Tag: <span>North Canton Memorial Stadium</span>


2018: Massillon 41, Wadsworth 19

Kickoff return keys Massillon’s return to the state semifinals
Nov 16, 2018 10:39 PM
Chris Easterling

NORTH CANTON Massillon was looking for something to help it get a little separation.

Almost two full quarters into Friday night’s Division II Region 7 championship game against Wadsworth, the Tigers were locked in a tie game. Every time they would seem to grab a bit of momentum, the Grizzlies had the answer.

That is, until the final three-plus minutes of the first half. That’s when Massillon grabbed the separation it needed to send it to its second consecutive regional championship with 41-19 victory in front of a capacity crowd at North Canton Memorial Stadium.

“I knew it was a big key in the game,” said senior Kyshad Mack, whose 82-yard kickoff return with 3:12 remaining in the first half gave the Tigers the lead for good at 17-10. “I went out and made a play for my brothers.”

Mack’s kickoff return was one of two Tiger touchdowns in the final 3:12 of the half. The other was a 12-yard Aidan Longwell-to-Jamir Thomas’ scoring pass with 17 seconds remaining, giving Massillon a 24-10 halftime lead.

The Grizzlies, who bow out at 12-1, would get no closer than 12 the remainder of the game. The Tigers, meanwhile, would use Mack’s return to key a 31-9 game-ending burst.

“The kickoff return was huge,” said Massillon coach Nate Moore, whose team now has the best start in school history at 13-0. “Then, to drive down the field and get a score there to push it to two scores there was big.”

Massillon’s state-semifinal matchup won’t be official until the Ohio High School Athletic Association announces it on Sunday afternoon. However, based upon the results of Friday’s Division II regional finals, it sets up the extreme likelihood of two rematches from a year ago in the final four, with the Tigers facing Winton Woods and three-time state champion Hoban meeting Avon.

Moore, whose team tied the 2005 state runner-up team for most wins in school history, wasn’t prepared to focus too much on the next opponent.

“I have a feeling how it’s going to go,” said Moore, whose team lost to the Warriors in last year’s state semifinals. “I think we’re going to have to wait and see what the OHSAA decides.”

With just under four minutes left in the first half on Friday, Massillon couldn’t afford to look ahead to the state semifinals. At that point in time, it was just trying to shake a very good Wadsworth team.

Massillon took leads of 7-0 and 10-7 in the first half thanks to a 53-yard Longwell-to-Jayden Ballard touchdown pass and a 32-yard Alex Bauer field goal. Wadsworth, though, would get a Trey Shaffer-to-Tyler Montgomery 20-yard pass and a 25-yard Blake Turano field goal to twice square the game.

Wadsworth finished the game with 394 total yards, the second-highest total of the season against Massillon. That included 244 rushing yards, 109 of those by Dom Loparo.

Brock Snowball added 91 yards on the ground for the Grizzlies.

Wadsworth, though, couldn’t get the game tied for a third time. After Mack’s return, the Tigers tried a pooch kick which they recovered, but were called for illegal touching to give Wadsworth the ball at the Massillon 46.

Four plays later, the Grizzlies faced a fourth-and-6 from the Tiger 9 and attempted a field goal. The kick fell short, giving Massillon the football back at its 20.

Ten plays later, the Tigers – who had 403 total yards – had the two-score lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Compounding the issue for Wadsworth was the fact its first second-half possession was stopped on downs at the Massillon 1.

“That was the plan,” Wadsworth coach Justin Todd said of making it a one-score game out of the half. “That’s what we needed to do. We needed to come out in the second half and we had to score. Unfortunately, we didn’t punch it in.”

The Grizzlies would get a safety on the subsequent play after the goal-line stand to pull within 24-12. However, their next drive was snuffed out by a Dean Clark interception at the Massillon 22.

The Tigers would turn their next two possessions into points, essentially removing all doubt. They would get a 33-yard Bauer field goal for a 27-12 lead, followed by a 24-yard Longwell-to-Clark pass for a 34-12 edge.

Longwell, who missed the last three quarters of the regional-semifinal win over Whitehall-Yearling with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder, showed no ill effects. The junior was 17-of-25 for a career-high 306 yards with four touchdowns.

“He played pretty well,” Moore said of Longwell. “He made a lot of good decisions out there and threw a lot of good balls. I’m proud of him.


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

On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE


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.