Tag: <span>Tim Hinton</span>


2001: Massillon 31, Marion Harding 0

Tigers secure first playoff win since 1994
Ground game, defense key 31‑0 rout of Marion Harding

If you prick us, do we not bleed?
if you tickle us, do we not laugh?
if you poison us, do we not die? and if
you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
– William Shakespeare

Independent Sports Editor

Massillon had to wait a year to get its revenge but it tasted mighty sweet as the Tigers brushed off 15 penalties to eliminate the Marion Harding Presidents from post‑season play with a convincing 31‑0 decision in front of 9,106 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in a Division I Region 2 quarterfinal game, Saturday.

It was a payback time for the Tigers, who lost a controversial 17‑13 first round playoff decision to Marion Harding a year ago in a game that also saw 15 penalties called on Massillon, including a holding flag that nullified what would have been the game‑winning touchdown run by quarterback Justin Zwick in the final minute of play.

While revenge was not a topic of public discussion the week preceding the game, the Tigers admitted afterward that last year’s disappointing playoff ouster was in the back of their minds in the days leading up to the game.

“We got some revenge tonight,” Zwick admitted. “We talked about it as a team this week and it helped us focus on what we needed to do.”

Zwick threw for two touchdowns but it was his contributions to the running game that helped put Marion Harding away. The 6‑foot‑5, 221‑pound senior rushed six times for 68 yards as Massillon amassed 415 yards of total offense against a Presidents team that prides itself on a rock‑ribbed defense.

“That was Justin’s best game of the year,” said Tiger coach Rick Shepas, who got his first playoff victory in three tries at Massillon. “He called 90 percent of the game tonight, checking off at the line of scrimmage.”

It was a study, in balanced offense as the Tigers rushed for 243 yards and passed for 172 yards, keeping Marion’s defense off balance all night long. Robert Oliver led the ground game with 100 yards on 14 carries.

It was also the Tiger defense’s finest hour. Free safety Markeys Scott had two interceptions ‑ including a perfectly timed pick deep in Massillon territory on Marion’s first possession of the night ‑ and outside linebacker Andy Alleman played like a man possessed as Marion quarterback Adam Huddle was forced into four turnovers.

“As a defense, we felt as if we didn’t play very well the last two weeks and we wanted to come out and make up for it tonight,” Alleman said. “We didn’t feel like we did a good job stopping the run against McKinley or even the week before (against Dayton Chaminade.) Tonight we really got after them as a team.”

“We talked about a shutout this week,” admitted junior linebacker Shawn Crable. “We just came out with more intensity and did what the coaches told us to do. It sure came at the right time.”

Massillon enjoyed a 10‑0 lead at halftime thanks to a David Abdul 27‑yard field goal and a perfectly executed inside screen pass to Oliver.

Ricky Johnson attacked the middle of the Marion defense and wasn’t brought down until he’d gained 20 yards to the Presidents’ 25. From there, Zwick again called his own number and after a fine cutback at the 20 ‑ carried the ball to the Marion 8‑yard line.

Johnson finished off the drive by sweeping around left end for the touchdown at 9:39 of the third quarter. Abdul’s kick made it 17‑0 Massillon and Marion Harding was in deep trouble.

Dan Speicher’s second sack of the game on Huddle midway through the fourth quarter set up Massillon’s third touchdown. On the next play, Huddle’s option pitch was bobbled and fell to the turf. Crable shoved Huddle away from the football and Jesse Liston recovered for the Tigers at the Massillon 33.

The Tigers went to the ground game. Three straight handoffs to Oliver netted a total of 33 yards. Then Johnson carried twice in a row for 13 more to give Massillon a second‑and‑two at Marion’s 17. Zwick dropped back and threw across the field to Marquis Johnson at the 10. The senior wideout juked left and cut right, finding the end zone at 4:43 of the fourth quarter. Abdul’s kick made it a 24‑0 Massillon lead.

The icing on the cake was Cody Smith’s interception and 31 yards runback of a Huddle aerial to close the scoring at 4:18 of the fourth.

In the locker room after the game Shepas decried the spate of penalty flags which accounted for 143 yards in the wrong direction. He noted the primary flag thrower was the same official responsible for many of the holding penalties on Massillon in last year’s playoff debacle.

But even those bad feelings couldn’t put a damper on Massillon’s first playoff win since 1994.

Marion Harding came out and successfully attacked the Massillon defense on the first possession of the game.

Beginning at the 20 after Abdul’s kickoff reached the end zone for a touchback, Presidents’ quarterback Adam Huddle hit split end Zack pattern for 14 yards. Three plays later, Huddle hooked up with Dominic Ross for eight more to the 47.

The drive appeared to have bogged down on the Massillon 41 where the Presidents faced fourth‑and‑seven. However, punter David Meginness caught the defense napping and ran around left end for 18 yards and a first down at the Tiger 22.

That’s when Scott stopped the drive and killed Marion’s momentum with a well timed interception at the 11‑yard line. Scott returned the pickoff to the 17 for Massillon’s first possession of the game at 7:34 of the first period.

Zwick picked up a first down on a keeper around right end that netted 12 yards to the 38. Two snaps later he hit Stephon Ashcraft for 10 yards and a first down at the Marion 49.

The Tigers picked up another first down but the drive stalled after a false start and three incomplete passes. David Abdul’s 59‑yard field goal attempt was blocked.

Marion gained a first down on its ensuing possession but was forced to punt and the Tigers began their second drive of the game at their own 18.

A holding penalty on Massillon set up a second‑and‑25 but Zwick lobbed a pass to Ashcraft along the left sideline for a first down at the 42.

Zwick gained seven yards and a first down on an option keeper around right end and a personal foul call against Marion moved the ball to the Presidents’ 27.

Marquis Williams turned a short Zwick pass into an 18 yard gain. On the next snap, Joe Jovingo caught what appeared to be a nine‑yard touchdown pass but an illegal shift call against MassilIon negated the score.

The Tigers moved to the five but a clipping penalty stalled the drive. Abdul salvaged three points with a 25‑yard field goal at 6:41 of the second quarter and Massillon led, 3‑0.

Alleman’s pass rush forced Huddle into a third down incompletion on Marion’s ensuing possession and the Presidents were forced to punt after just three snaps.

Massillon took over at its 15 but Oliver picked up 14 yards around left end on first down to improve the Tigers’ field position. One play later, David Hill went over left guard for eight yards and a first down at the Massillon 43.

Zwick then found Oliver for seven yards and a first down at the Marion 45. Two plays later, on third‑and‑two, Johnson went around right end for seven yards and another first down at the 29.

The march appeared in trouble after a false start and two incomplete passes that set up third‑and‑15 at the Marion 34-yard line. Zwick dropped back to pass, invited in the rush, then lobbed a perfect screen pass to Oliver.

The senior running back caught the ball at the 30 along the right hash mark and waited for his blocking to develop, finally cutting to the middle of the field at the 25, then sprinting virtually untouched to the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown pass and run.

Abdul’s point after was true and the Tigers carried a 10‑0 lead into the locker room at halftime.

First downs rushing 14 7
First downs passing 8 3
First downs by penalty 1 3
TOTAL first downs 23 13
Net yards rushing 243 69
Net yards passing 172 63
TOTAL yards 415 132
Passes attempted 29 20
Passes completed 13 10
Passes intercepted 1 3
Punts 0 3
Punting average 0 37.7
Fumbles/Lost 0/0 1/1
Penalties 15 5
Yards penalized 143 38

MASSILLON 0 10 7 14 31
HARDING 0 0 0 0 0

M ‑ Abdul 29 field goal
M ‑ Oliver 34 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Johnson 8 run (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Williams 17 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Smith 31 pass interception return (Abdul kick)

Massillon rushing: Oliver 14‑100, Zwick 6‑68, Johnson 7‑56, Hill 6‑26.
Harding rushing: Troutman 22‑63.

Massillon passing: Zwick 13‑29‑172 2 TDs, 1 INT.
Harding passing: Huddle 10‑20‑63 3 INT.s

Massillon receiving: Oliver 5‑69, Williams 3‑45, Ashcroft 2‑36, Jordan 2‑13, Johnson 1‑9.
Harding receiving: Reidenbaugh 6‑58.

Justin Zwick


2000: Massillon 13, Marion Harding 17

Tigers are flagged In playoff opener
Marion Harding garners 17‑13 win; Refs hit Massillon with 15 penalties

Independent Sports Editor

They say you can call holding on virtually every play in a football game and it seemed the officials in Saturday’s Massillon‑Marion Harding regional quarterfinal playoff game were intent on doing just that.

In the end, the eighth offensive holding penalty of the game against the Tigers nullified a 53‑yard Justin Zwick touchdown run and Marion Harding escaped Massillon with a 17‑13 victory as a stunned throng looked on at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Fifteen minutes after the game ended, the east stands of the venerable stadium remained crowded as Tiger partisans seemed to be waiting to wake up from a bad dream.

“Penalties helped us a lot all night long,” conceded Marion Harding coach Tim Hinton. “I know the people in Massillon are going to talk about that part of the game for a long, long time. But I don’t control that part.”

Massillon was penalized a total of 15 times for 153 yards in the contest.

Tiger coach Rick Shepas declined comment on the officiating but tipped his hat to the Presidents, who will get a chance to avenge a regular season‑ending loss to Mansfield when they meet the Tygers in a regional semifinal game next Saturday.

“Marion Harding came in very excited for this football game and very well prepared,” Shepas said. “They are very well coached. They have some outstanding skill players. And they did an outstanding job.

“We had opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of. We played very well at times.

We hurt ourselves at times. I give my kids a lot of credit. They played with character all year long. We’ve overcome a great deal of adversity and made some great progress ourselves.”

David Abdul drilled a 48‑yard field goal to give the Tigers a 13‑10 lead in the game with 8:53 to play in the fourth quarter. It was Massillon’s only tally in the second half of the game.

Marion Harding then put together the game‑winning drive, beginning at its own 20 after Abdul’s kickoff reached the end zone.

Quarterback Kyle Adams picked up a first down at the 37 on a 14‑yard option keeper around left end. Three plays later, Rod Keller got the ball on the belly play and generated another first down at the 47.

The Presidents kept grinding it out, reaching the Massillon 35. On second down, Adams dropped back to pass and nearly had his throw picked off.

The reprieve was key as Adams, on the very next play, executed a throwback screen to Vacarro Bracy, who carried the ball down the left sideline 34 yards to the end zone for the go‑ahead score. It was only third reception all season long for the senior tailback.

“We used that play last week against Mansfield Senior and had a big score on it,” Hinton said.”They didn’t ask for the Mansfield tape. I don’t know if they scouted that game or what. So I thought maybe it was worth a shot and they wouldn’t recognize it, and they didn’t.”

Jeremy Krausz got the extra point through the uprights and ‑ with 1:35 to play following the seven‑minute, 14‑play drive ‑ it was desperation time for the Tigers.

Starting at its own 11, after yet another holding penalty on the kickoff return, Massillon made its final run. Perry James picked up 13 on a draw play. A motion penalty nullified a 20‑yard James run before Zwick hit Montale Watkins for a 20‑yard gain to the 44.

A short pass to Jesse Robinson advanced the ball to the 47, but two incompletions later it was fourth‑and‑seven for Massillon. Zwick dropped back to pass, looked to his right then began to scramble left. The field seemed to open up in front of the junior signal caller and he turned on the jets down the sideline.

As Zwick reached the 10‑yard line and it was clear he was going to score, an official trailing the play threw a penalty flag 20 yards behind the Tiger quarterback and bedlam erupted. Even the usually stoic Shepas was incensed, charging a few steps onto the field before thinking better of it.

‘The call was holding and the ball was placed at the Marion 38‑yard line with a few ticks on the clock remaining. A final‑play desperation throw toward the end zone was intercepted, ensuring the Presidents’ triumph.

“That’s a great, great football team we had to play tonight,” Hinton said. “Give Coach Shepas and that team a lot of credit. They had a lot of adversity on those penalties. They kept fighting back and fighting back. They did a heck of a job.”

The Presidents opened the game as if they were going to blow the Tigers right out of their own stadium, following a 40‑yard kickoff return by Travis Harrah that gave the visitors superb field position at their own 45‑yard line.

Adams got Harding off on the right foot with a 21‑yard completion to Derick Ross to the Massillon 35. Rod Keller’s five‑yard run picked up another first down at the Tiger 23, and one play later Adams dropped a perfectly thrown pass into the arms of Rick Beechum in the end zone for six.

Krausz added the point‑after‑touchdown and Marion Harding was celebrating a 7‑0 lead at 9:00 of the first quarter.

Massillon went three‑and‑out on its initial possession of the evening and a 22‑yard punt return by Ross gave the Presidents good field position once again at midfield.

The Tigers got the ball back when Jared Frank recovered Ross’s fumble after Adams completed a screen pass to the elusive wideout.

Massillon embarked on a 13‑play drive ‑ featuring eight carries by senior running back Perry James ‑ but the Tigers had to settle for a 51‑yard Abdul field goal at 10:05 of the second quarter to make it a 7‑3 Marion Harding advantage.

Harding moved from its 20 to the Massillon 40 on its ensuing possession. The drive stalled when Tiger cornerback Matt Shem made a great recovery to bat away a sure touchdown pass to Ross and the Presidents were forced to punt.

Massillon, taking over at its 10‑yard line, began to click. Zwick hit Robinson along the right sideline for 13 yards.

James swept around left end for 12 yards. Zwick meshed with Devon Jordan along the left sideline for 11 yards.

And James went up the middle for 10 more yards. On four consecutive plays, the Tigers picked up four first downs, moving to the Harding 41.

Two more James runs netted 11 yards and another first down but a holding call against the Tigers set up second‑and‑14.

Zwick dropped back and found Jeremiah Drobney all alone in the middle of the Harding secondary for a 30‑yard pickup to the 3.

Another holding call moved the ball back to the 11 but Zwick got it back and more, scrambling around his right side behind a fine block by James for the touchdown.

Abdul’s kick made it 10‑7 at 2:17 of the first half and that score held at intermission.

First downs rushing 8 9
First downs passing 6 6
First downs by penalty 1 1
TOTAL first downs 15 16
Net yards rushing 189 170
Net yards passing 114 133
TOTAL yards 303 303
Passes attempted 18 18
Passes completed 8 11
Passes intercepted 1 0
Punts 3 2
Punting average 54 30
Fumbles/Lost 1/0 2/2
Penalties 15 7
Yards penalized 153 51

MASSILLON 0 10 0 3 13
MARION 7 0 3 7 17

MH ‑ Beechum 23‑yard pass from Adams (Krausz kick)
M ‑ FG Abdul 50
M ‑ Zwick 11‑yard run (Abdul kick)
MH ‑ FG Krausz 31
M ‑ FG Abdul 48
MH ‑ Bracy 34‑yard pass from Adams (Krausz kick)

Massillon rushing: James 21‑123, Zwick 3‑56, King 2‑5, Oliver 1‑5.
Marion rushing: Bracy 13‑76, Adams 7‑41, Keller 6‑21, Troutman 5‑15, Barron 2‑7.

Massillon passing: Zwick 8‑17‑114 INT, Williams 0‑1‑0.
Marion passing: Adams 11‑17‑133 2 TDs, Ross 0‑1‑0.

Massillon receiving: Drobney 3‑65, Watkins 1‑20, Robinson 2‑16, Jordan 1‑11, Williams 1‑2.
Marion receiving: Ross 4‑41, Bracy 1‑34, Beechum 1‑23, Pezley 2‑20, Braddy 2‑6, Woods 1‑9.

Statistics courtesy of Richard Cunningham

Is there a target on the Tigers?

The real victims in last Saturdays controversial Massillon‑Marion Harding playoff game are the players … and maybe not just the ones wearing the orange‑and‑black.

Certainly when considering the consequences of the ‘Flagfest at PB.’, the Tigers got the worst of it. The sequence of events that led up to the final 17‑14 defeat and elimination from the playoffs was shattering to the fans, let alone the players themselves.

For the 70 or so young men that comprise the Massillon football roster, it was a gut‑wrenching way to wrap up 11 months of preparations, beginning last December when the off‑season weight‑training program commenced.

Those boys had to feel as if the outcome of the game, and thus their season, was determined not by themselves or even the guys on the other sideline. They all must believe in their hearts their fate was sealed by the game officials.

Ironically, the Presidents of Marion Harding could feel victimized as well. Their hard‑fought victory over Massillon, a win which gives instant credibility to any football program, is now tainted somewhat by the questions surrounding the flood of penalty flags against the Tigers.

And a flood it was. Of Biblical proportions.

Official statistics had the number of penalties against Massillon at 15 for 153 yards, compared to seven for 51 yards against Marion Harding.

But the back‑breaker was nine holding penalties against the Tiger offense or kick return team, especially the one that brought back what would have been a game­ winning 53‑yard touchdown run by Justin Zwick in the final half­ minute of play.

Now, there’s been talk from both camps that the Tiger offensive linemen, “hold on every play.”

If that is indeed the case, why wasn’t it called more often during the Tigers’ 10‑game regular season? When a team passes the football as often as this one does, the zebras certainly had ample opportunity to whistle offensive holding infractions.

My own highly‑unofficial statistics for eight Massillon games this season had the Tigers committing 13 holding penalties in those contests. The most in one game was three against Akron Garfield, and there were no holding flags at all in the St. Ignatius game, which just happens to feature Ohio’s best tandem of defensive ends, including University of Michigan‑bound Pat Massey.

So how in the world does a team averaging two holding penalties per game suddenly and without warning ‑ the Tigers had only one holding penalty the week before against McKinley ‑ begin grabbing and clutching the opponent enough to draw NINE holding penalties?

When something like this happens, you have to consider cause and effect. Has Massillon’s reputation been sullied so much by the Jesse Scott recruiting allegations and subsequent court cases that the Tigers can’t get a fair shake on the gridiron?

Or was this simply a case of a referee calling what he truly believed to be holding penalties against the Massillon offensive line?

And one more question to ponder. If this officiating crew was especially vigilant on the holding call, where was the flag on Marion Harding’s game‑winning touchdown play when a Tiger tackler was dragged down by a blocker … in the open field no less?

I don’t believe in conspiracies but I do know if an athletic program take the Miami Hurricanes football team for instance gets branded as an outlaw program, it is a target on their back and it’s hard to shake.

Let’s hope all the recruiting … uh, stuff that has been thrown against Massillon’s wall isn’t starting to stick, making the Tigers a target for every official who buys into the bad‑boy image and decides to take matters into his own hands.

Joe Shaheen is sports editor of The Independent.

Kreg Rotthoff