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Family Dentistry in Massillon - J. Douglas Paulus D.D.S. 330-833-CARE(2273)

 
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 Wednesday, August 29, 2001 

Booster Club Report

  
by Tiger Don  8/29/01


As I jetted out to Atlanta at 6 am this morning and then returned on the 5:30, I was reminded of a little tidbit Coach Shepas shared with the Booster Club on Monday. It seems the Tigers have a new play this year they call “Jet Out.” I won’t go into details, but let’s just say it seems to work pretty well in confusing the opponent’s secondary. It worked so well on Friday that Stephon Ashcraft found himself wide open down the sideline for Massillon’s first touchdown of the night. Look for a lot more jets flying around as the season progresses.

I mentioned in last week’s game story that Westerville South was playing a 3-4 defense in lieu of their traditional 4-3. The blitz package that went with it gave the offensive line and quarterback Justin Zwick some problems for the better part of the night. But don’t fret. The coaches have it well in hand and will be in better position to make adjustments the next time. Shepas pointed out that Zwick also has to read the pressure better and step up into the pocket rather than bailing out too early. But he said this flaw has also been fixed.


Overall, Shepas was pleased with the effort of his team. The offense showed good balance, even though the running game still needs more work. He was especially pleased with the four turnovers his defense came up with.

To add a twist to the meeting, Coach brought in two of his assistants: Assistant Head Coach Dan Murphy and Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Partridge. Addressing the offense Murphy said that, ”we expect success from our players.” He also pointed out that the coaches were disappointed after the game.

Partridge, returning to the side of the field that he loves most, said that the defensive stopped Westerville South with good assignment football against the option. He also said to expect more of the hard hitting that has become a trademark of this eleven.

On the health front, Michael White’s injury is not as severe as first thought. It seems he has a thigh muscle pull rather than a tear. That’s good news and we may see him again in just a couple weeks. Meanwhile, Matt Webb is fighting through a pulled calf muscle he sustained early in the summer. These injuries take a long time to heal.

If you enjoyed the game Friday against Westerville South, you will get a repeat performance next year. South signed a two-year contract to play both games at Massillon. Folks, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Players of the game for last week: Robert Oliver – offense, Shawn Crable – defense, Michael White and David Hill – special teams, and Tim Dewald and Bradley Grizzard – scout team.

Coach Shepas described Mt. Lebanon as a great football team, one that is big and physical; a Moeller-type of team. Their quarterback is very efficient and will put it up around 40% of time. But you can’t ignore the run, which operates behind huge offensive line. So look for the Tigers to stop the run first and force them to the air. Defensively, Mt. Lebanon will play it straight up with few blitzes. That should make it very interesting for our passing attack.

In other Booster Club news, club president Greg Kemp announced his officers for the 2001 season. They consist of Dale Walterhouse and Vince Pedro – vice presidents, Kevin Smith – secretary, Clay Betz – treasurer, and Phil Glick – publicity chairman. The Sideliners officers are Ronny Styer, Joe Kertes and Bob Hollander.

The sports complex under constructed east of the football stadium is nearing completion and needs just $150,000 to finish up. There’s still time to help by purchasing a ticket to the house raffle. The winner will be announced at the Fremont Ross game.

Bricks are on sale for the Walk of Pride. The price is $100 for a normal size brick and $250 for a big one. Click here for more info/order. The bricks will be laid in lots of 100 as the orders come in. With 12,000 bricks in the pile there are plenty for everyone.

The JV team defeated Boardman 17-6 in a game that included a 38-yard field goal. Their next game is Monday at home against that team to the east. Meanwhile, the freshman topped Canton Central 14-6.

Individual tickets for the McKinley game are now on sale at the ticket office. The limit is two per person.

Next week’s Booster Club meeting will be on Tuesday at 7:00 pm on account of the Labor Day holiday.

That’s it for now. GO TIGERS!

 Monday, August 27, 2001 

Week One Top Ten

  
by Tiger Don  8/27/01


Here are Massillon Tiger Sports’ top Division 1 teams for the week…

1. Cleveland St. Ignatius - The Wildcats pounded Toledo St. John’s 42-7. A better opponent awaits this week in Boardman, who beat Youngstown Woodrow Wilson 35-8.

2. Massillon - The Tigers handed Westerville South their worst loss in eight years, 41-7. With a more consistent performance this week, Massillon could move ahead of Ignatius. The foe is Mt. Lebanon from Pennsylvania.

3. Cincinnati Colerain - The Cardinals knocked off hapless Cincinnati Harrison, 53-19. Cincinnati Hughs, another local patsy, is the opponent this week.

4. Cincinnati St. Xavier - The Bombers showed last week why they are a title contender in downing Cincinnati Oak Hills, 40-16. Cincinnati Withrow, this week’s opponent, got a surprising 30-17 win over Hamilton Badin.

5. Warren Harding - True to form, the Raiders found one of the easiest opponents in the state to open with. However, the easy 76-0 win won’t help prepare for the grueling part of the season. The real opener comes this week against Cincinnati Moeller, loser last week to Fairfield.

6. Lakewood St. Edward - Last year the Eagles beat Middletown by three points. This year the score was 44-20, making them a team to be reckoned with in Region 1. Now it’s local rival Lakewood, who started off with a 12-7 win over Garfield Heights.

7. North Canton - The Vikings knocked off Green in high fashion, 37-7. This week they play Buchtel, who squeaked by Lake last week, 17-15. This may be Hoover’s toughest contest until the playoffs.

8. Fairfield - The Indians crack the Top Ten by pulling off the upset of the week, beating Cincinnati Moeller, 30-27. This week’s opponent is Huber Heights Wayne, a 21-0 winner over Lakota East.

9. Cincinnati Elder - The Panthers had an easy opener, rolling over Cincinnati Sycamore, 45-14. A more interesting battle looms this week when they host Cleveland Glenville, the surprising team of last year’s tournament. The Tarblooders beat Mentor last week, 26-13.

10. Canton McKinley - Have the Bulldogs rebounded from last year’s disaster? The 27-12 score in their game against GlenOak may indicate “yes.” This week the Pups should just play their second string against underdog Nordonia, a game sure to spoil the weekend’s big 4-game showcase.

Teams to watch - Strongsville, Boardman, Mansfield, Worthington Kilbourne, and Cincinnati Princeton.

 Saturday, August 25, 2001 

Massillon Roars Past Westerville South

  
by Tiger Don  8/25/01


Westerville South drove the ball 79 yards on their first possession to take a 7-0 lead, but it was lights out after that as the Tigers had this one salted away by halftime. Massillon put up 31 points by intermission, punctuated by a 28-yard David Abdul field goal, and eventually won going away, 41-7.

Everything thing seemed to work for the Wildcats in that first drive, which was initiated by a double-reverse, halfback pass good for 32 yards. After that they needed just six plays to go the distance, scoring on a well-executed 9-yard pass over the middle. But a key point was established during the drive. That is, Westerville South was going to have to throw the ball if they had any thoughts of beating the Tigers, since the middle was totally blocked off and only sporadic yards were available around end. In fact, take away one long quarterback keeper and South managed just 2.6 yards per tote.

Eventually, the orange and black defense had it all sorted out and began to take away different parts of the Wildcat offense. From then on South struggled to mount any kind of threat. But they did get the ball to the eight yardline in the third quarter on a nice 66-yard quarterback keeper. Only Justin Princehorn caught him at the seven to save the touchdown on the play. The opportunity was killed when defensive back Craig McConnell went high in the air to knock down a fourth down pass into the endzone. But for the most part, Massillon kept South in their own end of the field.

The Tiger offense failed to move the ball on their first two possessions, both of which started around the 20 yardline. South was employing a 3-4 defense with at least one linebacker blitzing on every down and that strategy was giving the offensive line a lot of difficulty. But an interception by big Shawn Crable (his first of two) at midfield finally provided the much needed spark.

After the turnover, Massillon drove 51 yards in just three plays, finishing it off with a perfectly thrown 23-yard lob from Justin Zwick to Stephon Ashcraft in the left corner of the endzone. Amazingly, Ashcraft found himself wide open down the left sideline and took full advantage of the Wildcat coverage mistake. From that point on, it simply rained Tiger points.

It began when Robert Oliver scored from five yards out behind the blocking of Matt Webb, Andy Alleman and Tony Thornsberry, who simply cleared out the right side of the line. Then Zwick kept the ball after finding no receiver open and ran around the right side for a 7-yard score, bulling over two defenders at the goal line. That put the Tigers up 21-7. The play was set up by a 67-yard punt return by Michael White that was a thing of beauty. Starting at his own 25 he sprinted past a couple of defenders and headed down the right sideline. Then he cut to his left, ran completely across the field, and headed for pay dirt. But a tackler had the angle and caught up at the seven. Two plays later Zwick would score.

But the offense wasn’t finished. Three minutes later they tallied again, this time on a 24-yard pass from Zwick to Joe Jovingo. Finally, the Abdul kicked his field goal as time ran out to put Massillon up 31-7 and close out the scoring.

The only point of the second half came on a 12-yard run by Oliver and a 52-yard field goal by the amazing Abdul from the right hash mark. But Oliver showed he could carry the mail. After two long runs that moved the ball to the ten, he broke through the line on his third attempt and carried three would-be tacklers into the endzone. That put his rushing total at 64 yards in 14 carries.

Zwick finished the night completing 13 out of 29 passes for 181 yards and a pair of touchdowns. But he was also picked off twice. His favorite receiver was Devon Jordon, who caught four passes for 76 yards.

All in all, it was a typical opening night of high school football for both teams as they combined for 18 penalties and six turnovers, not counting the numerous mental errors. But the Tigers showed why many sports fans are high on this team by making the adjustments early and then completely dominating the opponent. However, don’t take anything away from Westerville South. They have a fine ball club and will win their share of games this year.


GAME STATS

Opponent_____7___0___0___0___7
Massillon_____7__24___0__10___41

_______________MASS____OPP
First Downs_________11______13
Yards Rushing______ 99_____155
Yards Passing______181_____130
Total Yards________270_____246
Turnovers___________4_______4
Yards/Rush________3.9______3.3
Yards/PA________ _6.3_____ _6.2
Yards/PC________13.9_____ _9.3
Yards/Play_______ 5.2_______4.1

Massillon Scoring
23 yd pass from Justin Zwick to Stephon Ashcraft
5 yd run by Robert Oliver
7 yd run by Zwick
24 yd pass from Zwick to Joe Jovingo
28 yd FG by David Abdul
12 yd run by Oliver
52 yd FG by Abdul

Individual Statistics
Passing: Zwick 13 of 29 for 181 yards and 2 TDs, 2 interceptions
Rushing: Oliver 14 for 64 yds and 2 TDs
Receiving: Devon Jordan 4 for 76 yds

Photos by Obiefan

 Tuesday, August 21, 2001 

Westerville South Preview

  
by Tiger Don  8/21/01

One of the best things about following Massillon is that you get to see many new teams come to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. This year is no exception as four newbies are the slate, including Westerville South, Mt. Lebanon, PA, Youngstown Woodrow Wilson, and Dayton Chaminade.

Westerville South, from down Columbus way, is no stranger to the playoffs, having made the dance four times in the past seven years. Their best finish was in 1994 when they advanced to the state finals only to lose to Cleveland St. Ignatius, 20-3. The run included a 42-13 win over previously undefeated Cincinnati Colerain. The following year they qualified again, but lost in the second round to Boardman 7-3. Fans may remember a stellar OSU Buckeye from those two teams by the name of Andy Katzenmoyer. The Wildcats also made the playoffs in 1998 and 2000.

Last year Westerville South boasted one of the better passing attacks in the state, with an offense that averaged 37 points per game. But they also gave up 31 a game, which was indicative of their first-round playoff loss to Logan, 53-20. But along the way the Wildcats strung together a nice 7-game winning streak.

After downing Lancaster 41-27, they suffered back-to-back losses to Columbus DeSales (50-37) and Reynoldsburg (21-0). The second loss was surprising in that it was the opponent’s only win among its first five games. But after the loss, Westerville got down to business, winning out and qualifying for post-season play. Included in that was a 5-0 mark in the Capital Conference and a 49-42 win over Grove City.

This year Tiger fans should expect more of the same; that is, lots footballs in the air. And if both teams come to play, this one could turn into a high-scoring affair.

 Sunday, August 19, 2001 

Let’s Get Out the Crystal Ball

  
by Tiger Don  8/19/01

Here’s a league-by-league blow of the teams in Region 2 as we search for those having the best chances to qualify for the playoffs.

Local Independents

Massillon and Canton McKinley, the two teams with the toughest schedules in the region, will use that asset to their advantage this year. With pre-season All-American Justin Zwick returning at quarterback, some quick backs and a solid defense against the run, look for the improved Tigers to finish 9-1 or 10-0 this year, depending on the outcome of the St. Ignatius game. McKinley will also be better and may just find themselves 6-0 going into the stretch. But that stretch includes the likes of St. Ignatius, Warren and Massillon. Look for the Pups to finish 7-3, which should be good enough to make it in based on their strength of schedule.

The Federal League

The hands down favorite to win the Federal this year is North Canton based on a wealth of skill position talent. Hoover will stumble against Buchtel, but should win the rest to finish 9-1. Jackson should go 8-2 or 9-1 depending on their game with GlenOak. Speaking of GlenOak, even though they should have a good ball club this year, they also must face McKinley, Buchtel, Hoover and Jackson. They will have to win one of these four to have a peak in the door. Two wins and they are in for sure. Perry is a long shot, with minimal talent to work with and the loss of their lone returning running back.

The Steel Valley Conference

The two top teams this year are Youngstown Ursuline and Warren Harding, leaving Boardman and Austintown Fitch to pick up the scraps. Both Boardman and Fitch play Youngstown Chaney, Jackson, and league rival Youngstown Mooney in addition to each other. Also, the Spartans play Ignatius and the Falcons have a road match at Massillon. Don’t look for either of these teams to be there at the end.

The Akron City Series

Akron Garfield will have another fine 8-2 season, but they will be home for the dance on account of their weak schedule. They are certainly deserving, however.

The Western Reserve South Conference

This conference will be more balanced than in many previous years, which means that the top teams will most likely beat each other up and in the process knock each other out of the playoffs. Perhaps the only team with an outside chance is Cuyahoga Falls, the defending league champs. But they must also play Jackson and Solon. 7-3 at best.

The Pioneer Conference

Brunswick is a perennial favorite to qualify for post-season play and this year should not be different. Although they will be out-shadowed by Strongsville, the rest of the schedule is ripe for the pickings. Just watch out for Berea, though. Look for Brunswick to finish 8-2, bettering last year’s mark of 5-5.

The Heartland Conference

Two teams will dominate this league, Mansfield and Marion Harding. Neither will find a lot of local competition, except against each other. In non-conference action, Mansfield will entertain Massillon while Marion will host a good Hilliard Davidson team. On the basis of home field advantage, the league championship game goes to Harding. Therefore, look for Mansfield to finish 8-2 and Harding to finish 9-1 or 10-0.

Northwest Ohio

The two teams with the best chance of coming out of this area are Toledo St. John’s and Fremont Ross. St. John’s plays in the mediocre Toledo City league but finds enough competition early on to at least make it somewhat interesting. This year they play St. Ignatius, Detroit Jesuit, Grove City, and Lima in addition to Toledo St. Francis. However, it may be a bit too much for St. John’s. But give them an outside chance anyway.

Ross should be right in the thick of the battle with Toledo Whitmer, but both play difficult non-conference slates. Fremont will face St. Ignatius and Massillon while Whitmer will square off against Warren Harding and Lakewood St. Edward. Look for Ross to have a chance to qualify at 7-3.

Summary

Eight teams will fill the playoff bracket in Region 2 and once again there should be a local flavor, with four or five teams coming from Stark County alone. First-round home games should go to Massillon, North Canton, Mansfield and Marion Harding. Their opponents will come from a list that includes Jackson, McKinley, Brunswick, GlenOak, Fremont Ross, and Cuyahoga Falls.

But the season hasn’t yet begun so don’t get too excited about these predictions. But at least it gives the teams below something to shoot for. Massillon Tiger Sports will continue to look at the playoff structure as the season goes along. Have a great week.

 Friday, August 17, 2001 

Tigers Tune Up for Opener

  
by Tiger Don  8/17/01


Playing one half of a regular game Massillon came out on top in this one 14-3, but it was one of the more entertaining scrimmages the Tigers have played in recent years. Using near game conditions the two teams took to the airways early and often, trying to exploit each other’s inexperienced secondaries. For the most part, it was very effective. Massillon’s Justin Zwick connected on 11 of 14 passes for 183 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while the Cardinal’s Tom Abbott and Mike Clinton combined for 96 yards, hitting 10 of 15 aerials.

The difference, however, was one big pass by Zwick. In came on the Tigers’ first play of their last possession, with the ball at Massillon’s 39 yardline. At the snap of the ball, junior wideout Devon Jordan was off with his sprinter’s speed, hell bent for the endzone. Meanwhile, Zwick was stepping up into the pocket and rolling right behind excellent protection from the offensive line. Zwick then unleashed a rocket that traveled 60 yards in the air and was gathered in by Jordan, in stride, at the five yardline. Jordan had narrowly beaten three defenders along the route and after catching the ball raced untouched across the goal line for the touchdown. The play easily brought the loudest response from crowd for the evening.

The scrimmage started out in characteristic fashion with Mentor failing to move the ball in their first three plays, forcing a punt. Starting at their own 14 yardline, Zwick opened the series with a nifty 25-yard swing pass to Robert Oliver. Four plays later they were in scoring position at the Cardinal 34. But on the very next play the ball was lost on a fumbled handoff.

That’s when Mentor came alive. Using a 5 for 6 passing effort, Mentor moved the ball to the Tiger 9 yardline. The Cardinal quarterback displayed good accuracy against the Massillon zone defense and their three returning offensive lineman helped keep the Tiger counterparts at bay. Mentor then completed an apparent touchdown pass, but it was nullified on account of holding. A subsequent field goal attempt was wide left and the Tigers had dodged the bullet.

After and exchange of punts, Massillon moved the ball to the Cardinal 25 yardline and were once again in the red zone. But yet another fumbled handoff stalled the drive. Mentor immediately moved into Tiger territory on a 40-yard pass, but they also stalled and settled for a 44-yard field goal by Jeremy Sargent, which gave the visitors a 3-0 lead.

Again the teams exchanged punts. Finally, the Tigers put together their first scoring drive, moving the ball 70 yards in six plays. The touchdown came when Zwick ran a naked boot to the right and lobbed the ball over the onrushing defender and into the hands of senior tight end Matt Webb (see photo). The score put Massillon up 7-3.

After the locals held Mentor to three-and-out on their next possession, Zwick heaved the bomb to Jordan to close out the scoring. David Abdul also nailed both extra points.

Oliver rushed four times for 27 yards and Ricky Johnson added two carries for 16 yards. Marquis Williams appeared to be Zwick’s favorite receiver, hauling in six passes for 44 yards. Jordan also had a good night, with two receptions totaling 86 yards. In all, Massillon gained 210 yards at 9.5 yards per play while Mentor gained 115 yards at 3.8 yards per play.

Besides the crispness of the Massillon’s passing game, the most telling observation was the defense against the run. Mentor was held to just 19 yards in 15 carries as the Tiger front seven was simply dominating. While the interior line was plugging up the middle, the linebackers constantly forayed into the Cardinal backfield, using both speed and strength to control the outside. The vicious defense against the run may just turn out to be the personality of this team, overshadowing a passing attack that everyone knew would outstanding anyway.

The JV scrimmage went to Massillon by the touchdown score of 3-1. Quarterback Matt Martin tossed a pair of TD passes, one of 20 yards to Billy Relford and one of 70 yards to A.J. Collins, who also returned an interception 40 yards for a score. Add a fumble recovery to the list and Collins had a stellar night. Mentor’s score came on 40-yard interception return.

Now the Tigers must prepare for the invasion of Westerville South. But more on this game later in the week.


 Wednesday, August 15, 2001 

Zoner's Scrimmage Review

  
by Zoner  8/15/01


I got to the stadium around 5:30 and was surprised to see the entire front of it torn up! Hope they get it in some kind of order before the opener! Anyhow I was really surprised to see the amount of people there that early. One thing I noticed, and Carl will like this, was the amount of younger folks there. And they actually watched the goings on. Looks like we’re starting to get a new crowd of fans interested again. Shep seems to be picking up where Owens left off as far as the community support goes.

Also kinda had to let out a little chuckle as I walked past the officials standing along the fence. These were after all the first referees I’ve seen since the "Riot" last year.

Nice to see a couple of the “old guys” show up also. Retired coaches Walterhouse and Vrotsos were on hand to check out the Tigers first test.

Something I just couldn’t get used to was Warren’s colors. I just think red and black when they come to mind. The gold looks pretty cool, but it’ll take a while for the Zoner to get used to it.
Couldn’t quite get used to seeing ol’ Thom McDaniels walking around out there either! He looked very much at home, and very much in charge.

The individual drills got going around 6:00 with both sides getting in their licks. The coaches were pretty quick on the whistles to keep the injury possibilities down and the whole thing looked to me to end up about even.

I won’t go in to all the stats. or other numbers as Tiger Don is much better at that type of thing.

What I can tell you is the Tigers and the Raiders looked pretty good on both sides of the ball.
Usually at this early stage of the season, the defenses are well ahead of the offenses, but I didn’t really get that sense. Both Warren and Massillon looked pretty even in development on both sides of the ball. When one teams offense put up a few good plays, the others D would step up and answer and vice versa.

The Tigers just seemed to have a lot more impact players on the field. While that Clarrett kid and their QB are outstanding. The Tigers seem to have at least five players ready to make the “big” play on any given down.

I’m not real sure about the big position swap with McCullough and Speicher. Both looked pretty good on both sides of the ball. Terrible situation when you don’t have enough positions for the amount of talent you have.

One great thing to see was the talent level of the so-called back-ups. Wade had a great game, and looks ready to at least spell whoever ends up starting at DT. Jenkins opened some real nice running room for both Oliver and Johnson and looks to really pressure Spike on the O line. Speaking of Johnson, where did this kid come from? He sure runs hard. He had a great day also. The back-up QB’s looked very good as well with both Martin and Helscel putting some deep balls right on the mark. Helscel doing it three different times only to have two of them dropped.

It also looks like the Tigers have a few new plays to work into that no huddle offense. With three, count them three possible Tight Ends over 6’5” the drag across the middle is looking real sweet. There also seems to be a few more run plays out of the gun.

All in all it looked like a pretty good night for both teams. Good hard hitting, and plenty of learning going on. It looked like both teams got everyone a good look and I don’t remember seeing anyone limping or holding any body parts.

At this point of the season, I’d have to say the Tigers are at least a little ahead of schedule. Not that there’s not plenty of room for improvement, but they seem to be ahead of the progress of past years. We just need to keep our focus on one week at a time and create the TEAM attitude.

Looking forward to Fridays scrimmage against Mentor and hope to see YOU in the Zone!

 Tuesday, August 14, 2001 

Tigers top Warren 1-0 in Scrimmage Action

  
by Tiger Don  8/14/01


a crowd of over 4,000 was on handIt was the matchup everyone in Massillon was waiting for. Warren vs. Massillon. A pseudo resumption of a football series that ended in controversy following the 1989 season. It was also billed as Warren’s All-Ohio Maurice Clarrett vs. Massillon’s All-American Justin Zwick. Only it turned out to be Clarrett against a whole arsenal of Tiger players. Sure, Massillon had the passing of Zwick, but they also could choose between the power running of Robert Oliver and the speed of Ricky Johnson. Throw in a defense that was simply dominating and all of a sudden Clarrett just wasn’t enough. Watch out! This Massillon team is going to be a good one.

It was evident in the pre-scrimmage drills that the Tigers were bigger, stronger, faster, and better skilled in almost every position on the field. The drills included 4 on 5 passing, man-to-man coverage, 1 on 1 lineman matchups, 9 on 9 running, 7 on 7 passing, punting, and even field goals. The end came when David Abdul boomed a 57-yard field goal that landed five rows up in the end zone, an effort that simply entertained the crowd. It also woke them up, for now it was time to get down to the business of serious football.

Each team started on its own 35 yardline and was afforded ten plays to reach the end zone. Massillon went first. Operating out of a no-huddle offense and in the shotgun for most every play, the Tigers drove the ball to the Warren 30 only to run out of plays. Zwick hit 4 of 8 for 23 yards, with two going to Marquis Williams, and Robert Oliver rushed twice for 12 yards.

Then it was Warren’s turn. Clarrett gained 22 yards on four carries but the rest of the team could account for just 6 as the Massillon defense was simply smothering. Don’t even think about running up the middle on this group.

It was in the second series that the Tiger offense really came alive. Operating again out of the no-huddle offense, Zwick hit all four of his passes for 42 yards with the remaining 23 yards coming on three runs by Johnson (see photo) and one by Zwick. With the ball on the five yardline, Zwick rolled left and fired a rope to Stephon Ashcraft who was running a parallel route just over the goal line. Ashcraft leaped high into the air and held on in tight coverage for the Tiger score.

The Raiders moved the ball to the 13 yardline in their second possession, aided by two big quarterback keepers. But they gave it up there. Clarrett contributed 12 yards in four carries, but had to withstand a bonecrushing tackle for a loss by a hard rushing Shawn Crable (see photo).

The next two series were for the JV teams, who played to a 1-1 tie. Warren scored first on a 35-yard run and the Tigers countered on the following series with a pretty 60-yard bomb from Matt Martin to Billy Relford. Relford caught the pass in stride at the 25, freed himself from the defender and raced into the end zone.

Finally, the No. 1 units took the field for one more series. Warren went first and advanced to just the 33 yardline. Meanwhile, the Tigers drove the ball to the five yardline on ten straight passes to a variety of receivers but ran out of plays, making the final score Massillon 1, Warren 0.

The statistics told the story better than the score. Justin Zwick completed 14 of 21 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. And the running game accounted for 35 yards on six carries. Warren rushed for 80 yards on 21 carries with Maurice Clarrett contributing 36 on nine attempts. Not showing too much of a passing attack, the Raider quarterback completed just 4 of 9 for 33 yards.

This is the sharpest this writer has seen the Tigers in a first scrimmage since 1970 when they ran a good Sandusky team off the field. Incidentally, that team went 10-0 and captured the state title. But that’s just an observation.

The offense has size and speed with an outstanding passing attack that features all eligible receivers including big tight end Andy Alleman. The rushing game is still sorting itself out, but that’s just a matter of finding the right backs for the given situations. Defensively, Massillon will be a tough team to run against, with a big strong line and aggressive, hard-hitting linebackers. Rest assured that a couple of the defensive backs also showed good form.

The Tigers will back in action again this Friday when they scrimmage Mentor.

 Sunday, August 12, 2001 

The Federal League Hits the Road

  
by Tiger Don  8/12/01

There’s been a lot of recent talk on the message board about whether Hoover plays a “legitimate” schedule given the lack of Division 1 non-league teams. There’s also been similar mention about Perry. Well, let’s take a look.

The Federal League is comprised of seven teams including four in Division 1 and three in Division 2. Each plays a schedule consisting of six head-to-head conference games plus four non-conference ones. So which of the seven plays the toughest schedule? Here’s Massillon Tiger Sports’ opinion of the schedule strength for each team’s non-league slate.

No. 1 – GlenOak. The Golden Eagles play three Division 1 opponents this year. They also play two state-power foes in Canton McKinley (3-6) and Akron Buchtel (9-1). Because of this GlenOak’s schedule is rated tops. The Pups will rebound from their losing record of a year ago while playoff team Buchtel will simply reload. GlenOak beat McKinley last year in overtime, whereas Buchtel is a new opponent. GlenOak’s schedule also includes up-and-coming Mentor (6-4) and Painsville Riverside (9-1). Riverside made the playoffs last year, losing to Strongsville 27-24. However, this came after a 56-0 regular season loss to the Golden Eagles.

No. 2 – Jackson. The Polar Bears are a clost second with three Division 1 teams plus a Division 2 parochial school. First up is Cuyahoga Falls, who last year finished 7-3 and won the southern division of the Western Reserve Conference. Next up is Austintown Fitch (3-7), a team projected to be much improved from 2000. Toledo St. Francis (6-4) is the parochial team. The Knights are traditionally one of Ohio’s state powers, having recently moved from Division 1 to 2. Finally is Youngstown Boardman (5-5), which will be the toughest game on the Jackson schedule. The Spartans may have won only five games last year, but they defeated both Mooney and Warren along the way to finish runner-up in the tough Steel Valley Conference. Last year Jackson prevailed 10-7.

The rest of the rankings fall well below the first two.

No. 3 – Alliance. The Aviators have no business with this schedule, which includes Youngstown Ursuline (9-1), Canton Central (9-1), St. Thomas (7-3), and Minerva (6-4). Ursuline and Central both qualified for post-season play last year and Central even came home with the trophy. The only consolation is that no team on the schedule is above Division 3.

No. 4 – North Canton. The Division 1 Vikings play three teams that made the playoffs last year, including Akron Buchtel (9-1), Green (8-2) and Louisville (8-2). However, none is a Division 1 team. North Canton also plays Division 2 Zanesville (2-8), a team that has fallen on hard times in recent years. The toughest opponent will be Buchtel, who advanced to the state semifinals in 2000, falling to Olmsted Falls 31-7.

No. 5 – Perry. The Panthers play just two Division 1 teams: Stow (7-3) and Findlay (6-4). The others are Division 4 Canton Central (9-1) and Columbus Eastmoor (5-5). Central, the only opponent that qualified for the playoffs, is also the only team that should give Perry trouble this year. This just isn’t a schedule that compares well with Jackson and GlenOak. But it is a schedule that can get a team into the playoffs.

No. 6 – Lake. The Division 2 Blue Streaks will face three Division 2 teams and one Division 3 team. The slate includes Akron Buchtel (9-1), Dover (7-3), Kenston (5-5) and Akron Firestone (4-6).

No. 7 – Wooster. The soon-to-be-departed-from-the-Federal-League Generals have a schedule much to their need. It consists of Orrville (6-4), Revere (5-5), Cloverleaf (4-6), and New Philadelphia (2-8). None of their opponents made the playoffs last year.

 Friday, August 10, 2001 

Top Games on Tap for 2001

  
by Tiger Don  8/10/01

Here’s a rundown of some of the top games in Northeast Ohio. As you can see from the list there are some real dandies this year, highlighted by Massillon at St. Ignatius in Week 4.

Week 1: Westerville South at Massillon. Both of these teams are coming off 8-2 seasons behind offenses that averaged over 30 points per game. Both also made the playoffs. This one should be a matchup of two pass-oriented squads, which should provide plenty of entertainment for the fans. It could also be an early test of the Tigers’ young defensive secondary. Other games of interest: Solon at Strongsville, St. Ignatius at Toledo St. John’s, and GlenOak at McKinley.

Week 2: Akron Buchtel at North Canton. If Hoover is for real, this will be the time to show it. Buchtel lost only to Massillon last year and went deep into the Division 2 playoffs. The Vikings also made the playoffs last year with an 8-2 record only to lose a second time to Perry, in overtime. This one will be Hoover’s toughest game of the season. Other games of interest: Boardman at St. Ignatius and Strongsville at Euclid.

Week 3: Toledo St. Francis at Jackson. The Knights should rebound from last year’s 6-4 record and provide an early test for the Polar Bears, who finished 8-2 in 2000. Jackson should be 2-0 entering this one provided they get by Austintown Fitch in Week 2. Other games of interest: Buchtel at GlenOak and Perry at Central.

Week 4: Massillon at St. Ignatius. This is the one everyone’s been waiting for. Both teams will feature outstanding passing games to go along with devastating run defenses. Last year St. Ignatius, Ohio’s defending state champs, defeated the Tigers 36-21 in a contest that was not decided until the final quarter. Massillon QB Justin Zwick completed 27 of 60 passes for 360 yards and three touchdowns, while the two teams combined for nearly 1,000 in offense. This one could match the two best teams in the state. Other games of interest: Perry at Jackson.

Week 5: St. Ignatius at Cincinnati Elder. Ignatius rolled through the season last year while Elder, a member of the Greater Cincinnati League, suffered three close defeats against some of the top competition in the state. One of the setbacks was to Warren, 24-19. The two teams last played in 1988, with the Wildcats prevailing 21-20 in overtime. Other games of interest: McKinley at Grove City, North Canton at Perry, and Youngstown Mooney at St. Edward.

Week 6: Massillon at Mansfield. The Tigers have had fits in Mansfield over the years with losses in 1995 (21-20) and 1998 (21-0). Based on the Tygers’ schedule, they should be 5-0 entering this one and could be a nemesis again. According to their coach, Mansfield should be playoff-bound team at the end of the season. Other games of interest: Jackson at Boardman.

Week 7: St. Ignatius at McKinley. The Pups are trying to reverse a 3-6 mark from the year before and a win here could signal a return to those good times. In 2000 McKinley lost to the Wildcats 30-6 ending a modest 3-game winning streak, which ironically was the last time the Bulldogs tasted victory. Other games of interest: none.

Week 8: McKinley at Warren Harding. The Pups share the spotlight for the second week in a row when they face a veteran Thom McDaniels eleven. Maurice Clarrett returns to the Raider offense for his senior year and reports say the Ohio State-bound player may be the best runner in the state. McKinley will counter with its own top talent in Tyler Everett. Other games of interest: St. Ignatius at St. Edward, GlenOak at North Canton and Mansfield at Marion Harding.

Week 9: Cincinnati St. Xavier at St. Ignatius. For the fourth time in six weeks the Wildcats are featured in the game-of-the-week. This time it’s against the Bombers, who are one of the pre-season picks to represent the south in the playoffs. Last year St. X finished 7-3 and qualified for post-season play, after having lost to Ignatius 29-10 in the regular season. Other games of interest: Dayton Chaminade at Massillon and GlenOak at Jackson.

Week 10: Massillon at McKinley. It comes as no surprise that this game is pegged as one of the top games of the year. Both teams have won their share of state titles throughout the years and the winner will traditionally make some noise in the playoffs. The Tigers won the last two 35-7 and 13-9 and hope to make it three straight behind the strong arm of Justin Zwick and hard running of Robert Oliver. Massillon may also possess the quickest team they’ve had in several years, something that could make the difference in this one. Other games to watch: Jackson at North Canton, Perry at GlenOak, and Buchtel at Garfield.

Stayed tuned. The excitement is just beginning.

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