Tag: <span>Preston Hodges</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2019: Massillon 49, Warren Harding 7

Start doesn’t slow down Massillon dominance at Warren
Chris Easterling
Sep 13, 2019 9:49 PM

WARREN It’s never about the start. It’s always about the finish.

Or, more importantly, it’s about the final score.

Massillon found itself in its first deficit of the season after Warren Harding turned a literal bad bounce on a punt eventually into a first-quarter touchdown on Friday night at Mollenkopf Stadium. However, by the time the Tigers went into the locker room for halftime, they had once again established control of things.

By the time Massillon got on the buses to head back to Stark County, it had put together its third consecutive win to open the season, this time a 49-7 victory over Warren Harding at Mollenkopf Stadium.

“We’ve been preparing ourselves for adversity since December, since January,” said senior Preston Hodges, whose 48-yard interception return with 39 seconds left in the half gave Massillon a 28-7 lead. “Since when we were in the offseason working out, grinding. We’re prepared for the adversity to hit us at any point. We just knew we had to bounce back.”

The game was called with 3:12 remaining as lightning began to flash around the stadium. At that point, it was all academic for the Tigers, who take a 3-0 record into next Friday’s home game against Penn-Trafford out of Monroeville, Pa.

All three of Massillon’s wins have been running-clock situations in the fourth quarter. Although it took the Tigers a moment to get up and running that way on Friday night.

“We faced some adversity and came through it,” said Massillon coach Nate Moore, whose team faced a 7-0 deficit after Warren turned a punt recovery into a 35-yard touchdown pass from Eliah Taylor to Ty Artis with 10:10 left in the first quarter. “So, I’m proud of the guys staying true to what got us here and to keep working. I thought we played well.”

Even after the quick Warren score, Massillon still needed to get its footing. However, it would turn to the defense first to get a stop to get the ball rolling.

Warren’s defense then forced a three-and-out on the Tigers’ first offensive possession. The Raiders would take the ball on a 14-play, 38-yard journey to the Massillon 33, but turned the ball over on down there.

That’s when the Tigers would catch fire. They would turn their next three possessions into touchdowns – two Zion Phifer runs and a 9-yard Aidan Longwell-to-Jayden Ballard pass – and a 21-7 lead, while their fourth would reach the Warren 20 before a sack and an incomplete pass on fourth down halted the march.

That proved to be no real problem for Massillon, as Hodges stepped in front of a Warren pass at the Raider 48 and raced all the way to the end zone for a Tiger touchdowns. The point-after kick made it 28-7 Massillon with 39 seconds remaining in the half.

Hodges was part of a Tiger defense which limited Warren to just 27 yards on its final 15 first-half plays. The Raiders would finish the game with 160 yards on 49 plays.

“I’m really proud of the guys,” Moore said of the defense. “I thought all three levels played well. Obviously, we’ll get in there and watch the film and all that stuff, but we feel really proud of the guys and their effort.”

The Tiger offense, meanwhile, found its groove both through the air and on the ground after the initial three-and-out. By the half, Longwell had completed 11-of-18 passes for 162 yards and the one score.

Longwell would finish the game 15-of-20 for 200 yards and two touchdowns, moving him within two scoring passes of the career record. He hit Ballard for a 19-yard touchdown strike to make it 35-7 with 3:31 left in the third quarter.

Ballard had seven catches for 94 yards and two scores.

Meanwhile, after netting one yard on its first two runs, Massillon gained 46 yards on its final 12 carries of the half. Both Phifer, who scored on two of his five first-half carries, and Terrence Keyes shared the duties.

Keyes would gain 63 of his 96 yards on his third-quarter touchdown run which gave Massillon a 42-7 lead. Hodges added 50 yards on just five carries, while Phifer finished with 32 yards on six totes.

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

On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2019: Massillon 55, Canton Glenoak 13

Dominant first half carries Massillon past GlenOak
Chris Easterling
Sep 06, 2019 11:46 PM

MASSILLON Darien Williams took the kickoff and, following his blockers, raced to the left and then down the field to the GlenOak 42.

The only problem, however, was a yellow flag sitting back inside Massillon’s 40. That holding flag negated what would have been a big return, plus extra yards tacked on for a horse-collar tackle.

That would be about the only thing to go wrong for Massillon in the first half of a dominant 55-13 victory over visiting GlenOak on Friday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Once the Tigers were able to snap the ball – following a re-kick and then a GlenOak offsides penalty before the first play – they wasted no time laying waste to any hopes the Golden Eagles had of pulling off an upset. Massillon scored on its first six possessions, along with an interception return for a score by Preston Hodges, to jump out to a 48-0 lead just over 13 minutes into the game.

“We treat this like any other week,” Hodges said. “We come out looking to get as good as we can. We’re just looking to better ourselves as the season goes on.”

That was just the start, however. By the time the teams went to the locker room for halftime, the Tigers had already scored more points than GlenOak had given up in more than two decades, as they held a 55-6 lead.

Then only score of the half for the Golden Eagles came on a 91-yard Leeshawn Johnson kickoff return with 10:37 remaining in the second quarter. That trimmed the Massillon lead to 48-6.

GlenOak would have one other chance in Tiger territory over the first 24 minutes of the game. Jamiel Randle intercepted a Massillon pass on the Tigers’ seventh possession and returned it to the Tiger 13.

Four plays later, however, Massillon would get the ball back by stopping the Golden Eagles at the Tiger 9. Nine plays after that, Massillon would tack on its ninth touchdown of the half when Austin Brawley took a quick pass at the line of scrimmage from backup quarterback Zach Catrone and raced 35 yards for the touchdown with 3:39 remaining in the half.

If the scoreboard didn’t show the dominance of the first half, the statistics did. Massillon held a 401-21 edge in total yards, including 211-10 in rushing yards.

The Tigers also forced three turnovers in the first half. Besides Hodges’ pick-six, Robbie Page set up Massillon’s third touchdown of the night on a diving, juggling interception at the GlenOak 30. There was also a recovery by Isaiah Clark of an uncovered kickoff.

GlenOak did not pick up a first down until the 2:45 mark of the third quarter on a 29-yard run by Johnson to the Tiger 38. By that point, Massillon held an 18-1 edge in that stat.

Johnson would score GlenOak’s other touchdown as well on a 9-yard run with 4:54 remaining.

“We’re real young offensively right now,” said GlenOak coach Beau Balderson, whose team was out-gained 466-115 in total yards, and out-first-downed 21-4. “We’re taking our lumps. We’re going to continue to get better and they’re going to continue to fight and not point fingers at each other. We’re going to build from the positives of tonight and move on.”

All of that was done with the Tiger starters essentially calling it a night after Hodges ripped off a 16-yard scoring run to put Massillon ahead 48-0 with 10:53 remaining in the half. That was on the first play after Clark’s kickoff recovery.

Those starters, however, did the most with the little opportunity. Aidan Longwell was 5-of-6 passing for 155 yards and three touchdowns, completing his final five pass attempts.

Jayden Ballard, meanwhile, turned both of his catches into touchdowns for a total of 109 receiving yards. Andrew Wilson-Lamp added two catches for 38 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown catch.

All of that passing came after Massillon ran the ball on 11 of its first 12 plays, for 117 yards. Terrence Keyes would gain 79 of his 83 rushing yards on seven of those plays, while Zion Phifer added 29 of his 47 yards on four carries.

“We weren’t trying to establish the run,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said. “We were just calling the plays we thought would be successful. The kids executed.”

Both would score on 2-yard touchdown runs for a 14-0 Massillon lead with 6:25 left in the first quarter.

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

On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE