Kempt’s ability to get the ball to those weapons.

Kempt showed why many expect him to thrive in the offense. He connected on eight of his first nine passes – with the only incompletion caused by a devastating hit by a Buchtel defender – and went into halftime already sitting with a stat line of 12-of-16 for 243 yards and a touchdown.

Those 243 yards were just four yards shy of his best passing game of the 2011 season, set in Week Seven against Delaware’s Red Lion Christian. Kempt would finish with a career-high 316 yards while completing 17-of-23 passes with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

“Kyle showed why he’s a Division I quarterback,” Hall said. “He threw it as well as you could ask him to. He was under pressure at times … he threw a couple of deep balls under pressure that a lot of kids can’t make. Kyle Kempt showed why he’s Kyle Kempt.”

Not only was he efficient, he was also willing to spread the wealth. Out his first eight completions, seven different receivers caught passes, and by halftime, eight receivers had catches.

Kempt found the holes in the Buchtel defense often, hitting Marcus Whitfield on a 32- yard post pattern, Gareon Conley on a 46-yard go route or Zach Volzer on a nifty 20-yard slant pattern. But maybe the best throw came on his lone first-half touchdown, when — on fourth down — he rolled right, found a wide-open Brody Tonn for a 37-yard score to give the Tigers a 21-0 lead with 9:34 remaining in the half.

While the arm of Kempt and the deadly Tiger passing game would draw many of the oohs and ahhs, the Massillon running game would do the dirty work of picking up many of those tough final yards. The Tigers would have just 14 run plays in the first half — four by Kempt — but three would result in touchdowns.

Kentrell Taylor would score twice on the ground before halftime — on runs of 3 and 7 yards. Ernie Baez would add a 1-yard plunge in the first quarter, while Ryne Moore scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter to make it 52-21.

Taylor would finish with three touchdowns while rushing for 52 yards on eight carries. Moore would add 47 on 13 totes, while Baez gained 45 on six carries.

“I think one of our strengths is we can get multiple people to touch the ball,” Hall said. “We make the people defend the field. We have multiple running backs we can put in and carry it around.”

Taylor would help to set up the first Tiger score as well, when he recovered a Griffin fumble at the Buchtel 21 on the third play of the game. Three plays later, he ran it in for a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.

“Anytime you can get a turnover early in the game and get the momentum, it’s going to help the first half go your way,” Hall said.

The senior linebacker would also keep Buchtel scoreless after its second drive reached the Massillon 5. It was his tackle on fourth-and-goal that stopped a potential touchdown, when he stuffed the Griffin ball carrier at the 1 to give the ball back to the Tigers.

Massillon wouldn’t be intimidated by the 99 yards between them and the goal line. The Tigers took eight plays and less than a minute to make it 14-0.

It would be 21-0 Tigers before Buchtel finally figured out the Tiger defense. The Griffins would go 80 yards in eight plays, scoring on Eean Jones’ 2-yard run with 3:04 left in the half to make it 21-6.

Buchtel’s second touchdown would come courtesy of its defense, which returned an interception against Massillon’s second-string offense for a score to make it 42-14 after the two-point conversion with 5:30 left in the third. Elijah Bell scored on a 68-yard pass with 3:20 left in the third to cut it to 42-21, necessitating the offensive starters — who had gone to the bench up 42-6 with around six minutes left in the third — to return to the game.



2011: Massillon 20, Canton McKinley 23

Nine seconds changes everything for Massillon

Chris Easterling

The offseason arrived early for the Massillon Tigers. That‟s because the McKinley Bulldogs scored late in Saturday‟s showdown at Fawcett Stadium.

When Alex Winters scored on a 43-yard touchdown run with 1:13 remaining, it seemed to give the Tigers the win, as well as their fourth straight playoff berth. Except that the Bulldogs had an answer, and marched down to get a 4-yard Tyler Foster touchdown run to give them a 23-20 win.

“That was an emotional game,” Massillon coach Jason Hall said after his team concluded a 7-3 season. “You‟re up, you‟re down. Both teams had to handle adversity. I guess from a fan‟s perspective, it‟s everything you‟d want from a rivalry game.”

Except, of course, for the Tigers, a win. And because of that, there won‟t be an 11th game for Massillon.

The last time the Tigers weren‟t playoff participants, it was 2007. And the final score of the Tigers-Bulldogs showdown that day — also in Canton — was 23-20.

Only that one was a Tiger win, in overtime. On this day, the three-point margin favored the Bulldogs.

And because of that, it will be McKinley, and not Massillon, heading to this weekend‟s first round of the playoffs.

“It feels great,” said McKinley safety Ruben Burrows, whose last-play interception sealed the game. “It‟s great. They‟re our rivals. Any time you can stop a rival from doing anything, it‟s amazing.”

The thing was, it could have just as easily been a Tiger player saying the same thing as Burrows was after the game. That‟s because it seemed as if both teams had their chances to be the one ringing the Victory Bell.

Massillon twice took the lead in the fourth quarter. The first came just 36 seconds into the quarter when Tre Hendricks caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Kempt to give the Tigers a 14-10 lead.

The second came when Winters ripped off his 43-yard run with just 73 seconds remaining. That put Massillon in front 20-16.

“I thought our kids played tough on both sides of the ball,” Hall said.

The only problem for the Tigers on this day was that McKinley just seemed to have an answer every time. And it wasn‟t the answer Massillon wanted to hear.

So, just before 5 on Saturday afternoon, the Tigers found themselves somewhere they haven‟t been under Hall. That‟s left with nowhere to go after the McKinley game but into the offseason.

For some Tiger players, the reaction was tears. Others reacted with blank stares. Yet others tried to help console their distraught teammates, left with nothing but memories for 2011.

All because the final momentum swing in a game full of them went McKinley‟s way. And it swung Massillon into an offseason that arrived all too early for its taste.

McKinley scores in final minute to top Massillon

Chris Easterling

CANTON A minute-and-a-half can be an eternity in the game of football. It certainly was Saturday afternoon at Fawcett Stadium as Massillon and McKinley met for the 121st time in their storied history, and it ended up costing the Tigers a trip to the playoffs.

In that time span, the Tigers appeared to secure their first regular-season win over the Bulldogs since 2008.

Except that, they didn‟t, as McKinley managed to wrest the Victory Bell back to their side — along with a playoff berth — with a heart-pounding 23-20 win.

Massillon took a 20-16 lead with 1:13 remaining when Alex Winters tore off a 43-yard scoring run. However, Tyler Foster capped a five-play, 74-yard drive with a 4-yard run with nine seconds remaining to put McKinley head for good.

“We had 1:13,” Tiger coach Jason Hall said after his team finished the season 7-3. “We just had to play defense. Unfortunately in a crucial situation, we missed tackles, got a personal foul penalty. … They had a good play call to what we were running.”

Foster‟s go-ahead score was set up by a 41-yard catch-and-run by Jeff Richardson on the second play of the Bulldog drive. Richardson caught an out pattern, then turned upfield, breaking a tackle before finally being dragged down at the Tiger 19.

Massillon, though, was flagged for a personal foul at the end of the play, moving the ball to the Tiger 8.

“I just had to make a big play,” said Richardson, whose five-play, 82-yard receiving day also included a second-quarter touchdown as well. “I saw the corner bite on the pass. He tried to tackle me, and I ran through the tackle and ran up field.”

The frenetic finish was just part of a back-and-forth fourth quarter between the two rivals, one in which each team took the lead twice. Such a finish couldn‟t have been pictured at halftime, when the teams were tied at 7-7.

Ultimately, though, the only lead that mattered came when the scoreboard clock hit 0:00. And that lead belonged to McKinley, which had entered the fourth leading 10-7.

“We were just going up and down the field going, „You‟ve just got to believe,‟” said McKinley coach Ron Johnson, whose team will take an 8-2 record into the playoffs, while he improved his own personal mark against the Tigers to 3-2 while at McKinley. “Our kids did not doubt.”

Massillon took its first lead of the game on its second offensive play of the fourth quarter, when Kyle Kempt hit a wide-open Tre Hendricks for a 28-yard touchdown to give the Tigers a 14-10 lead at the 11:14 mark of the fourth. It was the second wide-open 28-yard scoring pass Kempt threw in the game, as he also hit Winters on one to tie the game at 7-7 in the second quarter.

Kempt was 10-of-18 for 149 yards with two scores and one interception.

“They were playing man defense,” Hall said of the two Tiger touchdown passes. “When you do hit the middle of the field, there‟s no one there. It‟s a track meet. Those two plays, that‟s what it boiled down to.”

McKinley answered with a scoring drive of its own, marching 63 yards in 10 plays to lead 16-14 on a Foster-to-Terrance Burt 5-yard pass at the 7:27 mark of the fourth. The score came on a fourth-down play.

Foster finished 13-of-20 for 144 yards with two TDs and an interception.

“He manages the game well,” Hall said of Foster. “He doesn‟t turn the ball over. For the most part, he had a game-winning drive there and he threw some crucial balls there for big plays.”

The Tigers needed their own fourth-down conversion on what they thought was their winning drive. Facing fourth-and-2 from their own 42, Kempt hit Ernie Baez on a crossing pattern for a 15-yard gain to the McKinley 43.

“We just ran what we call a whip route — misdirection route — to their man coverage,” Hall said. “Ernie got enough space to get open.”

On the next play, Winters ran through the McKinley defense as if it had been parted like the Red Sea. By the time Winters crossed the goal line, the orange-clad faithful in the stands were in a delirium, thinking the Victory Bell was coming back to Massillon.

Instead, it was merely the prelude to one final swing of momentum, one that left those in red and black, and not orange and black, savoring a win on this afternoon.


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2011: Massillon 38, Akron Hoban 16

Massillon turns five turnovers into rout of Hoban

Chris Easterling

AKRON The Massillon Tigers ventured away from the friendly confines of Paul Brown Tiger Stadium for the first time in the 2011 season Friday night as they faced Hoban. And they weren’t about to be a rude guest when it came time to accept the generosity of their hosts.

Massillon capitalized on multiple Hoban mistakes to blow open a close game in the second half and keep the Knights winless with a 38-16 win in front of a couple thousand fans inside the University of Akron’s InfoCision Stadium.

The Tigers scored 17 points off Hoban turnovers, as the Knights gave up the ball five times.

They also converted a blocked punt into a score, while also recovering an onside kick that didn’t result in points.

“We played a good third quarter,” Massillon coach Jason Hall said after his team improved to 5-1. “We did some things with the turnovers and the field positions. But we had way too many negative plays for a Massillon football team.”

Leading 10-7 at halftime, the Tigers took the second-half kick and drove 42 yards in nine plays to make it 17-7 on Kyle Kempt’s 2-yard pass to Beau Huffman.

On the second play of the subsequent Hoban possession, the Tigers recovered a fumble at the Knight 28. One play after the Tigers would miss a field goal to end that threat; Hoban fumbled again on its own 20.

This time, Massillon converted. Three plays later, Brody Tonn would just get the ball over the plane of the goal line, giving the Tigers a 24-7 lead – post-PAT with 4:07 left.

“I was pleased with how our kids came out in the third quarter,” Hall said. “Instantly, our defense started playing like we expect them to.”

A fourth-quarter interception ended with Massillon grabbing a 38-10 lead on Jason Boykins’ 5-yard run with 2:25 left.

The second-half burst was merely a continuation of a first half filled with as many missed scoring chances as it was converted chances. Both teams turned the ball over in the first half, and both ended up costing the offending team on the scoreboard.

Massillon capitalized on a pair of Hoban mistakes for both of its first-half scores. The first scoring chance came late in the first quarter, after Eric Copeland blocked a Knight punt at the Hoban 14.

Four plays later, Alex Winters fought his way into the end zone from the Knight 2 for a 7-0 Massillon lead at the 39-second mark in the quarter.

The Tigers’ final score of the half could have been higher, as Garrett Kreiger recorded the first of two interceptions on the night and returned it over 50 yards for a touchdown. However, a block in the back penalty against Massillon took the score off the board with just over a minute left in the half.

It appeared the Tigers weren’t going to get any points out of the chance after a pair of sacks and a procedure penalty pushed the ball all the way back to the Hoban 29, where it was fourth-and 27.

But freshman Andrew David, despite kicking into a hard, swirling wind, put a 46-yard field goal just over the crossbar for a 10-7 lead with 17 seconds left in the half.

“Andrew can kick that; we know he can,” Hall said. “We have no hesitation sending him out there. It was a little concern with the wind … but he has a powerful leg.”

While the Tigers were able to capitalize on Hoban’s mistakes for their points, they also were partially responsible for much of the Knights’ scoring. Massillon turned the ball over two times in the game, resulting in 10 Hoban points.

“We want to win the turnover battle, and we don’t want negative plays,” said Hall, whose team was outgained, 289-218.

Hoban, which outgained Massillon 167-71 in the first half, missed on a 21-yard field goal try at the end of a 13-play, 78-yard drive to start the game. However, the Knights recovered a Tiger fumble at their own 21 midway through the second quarter, which opened the door for their only first-half scoring drive.

Buoyed by a Tiger personal foul penalty, along with a 14-yard completion on third-and-10 from the Massillon 24, Hoban got on the scoreboard on the 13th play of the drive. Hoban’s Dominic Orsini rolled to the left, then threw back across the field to a wide-open Jimmy Martter in the end zone for an 8-yard scoring pass to tie the game at 7 with 4:42 left in the half.

“They came out and they did some funky stuff offensively that we had to adjust to,” Hall said. “We didn’t win the line of scrimmage in the first half. They controlled the time of possession.”

A muffed punt by the Tigers gave Hoban the ball at its own 43 early in the fourth quarter. Nine plays later, Matty McGee booted a 29-yard field goal to make it 24-10 Tigers with 8:41 left.


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2011: Massillon 27, Akron Firestone 13

It wasn’t pretty, but Massillon moves to 4-1

Chris Easterling
The Independent

MASSILLON – At the end of the night, the Massillon Tigers emerged with a 4-1 record. But that doesn’t mean the Tigers are satisfied.

On Friday night, the Tigers had to overcome a choppy performance to hold off the Firestone Falcons, 27-13, in front of 6,486 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

It was Massillon’s third straight win, all of which have come by double figures. However, the most recent win no doubt left head coach Jason Hall grinding his teeth at some of his team’s own struggles to find the consistency he has emphasized.

“We didn’t play a really good game,” Hall said. “We played obviously good enough to win. We had, offensively, a lot of negative plays. … It is what it is.”

Massillon finished with 293 yards of offense, with 194 coming in the first half as the Tigers opened up a 13-0 lead. However, there were very few sustained, efficient drives for the Tiger offense.

The most efficient drive for Massillon came on its first drive, when it marched 82 yards in six plays to take a 7-0 lead just 1:43 into the game.

The Tigers were 4-of-5 for 72 yards passing on the drive, while Alex Winters capped the drive with a 1-yard run.

After that, the Tigers spun their wheels often, even when they picked up quality field position.

Three times in the first half, Massillon reached the Firestone 30, but only mustered a pair of long field goals by Andrew David for the 13-point lead at the half.

“They came out in a six-man front,” Hall said of Firestone’s defense. “We just didn’t adjust to some of their pressures. Our quarterbacks were taking some hits. It’s things we have to correct.”

Massillon was able to grab a three-score lead when Kyle Kempt capped a 66-yard, seven-play drive with a 1-yard plunge to make it 20-0 with 2:53 left in the third. The Tigers also scored on a 14-yard Winters run with 9:16 left for a 27-7 lead.

“It’s nice to get that cushion,” Hall said. “It’s nice to see us hit two long field goals tonight.

We’d like to see us when we get into that red zone not get negative plays and put us in that situation. Anytime you get that bonus score in the fourth quarter, a little security blanket, it’s nice.”

Maybe the nicest thing for the Tigers on this night was their defense. Despite a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns by Firestone – one which pulled the Falcons to within 20-7 with just over five minutes left – Massillon allowed its guests few sustained drives.

A big reason for that was the Tigers’ ability to come up with the takeaways when they needed it. Brody Tonn intercepted a pair of passes for Massillon, while both Garrett Kreiger and Gareon Conley also picked off Falcon passes.

“We gave up those two red-zone passes, which are things we have to correct,” Hall said of his defense, which ultimately allowed 211 total yards on the night. “In the course of the game when it was crucial, our defense came out and responded. They were able to make some big plays.”

Massillon was playing short-handed, due to a handful of players being suspended due to violating team and school rules. That number included at least three starters.

Hall wouldn’t say what the status of those players would be for next week’s game against winless Hoban at InfoCision Stadium.

“Right now, they’re being dealt with for breaking school and team policy,” Hall said. “The total discipline hasn’t been determined. There’s not much else to say.”


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2011: Massillon 35, Woodson, Washington D.C. 14

Another Rout
Tigers start fast before Going into cruise control

Chris Easterling
The Independent

MASSILLON The Massillon Tigers weren’t focusing so much on H.D. Woodson (D.C.) this week as they were focusing on themselves and making themselves better. Turns out, they gave just enough focus to the Warriors to come away with a win.

The Tigers scored on their first four offensive possession to remove all doubt early, then put it in cruise control from there in beating Woodson, 35-14, Friday night in front of 6,172 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Massillon came into the week with very little to go on with regards to its visitors from the nation’s capital — just a few clips off YouTube and some of last year’s films. Turns out, that was all the Tigers would need in running their record to 3-1 heading into next week’s home game against Firestone.

“It got kind of sloppy at times,” Tigers coach Jason Hall said afterward. “Sometimes, that can be expected when you don’t know much about people. The end of the game, we got a lot of young guys out there playing.”

By the time Woodson gained its first first down of the game — on the first play of the second quarter — Massillon already held a 28-0 lead. The Tigers also had a 203-8 edge in total yards at that point.

From there, it became a matter of Massillon trying to get through the final 36 minutes without sustaining any critical injuries while trying to maintain a measure of sharpness. The Tigers dipped into their second-unit defense to start the second half, while the reserve offense made its first appearance on the second possession of the third quarter.

“All in all, we came out pretty hot in the first quarter there,” Hall said. “We’re pleased.”

Massillon got the scoring started with 7:48 left in the first quarter when Alex Winters hauled in an over-the-shoulder, one-handed grab on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Kempt for a 7-0 lead. But the Tigers would add three more scores before the quarter was over, spreading the wealth to just about everybody in the offensive backfield.

Ryne Moore got into the act on the next Massillon possession, scoring from 8 yards out with 4:53 remaining in the quarter. Kentrell Taylor got his turn next just 41 seconds later on an 18-yard touchdown run for a 21-0 lead.
The final Tiger back to find the end zone before the first quarter ended was Eric Copeland, who provided the second Tiger touchdown catch of the game when he made a wide-open 2-yard catch with 15 seconds left in the quarter.

The Tigers took a 35-0 lead into the locker room at halftime thanks to Gareon Conley’s 45-yard interception return for a score. It was one of two second-quarter interceptions for Conley, and part of a four-takeaway game for Massillon, which also recovered an onside kick in the first quarter.

Still, despite the lopsided score, there was plenty for Hall to critique his team about. And that started from the very first moment of the game when Massillon muffed a pooch kick to give Woodson the ball at the Tiger 34.
Massillon’s offense also found itself grinding its wheels after jumping out to the 28-0 lead.

After gaining 203 yards on 19 first-quarter plays, the Tigers netted minus-5 yards on just five second-quarter snaps.

The offense continued to have its share of struggles in the second half. Massillon finished the game with 226 total yards, but a net of 23 in the final three quarters.

“There was some sloppy stuff,” Hall said. “We had some negative plays. We had a mishap on the goal line on a run play. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t have to practice.”

Woodson’s offense, though, could not get any consistency going against Massillon’s defense, whether it was the Tiger first-stringers or their backups. The Warriors finished with 159 yards, 104 of those coming in the fourth quarter when they got on the scoreboard with a pair of touchdowns — one a run with 9:09 left and the other a punt return with 7:03 left.


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2010: Massillon 55, Avon Grove, PA 17

Massillon avoids looking ahead, routs Avon Grove

The Independent

MASSILLON, OH – There is always the danger in Week Nine for the Massillon Tigers to find themselves a tad distracted, their minds wandering ahead to the next week’s showdown with hated McKinley.

The minds of the Massillon players certainly found themselves drifting early in Friday night’s contest against Pennsylvania visitor Avon Grove at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Of course, there were no worries of a potential letdown, as they were already well on their way to a 55-17 rout of the Red Devils.

“All in all, we handled our business, we stayed healthy and it leads up to McKinley Week,” said Tiger coach Jason Hall after his team improved to 7-2 and all but clinched a playoff berth. “That speaks for itself.”

Massillon scored on all seven first-half possessions to jump out to a 48-10 halftime lead. The first six scores came courtesy of the Tiger first-teamers, while backup quarterback Anthony McCormick’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Rambo with two ticks left on the first half clock gave the reserves a first-half score of their own.

By that time, most of the Tiger faithful among the 7,603 in attendance weren’t thinking about the Red Devils. They certainly were thinking a team in red, but that team was McKinley, not Avon Grove.

With McKinley having already gotten a 24-hour head start on its rest and preparation for next Saturday afternoon’s showdown at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium by playing – and winning – on Thursday night at Boardman, the Tigers were more than happy to be able to call it an early night for their regulars.

“When you’re a kid, you don’t think of it that way,” Hall said. “Those kids like to play. They wanted to go back out and play. More importantly, we’re healthy. We didn’t get dinged up tonight. We’re expecting back some more depth next week with Jake Reiman and Tyler Robinson coming back. We’re gearing up for this McKinley game.”

Massillon still needed to take care of its business against Avon Grove before its attention could fully be directed at the Bulldogs. And considering the results of last week’s game – a 20-6 loss to Warren Harding – Hall made sure his players’ minds were set on the Red Devils as well.

“We were all disappointed from last week,” Hall said. “We didn’t think we played well. Warren took it to us and I didn’t think we responded. It was kind of a business mentality this week. I thought our kids came out quick and were ready to play.”

Whatever concerns the third-year coach had surely dissipated on the first drive of the game. The Tigers needed just four plays – following a 50-yard return by Devin Smith – to make it 7-0 as Alex Winters ripped off a 16-yard touchdown run just 1:56 into the game.

It was one of two scoring jaunts for Winters in the first quarter. His 13-yard run made it 21-3 with 1:52 remaining in the quarter.

Kentrell Taylor – who led the Tigers with 84 yards on 12 carries – also ran for a pair of first-half scores, including a 7-yard run that gave the Tigers a 27-3 lead after one quarter. His 17-yard scoring run capped the night for the Massillon first unit.

The passing game wasn’t forgotten either as Kyle Kempt completed 10-of-16 passes for 159 yards in his six possessions with a pair of touchdown passes to Smith.

As impressive as the Tiger offense was, the defense was more than its equal. That, more than anything, put a smile on Hall’s face after Massillon gave up a 348-yard rushing performance to Warren’s Demond Hymes last week.

Facing a shifty, fast and elusive tailback in Avon Grove’s Brandon Monk, the Tigers swarmed to the ball and never let him get loose for the big play he is capable of. Monk – whose 71-yard kickoff return set up an Avon Grove field goal that cut it to 7-3 with 8:30 left in the first quarter – finished with 83 rushing yards on 17 carries.

Monk was able to get into the end zone for a third-quarter score against Massillon’s reserves.

The only touchdown the Tiger first-unit defense surrendered came with 38 seconds left in the first half on Charles Holmes Jr.’s 16-yard run.

“We played the way we expected to play,” Hall said. “The kids aren’t going to be perfect, the coaches aren’t going to perfect. The best way to get that Warren game out of your mouth was to play another game. It was nice to get out there and play, the kids running and tackling. It was kind of a move-on time.’

And now, the Tigers get to move on to the most important game of the year – McKinley.


Massillon 55,

Avon Grove (Pa.) 17

at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium

Avon Grove 3 7 7 0 17

Massillon 27 21 7 0 55


M – Winters 16 run (McCarthy kick)

AG – FG Mayhart 28

M – De. Smith 67 pass from Kempt (McCarthy kick)

M – Winters 13 run (McCarthy kick)

M – Taylor 7 run (Kick failed)

M – De. Smith 14 pass from Kempt (McCarthy kick)

M – Taylor 17 run (McCarthy kick)

AG – Holmes 16 run (Mayhart kick)

M – Rambo 25 pass from McCormick (McCarthy kick)

AG – Monk 15 run (Mayhart kick)

M – Conley 17 pass from McCormick (McCarthy kick)

AG Mas

First downs 10 21

Rushes-yards 31-84 35-225

Comp-Att-Int 7-19-2 17-31-0

Passing yards 64 263

Fumbles-lost 0-0 4-0

Penalties-yards 1-5 4-35

Records 3-5 7-2


Rushing: Massillon – Taylor 12-84 2 TDs; McCormick 7-83; Winters 3-32 2 TDs; Da. Smith 10-13.

Avon Grove – Monk 17-83 TD.


Massillon – Kempt 10-16-159 2 TDs; McCormick 7-15-104 2 TDs.

Avon Grove – Fiala 7-18-64 2 INTs; Monk 0-1-0.


Massillon – De. Smith 6-109 2 TDs; Rambo 3-54 TD; Conley 2-31 TD.

Avon Grove – Pankonien 2-23; Benson 2-21; Holmes 2-9.