Tag: <span>Rickey Johnson</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2002: Massillon 21, Cleveland St. Ignatius 29

St. Ignatius too much for Tigers

Independent Sports Editor

It was a Friday the 13th horror story of Hollywood proportions for a vast majority of the 15,051 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium who witnessed the Massillon Tigers 29‑21 defeat at the hands of Cleveland St. Ignatius Friday night.

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The Tigers looked like a well‑oiled machine in taking a 14‑3 halftime lead and out‑gaining the defending state champions 236‑74 in total yards in the first half.

Massillon extended its advantage to 21‑3 on Billy Relford’s 81‑yard interception return for a touchdown with just over two minutes left in the third quarter.

With St. Ignatius star running back Carter Welo sitting on the bench with a left shoulder injury, it appeared the Tigers were well on their way to their first‑ever victory over the Wildcats.

Despite an 18‑point deficit, Ignatius coach Chuck Kyle stayed cool and so did his charges. “We needed to get a score,” Kyle said. “It’s 21‑3. Plenty of time. If we get one in here, there’s plenty of time.”

A facemask call on Massillon gave St. Ignatius the ball near midfield on its ensuing possession. Two plays later, Tony Gonzalez shook himself loose in the Tiger secondary and junior quarterback Brian Hoyer found him for a 37‑yard pass and run for six points. The conversion kick was good and Massillon’s lead had been sliced to 21‑9 with a few seconds remaining in the third quarter.

“Tony gets that one and he has that great speed and he takes off and gets it and that’s just what we needed right there because the kids got excited,” Kyle said. “They got excited. “When things are going wrong, you just say something is going to hit and you put it in the hands of the guys who can get it done for you.” That would be Gonzalez, who has verbally committed to play his football at Ohio State next season.

After Massillon went three‑and‑out on its next possession, St. Ignatius took over at its 31. Two Hoyer completions moved the ball to the Massillon 35. Then it was back to Gonzalez, who got behind the Tigers coverage and caught Hoyer’s high‑arcing 35‑yard aerial in the end zone at 9:59 of the fourth quarter. The kick made it Massillon 17, St. Ignatius 16, and the Wildcats could smell blood.

W hat happened next was truly a nightmare for the Tigers. Beginning on their 20‑yard line, Massillon was flagged consecutively for too many players on the field, an illegal formation and a false start to set up first‑and‑25 from the 5‑yard line. One play later, Gonzalez stepped in front of a Massillon pass in the flats and zipped 15 yards to pay dirt. The conversion pass play failed but St. Ignatius was now on top 22‑21.

Massillon looked to be rallying back following the kickoff. The Tigers moved the ball to near midfield on four consecutive running plays. On the fifth, they coughed up the football and the Wildcats recovered on the Massillon 43.

A 25‑yard Hoyer pass to an uncovered Gonzalez set up Joe Palcko’s two‑yard scoring burst. The point after kick made it St. Ignatius 29, Massillon 21 with 4:41 to go.

The Tigers would move the football to the Ignatius 30 in the game’s waning moments but four straight incompletions ended any hope for a late comeback

Afterward, Massillon head coach Rick Shepas was composed. “I think we could have played harder in the second half but this is part of the learning process,” he said. “When the momentum went, it went pretty quick.”

And how do you stem the tide against a team as accomplished at coming back as St. Ignatius?

“You just have to make some plays,” Shepas said. “We were in position to make some plays and we didn’t. “It’s another situation where we’ve played them four times. We had them beat three out of the four probably and we just let them have it. They’re a good team and that’s why they win. They have a great coaching staff. But it’s all a part of the process and it’s a matter of how we handle it from here.”

Massillon was held to 68 total yards in the second half and Shepas praised Kyle and his staff for their halftime adjustments. “They made some good adjustments but nothing we couldn’t handle,” he said. “It’s all a part of the process. It is a long season. It’s 15 games and our guys have to learn how to play four quarters with this team.”

Defending state champs continue Tigers, mastery of Massillon 29‑21 verdict

For the first two quarters, it appeared Massillon had finally gotten over the hump against its chief tormentor.

The defense set up both of the Tigers first half touchdowns by intercepting Hoyer on a pair of deep throws.

The first pickoff came on a third‑and‑11 call from the Wildcat 41‑yard line. Hoyer was looking to Gonzalez on a deep post pattern but senior free safety Craig McConnell swooped in front and intercepted the football on a dead run at the Massillon 30, returning it to the St. Ignatius 48.

On first down from there, left guard Vince Volpe and left tackle Bradley Grizzard opened up a gaping hole and Johnson tore through the cavity for 34 yards to the 14.

One play later, Johnson who rushed for 209 yards in 23 carries ‑ galloped around the left end of the Massillon line and went untouched into the end zone as senior wideout Stephon Ashcraft wiped out a St. Ignatius defensive back with a superb block. Max Shafer tacked on the extra point and Massillon led 7‑0 at 9:20 of the second quarter.

Hoyer again tested the Tiger secondary on the Wildcats ensuing possession, throwing down the left hash mark as Marquees Watkins applied the rush. Relford made a leaping interception at mid‑field and Massillon was in business once again. Three running plays ‑ two by Terrance Roddy and one by Tuffy Woods ‑ gave the Tigers a first down at the St. Ignatius 41.

Then it was time for Johnson to shine once again. The 5‑foot, 193‑pound senior took a handoff from quarterback Matt Martin and burst through a hole opened up by senior center Reggie McCullough. He was 10 yards past the line of scrimmage when he encountered Ignatius defensive back Darnell Martemus, shaking right then exploding past the stunned Wildcat and into the end zone. Shafer’s conversion kick was true and Massillon led 14‑0 at 6:46 of the second quarter.

St. Ignatius avoided the first half shutout with a 387 yard field goal at 4:15 of the second quarter.

“We have some soul searching to do because at times we didn’t play our best football,” Shepas said.

“That’s a great football team … Massillon,” Kyle remarked. “This was a great battle. People got their money’s worth.”

That is if you’re a fan of horror stories.

St. Ignatius 29
Massillon 21
First downs rushing 12 6
First downs passing 2 10
First downs by penalty 0 3
TOTAL first downs 14 19
Net yards rushing 250 103
Net yards passing 54 203
TOTAL yards 304 406
Passes attempted 21 25
Passes completed 5 12
Passes intercepted 2 4
Punts 5 5
Punting average 40.6 31.4
Fumbles/Lost 3/2 2/0
Penalties 10 1
Yards penalized 88 5

Massillon 00 14 07 00 21
Ignatius 00 03 06 20 29


M ‑ Johnson 15 run (Shafer kick)
M ‑ Johnson 41 run (Shafer kick)
I ‑ Kedzior 38 FG
M ‑ Relford 81 interception return (Shafer kick)
I ‑ Gonzalez 37 pass from Hoyer (Run failed)
I ‑ Gonzalez 35 pass from Hoyer (Kedzior kick)
I ‑ Gonzalez 15 interception return (Massey pass from Hoyer)
I ‑ Palcko 2 run (Kedzior kick) MEN


Massillon rushing: Johnson 23‑203 2 TDs, Roddy 9‑42, Woods 7‑14.
St. Ignatius rushing: Welo 16‑78, Palcko 12‑43 TD.

Massillon passing: Martin 5‑21‑54 2 INTs.
St. Ignatius passing: Hoyer 12‑25‑203 2 TDs, 4 INTs.

Massillon receiving: Jordan 3‑40, Heiscel 1‑9, Hill 1‑5.
St. Ignatius receiving: Gonzalez 4‑102 2 TDs, Kralik 5‑59, Massey 2‑31.

Shawn Crable
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2002: Massillon 43, Westerville South 6

Massillon runs wild in victory

Independent Sports Editor

Who was that team wearing the orange uniforms and black helmets at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Saturday afternoon?

It couldn’t have been the same Rick Shepas‑coached Massillon Tigers who won 30 games over the past three seasons by decimating opposing defenses with their Air Raid Attack producing 300‑yard passing games with almost monotonous regularity.

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Ah, but it was the Tigers throwing just 12 passes on the afternoon while rushing the football for over 300 yards and four touchdowns in whipping Westerville South 43‑6 in front of 8,530 paying customers, many of whom did not return for the proceedings after Friday’s lightening storm postponed the game 18 hours.

Not only did Massillon make a living on the ground, thanks to an offensive line that opened holes for Ricky Johnson (148 yards on just 13 carries) and Terrance Roddy (77 yards on eight carries), the Tiger defense and special teams were outstanding as well in producing one touchdown and setting up at least two other scores.

But it was the Massillon ground game that impressed Westerville South head coach Rocky Pentello. That makes them a better team, running like that, because you have to cover Devin Jordan and you have to cover Ashcraft,” Pentello said. “You have to cover both of them and that makes you thin right there. Now when they bring in two tight ends or one tight end, we can’t hang with that. Someone down the line may be able to a little, but if he does that, they’re a tough team to beat because they’re a good running football team.”

The Tigers had game planned all week to run the football. When a downpour hit Paul Brown Tiger Stadium at kickoff, it cemented Shepas’ resolve to pound the football at Westerville South. “We wanted to get better up front and we wanted to establish a ground game,” Shepas said. “That was the focus of our game plan regardless‑of what the weather was going to be like. “It just happened the weather was inclement and we wanted to get that done even more so to protect the football in that driving downpour when the game started.

Johnson, who averaged over 11 yards per carry in less than one half of football, says the Tigers aren’t necessarily going to become a conservative offensive football team. “I don’t know,” Johnson said. “I can’t tell you. Our running game worked out better against the defense they were running today. That’s why it worked out a lot more. Against most defenses we pass a lot more.”

While Shepas was encouraged by Johnson’s three‑touchdown afternoon, the Tiger sideline boss was even more impressed with his running back’s selfless attitude this day. “We talked before the game today about how it would be great to get two 100‑yard backs,” Shepas said. “Ricky had his 148 by halftime and he sat down so Terrance could pursue his 100. Ricky sat down so Terrance could get a shot at it.”
“I did volunteer to do that because everybody deserves to get a chance to play if they work hard and Terrance works hard at what he does,” Johnson admitted. “He deserved a chance to play and I didn’t want to take that from him.”

The Tigers received the opening kickoff and moved 65 yards in four plays to take the early lead. Johnson scored at 10:09 of the first quarter on a 30‑yard burst over left guard. He stepped through a Westerville tackle at the 10 and rushed for 54 yards on the drive. Max Shafer tacked on the extra point to make it 7‑0 Massillon.

One of the highlights of the drive was Michael White’s 15 yard gain on an end around. “We tried to work everyone into the game plan,” Shepas observed. White scored the Tigers second touchdown of the afternoon when the Westerville punter muffed the snap and then had the ball batted from his hands by Massillon cornerback Jamaal Ballard. The ball bounced into the end zone and White fell on it at 8:04 of the first quarter. Shafer’s PAT made it 14‑0.

Markeys Scott’s fumble recovery stopped Westerville South’s ensuine drive at the Massillon 35.

But the Wildcats scored on their next possession when Greg Clark executed a fine play fake and found Alex Ellis running free in the Tiger secondary for a 60‑yard touchdown at 11:52 of the second quarter.

Westerville South got the ball back following a Massillon punt but couldn’t move it. On fourth‑and‑one, Shawn Crable swooped in and blocked the Wildcats’ punt to give the Tigers the short field. The third of three straight Ricky Johnson running plays got the ball in the end zone on a stretch play around left end. Shafer’s kick at 6:15 of the second quarter made it 21‑6 Tigers.

Massillon junior linebacker Andy Zalaiskalns recovered a Westerville South fumble at the Wildcats 26, leading to Shafer’s 42‑yard field goal at 3:31 of the second quarter.

The Tigers closed the first half scoring on Johnson’s 26‑yard touchdown run through a gaping hole over right guard. The senior running back made a fine cut at the 10‑yard line, leaving a Westerville defender frozen in his tracks. “I just saw how he was positioned,” Johnson said. “He was standing still so I just tried to shake him off balance and just jump in the end zone.”

Tiger quarterback Matt Martin found Stephon Ashcraft with a 21‑yard touchdown pass just four seconds into the fourth quarter, and Terrance Roddy closed the scoring with a 23‑yard touchdown run up the middle when Martin read a Westerville blitz and checked off to the perfect play.

Still, Pentello cited the Massillon defense as the difference. “Their defense is phenomenal,” Pentello said. “It’s the defense that makes their team good. When you have great defense you have a chance in every game. All you have to do is ball control on your offense and let the other team break down because you know your defense is good.

“They’re better than last year, because they’re not one dimensional with pass. I think their running is real good. They’re very, very good. And when they run the ball, they’re better.”

Massillon 43
Westerville South 6
First downs rushing 12 9
First downs passing 4 2
First downs by penalty 0 0
TOTAL first downs 16 11
Net yards rushing 316 10
Net yards passing 61 106
TOTAL yards 377 216
Passes attempted 12 8
Passes completed 7 5
Passes intercepted 0 0
Punts 2 0
Punting average 21 0
Fumbles/Lost 0/0 5/5
Penalties 8 3
Yards penalized 52 20

Massillon 14 16 00 13 43
Westerville 00 06 00 00 06


M ‑ Johnson 30‑yard run (Shafer kick)
M ‑ White fumble recovery in end zone (Shafer kick)
W ‑ A. Ellis 60‑yard pass from Clark (Kick failed)
M ‑ Johnson 10‑yard run (Shafer kick)
M ‑ Shafer 42‑yard field goal
M ‑ Johnson 26‑yard run (Kick failed)
M ‑ Ashcraft 21 ‑yard pass from Martin (Shafer kick)
M ‑ Roddy 23‑yard run (Kick failed)


Massillon rushing: Johnson 13‑148 3 TDs, Roddy 8‑77 TD, Hymes 6‑35, White 2‑33.
Westerville South rushing: Clark‑17-65, Gordon 20‑64.

Massillon passing: Martin 6‑10‑54 TD, Hymes 1‑2‑7.
Westerville South passing: Clark 5-8‑106 TD.

Massillon receiving: Ashcraft 2‑20 TD, Jordan 2‑17, Hill 1‑17, Schindler 1-7.
Westerville South receiving: A. Ellis,1‑60 TD. Zalewski 2‑20

Storms rain on Tigers’ Parade
Change will keep band off field

By: R.J. Villella
City Editor

The Massillon Tiger Swing Band won’t be swinging today.

The band has been forced to cancel its pre‑game and half­time shows, because too many band members can’t attend the rescheduled game, said Chris Smith, swing band director.

Friday night lightning forced postponement of the Massillon Tiger football game against Westerville South. “An Ohio High School Athletic Association rule prevents a foot­ball game from starting or re­suming until one‑half hour, after the last spotted lighting strike,” Smith said.

At about 9:30 p.m. officials and Massillon School District personnel decided to reschedule the game for 1:30 p.m. today.

That created a problem for the band Smith explained. Nearly 30 members of the 163‑member band had scheduling conflicts.

“They either had to go out of state, out of town, to work or had other activities,” Smith said. “I really can’t blame them. We were scheduled to be off this weekend.”

The band director schedules the band through December. “We can’t do an adequate per­formance with 27 members missing,” he said. “Too many critical members are going to be missing and we don’t have time to adjust. If this had happened two days ago, we would have been OK, but not at 10 p.m. the night before a performance.

“The bottom line is the kids can’t be here and we don’t have a band.” Smith said “squad leaders and senior band members will attend the game, sit in the stands and perform as a pep band to support the team and rally the fans.

That decision, he said, was made following discussion in­volving Washington High Princi­pal Mark Fortner, Assistant Superintendent Bob Rohrer, band booster officers and the entire swing band. “It was an act of God,” Smith said. “I’m sorry there was a thunderstorm. I know the kids are disappointed. “It couldn’t be helped. Never in the 17 years I’ve been associ­ated with the band has there been a situation where a game was (postponed) and resched­uled like this. “We’ll be ready to go next week and on Sept. 6 for the next home game.”

Shawn Crable
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

2001: Massillon 56, Youngstown Woodrow Wilson 8

Tigers’ ground game rips Woodrow Wilson
Oliver, Johnson top century mark

Independent Sports Editor

On.a damp and dreary night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, the Massillon Tigers got some valuable work for the first team, rested some injured starters, and rewarded their loyal second‑ and third‑teamers with extended playing time, all while walloping winless Youngstown Woodrow Wilson 56‑8, Friday in front of 5,850 fans.

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Early in the week, Woodrow Wilson coach, Mark Lyden said he hoped Tiger mentor Shepas would call the dogs off early, conceding that his Division III Redmen had no chance of staying with Massillon, which improved to 6‑1 with the victory. After the game, Shepas took time to console Lyden, who is going to battle each week without many weapons.

“They’re struggling,” Shepas said of Woodrow Wilson. “There’s no other way to say that. They’re just struggling.

“We wanted to come out and play solid. We were able to do that on defense. We gave up a couple of plays. But it is unfortunate for them. It’s a shame it has come to that for them.”

With a heavy downpour drenching the field at the opening kickoff, the usually pass‑happy Tigers spent much of the first half running the football through gaping holes in the Wilson defense and amassing 244 yards and 13 first downs on the ground.

“Justin Zwick called a majority of the offensive plays,” Shepas revealed, “and he was unselfish in going to the running game the way he did. We ended up with two 100‑yard rushers tonight.”

Marquis Williams set up Massillon’s first score with a twisting, spinning 43‑yard punt return that gave his team possession at the visitors 8‑yard line.

0n first down from there, junior running back Rickey Johnson went into the line, juked twice, then shot through a gap and into the end zone. David Abdul’s point after made it 7‑0 Massillon at 9:50 of the first quarter.

Tiger defensive lineman Marquice Johnson stopped the next Wilson possession with a fine open field tackle on quarterback Shawn Lane to force the Redmen into a punting situation.

Massillon took over at its 29 after Craig McConnell’s nine‑yard return. Rickey Johnson – who finished the night with 136 –yards rushing in just eight totes ‑ ran the football on three consecutive snaps ‑ resulting in gains of 24‑, 15‑ and 19‑yards to set the Tigers up with first‑and‑10 at the Wilson 13.

Three plays and a Massillon personal foul later, the Tigers had second‑and‑goal from the 20. Senior Robert Oliver took the handoff from Zwick and swept around left end. A Wilson defender grabbed a piece of Oliver’s jersey at the five-yardline but he tore free and scored the game’s second touchdown at 3:18 of the first quarter. Abdul’s right foot made it 14‑0 Massillon.

Wilson penetrated to the Massillon 23 on its next possession but turned the ball over on downs at that point.

Oliver ­- who totaled 102 yards in eight carries ‑ wasted little time in adding to his statistics, skirting around right end for 30 yards on first down. One play later Johnson went around the same side for 13 yards to the Wilson 33. Oliver gained 14 more to the 19‑yard line after an incomplete pass.

Then Ryan Boyd went off the left side of the Tiger line, breaking two tackles and bursting into the end zone for a 19‑yard touchdown run. Abdul’s boot was true and Massillon led 21‑0 at 7:59 of the second quarter.

The Massillon defense forced Wilson into yet another three‑and‑out series, and William’s 13‑yard punt return set the Tigers up at the 50‑yard line.

Johnson put the finishing touches on a very productive evening by taking a Zwick handoff and.attacking the right side of the offensive line.

He broke a tackle at the 37, cut back to the left at the 25 and sprinted into the end zone for a 50‑yard touchdown run. Abdul’s kick made it 28‑0 Massillon at 7:59 of the second quarter.

Williams displayed fine balance and athleticism on a 19‑yard punt return that set up the Tigers next tally.

On first down from the Massillon 41, Boyd picked up 10 yards around right end. Then Zwick completed his first pass of the game, after five straight incompletions, lofting a high‑arching throw into Devon Jordan hands in the end zone from 31‑yards away.

Abdul’s conversion kick split the uprights to make the Tiger lead 35‑0 at 5:23 of the second quarter.

The Tigers final first half scoring drive was a display of Zwick’s passing accuracy.

Starting at the Wilson 46, the 6‑foot‑5 senior hit Jordan along the right sideline for nine, then completed a short pass to Williams who turned it into a 17‑yard gain to the 20.

A scramble netted five yards and Zwick then hit Jordan for 12 yards to the 2‑yard line.

On the next play, Zwick found Williams standing alone in the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Abdul tacked on the PAT and it was 42‑0 at the half.

Billy Relford returned the second half kickoff to the Wilson 41‑yardline, giving the Tigers a short field once again.

They took advantage, mounting an eight‑play drive that featured runs of 11‑ and. 13‑yards by Oliver an capped by Ryan Boyd’s six‑yard sweep around right end for a touchdown at 7:22 of the third period.

Chris Reinhart tacked on the extra point and Massillon’s advantage swelled to 49‑0.

The Tigers final score came on a seven‑play, 30-yard drive capped by Terrence Roddy’s one‑yard touchdown dive at 2:08 of the fourth quarter. Max Shafer added the point after.

“We got a chance to play a lot of people and we got a chance to freshen up a little bit,” Shepas said.

And with that the coach was off to the Tiger locker room to dry off, warm up and begin preparations for next week’s invasion by Fremont Ross, a 10-0 winner over Toledo Whitmer Friday night.

First downs rushing 18 3
First downs passing 5 1
First downs by penalty 0 0
TOTAL first downs 23 4
Net yards rushing 409 104
Net yards passing 71 33
TOTAL yards 480 137­
Passes attempted 10 10
Passes completed 5 6
Passes intercepted 1 0
Punts 0 7
Punting average 0 31
Fumbles/Lost 5/3 2/1
Penalties 3 2
Yards penalized 37 12

MASSILLON 14 28 7 7 56
WILSON 0 0 0 8 8

M ‑ Rickey Johnson 8 run (Abdul kick)
M – Oliver 20 run (Abdul kick)­
M ‑ Ryan Boyd 19 run (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Johnson 50 run (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Jordan 31 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Williams 2 pass from Zwick (Abdul :kick)
M ‑ Boyd 6 run (Reinhart kick)
W ‑ West 68 fumble return (S. Lane pass to Jones)
M ‑ Roddy 1 run (Shafer kick)

Massillon rushing: Johnson 8‑136, Oliver 8‑102, Boyd 5‑39.
Wilson rushing: Humphries 15‑72, S. Lane 10‑20.

Massillon passing: Zwick 5-10-71 2 TDs, INT.
Wilson passing: S. Lane 6‑10‑33.
Massillon receiving: Jordan 3‑52, Williams 2‑19.
Wilson receiving: West 2‑21

Statistics courtesy Richard Cunningham

Justin Zwick