Tag: <span>Joe Palka</span>


2010: Massillon 24, Toledo Whitmer 28

Big plays by Whitmer end Massillon’s season

The Independent

TOLEDO, OH — In a fourth quarter of big plays, the biggest play ended up being made by the Whitmer Panthers. Because of that, the Massillon Tigers find themselves heading into the offseason much earlier than they had expected.

Jody Webb’s second touchdown run of the fourth quarter – a 44-yarder – gave the Panthers a 28-24 lead with 2:48 remaining, and they were able to hold off the Tigers twice after that as they won a Division I Region 2 quarterfinal game in front of about 8,000 at Whitmer Memorial Stadium.

“They hit a couple of big plays, big runs,” said Tiger coach Jason Hall, whose team bows out at 7-4. “You can’t give up big plays.”

Webb rushed for 137 of his game-high 220 yards in the final 12 minutes of the game. Of those, 103 yards came on his two touchdowns runs – the other being a 59-yarder – in the final 5:09 of the game that twice gave Whitmer the lead.

“No. 1, we have a lot of respect for their defense,” said Whitmer coach Joe Palka, whose 10-1 team will meet Twinsburg in a regional semifinal next Saturday.

“They’re a good defense, no matter what anybody says. I wasn’t surprised they kind of bottled us up (until the fourth quarter). They have some kids going two ways, and we really don’t. I think we kind of wore them down as the game went along.

In between those two runs, Massillon was able to retake the lead when Kyle Kempt hit Justin Olack down the right sideline for a 55-yard touchdown with 3:16 left to momentarily give the Tigers a 24-21 lead. That was one of two touchdown passes for Kempt, who also hit Devin Smith for a 69-yard touchdown in the first quarter that gave Massillon an early 7-0 lead.

“With three minutes to go in the game, we’re up,” Hall said.

Kempt finished 16-of-30 for 298 yards in his first-ever playoff start. He was also hurt by three drops in the fourth quarter that could have helped the Tigers move down the field, as well as an interception that bounced off the hands of a receiver with 2:40 remaining.

“Kyle’s improved every week,” Hall said. “He’s gone up against a couple of special defensive lines the last couple of weeks (in McKinley and Whitmer). I think from day one until today, I think he’s gotten better.”

Part of the Tigers problem was giving Kempt time to throw the ball. With a pair of highly-recruited defensive ends in Kenny Hayes and Chris Wormley, Whitmer was able to record eight sacks for the night, which hampered Massillon at times. Still, despite the Panthers’ defensive pressure, the Tigers were able to take a 14-7 first quarter lead with scores on their first two possessions. Jake Reiman’s 1-yard run with 6:21 remaining in the quarter provided that margin.

Whitmer’s first touchdown was set up by a 54-yard run by Webb on its first play of the game, a run that put the Panthers on the Tiger 9. Three plays later, Tre Sterritt powered in for the first of two first-half touchdowns to tie the game at 7-7 with 9:03 left in the quarter.

Sterritt also ran it in from the Tiger 2 on the second play of the second quarter to tie the game at 14-14.

Massillon was able to take the lead at halftime when it capitalized on a scoring chance that it couldn’t the previous week late in the half against McKinley. In last week’s game, the Tigers failed to score on multiple chances from the Bulldog 8 late in the half.

On Saturday night, the Tigers reached the Whitmer 10 with less than 30 seconds remaining. This time, they converted with a 27-yard Anthony McCarthy field goal with 9.2 seconds remaining to take a 17-14 halftime lead.

That would remain the score until the fourth quarter, when the big plays took over and swept the Tigers out of the playoffs.


Whitmer 28

Massillon 24

at Whitmer Memorial Stadium

Massillon 14 3 0 7 24

Whitmer 7 7 0 14 28


M – Smith 69 pass from Kempt (McCarthy kick)

W – Sterritt 1 run (Kenczewicz kick)

M – Reiman 1 run (McCarthy kick)

W – Sterritt 2 run (Kenczewicz kick)

M – FG McCarthy 27

W – Webb 59 run (Kenczewicz kick)

M – Olack 55 pass from Kempt (McCarthy kick)

W – Webb 44 run (Kenczewicz kick)

Mas Whi

First downs 13 12

Rushes-yards 23-41 44-247

Comp-Att-Int 17-32-1 11-14-0

Passing yards 319 141

Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-0

Penalties-yards 6-59 4-30

Records 7-4 10-1



Massillon – Reiman 9-35 TD.

Whitmer – Webb 22-220 2 TDs.


Massillon – Kempt 16-30-298 2 TDs, INT; Smith 1-1-21; Olack 0-1-0.

Whitmer – Palicki 11-14-141.


Massillon – Smith 5-100 TD; Olack 6-128 TD.

Whitmer – Lucas 6-82.


2006: Massillon 10, Toledo Whitmer 14

End of the line

Tigers don’t capitalize on scoring opportunities in loss to Whitmer
Division I Region 2 Semifinal


The Massillon Tigers figured if they held Toledo Whitmer to just a pair of touchdowns, chances were good they would find themselves back in a regional championship game for the second year in a row.

Massillon was able to do just that, but will still be putting the equipment away this week after it suffered a 14-10 defeat at the hands of the Panthers in a Division I Region 2 semifinal on a cool, rainy Saturday night at Parma’s Byers Field.

Two old, familiar problems showed up to sabotage the Tigers’ dreams of matching last year’s magical playoff run – a dangerous running quarterback, and the lack of big plays on offense.

“Their quarterback is a good player,” said Tiger coach Tom Stacy, whose team bows out at 7-5. “We knew that coming in, and he ran the ball well. But it was our inability to finish on offense that really hurt us. When you give up 14 points in the playoffs, you should win. We just didn’t do enough on offense to get it done.”

Whitmer’s quarterback-in-a-fullback-body, Donnie Dottei, hurt Massillon with 113 yards rushing on 23 carries, including a third-quarter score that put the Panthers on the board for the first time. Many of those runs were on designed quarterback counter plays similar to the ones which caused the Tigers so much trouble in a loss to Mentor earlier in the season.

“We never saw that tape, but we knew that Mentor had a good game plan also out of the spread offense,” said Whitmer coach Joe Palka, whose team will take a 9-3 record into this Friday’s regional final against McKinley at Byers Field. “We knew that the quarterback run could give them problems.

“Fortunately today, it worked well for us. Donnie is one of our best runners, so it worked out good.”

Dottei also hurt Massillon with his arm – somewhat. It was his 24-yard touchdown strike to tight end Kevin Koger, a ball Koger made a nifty adjustment on to grab behind a Tiger defender, which provided the winning points with 8:22 remaining in the game.

The Tigers did enough to jump in front 10-0 in the first half, even with all-state tailback Brian Gamble limited to just defensive duties for much of the game due to an ankle injury. Massillon scored on its first possession of the game – a drive that started at the Whitmer 47 following a punt – when junior K.J. Herring ripped off a 37-yard touchdown run with 9:54 remaining.

Herring and sophomore J.T. Turner picked right back up where they left off a week ago in the win over Perry, when they combined for 96 yards rushing. In fact, they bettered those numbers as Turner finished with 117 yards on 18 carries, while Herring ran for 99 on 16 totes.

“They did a good job,” Stacy said of Herring and Turner. “They did a good job. Still, when you lose an all-state tailback, it’s big. He does so much for us, not just running the football, but catching it also. But the two young guys did a nice job.”

Massillon’s second – and final – score came on the Tigers’ first drive of the second quarter. Starting at its own 20, Massillon methodically drove the ball to the Panther 10, but stalled. Facing a fourth-and-6 situation, Steve Schott was called on to kick a 27-yard field goal, which he did to make it 10-0 Tigers with 3:55 left until halftime.

It would be the final time the Tigers would change the number on their side of the scoreboard this season.

The Tigers were able to eliminate the turnovers for the third straight game.

But they did set up Whitmer’s first score with a bad snap on a punt which moved the ball from the Panther 39 to the Massillon 17. Two plays later, Dottei was in the end zone to make it 10-7 Tigers with 8:54 remaining in the third quarter.

Massillon had its share of chances throughout the game, snapping the ball 30 times on Whitmer’s side of the 50 on the evening. Every second-half drive by the Tigers reached at least the 50, and three of the four possessions moved at least to the Whitmer 39.

But none of those drives could produce points, not even a last-ditch drive which reached the Panther 20 following a 37-yard Turner run. Three incomplete passes, as well as an 8-yard loss on a screen pass, sealed Massillon’s fate.

“We had a lot of opportunities to make plays tonight, and we didn’t make them,” Stacy said. “It’s really a hard thing to explain. We didn’t protect (quarterback Bobby Huth) very well, again. That was really disappointing. We just didn’t make plays when we had to, to win.”

Massillon’s loss brings an end to the Tiger careers of 27 seniors, including the likes of Gamble, Huth, Andrew Dailey, Trey Miller, Antonio Scassa and Emery Saunders. It was those players Stacy was thinking about most as he stood outside the same locker room from which the Tigers emerged following their historic win over St. Ignatius just a year earlier.

“I just feel bad for our seniors,” Stacy said. “It’s a great group of kids. They took us to the state championship game last year. I just feel bad for them. The Gambles and Daileys and Saunders. They’ve done so much for our program the last three years, I just feel really bad for them.

“We have a lot of guys hurting in there. They’ve invested a lot of time and effort into the program. You lose a game like this, you’re hurting. We have a lot of guys hurting in there right now.”

Massillon 7 3 0 0 10

Whitmer 0 0 7 7 14


M ‑ K.J. Herring 37 run (Steve Schott kick)

M ‑ Schott 27 field goal

W ‑ Donnie Dottei 7 run (TreCaris kick)

W ‑ Kevin Koger 24 pass from Dottei (Caris kick)


Massillon rushing: J.T. Turner 117; Herring 16‑99 TD; Gamble 3‑14; Tommy Leonard 3‑8.

Whitmer rushing: Dottei 23‑113 TD; Dewayne Frazier 11 ‑42; Jeremy Jones 1‑0.

Massillon passing: Bobby Huth 7‑16‑67.

Perry passing: Dottei 2‑9‑41 TD.

Massillon receiving: Andrew Dailey 2‑17; Josh Cross 1‑32; Bryan Sheegog 1‑15; Giorgio Jackson 1‑8; Trey Miller 1‑3; Brian Gamble 1‑(‑8).

Whitmer receiving: Koger 2‑41 TD.