Tag: <span>Jamir Thomas</span>

Massillon Tigers Letter Logo Booster Club

2018 Massillon Tiger Football Banquet – Award Winners

The following is a list of the awards given out at the 2018 Massillon Tiger Football Banquet.

2018 Massillon Tiger Football Award Winner: Team MVP: Jamir Thomas

2018 Massillon Tiger Football Award Winner: Special Teams Player of the Year: Seth Jefferson

2018 Massillon Tiger Football Award Winner: Tom Harp Coaches Award: Tyree Broyles (Presented by Tom Harp)

2018 Massillon Tiger Football Award Winner: Scout Team Player of the Year (Defense): Corey Campbell

2018 Massillon Tiger Football Award Winner: Scout Team Player of the Year (Offense): Jerron Hodges

2018 Massillon Tiger Football Award Winner: Lifter of the Year: Hunter Wantz

2018 Massillon Tiger Football Award Winner: Offensive Player of the Year: Aidan Longwell

2018 Massillon Tiger Football Award Winner: Defensive Player of the Year: Dean Clark

2018 Massillon Tiger Football Award Winner: Paul David Memorial Academic Award: Cameron Sunkle

2018 Massillon Tiger Football Award Winner: Captains Award: Jamir Thomas, Aidan Longwell, Tre’Von Morgan, Justin Gaddis, Dean Clark, Deon Williams

2018 Massillon Tiger Football Award Winner: Ducky Schroeder Outstanding Offensive Lineman Award: Deon Williams

2018 Massillon Tiger Football Award Winner: Coach Lee Tressel Citizenship Award: Aydan Burgess

2018 Massillon Tiger Football Award Winner: Bob Smith/Bill Snyder Sportsmanship Award: Brock Orr

2018 Massillon Tiger Football Award Winner: Thayer Munford A.C.T. Award: Jamir Thomas


Massillon football celebrates special season one more time
Jan 17, 2019 9:51 PM
By Alex Tichenor Independent sports writer

MASSILLON The state championship game is still fresh in the minds of Massillon football players.

And it probably will be for a long time. But not necessarily in a bad way.

“There’s a lot of things I would go back and change, but it’s already happened, so I can’t go back and change it,” senior wide receiver Tre’Von Morgan said. “You have to think about it and cherish all the (good) moments we had in that game. … It was fun. We’re kids. We gotta have fun.”

They remember the comeback. How McKinley’s home, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, turned into a version of Paul Brown Tiger Stadium for a night. How pandemonium ensued when Aydrik Ford took Aidan Longwell’s pass 67 yards to the house to bring the Tigers within six points after trailing by four touchdowns at halftime.

The teenagers sitting in banquet hall of the Massillon Knights of Columbus accomplished something few Massillon teams of recent memory have. Not all end-of-the-season banquets are created equal, but the Tigers certainly had reason to celebrate like no other team in Stark County this season. And they did just that, once more as a team.

Of course, there was much more to reminisce on that the state championship game for the Tigers. Head coach Nate Moore detailed almost every one of Massillon’s 14 wins from the podium as players, coaches, parents and fans polished off their ice cream.

There was the 46-40 win over East St. Louis, the closest anyone came to ruining Massillon’s perfect regular season. And the 101-point game against Sun Valley the very next week, the furthest anyone came to ruining Massillon’s perfect season.

“Apparently there were some people around the country who weren’t happy about that,” Moore said of the 101-6 win. “And when that last touchdown happened, I cringed, but I’m never gonna tell a kid to not play his tail off.”

And of course, the McKinley game. Most players in the room had never lost to McKinley as varsity lettermen. In fact, Jamir Thomas was the only player who lettered on the 2015 team, the last one to lose to the Bulldogs.

As often as the Tigers’ state title game run came up, beating McKinley followed.

“(Beating McKinley) is one of the best feelings you can feel in high school football,” senior linebacker Cameron Sunkle said.

But what set this Massillon team apart from many of the teams of decade’s past was the run to Canton. These Tigers were the fourth team to make it all the way to the state championship game since, joining the 1980,1982 and 2005 Tigers.

It was a run that brought hundreds of Tigers fans out to Lincoln Way whenever they traveled home from playoff games.

“Coming home from a playoff game was pretty much the best feeling you could ever have,” junior running back Zion Phifer said. “It doesn’t get better than Massillon.”

It was a run that spawned unlikely heroes, like Zach Catrone’s three-touchdown performance off the bench when the starting QB Longwell went down, and grew the stars of Division I college recruits like Thomas and Morgan.

And it was a run that ultimately came up short, but still ended in a thrilling main event against Akron Archbishop Hoban, bringing out 16,213 fans to Benson Stadium on a rainy November Thursday night.

Even though Hoban ended the night as the state champion, everybody on the Massillon sideline will remember the explosion when Ford scored to make it a one-score game early in the fourth quarter first.

“It was crazy,” senior linebacker Kyshad Mack said. “I thought we were gonna win it right there. … It’s something I’ll probably never forget in my life.”

And even those most devastated by the loss can take heart in one thing: they left the program in better shape than when they entered it.

“I feel like we laid the groundwork for the younger guys,” senior safety Dean Clark said. “We showed them how to win, how to do things right and how to get to that level. If anything, we laid that down for them. But it still would have been nice to win.”

Reach Alex at 330-775-1129 or alex.tichenor@indeonline.com

On Twitter: @atichenorINDE


2018: Massillon 41, Cincinnati Winton Woods 20

Massillon tops Winton Woods, heading to Division II title game

Nov 23, 2018 10:54 PM

GAHANNA Massillon faced an early deficit. It faced a second-half comeback. It faced injury to one of its best players.

Now, the Tigers will face three-time state champion Archbishop Hoban for the Division II state championship.

Massillon earned its first trip to the title game since 2005 thanks to a 41-20 victory over Winton Woods on Friday night at Gahanna’s Wilbur C. Strait Stadium. It is the Tigers’ fourth title-game appearance, and first in Division II.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” said Massillon coach Nate Moore, whose team scored 26 straight points in the second and third quarters to rally from a 10-0 deficit and improved to 14-0 while setting a school record for wins in a season. “They played a whale of a ballgame against a great football team. I’m really proud of them.

The Tigers will lock horns against the 14-0 Knights on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. To get there though, Massillon had to exert a bit of revenge on a nemesis from its recent past.

A year ago, Winton Woods overcame a 21-0 Tiger lead in the first half scored the final 56 points to win going away. A year later, the Warriors were the ones who were in possession of the early lead, only to see Massillon roar from behind.

“We’ve been waiting for them all season,” said cornerback Max Turner, whose 38-yard interception return for a touchdown with 21 seconds left in the first half capped a 19-0 Tiger second-quarter run. “I’m talking in the weight room, off-season, 15-for-15 was all for Winton Woods. We knew what it is.”

That didn’t mean Massillon wasn’t in for a little bit of early adversity.

Winton Woods led 10-0 after the first quarter thanks to a 36-yard Yeri Velasquez field goal and a 3-yard Miyan Williams rushing touchdown. The Tigers, meanwhile, had just two first downs and 39 total yards of offense in that same time.

“Just keep playing ball,” Moore said of his message to the team. “Just keep playing football. Keep playing football.”

Jamir Thomas would put Massillon on the board with a 15-yard touchdown run two minutes into the second quarter at 10-7. He would added a 1-yard run with 40 seconds left in the half to give the Tigers the lead for good at 13-10.

Thomas, who would leave the game late in the third quarter with an injury, ran for 83 yards on 12 carries.

Massillon would turn momentum totally on its side just 19 seconds later, when Turner’s pick-six provided it a 19-10 halftime lead. That lead would grow to 26-10 less than a minute into the third quarter when Aidan Longwell hit Tre’Von Morgan for a 58-yard touchdown.

Longwell finished 14-of-27 for 210 yards with one touchdown and one interception. That interception, with Massillon leading 26-13 in the third quarter, was the only crack Winton Woods could find to attempt to get back in the game.

After the pick, the Warriors faced a 3rd-and-29 from their own 24. MiChale Wingfield hit Williams on a screen pass for 75 yard to the Massillon 1.

On the next play, Williams scored his second touchdown of the night to pull Winton Woods within 26-20. Williams, who rushed for 2,742 yards over the first 13 games, finished with 82 rushing yards on 20 carries.

“I thought they did a great job,” Massillon defensive coordinator Craig McConnell said of the defense against Williams. “Honestly, our plan was, if we stop 28 (Williams), we win. I wouldn’t use the words that we stopped him, but limited him. He’s going to make his plays. He’s a great football player.”

With the Tigers’ own All-Ohio running back, Thomas, sidelined for the final quarter, the ball went to junior Zion Phifer. Phifer didn’t disappoint.

“I did it for the seniors,” said Phifer, who gained 76 of his 82 yards on 15 fourth-quarter carries. “When Jamir went down, we had no one else to come up but me. So I did it for me team.”

Phifer’s 13-yard run on the second play of the fourth quarter gave Massillon a two-score lead again at 34-20 after Longwell hit Dean Clark for a two-point conversion. His 1-yard run with 1:34 remaining in the game gave the Tigers a 41-20 lead.

A 21-point lead which Massillon rode into the Division II state championship game.


Reach Chris at 330-775-1128 or chris.easterling@indeonline.com

On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE


2018: Massillon 41, Wadsworth 19

Kickoff return keys Massillon’s return to the state semifinals
Nov 16, 2018 10:39 PM
Chris Easterling

NORTH CANTON Massillon was looking for something to help it get a little separation.

Almost two full quarters into Friday night’s Division II Region 7 championship game against Wadsworth, the Tigers were locked in a tie game. Every time they would seem to grab a bit of momentum, the Grizzlies had the answer.

That is, until the final three-plus minutes of the first half. That’s when Massillon grabbed the separation it needed to send it to its second consecutive regional championship with 41-19 victory in front of a capacity crowd at North Canton Memorial Stadium.

“I knew it was a big key in the game,” said senior Kyshad Mack, whose 82-yard kickoff return with 3:12 remaining in the first half gave the Tigers the lead for good at 17-10. “I went out and made a play for my brothers.”

Mack’s kickoff return was one of two Tiger touchdowns in the final 3:12 of the half. The other was a 12-yard Aidan Longwell-to-Jamir Thomas’ scoring pass with 17 seconds remaining, giving Massillon a 24-10 halftime lead.

The Grizzlies, who bow out at 12-1, would get no closer than 12 the remainder of the game. The Tigers, meanwhile, would use Mack’s return to key a 31-9 game-ending burst.

“The kickoff return was huge,” said Massillon coach Nate Moore, whose team now has the best start in school history at 13-0. “Then, to drive down the field and get a score there to push it to two scores there was big.”

Massillon’s state-semifinal matchup won’t be official until the Ohio High School Athletic Association announces it on Sunday afternoon. However, based upon the results of Friday’s Division II regional finals, it sets up the extreme likelihood of two rematches from a year ago in the final four, with the Tigers facing Winton Woods and three-time state champion Hoban meeting Avon.

Moore, whose team tied the 2005 state runner-up team for most wins in school history, wasn’t prepared to focus too much on the next opponent.

“I have a feeling how it’s going to go,” said Moore, whose team lost to the Warriors in last year’s state semifinals. “I think we’re going to have to wait and see what the OHSAA decides.”

With just under four minutes left in the first half on Friday, Massillon couldn’t afford to look ahead to the state semifinals. At that point in time, it was just trying to shake a very good Wadsworth team.

Massillon took leads of 7-0 and 10-7 in the first half thanks to a 53-yard Longwell-to-Jayden Ballard touchdown pass and a 32-yard Alex Bauer field goal. Wadsworth, though, would get a Trey Shaffer-to-Tyler Montgomery 20-yard pass and a 25-yard Blake Turano field goal to twice square the game.

Wadsworth finished the game with 394 total yards, the second-highest total of the season against Massillon. That included 244 rushing yards, 109 of those by Dom Loparo.

Brock Snowball added 91 yards on the ground for the Grizzlies.

Wadsworth, though, couldn’t get the game tied for a third time. After Mack’s return, the Tigers tried a pooch kick which they recovered, but were called for illegal touching to give Wadsworth the ball at the Massillon 46.

Four plays later, the Grizzlies faced a fourth-and-6 from the Tiger 9 and attempted a field goal. The kick fell short, giving Massillon the football back at its 20.

Ten plays later, the Tigers – who had 403 total yards – had the two-score lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Compounding the issue for Wadsworth was the fact its first second-half possession was stopped on downs at the Massillon 1.

“That was the plan,” Wadsworth coach Justin Todd said of making it a one-score game out of the half. “That’s what we needed to do. We needed to come out in the second half and we had to score. Unfortunately, we didn’t punch it in.”

The Grizzlies would get a safety on the subsequent play after the goal-line stand to pull within 24-12. However, their next drive was snuffed out by a Dean Clark interception at the Massillon 22.

The Tigers would turn their next two possessions into points, essentially removing all doubt. They would get a 33-yard Bauer field goal for a 27-12 lead, followed by a 24-yard Longwell-to-Clark pass for a 34-12 edge.

Longwell, who missed the last three quarters of the regional-semifinal win over Whitehall-Yearling with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder, showed no ill effects. The junior was 17-of-25 for a career-high 306 yards with four touchdowns.

“He played pretty well,” Moore said of Longwell. “He made a lot of good decisions out there and threw a lot of good balls. I’m proud of him.


Reach Chris at 330-775-1128 or chris.easterling@indeonline.com.

On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE


2018: Massillon 35, Columbus Whitehall-Yearling 17

Massillon overcomes injury, Whitehall-Yearling, to reach regional final
Nov 09, 2018 10:38 PM
Chris Easterling

MANSFIELD If it could go wrong for Massillon, it went wrong on Friday night.

An injury to starting quarterback Aidan Longwell. Multiple turnovers. Flags galore.

Yet, when it was all over, the Tigers’ state-championship dreams remained intact, as they held off Whitehall-Yearling 35-17 in a Division II Region 7 semifinal at Mansfield’s Arlin Field.

“All through the offseason, our coaches preached coming through adversity,” said Massillon senior Dean Clark, who will join his teammates in a regional final against Wadsworth next Friday at a site to be announced this weekend. “We’ve been going through adversity this whole season, the whole year. We were prepared for it.”

The adversity started on the next-to-last play of the first quarter, when Longwell – who had given Massillon a 7-0 lead on its first play, a 70-yard touchdown pass to Jayden Ballard – suffered an injury while attempting to score from the Ram 1. To add a certain insult to the injury, the official ruled an inadvertent whistle on the play, negating what possibly could’ve been a 99-yard fumble return by Whitehall for a score.

Enter sophomore Zach Catrone, who would lead the Tigers through the final three quarter. Catrone finished 16-of-24 for 177 yards with three touchdown passes and an interception.

“(Catrone’s) done a great job all year,” said Massillon coach Nate Moore, whose team matched the 1982 team for best start to a season at 12-0. “He led our JV team to an undefeated record. We have a lot confidence with him going in. We’re real proud of his performance.”

That performance included a 15-yard touchdown pass to Tre’Von Morgan right before halftime to give Massillon a 17-9 lead. Catrone also hit Ballard for a 55-yard touchdown with 5:07 remaining in the third quarter to give the Tigers the lead for good at 23-17.

Catrone would hit Morgan for a 9-yard strike with 42 seconds left to provide the final margin. The officials would call the game after that score when Whitehall was flagged for multiple unsportsmanlike penalties on the subsequent point-after try.

The entire Ram bench emptied onto the field after the play. After a lengthy conference, the officials ended the game, which was marred by multiple personal fouls on both sides.

“We came out and played hard,” Moore said. “We certainly weren’t perfect, none of us. Just played hard and got the win.”

Massillon would be flagged 12 times total in the game for 104 penalty yards. Whitehall was hit with seven flags for 63 yards.

It was Tiger turnover, though, which helped open the door for the Rams. Massillon had three giveaways on the night, compared to just one takeaway, a Luke Murphy interception with just over two minutes remaining.

The biggest of those Tiger turnovers came on the second play of the second half. A bad snap was picked up by Whitehall’s Sir-Blake Singleton and returned for a touchdown.

Raymell Byrd’s two-point conversion run would help the Rams, who never led in the game, pull even at 17-17.

That would be the only time Whitehall was able to get the game even after Massillon took the lead on its first play from scrimmage. The Rams would pull within 10-9 on Christian Gordon’s 64-yard catch-and-run off a Byrd pass, but the tying conversion failed due to a bad snap.

Whitehall would finish with 191 yards, 101 of those through the air. Byrd, the Rams’ leading rusher, finished with 52 yards on 11 carries.

Massillon would put the game away by bowing up on defense and running the football in the fourth quarter. The Tigers twice kept Whitehall from scoring over the final 12 minutes despite reaching their side of the 50.

Meanwhile, Massillon would run the ball on 15 of its final 16 plays. That included a 15-yard touchdown run by Jamir Thomas with 5:45 remaining to put the Tigers up 29-17.

“It was huge, huge,” Moore said. “It pushed it to a two-score game. That was huge, especially after the blocked extra point.”

Thomas finished with 136 yards on 16 carries for Massillon.


Reach Chris at 330-775-1128 or chris.easterling@indeonline.com.

On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE


2018: Massillon 24, Canton McKinley 17

Massillon edges McKinley 24-17 in 129th meeting of rivals
Oct 27, 2018 7:30 PM
Josh Weir
Canton Repository

MASSILLON While his teammates whooped it up Saturday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Massillon senior Jamir Thomas shed tears as he hugged his family.

Why this emotion in a time of celebration?

“Because this is the last Massillon-McKinley game I ever get to be a part of,” Thomas said.

He made the most of it.

Thomas ran for a career-high 269 yards to key Massillon’s 24-17 win against McKinley in the 129th meeting between the rivals.

A near-capacity crowd watched the Tigers hammer the ball on the ground on a rainy, cold afternoon. Fifty-three times Massillon ran it, with Thomas carrying it 35 times and scoring twice.

After Thomas did most of the heavy lifting to get Massillon down the field, it was junior Zion Phifer punching the ball into the end zone on a 1-yard run with 5:55 left to break a 17-17 tie.

McKinley went three-and-out on its ensuing possession, which turned out to be its final possession. Massillon ran the ball 11 straight times to eat up the final 4:52 of clock and complete the program’s first 10-0 regular season since 1999.

“It’s just playing like Tigers, which means playing hard, playing with discipline, playing with great effort, and doing that for eight months,” Massillon head coach Nate Moore said.

Phifer added 67 yards on 15 carries as the Tigers attempted only eight passes all afternoon. Massillon has won three straight and seven out of the last eight in the series against McKinley.

“We came out here expecting to pound the ball,” Thomas said. “I mean, they knew our plays. They were calling out our plays from their sideline. So we really just had to execute. That’s what we did.”
OHSAA playoff pairings will be announced Sunday, but it appears Massillon will host Columbus Walnut Ridge next week in Division II, Region 7, while McKinley will go to Solon in Division I, Region 1.

Down 17-10 at halftime, McKinley’s Kris Hunter recovered a pooch kick that Jayden Ballard couldn’t collect. Nine plays later, quarterback Alijah Curtis fought off at least three tackles before just breaking the plane of the goal line on a 4-yard TD run before the ball popped loose.

The game was tied and the Bulldogs had life. Soon Massillon was sucking it away.

McKinley ran seven offensive plays over the final 19:54 of game clock thanks to Massillon’s punishing run game.

“It was a quick second half,” McKinley head coach Dan Reardon said. “We’ve got to do a better job of getting them stopped. We had a couple of opportunities.”

Entering Saturday, only one of Massillon’s nine wins had come by less than 28. If the Tigers needed a test, they got it from McKinley.

Lameir Garrett ran for 104 yards on 19 carries to lead the Bulldogs. He added a 15-yard touchdown on a throwback screen in the first quarter that had McKinley up 7-3.

Curtis completed 7 of 13 passes for 90 yards and one interception as the Bulldogs dropped their second straight game after beginning the season 8-0.

“I thought our kids did a lot of good things,” Reardon said. “Rivalry games, big games, this game, everything is magnified. A missed tackle is magnified. A misalignment is magnified. A misread. Ultimately, they made more plays than we did.

“… I’m very proud of our kids. Our kids this year have done a tremendous job of getting so much better over the course of the year. The team we are today is a thousand times better than 10 or 12 weeks ago.”

Facing a fourth-and-6 at their own 37 on the first play of the fourth quarter, McKinley ran a fake punt. The play’s timing seemed to be disrupted and Matthew Reardon’s pass was picked off by Max Turner.

A Massillon unsportsmanlike penalty pushed the ball back to the Tigers’ 36, where it embarked on the game-winning drive. It included QB Aidan Longwell plowing forward to get a first down on fourth-and-1 from the 20.

“This game, it’s a slugfest,” Moore said. “It always is. Our kids stood tall.”

Tyree Broyles got an interception off a Kyshad Mack deflection in the second quarter to thwart any McKinley momentum after the Bulldogs got a turnover on downs. The Bulldogs finished with only 224 yards of offense.

Massillon junior nose tackle Emanuel McElroy was a force in the trenches. His stop of Garrett on third-and-goal from the 1 in the first quarter forced McKinley to settle for a 20-yard Ronald Pino field goal.

McElroy, a transfer from Tuslaw, is the son of former McKinley star Jamar Martin, creating an interesting dynamic for his family.

“It was nerve-wracking at first,” McElroy said. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew what I was going to do. Whether they came for McKinley or Massillon is whatever they feel. I’m going to keep doing what I do for my team and help us go 15-for-15.”

With a weapon such as Thomas, anything is possible for Massillon. The Canton native, a mix of power and speed, highlighted his final McKinley-Massillon game with 78- and 16-yard touchdown runs.

“It’s just unbelievable,” Thomas said. “I just love my team, man.”


or josh.weir@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @jweirREP

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2018: Massillon 41, Louisville 0

Focused Tigers shut down Leopards to stay undefeated
Oct 19, 2018 11:30 PM
Chris Easterling

LOUISVILLE Louisville made a point to let undefeated Massillon know it was on the field before the ball was even teed up on Friday night. The teams had to be separated after the Leopards ran up to the Tigers while the latter waited to take the field.

Once the ball was kicked off, Massillon made sure Louisville knew it was on the field. The Tigers scored four first-quarter touchdowns, while the defense dominated, to lead them to a 41-0 win over the Leopards in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Louisville Stadium.

“That really surprised me that that even happened before the game,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said. “We certainly responded well. We got out focus back and played hard.”

The win gives Massillon it’s first 9-0 start since 2005. However, the chance for the first Week 10 showdown between undefeated and untied Massillon and McKinley teams since that season – and sixth time ever – was thwarted when Perry knocked off the Bulldogs.

Still, the Tigers have a chance to post their first undefeated regular season since 1999 with a win over McKinley in next Saturday’s 129th edition of The Game at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“It’s the biggest game in high school football,” Moore said. “It’s an honor to be a part of it.”

Part of a tradition to The Game is the worry both teams have about Week 9. A potential to peak ahead to the rivalry game always seems to exist, regardless of who the opponent they may be facing.

Any doubt that the Tigers would be looking past Friday’s game was erased when the Leopards made their pregame beeline toward Massillon. While the “scuffle” was more bark than bite by either team, it certainly ignited a fire under the Tigers.

Louisville coach John DeMarco declined to comment about the pregame incident, as well as the four first-half personal fouls his team committed. However, he acknowledged what he saw over the four quarters his team played against the Tigers supported everything he saw of them on film during the week.

“They played like I thought they could play,” said DeMarco, whose team was shut out for the first since since Austintown Fitch won 26-0 in Week 3 of the 2016 season. “They’re a very good team, a very complete team. They do a lot of different things well.”

While the offense has been one of the calling cards for Massillon this season, it was the defense which set the tone throughout the game. That started with the Tigers’ first score, a 24-yard interception return for a touchdown by Max Turner with 8:42 remaining in the first quarter.

Turner’s pick – his second in as many weeks which he returned for a score – was one of three for Massillon on the night. That includes back-to-back possessions in the first quarter, as Kyshad Mack picked off the first pass of the Leopards’ subsequent possession at the Louisville 33.

That set up Massillon’s first offensive score of the night, a 1-yard Aidan Longwell touchdown run to make it 14-0 with 5:38 left in the quarter. That was the first of three consecutive touchdown drives for the Tigers, with Longwell hitting Jayden Ballard for a 74-yard scoring strike to make it 21-0 with 1:56 left in the quarter, and Jamir Thomas scoring from a yard out to make it 28-0 one play into the second quarter.

Ballard would catch a 78-yard touchdown pass with 1:51 remaining in the first half to make it 34-0 Tigers. Thomas’ second 1-yard run made it 41-0 with 5:10 left in the third quarter.

Thomas rushed for 113 yards on 17 carries. Longwell completed 8-of-11 passes for 203 yards with two touchdowns and one pick.

It was, however, the Tiger defense which set the tone.

Massillon limited Louisville to just 145 total yards. Leopard quarterback Colton Jones, who had thrown for more than 800 yards in his team’s three-game win streak entering the game, was 17-of-34 passing for 143 yards.

Not only did the Tigers keep the potent Louisville passing game in check, it did so despite having their backs to the goal line on multiple first-half possessions. Massillon had three fourth-down stops in the first half, including back-to-back fourth-and-goals in the second quarter from its own 3.

“We got down there a couple of times and weren’t able to score,” DeMarco said. “That was a little frustrating. They had a lot to do with that.”


Reach Chris at 330-775-1128 or chris.easterling@indeonline.com.

On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2018: Massillon 101, Sun Valley, PA 6

Records fall as Massillon puts up 101 in victory
Oct 13, 2018 1:15 AM

MASSILLON Massillon was coming off its biggest win of the season to date. It was its most emotional and, easily, its closest.

As memorable as the Tigers’ win over East St. Louis (Ill.) was, they made a completely different kind of memory as they welcomed another out-of-state opponent – Sun Valley of Pennsylvania – to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Friday. It turned into a night not soon to be forgotten by anyone on either side.

Massillon turned a 73-point first half into a school-record 101-6 win over the Vanguards.

“Our kids work hard and they deserve to play,” said Massillon coach Nate Moore, whose 8-0 team will play at Louisville next Friday. “We subbed early and often. We just kept scoring. I don’t know. I don’t even know what to say.”

The Tigers broke the most points in a game, which was 94, set in a 1922 win over Akron North. They were well on their way to that mark by the half, when they led 73-6.

Massillon was in front 94-6 after the third quarter. The Tigers would top the 100-point plateau on a 77-yard Raekwon Venson touchdown run with 1:56 remaining.

“They are top-notch, the highest level of high-school football program, and we’re not,” said Sun Valley coach Greg “Bubba” Bernhard, whose team fell to 3-5. “We lose our best three skill players in the first (half). We’ve got 37 kids in uniform. We’re in a tough spot. We basically had to hang on. What are you going to do?”

The school record for points in a game wasn’t the only mark to fall. Multiple individual career records also fell.

A week after Jamir Thomas became Massillon’s all-time rushing leader in the 46-40 win over East St. Louis (Ill.), he added another mark to his illustrious career. This time, he became the Tigers’ all-time leader in rushing touchdowns

Thomas came into the game two behind Bob Glass’ all-time mark of 47 rushing scores set between 1935-37. He pulled within one of that mark with a 27-yard scamper to give Massillon a 17-0 lead after one quarter.

The record-tying run, a 46-yard burst with 2:01 into the second quarter, gave the Tigers a 24-0 lead. He would break the mark with 5:52 remaining in the half with a 39-yard touchdown run to make it 52-6 Massillon.

Thomas carried the ball just seven times on the night, rushing for 167 yards and three scores.

Tyree Broyles became the Tigers’ all-time leader in kickoff return touchdowns when he took the second-half kickoff back – after getting the ball handed to him by a teammate at the Tiger 24 – 76 yards for his third career score. Broyles’ record, which broke the old mark of two set by Arvine Ulrich in 1922, made it 80-6 Massillon.

“We had a couple of records go down tonight, so I’m really happy about that,” said Moore, whose team did suffer a key injury when Zion Phifer – who scored the Tigers’ first touchdown – was taken off the field with an apparent head injury late in the first half. “Jamir Thomas with the all-time career rushing touchdown record and Tyree Broyles with the all-time career kickoff-return touchdown record. Those are great things; two records which stood the test of time and two really good players who deserved those records.”

The kickoff return for a score would give Massillon touchdowns five different ways: rushing, passing, kickoff return, punt return and interception return. Tre’Von Morgan would catch a touchdown pass and return a punt for a score, while Kyshad Mack and Max Turner each had interception returns for a score.

Marcellus Blake had two rushing touchdown as well for the Tigers.

Massillon would out-gain Sun Valley 582-274 in total offense. Julz Kelly would score the Vanguards’ only touchdown on an 81-yard pass from Anthony Ellis to make it 45-6, but would be injured on the play.


Reach Chris at 330-775-1128 or chris.easterling@indeonline.com.

On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2018: Massillon 42, Akron Firestone 0

Methodical Massillon moves to 5-0 with rout of Firestone

Sep 21, 2018 10:18 PM
MASSILLON There was a lot of words Massillon coach Nate Moore could’ve conjured up to describe his team’s 42-0 win over Firestone on Friday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

So, how about the word “methodical” to describe the performance?

“I think that’s a fair way to put it,” Moore said after his team improved to 5-0 on the season.

Game Action vs. Firestone

Methodical would fit perfectly with the approach the Tigers used to take care of a winless Falcon team which had come into the game having scored only 12 points in the first four games combined. Massillon, save for a pair of fumbles, came out and scored on four of its five first-half possessions, then added a fifth score to open the second half.

The Tigers would lead 35-0 16 seconds into the third quarter. That gave Massillon its fourth consecutive running-clock game, and the third time in that span in which the rule was put into effect within one play of the second half starting.

“I thought we did a good job during the week,” Moore said. “I liked out preparation. We were OK today, sloppy in a couple of places. We’ve got to get them cleaned up because we’ve got a big one coming up next week (against visiting Austintown Fitch).”

Both teams seemed content to not rush into things throughout the game, even as Massillon was opening up a 28-0 halftime lead. Firestone, in particular, was methodical when it had the football.

Despite the fact the Falcons only had four first-half first downs, and only two true drives in that span, they still owned a 15:51-8:09 edge in time of possession at the intermission. Even when Firestone set itself up with a first-and-goal from the Tiger 10 after a 63-yard quarterback keeper by George Rozier, its deliberate approach – and lack of timeouts – let the clock run out after a third-down run.

Rozier’s run accounted for 55 percent of the 114 first-half yards Firestone gained. The Falcons finished with 130 yards for the game.

“We kind of knew before the game started that it was going to be a very difficult task,” Firestone coach Eric Mitchell said. “(Massillon’s) a very good football team. They’re a disciplined football team. They’ve got players at every level: Skill, line, quarterback. Our game plan was to come in and try to shorten the game and run the ball a little bit and try to have some success with the short passing game and hopefully keep their offense off the field.”

Game action vs. Akron Firestone

The methodical approach by Firestone was countered by a Massillon offensive attack which was more than happy to play ground-and-pound. That was especially true with the Tigers short-handed due to a handful of players sidelined for a variety of reasons, including some team-discipline related.

“We had guys out because of injury and we had guys out tonight because of program expectations,” Moore said.

Massillon ran the ball 23 times – one of which was a quarterback scramble – out of its 32 first-half plays. Those 23, however, still accounted for 172 net yards and all four first-half scores.

The Tigers would finish with 282 rushing yards on 37 attempts. They had 365 total yards on 48 plays for the game.

Jamir Thomas was the primary beneficiary of the run-first approach, as he topped the 100-yard plateau for the fifth game in a row by halftime. Thomas, who had 107 yards and two touchdowns on 10 first-half carries, finished with 110 yards and three scores for the game.

That total gives him 2,900 yards and 43 rushing touchdowns for his career. That leaves him 190 yards behind Art Hasting’s school-record 3,090 yards, and four scores behind Bob Glass’ record 47 rushing touchdowns.

Thomas’s scoring runs of 11 and 21 yards on the first two Tiger drives staked Massillon to a 14-0 lead with 3:42 remaining in the first quarter. His third scoring run, a 3-yarder on the first play of the third quarter, made it 35-0 Massillon.

Marcellus Blake and Zion Phifer also had first-half scores for Massillon. Blake’s 1-yard run made it 21-0 Tigers with :51 left in the first quarter, while Phifer added a 3-yard scoring burst with 3:29 left in the half for a 28-0 lead.

Jean-Luc Beasley added a fourth-quarter touchdown for Massillon.


Reach Chris at 330-775-1128 or chris.easterling@indeonline.com.

On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2018: Massillon 49, Montclair, NJ 7

Turnovers turn to touchdowns as Tigers torch Montclair

MASSILLON Turnovers are a football team’s worst enemy. They can also be a team’s best friend.

For Massillon, they were a little bit of both as it played host to New Jersey 2017 state champion Montclair on Friday night.

Game Action vs. Montclair

The Tigers found themselves in an early deficit thanks to an interception which was returned for a Mounties’ touchdown. However, they used Montclair fumbles on consecutive kickoffs to turn a tie game into an advantage, kick-starting Massillon to a 49-7 victory at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“The special-team units ran fast, hit hard,” said Massillon coach Nate Moore after his team improved to 4-0 with a visit from Firestone coming next week. “The ball popped out and we were able to recover a couple of those. Our offense was able to take advantage of it.”

Those back-to-back Mountie fumbles were two of three first-half turnovers they had. They also muffed a punt – on fourth-and-38, no less – to set up the Tigers’ for one more score before half, giving them a 35-7 advantage at the break.

It would be 42-7 on the first play of the second half after a 65-yard Jamir Thomas run. Thomas finished with 131 yards on 18 carries and the one score, giving him a fourth consecutive 100-plus-yard rushing performance.

“We’ve been giving stuff away,” said Montclair coach John Fiore, whose team fell to 1-2. “Even the 35-0 win (over Nutley, N.J., last week) should’ve been 70-0. We just give it away, give it away, give it away. Three fumbles in a row; missing a first down by an inch.

Massillon would begin emptying the bench after that run, which instituted the running-clock rule or the third consecutive game. It was the second time in that span the Tigers have basically played the entire second half under the rule.

Game Action vs. Montclair

Quarterback Aidan Longwell once again showed he likes Week 4. He threw a career-high five touchdowns – all in the first half – matching the five he threw in Week 4 a year ago against Ursuline.

That was all part of Longwell’s 11-of-20, 216-yard performance. All coming in the first half.

“They were loading the box on us,” Moore said. “Our receiving corps and our quarterback executed what they’re supposed to execute.”

At one point, Longwell threw touchdowns on four consecutive pass attempts. The only issue was that the first of those accounted for Montclair’s only score.

On a first-and-21 play from the Montclair 37, a pass attempt was deflected by a defender and intercepted by Walter King, who brought it back 66 yards for a Mountie touchdown. The 7-0 deficit, with 8:17 remaining in the first quarter, marked he second time in as many games the Tigers trailed early in a game.

That was one of two first-half interceptions by the Tigers. They also had one at the Mounties’ 2.

The deficit, as was the case a week earlier in a win over Warren Harding, didn’t last long. On a third-and-14 play from their own 28, Longwell hit Aydrik Ford on a post pattern for a 72-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 just 1:33 after the Montclair touchdown.

That’s when the Mounties began giving the ball up, and the Tigers were more than happy to turn those into points. The first fumbled kickoff return came at the Montclair 32.

Five plays after that, Longwell hit Tre’Von Morgan on a fade route down the left sideline for a 20-yard touchdown. Alex Bauer’s point-after kick gave the Tigers a 14-7 lead.

On the next kickoff, Montclair fumbled at its own 20. On the next play, Longwell and Ford hooked up to make it 21-7 Massillon with 3:52 left in the first quarter.

Morgan had three first-half catches for 51 yards, all of which went for touchdowns. Beyond the go-ahead 20-yard scoring catch, he added twoleaping grabs in the end zone in the second quartert to turn a 21-7 lead into a 35-7 cushion.

Not to be outdone was Ford, the Tigers’ statistical leader. He had a seven-catch, 162-yard first half, almost doubling his season output.

While the Tiger offense was putting up points, the defense was doing its part to keep the Mounties’ offense from finding a rhythm. The Mounties were held to just 45 net first-half yards, and only had two first-half first down, one of which came courtesy of a Massillon penalty.

In fact, two of the three Montclair first downs came thanks to Tiger flags. The Mounties finished with just 43 yards on 30 total plays.

The passing game which was a concern to Massillon’s defensive coaches never materialized. Montclair was just 2-of-12 throwing the ball for three yards.

“Listen, you can’t have 40 yards of offense,” Fiore said. “We just imploded.”


Reach Chris at 330-775-1128 or chris.easterling@indeonline.com.

On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2018: Massillon 51, Warren Harding 21

Tigers contain Adams, roll over Warren Harding

MASSILLON Kay’Ron Adams slipped through the line of scrimmage, out into the open and into the end zone for a Warren Harding touchdown.

Four plays into Friday night’s game at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Massillon was looking at two things it didn’t want to see. Adams getting free and a deficit on the scoreboard.

Those two things, however, wouldn’t endure for long.

Game action vs. Warren Harding

The Tigers would score on seven of their nine possessions, while the Raider running back could never really find the running lanes available he found on his scoring jaunt. All of those added up to a 51-21 win and Massillon’s first 3-0 start since 2014.

“We did well offensively all night,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said afterwards. “I’m proud of the way we executed for most of the night. … We’ll take 51 points.”

Adams, the physical and fast Warren senior running back, was the focal point of the Tiger defensive game plan throughout the week. As a junior, he had rushed for 202 yards and three scores in a 31-21 Massillon.

Two carries into Friday’s game, Adams looked to be on his way to another such night. He had 66 yards, 55 of those on his touchdown run which gave the Raiders a 7-0 lead 1:13 into the game.

Adams would add a 31-yard run on Warren’s second possession, which ended with an incomplete pass on fourth-and-23 from the Tiger 30. However, he wouldn’t have another run from scrimmage for more than 10 yards, as he finished with 123 yards on 20 carries.

Adams’ two longest plays in the final three quarters were receptions of 11 and 32 yards. The latter was a screen pass which went for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Game Action vs. Warren Harding

“It’s just playing hard, being disciplined, being in the right place, getting off blocks,” said Moore, whose team also recorded a safety when Nakoa Keefer picked up a second-quarter sack. “We tackled, wrapped up. You just go out and try to play really good defense.”

While Adams had Massillon’s full attention, the Tigers had their own runner worthy of a defense’s focus. And Jamir Thomas also wasted little time reminding the Raiders of that fact.

Thomas ripped off a 53-yard run to the Warren 3 on his first carry of the game, and tied the game with a 1-yard plunge two plays later. By the time Massillon hit the locked room with a 30-13 halftime lead, the senior running back had already topped the 100-yard plateau for the third time in as many games this season, with 149 yards on 17 first-half carries.

Thomas would finish with a career-high 262 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns. Massillon ran for 380 net yards as a team and finished with 550 total yards.

“They have weapons,” Warren coach Steve Arnold said. “(Thomas is) fast, strong and plays a demanding, physical style of football. He’s been here for a long time. I have a loss for words what they did offensively to our defense.”

Thomas may have had Warren’s attention, but it found itself distracted by Massillon’s aerial attack as well. Aidan Longwell threw three first-half touchdown – two of which went to Aydrik Ford, plus one to Tre’Von Morgan – as part of a 145-yard first-half effort.

Longwell finished 12-of-20 passing for 170 yards. He also ran for a 1-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

If there was an issue, though, for Massillon, it was its own miscues. The Tigers threw two interceptions – two of the three times their drives wouldn’t end in scores – as well as had a roughing-the-punter penalty.

The first pick set up an Elijah Taylor 1-yard run to pull Warren to within 23-13. The roughing call kept a drive alive which resulted in Adams’ second score, pulling the Raiders to within 37-21.

“We have plenty to work on,” said Moore, whose team finished the game with the ball on the Warren 1. “Plenty to work on.”


Reach Chris at 330-775-1128 or chris.easterling@indeonline.com.

On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE