Tag: <span>Paul Salvino</span>


1996: Massillon 6, Brunswick 7

Tigers go cold at Icy Rubber Bowl

Brunswick to take on Pups next

Independent Sports Editor

When it was all said and done, the Brunswick Blue Devils secured a berth in the Division I regional finals against the McKinley Bulldogs the old fashioned way … they earned it.

The Massillon Tigers, beneficiaries of four Brunswick fumbles, could not convert any of the takeaways into points, and dropped a 7-6 heartbreaker in front of 6,839 at the Akron Rubber Bowl, Saturday.

Massillon’s speed and quickness was negated by the snow covered and slippery Rubber Bowl artificial turf, and Brunswick established an advantage at the line of scrimmage that finally paid off on its final drive of the evening.

“They have some very strong kids,” observed Jack Rose.
We had a hard time moving them out of there, When we did, we got some plays run.

“But you only get so many opportunities They had a couple turnovers that gave us great field position. We didn’t capitalize on them. You knew it was going to be a one-touchdown game. We had a chance to get it done.”

Brunswick overcame a size disadvantage on both lines to win the game’s statistical battle out gaining the Tigers 194 to 123.

“I’d like to think we controlled the line of scrimmage,” said Brunswick coach Tom Fasko.

“We did a great job in the second quarter coming off the football and in the fourth quarter as well.”

The Blue Devils employed two tight ends and their attack was at its best when it had to be. The Brunswick defense came ….. takeaway, recovering a Massillon fumble at midfield with 6:43 to play and the Tigers leading 6-0.

Tailback Brian Kolin carried the football on five consecutive plays, including a 14-yard burst up the middle, as Brunswick moved from its 48 to the Massillon 25. Jesse Peticca got the football on the counter trey on two of the next three snaps to set up second-and-six from the 10. Then Kohn took the pitch around left end to the two yard line.

Kolin capped off the drive by going into the middle of the line for the touchdown at 2:31 of the fourth quarter. Nick Gargano’s conversion kick was good and Massillon’s post-season was over.

Easko acknowledged his charges were able to execute on the final game-deciding drive …. field conditions.

“We couldn’t afford a mistake at that point,” he said. “We couldn’t have a penalty. We couldn’t have a turnover. We had to execute flawlessly under these conditions. It was a tribute to our offense. And except for one play, our defense played a great game also.”

“We were pretty confident coming in,” said Kolin, who finished with 73 yards and no fumbles in 18 carries. “We were underdogs for the first time this season and that was motivation.”

On the final drive, Kolin knew he was going to Brunswick’s featured runner after splitting tailback duties with Dave Harris most of the game.

“We marched on them,” Kolin said. “We knew we could. It’s just that the cold and wetness really made the football slippery, so you’re never sure about your traction out there/”

“We knew we had six-and-a-half minutes left and we said, “Hey, this is it. It’s now or never,” said Fasco. “Our kids buckled it up, We had some nice runs and we got some great calls from upstairs.”

Christian Morgan put the Blue Devils in a comeback mode midway through the third period. Brunswick had buried the Tigers deep in their territory with a punt and a clipping penalty. But on first-and-10 from the Massillon 11, quarterback Ben Hymes checked off to toss sweep around right end.

Morgan broke two arm tackles at the line of scrimmage and was off to the races. Eighty nine yards later he crossed the goal line and the Tigers led 6-0.

But other than that play. Massillon was unable to get any thing going on offense. In fact, when Morgan’s 89-yard touchdown jaunt is subtracted, the Tigers had just 44 yards rushing. They also were an abysmal 0-12 on third down conversions and committed six penalties for 45 yards.

Rose was not about to attribute the defeat to the emotional baggage of the McKinley game or the less than ideal field conditions.

“I really thought we had over … had really good practices. Wednesday and Thursday, I really felt good coming into this game except for the fact we had so much flu going through the team that we didn’t have everyone together for practices at one time.

“This is northeast Ohio, It’s going to be 70 degrees one day and like this the next. We didn’t get out on the perimeter with the option. We did run the toss sweep, but we thought we could get to the corner on them. Hey, they played in this, too. They are more of a hammer team than we are, but I’m not going to … .

Massillon had two golden opportunities to convert Brunswick turnovers ito scores. In the first period, the Blue Devils muffed a punt at their 23 and the Tigers recovered. Four plays (including two incompletions and a sack) and minus four-yards later, Massillon turned the ball back to Brunswick on downs.

Brunswick’s second gift to Massillon came with 10:52 to play when B.J. Burick fell on another muffed punt at the Blue Devil’s 22. Hymes gained eight yards on a second down sneak, but the Tigers again failed to get a first down in four snaps.

“We had our chances,” Rose said. “We had our chances …”

M Man
First downs rushing 2 11
First downs passing 1 0
First downs penalty 0 0
Total first downs 3 11
Net yards rushing 123 194
Net yards passing 10 5
Total yards gained 133 199
Passes attempted 12 5
Passes completed 2 2
Passes int 1 0
Times kicked off 2 2
Kickoff average 31 36.5
Kickoff return yards 14 0
Punts 6 5
Punting average 32.8 30.4
Punt return yards 1 0
Fumbles 3 4
Fumbles lost 1 4
Penalties 6 4
Yards penalized 45 20
Number of plays 44 52
Time of possession 21:53 26:07
Attendance 5,839

BRUNSWICK 0 0 0 7 7
MASSILLON 0 0 6 0 6


Third Quarter
Mass – Morgan 89 run (kick failed)

Fourth Quarter
Brun – Kolin 1 run (Gargano kick)


Morgan 19-109, 1 TD;
Stefanko 3-6;
Hodgson 2-3;
Hymes 7-4;
Blake 1-1.
Horba 7-37;
Kolin 18-73 1 TD;
Hendricks 6-(-8);
Harris 13-79;
Peticca 2-13.

Hymes 1-11-18, 0 TD, 1 int.;
Morgan 1-0-0 0 TD, 0 int.
Hendricks 2-5-5 0 TD, 0 int.

Morgan 1-16;
Martin 1-(-6)
Peticca 1-3;
Kolin 1-2

Paul Salvino

Massillon vs. McK - Throwback (Large) History

1996: Massillon 0, Canton McKinley 21

Tigers have to be resilient this week
Can’t dwell defeat; Brunswick looms

By Joe Shaheen
Independent Sports Editor

The McKinley Bulldogs played their best game of the 1996 regular season when it counted most in the annual Week Ten confrontation with the Massillon Tigers.

The result was a 21-0 white washing of the Tigers and a berth in the playoffs against Grove City on Saturday at Mansfield’s Arlin Stadium.

The Tigers played arguably their worst game of the ’96 regular season against the Pups.

Program Cover

Now it is up to Jack Rose and the Tigers to prove they can get up off the deck an prepare for the Brunswick High Blue Devils, who will provide the opposition in Massillon’s playoff opener this Saturday at the Rubber Bowl.

McKinley’s victory over Massillon, though not dominating was complete. The Bulldogs had the advantage in all three phases of the game, offense, defense and special teams.

The Bulldogs offense put together only one sustained scoring march all afternoon, but it came at the onset of the second half and virtually sealed the Tigers doom by expanding the deficit from 13 points to 21.

The 12 play, 84 yard drive, consumed just over seven minutes off the game clock and featured an effective play action short passing game by sophomore quarterback Ben McDaniels and was capped by Jamar Martin’s four yard touchdown run.

McKinley’s third quarter scoring drive served two purposes, it left just over one quarter of play for the Tigers to close the three touchdown deficit and it was an effective counter point to Massillon’s initial second half drive, which lasted three play and failed to produce a first down.

Massillon’s offense was bottled up for 18 minutes, as much by its own mistakes as the terrible field position forced upon it all afternoon long. The Tigers generated 110 yards of total offense, barely more than half of the Bulldogs modest total 206 yards.

The Bulldogs defense negated the Tigers massive offensive line and thus their vaunted running attack most of the day. Massillon receivers dropped at least five catchable balls and the Tigers forgot about tight end Chris Martin after he caught two passes in the first series of the game.

Although McKinley missed three field goals, the Bulldogs placement specialists boomed four kickoffs for an average of just under 58 yards per kick. The deep well placed kicks limited Massillon to an average of 10 yards per return.

The Bulldogs special teams also produced a big play on the opening kickoff when Trevor Vaught tore off a 30 yard return to midfield. While McKinley did not score on that possession, it seemed to rock the Tigers back on their heels and set the tone for the rest of the afternoon.

What will stand out in most fans minds was the two McKinley interceptions that set the Bulldogs offense up with first and goal inside the Tigers 5 yard line twice in the first half. Those picks led to a pare of short touchdown runs by De’Andrae Jeter.

What they may forget is McKinley’s late first half drive which nearly produce another TD (it could’ve been a lot worse) and the game long effectiveness of Ben McDaniels, who completed 9 of 13 passes (69 percent) for 143 yards against an accomplished Tiger secondary which picked off a dozen aerials this season.

If there is one comforting development for the Tiger fan who crave a state champtionship and some revenge over McKinley, it is recent history.

Twice since the playoffs were instituted in 1980, Massillon and McKinley have met in the playoffs. Both times the team that prevailed during the regular season was defeated in the playoffs.

The Tigers are hoping they will get a chance to make history repeat itself.

MCKINLEY………….. 21

M Mck
First downs rushing 3 3
First downs passing 5 6
First downs penalty 0 0
Total first downs 8 9
Net yards rushing 95 75
Net yards passing 68 143
Total yards gained 110 206
Passes attempted 20 13
Passes completed 6 9
Passes int 2 0
Times kicked off 1 4
Kickoff average 40 57.8
Kickoff return yards 42 30
Punts 6 4
Punting average 33.2 33.3
Punt return yards -3 3
Fumbles 0 1
Fumbles lost 0 1
Penalties 4 2
Yards penalized 23 30
Number of plays 54 52
Time of possession 24:01 23:59

MCKINLEY 0 13 8 0 21
MASSILLON 0 0 0 0 0

Second Quarter
Mck Jeter 1 run (Curry kick)
Mck Jeter 2 run(kick failed)

Third Quarter
Mck Martin 4 run (McDaniels pass to Gambler)


Massillon – Stefanko 4-18, Morgan 12-44, Hymes 12-(-37), Hodgson 1-2, Blake 5-16
McKinley – Rozier 7-9, Jeter 6-19 2 TDs, Nash 1-1, Martin 5-7 1 TD, Bradley 6-9, McDaniels 3-(-7), Doss 6-24, Curry 1-(-2)

Massillon – Hymes 6-19-68 0 TD 2 ints, Lightfoot 0-1-0 0TD 0 ints,
McKinley – McDaniels 9-13-143 0 TD 0 ints

Massillon – Martin 3-28, Blake 2-23, Hodgson 1-17
McKinley – Gamble 1-26, Fox 2-19, Curry 3-79, Frazier 1-10, Nash 1-7, Bradley 1-2

Paul Salvino

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1996: Massillon 47, Akron St. Vincent St. Mary 7

Tigers go to the air for win No. 9

By Joe Shaheen
Independent Sports Editor

All you need to know about the thoroughness of the Massillon Tigers 47-7 thrashing of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary Friday night as the Fighting Irish offense couldn’t advance the football past midfield until the 3:45 mark of the third quarter.

By that point, the Tigers had already built a 35‑0 1ead and were substituting liberally as looked they looked ahead to next week’s annual confrontation with the McKinley Bulldogs, who will play host to St. Thomas Aquinas this evening.

Program Cover

St. Vincent‑St. Mary veteran head coach John Cistone was matter-of-fact about his team’s demise in front of 8,766 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“Massillon is as good a football team as I’ve seen,” he said. “I’ve seen Ignatius on TV. But we scouted about three Tigers games … better … last year .. the last few years. I think. They’re pretty well balance. They’re real strong on the defensive and offensive lines. They pursue well. They have everything to be a great football team.”

The Tigers came into the ninth week wanting to establish some consistency in their passing game to balance an attack that has leaned heavily on the ground game the past three or four weeks. They accomplished that as starting quarterback Ben Hymes connected on 9 of 12 aerials for 195 yards and two touchdowns.

Hymes, who spent a season at St. Vincent-St. Marry before transferring to Massillon, was pleased with his performance.

“We saw some open guys and we threw it to them,” Hymes said with a broad smile. “Yes, I was glad to get a good game throwing the ball under by belt. We’re starting to get it all together going into the Canton McKinley game. We’re polishing it up.”

Hymes’ best throw of the evening came on the Tigers second possession. The Irish had just been flagged for pass interference on Devin Williams, giving Massillon the ball and a first down at the St. Vincent-St. Mary 38.

The Tigers offensive line gave Hymes airtight protection as he dropped back. Eric Lightfoot had a step on the St. V cornerback and Hymes hit him in perfect stride on the post pattern for the touchdown with 5:05 left in the first quarter. Josh Hose’s conversion kick gave Massillon a 14-0 advantage.

It also gave Hymes and the offense an extra dose of confidence, while forcing the Irish (and McKinley next week) to honor the Tigers passing game.

“We wanted to throw the ball better,” said Jack Rose. “The biggest emphasis this week was getting the passing game going again and throwing the ball where it is supposed to go and we did a good job of that.

“We needed to score some points tonight. We needed to hit some big plays. We needed for the quarterback to have some success. We needed to pass protect well. When Ben sets his feet, he’s pretty good. We were a lot more balanced offensively.”

The statistics bear out Rose’s claim. Massillon rushed for 207 yards and passed for 242 yards.

Brian Baer was Hymes’ favorite target this night, snaring four passes for 33 yards. Williams had three catches for 51 yards and a touchdown on a beautifully executed pump-and-go pattern along the left sideline that covered 19 yards with just over a minute remaining in the first half.

Massillon opened the game by marching 72 yards in 14 plays. Christian Morgan carried on seven of those snaps, crashing into the end zone from four yards out at 6:54 of the first period. Hose converted to make it a 7-0 game.

After the Irish went three-and-out, Hymes hit Lightfoot on the post pattern to make it a 14-0 game.

St. Vincent-St. Mary continued to struggle on its second possession. On second and 15 from its own 12, quarterback Rob Adamson went deep. But Lightfoot made a sensational, leaping interception at the 47. The senior safety was escorted down the left sideline by a cadre of Tiger blockers and dove into the end zone for the touch. Hose again was perfect and Massillon led 21-0 with just over four minutes remaining in the first period.

The Irish got one first down on their next possession but were force to punt from their 38. Massillon took over at its 30 and again began to drive the football. On second and 15 from the 25, Hymes hooked up with Baer for 16 yards over the middle. Two plays later it was Hymes and Williams making the connection for 27 yards to the Irish 23.

Six plays later, Elijah Blake found a hole over right guard and scored from three yards out. Hose’s PAT was true and the Tigers owned a 28-0 advantage with 8:33 left in the half.

Massillon upped its cushion to 35-0 at halftime when Hymes and Williams executed the hitch and go from 19 yards out.

The Tigers scored in the third period when Hymes hit fullback Jared Stefanko with a swing pass along the right sideline. Stefanko turned on the jets and 74 yards later was pulled down at the Irish 1. Morgan slashed into the end zone from there and it was a 41-0 game.

“The number one thing we were worried about was a letdown from the week before and looking ahead to the tenth week,” Rose admitted afterward. “Then you’re worried about injuries from guys not playing hard. It has been very difficult this week in the building because people are talking about the Moeller game and the McKinley game. But the kids were well focused and practiced very well all week long.”

As for Hymes, who admitted satisfaction at beating his old teammates, it’s time to prepare for McKinley.

“My main goal is to settle down until I get to the game.” he said. “If I had my choice. I’d be playing the game this Monday instead of next Saturday. This is going to be a long toward playing them for a long time now.”

First downs rushing 12 4
First downs passing 7 2
First downs penalty 1 0
Total first downs 20 6
Net yards rushing 207 91
Net yards passing 242 43
Total yards gained 449 144
Passes attempted 14 15
Passes completed 10 4
Passes int. 1 1
Times kicked off 8 2
Kickoff average 42.3 49.5
Kickoff return yards 32 87
Punts 2 8
Punting average 29.5 29.3
Punt return yards ‑7 ‑1
Fumbles 3 6
Fumbles lost 1 1
Penalties 2 6
Yards penalized 15 50
Number of plays 61 41
Time of possession 28:26 19:34
Attendance 8,766

ST. VINCENT 0 0 0 7 7
MASSILLON 21 14 6 6 47


First Quarter
MASS – Morgan 4 run (Hose kick)
MASS – Lightfoot 38 pass from Hymes (Hose kick)
MASS – Lightfoot 47 pass int. return (Hose kick)

Second Quarter
MASS – Blake 3 run (Hose kick)
MASS – Williams 19 pass from Hymes (Hose kick)

Third Quarter
MASS – Morgan 1 run (kick failed)
ST V – K Alvarado 2 run (Tricomi kick)
MASS – Tony Danzy 47 pass for Tip Danzy (kick failed)



Morgan 20-98, 2 TDs;
Blake 10-42, 1 TD;
Tip Danzy 1-20;
Hodgson 4-7;
Bradley 5-6;
Childs 2-6;
Autrey 1-6;
Hymes 1-4;
Stefanko 1-3.
St. Vincent
K Alvarado 5-56 1 TD;
Morgan 8-18;
Ake 2-14;
Short 5-11.

Hymes 9-12-195-1 2 TDs
St Vincent
Adamson 4-14-53-1;
Cook 0-1

Baer 1-83;
Williams 3-52, 1 TD;
Stefanko 1-73
Duffy Vance 1-47, 1 TD
St. Vincent

Paul Salvino

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1996: Massillon 20, Cincinnati Moeller 15

Tigers are too legit to quit

Repository sports writer

MASSILLON ‑ The Game lived up to its hype.

So did the Massillon Tigers.

When it was gut‑check time, the Tigers laid it on the line against Cincinnati Moeller Saturday night in The Repos­itory Game of the Week.

The unlikeliest of heros ‑ a second‑string fullback ‑ led the top‑ranked Tigers to a 20‑15 win over perennial pain‑in‑the‑neck Moeller.

Program Cover

Junior fullback Dave Hodg­son broke a 74‑yard trap play that hit Moeller like a sledge­hammer as the Tigers defeated the Crusaders for the second year in a row in front of 13,102.

“I never would have expected (Hodgson) would be the guy that decided this game,” Massillon head coach Jack Rose said. “Dave has some speed. It was an unbelievable run.”

Beating Moeller finally gave Massillon the “L” it has been searching for: Legitimacy.

“It seems like we haven’t got­ten a lot of respect lately,” said Rose, whose players noticed they were 6‑3 underdogs in The Repository.

“I think they deserve it,” Moeller head coach Steve Klonne said. “Rankings are rankings and they don’t mean a thing unless you play like the No. 1 team in the state come the playoffs.”

The win against No. 7 Moeller will assure Massillon of keeping its No. 1 ranking by the Assoc­iated Press. Depending how Massillon’s opponents did over the weekend, the win should help the Tigers in their quest to break Cleveland St. Ignatius’ computer‑point record of 450.45 last year. The Tigers should have close to 300 with two weeks left to play.

The victory all but assures Massillon of a playoff spot, too. It didn’t come easy, though.

It was a game of momentum swings and emotional highs and lows.

When it looked like Massillon fans would have to sit through the final two minutes of torture and possibly watch one of those famous Moeller comebacks, the Crusaders ended that night­mare.

Massillon’s Eric Lightfoot punted to the Crusaders with less than three minutes to play. However, Moeller’s Tony Ham­ilton had already fumbled away one punt in the first half.

He did it again when the gamer mattered most.

“I really feel sorry for the play,” Klonne said. “It happen­ed to him twice. We win as a team and we lose as a team. We had a lot of mistakes.”

Moeller fumbled the ball five times and lost three of those. The two teams combined for eight fumbles in a constant mist.

Not rain, snow, nor a brick wall could have brought down the 5‑foot‑8, 180‑pound Hodg­son.

Hodgson took the trap hand­off, which had been very suc­cessful against Moeller all night, broke three tackles near line of scrimmage, and out­ran Moeller to the end zone.

“I’m the second‑string full­back,” Hodgson said, “there wasn’t anything or anyone that was going to stop me once I got going. I really had myself be­lieving I could run through a brick wall.”

Massillon didn’t do itself any favors as soon as the game started. On the first play from scrimmage, Tigers’ tailback Christian Morgan fumbled at the Massillon 14.

Moeller took a 6‑0 lead when Tom Pucke scored from a yard out. The PAT was blocked.

“That’s not the kind of start we had in mind,” Rose said.

Massillon then put together an 11~play‑drive that stalled at the Moeller 49. After a Massil­lon punt, the Crusaders had the ball in their own 5. Three plays later, Massillon defensive back Josh Kreider picked off a Ryan Cooper pass at the. seven and took it in for the first Massillon score. Josh Hose’s PAT gave Massillon a 7‑6 lead.

Massillon took a 13‑9 lead when the Tigers silenced a gambling Moeller defense that sent defensive ends almost every play. Massillon quarter­back Ben Hymes, sprinted to his left, and handed off to tail­back Elijah Blake, who took the sprint draw play 35 yards for the Tigers’ TD. That drive took Massillon all of 28 seconds to go 73 yards.

Moeller’s Pucke also had field goals of 32 and 45 yards that made the score 13‑12 Mas­sillon at halftime. He nailed a 46 yarder that had plenty of dis­tance in the fourth.

“I have to give our defense a lot of credit,” Rose said. “They won this one.”

The Massillon defense held Moeller to 240 total yards, 96 in the second half.

“We shot ourselves in the foot a lot,” Klonne said. “Massillon deserves credit. They were opportunistic.”

at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium
Cincinnati Moeller 6 6 0 3 15
Massillon 7 6 0 7 20

Mo ‑ Price 1 run (kick failed)
Ma ‑ Kreider 10 interception return (Hose kick)
Mo ‑ FG Pucke 32
Ma ‑ Blake 35 run (run failed)
Mo ‑ FG Pucke 45
Ma ‑ Hodgson 74 run (Hose kick)
Mo ‑ FG Pucke 46

Team statistics

Massillon 40‑208,
Moeller 39‑147.

Massillon 4‑10‑0,26 yards;
Moeller 8‑20‑1, 93 yards.

First downs:
Massillon 10,
Moeller 14.

Massillon 3,1;
Moeller 5‑3.

Massillon 8‑0;
Cincinnati Moeller 6‑2.

Paul Salvino

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1996: Massillon 21, Naperville Central, IL 13

Tigers gird for Mighty Mo with win

Independent Sports Editor

Seven weeks into the 1996 high school football season it has be­come apparent the team that has the best chance of ruining the Massillon Tigers dream for an undefeated season is the Massillon Tigers.

On Saturday evening, the Ti­gers put together a first half of football that included a lost fumble, an intercepted pass, a blocked punt and three penal­ties for 27 yards. The benefici­ary of Massillon’s unintended generosity were the Redhawks of Naperville Central, who held a 13‑0 advantage at the inter­mission.

Program Cover

Massillon woke up in the second half. The defense li­mited Naperville to a total of 13 plays in the Redhawks’ first four possessions. The offense marched 49 yards for one touch­down and converted two turnov­ers into scores as the Tigers preserved their undefeated re­cord with a 21‑13 victory in front of 11,852 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Jack Rose did not sound like a man who was going to let his charges savor the win very long. After the game he re­minded them Cincinnati Moel­ler invades this coming Saturday.

“We start getting ready (Sun­day),” Rose said. “Enjoy this tonight because (Moeller week) starts (Sunday).”

Then Rose nodded toward senior co‑captain Eric Light­foot, who returned to the lineup Saturday after being unable to play safety for the last three weeks because of a pulled ham­string.

“Good to have you back (No.) 7,” Rose said.

Indeed it was.

Lightfoot, who would save the game in the final minute with an interception in the end zone, ignited the crowd and got the Tigers’ juices flowing in the third period with a 59‑yard punt that pinned Naperville back on its own 14. A three‑and‑out series ensued and the Tigers ‑still trailing 13‑0 ‑ took over at midfield with 6:09 remaining in the third period.

Quarterback Ben Hymes hit fullback Nate Hodgson for 17 yards on first down. Two snaps later, Jared Stefanko went straight ahead for seven yards and a first down at the 22. Christian Morgan ‑ limited to 37 yards in 12 first half carries ‑ was bottled up on three straight runs to set up fourth and three. Bu t Hymes kept the ball on the option around left end and dove forward for the first down.

The option worked so well that Hymes ran it again two plays later, this time pitching the ball to Stefanko around right end for an eight‑yard touchdown. Josh Hose tacked on the extra point and it was a 13‑7 game with 2:17 left in the third.

On its ensuing possession, Naperville moved from its 16 to the Massillon 41 where it had first down just seconds into the fourth quarter. But running back D.J. Johnson coughed the ball up on a draw play and Ti­gers linebacker Chris Childs re­covered at the Massillon 46.

Rose went right back to Mor­gan and the lanky junior ran it on five straight plays, chewing up 25 yards to the Naperville 29. Massillon jumped into its pow­er‑I and played option football once again. Eight plays later, Hymes snuck over left guard and into the end zone from less than a yard out. Hose’s PAT made it 14‑13 Massillon with 4:47 to play.

“We felt we needed to run right at them to negate their speed,” Rose said. “They were just coming off our blocks so well and running down the line to the football.

“We ran the belly series then pulled the ball out and ran the option. Running it out of the power‑I is a better play for us.

“But we were taken aback by, their quickness on defense. And they are a lot bigger than what they had in the program. I think they deflate their weights. They were every bit as quick as Lima Senior on defense and they took better pursuit angles.”

The Tigers got an enormous break as they looked to build on their one‑point lead. Matt Stan­ley’s kickoff was fumbled at the Naperville 20 and Michael Jab­bar recovered for Massillon.

Rose went to some fresh legs by inserting Elijah Blake at tailback and the senior picked up 15 yards on two quick car­ries. Stefanko then got the call and moved the ball to the 1. Two plays later, Morgan found a seam over right guard for the touchdown. Hose split the uprights to make it 21‑13 with 2:29 remaining.

But Naperville wasn’t ready to roll over, not after busing 11 hours just to get to Massillon. The Redhawks moved from their 30 to the Massillon 26 as quarterback Christian Person hit on four of five aerials.

” However, on second‑and‑six with :32 to play, Person looked over the middle into the end zone and let fly. Lightfoot saw the play develop, leaped, tipped the football with his right hand and came down with the in­terception in the end zone for a touchback.

“I was dropping back into coverage, saw a receiver com­ing over and I thought Person was going to throw it to him,” Lightfoot said. “He threw it kind of high and I just wanted to try to knock it down. When I tip­ped it, it went up into the air and then it just fell into my hands when I fell down.

“The receivers were all behind me, so I was just trying to tip the ball back toward the quarterback.”

With the win, Massillon is 7‑0. Moeller, which crushed Cincin­nati St. Xavier on Friday, is 6‑1. 1 It was hard getting ready for Naperville for the kids because they know what everyone in town is talking about,” Rose noted. “They’re talking about the Moeller game. We had to overcome that. Now comes Moeller and the kids know what that means.”

Rose also noted his team’s routine was thrown off by the Saturday date with Naperville. He did not cite that as a contri­buting factor to a lethargic first half that produced just 56 total yards.

“We just weren’t playing hard and executing,” Rose said. “On film, Naperville didn’t look as fast as it played on this turf. They also had a nice defensive’ scheme set up. They­ did something different on de­fense on every first down.”

Although Morgan was held to 83 yards rushing ‑ his first sub 100 yard game this season ‑ Rose thought his tailback ran better in the second half.

“Christian ran harder the second half,” Rose said. “He missed about three cuts the first half or we’d have had some big plays. He just wasn’t real sharp and we weren’t getting a push at the line.”

First downs rushing 9 3
First downs passing 1 5
First downs penalty 1 0
Total first downs 11 8
Net yards rushing 143 90
Net yards passing 33 102
Total yards gained 176 192
Passes attempted 12 16
Passes completed 4 8
Passes int. 1 2
Times kicked off 4 4
Kickoff average 48.8 52.0
Kickoff return yards 84 66
Punts 6 3
Punting average 32.5 30.3
Punt return yards 1 3
Fumbles 2 2
Fumbles lost 1 2
Penalties 3 2
Yards penalized 27 10
Number of plays 63 46
Time of possession 28:13 19:47
Attendance 11,852

NAPERVILLE 3 10 0 0 13
MASSILLON 0 0 7 14 21


First Quarter
NAP ‑ Nolda 25 FG

Second Quarter
NAP ‑ Nolda 32 FG
NAP ‑ Johnson 27 run

Third Quarter
Mass ‑ Stefanko 1 run (Hose kick)

Fourth Quarter
Mass ‑ Hymes 1 run (Hose kick);
Mass ‑ Morgan 1 run (Hose kick)


Morgan 26‑83, 1 TD;
Stefanko 6‑28;
Blake 2‑15;
Childs 3‑10;
Hodg­son 2‑4;
Hymes 12‑3, 2 TDs.
John­son 20‑68. 1 TD,
Chirumbolo 6‑21;
Pearson 1‑1.

Hymes 4‑12‑33‑1.
Pearson 8‑16‑102‑2.

Hodgson 2‑21,
Wil­liam 1‑6,
Baer 1‑6.

Grotbeck 3‑28,
Lintner 1‑31,
Maloney 1‑30,
Nolda 1‑7,
Chirum­bolo 1‑4,
Johnson 1‑2.

Paul Salvino

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1996: Massillon 34, Walsh Jesuit 10

Tigers put it together vs. Walsh

Independent Sports Editor,

All week long, Jack Rose said it was time for the Massillon Tigers to put it all together; that they needed solid performances in all three phases of the game, offense, defense and special teams to beat Walsh Jesuit.

Rose got exactly that from Ohio’s No. 1 ranked Division I team as the Tigers laid a 34‑10 shiner on the Warriors, in front of 12,811 fans at Paul Brown Ti­ger Stadium, Friday.

The Massillon offense racked up 340 total yards, including 309 on the ground and a 6.4 yards per rush average.

Program Cover

The Massillon defense blank­ed Walsh in the second half, coming up with three interceptions and surrendering less than 60 yards to the Warriors after the band show.

The Massillon special teams produced a blocked punt that was turned into a Tigers’ touch­down and served as the final nail in the visitors’ coffin.

At the end, Walsh Jesuit head coach Gerry Rardin was im­pressed.

“I’ll tell you what,” Rardin exclaimed, “they are a great football team. They are ex­tremely physical, they’re big, and they have great skill players.”

Once again, Christian Mor­gan was too much to handle. Massillon’s junior tailback rushed 23 times for 142 yards and three touchdowns.

“Morgan’s a great back and he has a powerful, quick line up in front of him, too,” Rardin said.

Rose agreed.

“Christian’s a big‑timer,” Rose said. “He can play. He’s a very good back.”

Morgan was hardly a one ­man show on offense. Once again, fullback Jared Stefanko kept the defense from keying on his backfield mate, gaining 55 yards on just four carries. Eli­jah Blake came off the bench to rush for 59 yards on just three totes.

Throughout the week, Rose was confident the Tigers would prevail, despite the fact they struggled the week before at Austintown Fitch and were going against the No. 7 ranked team in Division III.

“I thought our offensive line could move them off the ball,” he explained. “I felt very confi­dent we could do that.”

Walsh drew first blood, mar­ching from its 20 to the Tigers 13, before the defense stiffened. The Warriors broke on top 3‑0 when Jeff Endress hit a 30‑yard field goal with 8:18 left in the opening period.

Massillon came right back, as Morgan broke off a 44‑yard run on the Tigers first play from scrimmage. Stefanko gained nine more on the second play and Massillon was in business at the Walsh 22. Three snaps later,, Morgan found a hole between­ right guard and tackle for a two yard touchdown. Josh Hose hit the PAT and Massillon led 7‑3 with just over two minutes to play in the first.

The Tigers turned the ball over on a fumble deep in Massil­lon territory on their second possession. Walsh struck quick­ly as quarterback Chris De­nholm hit Brian Willmott on a sideline pattern at the Massil­lon 1. Jon Subity powered in from there and the extra point made it Walsh 10, Massillon 7 with just 17 seconds elapsed in the second period.

Massillon appeared ready to strike back, driving from its 33 to the Walsh 6 on seven plays, highlighted by Stefanko’s 34-­yard bolt over right guard and tackle. But the Warriors’ de­fense stiffened and a 23‑yard field goal attempt hit the right upright and bounced back.

The game turned on the War­riors’ next possession. They moved the ball from their 20 to the Massillon 40, but the Tiger defense forced a punt. Walsh’s Tom Lopienski, trying to angle ­for the right sideline, shanked the ball badly. It sliced out of bounds at the Tiger 38, a punt of just two yards.

Ben Hymes zeroed in on De­vin Williams for 15 yards on first down to cross mid field. Three plays later, Walsh was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct to move it to the War­riors’ 21. Morgan did the rest, finding a huge cavity over right guard, breaking to the sideline and sprinting into the end zone for the touchdown with only 1:08 left in the half. Hose’s kick made it 14‑10 and Walsh never recovered.

“Those two events really swung the momentum and you don’t want that to happen against a team as good as Mas­sillon,” Rardin said.

Following the second half kickoff, Massillon marched 59 yards in nine plays to build on ­the momentum swing it achieved just before halftime. Morgan carried on seven of those plays, including the final four. He scored on a two‑yard plunge off right guard with 9:07 left in the third. Hose converted to make it a 21‑10 game.

It appeared Walsh was going to retaliate. The Warriors, moved from their 21 to the 39 on four plays. But on second and five from that mark, Denholm tried to pass the ball over the middle. Tigers’ safety Josh Kreider stepped in for the interception at the 41.

The Tigers offense struggled on their next two possessions, both of which ended with punts. Walsh Jesuit did not fare any better, Punting away the ball once. The second time the War­riors weren’t as fortunate. On fourth‑and‑21 from their own six, Lopienski’s punt was blocked by Tigers linebacker Josh Hill. Dusty Limbach corralled the bouncing ball in the end zone for six points. Hose’s PAT made it 27‑10 with less than 10 minutes to play.

Massillon closed the scoring on its next Possession. Blake bolted 50 yards up the middle, finally being dragged down at the one‑yard line. The speedy senior tailback found paydirt on the next play. Hose tacked on the conversion kick at 6:49 of the fourth quarter.

Kreider credited the defen­sive line with his two picks.

“The defensive line just had a tenacious pass rush tonight and the DBs were on their receivers like flies on you‑know‑what,” Kreider said. “We just wanted to find a way to get the offense back on the field.

“We knew Walsh was going to come to play and to challenge us. So we came out to play as well as we could. Even though we’ve been having a few in­juries in the defensive back­field, we are pulling together each week and doing the best we can until we get everybody back.”

Hill, who followed a two‑sack game against Austintown Fitch, with a sack and that blocked punt, says the Tigers are sending a message.

First downs rushing 13 5
First downs passing 2 5
First downs penalty 4 1
Total first downs 19 11
Net yards rushing 309 102
Net yards passing 31 95
Total yards gained 340 197
Passes attempted 8 20
Passes completed 3 7
Passes int. 0 3
Times kicked off 6 3
Kickoff average 47.2 38.3
Kickoff return yards 36 105
Punts 2 5
Punting average 38.0 20.8
Punt return yards 12 6
Fumbles 2 0
Fumbles lost 2 0
Penalties 4 9
Yards penalized 36 82
Number of plays 57 55
Time of possession 24:10 23:50
Attendance 12,816

WALSH 3 7 0 0 10
MASSILLON 7 7 7 13 34

First Quarter
WAL ‑ Endress 30 FG
MASS ‑ Morgan 2 run (Hose kick)

Second Quarter
WAL ‑ Subity 1 run (Endress kick)
MASS ‑ Morgan 21 run (Hose kick)

Third Quarter
MASS ‑ Morgan 2 run (Hose kick)

Fourth Quarter
MASS ‑ Limbach fell on blocked punt in end zone (kick fail)
MASS ‑ Blake 1 run (Hose kick)


Morgan 23‑142.3 TDs;
Blake 3‑59;
Stefanko, 4‑55;
Hodgson 5‑19;
Brad­ley 6‑13;
Danzy 3‑10;
Hymes 3‑17;
Autrey 1‑4.
Lopienski 17‑100;
Subity 8‑16, 1 TD

Hymes 3‑8‑31
Denholm 7‑20‑95‑3.

Williams 2‑31,
Morgan 1‑0.
Willmott 4‑60, Powers 2‑27,
Subity 1‑8.

Paul Salvino

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1996: Massillon 10, Austintown Fitch 9

Tigers survive the trip to Fitch

Independent Correspondent

So, what about that Austin­town Fitch jinx?

It figured when the Massillon Tigers defeated the Falcons 10-­7 in 1994 at Falcon Stadium, the mystique was washed away.

However, as quickly as they broke the four‑game losing streak on Fitch’s home field, the Tigers nearly allowed the Falcons to rekindled the jinx. Friday night in sloppy Falcon Stadium, No. 1 ranked Massillon dodged a bullet, edging Fitch 10‑9.

The Tigers won their fifth straight game while the Falcons fell to 2‑3.

As in 1994, this game came down to one big Massillon offen­sive play and the legs of both teams’ kickers.

Two years ago, then­ Massillon quarterback Willie Spencer Jr. ran 88 yards for the Tigers’ lone touchdown. Nick Pribich hit a lengthy field goal that provided the margin of vic­tory.

In this year’s renewal of the series that began in 1985, it was tailback Christian Morgan who came up with the big play. Kick­er Josh Hose added the big kick.

With Fitch holding a 7‑3 lead and its defense denying the Ti­gers entry into the end zone, Morgan took a deep handoff from quarterback Ben Hymes and broke off right tackle, racing untouched 74 yards for a touchdown.

Morgan’s touchdown came at the 2:18 mark of the third quar­ter. Hose added what proved to be the game‑deciding extra­ point.

“It was our zone run to the split‑side,” said Massillon head coach Jack Rose. “He had come close to popping a couple in the first half. He had a hard time in the first half keeping his foot­ing. He was getting frustrated.

“We found out our tailbacks are not mudders.”

Morgan finished with 136 yards on 23 carries.

The Tigers had a three‑point lead, but they were far from victory. They lost their second fumble on their next possession, giving Fitch one last chance from its own 46‑yard line and 6:04 left in the fourth quarter.

“Both turnovers were critic­al,” Rose said. “You lose a fum­ble and you lose field position.”

Fitch, which had taken the lead on a 5‑yard run by O’Dom­mi Wellington at the 6:47 mark of third quarter, promptly drove deep into Tiger territory.

A personal foul call against Massillon aided the drive. The ball was moved to the Tiger 18­yard line.

Three plays later, the Fal­cons were eight yards away from taking their second lead of ­the game.

On first‑and‑goal, Massillon senior Bud Kraft snuffed out an option play and stuffed Fitch quarterback Russ Houser for a 2-yard loss. Massillon defensive back Dustin Limbach then broke up a pass on second down. Kraft did likewise on third down.

“The defensive line was real­ly charged up and we had great leaders out there,” said Kraft. “We were worried, but we hung tough.”

Fitch opted to try and tie the game. Placekicker Chris Cal­cagni, who was being touted as a Division I prospect, tried a 26-­yard field goal. He sent the ball wide right by a matter of in­ches, his third miss of the game.

“We were so sure we’d get the three I was willing to go into overtime, especially with our kicker,” said Fitch head coach Jack Kenney. “Chris was 100 percent on field goals and extra points coming into the game. I feel bad for him.”

Calcagni also missed a poten­tial tying field goal in the 1994 Massillon game.

The final points of the game came on an intentional safety by Massillon. Punter Eric Lightfoot ran out of the end zone with 13 seconds left to play.

“We just get drilled by the No. 6 team (Lakewood St. Edward) and then comes the No. 1 team (Massillon),” said Kenney. “Our kids came off the field upset because they know we maybe should have beaten the No. 1 team.

“Massillon has all the ingre­dients (to be worthy of its No. 1 ranking). They have great coaches, big, fast players and the Massillon program in itself is outstanding.”

In an uneventful first half, the Massillon defense bent but did not break while the offense sputtered. Massillon’s four pos­sessions wound up with three punts and a lost fumble.

Finally, the Tigers got un­tracked on their last possession of the first half. Hymes ignited an 11‑play, 69‑yard drive.

The senior quarterback kept the drive alive with two third­ down completions to split end Devin Williams. The second completion covered 11 yards and moved the ball to the Fitch 36.

On the ensuing play, Hymes hit senior Brian Baer deep over the middle for 27 yards, moving the ball to the Fitch 9‑yard line.

The drive stalled, but Hose salvaged it with a 23‑yard field goal with only 15 seconds remaining until intermission.

That drive accounted for all but 52 of Massillon’s first half yards.

Fitch moved the football in­side the Massillon 35 on its first two series. The first drive ended when the Falcons turned the ball over on downs. The first of the three missed field goals en­ded the second march.

“It’s nice to be 5‑0, but with Walsh (Jesuit) next week, we don’t get a break,” said Kraft.

First downs rushing 7 8
First downs passing 3 2
First downs penalty 1 1
Total first downs 11 11
Net yards rushing 177 118
Net yards passing 58 33
Total yards gained 235 151
Passes attempted 11 11
Passes completed 5 4
Passes int. 0 1
Times kicked off 3 2
Kickoff average 46.0 60.0
Kickoff return yards 0 61
Punts 5 5
Punting average 29.8 37.2
Punt return yards 24 10
Fumbles 4 2
Fumbles lost 2 0
Penalties 5 2
Yards penalized 39 10
Number of plays 54 60
Time of possession 22:17 25:43

MASSILLON 0 3 7 0 10
FITCH 0 0 7 2 9


Second Quarter
M ‑ Hose 23 field goal

Third Quarter
F ‑ Wellington 4 run (Calcagni kick)
M ‑ Morgan 74 run (Hose kick)

Fourth Quarter
F ‑ Safety: Massillon punter downed in end zone


Morgan 23‑136, 1 TD;
Stefanko 6-4;
Hymes 10‑9.
Hunter 12-­42;
Wellington 11‑33 1 TD

Hymes 5‑11 ‑58, 0 TD, 0 ints.
Houser 4‑10‑33 0 TD. 0 ints.

Williams 2‑24;
Baer 1‑28.
London 2‑20.

Paul Salvino

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1996: Massillon 42, Mansfield Senior 28

Tigers win in spite of themselves

Independent Sports Editor

There is something about Massillon that seems to bring the best out of the Mansfield Tygers.

From Jack Rose’s perspective, it might seem there is something about Mansfield that brings the worst out of his Tigers.

Program Cover

Either way, it makes for competitive football and that’s just what 11,934 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium got for their money as the No. 1 ranked Tigers fought back from a 14‑7 deficit with 28 unanswered points to secure a 42‑28 decision, Friday night.

The win served as revenge for Mansfield’s 21‑20 upset of the then‑undefeated Tigers one year ago at Arlin Field in Mansfield. That loss helped keep Massillon from a third straight playoff berth.

Massillon opened Friday’s rematch as if it was going to run away and hide from Mansfield. The Tigers marched 71 yards on seven plays after the opening kickoff for a 7‑0 lead.

But Mansfield answered back with an eight‑play, 66‑yard scoring drive and followed that with a 50‑yard scoring strike and suddenly Massillon’s No. 6 national ranking looked a bit overstated.

Then the littlest Tiger took over. Devin Williams, a 5‑foot‑5, 130‑pound senior, took the ensuing kickoff the length of the field for a 90‑yard touchdown return that tied the game and sparked Massillon’s four touchdown rally.

Williams took the ball at the 10 and moved upfield toward the right sideline. At the 25, he broke a tackle and cut back left, leaving the Tygers grasping for air. Williams turned on the jets at the 50 and pulled away from his pursuers for the score.

”I just tried to go out there and change the tempo of the game because we looked a little flat,” Williams said. “I have to give credit to Elijah Blake. He gave me the final block to get me into the end zone. The whole team blocked well.”

Williams electrifying run back shot a spark into the Tiger defense. Mansfield had third-and‑one on its ensuing possession at its 42 yard line, when Milo McGuire, Jared Stefanko and Josh Hill nailed Tygers tailback Kenny Rife for a one‑yard loss that forced a punt.

Again Williams did his thing, fielding the punt on the Massillon 26 and juking one would‑be tackler to his knees. The diminutive one cut left across the grain and raced to the Mansfield 21 before running out of gas.

On the very next play from scrimmage, Christian Morgan found a gaping hole off right tackle and sprinted untouched into the end zone to give the lead to Massillon for good. Josh Hose drilled the extra point and it was Tigers 21, Mansfield 14 just six seconds into the second quarter.

“I have asthma and I ran out of gas on the punt return,” Williams said. ”Mansfield thought they could hang in the game with us. They tried but they couldn’t.”

Tygers coach Stan Jefferson cited three plays that cost his team victory and two of those were provided by Williams.

“The kick‑off return, the punt return and we’re going to score when we threw a screen pass that was intercepted (by Bud Kraft),” Jefferson recalled. ”Take 21 points off the scoreboard and its a different story.

“Don’t take anything away from Massillon. The Tigers are a very, very good football team. We played a very, very good football team and I told Coach Rose congratulations on the state rankings, but I look back and I see those three plays.”

For Rose’s part, he thought his charges were not up to the lofty standards they set for themselves in Weeks One, Two and Three.

“That was probably our worst game of the year, Rose said. “We were flat. I was disappointed.

“We had two starters (Eric Lightfoot and Dusty Limbach) out of the secondary. It was pretty glaring that we miss them. We didn’t play well. Our offense was sporadic. It was not very good.”

Morgan had another big night for Massillon, rushing 24 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns. He covered the final 24 yards on three totes on MassilIon’s opening drive, bursting into the end zone from the five at 10:00 of the first quarter. Hose hit the PAT to make it 7-0.

Mansfield responded with Leonard Alexander’s 20-yard burst off right guard on a fourth‑and‑one play. Nick Shas­ky hit the extra point and it was a 7‑7 contest at 6:12 of the first.

Consecutive illegal procedure calls against the Tigers doomed their second drive of the night, setting up a 50‑yard TD pass that began with a short slant from Jeff Soliday to Craig Montgomery. When two Tiger defenders crashed into each other, Montgomery was gone and it was 14‑7 with 2:01 left in the first.

Then Williams took over to turn things around.

Kraft, subbing for Lightfoot, recovered a Mansfield fumble after the Tigers took a 21‑14 lead. But Massillon gave it right back, fumbling the ball to the Tygers at the visitors’ 12­-yard line.

The Tigers offense continued to stumble until Milo McGuire’s interception of a Soliday screen pass at the Mansfield 35. Mor­gan then ran the ball on four straight plays to move it to the 5. From there, Ben Hymes fol­lowed his offensive line on a quarterback sneak and found the end zone to make it a 28‑14 count with less than a minute left in the first half.

Mansfield took the second half kickoff and drove it to the Massillon 7. Oil second and goal, Soliday rolled left and threw to Alexander, who tipped the ball in the air. Again Kraft was at the right place at the right time and secured the in­terception to quell the drive.

“It was the pressure from the defensive line oil both plays that caused those turnovers,” Kraft said. “I wouldn’t have got the fumble if one of the linemen didn’t strip it.

After Kraft’s pick, the Tigers got out of trouble when Hymes hit Brian Baer for 21 yards on a third‑and‑nine play from the Massillon 21. Three plays later, from the Mansfield 47, Stefanko took a handoff and burst through a gaping hole up the middle. The junior fullback shook off a clean hit at the 25 and dashed into the end zone at the 5:50 mark of the third period. Hose converted the PAT and the Tigers seemed to have things in hand at 35‑14.

Mansfield countered with a 15‑play, 65‑yard scoring drive, culminated by Soliday’s touchdown run on an option keeper from five yards out. The kick made it 35‑21 Massillon at the 11:25 mark of the fourth.

Mass Mans
First downs rushing 15 11
First downs passing 5 9
First downs penalty 1 0
Total first downs 21 20
Net yards rushing 306 201
Net yards passing 77 200
Total yards gained 383 401
Passes attempted 12 20
Passes completed 6 11
Passes int. 0 2
Times kicked off 7 5
Kickoff average 44.3 46.4
Kickoff return yards 139 89
Punts 1 3
Punting average 30.0 32.3
Punt return yards 59 0
Fumbles 1 2
Fumbles lost 1 1
Penalties 6 2
Yards penalized 34 11
Number of plays 56 62
Time of possession 21:50 26:10
Attendance 11,934

MANSFIELD 14 0 0 14 28
MASSILLON 14 14 7 7 42


First Quarter
MASS ‑ Morgan 5 run (Hose kick)
MANS – Alexander 20 run (Shasky kick)
MANS – Montgomery 51 pass from Jeff Soliday (Shasky kick)

Second Quarter
MASS ‑ Williams 90 kickoff return (Hose kick)
MASS ‑ Hymes 5 run (Hose kick)

Third Quarter
MASS ‑ Stefanko 47 run (Hose kick)

Fourth Quarter
MANS – Jeff Soliday 2 run (Shasky kick)
MASS – Blake 24 run (Hose kick)
MANS ‑ Montgomery 20 pass from Jeff Soliday (Shasky kick)


Morgan 24‑142, 2 TDs;
Stefanko 3‑68, 1 TD;
Childs 8‑44;
Blake 4‑27, 1 TD;
Hymes 4‑25, 1 TD.
Rife 17‑119;
Soliday 11‑43, 1 TD;
Alexander 12‑39, 1 TD;
Amadio ‑ 2‑0.

Hymes 6‑12‑77.
Jeff Soliday 11‑20‑200‑2, 2 TDs.

Baer 2‑27;
Morgan 2‑13;
Martin 1‑21;
Stefanko 1‑16.
Montgomery 4‑127, 2 TDs;
Jake Soliday 3‑26;
Luttrell 2‑20;
Cutliff 1‑15;
Alexander 1‑12.

Paul Salvino

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1996: Massillon 36, Akron Garfield 6

Garfield can’t stop Tiger attack

Independent Sports Editor

Let the comparisons begin.

The Massillon Tigers rolled up over 400 yards of total offense in giving the Akron Garfield Rams a 36‑6 whipping in front of 10,223 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium , Friday night.

The victory boosts the Tigers to 3‑0, while Garfield falls to 0‑3.

Program Cover

The Golden Rams opened the season with a 17‑0 shutout defeat at the hands of the McKinley Bulldogs. So it was natural to ask veteran Garfield coach Bill McGee to compare the two storied rivals. But McGee wasn’t about to be drawn into a controversy.

“Massillon has an outstanding club,” McGee said. “They are the best balanced club we’ve seen. They did a good job of executing and they didn’t make any mistakes. This is one of their better balanced teams I’ve seen in all the years we’ve been coming down here.”

Indeed. Massillon racked up 259 net yards rushing and 153 net yards passing. Those are the kinds of statistics that will make offensive coordinators smile and defensive coordinators wince.

But McGee wasn’t about to anoint the Tigers state champions just yet. He believes they still have to answer some questions.

“The weakest part of our team is the offense,” McGee said. “Massillon’s test is going to be when they play a team with a high‑powered offense. They’re not as good on defense as they are on offense. They handled us but we’ve only scored two touchdowns in three games.”

The Tigers did manhandle the Golden Rams offense, limiting the Garfield attack to 128 total yards, nine first downs and an average of less than three yards per rushing play. Massillon ran 70 offensive plays. Garfield snapped the ball 43 times.

“It was just like what it looked like out there,” McGee conceded.

Jack Rose wasn’t about to make any comparisons either and he wanted no part of grading just how good the Tigers are this season.

“I think we’re pretty good,” Rose said. “How good? I don’t know. We are improving every week. That’s always been our goal.

“But, don’t forget that Garfield had two tough games in a row.

But what about the fact the Tigers beat Garfield by 30 points and the Bulldogs margin of victory was 17 points?

“I don’t like to get into a comparison of games,” Rose said. “We wanted to go out and establish ourselves offensively and mix it up. We feel we have a chance to be a pretty good offensive team.”

Pretty good would not seem to cover it. Tigers tailback Christian Morgan recorded his second straight 100 yard rushing game in two starts, gaining 122 yards in 20 carries. He found the end zone no less than four times.

Massillon quarterback Ben Hymes was sharp once again, hitting on 11 of 17 aerials for 137 yards. He had one interception. The senior’s numbers would’ve been even more impressive, except for three intentional incompletions late in the first half when the Tigers were without time outs and needed to stop the clock.

Hymes spread the wealth around, hitting Devin Williams five times for 45 yards, Brian Baer twice for 36 yards, Chris Martin twice for 33 yards and Elijah Blake and Chris Autry once each.

Blake had another superb game in relief of Morgan, carrying the football 11 times for 61 yards and a touchdown run that conjured images of Jimmy Brown.

Early in the fourth quarter Massillon moved the football from its own 15 to the Garfield 10, mostly on Blake’s shoulders. The 5‑10, 170‑pound senior had five carries for 27 yards. On first and 10 from the 10, Blake took a handoff from Hymes, hit the middle of the pile and was pushed back into his own backfield. Refusing to go down, Blake bounced outside, ducked under a couple of tacklers broke a tackle at the 5 and fought his way to paydirt to close the evening’s scoring.

“I don’t know how I did it,” Blake said. “I never ran like that before. I saw all those defenders and they were trash talking, saying I wouldn’t get in. I just had the heart to get in there. I got in there somehow. I don’t know how.”

Neither does Rose.

“We didn’t block anybody on the play,” marveled Rose. “That was simply a great effort on the part of Elijah Blake.”

Massillon opened the scoring by marching 65 yards on eight plays on its initial possession of the evening. Morgan covered the final 15 yards, finding a hole over right guard and running over Garfield tacklers at the 10 and 5 on the way to the end zone at 5:57 of the first quarter.

The Tigers defense forced Garfield into a three‑and‑out series and the offense had superb field position at the visitors’ 41. After a penalty, Morgan tore off a 21‑yard gain to the 25. Two snaps later, Hymes hit Williams on a curl route for a first down at the 12. Morgan scored one play later, following his blockers off right tackle from eight yards out with under 90 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Garfield got its offense untracked in typical Garfield manner. The Rams covered 81 yards in 15 plays, the final on a Phil Mitchell to Erick Hawkins touchdown pass at 5:56 of the second quarter. The drive took 7:15 off the game clock, but did not take the momentum away from Massillon.

Morgan carried the ball on all five plays of the Tigers’ ensuing drive, scoring a touchdown on a run around right end from the 23‑yard line at 3:34 of the second quarter to make it a 20‑6 contest.

First downs rushing 14 6
First downs passing 9 2
First downs penalty 3 1
Total first downs 26 9
Net yards rushing 259 94
Net yards passing 153 34
Total yards gained 412 128
Passes attempted 18 9
Passes completed 12 3
Passes int. 1 1
Times kicked off 7 2
Kickoff average 49.9 28.5
Kickoff return yards 17 90
Punts 0 6
Punting average 0 38.0
Punt return yards 22 0
Fumbles 2 0
Fumbles lost 1 0
Penalties 6 4
Yards penalized 47 55
Number of plays 70 43
Time of possession 25:31 22:29
Attendance 10,223

GARFIELD 0 6 0 0 0
MASSILLON 14 12 3 7 36


First Quarter
Morgan 15 run (Hose kick)
Morgan 8 run (Hose kick)

Second Quarter
Gar ‑ Hawkins 15 pass from Mitchell (kick failed)
Mass ‑ Morgan 23 run (kick failed)
Mass ‑ Morgan 2 run (pass failed)

Third Quarter
Mass ‑ Stanley 32 FG

Fourth Quarter
Mass ‑ Blake 10 run (Hose kick)


Massillon ‑ Morgan 20‑122, 4 TDs;
Blake 11 ‑61;
Bradley 5‑32;
Hodgson 7‑21;
Stefanko 4‑14;
Hymes 2‑10;
Childs 1‑4.
Knox 13‑37,
Blackwell 9‑28,
McNeil 5‑14,
Guthrie 5‑12.

Hymes 11‑17‑137‑1,
Danzy 1‑1‑16.
Mitchell 3‑9‑34‑1, 1 TD.

Williams 5‑45,
Baer 2‑36,
Martin 2‑33,
Dean 1‑16,
Blake 1‑14

Paul Salvino

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