Tag: <span>Max Turner</span>


2018: Massillon 41, Cincinnati Winton Woods 20

Massillon tops Winton Woods, heading to Division II title game

Nov 23, 2018 10:54 PM

GAHANNA Massillon faced an early deficit. It faced a second-half comeback. It faced injury to one of its best players.

Now, the Tigers will face three-time state champion Archbishop Hoban for the Division II state championship.

Massillon earned its first trip to the title game since 2005 thanks to a 41-20 victory over Winton Woods on Friday night at Gahanna’s Wilbur C. Strait Stadium. It is the Tigers’ fourth title-game appearance, and first in Division II.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” said Massillon coach Nate Moore, whose team scored 26 straight points in the second and third quarters to rally from a 10-0 deficit and improved to 14-0 while setting a school record for wins in a season. “They played a whale of a ballgame against a great football team. I’m really proud of them.

The Tigers will lock horns against the 14-0 Knights on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. To get there though, Massillon had to exert a bit of revenge on a nemesis from its recent past.

A year ago, Winton Woods overcame a 21-0 Tiger lead in the first half scored the final 56 points to win going away. A year later, the Warriors were the ones who were in possession of the early lead, only to see Massillon roar from behind.

“We’ve been waiting for them all season,” said cornerback Max Turner, whose 38-yard interception return for a touchdown with 21 seconds left in the first half capped a 19-0 Tiger second-quarter run. “I’m talking in the weight room, off-season, 15-for-15 was all for Winton Woods. We knew what it is.”

That didn’t mean Massillon wasn’t in for a little bit of early adversity.

Winton Woods led 10-0 after the first quarter thanks to a 36-yard Yeri Velasquez field goal and a 3-yard Miyan Williams rushing touchdown. The Tigers, meanwhile, had just two first downs and 39 total yards of offense in that same time.

“Just keep playing ball,” Moore said of his message to the team. “Just keep playing football. Keep playing football.”

Jamir Thomas would put Massillon on the board with a 15-yard touchdown run two minutes into the second quarter at 10-7. He would added a 1-yard run with 40 seconds left in the half to give the Tigers the lead for good at 13-10.

Thomas, who would leave the game late in the third quarter with an injury, ran for 83 yards on 12 carries.

Massillon would turn momentum totally on its side just 19 seconds later, when Turner’s pick-six provided it a 19-10 halftime lead. That lead would grow to 26-10 less than a minute into the third quarter when Aidan Longwell hit Tre’Von Morgan for a 58-yard touchdown.

Longwell finished 14-of-27 for 210 yards with one touchdown and one interception. That interception, with Massillon leading 26-13 in the third quarter, was the only crack Winton Woods could find to attempt to get back in the game.

After the pick, the Warriors faced a 3rd-and-29 from their own 24. MiChale Wingfield hit Williams on a screen pass for 75 yard to the Massillon 1.

On the next play, Williams scored his second touchdown of the night to pull Winton Woods within 26-20. Williams, who rushed for 2,742 yards over the first 13 games, finished with 82 rushing yards on 20 carries.

“I thought they did a great job,” Massillon defensive coordinator Craig McConnell said of the defense against Williams. “Honestly, our plan was, if we stop 28 (Williams), we win. I wouldn’t use the words that we stopped him, but limited him. He’s going to make his plays. He’s a great football player.”

With the Tigers’ own All-Ohio running back, Thomas, sidelined for the final quarter, the ball went to junior Zion Phifer. Phifer didn’t disappoint.

“I did it for the seniors,” said Phifer, who gained 76 of his 82 yards on 15 fourth-quarter carries. “When Jamir went down, we had no one else to come up but me. So I did it for me team.”

Phifer’s 13-yard run on the second play of the fourth quarter gave Massillon a two-score lead again at 34-20 after Longwell hit Dean Clark for a two-point conversion. His 1-yard run with 1:34 remaining in the game gave the Tigers a 41-20 lead.

A 21-point lead which Massillon rode into the Division II state championship game.


Reach Chris at 330-775-1128 or chris.easterling@indeonline.com

On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2018: Massillon 41, Louisville 0

Focused Tigers shut down Leopards to stay undefeated
Oct 19, 2018 11:30 PM
Chris Easterling

LOUISVILLE Louisville made a point to let undefeated Massillon know it was on the field before the ball was even teed up on Friday night. The teams had to be separated after the Leopards ran up to the Tigers while the latter waited to take the field.

Once the ball was kicked off, Massillon made sure Louisville knew it was on the field. The Tigers scored four first-quarter touchdowns, while the defense dominated, to lead them to a 41-0 win over the Leopards in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Louisville Stadium.

“That really surprised me that that even happened before the game,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said. “We certainly responded well. We got out focus back and played hard.”

The win gives Massillon it’s first 9-0 start since 2005. However, the chance for the first Week 10 showdown between undefeated and untied Massillon and McKinley teams since that season – and sixth time ever – was thwarted when Perry knocked off the Bulldogs.

Still, the Tigers have a chance to post their first undefeated regular season since 1999 with a win over McKinley in next Saturday’s 129th edition of The Game at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“It’s the biggest game in high school football,” Moore said. “It’s an honor to be a part of it.”

Part of a tradition to The Game is the worry both teams have about Week 9. A potential to peak ahead to the rivalry game always seems to exist, regardless of who the opponent they may be facing.

Any doubt that the Tigers would be looking past Friday’s game was erased when the Leopards made their pregame beeline toward Massillon. While the “scuffle” was more bark than bite by either team, it certainly ignited a fire under the Tigers.

Louisville coach John DeMarco declined to comment about the pregame incident, as well as the four first-half personal fouls his team committed. However, he acknowledged what he saw over the four quarters his team played against the Tigers supported everything he saw of them on film during the week.

“They played like I thought they could play,” said DeMarco, whose team was shut out for the first since since Austintown Fitch won 26-0 in Week 3 of the 2016 season. “They’re a very good team, a very complete team. They do a lot of different things well.”

While the offense has been one of the calling cards for Massillon this season, it was the defense which set the tone throughout the game. That started with the Tigers’ first score, a 24-yard interception return for a touchdown by Max Turner with 8:42 remaining in the first quarter.

Turner’s pick – his second in as many weeks which he returned for a score – was one of three for Massillon on the night. That includes back-to-back possessions in the first quarter, as Kyshad Mack picked off the first pass of the Leopards’ subsequent possession at the Louisville 33.

That set up Massillon’s first offensive score of the night, a 1-yard Aidan Longwell touchdown run to make it 14-0 with 5:38 left in the quarter. That was the first of three consecutive touchdown drives for the Tigers, with Longwell hitting Jayden Ballard for a 74-yard scoring strike to make it 21-0 with 1:56 left in the quarter, and Jamir Thomas scoring from a yard out to make it 28-0 one play into the second quarter.

Ballard would catch a 78-yard touchdown pass with 1:51 remaining in the first half to make it 34-0 Tigers. Thomas’ second 1-yard run made it 41-0 with 5:10 left in the third quarter.

Thomas rushed for 113 yards on 17 carries. Longwell completed 8-of-11 passes for 203 yards with two touchdowns and one pick.

It was, however, the Tiger defense which set the tone.

Massillon limited Louisville to just 145 total yards. Leopard quarterback Colton Jones, who had thrown for more than 800 yards in his team’s three-game win streak entering the game, was 17-of-34 passing for 143 yards.

Not only did the Tigers keep the potent Louisville passing game in check, it did so despite having their backs to the goal line on multiple first-half possessions. Massillon had three fourth-down stops in the first half, including back-to-back fourth-and-goals in the second quarter from its own 3.

“We got down there a couple of times and weren’t able to score,” DeMarco said. “That was a little frustrating. They had a lot to do with that.”


Reach Chris at 330-775-1128 or chris.easterling@indeonline.com.

On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2017: Massillon 10, Akron St. Vincent St. Mary 13

Irish bottles up Tiger offense in come-from-behind victory

Chris Easterling – The Independent

MASSILLON There equation was simple for Massillon’s offense through eight games. Run the football to win football games.

Then, in the ninth game against St. Vincent-St. Mary, the Tigers were held to their lowest rushing total of the season. Not surprising, the Massillon offense was also held to its lowest point total of the season as the Irish came out of Paul Brown Tiger Stadium with a 13-10 victory.

“We couldn’t get anything going running the football,” said Tigers coach Nate Moore, whose team will take a 6-3 record into next Saturday’s showdown at archrival McKinley. “That’s where football’s started for 150 years. You have to be able to run the football.”

Game action vs. Akron St. Vincent St. Mary

Instead, Massillon was held to just 111 yards on the ground on 32 attempts by a St. Vincent-St. Mary defense which posted its signature performance of the season. The previous season low for the Tigers on the ground was 123 yards in the opener against Mentor, which was, not surprisingly, also a loss.

Of Massillon’s rushing yardage, 40 came on its opening drive of the game. That ended in a 30-yard Klay Moll field goal for a 3-0 lead with 6:45 remaining in the first quarter.

“They just fought,” said an emotional Irish coach Marcus Wattley, whose 6-3 team took the lead for good at 13-10 on a 10-yard Ryan Fischer-to-Scott Walter touchdown pass with 3:15 remaining. “I told them before the game, ‘It’s going to take 48 minutes. Nothing short of that; not 42, not 24. It’s going to take 48 minutes.'”

Game action vs. Akron St. Vincent St. Mary

Massillon, which went three-and-out on its subsequent possession after the Irish go-ahead score and never saw the football again, took a 10-0 lead on Jamir Thomas’ 7-yard run with 4:20 remaining in the second quarter. That score was set up by an interception one play earlier by Max Turner which he returned 42 yards.

The Tigers wouldn’t get closer than the Irish 41 after that play. That possession was ended when St. V’s Joshua Jones came up with an interception on a deep pass by Aidan Longwell, only his second pick thrown this season.

Longwell was 5-of-16 passing for just 32 yards. His longest pass was a 10-yarder to Tre’Von Morgan in the first quarter.

The Irish safeties remained deep for the entirety of the game, taking away the deep routes from Massillon. Moore said the defensive scheme made perfect sense because of what the Tigers were unable to do all night.

“We have to run the football,” Moore said. “If they can play off, and we can’t run the football, then why would see a coverage that would allow us to just throw the ball down the field.”

Game action vs. Akron St. Vincent St. Mary

While St. Vincent-St. Mary was bottling up Massillon’s offense, the Tiger defense was doing a solid enough job of keeping the Irish in check as well. St. V had just 108 total yards in the first half, which ended with the Tigers in front 10-0.

The struggles Massillon created for the Irish was enough to force Wattley to make a quarterback change. Fischer came on for the final two first-half possessions, after Turner’s pick helped set up the Tigers with a two-score lead.

Fischer would make a huge 21-yard pass to Walter to set up the Irish’s first score, a 1-yard run by Terrence Keyes with 9:26 left in the third quarter. The point-after kick was blocked, making it 10-6 Tigers.

Game action vs. Akron St. Vincent St. Mary

Fischer finished 7-of-15 for 73 yards. Keyes rushed for 198 yards on 31 carries.

“Ryan came off and he led,” Wattley said. “I can’t say enough about it. He prepares himself like he’s a starter. He got his opportunity to make plays today, and he made them.”