Tag: <span>Jamir Thomas</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2017: Massillon 35, Akron Firestone 6

Tigers bounce back, flatten Firestone

Chris Easterling – The Independent
Oct 13, 2017 10:19 PM

MASSILLON Massillon’s first possession Friday night against visiting Firestone went for a three-and-out. It was the first time the Tigers failed to score on their opening possession.

Problem for the Falcons was that Massillon had plenty of other possessions after that one in which it didn’t go three-and-out. In fact, more often then now, they went for touchdowns, as the Tigers bounced back with a 35-6 win over Firestone at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Game action vs. Akron Firestone

“I think we were focused and dialed in, which is what we needed to do,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said after his team bounced back from a Week 7 loss to Canisius (N.Y.) to improve to 6-2. “I don’t know how much better we got; we definitely played better. We need to get the film evaluated and evaluate this game just like we did the previous games and continue to get better every week.

Massillon also shook off any first-possession disappointment to make sure it established control of the game before the teams went to the locker room for halftime. The Tigers scored on four consecutive drives after its first one to open up a 28-0 lead going into the break.

It would take Massillon until its second possession of the second half to get on the board as well. That’s when Aidan Longwell hooked up with Aydrik Ford for a 17-yard touchdown to make it 35-0 with 4:31 remaining in the third quarter.

That was one of three touchdown passes for Longwell. He also hit Jayden Ballard and Austin Kutscher for touchdowns in the first half.

Game action vs. Akron Firestone

“We wanted to come out and make an effort to be more balanced,” said Moore, whose team racked up 360 total yards in the game. “Certainly not perfect, but I thought we did well”

While the Massillon offense generated the points, the Tiger defense was able to do something it had struggled to do at times, even during the five-game win streak. It was consistently able to get off the field quickly.

Two passes to Darshun Williams – a 13-yarder on the Falcons’ first drive and a 39-yarder on their sixth – accounted for the only two times in the first half in which Firestone managed to get across the 50. The first time, which reached the Tiger 43, ended in a punt from the Massillon 46.

The second one put the Falcons on the Massillon 19. The next four plays netted minus-5 yards before Anthony Ballard intercepted a pass in the end zone on fourth down with :38 remaining in the first half.

Game action vs. Akron Firestone

That was one of two first-half interceptions for the Tigers. Max Turner – who started due to a handful of players being suspended for the first quarter due to a violation of team rules – came up with a one-handed pick to squelch Firestone’s second drive.

Remove Williams’ two big plays and Firestone’s offense netted just 38 yards on 25 first-half plays. Williams would put the Falcons on the board with a 34-yard touchdown catch from Joe Namsick with 8:49 remaining in the game.

The Falcons would finish with 232 yards on 54 plays. Of those, 83 came on the lone scoring drive of the game.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt we played better,” Moore said. “Did we play to our potential? No. We need to continue to evaluate and improve. We’ll do that again this weekend.”

Game action vs. Akron Firestone

That defensive performance was counted by a workmanlike effort by Massillon’s offense. One fact which was obvious from the very first possession was the Tigers’ desire to work both the run and pass.

Of the four first-half touchdown, two were passes by Longwell and two were runs. Ballard and Kutscher each caught a score in the first quarter, while Tyree Broyles and Jamir Thomas each ran for a score in the second quarter.

At halftime, Massillon had run the ball 18 times for 111 yards, while Longwell was 11-of-14 for 136 yards passing. The Tigers would finish with 163 rushing yards on 35 attempts, while Longwell was 15-of-19 passing for 197 yards.


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2017: Massillon 35, Buffalo Canisius NY 49

Canisius second-half burst ends Massillon’s streak

Chris Easterling – The Independent
Oct 06, 2017 10:59 PM

MASSILLON   Adversity had shown its face to Massillon before Friday night’s visit from New York reigning Catholic School state champion Canisius. However, not since the season opener had it bared its teeth as much as it did with the visitors from Buffalo in town.

Adversity didn’t just bare its teeth, though, at Massillon on Friday night. It took a big bite out of the Tigers, as Canisius snapped their five-game win streak with a 49-35 win at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“It’s a team game,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said. “We win as a team and we lose as a team. We weren’t good enough tonight. We have to get better.”

Game action vs. Buffalo Cansius NY

Massillon managed to negate one two-touchdown deficit in the first half to tie the game at 21-21 at halftime. However, Canisius scored on its first four possessions of the second half to open up a 49-28 leas with 8:05 remaining.

Jamir Thomas’ fifth touchdown run of the night – a new program record – pulled the Tigers within 49-35 with 7:10 remaining. However, Massillon would fail to get any closer than that.

Thomas finished with 160 rushing yards on 36 carries on the night. He was forced to carry even more of the load when Zion Phifer, who had been sharing the running-back carries through the first six games, left in the second quarter with a knee injury.

Massillon also got a single-game receptions record from Austin Kutscher with 17 grabs for 208 yards. The rest of the Tiger receivers had a combined five catches for 89 yards.

Game action vs. Buffalo Cansius NY

Canisius, which is now 5-1, gained 220 of its 427 total yards on its first four second-half possessions. Quarterback Jayce Johnson threw a pair of second-half touchdowns – one to R.J. Barrett and one to Paul Woods – while rushing for a pair of short scores.

Johnson added a two-point conversion run as well. He was 12-of-19 passing for 220 yards, while rushing for 43 yards on 11 carries.

“I was really proud of the group,” Canisius coach Rich Robbins said. “There was some adversity tonight. There’s was a time where (Massillon) was scoring and it was tilting, and every time they were getting back in it, we responded and made some plays.”

The biggest deficit Massillon faced over its five-game win streak entering Friday’s game was two points. That came in the second quarter of the Week 5 win over Bedford, when the Tigers trailed 16-14 for about four-and-a-half minutes.

Friday night, Massillon found itself trailing by two touchdowns – at 21-7 – with just under eight minutes remaining in the second quarter. Joel Nicholas, who scored all three Canisius first-half touchdowns, ripped off a 40-yard run with multiple broken tackles included to provide the 14-point cushion at the 7:47 mark.

Just over seven minutes later, Thomas was scoring his third touchdown of the night for Massillon. That 1-yard plunge with 24 seconds remaining in the half, helped the Tigers square the game up at 21-21.

Thomas had given Massillon a 7-0 lead with a 7-yard run to close out the game’s opening drive. It was the seventh time in as many games the Tigers had scored on their first possession, and the sixth touchdown.

The junior running back also helped pull Massillon to within 21-14 with three minutes remaining in the half. Thomas, who rushes for 90 yards on 22 first-half carries, scored from two yards out.

In between Thomas’ first and second scores, though, Canisius would score on its first three possessions for the 21-7 lead. Nicholas would score on runs for 12, two and 40 yards to close out drives of 10, three and two plays.

Nicholas had 80 yards on nine carries.

“It was tough not having Kenyatta Huston against tonight,” Robbins said. “He’s a great player for us. But we’re real comfortable with Joel and Joe (Jamison, who led Canisius with 89 rushing yards). Joel had a bit of a coming-out party tonight.”


Game Stats

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2017: Massillon 38 Austintown Fitch 28

Massillon ditches Fitch to keep roll going

Chris Easterling – The Independent

AUSTINTOWN There aren’t many places in which Massillon has played multiple games at where it can say it has accumulated a losing record over the years. The home of the Austintown Fitch Falcons, however, is one of those places.

Well, the proper verb tense would be the past tense of “was” now.

The Tigers went into Greenwood Chevrolet Falcon Stadium on Friday night and both evened their all-time record there while extending their 2017 win streak with a 38-28 victory over Fitch.

“We’re definitely proud of our guys tonight,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said. “They played hard tonight. It was a hard-fought victory.”

Game action vs. Austintown Fitch

The win, the fifth in a row for the Tigers, improves them to 5-1 on the season. Meanwhile, Massillon – which had lost its previous two trips to Fitch – is now 6-6 all-time in Austintown.

Like most trips to Fitch, the Tigers had to fight through their share of adversity. That started before the game even began with a scoreboard clock which didn’t operate, requiring the officials on the field to keep them abreast of the time.

“It was awful,” Moore said. “It’s not their fault; their scoreboard malfunctioned. It was difficult. We kept our own time on the sideline. We knew it wasn’t going to be perfect, but it was going to be a good estimate. The referees did a great job of communicating time to us. It was handled as well as it could possibly be handled.”

There was also a blocked punt which Fitch’s Mike Ferree recovered in the end zone for a touchdown to help the Falcons tie the game at 14-14 in the second quarter. That punt came at the end of a series in which Massillon was flagged for an offensive pass interference to put them well behind the chains.

It was one of only two times the Tigers – or either team, really – punted on the night. But it would the second of four times in which Fitch was able to tie the game, also matching Massillon at 7-7, 21-21 and 28-28.

Game action vs. Austintown Fitch

The Tigers, though, never had to play from behind. A big reason for that was a punishing offensive game plan which featured a whole lot of running the football with Jamir Thomas and Zion Phifer.

Thomas ran for a game-high 163 yards on 30 carries, while scoring touchdowns to give Massillon leads of 7-0, 14-7 and 28-21. Phifer added 92 yards on 21 carries and a score which gave the Tigers a 21-14 third-quarter lead.

“That’s pretty much the game plan,” said Moore, whose team ran for 254 yards on 52 carries in the game. “We used our offensive line that’s played really well. They played really well tonight.”

The go-ahead touchdown for Massillon, though, came through the air. Aidan Longwell found Tre’Von Morgan for a 12-yard touchdown with roughly 4:30 remaining for a 35-28 lead.

Longwell was 7-of-13 for 113 yards with the one score. Morgan had four of those catches for 78 yards.

Game action vs. Austintown Fitch

The Tigers would add a 39-yard field goal by Klay Moll with roughly two minutes remaining for a 10-point cushion. The field goal was set up by the lone turnover of the game, a fumble by Fitch which was returned 35 yards by Dyson Berry.

Fitch would remain in the game thanks to its own rushing attack, which gained 296 yards on 38 attempts. Ralph Fitzgerald’s 58-yard run on the Falcons’ second play tied the game at 7-7 and was part of his 107-yard rushing night.

However, the Falcons’ biggest threat was quarterback Joey Zielinski. Zielinski rushed for 106 of his 114 yards and both of his touchdowns in the second half.

“They’re a good football team that runs the ball well,” said Moore, whose team came up with four fourth-down stops, including three on their side of the 50. “That’s what they do. Their quarterback’s a middle linebacker, so throwing the football’s not going to be their thing. They’re a good team.”


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2017: Massillon 56, Bedford 46

Massillon outlasts Bedford in shootout

Chris Easterling – The Independent
Sep 22, 2017 11:06 PM

MASSILLON – Massillon knew what Bedford was coming to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium for Friday night. The Tigers knew that three years ago when the Bearcats called them up to schedule the game in the first place.

Bedford was coming down trying to make a statement. Instead, it was Massillon which, ultimately, made the statement.

The Tigers showed they could light up a scoreboard as well as the highly-touted and explosive Bearcats. They handed Bedford, the state’s No. 9-ranked Division II team, its first loss of the season while winning their fourth in a row with a wild 56-46 victory.

“We needed our offense tonight,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said. “It was a great team with great players that we knew was going to be hard to contain. We got a couple of stops, not enough, but our offense stepped up big. We’re happy with the 10-point victory.”

Game action vs. Bedford

Massillon scored on eight of its first 10 possessions in leading by as many as 26 points after the third quarter. The Tigers took that lead when Aidan Longwell threw the third of his three touchdown passes, this one a 25-yarder to Austin Kutscher with 5 seconds remaining in the quarter.

That was one of four Massillon third-quarter touchdowns which helped turn a 28-22 halftime lead into a 56-30 lead going into the fourth quarter.

While the touchdown pass capped the scoring in the third for the Tigers, it was touchdown runs which were the story of the quarter. Massillon rushed for 126 yards on 20 third-quarter carries, with Zion Phifer scoring on a pair of runs and Jamir Thomas adding a score.

Phifer had 91 of his career-best 196 yards on 10 third-quarter carries. Thomas had 35 of his 99 rushing yards on 10 third-quarter carries.

“We just ran the football,” Moore said of the third-quarter burst. “Our offensive line played great.”

Massillon finished with 292 rushing yards for the game on 58 carries. The Tigers added 128 passing yards as Longwell was 7-of-10 with two scores to Kutscher and one to Jayden Ballard.

The Tigers needed every one of those yards they gained and each of the points they scored. Bedford showed why its offense was so highly regarded by gaining 476 yards of their own and pulling within 56-46 on the second of a pair of Emmanuel Jenkins-to-Davion Johnson fourth-quarter touchdown passes with 7:03 remaining.

Jenkins was 21-of-36 for 313 yards with three touchdowns and one interceptions. Johnson had 16 catches for 259 yards and two scores.

Kenny Wilkins’ fourth two-point conversion run provided the final Bearcat points. Bedford converted five two-point tries, including a Wilkins-to-Jenkins throwback pass.

Massillon couldn’t have gone to the best Hollywood scriptwriter and not come up with a better start to the game. Two Bedford possessions, two turnovers; two Tiger possession, two touchdowns.

Logan Anania’s interception turned into a Longwell-to-Ballard touchdown pass on Massillon’s first offensive play. A Hunter Wantz fumble recovery ended up with a 17-yard Phifer touchdown run for a 14-0 Tiger lead with 8:38 remaining in the third quarter.

Wilkins, though, gave Bedford a 16-14 lead – its lone lead of the game – with a pair of scoring runs as part of his 162-yard rushing night. One was a 65-yard run one play after Massillon went up two scores; the other a 6-yard run five seconds into the second quarter.

Both two-point tries were good for the Bearcats.

Massillon executed a 12-play, 69-yard scoring drive to re-take the lead for good on Thomas’ 3-yard run with 7:09 left in the half. Longwell threaded a pass between a Bedford defender’s hands to Kutscher for a 16-yard touchdown and a 28-16 lead with 2:39 left in the half.

The Bearcats would get a controversial 11-yard touchdown pass from Jenkins to DeCarleen Townsend as the half expired to make it 28-22. Bedford was flagged twice for penalties after being stopped at the 1-yard line with 2 seconds left in the half.


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2016: Massillon 75, Toledo Bowsher 7


Score 54 in first half en route to rout

Chris Easterling
Independent sports editor

MASSILLON Massillon’s first play Friday night went for a touchdown. By the time the Tigers ran a second play, the rout of visiting Bowsher was well underway.

Offense, defense, special teams, it didn’t matter against the winless and overmatched Rebels.

Massillon scored in all three phases – in the first quarter alone – in rolling to a 75-7 blowout at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“We came out and did what we’re supposed to do,” said Massillon coach Nate Moore, whose team will take a 3-2 record into next week’s home game against Austintown Fitch. “Proud of our kids for doing that. It’s on to next week and looking at Fitch.”

It was the most points scored in a game by Massillon since a 2014 77-13 win over St. John’s Collegiate out of Canada. It’s the most scored against a team from the United States since a 76-6 win over Fremont Ross in 2002.

After stopping Bowsher on the game’s opening drive, Massillon needed just one play – a 74-yard Seth Blankenship-to-Austin Jasinski pass – to take a 7-0 lead. That score would come with 8:59 left in the first quarter.

Just over four minutes later, the Tigers would run their second offensive play. In between those two plays, Kordell Ford would bring an interception back 75 yards for a score and Jasinski would bring a punt back 80 yards for a touchdown to make it 20-0 Massillon.

Such was the kind of night it was for the Tigers, who rolled up a 54-7 halftime lead. Massillon would score every time it touched the ball in that span, a total of six first-half possessions.

The Tigers had 299 total yards on just 23 first-half plays. They would finish with 424 yards on 45 plays.

The rout was so lopsided by that point that not only was a running clock in effect for the second half, but the quarters were reduced to just 10 minutes each.

By that point, however, the night had been long over for most of Massillon’s starters. But what a night it was, especially in the passing game.

Blankenship threw the ball just four times in just over a quarter of work. All four passes were completed for touchdowns totaling 156 yards.

“He’s doing a nice job,” Moore said of Blankenship, who had thrown for 386 yards and eight touchdowns in the last two weeks combined.

Aidan Longwell, the only other Tiger quarterback to throw the ball, was 2-for-2 for 36 yards.

That included a 5-yard touchdown to Jared Slutz.

Three of those passes went to Jasinski, who accumulated 140 yards on those catches. That gives him nine catches for 286 yards and five scores over the last two weeks.

“He’s really fast and he catches the football,” Moore said of Jasinski. “He’s a good player.”

The other touchdown pass was a 16-yard pass to Ethen Jefferson in the first quarter. That came on Massillon’s third offensive play to make it 27-0 after the point-after kick.

Louis Partridge handled a bulk of the rushing with the Tiger first unit. He carried it 16 times for 92 yards and scored his first two varsity touchdowns.

Defensively, meanwhile, Massillon picked back up where it left off in last week’s shutout of Ursuline. The Tigers limited Bowsher to minus-6 rushing yards on 16 first-half carries while forcing four turnovers, two of which were interceptions by Ford.

Bowsher finished with 109 total yards, 106 of those coming in the first half. The Rebels turned the ball over six times.

Of the Rebels’ 112 passing yards, 60 went to talented receiver and University of Toledo recruit Bryce Mitchell on four catches. Mitchell also provided Bowsher’s lone first-half score with an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

That score, though, simply made it a 34-7 Massillon lead 1:50 into second quarter. Less than a minute later, though, Jasinski’s second scoring catch pushed the margin to 40-7 with still 9:23 left until the band show.


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2016: Massillon 30, Youngstown Ursuline 0

Massillon moves on

All-around winning performance propels Tigers past Ursuline in Warren

Chris Easterling
Independent sports editor

WARREN – Massillon football teams have made plenty of bus trips home from Warren over the years. Some have been enjoyable; others, not so much. Saturday, the Tigers made yet another of those bus rides home from Mollenkopf Stadium.

Massillon coach Nate Moore didn’t even need to get on the bus to know into which category it would fall.

“It’ll be a great bus ride home,” Moore said after his team defeated Ursuline 30-0 Saturday in Warren.

For the Tigers, the trip away from Warren was both literal and figurative. It was literal in the sense that they were leaving the locale and going home.

It was figurative in the sense that, after a week of hearing about their performance in a Week 3 loss to Warren Harding, Massillon was ready to move on and take care of the next challenge on the schedule.

That, as much as anything else, was what made the performance so satisfying to so many wearing the white helmets with Obie logo on the side.

“The kids came out and played well,” Moore said. “At times, really. … Offense, defense, special teams played a good game today.”

That performance has Massillon in position to close out the first half of the regular season right where it wants to be, with a winning record. The Tigers evened their mark at 2-2 with the win, and now return home for the first of six consecutive home games this Friday night against Bowsher. The Rebels will come to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium a far, far cry from the kind of team Massillon has faced over its first four games. They are 0-4 and have lost their last three games by an average of almost 37 points a game.

The Tigers insist they aren’t overlooking a team they beat by 30 a year ago. However, they also know this is a chance to build off what they did Saturday against Ursuline.

“We needed to win this week (at Ursuline),” Moore said. “We need to win next week, just like we need to win every week. The coaches will spend just as much time game-planning Bowsher; we’ll spend just as much time on the practice field trying to get better.”

Massillon’s coaches had insisted that they had improved over the course of the first three games going into the Ursuline game, despite losing two of its first three games. Saturday’s win provided the on-the-scoreboard evidence to back up those claims to the Doubting Thomases around.

Nowhere was that proof more evident than defensively, when the Tigers took steps to quiet some of the critics who claimed they couldn’t stop the run. Ursuline came in as a team that thrives on running the football.

On Saturday, Massillon’s defense silenced that Irish running game. The Tigers limited Ursuline to just 69 yards on 28 attempts, an average of 2.5 yards per carry. Even better for Massillon was the fact that it gave up none of the big rushing plays which had plagued it in losses to Mentor and Warren. The longest Irish run was nine yards. Ursuline, which did have three first-half drives inside Tiger territory, managed just 143 total yards.

Of those 61 came on the Irish’s final first-half drive, which ended at the Tiger 2 when Massillon came up with one of three its fourth-down stops.

“I think defensive line-wise we did a good job,” Moore said. “We’re playing through some injuries at linebacker. We had some guys step up big-time today and play well in spots where they hadn’t played before. A good overall team effort.”

It wasn’t just the defense, either. The offense returned to a balance that it didn’t necessarily have over the first three games, while also not turning the ball over for the first time since a loss to Ursuline in Week 7 of the 2014 season. Massillon continued to run the football well, gaining 166 yards on 43 carries. Jamir Thomas once again led the way with 75 yards on 14 carries, which was significantly down from the 30-plus attempts he had posted in the previous two games.

However, along with that running game, the Tigers showed they’re more than capable of beating a team through the air as well. Seth Blankenship completed 15-of-23 passes for 230 yards and four touchdowns. Blankenship’s 66-yard second-quarter strike to Austin Jasinski staked Massillon to a 7-0 halftime lead.

His 20-yard touchdown pass to Jasinski two plays into the fourth quarter closed out the scoring. In between, the senior threw two third-quarter scoring strikes that helped the Tigers turn a close game into a rout. He had a 37-yard pass to Marcus Perrin and a 12-yarder to Austin Kuscher.

“It wasn’t anything different,” Moore said of Blankenship’s performance. “It’s just (quarterbacks coach Brett) Cooper getting back to the drawing board, working on fundamentals. Seth just believed in the play calls. Coach Cooper just did a great job mixing up the run and the pass. I thought we were pretty balanced.”

The all-around team performance also had help from the special teams. That didn’t just include Nate Gregg’s 27-yard field goal which gave Massillon a 10-0 third-quarter lead. The Tigers’ 23-point second half was almost exclusively set up by special-teams plays.

They recovered a fumbled pooch kick at the Irish 37, which set up Perrin’s touchdown catch to make it 16-0. An onside kick recovery after that score set up Jasinski’s second touchdown catch. There was a little longer wait between recovery and score there due to a 30-minute lightning delay.

“We really got some momentum there with those two fumble recoveries on special teams,” Moore said. “(Special teams coordinator Jason) Jarvis does a great job and we put the ball in some spots where we had a chance to recover if they weren’t handled correctly. They weren’t and our kids were opportunistic and jumped on it and got those balls recovered. That carried us with some momentum.”

Momentum which carried over to a happy bus ride home from Warren.


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2016: Massillon 28, Warren Harding 41

Tigers can’t stop Harding’s Bowden, surrender two-TD lead in setback

By Chris Easterling
Independent sports editor

MASSILLON The first two games, Massillon struggled with getting off to good starts. In the Tigers’ third game, the start wasn’t an issue.

The finish, however, was a major one.

Massillon could neither hold onto a two-touchdown lead nor contain Warren Harding’s Lynn Bowden in a 41-28 loss at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Friday night.

“I thought that we were going to be able to keep it going on offense,” Tiger coach Nate Moore said after his team fell to 1-2. “I thought we needed one stop on defense, and we got that. I thought we were going to win the game.

We ended up getting two stops on defense, but ended up with two turnovers. That’s a net zero, and that’s the loss right there.

The Tigers had three different two-score leads: 14-0, 21-7 and 28-13. However, those leads slipped through their fingers the way Bowden slipped through would-be tacklers.

The sensational Warren quarterback ran left, right and up the middle for 266 yards on 21 carries. He also had six touchdowns, including a 4-yard scoring run just under three minutes into the fourth quarter that put the Raiders in front 33-28.

He added a game-sealing 3-yard run with 1:18 left.

“When we got down, we didn’t hang our heads like most teams will do,” said Bowden, who rushed for 212 yards in last year’s 48-41 Warren win. “We want to be the best. To be the best, you’ve got to take steps and you go through adversity.”

Massillon, which trailed by two scores in the first quarter of each of its first two games, came flying out of the gate. Sort of.

The Tigers used a methodical 10-play, all-run drive to take a 7-0 lead on Jamir Thomas’ 1-yard run with 7:32 left in the first quarter. They made it 14-0 after recovering an onside kick and then marching 44 yards in six plays, with Thomas taking the final two yards for the score with 5:02 left in the first quarter.

Thomas would score two more times in the first half, on runs of two and four yards. The sophomore finished with 95 yards on 33 carries, 72 of those yards on 23 first-half carries.

Massillon, which led 28-21 at halftime, had 190 first-half yards. The Tigers, who play Ursuline next Saturday afternoon at Mollenkopf Stadium, finished with 99 yards in the second half on 31 plays.

“We were missing some blocks inside,” Moore said of the second-half offensive difference. “It was a team loss.”

Bowden, though, put on a one-man show. He scored on six of Warren’s eight possessions, save for its final one where it took a knee.

The only two times Massillon stopped the Raiders were on the first two second-half drives, both three-and-outs. However, the Tigers turned the ball over on both subsequent possessions – a fumble on the first at the Tiger 33 and an interception at the Warren 30.

Massillon would march to the Raider 22 on its drive after Warren took the lead.

However, a fourth-and-4 end-around pass went incomplete and the Raiders responded with one final scoring drive to seal it.


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2016: Massillon 24, Canton Glenoak 21


Massillon powers past GlenOak with big rally

By Chris Easterling
Massillon Sports Editor

PLAIN TWP. The year was 2010. Massillon traveled to GlenOak trying to avoid its first 0-2 start since 2004.

The Tigers fell into a two-touchdown hole in the first quarter. However, they would dig deep and rally to win a hard-fought game over the Golden Eagles.

Fast forward to Thursday night. Massillon once again traveled to Bob Commings Field trying to avoid that 0-2 start.

Once again, the Tigers fell in a two-touchdown first-quarter deficit. Yet, once again, they avoided staying winless by rallying for a 24-21 win over the Golden Eagles.

“It’s what we do,” said quarterback Seth Blankenship, whose 31-yard touchdown pass to Austin Jasinski with 7:57 left in the third quarter gave Massillon the lead for good at 24-21. “A Massillon Tiger never folds, no matter what. That’s what it’s been like since Massillon football started. We weren’t going to put our heads down; we were going to fight until the clock hit zeroes.”

The go-ahead touchdown to Jasinski was set up by his own 55-yard punt return to the Golden Eagle 14. A personal foul penalty on Massillon moved to ball back to the 31, where it was 3rd and-27 before the go-ahead touchdown.

Jasinski also helped set up a pair of first-half touchdowns with runs to the GlenOak 2. Both of those scores, however, came on the subsequent plays by Jamir Thomas.

The first 2-yard run made it 14-6 after the point-after kick was missed on the final play of the first quarter. The second pulled Massillon within 21-13 with 6:18 remaining in the first half.

That Thomas had both scores shouldn’t have been surprising. The sophomore was the power running threat Massillon was looking for, gaining 105 yards on 27 carries, including 47 on seven carries on the game-sealing drive to end the game.

“I feel like we did a really good job tonight (blocking) instead of other nights,” said left guard Chris Anthony, who helped the Tigers rush for 151 yards as a team. “Coach (Jon) Mazur, our offensive line coach, really puts an emphasis on, dn’t be perfect, but be physical. Out-physical them. Even if you make a mistake, make sure you do it 100 percent rather than being perfect and getting blown off the ball.”

The first half, at least the first quarter-plus of it, that was GlenOak who was getting that accomplished. Particularly on third down with quarterback Tate Rhoads.

Rhoads picked up 50 yards on three third-down runs on the first possession of the game. That included a 12-yard touchdown run that gave GlenOak a 7-0 lead with 8:45 left in the first quarter.

On the Golden Eagles’ first drive of the second quarter, Rhoads kept a drive alive with a 16-yard run on third-and-12. Two plays later, Elijah Ladson’s 26-yard touchdown run made it 21-7 GlenOak 1:34 into the quarter.

Rhoads left the game at halftime after suffering a shoulder injury. He rushed for a team-high 79 yards on six carries. The Golden Eagles finished with 171 rushing yards and 220 total yards.

That Golden Eagle offense would only have five second-half first downs, four on their final drive. That drive ended on downs at the Massillon 26 with 2:52 left.

“We just all had to do what we’re coaching to do,” said Tiger linebacker Jacob Risher, whose interception set up a 31-yard Nate Gregg field goal to pull Massillon with 21-17 with 2:56 left in the first half. “We just have to do the keys we’re taught to play. … I’ll do anything for these guys next to me, and they’ll do anything for.”

GlenOak’s longest scoring play in building a 21-16 halftime lead actually came from its defense.

Tay Pryor stepped in front of a pass on Massillon’s second offensive play and returned it 39 yards for a score and a 14-0 Golden Eagle lead with 8:02 left in the first quarter.

That was one of three interceptions by the GlenOak defense, two of which came on Massillon’s first two drives.


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2015: Massillon 41, Warren Harding 48

Stopped Short

Chris Easterling
Independent Sports Editor

WARREN Three games into the season, Massillon coach Nate Moore is still waiting for a full four-quarter football game from his team.

The latest example came Friday night at Mollenkopf Stadium. Despite falling into multiple two-score deficits, the Tigers continued to fight back to take a lead at one point. They were also tied two other times in the second half.

The problem for Massillon was that the final counterpunch belonged to Warren Harding, which emerged with a 48-41 win to drop the Tigers to 1-2 on the season.

“We need to put a complete game together,” Moore said after his team saw a last-ditch attempt intercepted in the end zone by Warren with 45 seconds left. “You’ve got to tip your hat to Harding; they’re a good football team. They were the better football team tonight, the scoreboard shows that.”

The scoreboard showed that because Raider quarterback Lynn Bowden almost single-handily put his team on his shoulders in the second half. It was his 20-yard touchdown run with 3:04 remaining that broke a 41-41 tie.

Bowden, who rushed for 212 yards on 13 carries, scored all three Raider second-half touchdowns. One came on a 90-yard kickoff return 14 seconds after the Tigers had forged a 34-34 tie on a Seth Blankenship-to-Todd Fichter touchdown pass with about eight minutes left.

The transfer from Liberty finished with four touchdowns on the night, three rushing. He also threw a 31-yard scoring strike to Juwan Pringle to give Warren a 26-13 halftime lead.

“I would put him in the category of Mario (Manningham) and (Maurice Clarett),” said Warren coach Steve Arnold, whose team is now 3-0. “People who make plays and electrify the crowd.

Whatever adjective you want to use, he’s that. – He’s a fierce, fierce competitor.”

Twice Bowden hurt the Tiger defense by turning a broken play or a cutback into a long touchdown run. His 62-yard run that opened the game’s scoring in the first quarter came on a broken tackle, then a cutback against the grain.

His 63-yard run in the third quarter that gave Warren a 34-27 lead just over a minute after the Tigers had taken a one-point lead came on a broken play where he reversed field in the backfield and outran the defense.

“We knew what we were getting into going in,” Moore said. “He’s a very good player. He hurts us on a lot of broken plays.”

Bowden’s big night overshadowed Keyshawn Watson’s breakout performance at running back for the Tigers. Watson, who had lined up at receiver in the first two games, started at running back and finished with 239 yards on 37 carries.

Watson scored twice. His 1-yard run – plus Brian Corbin’s point-after kick- put Massillon ahead 27-26; his 2-yard run plus the PAT tied the game at 34.

“We thought he was a dynamic player and we needed to put him in the backfield where we could get him more touches on the football,” Moore said.

Massillon had plenty of chances in the game, reaching Warren territory on 11 of 13 possessions. However, only six of those results in scores.

The Tigers also turned the football over four times – including three interceptions – with two of those being turned into Warren touchdowns.

“We had opportunities,” said Moore, whose team travels to meet unbeaten Steubenville next week. “We just have to put a game together. That’s it.”


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2015: Massillon 21, Canton Glenoak 37

Tiger errors add up to Game 2 loss to Eagles

MASSILLON Nate Moore hoped his team had learned its lesson in Massillon’s season-opening win over Perry. He hoped his team had managed to figure out it couldn’t just show up and expect to win without having to suffer a loss to hammer the point home.

Unfortunately for Moore and the Tigers, they couldn’t dodge lightning twice. This time, the errors that Massillon had gotten away with in Week 1 came back to hurt in Week 2, as it suffered a 37-21 loss to GlenOak on Thursday night at Paul Brown “Obviously, we weren’t prepared today,” Moore said after his team fell to 1-1. “Our kids weren’t ready to play. You have to give credit to (GlenOak coach Scott) Garcia and his staff and their kids, because they played a great game. This is 100 percent on me; I have to get our kids better prepared. Tonight’s unacceptable.”

For the second week in a row, Massillon gave up more than 430 yards, and surrendered 37 points in consecutive games. Last week, it was a 432-yard performance by Perry; on Thursday, it was a 494 yard effort by GlenOak.

As was the case against Perry also, the Tigers surrendered a pair of 100-plus-yard rushers.

Golden Eagle quarterback Brennon Tibbs rushed for 154 yards and two scores, including a 70-yard run with 13 seconds left in the third quarter that made it 30-21.

“That was big,” Garcia said of the 70-yard run. “Brennon made a big play. That’s what a senior leader is supposed to do.”

C.C. Cubilla added 131 yards and a game-clinching 11-yard run with 1:09 left. Beyond that, the Tigers also killed themselves with ill-timed turnovers despite accumulating 409 total yards.

They gave the ball up four times, two times on fumbles and twice on interceptions.

Massillon turned the ball over twice on its final two drives of the first half. Both came inside the GlenOak 30, including a fumble as the running back appeared to have a clear path to the end zone.

“We’ve got to find the weaknesses and mistakes we have in the game and we have to find a way to get those applied in practice and get those fixed,” said Moore, whose team travels to Warren Harding next week ‘We can’t continue to do this.”

Adding injury to insult was another injury to senior quarterback Lee Hurst, who left the game with an arm injury just as he was establishing a rhythm running the football. Hurst, who was injured on a 13-yard run that gave Massillon a first down at the GlenOak 17 early in the fourth quarter, rushed for 202 yards on 20 carries in the game. The senior quarterback had two touchdowns also: an 11yard run that tied the game at 7-7 midway through the first quarter and a 13-yard run that pulled Massillon to within 20-14 with 6:21 left in the third quarter.

“I’m worried about Lee; we’ve got to find out what’s going on,” Moore said. “I heard he was on his way to the hospital, but other than that, I don’t know. He was making plays for us with his legs. It’s a huge loss.”

GlenOak stunned Massillon from the start by being the team that established the fast pace on offense. It took the Golden Eagles just 3:22 to travel 65 yards in nine plays to take a 7-0 lead on the opening drive thanks got a Tibbs’ run.

After the Tigers tied the game at 7-7 on their first drive, GlenOak came right back with a sixplay, 65-yard drive that took just 2:02 of clock time to take a 13-7 lead on the first of two Robert Peterson touchdown runs. Peterson would add a second scoring run for a 20-7 Golden Eagle lead with 10:54 remaining in the half.

“Our offensive line came off the ball,” said Garcia after his team improved to 1-1. “They dominated the line of scrimmage. That’s what we asked them to do and they got it done.”

That scoring drive took just 56 seconds to go 90 yards. It was one of four sub-three minute scoring drives for GlenOak on the night.