Tag: <span>Kyle Kempt</span>

History

Kyle Kempt Continues to Light It Up for Iowa…

It was back in the summer of 2012 that I unexpectedly shared a ride on a plane to Chicago with Massillon quarterback Kyle Kempt.  Of course, we talked some Tiger football, but he was mostly excited about spending time with former Tiger player George Whitfield, Jr. at his Quarterback Academy in San Diego.  George must have done some good because Kyle is now one of the most recognizable college football players in the country.

Kyle Kempt, Massillon’s record-setting quarterback, has found a home at Iowa State.  Since taking over the starting quarterback position for the Cyclones, Kempt has led his team to upsets over Oklahoma and Texas Christian, both ranked in the Top 5 at the time, and won four games in five starts. Following the Oklahoma game, his cinderella story exploded across the national sports networks.  Perhaps Kyle’s next stop may just be mayor of Ames.

Kempt played for the Tigers in 2010 through 2012 and holds several passing records, including the following:

  • Career passing yards (6,034)
  • Single-season passing efficiency (183.7)
  • Single-season average yards per pass (10.5)
  • Single-season passing yards per game (235.1)

In 2012, Kyle’s senior year, his team finished 11-2 and advanced to the regional finals.  During the season, he recorded two victories over Canton McKinley and a win over eventual Division 3 state champion Akron St. Vincent.  He also completed 194 of 292 passes for 3,056 yards and 32 touchdowns and on five occasions he eclipsed 300 yards, while passing for over 200 on four others.  And his team averaged over 41 points a game.  For his effort Kempt was named 2nd Team All-Ohio.

Photo by Mark D. Smith, USA TODAY Sports

Following Massillon, Kyle made made his way to Oregon State and then to Hutchinson Community trying to find a home.  But neither worked out.  Eventually he was accepted at Iowa State as a non-scholarship walk-on.  ISU head coach Matt Campbell, a former Massillon resident and Perry High School player, had recruited Kempt unsuccessfully while at Toledo, but now the two were finally united.  After a year with the scout team, circumstances thrust Kempt into the starting role against Oklahoma in Game 5 and we all know how that went.  Here are his stats for the five starts:

  • Oklahoma – Won 38-31.  18 of 24 for 343 yards and 3 touchdowns.
  • Kansas – Won 45-0.  13 of 20 for 122 yards and 1 touchdown.
  • Texas Tech – Won 30-13.  22 of 32 for 192 yards and 2 touchdowns.
  • Texas Christian – Won 14-7.  21 of 35 for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns.
  • West Virginia – Lost 20-16.  27 of 40 for 249 yards and 1 touchdown.
  • Total – 101 of 141 (72%) for 1,108 yards and 9 touchdowns.

With three games remaining, the Iowa State Cyclones are already bowl eligible and on the way to their best season in many years.  Much of this has to do with Kyle Kempt’s steady and outstanding performance.  Of course, let’s not forget Head Coach Matt Campbell.  Best of luck to Massillon’s own, Kyle Kempt and Matt Campbell.

History

2012: Massillon 16, Toledo Whitmer 49

Whitmer football wins third consecutive regional crown

MANSFIELD — For the third straight season, Whitmer will be moving on to the Division I state football semifinals.

The third-ranked Panthers (13-0) earned that berth Saturday night by jumping out early on 10th-ranked Massillon Washington, and cruising to a 49-16 victory over the Tigers in a Region 2 final at Mansfield’s Arlin Field.

“This is unbelievable,” first-year Whitmer head coach Jerry Bell said. “This was our goal, and these seniors have worked so hard. This was the 41st game they’ve played in three years, and this one was for our senior class. Massillon is a phenomenal team and very explosive, and we were able to neutralize them tonight.”

Senior quarterback Nick Holley ran for 116 yards, and was 10-of-17 passing for 137 yards and a touchdown to trigger the Panthers’ attack, and senior running backs Tre Sterritt (14 carries, 71 yards, three TDs) and Me’Gail Frisch (13 carries, 81 yards, two TDs) contributed mightily to Whitmer’s 409-313 edge (272-54 rushing) in total offense.

The rest was up to the Panther defense, which bent but did not break in containing Massillon’s high-powered 43-points-per-game offense. It was the third playoff win by Whitmer over Massillon since 2006.

Now 38-3 overall since 2010, Whitmer will face seventh-ranked Mentor (12-1) in a semifinal Saturday at 7 p.m. at a site to be determined.

Mentor advanced by beating defending state champion Cleveland St. Ignatius 57-56 in three overtimes in Saturday night’s Region 1 final.

In an otherwise superb first half where they could do little wrong, the Panthers spotted Massillon a 7-0 lead 49 seconds into the game.

On their second play from scrimmage, the Tigers scored on a 54-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Kempt to Gareon Conley.

The Tigers would not reach the end zone again until 7:42 remained in the game, and by then they trailed by 32 points.

Whitmer’s first drive stalled at the its 47 after seven plays, but Nate Holley’s punt ignited a furious scoring surge.

Tigers return man Marcus Whitfield muffed the punt at his 10, the ball bounced toward the goal line, Whitfield was knocked away by Marcus Elliott, and Keith Howell recovered in the end zone for a touchdown with 8:30 left in the opening quarter.

After kicking the extra point, Panther placekicker Michael Baldwin executed an onside kick and recovered himself at the Massillon 45.

Whitmer quarterback Nick Holley is hit by Massillon Washington’s Ryan Rambo after picking up a first down.

Holley ran for 35 yards on the next play, a Tigers late hit moved it to the five, and Frisch went around right end the final five yards for a 14-7 Whitmer lead 21 seconds after its first TD.

“When they scored right away it was like, ‘…what did we get ourselves into?’ But we responded, and we just had that fire underneath us,” Nick Holley said. “The momentum changed, and I think we had it for the whole game after that.”

The Panthers’ next drive covered 55 yards on seven plays, with Tre Sterritt carrying for the final yard and a 21-7 Whitmer advantage with 4:29 left in the first quarter.

The offensive surge continued after the Whitmer defense stopped Massillon on a fourth-down play at its 35. Once again the Panthers used seven plays to find the end zone, this time with Sterritt going 12 yards through the middle on the first play of the second quarter.

Massillon briefly interrupted the Whitmer express, marching 61 yards on 13 plays before having to settle for Andrew David’s 29-yard field goal with 7:33 left in the half.

The Panthers traded punts with the Tigers, then launched their fourth offensive scoring drive of the half from their 40.

They used 12 plays to move those 60 yards, and Sterritt capped it on a five-yard TD run over left guard 39 seconds before halftime, which arrived with Whitmer holding a commanding 35-10 lead.

“We knew if we just played our game we’d come back,” Sterritt said. “They’re a great offensive team and have a good defense too. We knew we had to respond and we couldn’t let our heads down.

“The momentum just came from us working hard, and believing we were going to win.”

After a scoreless third quarter, Whitmer added a touchdown on the second play of the fourth, capping a monster 16-play, 80-yard drive on Holley’s five-yard TD pass to twin brother Nate Holley for a 42-10 lead on the Tigers.

Most importantly, that drive took 7:51 off the clock, preventing Massillon from staging any comeback bid.

“The defensive staff and offensive staff were dialed in on the play-calling,” Bell said. “We thought we had to be able to run the football against them, and keep the ball out of the hands of their offense. We were able to do that.”

“Our defense is stingy, and we’ve been playing like that all year,” Panther senior defensive tackle Marquise Moore said. “That’s the mindset you have to have going into any game.”

The Tigers’ second TD came on an 11-yard pass from Kempt to Conley.

Kempt was 19-of-32 passing for 259 yards, and Ryne Moore topped the Tigers in rushing with 52 yards on 17 carries.

“We knew if we stopped the big plays we would have a shot at stopping them and winning the game,” senior third-year starting linebacker Jack Linch said. “We did that throughout the game.

“We’ve played a lot of games the last three years. We’re an experienced football team and I think we can go all the way if we just keep working hard.”

Whitmer closed the scoring on Frisch’s six-yard TD run with 4:24 remaining.

Contact Steve Junga at: sjunga@theblade.com

GAME STATS

History

2012: Massillon 28, Canton McKinley 19

KENT, Ohio — It is one of the best football rivalries in the country, but Massillon Washington definitely had Canton McKinley’s number in 2012. The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs, Saturday, for the second time in three weeks, 28-19, in the Division 1, Region 2 semifinals.

Ryne Moore carried the load for Massillon (11-1), scoring twice on short runs, as the Tigers jumped out to a 28-7 lead, before McKinley’s comeback effort fell short.

Massillon’s senior quarterback Kyle Kempt also threw two touchdown passes as the Tigers won their tenth straight game, dating back to a week two loss to Canton Glenoak.

Top-seeded Massillon advances to next Saturday’s Region 2 Final against 2nd-seeded and unbeaten Toledo Whitmer (12-0), which held on to eliminate Hudson (9-3) 39-28. The winner will advance to the State Semifinals.

GAME STATS

History

2012: Massillon 37, Canton McKinley 29

THE BELL IS BACK
Tigers jumps to big early lead, hold off late Bulldog rally

Chris Easterling
The Independent

MASSILLON The sound of the Victory Bell hadn’t chimed inside the Massillon locker room in a while. Three Octobers had come and gone without the Tigers ringing the bell.

Yet, shortly after 5 on Saturday afternoon, there was the distinctive “clang,” echoing through a jubilant Tiger locker room at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

The Victory Bell was back in Tigertown, but not without a fight. Massillon jumped out big early, then hung on late to outlast McKinley’s comeback attempt to prevail 37-29 in front of 17,582 fans.

“The bell’s been over in Canton for three years now,” Tiger senior Brody Tonn said.

“Everybody’s saying, ‘You guys ever going to get the bell back? You guys going to get the bell back for your senior year?’ Our slogan all year has been ‘15 weeks,’ but all we focused on this whole week was getting the bell back and beating McKinley for our seniors.”

And Tonn was front and center in helping Massillon, which heads into Saturday’s Division I regional quarterfinal against Nordonia (7-3) at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium with a 9-1 record, end a two-game losing streak overall – and three-game regular-season skid – to the rival Bulldogs.

Tonn threw a 7-yard touchdown pass on a fake field goal to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead. He also caught a 35-yard scoring strike to put Massillon ahead 14-0.

And, for good measure, he turned away a McKinley scoring threat late with an interception in the end zone with 3:15 remaining.

Early on, such late heroics would have seemed unnecessary for Massillon. After all, thanks to three first-half Bulldog turnovers, the Tigers were in possession of a 24-0 lead with 7:42 remaining in the first half.

“When they make a mistake, it just gets us excited,” said Tiger junior Marcus Whitfield, whose 37-yard touchdown catch gave Massillon a 24-0 lead. “We get a chance to punch it down the field and score.”

Even after McKinley pulled to within 24-7 at halftime, many in attendance would have never expected things to come down to a last-ditch heave by the Bulldogs on the final play of the game.

The players wearing the special graphite-gray uniforms – on a day that matched those duds = weren’t surprised.

“Every time we go into the locker room at halftime, we always say to the whole team, ‘It’s 0-0,’” sophomore defensive end J.D. Crabtree said. “You can never give up, especially on an opponent like that. … They’re all extremely fast. We were ready.”

Massillon twice opened up 20-point third-quarter leads – at 27-7 and 34-14. The latter came on the third of Kyle Kempt’s three touchdown passes on the day, this one a 66-yarder to Gareon Conley.

“They were trying two-on-one (Conley) all day, and we got our chance,” said Kempt, who was 16-of-32 for 285 yards with the three scores and one interception. “We capitalized on it.”

McKinley, which will take a 7-2 record into Saturday’s regional quarterfinal at Hoover, used the arm of sophomore quarterback Eric Glover-Williams to mount its comeback. Glover-Williams, who rushed for 141 yards and a score on 27 carries, threw second-half touchdown passes to Jeff Richardson and Chris Prowell-White, the latter pulling the Bulldogs to 37-29 – after a two-point conversion – with 5:04 left.

Glover-Williams completed 15-of-30 passes for 196 yards.

Massillon brings back Victory Bell, tops McKinley

Chris Easterling
The Independent

MASSILLON Halfway through Saturday’s 122nd showdown against archrival McKinley, the Massillon Tigers looked like they were on their way to a rout. The only problem was, nobody told the Bulldogs that fact.

Still, despite a valiant comeback effort by McKinley, Massillon finally got its hands on the Victory Bell for the first time since 2008 with a 37-28 win in front of 17,582 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“It’s almost unreal,” said Tiger senior Brody Tonn, who threw a touchdown pass, caught a touchdown pass and came up with a game-saving interception late in the game. “I haven’t beat McKinley since my freshman year. … I’m absolutely just speechless right now. I’m so proud of everybody on this team.”

Massillon improves to 9-1, its best regular-season record since 2005. It is expected to play host to Nordonia (7-3) next Saturday in a Division I regional quarterfinal, although the official pairings will be announced Sunday by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

McKinley falls to 7-2. The Bulldogs are expected to play at Hoover (8-2) in a regional quarterfinal next Saturday, with the winner of that game to play the Massillon-Nordonia winner in the second round.

The win snapped a two-game win streak overall for McKinley in the series. In regular-season meetings, the Bulldogs had won the last three coming into Saturday.

“I’m happy for these seniors,” said Tiger coach Jason Hall, who now is 3-3 against McKinley.

“It was interesting. We had some people talking before the game, and they asked how many of the seniors had touched the bell. None of them could raise their hand. More of a joy for them.”

The Tigers at one point led 24-0 midway through the second quarter. They turned three McKinley turnovers into 17 points, with Kyle Kempt hitting Tonn and Marcus Whitfield for scoring passes of 35 and 37 yards.

Kempt was 16-of-32 for 292 yards. He finished with three touchdown passes, including a 66-yarder to Gareon Conley to give Massillon a 34-14 lead with 3:39 left in the third.

Andrew David also had a 25-yard field goal in that stretch as well. “When they make a mistake, it just gets us excited,” said Whitfield, whose touchdown catch made it 24-0 with 7:42 left in the half. “We get a chance to punch it down the field and score.”

The first Tiger touchdown, though, came courtesy of a little trickery. The Tigers found themselves faced with a fourth-and-goal on the McKinley 7 on their second possession of the game.

Massillon lined up for the field-goal try. However, instead of placing the ball down for the kick, Tonn – the holder – rose up and fired a strike to a wide-open Malik Dudley for the touchdown.

The Tigers, who initially lined up for a two-point conversion try before taking a timeout, added the David PAT to make it 7-0 with 4:35 left in the first quarter.

“We out and we actually had the check on,” Tonn said. “I looked over to the sideline and coach said, ‘It looks like they’re bringing a blitz, so run it.’ They actually ended up bringing everybody up the middle. Malik Dudley leaked out through the middle and was just wide open.”

McKinley would crack the scoreboard when Eric Glover-Williams hit Chris Prowell-White for a 19-yard touchdown pass with 3:40 left in the half, cutting it to 24-7. It would be one of two scoring connections between the two, as their second one – a 5-yarder with 5:04 remaining – cut the score to 37-29, after Jeff Richardson’s two-point conversion run.

Glover-Williams, McKinley’s elusive sophomore quarterback, completed 15-of-50 passes for 196 yards and three touchdowns. His one interception came with 3:15 remaining, two plays after Richardson had come up with a interception of a Tiger pass.

That interception, though, didn’t end McKinley’s hopes. The Bulldogs got the ball back with 41seconds at their own 36.

A pass interference flag against Massillon moved the ball to midfield on the first play. But McKinley would be flagged for intentional grounding, then throw a harmless incompletion on the game’s final play, setting off a raucous celebration.

GAME STATS

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2012: Massillon 44, Akron St. Vincent St. Mary 23

Pick six turns tide for Massillon

Chris Easterling
The Independent

MASSILLON The Massillon Tigers were looking to find something to get momentum going their way Friday night against St. Vincent-St. Mary. They were locked in a tie game late in the third quarter, and the Irish were knocking on the door to retake the lead.

That’s when Kentrell Taylor came up with the interception of his career. And the subsequent 93-yard return for a touchdown gave Massillon the lead for good, and the Tigers pulled away from there for a 44-23 win on a rainy night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“It was big, because our backs was against the wall,” Taylor said. “It was the red zone. God was just on my side. He put me in the right place at the right time.”

The win improved Massillon to 8-1, the most regular-season wins for the Tigers since 2005.

They will be gunning for their first nine-win season since that year Saturday when they close out the regular-season against archrival McKinley at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

The Irish fell to 7-2.

Taylor’s huge return, and the momentum it generated for the Tigers, helped to negate any of the bad feelings that may have been churning after a mistake-filled first half ended with St. Vincent-St. Mary leading 17-13. Massillon had three of its four turnovers in the first half, while committing five penalties for 30 yards.

“I didn’t think we played great,” Tiger coach Jason Hall said. “We turned the ball over. It was a little sloppy for us.”

That all changed in the second half. After gaining 157 yards in the first two quarters, the Tigers finished the game with 388.

“We had each other’s backs,” Tiger quarterback Kyle Kempt said. “Offensive line, running backs, defense, they all had my back tonight. When it counted, I had their backs, too.”

Massillon struck first, as Zach Volzer gave the Tigers a 6-0 lead with 5:35 left in the first quarter on a 36-yard touchdown catch from Kempt. It was one of two first-half scoring strikes for Kempt, the other a 58-yarder to Marcus Whitfield that cut the Tigers’ deficit to 17-13 with 4:20 remaining.

In between those two Tiger scores were 17 St. Vincent-St. Mary points on three consecutive possessions.
Dylan Labbe kicked a 27-yard field goal 1:45 into the second quarter to put the Irish on the board at 6-3. After St. Vincent-St. Mary’s Dante Booker picked off a pass and returned it to the Tiger 19, Williams powered in from nine yards out to give the Irish a 10-6 lead with 8:45 remaining in the half.

Mike Pruiett gave the Irish a 17-6 lead with 5:20 left with a two-yard run. That scoring drive, was all of five plays, was set up by a 34-yard Fransohn Bickley punt return to the Tiger 23.

Bickley also helped St. Vincent-St. Mary turn away a Massillon scoring chance late in the half, picking off a pass in the end zone after the Tigers had gotten the ball on the Irish 29. That was one of three first-half interceptions for the St. Vincent-St. Mary defense.

Massillon surged to a 23-17 lead by scoring on its first two third-quarter possessions. The first was a 14-yard Ryne Moore touchdown run, followed by a 27-yard Andrew David field goal.

St. Vincent-St. Mary, though, tied the game up immediately after the field goal when Parris Campbell Jr. took the subsequent kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown.

The snap on the PAT was bobbled, and Massillon snuffed out the two-point pass attempt to keep it at 23-23 with 5:18 left in third quarter.

The Irish appeared ready to retake the lead after it recovered a Massillon fumble at the Tiger 31.

But on a third-down play from the Tiger 9, Taylor came up with his huge interception.

Moore’s second touchdown run of the game, a two-yard run with 10:07 remaining, made it 37-23 Tigers. Moore finished the game with 176 yards on 33 carries.

“Moore’s a special player,” Hall said. “That’s what we expect out of him. He’s a physical kid, a grinder.”

Gareon Conley’s 31-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter gave Massillon the final margin.

GAME STATS

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2012: Massillon 71, Pauline Johnson, Ont. Canada 12

Massillon moves to 7-1 with rout of Canadian team

Chris Easterling
The Independent

MASSILLON – The best thing the Massillon Tigers could say about Friday night’s game against Pauline Johnson Collegiate (Ont.) is that it’s behind them and they can now turn their attention to bigger opponents.

Facing a dramatically overmatched opponent in the Thunderbirds, the Tigers rolled to a 71-12 win inside Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. The win, Massillon’s sixth in a row, improves the Tigers to 7-1.

“I think the best part about this is that a lot of guys got to play,” Massillon coach Jason Hall said. “A lot of guys who work as hard as anybody in practice, a lot of guys on the challenge team. To see those guys out there getting a chance to run the ball and make tackles, do all those things, that was the best part about tonight.”

Now the Tigers can turn their attention to the final two games of the regular season, starting with a home game against St. Vincent-St. Mary. They can also do so having avoided any significant injuries during Friday’s rout.

The game, expected to be a rout, didn’t waste much time in getting to that point. The Tigers did not run more than four plays in any of their first-half possessions, and walked into the locker room with a 56-0 halftime lead.

“We took care of business,” said senior quarterback Kyle Kempt, who was 7-of-9 for 103 yards with two touchdowns.

The first time Massillon ran a play that did not pick up positive yardage was on the final play of the first half.

That’s when the Tigers, who recovered a Pauline Johnson fumble at the Thunderbird 2, took a knee with 40 seconds remaining.

The game was so lopsided by that point, it was agreed upon by both teams that the second half would be limited to a pair of seven-minute quarters. The Tigers still added a pair of third quarter scores to lead 71-0.

By that point in time, the Tiger starters had already made themselves quite comfortable on the bench. The last time the entire first-unit took the field together was on the first possession of the second quarter, which ended with a 41-yard touchdown run by Lyron Wilson just 51 seconds into the quarter, making it 35-0.

“I thought they came out and played pretty sound,” Hall said. “We just lined up and played. Offensively, it’s what we would expect from our guys. They came out and executed.”

The rout actually took a little longer than expected, roughly 2:33, to be exact. The Thunderbirds took the opening kickoff and picked up a first down before the Tiger defense stiffened and forced a punt 2:18 into the game.

Two play after that punt, it was 7-0 Massillon, thanks to a 56-yard Ernie Baez touchdown run.

After a three-and-out by Pauline Johnson, the Tigers took four plays to go ahead 14-0 on a Kempt-to-Beau Huffman 23-yard touchdown pass with 7:20 left in the first quarter. Kempt also threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Rambo that made it 28-0 with 1:43 left in the first quarter.

Reserve quarterback D.J. Brown also threw two touchdowns, one to Zach Volzer and another to Damion Smith. Brown completed all four of his passes for 57 yards.

Wilson, who saw extensive playing time with the first unit as Ryne Moore rested a mild injury, made the most of the time he saw on the field. The junior running back had a 49-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, while finishing the game with 85 yards on four carries.

Even the reserves got into the action, scoring on five of nine drives after the majority of the starters were pulled. The first time the Tigers didn’t score on a possession came on their eighth drive, which ended on a fumble.

They recovered from that, though, as Gunner Ries picked off a pass on the subsequent Thunderbird possession and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown with 1:46 left in the half. That was one of five turnovers by Pauline Johnson, three in a row to end the first half.

The shutout held until the final 2:44 of the game. Pauline Johnson put together two scoring drives in that span to prevent the Tigers’ first shutout since 2009.

GAME STATS

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2012: Massillon 34, Austintown Fitch 14

Massillon dominates Fitch in statement game

Chris Easterling
Saturday, October 6, 2012

MASSILLON – The Massillon Tigers wanted a complete game. Through their first six games, they had either had shown up with a big offensive performance, or their defense was the highlight of the night.

But Friday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, they put both offense and defense together. And the result was the Tigers’ most impressive performance of the season in a 34-14 rout of the state’s No. 5-ranked Division I team, previously-undefeated Austintown Fitch.

Consider it a statement made.

“You’ve really got to be proud of our kids and our coaching staff,” Tiger coach Jason Hall said after his team improved to 6-1 heading into next week’s home game against Canadian foe Pauline Johnson Collegiate. “Our coaching staff put a game plan together and our kids bought into it and they executed it. We came out with a lot of energy and we started the third quarter off with energy as well. I think that’s as complete a game as we’ve played. … I think everybody in Massillon’s proud of their Tigers tonight.”

Fitch, now 6-1, had not allowed any teams to score more than 10 points in its first six games, a total Massillon had exceeded by the end of the first quarter. The Tigers rolled up 533 yards of offense on the Falcons’ highly-touted defense.

“It was a huge statement, because everyone was talking this team up all week,” said Tiger running back Ryne Moore, who finished with 112 rushing yards and a score. “They were beating teams pretty good, so it was a huge statement for us to come out and do what we did.”

Coming into the game, Massillon felt like it may have an edge over Fitch thanks to the throwing arm of Kyle Kempt. Of the Falcons’ first six opponents, none boasted a quarterback with the passing ability of the Tigers’ senior.

And Kempt proved that to be true.

By the end of the first quarter, Kempt had thrown for 209 yards and two touchdowns, completing 12-of-15 passes. By halftime, his numbers were up to 15-of-20 passing for 273 yards with four touchdowns.

“We didn’t see a lot of changes in their looks, and they didn’t change the rest of the night,” said Kempt, who finished the game 18-of-26 passing for 308 yards with four scores. “We had a  good plan heading into the game. We just knew we could exploit them, especially through the air.”

The big performance by Kempt and the offense was equalled by a defensive effort that kept the high-scoring Falcons to a season-low in points, with their second touchdown coming with just more than four minutes remaining. The previous low had been 24 points in their season opening win over Warren Harding.

Through three quarters, Fitch – which lost starting quarterback Matt Futkos in the third quarter – had just 161 yards of offense. The Falcons finished with 259 total yards.

“We came out and we knew we were going to play because we knew they were a good opponent,” said Tiger defensive end J.D. Crabtree, who 6.5 total tackles, two sacks and four tackles for loss in the game. “We saw what they had done to Boardman, and we saw that Boardman had beaten GlenOak. … We came out fired up and we did our jobs.”

Massillon came out of the gate looking to show just what kind of night it was going to be for it offensively. The Tigers took the opening kickoff and marched from their own 15 to the Fitch 18 in 10 plays.

But the Falcons arched their backs on third and fourth down, including a sack on the latter to turn away the Tiger threat.

Undaunted, Massillon made sure its next possession ended in points. The Tigers took eight plays to go 93 yards — the last 32 on a touchdown pass from Kempt to Beau Huffman — to take a 7-0 lead with 3:30 left in the first quarter.

Fitch had its one and only answer on the night, taking the subsequent drive 76 yards in seven plays. The last 10 came courtesy of a quarterback keeper by Futkos to tie the game at 7-7 with 47 seconds left in the quarter.

That 47 seconds was more than enough for Massillon to take the lead for good. Kempt hit Marcus Whitfield for a 58-yard touchdown strike on the final play of the quarter to make it 14-7 Tigers.

Kempt hooked up twice with his favorite target this season – Gareon Conley – on touchdown strikes in the second quarter to help Massillon take a 28-7 halftime lead. The first was an 18-yard scoring pass with 5:03 left in the half to make it 21-7.

Mike Smith set up Conley’s second touchdown by recovering a Fitch fumble at the Falcon 37.

On the next play, Conley caught a 37-yard touchdown pass to make it 28-7 with still 4:10 remaining until the band show.

Moore made it 34-7 with just over three minutes left in the third quarter with a 27-yard scoring run, juking out Fitch’s Ohio State-bound Billy Price in the process.

GAME STATS

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2012: Massillon 62, Akron Firestone 27

Massillon offense shines in 62-27 rout of Firestone

Chris Easterling
The Independent

MASSILLON – It was a memorable defensive effort that helped carry Massillon to a big win over Steubenville last week. On Friday night, it was the Tigers’ offense that carried the day as they cruised to their fourth win in a row.

The Tigers scored on nine of their first 10 possessions – all touchdowns – as they rolled up a 62-27 win over visiting Firestone at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Massillon improves to 5-1, but the task figures to get much, much tougher next Friday night, when state-ranked and undefeated Austintown Fitch comes to town.

“I thought offensively, we played well,” Massillon coach Jason Hall said. “It seems like we either play really good offensively, or really good defensively. Next week’s game, if we don’t come out and play a complete game, we’re not going to put ourselves in a position to be successful.”

No doubt the Tigers would love to bottle up a little bit of the offensive fireworks they put on display against the Falcons of Firestone when they go up against the Falcons of Fitch.

By halftime, Massillon had rolled up 281 yards of offense and had turned a close game into a rout. What was a 15-13 Tiger lead with just less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half after turned into a 36-13 advantage by the time the bands hit the field for intermission.

Massillon finished the game with a season-best 585 yards of offense.

The catalyst for Massillon was a familiar face. Senior quarterback Kyle Kempt completed 15-of-17 passes in the first half alone – with four of those going for touchdowns – and had 194 yards through the air.

Kempt finished the night 20-of-25 for 313 yards with five touchdowns. Two of those went to Gareon Conley, while Zach Volzer, Ryne Moore and Marcus Whitfield each caught one.

“Kyle has been a consistent football player for us all year,” Hall said. “That’s what we expect out of him. He’s a captain; he’s a leader. He’s a Division I football player. Kyle Kempt managed the offense, like he always does. I thought we did a great job of spreading the ball around. You couldn’t ask for much more offensively.”

Conley finished the game with eight catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns – six for 120 and both scores came the first half. The 176 receiving yards were second-most in a single game in school history.

But Kempt also showed off a little bit of his scrambling ability. The 6-foot-5, 200-pounder helped to open up the lead with a 16-yard run that put Massillon in front 22-13 with 8:27 left in the first half.

That score broke the dam wide open for the Tigers, who outscored Firestone 28-7 in the second quarter. They added a 20-7 third-quarter explosion.

Firestone may have come into Friday night’s game with only a 2-3 record and an offense that had scored more than 13 points just once in its first five games, but the Falcons also boasted some big-play ability behind a Division I college running back in Jerome Lane Jr. and a Nebraska recruit in wide receiver Kevin Gladney.

And thanks to two big plays, Firestone found itself within two points with just under 10 minutes left in the first half.

The first was a 58-yard touchdown pass to Gladney that pulled the Falcons within 8-6 with 4:12 left in the first quarter. Gladney simply beat the Tiger defender on a post pattern, caught the ball in stride and ran untouched into the end zone for the score.

The second was a 40-yard scoring strike to Reggie Rogers that once again cut it to a 15-13 Tiger lead. That Firestone score was set up by an interception on a screen pass by Falcon defensive linemen Brennan Williams, the only time in the first half Massillon did not score when it had the football.

“We had a good game in the first half,” Firestone coach Tim Flossie said. “The second half, we just fell apart. (Massillon) did a nice job. They found a way and just kept going to it.”

Despite the lopsided result on the scoreboard, the Falcons still rolled up 474 yards, 227 of those in the first half. They added a 26-yard scoring pass to Lane with less than 90 seconds left in the game to provide the final margin.

GAME STATS

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2012: Massillon 24, Steubenville 7

Massillon strikes quick in defeating Steubenville

Chris Easterling
The Independent

MASSILLON Jason Hall wanted to see his Massillon Tigers do something Friday night they really hadn’t done since the season opener – come flying out of the gates to start a game.

Hall got his wish, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

The Tigers scored three first-quarter touchdowns to establish the momentum early in a 24-7 win over previously-undefeated Steubenville at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“Our kids came out ready to go,” Hall said after his team improved to 4-1. “We sputtered a little bit in that game. Our defense played really well in that game. My hat’s off to them; I’m proud of them. We just kept coming.”

Three weeks earlier, in the Tigers’ first “really big game” of the season against GlenOak, they came out flat. The result was a 20-3 deficit in the fourth quarter that ultimately resulted in a 26-24 loss to the Golden Eagles.

There was no such flat start on this night. In fact, Massillon could not have scripted a better start in its second “really big game” of the season.

“GlenOak, we came in and everybody was pumping us up and we just got big-headed,” Tiger running back/linebacker Kentrell Taylor said. “Ever since that loss, it hit us hard. We told ourselves we haven’t done anything yet; we have to prove ourselves. Anybody can beat us when we don’t play our game.”

The Tigers scored on the game’s first possession, with Kyle Kempt hitting Gareon Conley for a 21-yard touchdown pass just 1:36 into the contest. Kempt was 4-for-4 on the drive for 71 yards, with two passes going to Conley for 51 yards.

Massillon’s defense made its first stop of the night on Big Red’s first possession. Marcus Whitfield initially bobbled the ensuing punt around the Massillon 19, but recovered, made a pair of initial defenders miss and then raced 81 yards for the touchdown as the Tigers went up 14-0 with 7:08 remaining in the first quarter.

“I was looking at the ball, and I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, it’s my first punt return,’ ” said Whitfield, who scored his first varsity touchdown on the play. “I dropped the ball, then picked it up and just started running and was trying to figure out what I was going to do. I just saw a hole and I started running and my teammates all just started blocking for me. The next thing you know, I was in the end zone.”

Kempt hit Tonn for a 24-yard touchdown pass with 3:52 left in the first quarter to make it 21-0.

A play earlier, Tonn kept the drive alive when he hit Ryan Rambo for a 31-yard completion on a fake punt, setting Massillon up with a first down at the Big Red 24.

Asked how long he had been waiting to run the fake, Hall said, “I don’t know; a couple of weeks.”

Massillon’s final points came with 10:42 remaining when Anthony McCarthy – handling all the kicking chores due to an injury to Andrew David – booted a career-long 42-yard field goal to make it 24-7.

“At first I thought I missed it; I thought it was short,” McCarthy said. “Next thing I know, Brody’s jumping on me. … I couldn’t believe that ever happened to me.”

The lone Steubenville score came on a one-play, 9-yard scoring drive – a touchdown run by Dashon Redman. A bad snap on a Massillon punt, and the subsequent shanked kick and return set up Big Red with the short field.

A recovered pooch kick by Steubenville after the score gave Big Red the ball at Massillon’s 37.

But that drive ended with no points, as Steubenville finished with just 143 total yards of offense.

GAME STATS

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2012: Massillon 34, Maumee 12

Massillon pours it on Maumee in weather-shortened game

Chris Easterling
The Independent

MAUMEE A 20-minute trip across Stark County proved to be too much for the Massillon Tigers to handle a week ago in a loss at GlenOak. On Friday night, they tried their hand at dealing with a two-and-a-half-hour trek to the northwest corner of Ohio as they paid undefeated Maumee a visit.

The long journey seemed to revitalize the Tigers, who caught fire midway through the first quarter and never looked back in rolling to a 34-12 win over the Panthers at Richard Kazmaier Stadium.

The game was called after one half of play as a storm moved into the area. The officials pulled the plug at 10:30 p.m.

“You travel three hours for a rain delay, but I thought, by the second quarter, our kids were playing well,” Massillon coach Jason Hall said after his team improved to 2-1 entering next week’s game at Perry. “We settled in defensively. We were pleased with the way we played.”

The secret to the Massillon rout was an offense that was the exact opposite of the previous week. Against GlenOak, the Tigers were held to minus-4 net yards rushing on 21 carries, albeit 32 of those yards lost came on six sacks by the Golden Eagles.

However, on this night, Massillon decided the way to go was to ground and pound the ball down the field. The Tigers powered their way to 225 rushing yards on 20 carries, including big games by both Ryne Moore and Kentrell Taylor.

Moore took an 11-carry, 157-yard, two-touchdown performance into the locker room. Taylor had 78 yards and two scores on just five carries.

“We were real happy with our running backs,” Hall said. “They didn’t get a chance to really see Ernie Baez either. … We really have three guys we’re real confident when they carry the ball. I thought Trelly really showed some of his speed in the open field on that one (50-yard touchdown) run. We were able to rotate some guys in there and let them play. I thought they really ran well in the first half.”

The huge way the half – and ultimately, the game – ended, with Massillon scoring on five straight possessions before finally being forced to punt on its final first-half possessions. That was belied by a slow start caused by many of the same issues that troubled the Tigers last week.

Their first drive reached the Maumee 20, only to get short-circuited by a 13-yard loss on a bad snap followed three plays later by a missed 44-yard field goal.

The Tigers had a pair bad snap. They also were plagued by eight penalties for 65 yards.

“I thought our kids just needed to settle in,” Hall said. “We shot ourselves in the foot on that first drive with a bad snap.”

And, for a stretch, it was Maumee – not Massillon – that was controlling the pace of the game.

The Panthers moved into Tiger territory on each of its first three drives. The first, though, resulted in a Massillon score when Brody Tonn stepped in front of a Maumee screen pass and raced 52 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Tiger lead with 8:32 left in the first quarter.

But Maumee scored on its next two possessions to take a 12-7 lead. Andrew Schultz capped a seven-play, 80-yard drive with a 1-yard run with 5:11 remaining in the first to cut to 7-6.

Dominique King then hauled in a 57-yard touchdown pass from Steve Duby on the first play of the next Maumee possession for a five-point lead with 3:28 left in the first quarter.

But the Tigers came back with a three-play, 64-yard drive, capped by a 1-yard Moore run, to take the lead for good at 14-12 just 24 seconds later. And from there, they started to roll.

GAME STATS