Tag: <span>Lee Hurst Jr.</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2015: Massillon 31, Akron St. Vincent St. Mary 56

Irish stall Tigers’ momentum, rattle playoff hopes for third year in a row

Independent sports editor

MASSILLON Big plays were a big problem for Massillon on Friday night against St. Vincent St.Mary. Because of that, the Tigers’ precarious playoff hopes took a big hit.

The Irish once again jumped on Massillon early for a double-digit lead for the fourth consecutive year.

For the third year in a row, they had all the answers when the Tigers would challenge that lead as they won 56-31 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“It just seemed like, we’d get going and then we’d sputter,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said. “Everybody was taking turns making mistakes. You can’t do that against good teams. You have to put multiple good series in a row together on both sides of the ball.”

St Vincent-St. Mary, which jumped to a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter, led by as much as 18 in the first half. Massillon got within seven in the second quarter, and 11 early in the fourth, but couldn’t get closer.

The loss drops Massillon to 4-5 entering the Week 10 showdown at McKinley next Saturday. The Tigers – No. 9 in Division II Region 5 this week – could very well go into the game with no shot at the postseason, depending on other results. “We have good, tough kids who I think are resilient,” St. Vincent-St. Mary coach Dan Boarman said. “We made some mistakes, obviously.

We’re going to have to shore some of those things up. Our kids keep playing.”

St. Vincent-St. Mary’s penchant for getting the big play started on the game’s first play, when Dom Davis hit DeAmonte’ King for a 48-yard pass to the Tiger 17- On the next play, Davis hit Myles Williams for a 17-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Irish lead 20 seconds into the game.

After Massillon was stopped on fourth-and-inches at the St. V 36, the Irish were pushed into a third-and-20 situation. But Davis and King connected again, this time a 45-yard pass to the Tiger 28.

Next play, Markus Hurd took off for a 28-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 Irish lead. Massillon had its share of big plays also. The problem for the Tigers, though, was that they spent the remainder of the game trying to chase down the Irish after their big opening salvo.

The first five Tiger drives reached St. V territory, the last three of which resulted in points. Lee Hurst II caught a pair of touchdown passes – 50- and 21-yarders – while Klay Moll kicked a 28-yard field goal in the first half.

All of that, however, left Massillon staring at a 35-17 halftime deficit.

After the Tigers pulled within 14-10 on Moll’s field goal, the Irish answered with a six-play drive to take a 21-10 lead on Kurd’s 9-yard run. After Massillon got within 21-17 on Hurst’s second touchdown catch with 2:40 left in the half, St V answered with a six-play drive – aided by a Tiger personal foul – to make it 27-17 with 1:03 left in the half. On the very next play by Massillon, the Irish got the ball back at midfield on an interception. A 33-yard pass from Donte Taylor to Davis would set up a 21-yard Davis touchdown run with 20 seconds left in the half, followed by a two-point conversion for an 18-point cushion at the intermission.

Massillon would pull within 42-31 on a pair of Keyshawn Watson scoring runs, the last of which was a 47-yarder with 11 minutes left. However, Kurd’s 73-yard kickoff return set up Davis for a 1-yard scoring plunge to push the Irish back up to 49-31 just 19 seconds later.

Kurd added a 13-yard run with 3:58 left to provide the final margin.


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2015: Massillon 28, Cincinnati Mt. Healthy 26

Massillon edges fighting owls to reach 4-4, claws back to .500 for the season

Independent sports editor

MASSILLON When the play needed to be made, Massillon made it. When the defensive stop needed to be made, the Tigers were able to come up with it.

Because of that, like a cat with nine lives, Massillon’s season – and beyond – is all very much alive.

Thanks to Friday night’s 28-26 win over Cincinnati Mount Healthy, the Tigers find themselves back at .500 for the first time since after Week Two at 4-4. They also find themselves in control of their own destiny in terms of whether or not their season goes beyond the regular-season finale in two weeks at McKinley.

“We found a way to pull it out,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said afterward. “I’m proud of our kids. They fought hard to the end.” The Tigers, who led 21-7 at halftime and 28-20 with two minutes left, needed two big plays to secure their second consecutive win and third win in their last four games. One came on
defense, the other on offense.

The first came courtesy of a defense that had trouble all night trying to slow down Owl quarterback David Montgomery, who rushed for 281 yards on 32 carries. The final one of those carries was a 36yard touchdown run – his fourth scoring run of the night – with 1:57 remaining that pulled Mount Healthy to within 28-26. However, the two-point conversion play never really was able to get on track for the Owls, and Massillon intercepted the pass attempt to preserve the lead.

“That was a good football team; great player,” Moore said. “The Montgomery kid, No. 7 the quarterback, is really good. Probably one of the best players in Southwest Ohio, if not the state. He’s a real good player. We got the stop with the two-point that was huge.”

Almost as huge was the subsequent possession. After Lee Hurst II recovered the onside kick, Massillon went to work trying to kill off the final 1:56. On the second play of the Tiger possession, Keyshawn Watson got loose for a 32-yard run down to the Owl 15. From there, Massillon took a knee to run out the clock on the win.
It was one of two huge runs by Watson over the final 4:30 of the game. The other came with 4:20 remaining, when, with the Tigers clinging to a 21-20 lead, the sophomore got loose for a 45-yard touchdown run.

The score, plus the fourth Klay Moll point-after kick of the night, gave Massillon an eight-point cushion at 28-20.

“It was huge; it was huge, “Moore said of Watson’s two runs. “We were sputtering on offense. He’s was the spark we needed.”

Watson finished with 128 yards on 16 carries.

Massillon never trailed after it took the first possession of the game and marched 50 yards on six plays to take a 7-0 lead 1:15 into the game. Mike White’s 9-yard run provided the score for the Tigers.

Mount Healthy did tie the game at 7-7 after it recovered a muffed punt by Massillon at the Tiger 30. Montgomery’s 21-yard run with 7:18 left in the first quarter provided the equalizer.

The muffed punt was one of three turnovers for the Tigers on the night. The Owls turned two of those into touchdowns, including taking an interception and converting it into a Montgomery scoring run with 2:38 remaining in the third quarter.

Mount Healthy missed the PAT, though, keeping Massillon in front at 21-20.

The Tigers would take the lead for good when Seth Blankenship connected with Hurst for a 36-yard touchdown pass with 2:20 left in the first quarter. The junior quarterback and senior quarterback-turned-receiver hooked up nine times for 187 yards on the night.

Blankenship was 13-of-23 for 234 yards on the night.


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2015: Massillon 49, Youngstown Ursuline 18

Hurst shifts to receiver, Blankenship QB in win

Independent sports editor

MASSILLON It was just the kind of game Massillon was looking for. Just the kind of home cooking the Tigers needed to leave themselves feeling much better about things.

After an up-and-down quarter-and-a-half, Massillon turned things on midway through the second quarter and gradually pulled away from Ursuline for a 49-18 win at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Friday night.

“It felt really good,” Tiger coach Nate Moore said after his team improved to 3-4. “Our kids, they played hard. They played with effort, but they also played well, which has not always happened. They executed and all that stuff. It was a great team victory.”

The Tigers have won two in a row at home, and two out of their last three overall. They return to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium next week when Cincinnati Mount Healthy visits.

They will do so a different-looking team on offense.

Massillon’s offense was looking for a spark of some sort to jolt it back into rhythm after last week’s loss at Austintown Fitch. It may have found it by shifting Lee Hurst II from quarterback to receiver while handing Seth Blankenship the keys to the offense at quarterback full-time.

On the very first play of the game, Blankenship hit Hurst for an 8-yard gain. The bigger gain, though, came with four minutes left in the first half, when Blankenship connected with Hurst for a 37-yard touchdown pass to put Massillon ahead 21-12.

It was one of three first-half touchdown passes for Blankenship, who was 12-of 17 for 204 in the game. He completed a 31-yarder to Austin Jasinski for a 14-12 lead; the strike to Hurst for a 21-12 lead; and a 24-yarder on fourth-and-18 to Montrell Stevens to make it 28-12 with 1:07 left in the half.

In the third quarter, Blankenship hit Hurst on a slip screen, which the latter turned into a 19-yard touchdown for a 35-18 Tiger lead. Hurst finished the game with 81 yards and the two touchdowns on five catches.

“Lee played great,” Moore said. “He had two touchdowns, one way down the field and one on the screen where he broke some tackles. We’re really proud of him.”
Massillon also was proud of its continued defensive improvement during the last few weeks.

The Tigers allowed Ursuline to manage 304 total yards, 190 of which came in the first half.

“Our ends played really well,” said Moore, whose team forced three turnovers, including two interceptions by Kordell Ford. “They played head-first defensively. We were reading our keys and getting off blocks.”

Ursuline came into the game happy to have running back Kimauni Johnson back after he had left last week’s loss with an injury. On the Irish’s second play – their first one was picked off by Ford to set up a Massillon score – Johnson raced 80 yards for a touchdown to pull them within 7-6.

Johnson rushed for 150 yards on 13 first-half carries. However, a shoulder injury in the second quarter knocked him out of the game.

Other than Johnson, though, Massillon’s defense did a solid job in limiting the Irish to just field goals in the first half. Those field goals – of 26- and 27-yards – did give Ursuline a 12-7 lead with 8:59 left before halftime.

Ursuline’s only other touchdown came on a very short field after a Massillon fumble at its own 3. One play later, the Irish scored to make it 28-18 with 9:56 left in the third.


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2015: Massillon 41, Warren Harding 48

Stopped Short

Chris Easterling
Independent Sports Editor

WARREN Three games into the season, Massillon coach Nate Moore is still waiting for a full four-quarter football game from his team.

The latest example came Friday night at Mollenkopf Stadium. Despite falling into multiple two-score deficits, the Tigers continued to fight back to take a lead at one point. They were also tied two other times in the second half.

The problem for Massillon was that the final counterpunch belonged to Warren Harding, which emerged with a 48-41 win to drop the Tigers to 1-2 on the season.

“We need to put a complete game together,” Moore said after his team saw a last-ditch attempt intercepted in the end zone by Warren with 45 seconds left. “You’ve got to tip your hat to Harding; they’re a good football team. They were the better football team tonight, the scoreboard shows that.”

The scoreboard showed that because Raider quarterback Lynn Bowden almost single-handily put his team on his shoulders in the second half. It was his 20-yard touchdown run with 3:04 remaining that broke a 41-41 tie.

Bowden, who rushed for 212 yards on 13 carries, scored all three Raider second-half touchdowns. One came on a 90-yard kickoff return 14 seconds after the Tigers had forged a 34-34 tie on a Seth Blankenship-to-Todd Fichter touchdown pass with about eight minutes left.

The transfer from Liberty finished with four touchdowns on the night, three rushing. He also threw a 31-yard scoring strike to Juwan Pringle to give Warren a 26-13 halftime lead.

“I would put him in the category of Mario (Manningham) and (Maurice Clarett),” said Warren coach Steve Arnold, whose team is now 3-0. “People who make plays and electrify the crowd.

Whatever adjective you want to use, he’s that. – He’s a fierce, fierce competitor.”

Twice Bowden hurt the Tiger defense by turning a broken play or a cutback into a long touchdown run. His 62-yard run that opened the game’s scoring in the first quarter came on a broken tackle, then a cutback against the grain.

His 63-yard run in the third quarter that gave Warren a 34-27 lead just over a minute after the Tigers had taken a one-point lead came on a broken play where he reversed field in the backfield and outran the defense.

“We knew what we were getting into going in,” Moore said. “He’s a very good player. He hurts us on a lot of broken plays.”

Bowden’s big night overshadowed Keyshawn Watson’s breakout performance at running back for the Tigers. Watson, who had lined up at receiver in the first two games, started at running back and finished with 239 yards on 37 carries.

Watson scored twice. His 1-yard run – plus Brian Corbin’s point-after kick- put Massillon ahead 27-26; his 2-yard run plus the PAT tied the game at 34.

“We thought he was a dynamic player and we needed to put him in the backfield where we could get him more touches on the football,” Moore said.

Massillon had plenty of chances in the game, reaching Warren territory on 11 of 13 possessions. However, only six of those results in scores.

The Tigers also turned the football over four times – including three interceptions – with two of those being turned into Warren touchdowns.

“We had opportunities,” said Moore, whose team travels to meet unbeaten Steubenville next week. “We just have to put a game together. That’s it.”


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2015: Massillon 21, Canton Glenoak 37

Tiger errors add up to Game 2 loss to Eagles

MASSILLON Nate Moore hoped his team had learned its lesson in Massillon’s season-opening win over Perry. He hoped his team had managed to figure out it couldn’t just show up and expect to win without having to suffer a loss to hammer the point home.

Unfortunately for Moore and the Tigers, they couldn’t dodge lightning twice. This time, the errors that Massillon had gotten away with in Week 1 came back to hurt in Week 2, as it suffered a 37-21 loss to GlenOak on Thursday night at Paul Brown “Obviously, we weren’t prepared today,” Moore said after his team fell to 1-1. “Our kids weren’t ready to play. You have to give credit to (GlenOak coach Scott) Garcia and his staff and their kids, because they played a great game. This is 100 percent on me; I have to get our kids better prepared. Tonight’s unacceptable.”

For the second week in a row, Massillon gave up more than 430 yards, and surrendered 37 points in consecutive games. Last week, it was a 432-yard performance by Perry; on Thursday, it was a 494 yard effort by GlenOak.

As was the case against Perry also, the Tigers surrendered a pair of 100-plus-yard rushers.

Golden Eagle quarterback Brennon Tibbs rushed for 154 yards and two scores, including a 70-yard run with 13 seconds left in the third quarter that made it 30-21.

“That was big,” Garcia said of the 70-yard run. “Brennon made a big play. That’s what a senior leader is supposed to do.”

C.C. Cubilla added 131 yards and a game-clinching 11-yard run with 1:09 left. Beyond that, the Tigers also killed themselves with ill-timed turnovers despite accumulating 409 total yards.

They gave the ball up four times, two times on fumbles and twice on interceptions.

Massillon turned the ball over twice on its final two drives of the first half. Both came inside the GlenOak 30, including a fumble as the running back appeared to have a clear path to the end zone.

“We’ve got to find the weaknesses and mistakes we have in the game and we have to find a way to get those applied in practice and get those fixed,” said Moore, whose team travels to Warren Harding next week ‘We can’t continue to do this.”

Adding injury to insult was another injury to senior quarterback Lee Hurst, who left the game with an arm injury just as he was establishing a rhythm running the football. Hurst, who was injured on a 13-yard run that gave Massillon a first down at the GlenOak 17 early in the fourth quarter, rushed for 202 yards on 20 carries in the game. The senior quarterback had two touchdowns also: an 11yard run that tied the game at 7-7 midway through the first quarter and a 13-yard run that pulled Massillon to within 20-14 with 6:21 left in the third quarter.

“I’m worried about Lee; we’ve got to find out what’s going on,” Moore said. “I heard he was on his way to the hospital, but other than that, I don’t know. He was making plays for us with his legs. It’s a huge loss.”

GlenOak stunned Massillon from the start by being the team that established the fast pace on offense. It took the Golden Eagles just 3:22 to travel 65 yards in nine plays to take a 7-0 lead on the opening drive thanks got a Tibbs’ run.

After the Tigers tied the game at 7-7 on their first drive, GlenOak came right back with a sixplay, 65-yard drive that took just 2:02 of clock time to take a 13-7 lead on the first of two Robert Peterson touchdown runs. Peterson would add a second scoring run for a 20-7 Golden Eagle lead with 10:54 remaining in the half.

“Our offensive line came off the ball,” said Garcia after his team improved to 1-1. “They dominated the line of scrimmage. That’s what we asked them to do and they got it done.”

That scoring drive took just 56 seconds to go 90 yards. It was one of four sub-three minute scoring drives for GlenOak on the night.


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2015: Massillon 41,  Massillon Perry 37

Tigers survive after Panthers storms back in wild second half

By Chris Easterling
Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON Nate Moore had the look of a football coach who had been through a half-dozen games Thursday night. For the Massillon coach, his debut was only one game.

Even if in the course of the Tigers’ 41-37 come-from-ahead-and-then-from-behind win over neighboring rival Perry at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium had the feel of two games in one.

Just more than 13 minutes into the season, Massillon was the owner of a 27-0 lead after Mike White’s 3-yard scoring run. With 5:17 remaining in the game, Perry found itself in possession of a 37-34 lead thanks to Drew Waggoner’s 21-yard field goal.

Dakota Dunwiddie, who scored the first touchdown of the game, also scored its final one. His 2-yard run with 3:34 remaining pushed the Tigers in front for good.
“What a ballgame; we played a great team,” Moore said after his first win as Massillon’s coach and the program’s 850th win. “Hats off to them. A lot of teams could’ve folded there at halftime, and they came out and they put it to us. You’ve got to give them credit.”

The Tigers came out firing on all cylinders. Three first-quarter drives all ended in three first quarter touchdowns, giving them a 20-0 lead after 12 minutes.

Dunwiddie capped the first march with a 6-yard plunge 2:17 into the game. Lee Hurst II ran for a 16-yard score to end the second one with 6:01 left in the quarter. Seth Blankenship then hit Keyshawn Watson for a 52-yard scoring strike with 33 seconds left in the quarter.

Blankenship and Hurst alternated possessions at quarterback throughout the game. Hurst rushed for a team-high 109 yards on 15 carries; Blankenship threw for a game-high 188 yards on 15-of-20 passing with two scores.

“Quarterback is no different than most positions as far as who’s going to play,” said Moore, whose offense gained 407 total yards. “That’s a position where there’s a lot of competition between two players. Going into this week, that’s what we thought gave us the best chance to win.”

What gave Perry its best chance to win was a steady dose of Keishaun Sims and Tevion Cleveland. That was especially true in the third quarter, which was when the game went from a Tiger rout into a incredible Panther comeback story.

After Massillon went ahead 34-6 after turning a recovered squib kick into a Blankenship-to Austin Jasinski touchdown, Perry came to life. Sims, in particular, led the way.

The senior running back gained 136 of his game-high 229 yards in the third quarter. He scored three rushing touchdowns in those 12 minutes, including a 45-yarder with 1:42 remaining in the third to tie the game at 34-34 after Drew Waggoner’s point-after.

Of Perry’s 432 total yards, 219 came in the third quarter.

“It was a tale of two halves,” Moore said. “We played great defense and everyone’s fitting where they’re supposed to and things are happening the way we want them to happen. Then all of the sudden, we get a little success, we lose our mind; one guy makes a mistake and everybody starts to overcompensate.”

Sims also had a fourth touchdown in the quarter when he intercepted a pass and returned it 34 yards for a score.

Meanwhile, Cleveland – who scored Perry’s first touchdown on a 39-yard reception from Max Baker in the second quarter – provided just the right counter to Sims.
Of his 124 rushing yards, 73 came in the third quarter.

However, after Sims’ 31-yard burst on Perry’s opening drive of the fourth quarter, the Panthers didn’t have rushing plays more than 10 yards. The only other run for 10 yards or longer was on their next-to-last play, when Sims gained 10 to set up fourth-and-7 from the Perry 35 with less than 2:30 remaining.

The Tigers got a sack on the next play to essentially seal the win.

“We have to finish,” Perry coach Keith Wakefield said. “That’s what it’s all about. That’s what you have to do and we couldn’t do it.”



2014: Massillon 31, Canton McKinley 21

Victoery Bell chimes For Tigers after 125th meeting with archrival

By Chris Easterling
Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON It was familiar territory for Massillon at halftime of the 125th game against McKinley on Saturday afternoon at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. The Tigers were sitting with a lead – a 10-point one, in this case – with a chance to secure the win.

Twice before, though, that halftime lead dissolved into losses. The memory of those games was a big reason why Massillon’s seniors were doing something they had done before at the end of the game as well: ringing the Victory Bell after beating the Bulldogs.

“We had yet to play a strong four quarters of football,” senior running back J.D. Crabtree said after Massillon’s 31-21 win over McKinley. “We really stressed that this week. We stressed that in the locker room at halftime that we can’t come out flat. We’ve been in this situation before; we’ve been up. We have to come out and do our jobs. We came out fired up, and we did what we were supposed to.”

What Massillon did was post its fourth consecutive win in the series against the Bulldogs, including its third straight regular-season win. The win improved the Tigers to 7-3 and sent them packing for Perrysburg to meet the 10-0 Yellow Jackets in a Division II Region 4 quarterfinal Friday night.

While the playoff berth was secured long before kickoff – only the opponent, – Perrysburg or Nordonia was up in the air – Massillon came out looking like a team trying to pull out all the stops on its rivals. The Tigers recovered an onside kick to start the game, although that ended up in a missed 51-yard field goal.

That proved to be the only time Massillon would get inside the McKinley 40 and not put points on the board. The Tigers’ second possession ended with Crabtree scoring the first of his four touchdowns on the day, a 5-yard run with 6:56 left in the first quarter.

McKinley pulled even with Massillon only once after that point. The Bulldogs tied the game at 7-7 on a 3-yard Eric Glover-Williams run with 9:06 left in the half.

Massillon scored on two of its final three possessions of the half, though, to take a 17-7 halftime lead. Crabtree’s 1-yard plunge and Andrew David’s 41-yard field goal with 1 second left in the half provided the Tiger margin.

“We just needed to play our game,” senior running back/linebacker Danny Robinson, whose fourth-down run with less than 40 seconds left picked up the game-clinching first down. “We came in at halftime and everybody knew we were the better team in that locker room. We just needed come out and execute and stop them.”

Massillon grabbed a 24-7 lead on Crabtree’s third score, a 16-yard run just 2:15 into the second half. It was part of the senior’s 34-carry, 131-yard performance.

“The Massillon people would say that’s the J.D. Crabtree they know,” Tigers coach Jason Hall said.

McKinley, though, had a little life left in it. A Lee Hurst-to-Bryce Short touchdown pass in the third quarter, followed by a Hurst quarterback plunge pulled the Bulldogs within 24-21 – after a Glover-Williams-to-Short two-point conversion – with 10:43 remaining.

Both were set up by special-teams plays. A 22-yard fake-punt run by Devion Jenkins helped keep the former scoring drive alive, while the latter was set up by a muffed punt by Massillon at its own 30.

Massillon, though, wouldn’t let another double-digit lead slip by it as it did against Austintown Fitch in Week 6. With a little help from a pair of McKinley penalties, the Tigers marched down the field on their next possession to punch in the insurance score on Crabtree’s fourth score of the day with 9:35 remaining.

“I think we’ve learned from (Fitch) when we had that lead and we lost it,” Tiger senior tackle Devin Williams said. “There’s no point in the game where you should be flustered. … No matter what the score is, whether we’re up, down, it’s always the same.”

Which is why Massillon’s seniors got the oh-so-familiar experience of ringing the Victory Bell again Saturday afternoon.