Tag: <span>Justin Zwick</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2000: Massillon 27, Mansfield Senior 7

Massillon, Perry on a collision course
Tiger running attack and defense spark 27-7 victory over Mansfield

Independent Sports Editor

The Mansfield Tygers had an invitation for Massillon offense and the Tigers accepted, utilizing the running game more than at any time previously this season to post a 27‑7 victory in front of 9,422 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Friday night.

Program Cover

Massillon rushed the football for 182 net yards and got a key interception in the early stages of the second half from senior cornerback Matt Shem that led directly to a back‑breaking touchdown, in remaining undefeated in four starts this fall.

“Mansfield wanted us to run the football,” observed Tiger coach Rick Shepas moments after the game ended. “They came out and played a nickel alignment with three down linemen and four linebackers and four deep.

“They played clock management offense just to keep the ball out of our hands. Then they tried to force us to run the football. They knew we were going to score some points but they wanted to stop the big points.

“If that’s what they’re going to give us, that’s what we’re going to take.”

Perry James was the focal point of the Massillon attack against the Tygers, who were 3‑0 and ranked No.9 in Ohio coming into the game. The 6‑foot, 211‑pound senior toted the football 26 times for 180 yards, including a long run of 37 and a touchdown in the early stages of the second half.

That score came after Shem picked off a Mansfield pass at the Tyger 42‑yard line and ran it back to the 2. Two plays later James went off right tackle for the score. A Justin Zwick to James aerial added two points and Massillon was up 21‑7 with 9:33 left in the third quarter.

It was just what the doctor ordered after an unevenly played first half that saw Massillon turn the ball over twice in the second quarter and take a tenuous 13‑7 lead into the locker room.

For Shem, it was his fourth interception in two games.

“The ball pretty much just stuck to my hands,” Shem explained in the Tiger locker room. “I didn’t see it until the last moment.”

Despite generating four takeaways for the Tiger defense in the last two games, Shem was not completely satisfied with his game.

“There were a couple of opportunities I missed today ‑ a couple of picks I should’ve had but I’m feeling pretty good right now,” he said. “We’re playing really good right now. I’m really excited about our defense.”

Shepas was a bit more effusive about Shem’s key interception and return.

“That was awesome,” the third year Tiger mentor exclaimed. “Matt Shem had three last week for great returns, then he gets that one for a great return and we were able to get a quick score on the board just at the right time.

“Our defensive effort against Buchtel was very good but this one was great because we gave up no points on the defensive side of the ball. It was an outstanding job by defensive coordinator Chris DiLoreto.”

After sniffing out a fake punt by Mansfield, Massillon put the game away with a 10‑play, 61‑yard drive, culminated by a 5‑yard Zwick to Jeremiah Drobney touchdown toss. The Tiger quarterback, facing third‑and‑goal from the 5, rolled left and lofted a perfectly thrown lob pass to his tight end in the back of the end zone to make it 27‑7 with 2:01 left in the third period.

While Zwick and Drobney collaborated on the TD, it was James who made the drive, carrying the ball or catching a pass on eight of the ten plays in the game‑clinching march.

“I give all the credit to my line and the wide receivers,” James said. “They did a good job blocking.

“I had a good week of practice and that’s part of the reason I got the ball so much tonight.”

The Tigers took a six‑point lead into the halftime locker room but it very easily could’ve been a 14‑13 Mansfield advantage.

With less than two minutes remaining in the first half, the Tigers faced a second‑and‑18 play from their own 11 following an offensive pass interference penalty.

Looking for the screen pass to beat the Mansfield blitz, the Tigers threw into coverage.

The ball bounced into and out of the hands of Tyger linebacker Maurice Bradley, who had nothing but green between himself and the end zone. Had Bradley caught the ball cleanly, he would’ve been gone for a touchdown.

Instead, the Tigers retained possession and punted the ball away one play later, preserving their six‑point cushion at the break.

The teams exchanged punts on their initial possessions of the game but Massillon got all the better of the field position, taking over at the Mansfield 43 after the Tygers were unable to move.

Zwick found James with a swing pass for seven yards. Then, with Mansfield in a blitz, James got the handoff and slashed for 13 more to the Tyger 22.

After a holding penalty pushed Massillon back to the 37, Zwick looked long. With the rush in his face, the junior lofted a high arching ball into the end zone where Jesse Robinson patiently waited for the sphere to come back to earth. It did and Robinson cradled the ball in his arms for the touchdown.

David Abdul drilled the point after kick and Massillon was up 7‑0 at 5:34 of the first quarter.

The Tiger defense forced Mansfield into its second straight three‑and‑out possession and the Tyger punt went out of bounds at their own 45.

Zwick found Robinson in the right flat for six yards on first down. Then James picked his way for five more and a first down. Two Mansfield encroachment penalties resulted in another first down at the 23.

Drobney caught his first pass of the game on a curl pattern that picked up 13 yards to the Mansfield 10. James got it down to the 3 on a draw play, and two plays later Zwick rolled right and hit fullback Terrance King for the touchdown.

The PAT failed and it was 13‑0 Massillon at 1:39 of the first quarter.

After an exchange of punts, Mansfield took over at its 10 and marched to the Massillon 35 on six running plays. The Tiger defense stiffened and the Tygers punted but the hosts failed to field the ball cleanly, losing ground to the Massillon 9.

After a Tiger first down, a holding call pushed the ball back to the 10‑yard line. Two plays later, Mansfield’s Tarek Berry picked off an overthrown pass and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown. Holister Histed hit the point after kick and it was a 13‑7 game with 2:49 in the half.

That would be as close as Mansfield would get, thanks to an interception the Tygers didn’t get and one that Massillon did get.

First downs rushing 7 5
First downs passing 8 0
First downs by penalty 1 1
TOTAL first downs 16 6
Net yards rushing 182 155
Net yards passing 132 0
TOTAL yards 314 155
Passes attempted 27 12
Passes completed 17 2
Passes intercepted 2 1
Punts 5 7
Punting average 29.2 29.6
Fumbles/Lost 2/1 1/0
Penalties 7 8
Yards penalized 65 40

MASSILLON 13 0 14 0 27
MANSFIELD 0 7 0 0 7

Mas ‑ Zwick 36 pass to Robinson (Abdul kick)
Mas ‑ Zwick 4 pass to King (Kick failed)
Man ‑Berry 27‑yard interception return (Histed kick)
Mas ‑ James 1 run (Zwick pass to King)
Mas ‑ Zwick 5 pass to Drobney (Kick failed)

Massillon rushing: James 26‑180, King 1‑3, Hill 1‑1.
Mansfield rushing: Taylor 11‑63, Bradley 13-53, Stanford 3‑39.

Massillon passing: Zwick 17‑27‑132 3 TDs, 2 INTs.
Mansfield passing: Andress 2‑12‑0 1 INT.

Massillon receiving: James 5‑25, Robinson 3‑48, Jordan 3‑16, Drobney 2‑18, Watkins 1‑8, Corsale 1‑8, Williams 1‑5, King 1‑4.
Mansfield receiving: Basilone 1‑7.


Kreg Rotthoff

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2000: Massillon 51, Akron Garfield 26

Unbeaten Tigers give Garfield the ‘boot’
Massillon rules 51‑26 as Oliver tallies 3 touchdowns

Independent Sports Editor

The Massillon Tigers dug a little deeper into their voluminous offensive playbook and it paid off with a 31‑point explosion in the final two quarters, sparking them to a 51‑26 thrashing of the Akron Garfield Golden Rams in front of 13,080 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Friday.

Program Cover

The Tigers, now 3‑0 on the campaign, held a 20‑14 halftime advantage but did not fully take advantage of four Garfield turnovers before the band show.

Massillon came out in the third quarter and put together back‑to‑back touchdown drives of 75 yards and 73 yards to take control of the game.

Justin Zwick connected on 11 straight passes during that stretch, utilizing bootlegs and rollouts to get away from the pesky Garfield pass rush.

In a game Garfield coach Bill McGee said would be decided by adjustments, the Tigers made a major one at halftime and the Rams were never able to counter.

“Justin likes to throw that boot pass and for the past couple years Orrville did a nice job of running that boot pass,” said Tiger coach Rick Shepas after the game. “It’s something we have in the playbook.

“Credit Coach (Dan) Murphy with some halftime adjustments.

He kept asking me, ‘Have you thought about that boot pass? Have you thought about that boot pass?’ Quite honestly I hadn’t, so I stuck it in there and it was a good adjustment. We ended up building the offense in the second half around that.”

McGee admitted his team never did come up with a stopper.

“That’s something we haven’t seen,” McGee said of the boot pass. “It shouldn’t have been as effective after the first time they did it, but we were tired. When you’re tired, the brain doesn’t work as well.

“They did things better in the third quarter especially, which was the difference. We were only six points behind at halftime and I thought we had a chance. I knew we had to kick off but they dominated the third quarter and a big part of it was on those roll outs.”

Like Buchtel had in the opener, Garfield jumped out to a 7‑0 lead on the Tigers, taking just four plays to go 80 yards. The quick strike was a 48‑yard Brian Sutphin to John Bell touchdown pass, set up by Sutphin’s textbook pump fake that froze the Massillon defensive back for a split second.

After an exchange of punts, Massillon took over at its 22. Zwick found Montale Watkins for 14 yards to the 41. Three plays later, from midfield, Zwick spotted Jesse Robinson open at the Garfield 20 and was on target with the throw. The senior co‑captain did the rest, bolting into the end zone at the 5:17 mark of the first quarter. David Abdul added the point after and it was a 7‑7 game.

The first of three Matt Shem interceptions set up Massillon’s second score. Jeremiah Drobney latched onto a Zwick pass at the Garfield 3 on first down. Then Perry James swept around left end for the touchdown on the very next play. Abdul’s PAT made it 14­-7 at the 6:53 mark of the second quarter.

Shem’s second interception was offset by a pickoff by the Garfield secondary. An interference call on Massillon gave the Rams the ball at the Tiger 29. Four plays later Sutphin threw a fade pass in the end zone and Lawrence Cherry climbed the ladder for the touchdown grab. The kick made it a 14‑14 contest at 3:33 of the second period.

Zwick completed four straight passes on Massillon’s ensuing possession but a holding penalty forced the Tigers to settle for a 27‑yard Abdul field goal with less than a minute to play in the half.

Shem picked off his third aerial of the quarter on Garfield’s first play after the Massillon kickoff, leading to a 28‑yard Abdul field goal, making it 20‑14 as the half expired.

The third quarter was all Massillon as Zwick came out of the locker room on fire. The Tigers moved from their own 25 to the Garfield 9 on eight plays, three of which were bootleg passes. On first and goal from the 9, Zwick rolled left and found sophomore Devon Jordan running free along the back line of the end zone for the touchdown. Abdul’s kick made it 27‑14 Massillon with 8:40 in the third period.

Tyrell McElroy got the ball right back for Massillon with a brilliant one‑handed, over‑the‑shoulder interception at the Tiger 27‑yard line.

Mixing the boot passes with the running of Terrance King and Robert Oliver, Massillon moved down the field and into scoring position. Zwick rolled to his right and completed a throw to Drobney that moved the ball to the 3. Two plays later, Oliver followed King’s block into the end zone. The two‑point conversion pass failed but Massillon was in command at 33‑14 with 3:31 left in the third.

But Garfield had some fight left as Sutphin went deep and found Lawrence Cherry on the post pattern with a 44‑yard scoring bomb to make it 33‑20 at the 2:11 mark.

Tiger sophomore Jamaal Ballard made sure the momentum didn’t swing away from the locals, returning Garfield’s ensuing kickoff 60 yards to the Rams 36. It only took five plays for Oliver to score again, sweeping around left end and into the end zone from four yards out. Zwick and Mike Corsale meshed on the two‑point conversion pass to make it 41‑20 with just seconds left in the third.

Abdul left the paying customers gasping when he opened the fourth quarter scoring with a 56‑yard field goal with 11:09 to play.

“With the wind at his back, I said he has 50 in him tonight and his father said he has 57 in him,” noted Shepas. “He ended up getting 56.”

Garfield’s resilience surfaced again as the Rams moved 80 yards on just three plays, with Cherry covering the final seven on a sweep around his left side to make it a 44‑26 contest.

Then Oliver capped off an eight‑play, 90‑yard march with a five‑yard touchdown run. The junior was hit twice inside the five but shook off both potential tacklers and found pay dirt with 7:30 to play, closing the scoring.

Despite surrendering 30‑plus points for the second week in a row, Shepas was not displeased with the Massillon defense.

“Five turnovers, that’s how I’ll look at the defense,” he said. “There were a lot of outstanding plays. Shem has three picks. Ty Mac has a great interception and Justin Princehorn has an interception.”

First downs rushing 6 5
First downs passing 19 4
First downs by penalty 0 1
TOTAL first downs 25 10
Net yards rushing 119 141
Net yards passing 375 185
TOTAL yards 494 326
Passes attempted 43 21
Passes completed 29 6
Passes intercepted 5 2
Punts 2 6
Punting average 33 21.7
Fumbles/Lost 2/2 1/0
Penalties 5 3
Yards penalized 57 15

MASSILLON 7 13 21 10 51
GARFIELD 7 7 6 6 26

G ‑ Sutphin 48 pass to Bell (Kulick kick)
M ‑ Zwick 49 pass to Robinson (Abdul kick)
M ‑ James 3 run (Abdul kick)
G ‑ Sutphin 11 pass to Cherry (Kulick kick)
M ‑ Abdul 27 field goal
M ‑ Abdul 28 field goal
M ‑ Zwick 9 pass to Jordan (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Oliver 2 run (Pass failed)
G ‑ Sutphine 56 pass to Cherry (Run failed)
M ‑ Oliver 4 run (Zwick to Corsale)
M ‑ Abdul 56 field goal
G ‑ Cherry 7 run (Pass failed)
M ‑ Oliver 5 run (Abdul kick) man

Massillon rushing: Oliver 11‑62, James 8‑41.
Garfield rushing: Klopton 4.49, Hullum 11‑38.

Massillon passing: Zwick 29‑43‑375 2 TDs, 2 INTs.
Garfield passing: Sutphin 6‑20‑185, 3 TDs, 4 INTs.

Massillon receiving: Drobney 10‑137, Robinson 4‑68, Watkins 5‑64, King 5‑63, Williams 2‑26.
Garfield receiving: Bell 2‑109.


Kreg Rotthoff

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2000: Massillon 67, Lima Senior 35

Tigers light up the scoreboard again
Massillon nets 690 yards of offense and hands Lima Sr. 67-35 whipping

Independent Sports Editor

With temperatures more conducive for baseball than football, Massillon Tiger coach Rick Shepas figured the physical conditioning of his charges would get a test against the visiting Lima Senior Spartans, Friday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Program Cover

While the oppressive heat and humidity cooperated, the Spartans offered very little resistance as the Tigers jumped out to a 22‑0 lead after the first quarter and coasted home to a 67‑35 victory in front of 8,363 perspiration‑soaked fans.

Massillon’s high‑powered attack amassed 415 net yards in the first half alone, including 338 yards through the air as the game was decided before the bands took the field.

Junior quarterback Justin Zwick was just as torrid as the weather, completing 14 of 22 aerials in the first half, including three touchdown tosses.

The Tigers took the game’s opening kickoff and used their finely‑tuned aerial attack to go through the Lima Senior defense with virtually no resistance.

Zwick found tight end Jeremiah Drobney over the middle for 13 yards on the first play from scrimmage. One play later, a screen pass to Terrance King picked up 23 yards to the Lima 38. Then Robert Oliver found a seam in the middle of the Lima defense for 24 yards to the Spartan 14.

Zwick went back to Drobney, finding the senior open at the 2‑yard line. Drobney caught the football, then battled his way through two Spartan defenders and into the end zone for the touchdown. David Abdul tacked on the extra point and it was 7‑0 Massillon at 10:12 of the first quarter.

Tiger defensive end Brian Leonard forced Lima to cough up the football on its initial possession of the game with Justin Princehorn falling on the pigskin for the Massillon at the Spartan 28.

“We came out sharper in the first quarter which is something we wanted to do,” said Tiger coach Rick Shepas. “Good offense, good defense in the first quarter. Start fast.”

It didn’t take the orange-and‑black long to turn the Lima turnover into points. Zwick passed 37 yards to Montale Watkins, who came back nicely for the football, to give the Tigers first‑and‑goal at the Lima 2. However, the drive stalled and Abdul hit the chip shot field goal at at 7:30 of the first quarter to make it a 10‑0 game.

The Spartans marched from their 16 to the Tiger 30 before Leonard, Matt Shem and Jason Abbott made outstanding defensive plays to quell the march.

It only took Massillon two plays to score again. Perry James picked up eight yards around right end on first down. Then Zwick ‑ with pressure in his face ‑ found Jessie Robinsin at the Lima 27. The 5‑foot‑6 senior captain leaped high, then turned his body in midair to catch the football. When he came down the Lima defensive back was out of position and Robinson jetted into the end zone for the 63‑yard touchdown as the Tigers led 16‑0 with 5:31 still to go in the first quarter.

Lima went three‑and‑out on its ensuing possession and the Tigers went for the kill.

On a third‑and‑12 play from the Tiger 21, Zwick who finished 19 for 32 for a Washington High single game record of 402 passing yards ‑ completed a short pass to Marquis Williams at the 30. The 5‑11, 168‑pound junior, broke several tackles and was off to the races, finally going down at the Lima 10.

A penalty against the Tigers, one of 14 yellow flags on Massillon, pushed the ball back to the 29. Two snaps later, Zwick underthrew a pass down the right sideline. But Robinson, his eyes on the ball all the way, came back and made the catch, then danced into the end zone. The PAT put Massillon up 23‑0 at 2:31 of the first quarter.

Lima finally got the bugs out, marching 80 yards in 11 plays for its initial score of the game. Junior running back Jeremy Wright, who had a big game himself rushing for 206 yards and three TDs, found a huge hole in the middle of the line and went 14 yards for the score. Travis Wright’s kick made it a 23‑7 game at 9:53 of the second quarter.

“Our defense had a good, solid game plan,” said Shepas. “They did a nice job running the trap on us. They ran a trap cutback off the option play and we had a little trouble dealing with it. Even after we made some adjustments they got us on it early in the second half.”

Massillon – counter punched with a knockout blow.

Robinson fielded the Lima kickoff at the Tiger 10 and picked his way down the left sideline 90 yards to paydirt. Abdul’s kick made it 30‑7 Massillon at 9:42 of the second.

After being shutout last week, Robinson put up three touchdowns against the Spartans.

“I knew tonight was going to be something special,” gushed the diminutive senior captain. “Last week Montale Watkins had a big game so (Lima’s) best DB was on his tail and their weaker DB was on me the whole game. There was no way he could stay with me.

As for the long kickoff return, Robinson credited superior conditioning.

“The ball was short and I guess they were tired running down there,” he explained. “It opened like the Red Sea. I just sprinted as fast as I could to get in for six.”

Abbott produced a huige play on defense on Lima’s next series, hitting quarterback Nick Morris on a blindside blitz, forcing him to fumble. Robert Oliver picked up the loose ball for Massillon and rumbled 20 yards into the end zone for yet another Tiger score. Abdul’s kick made it 37‑7 at 8:39 of the second.

Lima then drove 78 yards in six plays to keep it respectable. Jeremy Wright covered the final seven yards for the points. Travis Wright tacked on the PAT to make it a 37‑14 game at 6:45 of the second.

King ripped off 27 yards on a draw play on the Tigers next possession to key yet another scoring drive. A Zwick to Williams aerial accounted for 33 more, and Abdul put up the points on a 22‑yard field goal.

The junior kicker extraordinaire closed the first half scoring with a 27‑yarder and it was Massillon 43, Lima 14 at the break.

Lima opened the second half with an 80 yard scoring drive, capped off by a 22‑yard Morris to Jeremy Wright touchdown toss. The kick cut the Tiger lead to 43‑21.

Massillon came right back and put up a score of its on. With Lima in an all out blitz, James took the handoff from Zwick and darted up the middle for a 63‑yard touchdown jaunt. The senior running back only toted the ball five times, but picked up 120 yards.

Following a Lima turnover, King got a hole and shot 18 yards to the end zone to make it 57‑21 Tigers at 7:52 of the third.

Abdul’s 29‑yard field goal with 2:38 in the third period got Massillon to the 60‑point plateau at 60‑21.

Trent Seay hauled in a two‑yard pass from Morris at 6:54 of the fourth and the PAT made it 60‑28 Massillon.

The Tigers final score came on a 17 yard run by sophomore Terrance Roddy.

“The game got a little sloppy for a while,” observed Shepas. “We had more penalties than we had last week and we want to work on those things. But it’s good to stay healthy coming out of this.”

“Massillon has a fine team,” said Lima Senior coach Leonard Rush. “We knew they were going to throw it all over the field. You guess when you blitz and we guessed wrong a whole bunch tonight. They’re a good team and we’re not a very good team right now.”

First downs rushing 13 10
First downs passing 11 6
First downs by penalty 3 3
TOTAL first downs 27 19
Net yards rushing 279 278
Net yards passing 411 216
TOTAL yards 690 494
Passes attempted 34 26
Passes completed 21 11
Passes intercepted 0 0
Punts 1 3
Punting average 25 34
Fumbles/Lost 2/0 6/4
Penalties 14 7
Yards penalized 181 70

MASSILLON 23 20 17 7 67
LIMA 0 14 7 14 35

Kreg Rotthoff

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2000: Massillon 40, Akron Buchtel 7

Massillon’s team effort leads to rout of Buchtel

Repository sports writer

MASSILLON ‑ Massillon and Buchtel both stressed the need for a balanced offense entering the high school football season.

Balanced the Tigers were, on offense, defense and the kicking game.

Program Cover

With new quarterback Justin Zwick throwing for five scores, kicker David Abdul booting two long field goals and the defense throttling Buchtel back Tim Murphy, Massillon posted a surprising 40‑7 victory Friday in the 2000 opener at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Zwick’s first game in orange and black was about as good as it gets. The Tigers’ offense scored three times on two Zwick‑to Jeremiah Drobney passes and 46‑yard Abdul field goal the first half to build a 17‑7 lead it never relinquished.

Zwick then fired another scoring pass to Drobney and two to Montale Watkins in the third quarter to tie the school record of five in a game. The feat tied 66‑year‑old mark set by Mike Byelene against Niles in 1934.

In the third period, Massillon outgained the Griffs 127 to minus‑17 yards.

“I could get open, They were blitzing a lot,” said Drobney, who caught seven passes for 62 yards and the three scores. “We were just trying to stop their blitzing from working,

“I thought he threw the ball pretty well tonight,” Drobney said of Zwick, 18‑for‑32 passing

“That’s not usually the case,’ Massillon head coach Rick Shepas said of the receiving of Drobney and Watkins. “Usually it will be more spread. It will change as the season goes.”

Watkins snared six for 107 yards to complement Drobney’s effort.

Massillon also ran the ball effectively. Perry James contributed 81 yards on eight carries. But it was the passing that moved the chains for the Tigers.

The aerial attack also ran the Buchtel defense ragged.

“You just can’t make mistakes against Massillon and win games,” said Buchtel coach Claude Brown. ‘We needed to put pressure on (Zwick), but they picked it up.

“My hat off to them. They just beat us.”

The Massillon defense was on fire, too. While new Buchtel quarterback Charlton Keith struggled (3-for-10), 30 yards) in his debut, Murphy was doing more with his one leg (seven punts) than two (15 rushes, 71 yards).

Murphy scored the Griffins’ touchdown on a run of 52 yards for Buchtel’s lone highlight. The Griffins never got closer than seven points early in the second period, when Abdul nailed his 46-yarder for a 10-7 lead. He added a school record 50-yarder in the third quarter.

“We knew we were going to have a chance in the kicking game.” Shepas said. “Anytime you can get points from any place on the field, it’s nice.”

Kreg Rotthoff