Record-setting night by Aidan Longwell helps Massillon top Penn-Trafford
Sep 20, 2019 11:00 PM
MASSILLON There was only record Aidan Longwell cared about as he walked off the Paul Brown Tiger Stadium turf on Friday night. That would be Massillon’s 4-0 record.
The Tigers, though, earned that record in part because of Longwell’s ability to set a new school career passing touchdown mark in their 42-21 victory over previously-undefeated Pennsylvania visitor Penn-Trafford.
“I think a lot of people are trying to pressure us into things this year,” the Massillon senior quarterback said. “We’re overcoming it. We’re just taking it one game at a time and we’re doing a great job of it right now.”
Longwell threw four touchdown passes in the victory, giving him 65 for his career. He broke the old mark of 63 set by Justin Zwick in 2000-01.
His record-tying 63rd career scoring pass, a 54-yard strike to Andrew Wilson-Lamp, gave Massillon a 28-14 lead with 4:10 remaining in the first half. His record-setting strike, an 8-yarder to Jayden Ballard in the front left corner of the end zone as time expired in the half, gave the Tigers a 35-21 halftime lead.
For the game, Longwell was 14-of-15 for 225 yards. He goes into next Friday’s home game against Firestone needing just 31 yards to break Kyle Kempt’s career passing record of 6,034 yards set from 2010-12.
“It’s special, especially at Massillon,” Longwell said of the record. “The quarterbacks and great players who have played here. I just have to give a great shout-out to my offensive line, present and past, and my receivers. Everybody’s kind of balled for me as part of this.”
Penn-Trafford was impressive in turning the game’s first drive into a methodical 17-play, 82-yard scoring drive that took the initial 9:38 off the clock. The Warriors converted all five third downs on the possession, including a 6-yard run by quarterback Gabe Dunlap to give them a 7-0 lead.
Dunlap would prove to be a handful all evening, gaining 90 of the Warriors’ 110 rushing yards, while throwing for 257 yards and two scores. He ran for two touchdowns and threw for another.
“He’s a field general,” said Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane, whose team falls to 4-1. “He’s an underrated football player. He continually makes plays for us in the passing game, and more importantly, in the run game sometimes. There’s a lot of times where it’s tough to get him down on the sack with one guy, and he kind of showed that tonight.”
The Warriors’ opening possession would be, by far, the longest scoring drive by either team over the duration of the first half. That is, until Massillon put together its half-ending 13-play, 74-yard drive to go up 35-21 at the break.
In between, the Tigers’ other four scoring drives went for a combined 15 plays. Penn-Trafford, meanwhile, scored its other two first-half scores on a combined seven plays.
In the second half, the only scoring drive was Massillon’s 13-play, 49-yard fourth-quarter march which ended with Longwell hitting Anthony Pedro on a 5-yard touchdown pass.
Massillon, which went scoreless in the first quarter for the first time this season, would score the game-tying touchdown on the first play off the second quarter on Zion Phifer’s 3-yard run. Then, one play after stopping the Warriors on a fourth-down play, Longwell and Ballard hooked up for a 30-yard touchdown pass to go in front 14-7 with 9:54 remaining in the first half.
The Tigers would lead 21-7 on Terrence Keyes’ 8-yard touchdown run with 7:32 remaining in the half. They would also open up 14-point first-half leads on Longwell’s record-tying and record-setting scoring passes at 28-14 and 35-21.
Penn-Trafford used a pair of big pass plays to stay within reach. A 64-yard catch-and-run by Ethan Carr on a fourth-down pass from Dunlap cut it to 21-14, while Mason Frye’s 77-yard catch set up Dunlap’s 3-yard run to make it 28-21 Tiger lead with 3:55 remaining in the half.
The Warriors, who had 253 yards at halftime, had just 114 yards in the final two quarters.
“We really did a good job, in a lot of ways, in the first half,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said of his defense. “We just had to make the plays that are there.”
Ten years later, History repeats as St. Ignatius Iggy trips Tigers again; Tops Massillon for berth in state title game
By JOE SHAHEEN Indenendent Sports Editor
Massillon was in this very same spot ten years ago, playing St. Ignatius in the Division I state semi-final game.
The Tigers dropped that 1991 contest by a single point, 14‑13.
On Friday night, the outcome was the same. Only the point totals were different.
The St. Ignatius Wildcats ‑ a team that lost four of five games during one stretch this season ‑ once again had too many bullets in the gun for Massillon and handed the Tigers a 49‑20 defeat in a Division I state semifinal game in front of an announced crowd of 29,871 at the Akron Rubber Bowl.
Two big plays went against the Tigers and the snowball effect was a 29‑point defeat in a game that was in doubt until the final six minutes of play.
Key play No. 1 came with a minute left in the first half and Massillon trailing 21‑14. St. Ignatius’ All‑Ohio linebacker John Kerr forced a Tiger fumble and teammate Ryan Franzinger fell on the football in the end zone to give the Wildcats a two‑touchdown cushion at halftime.
Key play No. 2 came after the Tigers had cut the lead to 28‑20 deep in the third quarter and needed a defensive stop to really put some pressure on the Wildcats. St. Ignatius faced a third‑and‑nine deep in Tiger territory but converted a first down on a pass interference penalty against Massillon.
Three pays later Franzinger bucked over left tackle and into the end zone from three yards out to re-establish a two‑touchdown St. Ignatius lead.
Massillon would get no closer the rest of the way.
“The fumble right before the half, it did hurt us because it was just like the first meeting.” lamented Tiger coach Rick Shepard referring the St. Ignatius’ 40‑26 victory in Week Four of the regular season. “Something stupid before the half that gives them a cheap touchdown.
“That series after we scored to cut it to one touchdown, that was key for them as well.”
But Shapes stressed it isn’t so much about the plays St. Ignatius makes in a big game, as the mindset of some of the Tigers.
“We have a lot of great kids but they just struggle with confidence sometimes,” Shapes said. “We work harder on that than we do the X’s and O’s because that’s what it comes down to.
“St. Ignatius isn’t a complicated team. They’re fundamental. They go out and execute and they play with great confidence. We’re working toward that. We’re four years into this program. When you get to this point, you’d like to take it further I just have to remind myself that it’s only four years.”
As always seems to be the case in a big game, St. Ignatius jumped out to an early lead. The Wildcats faced a third‑and‑three situation at their own 22 after taking the opening kickoff. Quarterback Nate Szep dropped back to throw and zeroed in on junior wideout Tony Gonzalez at midfield.
Gonzales screened the defender away from the ball, made the catch and was off to the races for a 78‑yard touchdown. Phil Gibbs drilled the extra point and Iggy led 7‑0 at the 10:26 mark of the first quarter.
Massillon marched from its 22 to the Ignatius 39 but was forced to punt. The Wildcats failed to move the ball after three snaps and punted back to the Tigers.
Craig McConnell’s 7‑yard return set Massillon up with a first down at midfield. David Hill picked up a couple of first downs on runs of three and six yards. Ricky Johnson went up the middle for seven yards and a first down at the St. Ignatius 8 as the Tigers ran the football effectively.
On second‑and‑goal from the 7, Zwick pump faked and zipped a pass to Stephon Ashcraft in the left corner of the end zone for the touchdown. David Abdul’s kick was true and Massillon had tied the game 7‑7 at 2:32 of the first quarter.
St. Ignatius reclaimed the lead with a 10‑play, 80‑yard drive. The big play in the march was the final one. On third‑and‑10 from the Massillon 40, Szep found senior wideout Matt Miller open at the 30. Miller eluded the cornerback and went down the sideline, diving into the end zone for the touchdown after being hit at the 2.
Gibbs added the conversion kick and St. Ignatius was back on top at 14‑7 with 11:48 to play in the first half.
“We really felt good about the way our defense was playing the last three weeks,” Shepas said. “But they find out a way to jump out at 7‑0. I thought we answered well. We were hanging in there. They come out and score another touchdown on a crossing route. Just some things busted on us early.
“It’s kind of like trying to plug the dike sometimes. I just wish some of these kids would go out and feel the confidence I have in them.”
After two punts, a missed field goal attempt and another punt, Massillon took over at its 32‑yard line midway through the second quarter.
A Zwick to Devin Jordan sideline pass was good for a first down at the Massillon 43. Two plays later, Jordan ran a hitch and go and Zwick dropped the ball in his hands for a 29‑vard gain to the St. Ignatius 20.
Ryan Boyd picked up five yards on an inside handoff and Johnson added seven more on the same play to set up the Tigers with a first-and‑goal at the 9.
Again Zwick handed the ball to Boyd and the senior running back slashed up the middle. He was hit at the two by the Wildcats’ Kevin Stanek but dragged him into the end zone for the touchdown. Abdul’s kick was true and the Tigers had again tied the game at 14‑14 at 4:38 of the second quarter.
But St. Ignatius reasserted control of the game, taking the ensuing kickoff and driving 76 yards in nine plays. Chuck Flanagan’s 16‑yard burst up the middle on the first play set the tone. Then Franzinger came up with a big first down, picking up three yards on a fourth‑and‑1 from the Massillon 43.
On the very next play, Szep hit Gonzalez down the right sideline for 28 yards to the 12. Two snaps later Szep sneaked into the end zone from a yard out. Gibbs’ conversion kick split the uprights and the Wildcats were right back on top 21‑14 at 1:07 of the first half.
Disaster struck the Tigers on the second play after the ensuing kickoff. On second‑and‑10 from the Massillon 23, Zwick was pressured by Kerr, who batted the ball out of the quarterback’s hand. A wild scramble ensued and when the players unpiled, Franzinger had the football for a St. Ignatius touchdown with 44 seconds until the band show.
Gibbs again converted the point‑after and St. Ignatius carried a 28‑14 lead into the lockerroom.
“That was big,” agreed St. Ignatius coach Chuck Kyle. “You need the defense to get turnovers certainly, but that was an added bonus.
“That was one of those plays that seem to take forever.”
Massillon had to punt on its first possession of the second half but the Tigers got the ball back when Keith Wade drilled Szep and caused a fumble that Andy Alleman recovered at the Massillon 32.
A Zwick‑to‑Jordan pass earned a first down at the 42. Five plays later another Zwick‑to‑Jordan aerial netted another first down at the St. Ignatius 26. A pass interference penalty gave Massillon a first down at the Wildcats 13.
Then Hill took an inside handoff, bounced off Kerr at the 10 and jaunted into the end zone. The extra point failed but Massillon trailed by just one score at 28‑20 with 4:43 to play in the third.
St. Ignatius proved its mettle by taking the ensuing kickoff and driving 63 yards in 12 plays ‑ with the aid of a third‑down pass interference call ‑ to reclaim the momentum Massillon had sought from the game’s opening moments. The Wildcat touchdown came with 11:55 to play and made it St. Ignatius 35‑20.
Massillon moved to midfield on its next possession but the drive stalled and the Tigers turned the ball over on downs. That, essentially, was the ballgame.
“We play a good schedule but we played the big boys twice,” Shapes said of the eight‑time state champions. “We weren’t able to get these two and we’re just going to have to work on it. It is something we have to overcome as a program and as a community as well.”
Szep was sensational once again for St. Ignatius, completing 13 of 25 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns. The senior signal caller also ran for a score and did not throw an interception all night long.
“He’s a good player,” Shepas said. “I didn’t think he’d play as well the second time around. I thought we’d get to him more than we did but we didn’t.
“We didn’t get a bad push on the front. We didn’t have the coverage behind it we worked on.
“Winners make things happen. It might look like they’re getting breaks, they’re just doing what they do. They’re making plays. That’s the way it should be really.”
IGNATIUS 49 MASSILLON 20 M I First downs rushing 11 8 First downs passing 9 9 First downs by penalty 4 2 TOTAL first downs 24 19 Net yards rushing 173 171 Net yards passing 186 272 TOTAL yards 359 343 Passes attempted 42 25 Passes completed 20 13 Passes intercepted 1 0 Punts 3 3 Punting average 31.3 30.3 Fumbles/Lost 2/1 1/1 Penalties 3 6 Yards penalized 40 78
MASSILLON 7 7 6 0 20 IGNATIUS 7 21 0 21 49
SCORING I ‑ Gonzalez 78 pass from Szep (Gibbs kick) M ‑ Ashcraft 7 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) I ‑ Miller 39 pass from Szep (Gibbs kick) M ‑ Hill 8 run (Abdul kick) I ‑ Szep 1 run (Gibbs kick) I ‑, Franzinger recovered fumble in and zone (Gibbs kick) M ‑Hill 13 run (run failed) I ‑ Franzinger 2 run (Gibbs kick) I ‑ Welo 20 run (Gibbs kick) I ‑Welo 29 run (Gibbs kick)
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS Massillon rushing: Johnson 14-71, Hill 9‑42. Ignatius rushing: Welo 15‑101, Franzinger 10‑35.
Tigers display mettle In topping Hoover Massillon moves into state semifinals with 27‑7 win
By JOE SHAHEEN Independent Sports Editor
They might want to change the Massillon Tigers theme song from “Eye of the Tiger” to “We Shall Overcome.”
With three starters missing due to injury and illness, and two others battling to stay on the field despite being hospitalized within the past week, the Tigers dug deep and dealt the North Canton Hoover Vikings a 27‑7 setback to win the Division I Region 2 regional championship in front of a near capacity crowd at Fawcett Stadium, Saturday night.
Rick Shepas knew all week he would be without starting running back Ricky Johnson and starting defensive lineman Marquis Johnson. But on Friday night, as he and his wife were watching her nephew play in a Division IV regional final at Central Catholic High, Shepas got a telephone call from offensive coordinator Dan Murphy and the news wasn’t good.
Starting right guard Tony Thornsberry, possibly the Tigers’ most consistent offensive lineman this season, was hospitalized. He would have his appendix removed at 1 a.m. Saturday.
“I thought God was testing me a little bit,” Shepas said. “I said, ‘I’m going to have a little faith and trust in him and go to sleep and whatever is meant to be is meant to be.’”
Then as the team began to gather later Saturday morning, starting right offensive tackle J.P. Simon turned up sick. He had spent most of the early‑morning throwing up and was taken to the hospital where he was given a couple of liters of fluid intravenously.
“I told J.P., ‘Buddy you’ve got to tough it out,”‘ Shepas said. “We didn’t want to have that whole right side of the line gone. He toughed it out.”
Simon was wobbly but he played. Tim Dewald filled in for Thornsberry and did an outstanding job, according to Shepas.
Meanwhile, cornerback Jamaal Ballard, who didn’t play last week after having surgery on his thumb, returned to the lineup. The junior, his hand in a cast to protect the thumb, came up with not one but two interceptions as the Massillon defense rose to the occasion for the third consecutive week in post‑season play.
“I had to come out tonight and make a statement playing with my team,” Ballard said. “I gave up a touchdown but I picked off two and took one to the house.”
That interception return for a touchdown was called back because of a clipping penalty on the runback. But Massillon would score just the same as David Hill went around the left side of the line for an 18‑yard touchdown run that put the Tigers up 24‑7 with 6:30 to play in the football game.
“All I saw was an opening from Robert (Oliver) blocking and I just took it to it,” Hill said. “Coach told me at halftime to run like I normally run, which is hard. The team had belief in me and I didn’t want to let them down. So I did what I had to do.”
Hill finished with 61 yards in 11 carries and may become an even bigger part of the offense next week as Oliver, who had 67 yards in 12 carries, suffered a knee injury that did not look good at game’s end.
“We’ve been overcoming adversity for a long time,” Shepas said. “It just seems to be a norm now.”
The Tiger defense held North Canton to 95 yards of offense in the second half as Massillon took control of a 14‑7 game after intermission.
The Vikings rushing total for the entire contest was minus‑1 yard.
“We stuffed the run,” said linebacker Justin Princehorn. “They got us on a couple of pass plays deep in the first half. We put in some adjustments and came out the second half and held them to no points.”
“Coming off the first McKinley game, we don’t want nobody to run on us,” said linebacker Shawn Crable. “So when teams are running on us we get a little mad. We played kind of soft in the first half. The second half we came out with a little more fire and things went our way.”
A 54‑yard quick kick by Justin Zwick helped set up Massillon’s first scoring drive as North Canton was pinned deep in its own territory and was forced to punt when Dan Speicher stuffed a DeAngelo Thomas running play at the Vikings 8‑yard line.
After North Canton punted, two Zwick‑to‑Devin Jordan sideline passes generated 31 yards to give the Tigers a first down at the North Canton 23. Oliver picked up eight yards over left tackle and Zwick found Hill for four yards and another first down at the 11.
From there Zwick tossed a short pass to Oliver in the left flat. The senior snagged the ball at the 9 and went in untouched. David Abdul’s kick made it 7‑0 Massillon at 9:16 of the second quarter.
North Canton showed its mettle on its next possession. Brad Reifsnyder lobbed a perfect pass to Jared Gulling for 22 yards to the Vikings 43‑yard line. On the very next play, Reifsnyder ‑ off play action ‑ went long to Curt Lukens for 57 yards and a touchdown. Reifsnyder tacked on the point‑after and it was a 7‑7 game at 7:45 of the second quarter.
Massillon turned the ball over on an interception on its ensuing possession but the Tiger defense rose up and forced the Vikings to punt, thanks in part to Craig McConnell’s fine open field tackle on Thomas on a second down running play.
Massillon took over at its 14 and embarked on a 14‑play drive that included three Zwick runs that yielded three first downs and 33 yards.
On third‑and‑nine from the North Canton 18, Zwick floated left with the shotgun snap then threw back to Jordan on the right hash mark in the end zone for the score. Abdul’s boot made it Massillon 14‑7 at halftime.
Abdul was true with a 22‑yard field goal that capped a 12‑play, 68‑yard drive to open the second half and the Tigers’ 17‑7 lead held into the fourth quarter.
The Vikings penetrated down to the Massillon 13 in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter but a fourth-and‑two pass to Lukens was ruled incomplete and North Canton’s last, best chance was gone.
“Not coming up with that score, we needed that to make it a 17‑14 game,” said North Canton coach Don Hertler Jr. “We would have been right where we wanted to be.
“We knew they were talented, big and strong. Offensively they can beat you a lot of ways. I was just proud of the way our team fought.”
A few minutes after that big fourth down play, Ballard’s second interception would set up Hill’s touchdown run.
Abdul closed the scoring with a 33‑yard field goal with 3:43 to play, setting up a rematch with St. Ignatius, a 40‑33 winner over Warren Harding in the Region I title game in Akron.
“We’re just warming up fellows, just warming up,” Princehorn shouted in the post‑game Tiger huddle. “It is meant to be.”
MASSILLON 27 NORTH CANTON 7 M NC First downs rushing 9 3 First downs passing 12 11 First downs by penalty 0 1 TOTAL first downs 21 15 Net Yards rushing 165 (-1) Net yards passing 252 248 TOTAL yards 417 247 Passes attempted 38 35 Passes completed 23 15 Passes intercepted 2 3 Punts 4 5 Punting average 41.3 43.4 Fumbles/Lost 0/0 1/0 Penalties 11 5 Yards penalized 101 25
MASSILLON 0 14 3 10 27 N. CANTON 0 7 0 0 7
SCORING M ‑ Oliver 9‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) NG ‑ Luken 57‑yard pass from Reifsnyder (Reifsnyder kick) M ‑ Jordan 18‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) M ‑ Abdul 22‑yard field goal M ‑ D. Hill 18‑yard run (Abdul kick) M ‑ Abdul, 33‑yard field goal
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS Massillon rushing: Oliver 12‑65, D. Hill 11‑57, Zwick 5‑41. N Canton rushing: Thomas 10‑23.
Massillon Passing: Zwick 23‑38‑252 2 TDs, 2 INTs. N. Canton passing: Reifsnyder 13‑30‑208 TD, 3 INTs; Savage 2‑5‑40
Massillon receiving: Jordan 8‑105, Oliver 4‑31, Ashcraft 3‑46, Jovingo 3‑38, Williams 3‑29. N. Canton receiving: Lukens 6‑104, Gulling 6‑97, Saylor 1‑30, Kline 2‑17.
– Statistics courtesy of RICHARD CUNNINGHAM Justin Zwick
DIVISION I REGIONAL PLAYOFFS Tigers unrelenting in Beating Bulldogs again Massillon runs past McKinley 35‑19, will meet Hoover in regional title game
By JOE SHAHEEN Independent Sports Editor
This time, the Tigers made it look easy.
Two weeks after their dramatic three‑point victory over arch‑rival Canton McKinley, the Massillon Tigers parlayed a defense that held the Bulldogs without a first down for over two quarters and an offense that was 4‑of‑4 on fourth down while generating its usual 400 yards into a convincing 35‑19 victory in a regional semifinal game witnessed by 21,203 at the Rubber Bowl in Akron.
Massillon (11‑1) advances to a regional final contest next Saturday, against North Canton Hoover at a site to be determined by the Ohio High School Athletic Association today.
While this is uncharted territory for the Tigers during the Rick Shepas era, Massillon’s sideline boss was not ready to characterize the win as his biggest in Tigertown.
“I don’t know,” Shepas said. “There, have been some great ball games in the four years I’ve been head coach here. I don’t know if I’d consider this the biggest win.
“This is where I pictured our team to be last year and we didn’t get it done. We’re working hard with determination. We’ll just keep coaching our kids, trying to get better.”
Just two weeks after McKinley ran up over 400 yards of offense against the Tigers, the Massillon defense held the Bulldog attack to half that total when it truly counted the most.
“We were just a little more fundamental this time,” Shepas explained. “We’re taking less risks. We’re watching our substitutions and we’re asking our kids to work hard.”
“We changed things on defense,” explained senior linebacker Justin Princehorn. “We played a ’50’ look against them and I think that shut down their run game.”
Indeed, McKinley netted just 89 yards rushing, 61 of which came on one play. That’s 160 yards less than the Bulldog ground game generated in the Week Ten contest.
As was the case in the first game, Massillon carried a double‑digit lead into the halftime locker room. But the Tigers – who turned the ball over on their first possession of the second half two weeks ago ‑ came out and put together a textbook 15‑play, 97‑yard scoring march to open the third quarter and close the door on McKinley.
The drive began with a Justin Zwick nine‑yard completion to Stephon Ashcraft and concluded when Joe Jovingo laid out to snare a Zwick pass in the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown at 5:39 of the third quarter. David Abdul’s point‑after made it Massillon 28, McKinley 7.
Throughout the drive, the Tigers continually beat the McKinley blitz as the Bulldogs sold out to try to get pressure on Zwick.
“We thought McKinley would bring more pressure than they did in the first game,” observed Zwick. “Tonight they blitzed us and we had stuff counteract it and it worked for us.”
“Justin Zwick was very determined tonight,” Shepas said. “Our offensive line has improved greatly during the season and you saw that tonight. And I can’t say enough about our backfield combination of those three guys (Zwick, Robert Oliver and Ricky Johnson) back there.”
Zwick, who passed the 10,000‑yard mark in career passing yardage on the touchdown pass that capped the game‑clinching third‑quarter drive, savored the victory for its historical significance.
“Our guys came out and we executed the way we wanted to,” Zwick said. “The defense played a great game, we did our thing on offense and scored some points.
“It’s ‑ real special. It’s the first time the Tigers have beat the Bulldogs twice in the same year since 1963.”
The Tigers scored the first time they touched the football after the Massillon defense forced McKinley into a three-and‑out series on the Bulldogs initial possession after the opening kickoff.
Junior running back Ricky Johnson ‑ who left the game in the first half with an ankle sprain ‑ took a handoff and hit into the middle of the McKinley line on third‑and‑two from the 41, and cut left for a 13‑yard gain and a first down at the McKinley 46.
Zwick then found Ashcraft wide open along the left sideline for 20 yards to the Bulldogs’ 26.
Two plays later, on third‑and‑10, Zwick zeroed in on Devin Jordan in the right corner of the end zone for a 26‑yard touchdown at 7:02 of the first quarter. Abdul drilled the extra point and Massillon had drawn first blood at 7‑0.
McKinley was forced to punt after running four plays but the Tigers fumbled the kick and the Bulldogs recovered at the Massillon 29. The Pups stayed with the running game and moved to the Tiger 4‑yard line but Shalamar Gilmer coughed up the football when he was sandwiched by Cody Smith and Shawn Crable. Massillon junior safety Markeys Scott recovered the loose ball at the 2.
The teams traded punts with Massillon regaining possession at its 26 after Craig McConnell’s nine‑yard return. The Tigers then embarked on a 17‑play drive. A 10‑yard Zwick‑to‑Jordan pass gave Massillon a first down at the McKinley 45.
Zwick hit Ashcraft on a seam pass for 16 yards, but it took a clutch three‑yard run by Oliver on a fourth‑and‑one play for Massillon to sustain the drive at the McKinley 36.
Jordan’s leaping catch gave Massillon another first down at the 15. One play later, Oliver found a gaping hole up the middle, broke a McKinley tackle at the 5 and drove into the end zone to make it 13‑0 Massillon at 5:19 of the second quarter.
McKinley countered on its ensuing possession when Gilmer went around right end and sprinted 61 yards to paydirt to cap a three‑play drive. Matt Campbell’s conversion kick was good and the Bulldogs had cut their deficit to 13‑7 at 3:42 of the first half.
Massillon came right back for its third score of the half. Zwick hit Jordan for 12 yards, then David Hill gained 13 yards over left guard to give the Tigers a first down at the McKinley 36. Oliver found another huge hole up the middle to the Bulldog 20.
Two plays later, on thirdand‑two from the 12, Zwick rolled left and found Ashcraft, who made a leaping catch along the left sideline at the 1.
Zwick called his own number on a bootleg around left end and walked into the end zone with just nine seconds to play in the half. The Tigers went for the two point‑conversion and Zwick completed an aerial to Jordan to give Massillon a two‑touchdown cushion at the half, 21‑7.
Then Massillon came out of the locker room and overcame a mishandled kickoff for the long scoring drive that put the contest out of reach for McKinley and started a mass exodus of Bulldog partisans from the Rubber Bowl.
The Tigers added another touchdown at 3:22 of the third quarter When Robert Oliver snagged a middle screen pass and picked his way into the end zone from 12 yards out, capping a nine‑play, 64 yard drive. Abdul’s extra point kick closed the scoring for the Tigers.
“We came out and wanted to make a little bit of history by beating them twice in a season and we got it done,” said Oliver, who had a game‑high 76 yards rushing. “It was all in the preparation during the week. That and our enthusiasm got it done. The difference between this game and the one two weeks ago is we settled down and played our game.”
“We’re on our way now,” added Princehorn. “Everyone said this is the year to do it and that’s what we’re going to do.” “I think this is our biggest win because it is a another step closer to our goal,” pointed out Tiger co‑captain Marquis Williams. “The closer we get to our goal, the bigger the wins are.”
MASSILLON 35 McKINLEY 19 MAS McK First downs rushing 12 3 First downs passing 12 4 First downs by penalty 0 3 TOTAL first downs 24 10 Net yards rushing 163 89 Net yards passing 239 123 TOTAL yards 402 212 Passes attempted 33 20 Passes completed 24 10 Passes intercepted 1 1 Punts 4 5 Punting average 43.5 35.0 Fumbles/Lost 2/1 4/2 Penalties 7 2 Yards penalized 70 15
MASSILLON 7 14 14 0 35 McKINLEY 0 7 0 12 19
SCORING MAS ‑ Jordan 26 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) MAS ‑ Oliver 15 run (Kick failed) McK ‑ Gilmer 61 run (Campbell kick) MAS ‑ Zwick 1 run (Jordan pass from Zwick) MAS ‑ Jovingo 7 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) MAS ‑ Oliver 12 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) McK ‑ Gilmer 2 pass from Palumbo (Run failed) McK ‑ Green 3 pass from Palumbo (Pass failed)
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS Massillon rushing: Oliver 17‑71, D. Hill 8‑67, Zwick 7‑12, Johnson 4‑17. McKinley rushing: Palumbo 10‑17, Gilmer 9‑70.
Tigers secure first playoff win since 1994 Ground game, defense key 31‑0 rout of Marion Harding
If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? – William Shakespeare
By JOE SHAHEEN Independent Sports Editor
Massillon had to wait a year to get its revenge but it tasted mighty sweet as the Tigers brushed off 15 penalties to eliminate the Marion Harding Presidents from post‑season play with a convincing 31‑0 decision in front of 9,106 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in a Division I Region 2 quarterfinal game, Saturday.
It was a payback time for the Tigers, who lost a controversial 17‑13 first round playoff decision to Marion Harding a year ago in a game that also saw 15 penalties called on Massillon, including a holding flag that nullified what would have been the game‑winning touchdown run by quarterback Justin Zwick in the final minute of play.
While revenge was not a topic of public discussion the week preceding the game, the Tigers admitted afterward that last year’s disappointing playoff ouster was in the back of their minds in the days leading up to the game.
“We got some revenge tonight,” Zwick admitted. “We talked about it as a team this week and it helped us focus on what we needed to do.”
Zwick threw for two touchdowns but it was his contributions to the running game that helped put Marion Harding away. The 6‑foot‑5, 221‑pound senior rushed six times for 68 yards as Massillon amassed 415 yards of total offense against a Presidents team that prides itself on a rock‑ribbed defense.
“That was Justin’s best game of the year,” said Tiger coach Rick Shepas, who got his first playoff victory in three tries at Massillon. “He called 90 percent of the game tonight, checking off at the line of scrimmage.”
It was a study, in balanced offense as the Tigers rushed for 243 yards and passed for 172 yards, keeping Marion’s defense off balance all night long. Robert Oliver led the ground game with 100 yards on 14 carries.
It was also the Tiger defense’s finest hour. Free safety Markeys Scott had two interceptions ‑ including a perfectly timed pick deep in Massillon territory on Marion’s first possession of the night ‑ and outside linebacker Andy Alleman played like a man possessed as Marion quarterback Adam Huddle was forced into four turnovers.
“As a defense, we felt as if we didn’t play very well the last two weeks and we wanted to come out and make up for it tonight,” Alleman said. “We didn’t feel like we did a good job stopping the run against McKinley or even the week before (against Dayton Chaminade.) Tonight we really got after them as a team.”
“We talked about a shutout this week,” admitted junior linebacker Shawn Crable. “We just came out with more intensity and did what the coaches told us to do. It sure came at the right time.”
Massillon enjoyed a 10‑0 lead at halftime thanks to a David Abdul 27‑yard field goal and a perfectly executed inside screen pass to Oliver.
Ricky Johnson attacked the middle of the Marion defense and wasn’t brought down until he’d gained 20 yards to the Presidents’ 25. From there, Zwick again called his own number and after a fine cutback at the 20 ‑ carried the ball to the Marion 8‑yard line.
Johnson finished off the drive by sweeping around left end for the touchdown at 9:39 of the third quarter. Abdul’s kick made it 17‑0 Massillon and Marion Harding was in deep trouble.
Dan Speicher’s second sack of the game on Huddle midway through the fourth quarter set up Massillon’s third touchdown. On the next play, Huddle’s option pitch was bobbled and fell to the turf. Crable shoved Huddle away from the football and Jesse Liston recovered for the Tigers at the Massillon 33.
The Tigers went to the ground game. Three straight handoffs to Oliver netted a total of 33 yards. Then Johnson carried twice in a row for 13 more to give Massillon a second‑and‑two at Marion’s 17. Zwick dropped back and threw across the field to Marquis Johnson at the 10. The senior wideout juked left and cut right, finding the end zone at 4:43 of the fourth quarter. Abdul’s kick made it a 24‑0 Massillon lead.
The icing on the cake was Cody Smith’s interception and 31 yards runback of a Huddle aerial to close the scoring at 4:18 of the fourth.
In the locker room after the game Shepas decried the spate of penalty flags which accounted for 143 yards in the wrong direction. He noted the primary flag thrower was the same official responsible for many of the holding penalties on Massillon in last year’s playoff debacle.
But even those bad feelings couldn’t put a damper on Massillon’s first playoff win since 1994.
Marion Harding came out and successfully attacked the Massillon defense on the first possession of the game.
Beginning at the 20 after Abdul’s kickoff reached the end zone for a touchback, Presidents’ quarterback Adam Huddle hit split end Zack pattern for 14 yards. Three plays later, Huddle hooked up with Dominic Ross for eight more to the 47.
The drive appeared to have bogged down on the Massillon 41 where the Presidents faced fourth‑and‑seven. However, punter David Meginness caught the defense napping and ran around left end for 18 yards and a first down at the Tiger 22.
That’s when Scott stopped the drive and killed Marion’s momentum with a well timed interception at the 11‑yard line. Scott returned the pickoff to the 17 for Massillon’s first possession of the game at 7:34 of the first period.
Zwick picked up a first down on a keeper around right end that netted 12 yards to the 38. Two snaps later he hit Stephon Ashcraft for 10 yards and a first down at the Marion 49.
The Tigers picked up another first down but the drive stalled after a false start and three incomplete passes. David Abdul’s 59‑yard field goal attempt was blocked.
Marion gained a first down on its ensuing possession but was forced to punt and the Tigers began their second drive of the game at their own 18.
A holding penalty on Massillon set up a second‑and‑25 but Zwick lobbed a pass to Ashcraft along the left sideline for a first down at the 42.
Zwick gained seven yards and a first down on an option keeper around right end and a personal foul call against Marion moved the ball to the Presidents’ 27.
Marquis Williams turned a short Zwick pass into an 18 yard gain. On the next snap, Joe Jovingo caught what appeared to be a nine‑yard touchdown pass but an illegal shift call against MassilIon negated the score.
The Tigers moved to the five but a clipping penalty stalled the drive. Abdul salvaged three points with a 25‑yard field goal at 6:41 of the second quarter and Massillon led, 3‑0.
Alleman’s pass rush forced Huddle into a third down incompletion on Marion’s ensuing possession and the Presidents were forced to punt after just three snaps.
Massillon took over at its 15 but Oliver picked up 14 yards around left end on first down to improve the Tigers’ field position. One play later, David Hill went over left guard for eight yards and a first down at the Massillon 43.
Zwick then found Oliver for seven yards and a first down at the Marion 45. Two plays later, on third‑and‑two, Johnson went around right end for seven yards and another first down at the 29.
The march appeared in trouble after a false start and two incomplete passes that set up third‑and‑15 at the Marion 34-yard line. Zwick dropped back to pass, invited in the rush, then lobbed a perfect screen pass to Oliver.
The senior running back caught the ball at the 30 along the right hash mark and waited for his blocking to develop, finally cutting to the middle of the field at the 25, then sprinting virtually untouched to the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown pass and run.
Abdul’s point after was true and the Tigers carried a 10‑0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
MASSILLON 31 MARION HARDING 0 M H First downs rushing 14 7 First downs passing 8 3 First downs by penalty 1 3 TOTAL first downs 23 13 Net yards rushing 243 69 Net yards passing 172 63 TOTAL yards 415 132 Passes attempted 29 20 Passes completed 13 10 Passes intercepted 1 3 Punts 0 3 Punting average 0 37.7 Fumbles/Lost 0/0 1/1 Penalties 15 5 Yards penalized 143 38
MASSILLON 0 10 7 14 31 HARDING 0 0 0 0 0
SCORING M ‑ Abdul 29 field goal M ‑ Oliver 34 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) M ‑ Johnson 8 run (Abdul kick) M ‑ Williams 17 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) M ‑ Smith 31 pass interception return (Abdul kick)
MEN INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS Massillon rushing: Oliver 14‑100, Zwick 6‑68, Johnson 7‑56, Hill 6‑26. Harding rushing: Troutman 22‑63.
BIG FINISH LATE GAME HEROICS BY OLIVER, McCONNELL LEAD TIGERS PAST PUPS McConnell’s play saves day for Tigers 108th MASSILLON-McKINLEY GAME
By MIKE KEATING Independent Sports Writer
The Massillon defense bent throughout the game and even broke down on four occasions, but it held up at crunch time.
With arch‑rival McKinley threatening to score in the waning seconds, cornerback Craig McConnell made the game‑saving play.
With only 11 seconds left and McKinley just 18 yards from a go‑ahead touchdown, McConnell stepped in front of the intended receiver and picked off the pass, cementing Massillon’s 29‑26 victory at Fawcett Stadium Saturday afternoon.
“We tried to put more pressure on their quarterback by bringing people,” Massillon head coach Rick Shepas said. “But the real credit goes to Craig. He made the big play,”
The Tigers, who defeated the Bulldogs for the third consecutive year and finished the regular season at 9‑1 with a six‑game winning streak, were in a nickel defense when McConnell made the interception.
“It was a slant pattern,” McConnell said. “I just followed my man (Reggie Corner) and played my role in that defense.
“My role was to follow the man (over the middle). I was fortunate enough to get a good jump on the ball and make the play.”
McConnell’s interception came with six seconds left to play.
McKinley head coach John Miller, whose team finished regular‑season play at 7‑2, admitted there were several reads on the pass that McConnell intercepted.
“Whoever was open, that’s who we were going to throw the ball to,” Miller said.
Had the pass fallen incomplete, McKinley was going to try and send the game into overtime.
“We were going to kick the field goal,” Miller said. “It just didn’t work out.”
Miller, a defensive back during his playing days at the former Canton Lincoln High, said McConnell made a great read.
“He broke for the ball real well,” Miller said. “Give him credit. It was a fine play.”
Massillon senior Justin Princehorn, who played safety the first half and linebacker the final two quarters, said he felt as if he was in suspended animation awaiting the outcome of the play.
“I just remember watching the quarterback let go of the ball and it sailing over my head,” Princehorn said. “I turned around and saw McConnell break on the pass.
“He made a great play. I remember telling him to just go down and not risk getting hit and losing the ball on a fumble. When he went down, that is when I knew it was over.”
McConnell, who finished the regular season with three interceptions, said McKinley did not unveil any different pass patterns than it had shown in any previous games the Tigers watched on videotape.
“We knew what to expect; they just did a good job of executing,” he said. “Their receivers ran some good routes and were able to separate from us.”
Except, that is for McKinley’s final pass play of the game, much to the delight of the Tigers and the dismay of the Bulldogs.
MASSILLON 29 MCKINLEY 26 MAS MCK First downs rushing 7 17 First downs passing 11 9 First downs by penalty 1 5 TOTAL fit first clowns 19 31 Net yards a rushing 156 255 Net yards passing 245 166 TOTAL yards 401 421 Passes attempted 25 28 Passes completed 16 18 Passes intercepted 2 2 Punts 4 2 Punting average 26 30 Fumbles/Lost 1/1 4/3 Penalties 12 8 Yards penalized 147 76
MASSILLON 7 15 0 7 29 MCKINLEY 12 0 14 0 26
SCORING MCK ‑ Gilmer 9‑yard run (kick failed) MAS ‑ Ashcraft 11-yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) MCK ‑ Everett 1‑yard run (run failed) MAS ‑ Jordan 36‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) MAS ‑ Oliver 15‑yard run (Ashcraft pass from Zwick) MCK ‑ Gilmer 4‑yard run (Campbell kick) MCK ‑ Abdul‑Zahir 7‑yard run (Campbell kick) MAS ‑ Oliver 27‑yard run (Abdul kick)
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS Massillon rushing: Oliver 13‑94, Johnson 5‑53. McKinley rushing: Gilmer 22‑170, Huddleston 7‑39, Palumbo 11‑37
Massillon receiving: Jordan 10‑154‑1, Williams 2.41, Oliver 2‑14. McKinley receiving: Corner 7‑61, Abdul Zahir 3‑25, Smith 2‑25.
‑ Statistics courtesy of RICHARD CUNNINGHAM
Tigers sluggish in second half, But late-game heroics save day
By JOE SHAHEEN Independent Sports Editor
The Massillon Tigers, shut out for the first 22 minutes of the second half, drove 72 yards in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter and scored on a 27‑yard run by Robert Oliver to pull out a heart‑pounding 29‑26 victory over arch‑rival Canton McKinley in the ‑108th game between the storied Ohio high school football powers.
McKinley, however, appeared poised to at least send the game into overtime with a field goal or even pull out a win with a touchdown after driving deep into Massillon territory with seconds to play.
Massillon senior Craig McConnell ‑ ended the threat ‑ and McKinley’s hopes ‑ when he picked off a Bulldogs pass at the 2‑yard line with six seconds left in the contest. The win, the Tigers’ ninth on the year, came in front of 23,815 fans on a chilly, gray Saturday afternoon at Fawcett Stadium in Canton.
“I was just watching my receiver and doing what I was taught,” said an ecstatic McConnell, though he admitted he could recall few details of his game‑saving play.
Massillon’s game‑winning touchdown drive began at its 28 with 2:52 to play after the Tiger defense forced McKinley’s only punt of the second half.
Justin Zwick hit Devon Jordan on a crossing pattern for 11 yards on first down. Then Ricky Johnson broke a draw play for 20 more to the McKinley 41‑yard line.
Zwick then completed a short pass to Robert Oliver in the right flat and the senior running back picked his way for 16 yards to the McKinley 25. Block paved the way After a 2‑yard loss on first down, Zwick handed off to Oliver on a draw play that went over right guard and broke open. Oliver spun off one would‑be tackler, wideout Joe Jovingo laid a textbook block on McKinley cornerback Tyler Everett near the 20‑yard line, and Oliver read it perfectly to score the biggest touchdown of his memorable senior season.
“Our offensive line did a great job and stepped up when we needed them,” Zwick said. “Ricky (Johnson) and Robert did a great job in the backfield along with David Hill blocking and they got us in the end zone.
“Guys have been selling themselves for blocks to get more yards all year long and Joe did that on that play and got us a lot of yards and a big score.”
Ironically Jovingo, who a career high six catches for 156 yards last week, had not caught a pass all day long. But his block was as big as any play up to that point.
“I saw Robert coming around the corner,” Jovingo said afterward. “I looked up and saw Tyler Everett there and just, went heads up with him. Robert read my block and got into the end zone.”
Until final drive, the Tigers had been outplayed in the second half. Massillon held a 22‑12 lead at the break, but McKinley turned an interception into a three‑play, 14‑yard touchdown drive, capped by Shalamar Gilmer’s 4‑yard run at 11:29 of the third quarter.
Matt Campbell’s extra point was true, and the Bulldogs had cut the deficit to 22‑19.
Massillon ran six plays on its ensuing possession before being forced to punt.
McKinley took over at its 33 and embarked on a 15‑play drive that ate more than seven minutes off the third quarter game clock. More importantly, the Bulldogs found the end zone as Yusef Abdul‑Zahir scored on a 7‑yard cutback run at the 1:06 mark. Campbell’s extra point was true, and McKinley was up 26‑22 with all the momentum in the Bulldogs’ corner.
Massillon again was forced to punt after a six‑play possession, but junior safety Brian Hill’s interception at the 1‑yard line prevented McKinley from going up by two scores.
The Tigers offense remained dormant and was forced to punt. On the ensuing McKinley possession, however, junior linebacker Tony Graves recovered a McKinley fumble to give Massillon life at its 37‑yard line.
Massillon returned the favor with a fumble of its own three plays later and McKinley looked to be in business with possession of the football, a four‑point lead and just 6:01 on the clock.
The Bulldogs advanced from their 33 to midfield, but McConnell made a fine open field tackle on Gilmer that saved a big gainer, and Shawn Crable and Marquis Johnson sacked Palumbo to force the McKinley punt that led to Massillon’s game‑winning drive.
“I expected this kind of outcome, but with a 10‑point lead at the half, I thought maybe not,” said Tiger coach Rick Shepas. “We came in the second half and made some mistakes offensively. We didn’t play very good defense all day.
“You’ve got two football teams with a lot of athletic ability and a lot of heart. We both represent tradition. Even though we won today, you’ve got to credit Canton McKinley for an outstanding job.”
McKinley got on the board first. The Bulldogs took the opening kickoff and marched down the field, effectively mixing the short pass with a series of Gilmer running plays.
Gilmer tore off a 19‑yard gain on the firs play from scrimmage, then capped the eight play, 69‑yard drive with a 10‑yard touchdown run on a pitch play around right end. The Bulldogs senior running back hurdled a Tiger tackler at the 5‑yard line and bounced into the end zone at 9:31 of the first period. The conversion kick was wide left and McKinley was out to a 6‑0 lead.
The teams exchanged punts, with Massillon eventually taking over at its own 33 after a 15‑yard punt return by McConnell. Jordan came up big On the second play of the drive, Zwick hit Jordan for an 18‑yard gain to near midfield for the Tigers initial first down of the game. The senior signal caller then duplicated his throw to Jordan along the right sideline for 18 more to the Pups’ 23.
Jordan got open along the left sideline on the next play, and Zwick was accurate with his throw for a 12‑yard pick‑up to the 11. Zwick threw his fifth straight completion on the next snap, finding Stephon Ashcraft open in the end zone for six. David Abdul’s extra point kick was true and Massillon assumed a 7‑6 lead at 3:40 of the first quarter.
McKinley was undaunted, coming back to reclaim the lead on its next possession. A 33 yard kickoff return accompanied by a personal foul against the Tigers gave the Bulldogs great field position at their own 49.
A Massillon offside penalty gave the Pups a first down on a third‑and‑two play from the 43. Palumbo hit Abdul‑Zahir for 12 yards on the next play, then Gilmer skirted left end for 14 more to the Massillon 12‑yard line.
A Palumbo scramble netted 8 yards on second down. One play later, Tyler Everett went over right guard for a touchdown. A run for the two‑point conversion failed but McKinley was up 12‑7 with :28 left on the first quarter game clock.
A clipping penalty on the Tigers gave them tough field position on the ensuing kickoff at their own 8, but Zwick struck quickly ‑ hitting Marquis Williams, who made a juggling catch in traffic, for a 38‑yard gain to the 46 as the first quarter came to an end.
Oliver went around left end on the next snap, broke a McKinley tackle at the line and rumbled for 18 yards to the Bulldogs’ 36. Right down the middle On the very next play, Zwick ‑ off a fine play‑action fake ‑ threw a perfect strike to Jordan running a deep post pattern for a touchdown. Abdul’s kick made it Massillon 14, McKinley 12 at 11:21 of the second period.
The Bulldogs fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Markeys Scott recovered for the Tigers. Massillon drove down to the 2‑yard line, but McKinley’s Charles Minor intercepted a Tiger throw in the end zone to stave off the threat. Alleman triggered turnover McKinley proceeded to drive to near midfield on seven plays, but Massillon linebacker Andy Alleman forced a Gilmer fumble, and Justin Princehorn recovered for the Tigers to set up their third score of the day.
A Zwick scramble netted 6 yards on first down. The Ohio State‑bound signal caller then rolled left and hit Jordan for 18 yards to the McKinley 22.
Running out of the power‑I Massillon scored when Oliver gained 7 yards off right tackle, then burst through a big hole over left tackle for a 15‑yard touchdown run at 4:01 of the second period.
Abdul’s kick made it Massillon 22, McKinley 12.
The Bulldogs drove to the Massillon 14 with Marc Huddleston taking over at quarterback. But the drive stalled thanks to a pass deflection by Shawn Cable and a Princehorn sack of Huddleston.
A 31‑yard field goal attempt was wide right and the Tigers enjoyed an eight‑point lead at the intermission.
The cushion wouldn’t last but Massillon’s offense woke up when it needed to and the Tigers will carry a 9‑1 record into the first round of the playoffs Saturday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Justin Zwick
Massillon reins in speedy Chaminade Tigers’ fifth win in a row improves record to 8‑1
By JOE SHAHEEN Independent Sports Editor
The Massillon Tigers have shown they can run the football this season, but on Friday Rick Shepas’ crew sharpened up the aerial attack and racked up over 400 yards passing to torch Dayton Chaminade‑Julienne 48‑27, in front of 8,138 fans at Paul brown Tiger Stadium.
It was a record‑setting performance for two Tigers. Quarterback Justin Zwick passed for 407 yards to eclipse his own single‑game record of 403 set one year ago. Wide receiver Devon Jordan totaled 206 yards receiving to break the record of 169 yards setback in 1977 by Curtis Strawder.
“Too much Justin Zwick,” said C‑J head coach Jim Place after the game. “Just too much Zwick. Plain and simple, too much Zwick.”
Place wasn’t exaggerating. The 6‑foot‑5, 221‑pound senior completed 24 of 39 passes for four touchdowns, and at least four other throws were dropped. He was sharper than at anytime this season and scored a touchdown on a scramble for good measure.
Jordan wasn’t the only beneficiary of Zwick’s marksmanship. Senior wideout Joe Jovingo had a career night, snaring six passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns.
“I’m happy with my performance but it is a team game,” said Jovingo. “We could’ve put more points on the board. We’ve got some good running backs and that’s the reason we get open because the defense is playing the run and that leaves fewer guys to cover us.”
Shepas was pleased his quarterback spread it around.
“You never know who he’s going to,” Shepas said. “You know how you like to have it ‑ different receivers catching the ball each week.”
Zwick had plenty of time sit in the pocket and find open receivers, thanks to an offensive line that was without starting tackle J.P. Simon and began the game without starting center Chad Hennon.
“Our guys up front did a nice Job of pass protecting,” said Shepas. “A lot of it has to do not only with our offensive line getting better but also our backs checking up into protection with them.”
Starting guard Doug Dickerhoof revealed the Tiger coaching staff prepared the line for C‑J’s pressure.
“We gave Justin a lot of time and picked up all the blitzes,” said Dickerhoof. “He got the ball to his receivers. They caught the ball and took it in.”
While all is good with the Massillon offense, Chaminade’s 426 yards of total offense ‑ 230 of it on the ground ‑ did not sit well with Shepas, who knows McKinley scouts were in the stands and saw his team miss a few tackles.
“I really wasn’t happy with the defense,” Shepas admitted. “We were just a little sloppy tonight. It just felt sloppy tonight.”
Were some Tigers looking ahead?
“I don’t think so,” said Shepas. “I don’t know what to attribute it to. Our guys have maintained a high level of intensity throughout the season. We saw a good, fast football team and we had to get adjusted to their speed. Mckinley has great speed.”
David Abdul opened the scoring with a 22‑yard field goal on the Tigers second possession. Massillon advanced the ball from its 41 to the C‑J 5, thanks to a 14‑yard Zwick to Jordan completion on a curl pattern, and a 34‑yard pickup when Zwick found Jovingo running free on a post pattern.
Chaminade’s Anthony Turner showed that Zwick wasn’t the only talented quarterback in the house when he hit Andre Chattams with a 34‑yard laser on the Eagles ensuing possession. That throw advanced the ball to the Massillon 36.
Three plays later, Pernell Williams took an option pitch around left end and exploded past the Tiger defense and into the end zone for a 22‑yard touchdown. Bryan Fecke nailed the extra point and Chaminade owned a 7‑3 lead at 3:24 of the first quarter.
Stephon Ashcraft provided the Tigers with a shot on the arm by returning the C‑J kickoff 47 yards to the Eagles 45‑yard line.
After an incompletion on first down, Tiger junior Ricky Johnson turned a sweep that had no gain written all over it into a 45‑yard touchdown run. Johnson started around left end, changed direction and found daylight to his right. He cut back to the middle of the field at the 30 and sprinted untouched into the end zone.
Abdul’s kick was true and Massillon had regained the lead at 10‑7 with 3:08 left in the opening stanza.
A dropped pass doomed Chaminade’s next possession and Massillon made the visitors pay. Beginning at their own 14, the Tigers drove the length of the field, mixing the run and pass effectively. A swing pass to Robert Oliver picked up 16 yards, and Zwick later hit Jordan with a 23‑yard strike to the C‑J_ 8.
Two plays later, Zwick scrambled into the end zone from eight yards out. Abdul’s conversion kick was true and Massillon’s lead was 17‑7 at 8:40 of the second quarter.
Craig McConnell picked Turner off on the first play of the Eagles next possession, returning the football 26 yards to the C‑J 25.
On first down Zwick found a wide open Jovingo at the 8. The senior wideout turned, found no one within 10 yards and scooted into the end zone for the score. Abdul made it 24‑7 Massillon at 6:56 of the second quarter.
Chaminade still had some life and marched 30 yards in eight plays to get back in the ball game. Turner’s 33‑yard run got things going for the Eagles. The sophomore signal caller would score from eight yards out on a broken play. Fecke’s kick made it 24‑14 Massillon at 2:37 of the second.
But the Tigers regained momentum quickly, thanks to a 21‑yard kickoff return by Ashcraft that gave Massillon a first‑and‑10 at its 38. After advancing to midfield, Massillon struck. Zwick dropped back, looked right, then back left where he found Jordan running wide open at the 10. The junior snagged the football and raced into the end zone. Abdul’s kick made it Massillon 31, C‑J 14 with 1:02 left before the band show.
Massillon took the second half kickoff and Zwick again went to work. He hit Jordan for 23 yards, Jovingo for 33 more, and capped off the drive with a 14‑yard pass to Jordan, who spun past a defender and turned it into a 44‑yard touchdown. Abdul’s kick made it 38‑14 Massillon at 9:34 of the third period.
Craig McConnell’s interception and slick 34‑yard runback set up the Tigers next tally. David Hill made a juggling catch for a 19‑yard gain to the C‑J 8, then Jovingo latched onto his second TD pass of the night from 13 yards out. The scoreboard read Massillon 45, C‑J 14 after Abdul’s PAT.
MASSILLON 48 CHAMINADE 27 M C First downs rushing 2 12 First downs passing 18 7 First downs by penalty 1 1 TOTAL first downs 21 20 Net yards rushing 75 230 Net yards passing 407 196 TOTAL yards 482 426 Passes attempted 39 24 Passes completed 24 13 Passes intercepted 0 2 Punts 2 5 Punting average 31.5 32.8 Fumbles/Lost 1/1 3/0 Penalties 9 5 Yards penalized 49 35
MASSILLON 10 21 14 3 48 CHAMINADE 7 7 0 13 27
SCORING M ‑ Abdul 22‑yard field goal C‑J ‑ Williams 22‑yard run (Fecke kick) M ‑ Johnson 45‑yard run (Abdul kick) M ‑ Zwick 8‑yard run (Abdul kick) M ‑ Jovingo 25‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) C‑J ‑ Turner 6‑yard run (Fecke kick) M ‑ Jordan 46‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) M ‑ Jordan 44‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) M ‑ Jovingo 13‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) C‑J ‑ Williams 1 ‑yard run (Fecke kick) M ‑ Abdul 48‑yard field goal C‑J ‑ Sanford 30‑yard pass from Turner (Fecke kick)
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS Massillon rushing: Johnson 9‑61, Oliver 5‑5, Zwick 3‑5, Hill 1‑10. Chaminade rushing: Williams 17‑112, Turner 15‑109.
Tiger defense stands tall over Little Giants Fremont manages just one first down as Massillon wins number seven, 57-6
By JOE SHAHEEN Independent Sports Writer
Fremont Ross head coach Mark Wetzel said one thing was for sure when he brought his Little Giants to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium to take on the Massillon Tigers.
Wetzel vowed his charges would give the Tigers a better game than did Youngstown Woodrow Wilson, a 56-8 loser to Massillon one week ago.
Justin Zwick cranked up his right arm for five touchdown passes and the Massillon defense limited Fremont to just one first down all night long as the Tigers rolled over the Little Giants 57-6 in front of 7,777 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Homecoming Night, Friday.
A week after eschewing the pass in favor of the running game Zwick let it all hang out and the Little Giants were virtually helpless to stop him. The senior signal caller tied the school record with six touchdown passes while connecting on 22 of 37 aerials for 238 yards.
The Tigers tallied with less than two minutes elapsed in the game and the defense set it up by recovering a Fremont fumble at the visitors 28-yard line.
Robert Oliver went around right end for 13 yards and a first down and Zwick hit Devon Jordan at the 5 to set up the score.
On second down from the five, Zwick rolled right and hit Oliver at the two yard line. The senior running back stretched to haul in the football, then turned and found the end zone at 10:11 of the first quarter.
David Abdul’s kick made it 7-0 Massillon.
“We really go off our defense,” asserted Tiger coach Rick Shepas after the game. They’ve been sparking us.
“We’ve been playing on a short field all year long. When we don’t have a lot of yardage or limited time of possessin at the end of a football game, it’s because our defense puts us in great field position.”
Fremont’s Bo Martin showed the crowd that all the praise directed his way is well deserved, taking the ensuing kickoff at the one-yard line and sprinting 99-yards untouched for the score. Tiger senior Andy Alleman blocked the point-after kick to preserve Massillon’s lead at 7-6 with 9:58 to play in the opening period.
The Tigers went to the ground game on their ensuing possession with senior Ryan Boyd ripping off a 24-yard gain to advance the ball to the 44. Three snaps later, Oliver hit into the middle of the line and burst free for a 16-yard gain to the Fremont 35.
Oliver gained nine yards on the next play then picked up the first down with a two-yard buck to the 24.
Then on third-and-six from the 20, Zwick made a nice play-action fake and hit Marquis Williams, who made a leaping catch at the 6.
Zwick found Jordan wide open in the endzone on the next play for six. Abdul’s conversion made it 14-6 Massillon at 6:45 of the first quarter.
Oliver and Boyd, who played extensively because Rickey Johnson was out sick all week, combined for 155 yards rushing in 17 carries.
“Robert Oliver is becoming a more complete back every week,” said Shepas. “Ryan Boyd has kept practicing and working hard and tonight he got another opportunity and came through for us again.”
After the Tiger defense force Fremont into another in what would a long line of three-and-out series, Abdul drilled a 42-yard field goal at 3:13 of the first quarter.
Massillon’s next possession began at its 18-yard line. The Tigers advanced the ball to the 36 when Oliver hit into the middle of the line, broke a couple of tackles and cut to the right sideline. He was dragged down 53 yards later at the Fremont 12.
Five plays later Zwick rolled left and zipped the ball to David Hill in the end zone for the touchdown. Abdul’s kick made it Massillon 24, Fremont Ross 6 at 8:00 of the second quarter.
Another three-and-out series by Fremont set Massillon up with good field position at the visitors’ 35. The Tigers failed to get a first down but Abdul salvaged the possession with a 45-yard field goal at 4:42 until the band show to put Massillon up 27-6.
The Tigers final touchdown of the first half capped a four play, 27 yard drive. Zwick found Jordan open on a slant pattern in the end zone from eight yards out. Abdul’s kick made it 34-6 at 2:42 of the second quarter.
The score was set up by the Tiger defense, which not only stopped Fremont on three plays but also sniffed out a fake punt for a four yard loss.
The Little Giants – who scored 25 points against Cleveland St. Ignatius three weeks ago – ran 44 plays but managed just 13 net yards of total offense.
“We’re just coming together,” said junior linebacker Shawn Crable. “We’re communicating better and working as a unit out there.
“It all starts up front. The line is playing so well that it lets the rest of us roam and make plays. The line deserves a lot of the credit.”
“We’re playing better together,” agreed senior defensive tackle Dan Speicher. “I think it’s because we’re spending more time together. We’re becoming more of a team.”
The Tigers didn’t let up after the halftime homecoming ceremonies, taking the second half kickoff and moving 78 yards for a touchdoen. Zwick’s best pass of the evening came on the drive when he found a streaking Stephon Achcraft in stride along the left side line for 35 yards to the Fremont 1-yard line.
Two plays later, Zwick hit Marquis Williams in the end zone and it was 41-6 Massillon at 10:12 of the third period.
Craig McConnell, who had five punt returns for 47 yards, gave the Tigers great field position with a ten-yard return to the Fremont 30 after yet another three-and-out series by the Little Giants.
Nine plays and two penalties later, Zwick rolled right and hit Oliver in the end zone from a yard away. Abdul’s kick made it Massillon 48, Fremont 6 at 4:51 of the third period.
A high snap from punt formation resulted in a Fremont Ross safety early in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers final tally came on James Helscel’s one-yard quarterback sneak with severn minutes to play. Kris Reinhart tacked on the point after to account for the final margin.
Schedule taking shape – Massillon and Fremont Ross will meet in week two of the 2002 and 2003 seasons after signing a deal Friday.
The Tigers will open the 2002 campaign at home against Westerville South. Then comes games at Fremont, home vs. Garfield, home vs. St. Ignatius, at Austintown Fitch, home vs. Mansfield, and home vs. Woodrow Wilson.
Week eight is open at the moment, with a week nine game at Warren Harding and week Ten at home agains McKinley.
If the Tigers can find a suitable foe for week seven they will let Wilson out of its contract.
MASSILLON 57 FREMONT ROSS 6 M F First downs rushing 10 2 First downs passing 9 0 First downs penalty 2 1 TOTAL first downs 21 3 Net yards rushing 185 -17 Net yards passing 270 20 TOTAL yards 455 3 Passes attempted 40 20 Passes completed 25 9 Passes intercepted 0 1 Punts 2 8 Punting average 35.0 32.0 Fumbles/Lost 3/2 3/2 Penalties 14 7 Yards penalized 105 53
MASSILLON 17 17 14 9 57 FREMONT 6 0 0 0 6
SCORING M – Oliver 5 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) FR – Martin 99 kickoff return (kick blocked) M – Jordan 6 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) M – FG Abdul 42 M – Hill 1 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) M – FG Abdul 45 M – Jordan 8 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) M – Williams 5 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) M – Oliver 1 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) M – Heiscel 1 run (Reinhart kick)
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS Massillon rushing: Oliver 14-109, Boyd 3-42, Acosta 4-17. Fremont Ross rushing: Dickman 1-11.
Massillon passing: Zwick 22-37-238, 6 TDs; Heiscel 3-3-32. Fremont Ross passing: Clark 8-17-26 1 INT; Martin 0-2, Yost 1-1-2.
Massillon receiving: Jordan 7-65, Williams 6-57, Ashcraft 3-53, Oliver 3-22. Fremont Ross receiving: Moreno 2-11.
Tigers’ ground game rips Woodrow Wilson Oliver, Johnson top century mark
By JOE SHAHEEN Independent Sports Editor
On.a damp and dreary night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, the Massillon Tigers got some valuable work for the first team, rested some injured starters, and rewarded their loyal second‑ and third‑teamers with extended playing time, all while walloping winless Youngstown Woodrow Wilson 56‑8, Friday in front of 5,850 fans.
Early in the week, Woodrow Wilson coach, Mark Lyden said he hoped Tiger mentor Shepas would call the dogs off early, conceding that his Division III Redmen had no chance of staying with Massillon, which improved to 6‑1 with the victory. After the game, Shepas took time to console Lyden, who is going to battle each week without many weapons.
“They’re struggling,” Shepas said of Woodrow Wilson. “There’s no other way to say that. They’re just struggling.
“We wanted to come out and play solid. We were able to do that on defense. We gave up a couple of plays. But it is unfortunate for them. It’s a shame it has come to that for them.”
With a heavy downpour drenching the field at the opening kickoff, the usually pass‑happy Tigers spent much of the first half running the football through gaping holes in the Wilson defense and amassing 244 yards and 13 first downs on the ground.
“Justin Zwick called a majority of the offensive plays,” Shepas revealed, “and he was unselfish in going to the running game the way he did. We ended up with two 100‑yard rushers tonight.”
Marquis Williams set up Massillon’s first score with a twisting, spinning 43‑yard punt return that gave his team possession at the visitors 8‑yard line.
0n first down from there, junior running back Rickey Johnson went into the line, juked twice, then shot through a gap and into the end zone. David Abdul’s point after made it 7‑0 Massillon at 9:50 of the first quarter.
Tiger defensive lineman Marquice Johnson stopped the next Wilson possession with a fine open field tackle on quarterback Shawn Lane to force the Redmen into a punting situation.
Massillon took over at its 29 after Craig McConnell’s nine‑yard return. Rickey Johnson – who finished the night with 136 –yards rushing in just eight totes ‑ ran the football on three consecutive snaps ‑ resulting in gains of 24‑, 15‑ and 19‑yards to set the Tigers up with first‑and‑10 at the Wilson 13.
Three plays and a Massillon personal foul later, the Tigers had second‑and‑goal from the 20. Senior Robert Oliver took the handoff from Zwick and swept around left end. A Wilson defender grabbed a piece of Oliver’s jersey at the five-yardline but he tore free and scored the game’s second touchdown at 3:18 of the first quarter. Abdul’s right foot made it 14‑0 Massillon.
Wilson penetrated to the Massillon 23 on its next possession but turned the ball over on downs at that point.
Oliver - who totaled 102 yards in eight carries ‑ wasted little time in adding to his statistics, skirting around right end for 30 yards on first down. One play later Johnson went around the same side for 13 yards to the Wilson 33. Oliver gained 14 more to the 19‑yard line after an incomplete pass.
Then Ryan Boyd went off the left side of the Tiger line, breaking two tackles and bursting into the end zone for a 19‑yard touchdown run. Abdul’s boot was true and Massillon led 21‑0 at 7:59 of the second quarter.
The Massillon defense forced Wilson into yet another three‑and‑out series, and William’s 13‑yard punt return set the Tigers up at the 50‑yard line.
Johnson put the finishing touches on a very productive evening by taking a Zwick handoff and.attacking the right side of the offensive line.
He broke a tackle at the 37, cut back to the left at the 25 and sprinted into the end zone for a 50‑yard touchdown run. Abdul’s kick made it 28‑0 Massillon at 7:59 of the second quarter.
Williams displayed fine balance and athleticism on a 19‑yard punt return that set up the Tigers next tally.
On first down from the Massillon 41, Boyd picked up 10 yards around right end. Then Zwick completed his first pass of the game, after five straight incompletions, lofting a high‑arching throw into Devon Jordan hands in the end zone from 31‑yards away.
Abdul’s conversion kick split the uprights to make the Tiger lead 35‑0 at 5:23 of the second quarter.
The Tigers final first half scoring drive was a display of Zwick’s passing accuracy.
Starting at the Wilson 46, the 6‑foot‑5 senior hit Jordan along the right sideline for nine, then completed a short pass to Williams who turned it into a 17‑yard gain to the 20.
A scramble netted five yards and Zwick then hit Jordan for 12 yards to the 2‑yard line.
On the next play, Zwick found Williams standing alone in the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Abdul tacked on the PAT and it was 42‑0 at the half.
Billy Relford returned the second half kickoff to the Wilson 41‑yardline, giving the Tigers a short field once again.
They took advantage, mounting an eight‑play drive that featured runs of 11‑ and. 13‑yards by Oliver an capped by Ryan Boyd’s six‑yard sweep around right end for a touchdown at 7:22 of the third period.
Chris Reinhart tacked on the extra point and Massillon’s advantage swelled to 49‑0.
The Tigers final score came on a seven‑play, 30-yard drive capped by Terrence Roddy’s one‑yard touchdown dive at 2:08 of the fourth quarter. Max Shafer added the point after.
“We got a chance to play a lot of people and we got a chance to freshen up a little bit,” Shepas said.
And with that the coach was off to the Tiger locker room to dry off, warm up and begin preparations for next week’s invasion by Fremont Ross, a 10-0 winner over Toledo Whitmer Friday night.
MASSILLON 56 WILSON 8 M W First downs rushing 18 3 First downs passing 5 1 First downs by penalty 0 0 TOTAL first downs 23 4 Net yards rushing 409 104 Net yards passing 71 33 TOTAL yards 480 137 Passes attempted 10 10 Passes completed 5 6 Passes intercepted 1 0 Punts 0 7 Punting average 0 31 Fumbles/Lost 5/3 2/1 Penalties 3 2 Yards penalized 37 12
MASSILLON 14 28 7 7 56 WILSON 0 0 0 8 8
SCORING M ‑ Rickey Johnson 8 run (Abdul kick) M – Oliver 20 run (Abdul kick) M ‑ Ryan Boyd 19 run (Abdul kick) M ‑ Johnson 50 run (Abdul kick) M ‑ Jordan 31 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick) M ‑ Williams 2 pass from Zwick (Abdul :kick) M ‑ Boyd 6 run (Reinhart kick) W ‑ West 68 fumble return (S. Lane pass to Jones) M ‑ Roddy 1 run (Shafer kick)
INDIVIDUAL’ STATISTICS Massillon rushing: Johnson 8‑136, Oliver 8‑102, Boyd 5‑39. Wilson rushing: Humphries 15‑72, S. Lane 10‑20.
Massillon passing: Zwick 5-10-71 2 TDs, INT. Wilson passing: S. Lane 6‑10‑33. Massillon receiving: Jordan 3‑52, Williams 2‑19. Wilson receiving: West 2‑21
Tiger defense comes To the rescue Massillon wins mistake filled 17-14 verdict over Mansfield
By MIKE KEATING Independent Sports Writer
The Massillon Tigers beat the Mansfield Tygers at their own game Friday night.
Bolstered by a superb defensive effort, the Tigers edged the Tygers 17‑14 before an announced crowd 11,276 at Arlin Field.
“Our defense played four good quarters of football, “said Massillon linebacker Tony Graves. “They were a good team.”
Massillon didn’t secure its fifth victory against one loss until cornerback Brian Hill picked off a Mansfield pass intended for wide receiver Jeff Montgomery near the Tigers ‑ 40‑yard line with 22.4 seconds left in regulation.
“We work hard on defense,” said Massillon head coach Rick Shepas. “The. kids are starting to understand the scheme and they’re doing a better job of executing it.
“Mansfield has a well balanced offense. To hold them to 14 points is a credit to our defense.”
With tackle Dan Speicher controling the middle, Graves and fellow linebackers Brock Hymes and Andy Alleman filling the gap, and 190‑pound defensive back Markeys Scott hitting with the ferocity of a player 60 pounds heavier, the Massillon defense limited Mansfield to only 46 rushing yards on 25 attempts.
“We knew we had to stop the run and we knew we had to play four quarters of defense,” Graves said. “We did both.”
In the second half, the Tigers also established a running game that helped keep their defense off the field.
After being held to a paltry two rushing yards in 11 carries the first half, Shepas switched from a one‑back formation to a two‑back set. Robert Oliver, the starter, was joined by Ricky Johnson in the backfield. The tandem combined to rush for 128 yards on 22 carries during the final two quarters.
Mansfield played a lot of nickel defense on us, so we decided to go with the two backs,” Shepas said. “Both ‘of those backs ran hard.”
Johnson a 6‑foot, 211‑pound junior, scored Massillon’s lone second‑half touchdown on a 2‑yard sweep to the right at the 3:29 mark of the third quarter. That touchdown capped a nine‑play, 81‑yard drive that was aided by a costly pass interference penalty against. Mansfield.
With Massillon facing a third‑and‑14 from its 15, the Tigers fired a quick out. Mansfield was flagged for pass interference, giving Massillon an automatic first down at the 30.
Justin Zwick and wideout Devon Jordan teamed up for 16 yards, moving the ball to the 50.
Then it was back to the running game. Johnson picked up nine yards off right tackle. Oliver took a handoff from Zwick and raced 25 yards to the 16.
With Mansfield focusing on the run, Zwick hit tight end A.J. Collins on a crossing pattern for 14 yards. One play later, Johnson scored.
While the Massillon defense played a strong game, the special teams struggled. The Tigers missed a short field goal, fumbled away a punt, had a punt blocked and allowed a long kickoff return following Johnson’s touchdown.
Marcus Davis took the ensuing kickoff at the Mansfield 10, cut to the right and found a hole at the 20. He motored down the right side and was hauled down at the Massillon 39.
Mansfield needed eight plays to score. The big play of the drive was a 29-yard pass play from Georg Andress to wide receiver Dane Greer, who made a leaping catch at the Massillon 1. One play later, Andress sneaked over from left guard. Hollister Histed’s conversion kick cut Massillon’s lead to 17-14 with :43.8 left in the third quarter.
The Tigers had a chance to tack on an insurance touchdown late in the game, but fumbled the ball out of the end zone for a touchback.
Hill’s interception, however, denied Mansfield any hope of a dramatic victory.
Massillon’s first touchdown was set up by its defense. Alleman intercepted a pass at the Mansfield 42 and returned the ball six yards before he was brought down.
Operating on a short field, the Tigers put together a six-play, 36-yard drive. Zwick and Jordan teamed up on a curl route for 15 yards, moving the ball to the 20.
Mansfield held Massillon to five yards on two plays before Zwick hooked up with Stephon Ashcraft for nine yards and a first down.
On one of the few successful first-half running plays, Oliver swept the right side and scored. Abdul’s extra point made it 7-0 at the 6:35 mark of the first quarter.
The Tigers made it 10-0 when Abdul booted a 54-yard field goal at the 2:59 mark of the first quarter, a kick that cleared the uprights at the west end of the field by five yards.
Massillon then fumbled away a punt at its own 43 late in the first quarter. On Mansfield’s first play following the turnover. Andress hit Montgomery on a deep post at the Massillon 10 and the wide receiver broke free for a touchdown.
Mansfield had a chance to tie the game late in the first half. Mike Donaldson, a 6-6, 320-pound tackle, gave the Tygers the ball at the Massillon 45 by blocking a punt. The Tigers tried to quick kick on third down, but the strategy backfired.
After the Tygers were stalled at the Massillon 29, they tried a 46-yard field goal. The attempt sailed wide to the left and the Tigers held a three-point lead, one they also had at the end of game.
MASSILLON 17 MANSFILD 14 MAS MAN First downs rushing 6 6 First downs passing 13 5 First downs by penalty 2 0 TOTAL first down 21 11 Net yards rushing 124 46 Net yards passing 231 157 TOTAL yards 355 203 Passes attempted 37 29 Passes completed 24 14 Passes intercepted 0 2 Punts 6 4 Punting average 32 25.8 Fumbles/Lost 3/2 0/0 Penalties 7 4 Yards penalized 60 50
MASSILLON 10 0 7 0 17 MANSFIELD 7 0 7 0 14
SCORING M – Robert Oliver 6 run (Abdul kick) M ‑ David Abdul 54-yard field goal Man – Monigomery 43 pass from Andres (Histed kick) M – Ricky Johnson 2 run (Abdul kick) Man – Andress 1 run (Histed kick)
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS Massillon rushing: Oliver 20-98, Johnson 9-47. Mansfield rushing: Phillips 7-22, Perdue 7-12.