Tag: <span>Lima Senior</span>

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

1999: Massillon 33, Lima Senior 19

Tigers win at Lima Sr
Massillon makes big plays in fourth period

Independent Sports Writer

They have played only two regular‑season games, but the Massillon Tigers have proven they can come from behind at home and on the road. Exploding for 26 fourth quarter points, the Tigers improved their record to 2‑0 following a 33‑19 victory over host Lima Senior at Lima Stadium this past Saturday.

“This was a big win,” said Massillon head coach Rick Shepas. “We played well in the fourth quarter. We won on the road. We beat a good program. Lima is a (former) state champion.” Massillon has now beaten Akron Buchtel and Lima Senior, two teams whose forte is speed, speed and more speed.

The next challenge is against Akron Garfield at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Garfield improved to 1‑1 with a 14‑0 victory over Cleveland Benedictine this Saturday. “They’re another good team,” Shepas said. “They were picked to win the Akron City Series over Buchtel and we know Buchtel has a good team.”
Shepas said his charges elevated their level of play defensively against Lima. “We tackled very well,” he said. “We faced two good backs. And we didn’t allow them to break off a big run.” Lima finished with 110 rushing yards in 40 plays, a meager 2.8 yard average.

While they wore their new visiting white jerseys and orange pants, the Massillon defense lived up to its newly adopted Black Swarm moniker, gang tackling on almost every play. The interior linemen stuffed the majority of quick openers between the tackles. The outside linebackers crisp pursuit angles on option plays, forcing the speedy Lima backs to run laterally, instead of allowing them to turn the corner.

“We made some plays (offensively) the fourth quarter,” said Massillon quarterback David Irwin. “But our defense played great the entire game.” Still, Lima held a 12‑7 lead heading into the fourth quarter, scoring on two big third down pass plays.

But Irwin proved he could make the clutch throw in crunch ‘time, connecting on three big third down passes in the fourth quarter. That first completion resulted in a 37‑yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jesse Robinson on the first play of the fourth quarter. Robinson, a 5‑foot‑5, 141 pound junior, ran a fade pattern to the left corner and Irwin hit him perfectly.

While the two‑point conversion failed, the Tigers had gained a 13‑12 lead just eight seconds into the fourth quarter. Lima, now 1‑1, responded, moving the ball from its 45 to the Massillon 13. With a fresh set of four downs, the Spartans were in position to reclaim the lead.

Running back Greg Johnson bulled his way for three yards on a dive play. After the play was whistled dead, a flag in the Massillon secondary flew. Lima was penalized 15 yards for a dead‑ball personal foul. A second down‑and‑seven became second‑and‑22, forcing Lima to pass. It failed to connect on both subsequent attempts, with Massillon safety Jason Jarvis ending the drive with an interception at his team’s 10, and a 44‑yard return to the Lima 46.

“We needed somebody to make a play and Jarvis stepped it up,” Shepas said. “That was a big turning point in the game.” Massillon, which used a noback look with three wide outs in the slot and two tight ends, went back to a more conventional set, lining up two running backs.

Improve record to 2-0 following a biq fourth quarter against Lima

On the first play from scrimmage, running back Perry James took a handoff from Irwin on a draw play, exploding up the middle for 41 yards to the Lima 5. The Spartans stiffened defensively, forcing the Tigers to lose a combined eight yards on two running plays, bringing up a third‑and‑goal from the Lima 13.

Wide receiver Anthony Battle angled toward the left corner, as Irwin dropped back to throw. Battle had gotten behind the Lima defender and Irwin hit him in stride for a 13‑yard touchdown. Brett Marshall’s extra‑point made it 20‑12 with 7:20 remaining.

With plenty of time to force a tie, Lima took advantage of a pass interference penalty and had the ball to its 47. But the Spartans were held to one yard in the next three downs and were forced to punt.

Trent Seay, who averaged 39.8 yards a boot with high driving kicks, boomed another floater that pinned the Tigers back on their own 17.

Two running plays netted a combined two yards and the Tigers were facing a third-and‑eight situation. With Lima blitzing, Irwin launched a bomb to the right sideline in the direction of wide receiver Rocky Dorsey near midfield. Dorsey, who was wide open, caught the ball and wasn’t hauled down until he reached the Lima 16.

That was the third straight third down pass Irwin completed in the second half. “They were blitzing six or seven people every play,” Irwin said. “I got some great pass protection.”

Emotionally charged, Massillon went back to its ground game. Running back Jon Stanke was given the ball on a draw plau, broke the line of scrimmage and cut to his right. Tight end Jeremiah Drobney knocked down two defenders with one block, and Stanke ran untouched into the end zone. Marshall’s extra‑point made it 27‑12 with 3:32 left.

We wanted it more in that fourth quarter,” said Massillon defensive end Ellery Moore, who was a force along with nose guard Mike Mattox, and linebackers Dan Studer, Steve Eyerman and Robert Oliver.

Any miraculous comeback by Lima was nixed when Massillon sophomore linebacker Robert Oliver picked off a pass and returned it 15 yards to the Spartan 20.

Irwin hit wide out Joe Price for 12 yards on the first play and then was replaced by Marshall at quarterback. Three plays later, Marshall hit Drobney on a tight end screen in the left flat. Drobney, a 6‑3, 197 pound junior, then ran 10 yards for a touchdown that made it 33‑12 with 2:09 to go.

Lima quarterback Nick Morris hooked up with wide out Trent Seay for a 48‑yard touchdown pass that closed out the scoring.

In the first half, Massillon took its first lead. A 33‑yard screen pass from Irwin to Drobney moved the ball to the Lima one. On the next play, James went off left guard for the touchdown, capping a four‑play, 56‑yard drive. Marshall’s extra‑point kick made it 7‑0 at the 4:45 mark.

Lima got on the scoreboard at the 9:52 mark of the second quarter, when Morris turned a third‑and‑17 into six points, hitting running back Jeremy Wright on a crossing pattern for 20 yards., The extra‑point kick was wide left, and the Tigers still led 7‑6.

Morris delivered on another third down pass play that gave Lima its first and only lead, hooking up with wide out Richard Mahone. That 41‑yard touchdown pushed the Spartans ahead 12‑7 at the 5:40 mark of the third quarter.

But Massillon regained control of the game in the’ fourth quarter, posting a 185‑101 edge in total yards.

First downs rushing 8 8
First downs passing 7 6
First downs by penalty 0 3
TOTAL first downs 15 17
Net yards rushing 144 110
Net yards passing 242 165
TOTAL yards 386 275
Passes attempted 23 26
Passes completed 13 8
Passes intercepted 1 2
Punts 6 7
Punting average 29.8 40.7
Fumbles/Lost 1/0 2/0
Penalties 9 2
Yards penalized 86 20

MASSILLON 07 00 00 26 33
LIMA SR 00 06 06 07 19

Dan Studer

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1998: Massillon 28, Lima Senior 18

Shepas’ first Tigers win
is ugly

Independent Sports Editor

The first victory of the Rick Shepas era at Massillon is not one the Tigers 33‑year old head coach is going to look back on with any degree of satisfaction.

Program Cover

But Massillon’s mistake ­marred 28‑18 victory over Lima Senior in front of 10,981 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium is a start and now Shepas and his staff of assistants must go about the task of building on the win while eliminating the errors that kept the Spartans in the game well into the fourth quarter.

“I’m not that happy after this one,” Shepas said afterward. “It really wasn’t a well played game. Hey, the game lasted three full hours. In high school you know what kind of ugly foot­ball that is, so… .”

How ugly was it?

Well, there were 11 Tiger penalties for 116 yards.

There were five Massillon fumbles, four of which were recovered by the visitors.

And the West Coast offense was put in mothballs for a week against Lima’s blitzing defense as the Tigers concentrated on pounding the ball with the run­ning game.

In fact, after putting the ball in the air 27 times last week, Massillon threw just nine passes all night long.

“If we have to play a game like this and be patient with the offense, then that’s what we have to do,” explained Shepas. “One good thing on the offensive side is we got a blitz on every down and our guys did get better against it. The adjustments did pay off some. But it did limit the way we call offensive plays. That’s not really the way I want to go with the offense but as we get some time under our belts we’ll get some confidence and get going.”

One of the recurring problems Friday was on center-quarterback exchanges and on handoffs to the running backs.

“Fundamentally we want to continue to work on the exchange and work on the hand­off,” Shepas vowed. “Our quar­terbacks have to look the hall in and our backs are getting a little bit high. We’ve got a young team and because of their inexperi­ence when we get a lot of blitz, it’s a reflex action to rush the handoff and fumbles are what you get as a result.”

The Tigers defense made the play of the game just as it appeared Lima Senior was ready to make a serious run at the lead.

Massillon was up by four at 22-18 when it was forced to punt late in the third quarter. Lima Senior took over at its 25 and two plays later faced a third‑and‑two from the 33. Sophomore quarter­back Nick Morris took a three ­step drop, looked to his right and, fired a quick out‑pattern.

Tigers senior safety Corey Ball stepped in front of the receiver, made the interception and raced untouched 34 yards for a touchdown. The conversion kick failed but Massillon was up by two scores and was able to relax a little against an equally mistake‑prone Lima attack.

“Coach was telling me to watch the three‑step drop and I’d have a pick,” Ball recalled, “And sure enough they came with the three‑step drop and I did what Coach (Mark) Black told me. I stepped up for the interception and scored a touch­down.

“I saw when the quarterback had his hands up that he was coming my way. I knew it was a pick and I saw I had an open field and no one could catch me.”

Ball says the veteran Tigers defense realizes it has to hold up the offense until it gains some vital game experience.

“I knew I had to step it up because our offense is so young,” Ball said. “The defense has to step it up until they get it together.”

“Our offense will thrive off what our defense does. If we do something good, they’re going to do something good. We just have to keep doing good things and keep it going.”

One offensive player doing good things for the second week in a row was starting tailback
Marc Cleveland, who rushed for 155 yards and two touchdowns in 17 first half carries. A knee injury kept Cleveland on the sidelines the entire second half.

“It was a big first half because our offensive line came off the ball really well,” Cleveland said. “They blocked for me and I delivered for them.”

“I’ll be back next week and this offense will get better and better each week. We’ve got to just keep coming off the ball and good things will happen.”

Good things happened for the Tigers the first time Cleveland touched the football. Trailing 6‑0 after a long kickoff return set up Lima’s first touchdown, Massillon took over on its own 40‑yard line.

On first down, the 5‑foot‑9, 186‑pound senior took a handoff and went over his left guard and tackle. Cleveland broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage, found a seam in the Spartan defense and raced 60 yards, diving the final five to the left pylon for the touchdown.

Brett Marshall’s kick made it 7‑6 Tigers with just 10:13 gone in the first quarter.

Lima Senior, taking, advantage of a Massillon fumble inside the Tigers’ 40, marched 36 yards in

six plays to take a 12‑7 lead on Greg Johnson’s five‑yard TD run at 5:33 of the first quarter.

After Julian Miller’s brilliant 70‑yard kickoff return, Massillon took over at the Lima Senior 12. Three plays later Cleveland again went over left guard, this time from the three, for his second touchdown of the night. Marshall’s kick was true and the Tigers were up 14‑12 with just over four minutes to play in the opening period.

“Marc Cleveland is one of those guys who wants the ball in his hands,” praised Shepas. “In pressure situation he wants the ball. He’s going to make big plays. His mind is geared for that and that’s why that happens. He made a lot of big plays in the first half.”

Massillon’s lead stood through the second quarter, but the Tigers sputtered after getting the opening kickoff of the sec­ond half. In fact, they committed three penalties in their first series of the third quarter before punting the ball away on fourth‑and‑23.

“Lima Senior did not move on its first possession of the second half, either. The Spartans poor punt set Massillon up with first and-ten and its own 46 and it was Julian Miller’s turn for some heroics.

The 5‑9, 173‑pound senior took a handoff and found a seam over his right guard, hit into the Lima secondary, then cut back at the Spartans’ 40 and headed to the left sideline. Forty‑eight yards later the visitors finally pulled Miller down at their 5‑yard line. On the next snap, Miller skirted his right end, broke a tackle at the goal line and scored to give Massillon a 22‑12 cushion with 8:26 left in the third.

The defense took over from there with Jason Bradley and Brandon Clark combining to stuff Lima Senior for a yard loss on a critical fourth‑and‑three play at the Massillon 7‑yard line.

However, two plays later the Tigers fumbled the hall back to the Spartans, who promptly scored on a Nick Morris to ­Terry Cannon 12‑yard aerial that made it 22‑18 with 2:55 left in the third.

Massillon could not move on its next possession, setting up Ball’s big interception that seemed to sap the spirit from the Lima Senior sideline.

“We put our best players on defense at the beginning of the season knowing we were going to have a young offense and inexperience up front,” Shepas said.

“There’s a lot of things we could find positive tonight. But what’s going to keep us working hard is to be critical of what’s going on. That’s where we’ll always be. We’re going to keep working and keep getting better. We have a whole season to get better.”

First downs rushing 8 5
First downs passing 0 5
First downs by penalty 1 4
TOTAL first downs 9 14
Net yards rushing 250 108
Net yards passing 6 79
TOTAL yards 256 187
Passes attempted 2 6
Passes completed 2 9
Passes intercepted 0 3
Punts 7 7
Punting average 43.9 26.3
Fumbles/Lost 5/4 3/1
Penalties 11 8
Yards penalized 116 60

MASSILLON 14 0 8 6 28
LIMA SR. 12 0 6 0 18

L ‑ Simpson 6 run (Pass failed)
M ‑ Cleveland 60 run (Marshall kick)
L ‑ Johnson 5 (Pass failed)
M ‑ Cleveland 3 run (Marshall kick)
M ‑ Miller 5 run (Miller run)
L ‑ Morris 12 pass to Cannon (Pass failed)
M ‑ Ball 34 pass interception return (Kick failed)


Massillon rushing:
Cleveland 17‑155,
Miller 12‑97,
Radich 2‑19,
Lynn 2‑7.
Lima rushing:
T. Cannon 20‑53,
Johnson 15‑48.

Massillon passing:
Fichter 2 9 6 yards, 0 Ints, 0 TDs.
Lima passing:
Morris 9‑24‑79 3 Ints, 1 TD

Massillon receiving:
Dorsey 1‑8.
Lima receiving:
Collins 4‑43.

Marc Cleveland

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1997: Massillon 7, Lima Senior 25

Tigers fall on own
swords vs Spartans

Independent Sports Editor

If Jack Rose has any trouble selling his Massillon charges on their playoff potential in the wake of Saturday’s 25‑7 setback at Lima Senior, he need only point toward the Tigers’ tormentors.

The very same Lima Senior Spartans who left Paul Brown­ Tiger Stadium one year ago on the short end of a 28-14 final, went on to win 12 straight football games and the Division I state championship.

But the Tigers first defeat of the 1997 season‑was no acci­dent. Lima Senior controlled the game in the trenches, espe­cially during the second half when it denied Massillon a first down until being flagged for running into the punter with 3:05 left in the game.

We got to do a better job at the line of scrimmage,’ Rose said afterward. “We’ve got to block a hell of lot better than we did tonight. We, demonstrated the ability to do that in the scrimmages.

“They didn’t break any big plays on us. They were just methodical and consumed the clock. They’d get three or four yards a clip and get out on the option occasionally. They kept our offense off the field, and when we did get there we had a lot of three-and-outs.

Lima played with more discipline than in its penalty-marred opening game loss to Toledo St. Francis in which it committed 12 infractions. Perhaps more important, the Spartans also displayed playoff level intensity for 48 minutes and they used Tiger spirit as motivation.

“Massillon totally disrespect­ed us,” said All‑Ohio defensive back Joe Sellers, who shadowed Tigers tailback Christian Mor­gan all night long. “They came here with their signs along I‑75 and that “Welcome to Paul Brown Stadium’ stuff. They gave is no respect.’

“They were very emotional,” concurred Rose. “They played an emotional pitch. They’ve been sitting on this one for a year. We were the only ones to hang a loss on them, so I.m sure they thought about this game.”

Massillon hurt itself with nine penalties for 111 yards, includ­ing back to back 15‑yard per­sonal fouls on Lima’s scoring drive, one for celebrating a tackle and the other for grabbing the face mask.

Sellers punched in the first score from a yard out at 2:21 of ­the second period to make it 6—0. but the fireworks were just beginning.

After a muffed kickoff, the ­Tigers attempted a short pass to the left flat on second‑and‑7 at their own 19-yard line. Lima defensive lineman JaJuan Godsey made a leaping interception at the 14 and rambled untouched into the Massillon end zone.

Massillon was intercepted at midfield on its ensuing possession, and Lima’s Quentin Manley ran the ball back to the Tigers’ 4-yard line with 21 still left in the half. The Massillon defense came up with a big play as Josh Krieder scopped up a Lima fumble at the 8 to quell the threat.

It appeared Massillon may have a shot at getting back into the game when Tyrie Clifford returned the second half kickoff from his 14 to the Lima Senior 47. But the Tigers offense went three and out leading to a botched punt which set the Spartans up with good field position for their next scoring drive.

“We’re down 12‑0 and we haven’t played worth a lick,” recalled Rose, “.so we get our adjustments in at halftime, get some good field position, then we run an off tackle play and lose two yards and it just crushed our momentum.

“The problem we have up front is we just aren’t very big and we got overpowered in some places, at a few positions. We didn’t sustain blocks. We didn’t get on them and stay on them.”

Lima’s third scoring drive was a 12-play march that covered 53 yards and consumed 4:14 off the game clock. Sellers ­scored from two yards away, but the key to the drive came at the Massillon 12 when Lima fumbled, recovered and picked up seven yards in the process.

One of the Tigers few bright spots cam late in the third quarter when Krieder returned 59 yards for a touchdown. The senior’s heroics came after the Lima punter was flushed by a good rush and got off a line drive kick.

But Massillon again was its own worst enemy, following. the TD by kicking off out of hounds, giving Lima the ball at the 35 yard line. The Spartans put the game away on that possession, taking 11 plays to score on an 18-yard pass from Fred Collins to Nathan Collins on a fourth‑and‑seven play. Once again the hosts got a boost from a Tiger 15‑yard facemask penalty.

Among the more damning statistics for Massillon offense; Four first downs, 1.7 yards per running play, 38 total yards of offense, 0-6 third down conversions.

First downs rushing 11 1
First downs passing 3 1
First downs by penalty 5 2
TOTAL first downs 10 4
Net yards rushing 151 31
Net yards passing 56 7
TOTAL yards 209 38
Passes attempted 7 10
Passes completed 6 2
Passes Intercepted 2 0
Punts 2 3
Punting average 34.5 41.7
Fumbles/Lost 5/2 O/0
Penalties 4 9
Yards penalized 31 111

LIMA SR. 00 12 06 07 25
WASSILLON 00 00 07 00 07


L – Sellers 1 run (Kick failed)
L – Godsey 11 pass interception return (Kick failed)
L – Sellers 2 run (Kick failed)
M – Krieder 59 punt return (Hose kick)
L – Nathan Collins 17 pass from Fred Collins (Oheney kick)


Massillon rushing:
Morgan, 13‑31,
Hodgson 1-0,
Burick 2‑13,
Danzy 2-(minus)13
Lima rushing:
Nigh 19‑77,
Sellers 16-44,
F. Collins l1‑33.

Massillon passing:
Burick 1‑4‑4 2 INT;
Danzy 1‑5‑3
Lima passing:
Collins 6‑7‑58 l TD

Massillon receiving:
Dean 1‑4,
Hodgson 1‑3,
Lima receiving:
Lepley 2-15,
N. Collins 1-17, l TD,
Sellers 1‑12,
Cannon 1-11.

Jared Stefanko

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1996: Massillon 28, Lima Senior 14

Heroes galore as Tigers roar

Lightfoot, Morgan key Massillon to 2‑0 start

Independent Sports Editor

Message delivered.

Massillon served notice to Ohio’s Division I football powers the Tigers are to be dealt with by handing powerful Lima with a convincing 28‑14 setback in monsoon conditions at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Friday. Only 7,363 witnessed what may well be a springboard victory toward a very special season for the orange‑and‑black

At the same time, Tigers junior Christian Morgan served notice to the Massillon coaching staff that he deserves to be the starting tailback, by rambling 77 yards for a touchdown on the very first play from scrimmage.

The 6‑4, 215‑pound junior who missed the opener with a bruised Achille’s heel, took a handoff from quarterback Ben Hymes and looked for a hole off the left side. Tackle Paul Salvino took his man inside and Morgan bounced to the sideline, where he broke a couple of tackles and was off to the races.

“I was nervous,” Morgan admitted. “I was just looking for someplace to go. Paul (Salvino) told me to go around on his outside hip. So I went around and broke a couple of tackles. Then I slipped but I kept my footing and I thought I was on television or something seeing all of that from space.”

Morgan confirmed he felt some pressure to produce after senior Elijah Blake rushed for over 100 yards last week as his replacement in the opener against Mansfield Madison.

“They were saying they were going to put Elijah in if I didn’t get the job done,” Morgan revealed. “When you know you’re not doing your job and they’re going to pull you any minute, you do what you got to do.”

Jack Rose recalled Morgan running the very same play in the opening scrimmage against Pittsburgh Penn Hills with less dramatic results. “He would’ve done the same thing over there if we’d have blocked it right,” Rose said. “He’s the type of back who’ll make people miss. If you just grab him, he’ll run right through an arm tackle.

“On that play, he’ll take it inside or outside depending on what he sees and how it’s blocked.”

Lima Senior didn’t travel over four hours to Massillon just to roll over after one touchdown. The Spartans came back to knot the score at 7‑7 with less than five minutes remaining in the first half.

After the ensuing kickoff, Lima quarterback Jimmy Morris ran the option from the Spartans’ 36‑yard line. He scampered around his right end and delivered a late pitch to running back William Bratton near midfield. Bratton, who rushed for over 170 yards last week against Toledo St. Francis, rumbled down the sideline to the Massillon 27.

Three plays later on third-and‑seven, Morris hit Craig George on a down‑and‑out pattern for a first down at the Tiger 15. Bratton, a 205‑pound senior, carried on three of the next four snaps, diving into the end zone from a yard out at the 4:30 mark of the second period. Jim Barker’s kick made it a 7‑7 contest.

Then Massillon displayed some championship mettle. After the ensuing kickoff sailed out of bounds, the Tigers moved from their 35‑yard line to midfield on a personal foul call against Lima. On second‑and-12, Morgan again found some space around his left side, advancing the ball to the Lima 40.

The drive appeared to be stalled when Hymes delivered a clutch strike to Brian Baer on fourth‑and‑eight to give Massillon a first down at the 15. Morgan and Jared Stefanko carried on consecutive plays to move the ball to the 3. Two snaps later, Morgan waltzed into the end zone. Josh Hose’s PAT made it 14‑7 with less than a minute until intermission.

“That drive showed a lot of heart and the quality of team they are over there, ” said Rush. “Jack has a very good team over there.”

“That was a great drive by our offense,” Rose said. “We had a couple critical plays in there and we were able to convert when we had to.”

Lima appeared to be on its way to tieing the game up a second time at the outset of the second half. The Spartans drove from their 20 to the Massillon 16 on six consecutive running plays. But the Tiger defense rose up and stopped the visitors for one yard total on their next three snaps. Nose guard Rico Person caught Morris behind the line for a yard loss on fourth‑and‑three to stall the march.

Then the Tigers’ special teams came up with a big play after Lima forced Massillon into a three‑and‑out series. Punter Eric Lightfoot boomed the ball 66 yards, over 50 of it in the air, to pin the Spartans back on their own 16.

“I’m not big on big plays turning a game around,” said Rush, “but that punt when we had them backed up was a big play I thought. It gave them a lot of momentum and took it away from us. We had held them and that hurt I think.”

But Lightfoot wasn’t impacting the game. On third‑and‑eight from his 22, Morris dropped back and threw the football over the middle Josh Kreider tipped the ball and Lightfoot intercepted. Some 37 yards later, the senior free safety was carrying the ball into the end zone and Massillon led 21‑7, with under five minutes left in the third period.

“I was just dropping back in coverage,” Lightfoot explained. “I saw the receiver crossing and I came over. Josh tipped it and it came right to me and I went all the way.”

“It’s nice to see us intercept a ball,” chuckled Rose. “Then to get the first pick and run it back (for a touchdown) in a game like this … that’s a huge, huge play.”

Again Lima fought back, driving from its 23 with the ensuing kickoff to the Massillon 5, where the Spartans’ had first-and‑goal. Four plays and three Lima timeouts later, the Tigers took over on downs and the outcome was no longer in doubt, though most of the fourth quarter had yet to be played.

Just to make sure there were no doubters remaining, the hosts marched 78 yards on 10 plays to close out their scoring for the evening. Morgan carried five times for 28 yards on the drive, including the final six over left tackle for a touchdown at the 6:55 mark of the fourth quarter. Blake picked Morgan up when the latter came off the field limping, carrying the ball on four consecutive plays and gaining 23 yards.

“They’re the best team we’ve played so far,” Rush said. “They didn’t make the mistakes. We panicked a few times.

“The Tigers are going to be very good. We scrimmaged Moeller and they’re better than Moeller. There’s no doubt about that. We thought they were going to throw the ball a little more, but they were able to run it pretty effectively on us all night long.” Morgan finished with 156 yards on 22 carries. He amassed 128 of those before the band show.

Statistically, the game was closer than the scoreboard showed. Lima out gained the Tigers 278‑264 and had one turnover to Massillon’s two giveaways. The Spartans dominated time of possession 28:55 to 19:05.

But it was the Tigers ability to make the big plays ‑ Morgan’s long TD run, Lightfoot’s booming punt and subsequent interception return for a touchdown ‑ that spelled the difference.

“I’ve coached a long time and I can’t remember a week of practice that went better than this,” Rose said. “Our sophomores all the way up to our seniors, they were into this week of practice. I knew we were going to have a great game and that’s a great credit.

First downs rushing 10 7
First downs passing 2 6
First downs penalty 2 0
Total first downs 14 13
Net yards rushing 215 207
Net yards passing 49 71
Total yards gained 264 278
Passes attempted 8 11
Passes completed 3 6
Passes int. 0 1
Times kicked off 5 3
Kickoff average 49.2 31.0
Kickoff return yards 0 0
Punts 2 4
Punting average 50.5 37.8
Punt return yards 13 0
Fumbles 4 2
Fumbles lost 2 0
Penalties 1 3
Yards penalized 14 35
Number of plays 48 60
Time of possession 19:05 28.55
Attendance 7,363

LIMA SENIOR 0 7 0 7 14
MASSILLON 7 7 7 7 28


First Quarter
MASS ‑ Morgan 77 run (Hose kick)

Second Quarter
LIMA ‑ Bratton 1 run (Barker kick)
MASS ‑ Morgan 2 run (Hose kick)

Third Quarter
MASS ‑ Lightfoot 37 pass interception return (Hose kick)

Fourth Quarter
MASS ‑ Morgan 6 run (Hose kick)
LIMA ‑ Bratton 4 run (Barker kick)


Morgan 22‑156,3TDs;
Stefanko 4‑41;
Blake 4‑29;
Bradley 1‑4.
Bratton 30‑173, 2 TDs;
Morris 12‑14;
Christoff 2‑12;
Cannon 3‑5.

Hymes 3‑8-49.
Morris 5-10‑63, 1 int.;
Collins 1‑1‑8.

Baer 2‑45;
Williams 1‑4.
Watkins 2‑33;
Christoff 2‑21;
George 2-17.

Paul Salvino