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.
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.”
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 email@example.com.
On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE