Tag: <span>North Canton Hoover</span>


2009: Massillon 17, North Canton Hoover 10

Tigers moving on, sweep out Hoover

The Independent

MASSILLON, OH — For almost 365 days, the Massillon Tigers had last year’s first-round loss to Hoover ingrained in their memories. On Saturday night, they had a chance to either replace that memory with a much more positive one, or add another bitter one.

They decided to give themselves something much better to thinking about, as they elicited a bit of revenge on the Vikings – and advance into the second round of the playoffs – with a 17- 10 victory over Hoover in a Division I Region 2 quarterfinal in front of a boisterous 6,898 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“It definitely feels good to get a win, especially in the playoffs, because we keep going,” said Tiger senior Bo Grunder, who had four clutch catches – all to pick up first downs – as well as a key stop on a fourth-and-goal play midway through the fourth quarter. “It feels good since last year. I’ve thought about that 14-7 score (in the loss to Hoover) the whole season, the offseason and the whole year. We just paid them back.”

The Tigers did so by getting arguably their best defensive performance of the season as they held Hoover’s Erick Howard to just 99 yards on 38 carries. Of those yards, 46 came on the Vikings’ third-quarter touchdown drive which cut Massillon’s lead to 17-10.

It was only the third time this season Howard, Stark County’s all-time leading rusher, was held below 100 yards. And it was 96 yards fewer than the 195 yards he gained on 40 carries in last year’s win over the Tigers.

“That’s what we wanted,” said Tiger coach Jason Hall, whose 8-3 team will now face 10-1 Twinsburg next  Saturday night at Fawcett Stadium. “We told all our kids that we weren’t just going to come up and lay into him, we were going to give him everything we’ve got every play. … It sounds kind of cliche, but we’d rather die with pride than live without it. That’s just about leaving it on the field.”

Hoover had two chances in the fourth quarter to force a tie, but were stopped both times. The Vikings reached the Tiger 6 midway through the quarter, before Grunder came up with the key defensive play on a quarterback keeper by Brett Tulodzieski four yards shy of the goal line.

The final chance came over the final two minutes of the game, as the Vikings reached the Massillon 47. But a third-down pass play didn’t pick up enough for a first down, nor did the receiver get out of bounds, and the
clock ran out, setting off a wild celebration by the Tigers.

“Give Massillon a lot of credit, players and coaches,” said Hoover coach Don Hertler Jr., whose team bows out at 7-4. “They really did a great job. I don’t know how our kids could’ve played any harder. … We just couldn’t get over the hump.”

The Tigers played from ahead almost the entire game, starting with their second drive which resulted with a 5-yard touchdown run by Jake Reiman. Reiman, starting in place of the injured Alex Winters, carried the ball three times for 36 yards on the drive and actually outgained Howard 49-35 over the first half.

Reiman finished with a career-high 65 yards on 14 carries. “I’ve said it all along, Jake can play for a lot of teams,” Hall said. “He can obviously play for us. We have three or four quality tailbacks. … Jake can run the ball, there’s no mistake about it.”

Hoover had two first-half drives which moved deep into Tiger territory. But only one of those resulted in points, as A.J. Sarbaugh booted a 43-yard field goal to cut the Massillon lead to 7-3 with 9:25 left in the half after the Vikings reached the Tiger 26.

The other drive, which moved to the Massillon 29, was snuffed out by a nifty interception by strong safety Josh Remark. “I rolled down and I saw him (Tulodzieski) get his arm back ready to throw the ball,” Remark said. “I just broke and I caught the ball. … It was all possible because he had to come my way because my teammates were getting the job done up front.”

Meanwhile, the Tigers were methodical in scoring points on their two second-quarter drives, taking at least 11 plays on each as they built up a 17-3 halftime lead. The first was a 15-play, 80-yard march which ended when Robert Partridge hit Devin Smith on a 5-yard fade route with 5:06 remaining in the half. The other was an 11-play, 68-yard drive which ended when Jeremy Geier kicked a 24-yard field goal as time expired at the half.
A key to both drives was some clutch catches by Grunder, who had three grabs for 28 yards in the quarter. All three came on either third or fourth down, and all three picked up the necessary yards to move the chains.
Grunder would come up with one more clutch catch in the fourth quarter, when he made a 23-yard grab on third-and-12 from the Tiger 16 to keep Massillon’s final drive going.

“I just want to help my team win the game,” Grunder said. “When it’s time to make a catch, they can throw it to me, Devin, J.O. (Justin Olack). We have a lot of options. It just depends on who’s open.”


Massillon 17
Hoover 10

Hoover 00 03 07 00 10
Massillon 07 10 00 00 17

M – Reiman 5 run (Geier kick)
H – FG Sarbaugh 43
M – Smith 5 pass from Partridge (Geier kick)
M – FG Geier 24
H – Howard 1 run (Sarbaugh kick)
Hoo Mas
First downs 18 14
Rushes-yards 48-141 22-70
Comp-Att-Int 9-22-1 17-30-0
Passing yards 127 229
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1
Penalty yards 8-72 11-92
Records 7-4 8-3
Massillon – Reiman 14-65 TD.
Hoover – Howard 38-99 TD; Tulodzieski 8-43.
Massillon – Partridge 17-30-229 TD.
Hoover – Tulodzieski 9-20-127 INT.
Massillon – Smith 4-91 TD; Grunder 4-51; Olack 4-40; Allman 4-
Hoover – Nettleton 3-31; Sarbaugh 2-43; Howard 2-17; Gardner 1-


2008: Massillon 7, North Canton Hoover 14

Howard’s big plays bring Tigers season to an end

The Independent


Big plays can go a long way to determining the outcome of a playoff game. Big plays were also at a premium for both Massillon and Hoover as they squared off in a Division I Region 2 quarterfinal on Saturday night in North Canton.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, the biggest plays were made by Erick Howard, who was wearing a Viking uniform on this night. Howard’s two 40-plus-yard plays turned the tide of what ended up being a 14-7 Hoover victory over the Tigers in front of about 7,000 fans at North Canton Memorial Stadium.

The loss ends Massillon’s season at 6-5. Hoover, meanwhile, advances to next week’s regional semifinal against Twinsburg with a 10-1 record. It also marked the Vikings’ first-ever win over the Tigers in four tries in the playoffs.

“We just felt we had to believe,” Howard said. “None of the Hoover teams in the past had done it (beat Massillon), so we just had them in our hearts. This was for every Hoover team that had lost to them – 2005, 2002, 2001. Every team.”

The difference in the game was simple – Howard providing the offense for the Vikings, while the Tigers struggled to get any offense going in the second half. Howard finished the game with 258 yards of offense, including 195 rushing yards on 40 carries.

“Howard’s a good football player,” first-year Tiger coach Jason Hall said. “You have to take your hat off to him. He got in the open field, and we didn’t tackle him. Then he hits us on a draw. They didn’t do much. Really just the two big plays by him, two monster plays. He’s obviously a big part of their team.”

Howard’s 49-yard run on a draw play with 10:17 left in the game broke a 7-7 tie. Howard – who also went 59 yards on a screen play to set up a tying touchdown in the first half – broke at least five tackles on the run, and carried a Tiger defender for about five yards before shrugging him off to cover the last few yards of the run.

The Tiger offense, meanwhile, could manage just 127 yards for the game. Of those, only 10 came after halftime, when Massillon was held to five three-and-outs.

In fact, the biggest gain in the second half for the Tigers came on a Hoover personal foul. Even that, though, wasn’t enough to pick up a first down, as it turned a third-and-21 situation into a fourth-and-four.

“The story of the game is that our offense didn’t get it going in the second half,” Hall said.

What hurt the Tigers most was the fact they were never able to turn the field in their favor after the intermission. Massillon had just one play of at least five yards – its first play of the third quarter. That left the Tigers in second- and third-and-long situations, situations which took the running game out of the equation.

The Tigers held the ball for just over four minutes total in the second half, and never got past their own 43. That led to Massillon’s defense, which spent all night trying to bring down the bruising Howard, having little time to recover on the sideline before being forced back onto the field.

“We struggled off tackle and we weren’t connecting real well in our passing game either,” Hall said. “We just didn’t execute in the second half. It is what it is.”

The contrast between the first and second halves was startling for the Tigers, who struck first with a 1-yard run by J.T. Turner just 12 seconds into the second quarter for a 7-0 lead. Massillon had the ball for almost half the time in the first 24 minutes – 11:53 to be exact – and reached Hoover territory on four of its five possessions before intermission.

Massillon’s scoring drive started at the Tiger 35, and was effective in part because of the Tigers’ ability to spread the Vikings out with four- or five-receiver sets. That opened up running lanes for both Turner and quarterback Robert Partridge, while also allowing Partridge to spread the ball around to several receivers in the process.

Partridge finished the 11-play drive 4-of-5 for 32 yards. He also rushed three times for 18 yards, including a seven-yard run which set up Turner’s scoring plunge.

“In the first half, we were able to move the ball and execute,” Hall said. “Rob ran well and threw some short passes. He scrambled and threw on the run down here to (Josh) Remark. Anytime you have an athletic quarterback, getting in an empty package or a 3-by-1 is just putting them in position to be successful.”

The Tigers had other opportunities in the first half, especially on their next possession. Bo Grunder’s 30-yard punt return put the ball at midfield, and Turner broke loose on a 35-yard run on the first play to the Hoover 15.

However, a holding penalty on the Tigers moved the ball back to the Viking 44. The next three plays netted minus-four yards, resulting in a punt.

The next Massillon drive also started in Hoover territory, at the Viking 45. But it ended on downs as the Tigers netted minus-1 yard.

That’s when Hoover grabbed the momentum and began to turn it in its favor. And, no surprise, it started with Howard.

Massillon got a sack for a loss of 13 on Hoover’s first play, then limited the Vikings to just seven yards on a reception on second down. Faced with third-and-16 from their own 40, the Vikings called a middle screen and quarterback Brett Tulodzieski located Howard in the face of massive pressure.

Howard, cutting and eluding would-be tacklers, would not be dragged down until he reached the Tiger 1. On the next play, he plowed in for the score with 2:07 left in the half to knot the score after the extra point.

“We just put that in this week,” Hoover coach Don Hertler Jr. said of the screen pass. “It was a slip screen, and we just threw it to a different guy. The middle screen really sparked us.”
And that spark ended up burning the Tigers.


Hoover 14,

Massillon 7
at North Canton Memorial Stadium

Massillon 0 7 0 0 7
Hoover 0 7 0 7 14

M – Turner 1 run (Geier kick)
H – Howard 1 run (Sarbaugh kick)
H – Howard 49 run (Sarbaugh kick)

Mas Hoo
First down 7 14
Rushing yards 24-73 50-197
Comp.-att.-int. 9-23-0 6-9-0
Passing yards 54 111
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Penalty yards 3-15 3-30



Turner 14-47 TD;

Partridge 6-28;

White 1-1.


Howard 40-195 2 TDs;

Tulodzieski 9-6.



Partridge 9-23-54.


Tulodzieski 6-9-111.



Grunder 4-19;

Pizzino 2-16;

Clark 1-8;

Remark 1-7;

Gaines 1-4.


Beck 3-44;

Howard 2-63;

Nettleton 1-4.


Massillon 6-5;

Hoover 10-1.


2005: Massillon 45, North Canton 14

Tigers bounce back and take aim at Findlay


Tom Stacy did not want the Massillon Tigers to go deep into the playoffs with the taste of their Week 10 defeat at the hands of rival McKinley lingering in their mouths.

There will be no such problem when the Tigers travel to Mansfield’s Arlin Field to take on the 10-1 Findlay Trojans in a Division I Region 2 regional semifinal Saturday evening at 7.

That’s because Massillon got right back up on the horse after being bucked off the week before, and dealt game but overmatched North Canton Hoover a 45-14 defeat in front of an announced crowd of 8,954 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Saturday.

The Tigers found the end zone on their second possession of the night and their defense was back to its usual aggressive, physical form in keeping Hoover off the scoreboard until Massillon had built an insurmountable 31-0 lead.

“This game was huge for us,” said senior co-captain Antonio James. “We needed to bounce back after we got dismantled last week, and this was a good bounce back for us. Hopefully we can keep it going until we meet the Pups again.”

Junior co-captain Brian Gamble was his usual dominating self, laying hard lick after hard lick on Hoover ball carriers while rushing for 146 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught a touchdown pass for good measure.

“We told everybody we were going to bounce back and we did,” Gamble said. “Right now we have to focus on next week.

“It’s like coach Stacy says, we have to play smart, physical and fast, and we’re going to do that again against Findlay.”

The Massillon defense applied relentless pressure on Hoover quarterback Josh Nettleton, and forced three turnovers. The Vikings did accumulate over 300 yards of total offense but were just 3 of 15 on third down when it really mattered.

“We just came out and we were focused and got the job done,” said senior Dirk Dickerhoof. “Now we’re looking toward next week.

“It was really important to get our confidence up after getting beat last week. There was no doubts in our minds once we got the first touchdown. We just came on from there.”

Gamble had plenty of help on offense. Senior tailback Lanale Robinson rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown in just 12 carries. Junior quarterback Bobby Huth rebounded with a 10 of 15 passing night for 172 yards and a touchdown. He also capped off the Tigers’ first scoring drive of the evening by skirting right end and diving into the end zone from three yards out with less than a minute to play in the first quarter.

“I got after Bobby after watching the (McKinley) tape and he said he was going to run the ball with a lot more aggression this week,” Stacy said. “I thought he did that.”

Hoover got a first down on its ensuing possession after Huth’s touchdown dive but was quickly forced to punt, setting Massillon up with first down at its own 30.

After two Robinson runs netted a Tiger first down at the 41, Huth rolled to his right and connected with Zack Vanryzin for what ended up as a 38-yard gain to the Hoover 21.

Huth found Gamble for 11 more yards on the next play, then Gamble took a handoff and went around right end for an 11-yard touchdown at 9:49 of the second quarter. Steve Schott tacked on the point after and the Tigers were up 14-0.

Schott nailed a 28-yard field goal in the last minute of the half to put Massillon up 17-0 at the break.

The Tigers removed all question about the outcome by taking the second half kickoff and covering 79 yards to paydirt in just two plays. The first was a 21-yard Huth laser to junior wideout Trey Miller. The score then came on a short completion to Gamble in the right flat that the 6-foot, 190-pound tailback turned into a 54-yard touchdown jaunt.

Schott’s conversion kick made it Massillon 24, Hoover 0 at 11:21 of the third quarter.

The Massillon defense put up a score on Hoover’s next possession when senior linebacker Robert Morris shot a gap and tipped a Josh Nettleton pass into the hands of senior lineman Lorenzo Grizzard, who carried the ball 58 yards to the end zone. Schott’s kick made it 31-0 at 8:14 of the third period, and all doubt had been removed.

“Our kids came out and played mad and we wanted them to,” Stacy said. “If you’re really a competitor you’ll do that and our kids did a nice job of that tonight.

“A lot of it is we just have a bunch of kids who really love to play the game. It makes it a lot easier to get them ready when they have the innate desire to play the game.”

Hoover head coach Don Hertler Jr., who endured a 1-9 campaign in 2004 but has had his Vikings in the playoffs eight out of the last nine years, was philosophical afterward.

“Massillon is a better team than us,” he said. “Our kids had a great comeback season. I’m real proud that they handled themselves with class. We just got beat by a better team.

“The Tigers are a good team and that’s why they won nine games. They played good competition all year. They’re strong. They’re athletic. They’re well coached. They’re about what we thought they were. They beat us in every phase and they did a good job.”


Antonio James

2002: Massillon 31, North Canton 0

Tigers sweep Hoover from Playoffs

Massillon shines in impressive win Massillon mauls N. Canton, 31‑0

Repository sports writer
NORTH CANTON Both Massillon and North Canton came into Saturday’s Division I regional quarterfinal game giving up 2.4 yards a rush. When the host Vikings discovered almost immediately they could not run on the Tigers, they quickly found out they sure could not pass on them.

Billy Relford alone was a one‑man, four-headed, fire‑eating monster for Massillon, intercepting ‑ four of the Tigers seven interceptions of the Tigers’ seven interceptions in a 31‑0 mauling of the Vikings.

A junior cornerback, Relford intercepted the first pass Hoover quarterback Jimmy Savage attempted ‑ while lying on his back. The 5‑foot‑8 Relford snared Savage’s next attempt, too, and this time he stayed on his feet, running the pick back 51 yards down the right sideline and then somersaulting into the end zone to put Massillon up 14‑0 with 3:01 left in the first quarter.

“Our defensive was phenomenal tonight,” said Massillon coach Rick Shepas, whose 9‑2 team advances to play Perry in a regional semifinal Saturday. “They got some turnovers in the first quarter … that was a turning point in the game.

“It was all due to Billy Relford. All Relford did was set a Massillon mark for interceptions in a season. His four picks in the first half probably are a record, but his nine for the season did set a new Massillon mark.

When Tony Graves intercepted Savage’s third attempt of the night and rumbled and stumbled 33 yards to the Hoover 2‑yard line, the game was over. Ricky Johnson, who scored the first touchdown on an 8‑yard toss‑sweep, cracked in the next play, and it was 20‑0, after Max Shafer’s missed point‑after.

Marquice Johnson made Savage’s evening a tad more miserable by sacking him for a safety in the second quarter, but it was the “fiery‑eyed” Relford, according to Shepas, who continued to slay the Vikings. He picked off Savage twice more in the half, the second at the back of the Massillon end zone to keep North Canton off the board.

The fact he ran the ball back 91 yards and nearly scored only enhanced his heroic play. His touchdown return was the big one, though.

“I just saw him do an out route, and the grass was hard to do a break on,” said Relford’ speaking of Hoover wideout Eric Kubilus. “When I saw his break was slow, I just broke on it ‑ I saw (Savage) throw the, ball. I broke on it, timed it and ran it all the way back.”

The first interception got Relford, and the Tigers, rolling. It was 3rd‑and‑7, and he went up with Kubilus and won the battle, despite landing on his back.

“Actually, (Kubilus) was behind me,” said Relford. “I played the wrong defense. But, I made up for it with the interception. It just fell in my hands.”

Massillon too strong for Hoover

That was not true of his endzone theft. Relford went up against 6‑3 Curt Lukens, turned on the ball before Lukens did, climbed the ladder faster than Lukens, got the ball, climbed down ‑ then ran full speed the other way before getting tackled. Shafer then missed a 35‑yard field goal at the first‑half gun, but it did not matter because the damage had been done.

Hoover., which wanted to control the clock with the run, netted just 51 yards the first two periods. That led to a 1‑for‑12 passing effort in the half.

“Sometimes the holes were there, but the holes aren’t there very long,” said North Canton coach Don Hertler Jr., describing the effort by Massillon defense. “We had a couple of dropped balls, threw some interceptions, and you can’t expect to win with seven turnovers.

“You can’t turn the ball over five times in a half and win.”

Oh yeah, the Tigers played a little offense too. They put together an eight‑play, 64‑yard drive that consumed 3:20 the first time they touched the ball. Johnson ran hard, scoring twice and eventually collecting 119 yards. Matt Martin was on fire, hitting 7‑of‑11 the first half for 96 yards and a touchdown. The senior lefty finished 16‑of‑23 for 202 yards and one touchdown, with one interception, and he loved watching his defense give him field position.

“That’s the best I’ve seen the defense play,” said Martin. “They were great, giving us the short field to work on all game.”

There was no fourth‑quarter‑lapse, as there had been against St. Ignatius and at Warren Harding. When Dustin Jarvis intercepted the Vikings’ seventh aerial in the final two minutes, it, ended a great season for the Federal League champs.

“We had a great run,” said Hertler. “I’m proud of the way a majority of our players played the game and how they handled themselves.

Devin Jordan caught six passes for 95 yards and an 11‑yard touchdown for Massillon, and Stephon Ashcraft grabbed five for 73 yards. Relford caught one, for 9 yards. He also worked an offensive pass interference call against Hoover, so dominating was his play even the referees felt he deserved the call.

“I’m pretty happy,” said Relford. “I wanted the record, that was one of my goals. But the main thing was the defense played great all game.”

Shawn Crable
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2001: Massillon 27, North Canton Hoover 7

Tigers display mettle In topping Hoover
Massillon moves into state semifinals with 27‑7 win

Independent Sports Editor

They might want to change the Massillon Tigers theme song from “Eye of the Tiger” to “We Shall Overcome.”

With three starters missing due to injury and illness, and two others battling to stay on the field despite being hospitalized within the past week, the Tigers dug deep and dealt the North Canton Hoover Vikings a 27‑7 setback to win the Division I Region 2 regional championship in front of a near capacity crowd at Fawcett Stadium, Saturday night.

Rick Shepas knew all week he would be without starting running back Ricky Johnson and starting defensive lineman Marquis Johnson. But on Friday night, as he and his wife were watching her nephew play in a Division IV regional final at Central Catholic High, Shepas got a telephone call from offensive coordinator Dan Murphy and the news wasn’t good.

Starting right guard Tony Thornsberry, possibly the Tigers’ most consistent offensive lineman this season, was hospitalized. He would have his appendix removed at 1 a.m. Saturday.

“I thought God was testing me a little bit,” Shepas said. “I said, ‘I’m going to have a little faith and trust in him and go to sleep and whatever is meant to be is meant to be.’”

Then as the team began to gather later Saturday morning, starting right offensive tackle J.P. Simon turned up sick. He had spent most of the early‑morning throwing up and was taken to the hospital where he was given a couple of liters of fluid intravenously.

“I told J.P., ‘Buddy you’ve got to tough it out,”‘ Shepas said. “We didn’t want to have that whole right side of the line gone. He toughed it out.”

Simon was wobbly but he played. Tim Dewald filled in for Thornsberry and did an outstanding job, according to Shepas.

Meanwhile, cornerback Jamaal Ballard, who didn’t play last week after having surgery on his thumb, returned to the lineup. The junior, his hand in a cast to protect the thumb, came up with not one but two interceptions as the Massillon defense rose to the occasion for the third consecutive week in post‑season play.

“I had to come out tonight and make a statement playing with my team,” Ballard said. “I gave up a touchdown but I picked off two and took one to the house.”

Game Action vs. North Canton Hoover

That interception return for a touchdown was called back because of a clipping penalty on the runback. But Massillon would score just the same as David Hill went around the left side of the line for an 18‑yard touchdown run that put the Tigers up 24‑7 with 6:30 to play in the football game.

“All I saw was an opening from Robert (Oliver) blocking and I just took it to it,” Hill said. “Coach told me at halftime to run like I normally run, which is hard. The team had belief in me and I didn’t want to let them down. So I did what I had to do.”

Hill finished with 61 yards in 11 carries and may become an even bigger part of the offense next week as Oliver, who had 67 yards in 12 carries, suffered a knee injury that did not look good at game’s end.

“We’ve been overcoming adversity for a long time,” Shepas said. “It just seems to be a norm now.”

The Tiger defense held North Canton to 95 yards of offense in the second half as Massillon took control of a 14‑7 game after intermission.

The Vikings rushing total for the entire contest was minus‑1 yard.

“We stuffed the run,” said linebacker Justin Princehorn. “They got us on a couple of pass plays deep in the first half. We put in some adjustments and came out the second half and held them to no points.”

“Coming off the first McKinley game, we don’t want nobody to run on us,” said linebacker Shawn Crable. “So when teams are running on us we get a little mad. We played kind of soft in the first half. The second half we came out with a little more fire and things went our way.”

A 54‑yard quick kick by Justin Zwick helped set up Massillon’s first scoring drive as North Canton was pinned deep in its own territory and was forced to punt when Dan Speicher stuffed a DeAngelo Thomas running play at the Vikings 8‑yard line.

After North Canton punted, two Zwick‑to‑Devin Jordan sideline passes generated 31 yards to give the Tigers a first down at the North Canton 23. Oliver picked up eight yards over left tackle and Zwick found Hill for four yards and another first down at the 11.

From there Zwick tossed a short pass to Oliver in the left flat. The senior snagged the ball at the 9 and went in untouched. David Abdul’s kick made it 7‑0 Massillon at 9:16 of the second quarter.

North Canton showed its mettle on its next possession. Brad Reifsnyder lobbed a perfect pass to Jared Gulling for 22 yards to the Vikings 43‑yard line. On the very next play, Reifsnyder ‑ off play action ‑ went long to Curt Lukens for 57 yards and a touchdown. Reifsnyder tacked on the point‑after and it was a 7‑7 game at 7:45 of the second quarter.

Massillon turned the ball over on an interception on its ensuing possession but the Tiger defense rose up and forced the Vikings to punt, thanks in part to Craig McConnell’s fine open field tackle on Thomas on a second down running play.

Massillon took over at its 14 and embarked on a 14‑play drive that included three Zwick runs that yielded three first downs and 33 yards.

On third‑and‑nine from the North Canton 18, Zwick floated left with the shotgun snap then threw back to Jordan on the right hash mark in the end zone for the score. Abdul’s boot made it Massillon 14‑7 at halftime.

Abdul was true with a 22‑yard field goal that capped a 12‑play, 68‑yard drive to open the second half and the Tigers’ 17‑7 lead held into the fourth quarter.

The Vikings penetrated down to the Massillon 13 in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter but a fourth-and‑two pass to Lukens was ruled incomplete and North Canton’s last, best chance was gone.

“Not coming up with that score, we needed that to make it a 17‑14 game,” said North Canton coach Don Hertler Jr. “We would have been right where we wanted to be.

“We knew they were talented, big and strong. Offensively they can beat you a lot of ways. I was just proud of the way our team fought.”

A few minutes after that big fourth down play, Ballard’s second interception would set up Hill’s touchdown run.

Abdul closed the scoring with a 33‑yard field goal with 3:43 to play, setting up a rematch with St. Ignatius, a 40‑33 winner over Warren Harding in the Region I title game in Akron.

“We’re just warming up fellows, just warming up,” Princehorn shouted in the post‑game Tiger huddle. “It is meant to be.”

First downs rushing 9 3
First downs passing 12 11
First downs by penalty 0 1
TOTAL first downs 21 15
Net Yards rushing 165 (-1)
Net yards passing 252 248
TOTAL yards 417 247
Passes attempted 38 35
Passes completed 23 15
Passes intercepted 2 3
Punts 4 5
Punting average 41.3 43.4
Fumbles/Lost 0/0 1/0
Penalties 11 5
Yards penalized 101 25

MASSILLON 0 14 3 10 27
N. CANTON 0 7 0 0 7

M ‑ Oliver 9‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
NG ‑ Luken 57‑yard pass from Reifsnyder (Reifsnyder kick)
M ‑ Jordan 18‑yard pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Abdul 22‑yard field goal
M ‑ D. Hill 18‑yard run (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Abdul, 33‑yard field goal

Massillon rushing: Oliver 12‑65, D. Hill 11‑57, Zwick 5‑41.
N Canton rushing: Thomas 10‑23.

Massillon Passing: Zwick 23‑38‑252 2 TDs, 2 INTs.
N. Canton passing: Reifsnyder 13‑30‑208 TD, 3 INTs; Savage 2‑5‑40

Massillon receiving: Jordan 8‑105, Oliver 4‑31, Ashcraft 3‑46, Jovingo 3‑38, Williams 3‑29.
N. Canton receiving: Lukens 6‑104, Gulling 6‑97, Saylor 1‑30, Kline 2‑17.

– Statistics courtesy of RICHARD CUNNINGHAM

Justin Zwick