McKinley 35, Massillon 21 (Oct 31-2009)

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McKinley 35, Massillon 21 (Oct 31-2009)

Post by David Stevenson » Sat Oct 24, 2009 12:54 am

McKinley 35, Massillon 21 (Oct 31-2009)
"Halloween will be remembered as the day the Bulldogs' playoffs hopes somehow rose from the dead." - Jim Isabella
1st half action (courtesy, "Just A Fan")...
2nd half action (courtesy, "Just A Fan")...
McKinley beats Massillon, 35-21, headed to playoffs
Josh Weir
Updated: Saturday, October 31, 2009
Much like the adversity That's tried to drag down McKinley's season at numerous points this fall, Bryce Wilder felt a Massillon defender yanking on his jersey in Saturday's closing minutes.

“Somebody was trying to tackle me, and I said, ‘I'm not going down,' " the Bulldogs senior running back said. "I kept my feet moving and popped up out of it."

The Bulldogs are still on the move. Wilder’s 25-yard touchdown run sealed McKinley's 35-21 win in front of 15,555 fans at Fawcett Stadium, snapping a four-game losing streak to Massillon and sliding the Bulldogs (6-4) into the final playoff spot in Division I, Region 2.

Box score/recap

The 118th edition of this high school football rivalry will be remembered for different reasons. The Tigers will recall the missed opportunities, including the chance to keep McKinley out of the postseason. They had the ball in McKinley territory on every one of their nine possessions but only came away with three touchdowns.

The Bulldogs will remember the big plays, their bend-but-don't-break defense and a season being saved. Two weeks ago, they were walking off Hoover's muddy field with a humiliating loss after blowing a 32-point halftime lead.

Now, after wins against playoff teams Boardman and archrival Massillon, They're headed to Toledo Whitmer for a Week 11 game next Saturday.

"We were calling ourselves the underdogs, because nobody expected us to win," said Wilder, whose team hadn’t won consecutive games all season until Saturday. “Everybody was going to come out here and play their hardest, because we wanted that bell so bad. We got it back, and we have new life."

According to respected rankings Web site, the Bulldogs won a Level 3 tiebreaker -- which is pretty much a strength of schedule component -- to gain the final playoff spot over Hudson. The Ohio High School Athletic Association releases the official pairings this afternoon.

The stars began to align Friday night when everyone around McKinley -- sitting 12th at the time -- lost in Region 2. But the Bulldogs didn't pay much attention to those games, head coach Ron Johnson said.

“More than anything, it was Massillon," Johnson said. "It was the only game on the schedule. And now they got the opportunity to enjoy each other again, to spend at least one more week together."

The big-play Pups started early. Shortly after Massillon saw an impressive drive to open the game result in a 32-yard missed field goal, McKinley QB Kyle Ohradzansky play-action faked to Wilder and hit Angelo Powell in stride for a 66-yard TD and a 7-0 lead.

“They really made some big plays, just too many for us to recover from," Massillon coach Jason Hall said.

The next Massillon drive ended with Brice Everett picking off a pass at the McKinley 3. The Bulldogs went down the field methodically this time behind Wilder and junior backfield-mate Elijah Farrakhan. The end result was a 14-0 lead when Ohradzansky plunged in for a 1-yard TD run with 10:24 left in the second quarter.

Wilder ran 17 times for 119 yards. Farrakhan added 77 yards on 12 carries behind a great effort from the offensive line. The two backs, both in the 5-foot-9, 170-pound range, never fumbled.

“They got a couple really talented guys," Hall said. "(Wilder) is as good a running back as there is in the area. You might hold him down a couple of plays, but then he’ll just explode like he did on that last touchdown."

Ohradzansky, while calling 70 percent of the offense at the line of scrimmage according to Johnson, was phenomenal. He completed 7-of-10 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns. He also put his head down and got some tough yards, including when he scrambled for 7 yards to convert a third down on McKinley's game-clinching drive.

Powell caught three passes for 83 yards and two TDs -- the second a 5-yard fade route to put McKinley up, 28-14, early in the third. Powell also spent most of the afternoon defending Massillon star receiver Devin Smith after not playing defense all season. Smith’s one catch Saturday didn't come until the final minute.

“Angelo Powell was a legend today," Johnson said.

Massillon starting running back Alex Winters did not return after injuring his left leg on the Tigers’ second series. Jake Reiman stepped in for 50 yards on 16 carries. His first of three short TD runs on the day cut the Tigers’ deficit to 14-7 with 3:46 left in the first half.

The Bulldogs answered immediately. Taron Montgomery went 92 yards untouched on the ensuing kickoff.

"I ain’t a rocket (scientist) now, but that 7 points was pretty big," Johnson said.

Undaunted, the Tigers came back and scored with 46 seconds left in the half. Justin Olack, who had five receptions for 107 yards, hauled in a 40-yard grab to start the drive. A play after converting a fourth down with a 12-yard reception, Reiman scored from a yard out to make it 21-14.

But closing drives was a rarity on this day for Massillon.

"We worked a lot of red zone. We just didn't capitalize," said Hall, whose Tigers host a playoff game next week, likely against Hoover. "We'll look at the film, evaluate and make the corrections we need to make."

Massillon QB Robert Partridge completed 13-of-34 passes for 235 yards. The Bulldogs only sacked him twice, but they were able to bring enough heat to make him uncomfortable.

"We were just relentless," said senior defensive lineman Jamaal McClain, who had one of the sacks along with Steve Miller. "We talked about it at practice, going hard and getting in his face."

Johnson wasn't worried about the 362 yards of offense his Bulldogs allowed.

"We gave up some yards," he said, "But you have to cross that last one to matter."
Bulldogs' big plays take down Tigers
The Independent
Posted Oct 31, 2009 @ 05:51 PM
Massillon came into Saturday afternoon's game against archrival McKinley as the team boasting the big-play ability. But it was the Bulldogs who seemed to make the biggest plays when needed in the 118th meeting between the two storied programs.

And those big plays -- be it on offense, defense or special teams -- proved to be the difference as McKinley snapped a four-game losing streak to the Tigers with a 35-21 victory over Massillon in front of 15,555 at Fawcett Stadium Saturday afternoon.

McKinley had three touchdowns of 25 yards or more in the game. None of the Tigers' three scoring plays were by more than two yards.

"They made a lot of big plays," Massillon coach Jason Hall said. "You have to take your hat off to them. They really made some big plays, just too many for us to recover from."

The Tigers now head into the playoffs with a 7-3 record. Massillon will be hosting a first-round game next Saturday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, likely against Hoover, the same team which beat the Tigers in the first round last year in North Canton.

McKinley, meanwhile, likely earned a trip to the playoffs with its first two-game win streak of the season. The Bulldogs, who are now 6-4, are expected to head to Toledo to meet Whitmer next weekend.

The Bulldogs set the big-play tone on their third play after a missed Tiger field goal, as quarterback Kyle Ohradzansky hit Angelo Powell on a post pattern for a 66-yard touchdown pass with 5:09 left in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead after the point-after try.

"It really got the nerves off our shoulders," said Ohradzansky, who was 7-of-10 for 136 yards with a pair of touchdowns to Powell. "They shut us out last year 17-0. So when we come out and score right away, it gave our guys a real sense of confidence, like 'Hey, we can score on these guys and we can do it really, really fast."

Ohradzansky would add a 1-yard plunge for a 14-0 Bulldog lead 1:36 into the second quarter. But the Tigers would come back with a 1-yard Jake Reiman plunge to cut it to 14-7 with 3:46 left in the half.

Reiman, who finished with 50 yards on 16 carries and three scores, came into the game after Alex Winters suffered an apparent knee injury on the first play of the Tigers' second possession.

That's when McKinley would get big play No. 2, and maybe the biggest play of the game.

Taron Montgomery would take the subsequent kickoff at McKinley 2, run straight ahead, cut to the left and then took off. He wouldn't be touched until he was tackled well after crossing the goal line by a Massillon player, but the score stood and the Bulldog lead was 14 again at 21-7 with 3:33 left until halftime.

"It's a momentum swing," said Hall, whose team trailed 21-14 at halftime. "In big games, special teams a lot of times are the factor. That was a big play for them."

Massillon offense reached McKinley's territory on all nine possessions of the game. But the Tigers were turned away on five trips inside the Bulldog 35, once on a missed field goal, another on an interception on their second drive, twice on downs and a final time when time expired in the game.

"We were just relentless," McKinley defensive lineman Jamaal McClain said. "We went through practice all week talking about going hard. ... We just wanted to play hard and relentless. That's all we did. We were just focused and ready to play."

Both of the turnovers on down came in the third quarter after McKinley moved ahead 28-21 on Ohradzansky's second touchdown pass of the game. The first came from the Bulldog 24 on fourth-and-10, the second from the McKinley 17 on a fourth-and-8.

"Sometimes in these big games, we were down and trying to get momentum back," Hall said. "You don't know when you're going to get back again. We tried one early and we didn't hit. We just decided we were in that tweener area. A couple times they made plays and a couple times that's when we got scores."

Massillon seemed to have a chance with just under six minutes remaining after Reiman's third scoring run -- a 2-yard run -- cut it to 28-21. But McKinley answered, as Bryce Wilder ripped off a 25-yard touchdown run with 1:17 left to cap a nine-play, 81-yard drive.

Wilder finished with 119 yards on 17 carries.

"Bryce Wilder and Elijah Farrakhan, unbelievable," McKinley coach Ron Johnson said. "They took care of the football. They squeezed it up and they made plays."

And plays -- big ones -- were the reason why the Bulldogs were the ones celebrating with the Victory Bell on Saturday afternoon.

n n n

McKinley 35, Massillon 21

Massillon 00 14 00 07 -- 21

McKinley 07 14 07 07 -- 35


McK -- Powell 66 pass from Ohradzansky (Forsythe kick)

McK -- Ohradzansky 1 run (Forsythe kick)

Mas -- Reiman 1 run (Geier kick)

McK -- Montgomery 92 kickoff return (Forsythe kick)

Mas -- Reiman 1 run (Geier kick)

McK -- Powell 5 pass from Ohradzansky (Forsythe kick)

Mas -- Reiman 2 run (Geier kick)

McK -- Wilder 25 run (Forsythe kick)

Mas McK

First downs 18 15

Rushes-yards 33-127 42-228

Comp-Att-Int 13-34-1 7-10-0

Passing yards 235 136

Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0

Penalty yards 4-50 8-64

Records 7-3 6-4


Rushing: Massillon -- Reiman 16-50 3 TDs; Partridge 8-48; Winters 7-26; Robey 2-3. McKinley -- Wilder 17-119 TD; Farrakhan 12-77; Ohradzansky 11-26 TD.

Passing: Massillon -- Partridge 13-34-235 TD. McKinley -- Ohradzansky 7-10-136 2 TDs.

Receiving: Massillon -- Olack 5-107; Allman 2-41; Grunder 2-40; Reiman 2-19. McKinley -- Powell 3-83 2 TDs; Parton 2-10; Wilder 1-31; Ogletree 1-12.
Football Canton McKinley 35, Massillon 21
Bulldogs spark playoff hopes
50th win against rival pairs McKinley Saturday with Toledo Whitmer

By Jim Isabella
Special to the Beacon Journal

Published on Sunday, Nov 01, 2009
In the 118th meeting of the oldest football series in the state, Canton McKinley had no turnovers and played flawlessly on offense to defeat Massillon 35-21 before 15,555 at Fawcett Stadium. Massillon leads the all-time series 63-50-5, but that 50th McKinley win will go down as one of the most meaningful in the storied rivalry.

According to the local mathematicians, the victory will send the Bulldogs into the Division I, Region 2 playoffs. McKinley and Hudson were tied for the eighth and final spot in both Level One and Level Two points, but the Bulldogs had the edge in the rarely used Level Three points.

The pairings will be announced today by the Ohio High School Athletic Association and it looks like Massillon will host North Canton Hoover and McKinley will play at Toledo Whitmer on Saturday.

Bulldogs junior quarterback Kyle Ohradzansky completed 7-of-10 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Senior running back Bryce Wilder rushed for 119 yards on 17 carries.

''[Massillon] never stopped us and we just kept doing what we did,'' Ohradzansky said.

The teams combined for 726 yards in total offense. The difference was simple -- McKinley took advantage of all its opportunities and Massillon did not.

''They just made too many plays and we could not stop them,'' Tigers coach Jason Hall said.

The first quarter was an exercise in frustration for the Tigers.

Massillon took the opening kickoff, had the ball for almost six minutes but stalled on the McKinley 15 and senior kicker Jeremy Geier was short on a 32-yard field-goal attempt.

The Bulldogs then struck quickly, scoring on a 64-yard pass from Ohradzansky to Angelo Powell for a 7-0 lead.

The Tigers drove into Bulldogs territory again but Brice Everett intercepted a tipped pass from Robert Partridge at the goal line and returned it to the McKinley 31. The Bulldogs took advantage with a 13-play drive, capped by Ohradzansky's 1-sneak for a 14-0 lead.

Massillon cut the lead to 14-7 on the next series. A nine-play, 54-yard drive was capped by a 1-yard plunge by junior Jake Reimen.

Again, McKinley responded quickly. Junior Taron Montgomery took the kickoff at his 8-yard line and went 92 yards for a touchdown that gave the Bulldogs a 21-7 lead.

Another 1-yard touchdown run by Reiman capped Massillon's next drive with 46 seconds to go in the half.

The Bulldogs squelched the Tigers' momentum early in the third quarter when Powell caught his second touchdown pass from Ohradzansky, a 5-yard lob into the left corner of the end zone. Powell, a senior, had three catches for 88 yards.

The Tigers' faint hopes got a boost with a 28-yard punt return by Bo Grunder that put the ball on the McKinley 47. A 26-yard scramble by Partridge and a 19-yard pass to Grunder set up Reimen's third rushing touchdown, a 2-yarder that cut the deficit to 28-21 with 5:56 to go.

McKinley ate up most of the final minutes of the quarter in two possessions, putting the game away on a 25-yard run by Wilder with 1:17 left in the game.

For a team that two weeks ago had lost 38-34 to Hoover after holding a 34-2 lead at halftime, Halloween will be remembered as the day the Bulldogs' playoffs hopes somehow rose from the dead.
Ohradzansky delivers early, often for McKinley
Chris Easterling
Updated: Saturday, October 31, 2009
A year ago, Kyle Ohradzansky -- like most of his McKinley teammates -- had a game to forget in a shutout loss at Massillon.

On Saturday afternoon at Fawcett Stadium, the Bulldogs junior quarterback had a day he’ll no doubt remember for a long, long time.

Ohradzansky completed 7-of-10 passes for 136 yards and a pair of touchdowns, helping serve as a catalyst in McKinley's 35-21 win over the Tigers.

“That was the best game of his McKinley career," Bulldogs running back Bryce Wilder said. "He said he was going to play good, too. In his first year, he didn't really know what was on the line (in this game), but now he understands what Massillon-McKinley is all about."

The junior quarterback set the tone for the Bulldogs on their third offensive play.

Ohradzansky froze the Massillon defense with a perfectly executed fake to Wilder, who was a key target of the Tigers defense all game. Ohradzansky then lofted a pass to Angelo Powell as he broke free on a post pattern down the left side of the field.

Powell caught the ball in stride and outran Tiger defenders to the end zone for a 66-yard touchdown. That gave McKinley a 7-0 lead with 5:09 left in the first quarter.

"It really got the nerves off our shoulders," said Ohradzansky, who threw for just 47 yards and was sacked five times last year. “They shut us out last year, 17-0. So when we come out and score right away, it gave our guys a real sense of confidence, like ‘Hey, we can score on these guys, and we can do it really, really fast.’"

Coming into the game, much had been made about the Bulldogs offense, primarily its lack of a consistent passing game. But facing the prospects of beating their archrivals in order to qualify for the playoffs or going home at 5-5, McKinley needed a solid performance from Ohradzansky in order to end a four-game losing streak in the rivalry.

That's exactly what the Bulldogs got from the junior.

"I thought that as long as I got the ball in our playmakers’ hands, they were going to make plays," Ohradzansky said. "We've got awesome guys. ... We knew our guys could make plays as long as I got them the ball."
Tiger left to lament missed scoring chances
The Independent
Posted Oct 31, 2009 @ 08:17 PM
In the postmortem of any loss, a team can look back and see a handful of opportunities which slipped through its fingers, opportunities which could have made the difference between a win or a loss.
The same holds true for the Massillon Tigers in the wake of their 35-21 loss to archrival McKinley on Saturday afternoon at Fawcett Stadium.
The Tigers' lament in Saturday's loss rests in their inability of cashing in on numerous scoring chances in the Bulldogs' territory. Massillon had the ball nine times in the game, and all nine crossed on McKinley's side of the 50.
But it wasn't just that the Tigers got into McKinley territory, but they got deep into McKinley's territory. Besides the three touchdown drives, Massillon got inside the Bulldog 35 five times, none of which resulted in points.
"We work a lot of red zone," Tiger coach Jason Hall said. "There's a couple of times we just didn't capitalize down in the red zone. We'll have to watch film and evaluate and make the corrections we need to make."
Massillon's first drive of the game, an impressive 16-play march of 83 yards, came to an end at the Bulldog 15 on a missed field goal. The Tigers' second drive reached the McKinley 31, only to end on a fourth-down interception when McKinley's Jamon McClain deflected a pass around the 5 into the waiting arms of teammate Brice Everett.
"That's been the heart of our defense all year," McKinley defensive lineman Jamaal McClain said. "Every game, we come out and harp on not letting teams score. When it comes down to fourth down, that's when we all (rise) up, our hearts come together and we get stops."
Both third-quarter drives ended inside the McKinley 25 on fourth-down stops by the Bulldogs. The first came on an incompletion on fourth-and-10 from the McKinley 24; the second came on a fourth-and-8 incompletion from the Bulldog 17.
Massillon trailed 28-14 in both instances.
"Sometimes in these big games, we were down and trying to get momentum back," Hall said. "You just don't know when you're going to get down there again. We tried one early and we didn't hit. A lot of times, we were just in that 'tweener' area. A couple of times they made plays, and a couple of times that's when we got our scores."
Massillon finished the hame with 362 yards, two fewer than McKinley gained. But, in the end, the only numbers that mattered to the Bulldogs was what the final score said.
"Our defense is a talented group of guys," McKinley coach Ron Johnson said. "They were resilient tonight, because we gave up some yards. But, you have to cross that last one to matter, and our guys really bowed up and did a great job. It's all about points; everything we do is based on not giving up points."

Week 10 preview: Massillon at McKinley
Updated: Wednesday, October 28, 2009
SITE Fawcett Stadium, Saturday, 2 p.m.
RECORDS Massillon 7-2; McKinley 5-4.
LAST WEEK Massillon 28, Mentor 20; McKinley 28, Boardman 10.
LAST MEETING Massillon won, 17-0, last year.
Each team's defense will be tested by a big-play offense capable of scoring points in bunches. Massillon has the area’s best aerial connection in QB Robert Partridge and WR Devin Smith. Partridge has thrown 19 TD passes, with Smith catching an area-best 13 of them. Partridge has completed 58 percent of his throws overall for 1,683 yards. Smith averages 20.7 yards a catch on his 35 receptions. McKinley counters with the area’s best 1-2 punch running the ball in Bryce Wilder and Elijah Farrakhan. They have combined for 16 TDs. Wilder has rushed for 1,188 yards, and Farrakhan has 597 yards. Each team's offense, though, is not a two-man attack. Massillon sophomore RB Alex Winters has rushed for 988 yards and 13 TDs, averaging 6.1 a carry. Justin Olack and Bo Grunder are two other targets in the passing game. McKinley QB Kyle Ohradzansky has thrown 13 TD passes, second-most in the Federal League. WR Angelo Powell has come on strong with six TDs among his 13 catches. He averages 19.7 yards per reception. Matt Ogletree has three TDs and averages 16.8 yards a catch on 11 receptions. McKinley's defense could be without three top playmakers because of injuries -- Steve Miller, Freddie Burton and Omoyele Gonzalez.
Scouting Massillon at McKinley
Chris Easterling
Updated: Friday, October 30, 2009
The teams:
Massillon is looking to close out its first eight-win regular season since the 2005 state runner-up team went 9-1. The Tigers, under head coach Jason Hall, have rebounded from a two-game losing streak to start the second half of the season by beating Warren Harding and Mentor the last two weeks to improve to 7-2. The wins have put the Tigers at No. 2 in the most recent Division I Region 2 computer rankings, securing the school’s 18th playoff appearance. But Massillon can guarantee itself a home game next week in the first round by winning this afternoon. The last two games have seen a revival of the Tigers’ explosive offense, which was rendered silent by Steubenville in Week Seven. That has meant a balanced attack which has been able to gash opponents both running and throwing the ball. The running game, led by sophomore tailback Alex Winters, has rebounded after being held to just 31 yards by Big Red to gain over 300 yards in the last two games combined. That has provided a nice counter to the big-play passing game, led by quarterback Rob Partridge. When Partridge and the passing game is on, it generally means there will be several different receivers involved in the offense. While the “big three” of Devin Smith, Justin Olack and Bo Grunder have received -- no pun intended -- the bulk of the catches, they are far from the only targets Partridge can choose from. Tyler Allman and Justin Sheegog have steadily become more prominent in the Tigers’ threee- and four-receiver sets, while the return of Jacar Roberson from injury figures to continue to benefit both the running and passing games. Tight end Brandon Pedro has also provided another big target in the passing game after moving back from tackle two weeks ago. On defense, the Tigers remain one of the most opportunistic units in the area. Despite giving up over 300 yards of offense a game, Massillon has created 25 turnovers this season, which has been a big reason why it is only giving up about 18 points a game. Key among those creating turnovers has been a talented secondary, led by safeties Josh Remark and Grunder, as well as cornerbacks Tyler Miller and Aaron White. The linebacking corps has been solid, if not spectacular, with Seth Nalbach and Danny Huhn on the outside and Spencer Leno and either Aaron Robey or Clayton Mattox on the inside. The defensive line has dealt with some injury issues this season, most notably the absences of Joe Studer for three games and Tim Busson for the first five weeks. Still, the group has made steady progress, mixing and matching from a group that includes Studer, Busson, Tim Dimitroff, Brian Robinson, Jeff Myers, Morgan McCune and Pedro.

Second-year McKinley coach Ron Johnson used the word “perplexing” to sum up the season for his Bulldogs, and it certainly would fit. Coming into the season, McKinley boasted an array of potential Division I-A talent, but injuries and inconsistent play has left it sitting at 5-4 entering this afternoon’s game. The Bulldogs have yet to put together a two-game win streak this season, winning in the odd-numbered weeks while losing in the even-numbered ones. In spite of that, McKinley still has an outside shot of qualifying for its 18th playoff appearance -- and second straight -- with a win over its archrival along with a few other things happening. McKinley is coming off a 28-10 win over Boardman last week which may have represented as balanced an offensive game as the Bulldogs have had this season. For much of the season, they have been rather one-dimensional, relying almost exclusively on their running game. Of course, that running game has been very solid for McKinley, led by the shiftiness of Bryce Wilder and hard running of Elijah Farrakhan. Last week, it also returned the services of S’veon Holloway from injury, who will give the Bulldogs another runner to rely on against the Tigers. Where McKinley has been most inconsistent on offense this season has been in the passing game, where quarterback Kyle Ohradzansky has struggled with his completion percentage for much of the season. However, Ohradzansky had it clicking last week, throwing for 190 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the win over the Spartans. There are a few targets that the junior quarterback can choose from when he does put the ball in the air. Angelo Powell, Matt Ogletree, Alex Parton and Farrakhan all have double-figure catches, while Wilder and Taron Montgomery also are threats to catch the ball. No unit has been more disrupted by the injury bug for the Bulldogs than their defense. Defensive back Freddie Burton, linebacker Omoyele Gonzalez and, most notably, All-Ohio defensive end Steve Miller have been battling injuries which have cost them games. Miller and Burton have missed the last two games due to nagging injuries. When completely healthy, the Bulldog defense may be one of the most athletic around. Miller, who verbally committed to Ohio State earlier this week, and sophomore S’Von Pittman provide a threat coming off the edge of the defensive line at the end spot, while Jamaal McClain is disruptive in the middle of the line. The linebackers, especially Jewone Snow and Ronald Gillom, can fly to the football, while the secondary is athletic with Jamon McClain at safety and Brice Everett at cornerback leading the way.

The key matchups: The Tiger offense, quite simply, must be able to give Partridge time to throw the ball against a McKinley defense which has, despite injuries, been able to get pressure on the quarterback. If the Tiger line -- Robinson and Averill Draper at tackle, Myers and Ben Doering at guard and Kyle Belak at center -- can keep the senior quarterback upright and allow him to go through his reads, then the passing game should flourish against the Bulldogs, who have struggled defending the pass at times this season.

Another matchup to watch is one which has been problematic at times for Massillon this season, which is its defense’s ability to stop the run. McKinley is a strong running team with Wilder and Farrakhan, and could control the tempo of the game if it can get those two established early. If Massillon can shut down the Bulldogs' running game, it puts the pressure on Ohradzansky to keep the chains moving, something he has struggled to consistently do this season.

Streaks, stats and facts: Massillon holds a 63-49-5 record all-time in the previous 117 meetings in the storied rivalry. The Tigers are currently on a four-game win streak, which matches the fifth-longest such streak for Massillon in the series. McKinley's last win in the series came in the regular-season finale in 2005 -- when both teams entered 9-0 -- at Fawcett Stadium, a 38-8 Bulldog win. … The Tigers are 22-13-1 all-time against McKinley at Fawcett Stadium. … Hall is 1-0 against McKinley. Johnson is 0-2 against Massillon, with one of those losses coming while he was the head coach at Middletown in 2007. … Partridge has completed 31-of-47 passes for 493 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception in the last two games. … Smith has nine catches for 225 yards and six scores in the last two weeks. Olack has eight catches for 90 yards and a score in that same span. Smith is leading the team with 35 catches for 726 yards and 13 scores, while Olack is second with 27 catches for 427 yards and three scores. Grunder has 21 catches for 260 yards and a score to round out the top three receivers for the Tigers. … Since being held to just 20 yards on nine carries at Steubenville, Winters has exploded with 283 yards on 47 carries with a pair of touchdowns in the last two weeks. He has 988 yards on 162 carries with 13 scores for the season. … Miller made his first appearance on offense for the Tigers last week, catching an 8-yard pass. He also had a 47-yard interception return at the end of the first half. … If Massillon gets a turnover, it's a safe bet Grunder is in the vicinity. The senior free safety has six interceptions, four fumble recoveries and a fumble caused this season. He had both an interception and a fumble recovery against Mentor. … Remark has stuffed the stat sheet on defense. He leads the team in solo tackles (75) and tackles for loss (10), while adding 25 assisted tackles, two quarterback pressures, a fumble caused, an interception, two fumble recoveries and three pass break-ups. … Leno has a team-high 31 assisted stops to go with 70 solos, three tackles for loss, a quarterback pressure, a team-high four sacks, a team-best two fumbles caused, a fumble recovery and a pass break-up. … Huhn has made life difficult on opposing quarterbacks. The senior outside backer has 12 quarterback pressures and two sacks this season. … Jeremy Geier has been Mr. Automatic for the Tigers this season. He is a perfect 36-of-36 on extra-point tries, and is 5-for-6 on field goal attempts this season. He has connected on his last five field goal tries, including a 39-yarder against Garfield. … Wilder has been the king of big games for McKinley this season. He has rushing performances of 297, 204, 115 and 283 yards this season. For the season, he has gained 1,188 yards on 153 carries with nine scores. … Farrakhan had back-to-back 100-yard rushing games against Austintown Fitch (133 yards) and Jackson (192) to help him to a 597-yard total for the season. … Against Boardman, Ohradzansky was 12-of-22 passing for a season-best 190 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, which was brought back for a touchdown. It was only the second time this season the junior quarterback threw for more than 100 yards in a game -- the other being in Week Two, when he tossed for 174 yards in a loss to Wayne. It is also just the third time this season he completed at least half his passes, with the others coming against East Tech (5-of-6) and Hoover (7-of-14). … Powell is McKinley's leading receiver, with 13 catches for 256 yards and six touchdowns. Ogletree is next with 11 grabs for 185 yards and three scores. … The punters for both teams -- Partridge for Massillon and James Forsythe for McKinley -- would be wise to be careful punting it away in this game. Either Grunder or Smith for Massillon, as well as Wilder for McKinley, are capable of bringing any return back to the end zone. Grunder had three returns for scores last year, while Smith had a return for a touchdown earlier this season against Firestone. Wilder has a pair of returns for touchdowns this season. … Miller is McKinley's top sack man, with four. Jayme Randle has a solo and an assisted stop, while seven others have solo sacks and one other has just an assisted sack. … Miller has 10 tackles for loss this season for McKinley, despite missing at least two games with injury. Deshaun Montgomery, Pittman and Fred Johnson each have four stops. … Forsythe is 3-of-5 on field goals this season for McKinley. He is 33-of-40 on PATs.

Coach speak: “Their defensive line is very athletic and very physical," Massillon's Hall said. "You can tell they've spent a lot of time in the weight room. They're a very athletic team in general, but they get off the ball. They do a good job of penetrating at the line of scrimmage. They present some issues with their 5-3 defense that you have to be ready for. Miller and Pittman are very athletic. Their ends are very similar to Harding’s, just very athletic guys, good guys in space who can run and do some things."

“Wilder is just a big playmaker for them. You know it by just the way they put him everywhere -- in the backfield, out as a receiver. The do a lot of stuff with him, just trying to put him in space or in a position to be successful. They do a good job of that. They have several weapons, but obviously he is when it comes to yards and catches and stuff like that, statistically he sticks out at you because of all the categories. He's athletic, He's shifty, He's a great punt returner, He's great on special teams. You really have to game plan for him and try not to let him have a big play against you."

“They force you to defend the width and depth of the field," McKinley's Johnson said. "You have to stay in just a very vanilla base defense because if you leave anything void, they can exploit that. They are just so deep and so talented, all you can do is hope to be in good position capitalize on some mistakes. They have playmakers everywhere. Just to be able to think about containing them is not really feasible.

“They are going to have a great game plan against us (defensively). (Massillon defensive coordinator) Steve (Kovacs) is phenomenal and He's going to have a great plan. They're going to be very well schooled. Again, They're not going to make mistakes over there either, so we just have to make sure we take care of the football and hopefully somebody slips somewhere along the line and we can make a play."

'Perplexing' Pups look to put it together vs. Massillon
Chris Easterling
Updated: Thursday, October 29, 2009
Ron Johnson has been around the game of football a long time. But ask him to sum up his second season as the head coach at McKinley, and he is left at a loss for words.

"I couldn’t even begin to go there with one word," Johnson said this week. "I wouldn’t be able to do it justice, good or bad."

Yes, it's been that kind of year for the Bulldogs, who will close out the regular season on Saturday afternoon at Fawcett Stadium against their archrivals from Massillon.

McKinley has been up to the highest of highs, such as its 81-0 season-opening win over Cleveland East Tech. And down to the lowest of lows, such as its 38-34 loss at Hoover two weeks ago in which it watched a 34-2 halftime lead evaporate.

The Bulldogs have alternated wins and losses through the season, most recently a 28-10 win last week over a Boardman team that was in a first-place tie in the Federal League. That has left McKinley sitting at 5-4 entering its annual grudge match against Massillon.

“The best word is perplexing," Johnson said. "That's the best word I can give you. I couldn’t tell you how proud I was of our kids, for instance, on Friday night. The way that they played, shutting them out on defense, playing great on offense, special teams were outstanding.

“Miserable conditions against a great football team in Boardman, and to dominate them the way we did is perplexing to then see how we play at other times. It has been different, but there's been many, many things to make us very, very proud of our football team."

The win over Boardman may have been the Bulldogs' most complete win of the season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. McKinley got a season-high 190 passing yards from junior quarterback Kyle Ohradzansky, while its defense limited the Spartans to just no offensive touchdowns in the game.

All of that occurred just seven days after the devastating loss at Hoover, and after a week which tested the Bulldogs' resolve.

"We had 20 guys out all week during practice," Johnson said. "We were a bunch of men down both with injury and sickness. That and the way they rallied around and picked each other up, when you can see that out of young men on a football team the way they can take care of one another and care for one another, it's very rewarding."

While it has been an inconsistent season for the most part, the Bulldogs have had their share of standout performers. The biggest on offense may have been running back Bryce Wilder, who has rushed for 1,188 yards this season.

Wilder has posted games of 204 (Austintown Fitch), 283 (Perry) and 297 (Lake) rushing yards this season.

“He’s a threat to go at any time. He's a very strong football player. He uses those people around him very well. Our offensive line has played exceptionally well to give him an opportunity to get his shoulders square and to get upfield."

That offensive line has been the object of much of Johnson’s pride. The Bulldogs have operated with a pair of sophomores (guards Skyler Parks and Chris Moore), two juniors (tackle Jacob Williams and guard Philleano Kennard) and two seniors (tackle Doug Fernandez and center Dakota Makowski) all season.

Behind that line, the Bulldogs have averaged nearly 236 yards rushing a game and over 341 offensive yards a contest.

“They’ve been the key to our success," Johnson said. “They’ve played very well. They're very proud young men who have become really proud to play offensive line and take a lot of pride in the running backs. … They're really, really proud of their performance."

As consistent as the McKinley offensive line has been, the defense has battled its share of inconsistencies. That defense had figured to be the Bulldogs' strength, with individuals such as defensive end Steve Miller, linebackers Jewone Snow and Ronald Gillom, defensive tackle Jamaal McClain and defensive backs Brice Everett and Jamon McClain all returning.

But the inconsistent availability of many individuals on that defense has precluded the unit from becoming what many expected it to become.

"We haven't had them all together really for two weeks in a row yet," Johnson said. "We've just had guys dinged up and banged up or sick or other adverse things happen to them. They haven't really gotten a chance to play together as much as we would’ve liked them to have played together."

Still, despite all of that adversity, it's not out of the realm of possibilities that the Bulldogs could be playing in Week 11. McKinley is currently ranked No. 13 in Division I Region 2, and would need a few things to bounce its way in terms of teams in front of it.

But the Bulldogs also know all of that talk is moot unless they take care of one thing and one thing only. That is, beat Massillon on Saturday.

"That's the single most important thing," Johnson said. "We try to be 1-0 every week. it's important to be 1-0 this week. The playoffs will take care of themselves. In imperative that we win and we're going to put all of our efforts and focus into being 1-0 this week."
Balance is strength of Massillon offense
Chris Easterling
Updated: Thursday, October 29, 2009
There have been a lot of adjectives thrown around to describe the way the Massillon offense has performed this season. Explosive. Opportunistic. Big-play.

But for Tiger offensive coordinator Alex Wood, there is another word he thinks of when he looks at the offense. That word would be “balanced."

“The biggest thing with me is that we were able to do what I think is important, and That's to stay balanced," Wood said this week. "I think when you have a balanced attack … you see all the different style of football, and the thing is a constant is those teams that can run the football can throw it too. That's been pleasing that we're able to have a balanced attack."

Massillon certainly has been able to both run and pass the ball with equal success this season. The Tigers have averaged just over 344 yards of offense a game this season, with just over 192 coming through the air and another roughly 152 coming on the ground.

That has made teams struggle with a catch-22 situation. They can drop extra men into coverage to take away the pass, opening themselves up to being gashed by the running game. The alternative is to play more man-to-man across the board in order to not open up holes for the run, which allows ample opportunity for strong-armed quarterback Rob Partridge to pick defenses apart to a cadre of fast, athletic receivers.

The most recent team forced to figure out a way to defend the Tiger attack is McKinley, which will play host to Massillon on Saturday afternoon at Fawcett Stadium. The Bulldogs are well aware of the quandary they find themselves faced with as they put together their own game plan for stopping the Tigers.

“They force you to defend the width and the depth of the field," McKinley coach Ron Johnson said. "You have to stay in just a very vanilla base defense because if you leave anything void, they can exploit that."

The kind of offensive attack the Tigers have showcased this season was a big reason why head coach Jason Hall reached out to Wood, a friend and former Tiger player, this past offseason. Wood brought with him 27 years of coaching experience, all of it at either the Division I-A or I-AA college or NFL levels.

But for all of the Xs and Os a coach draws up, it still comes down to the players going out and executing when they get out on the field. To that end, there has been a couple of developments which have helped to catapult the offense into a different stratosphere.

The first has been the maturation of Partridge at quarterback. The senior came into the season having started just five games last year, completing just 43-of-96 passes for 471 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions.

However, after a strong offseason which drew the interest of several Division I colleges, Partridge has blossomed into one of the area’s top passers. He has completed 107-of-185 passes for 1,683 yards, with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

"I think He's taken coaching well," Wood said of Partridge. “He’s growing with time. The more game experience, if you can play the game, the more experience you have, you get better. The old cliché, you never stay the same. You either get better or you get worse. Hopefully He's continuing to grow and get better.

“My deal for quarterbacks is, you do whatever you can in your teachings and your progressions to slow the game down. Make that game as slow as you can so they can process it and get it done. we're still working on that. it's slowed down just a little bit for him and He's starting to see it better."

The successes the Partridge and the passing game have experienced have all been well and good for Massillon. But it takes more than a good passing game to make a balanced offense.

Enter Alex Winters into the picture.

With the departure of All-Ohioan J.T. Turner off last year's team, the Tigers were left with a massive hole at the tailback position. During two-a-days, there were no fewer than five different backs competing for the starting job, with more than a few expecting to see a by-committee approach to the position, at least early on.

The sophomore Winters, though, grabbed the bull by the horns and hasn't let go. He's just 12 yards away from 1,000 yards for the season on 162 carries -- 123 more than the next closest rusher, who is Partridge -- and has six 100-yard rushing games to his credit already.

Not too bad for a sophomore, even though Wood said his age was irrelevant to the discussion.

"I was looking at somebody who could get the job done," Wood said. “To me, it really didn't matter what year they were, to be honest with you. Yeah, He's a sophomore, but I don't dwell on that. I was just looking for somebody who could do what we needed, run that ball so we could have that dimension. it's great that He's been able to fill that role."

All of that has helped the Tigers emerge as arguably as explosive a team as there is in the county. Only once have they been held to fewer than three touchdowns or 290 total yards -- both coming at Steubenville in a 13-3 loss.

"I'm happy with where we are," Wood said. "I wish we were more productive in a couple of the other games that we weren't fortunate enough to win. But I'm happy with where we are, and hopefully we continue to progress even into Saturday. We still have football yet to play."
Flying Tiger crash lands at Fawcett Stadium in the 118th game as McKinley win 35-21.
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Kyle Ohradzansky
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McKinley's Bryce Wilder celebrates as he breaks into the clear on his way to paydirt on a late TD run that sealed the game for McKinley over Massillon (
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Just a sophomore, Alex Winters has given the Massillon Tigers' offense another threat with his running ability. (Gateway Inc.)
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David Stevenson
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Re: McKinley 0, Massillon 0 (Oct 31-2009)

Post by David Stevenson » Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:00 am

Protecting Partridge a priority for Massillon
Chris Easterling
Updated: Wednesday, October 28, 2009
One of the most productive parts of the Massillon offense this season has been the passing game. The Tigers have already thrown for 1,732 yards, over 700 yards more than they did a year ago in 11 games.

Much of the credit has rightfully gone to quarterback Rob Partridge, along with a deep receiving corps which has included Devin Smith, Justin Olack and Bo Grunder. But often undervalued in that credit has been the offensive line, which has, for the most part, given Partridge consistent time to sit back and find his receivers.

Through nine games, the Tigers have given up only five sacks to the opposition, two of those coming at Steubenville and another one coming at St. Ignatius. In other words, 60 percent of the sacks have come in the Tigers’ two losses.

“Coming into this season, our pass protection is really what we focused on," Tiger left guard Jeff Myers said. "It's something that really has improved throughout the course of the year. We haven't given up as many sacks as we did last year or the year before.

That pass protection figures to be put to the test on Saturday afternoon, when the Tigers renew their annual grudge match with archrival McKinley at Fawcett Stadium. If there has been one area of the Bulldogs' defense which has been sound for much of their 5-4 campaign, it has been the ability the Bulldogs have had in getting to the quarterback.

“Their front seven or front eight are the core of their defense," Myers said. "They're going to create a lot of pressure. we're just going to have to keep doing what we've been doing."

McKinley has recorded 14 sacks this season. The team leader in that category has been All-Ohio defensive end Steve Miller, who has four sacks despite been hampered by injuries which has cost him some game action, most notably in the Bulldogs'

Still, if Miller is able to go against the Tigers, it provides a significant presence across the line of scrimmage Massillon must pay attention to on every play. Even with the injury issues He's dealt with this season, Miller has been one player who has jumped off the screen at the Tigers as they have watched film in advance of the game.

“The biggest thing that sticks out to me is just how explosive and strong he is," Massillon coach Jason Hall said. “He’s a physical kid. He's very physical with his play, then you put the athletic ability on top of it. I think the one thing He's done from last year is that He's become a very physical player. He comes in there and really does a good job of taking on the power and iso stuff. He's a very physical player."

Miller, though, won't be the singular focus of the Tiger offense. Not with S’von Pittman causing his own share of troubles from the other end spot, as well as Jamaal McClain in the middle of the line and linebackers such as Jewone Snow and Ronald Gillom.

"We're not going to dictate our game around one guy," Hall said. "I don't think you'll find a team that just game plans around one guy. The next thing you know, you're just setting yourself up. We just have to do a good job by formation of putting ourselves in a position to be successful."

The Tigers have been successful thus far this season in doing just that. The key now is to carry that forward into Saturday afternoon’s game.

"I think we do a good job of using our formations to our strengths," Hall said. "We've got to move some formations around and see how They're going to approach us defensively and just try to attack from there, just like any offense is trying to do. I think we're always trying to put Rob in a position where he knows what's going on.

"He knows where the protection is; he knows where the soft spots are. He does a good job of avoiding the pressure and making the good throw."

If Partridge has the time, there's no doubting the ability the Tigers have to throw the ball, even against McKinley's defensive front. The Bulldogs have had their share of difficulties stopping the pass, as evidenced by some of the statistics posted by their opponents this season.

Huber Heights Wayne, Austintown Fitch and Jackson all passed for at least 220 yards on McKinley, while Boardman tossed for 198 a week ago in a 28-10 Bulldog win.

"If Rob stays strong, I think we’ll be fine," Smith said. “He’s got good receivers -- me, Bo, Olack, (Justin Sheegog), everybody. We can put anybody in there and I think if we give him good time, he’ll throw a perfect pass."
Seniors pull McKinley together for final push
Chris Beaven
Updated: Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The long walk off the field was unimaginable for the McKinley High School football team.

Two weeks ago, the Bulldogs' 32-point halftime lead at Hoover had turned into a crushing 38-34 loss, McKinley's fourth during a season filled with highs and lows.

If ever there were a time for a team to pack it in, that was it.

Instead, the Bulldogs regrouped yet again. They head into Saturday's annual clash with Massillon with a chance to make this a memorable season. Kickoff is 2 p.m. at Fawcett Stadium.

“The way they responded last week shows the commitment they've made to the program," second-year McKinley coach Ron Johnson said. "We're really senior-laden on the defensive side of the ball. We lean on those guys a lot as leaders, and they do a great job."

Never was leadership needed more than after the loss to Hoover. It ended McKinley's slim hope for a league title and left the Bulldogs as a longshot for a playoff spot.

Instead of feeling sorry for themselves and letting the season slip away, the Bulldogs regrouped in a hurry. They beat Boardman, 28-10, knocking the Spartans out of first place in the Federal League.

"We played well in a tough situation," Johnson said. "We were mentally focused and had great resolve, and I was very proud of them. We got right into it on Saturday (after the Hoover loss) and turned our focus immediately to Boardman. we've got a great group of kids, especially our senior class."

McKinley's senior class features all-state linebacker Jewone Snow and several other talented defenders -- twins Jamaal and Jamon McClain, Brice Everett, Ronald Gillom, Desmond Johnson, Deshaun Montgomery, Omoyele Gonzalez and Fred Johnson. On offense, running back Bryce Wilder and center Dakota Makowski are among senior leaders. Senior punter James Forsythe also has been a plus.

That class has been tested throughout a season in which McKinley has alternated wins and losses the entire way.

"We play a very challenging schedule, and we played some awfully good teams that have played their ‘A’ games against us," Johnson said. "But it's football, and we have to overcome that. it's important for us to become more consistent. When we play well, we're capable of playing very, very well and playing with anybody."

McKinley pulled together last week not only to overcome the Hoover loss but also in dealing with injuries and illness. The Bulldogs had 20 guys out sick last week. They also had three defensive starters injured -- Gonzalez (ankle), Steve Miller (ankle) and Freddie Burton (thigh). Only Gonzalez played last week, and he could only go one series.

"It was tough," Johnson said. "We had a skeleton crew out there. But we really had some guys step up and get huge performances for us. we're getting some guys back, but we're still dealing with it."

The flu continues to be a problem. All three injured starters will be game-time decisions.

"They're trying (to get back). They're working hard at it," Johnson said. "But as long as they let us run 11 guys out there, we’ll be OK."

And if there's one thing that will stick with Johnson about this team, it is it's ability to push on.

"It's really their resiliency, the way they do bounce back," he said. “They take advantage of every opportunity they have to play this game and give it maximum effort. it's just the sense of pride in themselves and in Canton McKinley."
Massillon not resting on success with McKinley looming
Todd Porter
Updated: Wednesday, October 28, 2009
What it feels like to lose to McKinley never enters Jason Hall’s thoughts. It better not. His office might become a coat room again.

Hall is all settled in at Washington High School after nearly two seasons and what seems to be a remarkable turnaround this year. He has moved into an office, perhaps the largest one at Washington High School.

See what beating McKinley will do for a man?

Massillon fans have warmed to their young head coach, and Hall has the Tigers (7-2) on the brink of clinching a first-round home playoff game with a win against McKinley (5-4). Kickoff is 2 p.m. Saturday at Fawcett Stadium.

Last season, the Tigers needed a Week 10 win against the Bulldogs just to make the postseason. They got it, and Hall enjoyed the spoils in town for a year. People make eye contact and smile for 12 months after a win over the archrival.

Lose to McKinley?

"I don't want to think about it," Hall said. "I don't think like that. Our kids don't think like that."

Ultimately, coaches at Massillon and McKinley are judged -- forever -- on what their teams do in this game. Hall knows that.

“No matter what you say or how many playoff berths you have, if you look at the coaches and talk about the past coaches here, they talk about their record in this game," Hall said. "I told our kids this isn't a game where just everybody in the area looks at the score. Everybody in the country looks to find out who won in Week 10."

Before coming to Massillon, Hall, a former All-America linebacker at Mount Union College, researched the job. He looked into the town. He thought he knew about the McKinley game.

Until last year. Until the Friday night before the game, when thousands of Massillon fans lined the streets downtown for the annual parade as they stood there in the rain to greet the Tigers.

“From hearsay and rumors, you think you know about the game against McKinley," Hall said. "You really don't understand it until you're a part of it. ... Then you get an idea for how big the game is to the communities."

Massillon has gone through a transformation this year. The Tigers were 6-4 in 2008 after a 17-0 win over McKinley. That team started to buy into Hall’s program.

This year's team, with a strong nucleus of seniors, is invested. It started with seniors Robert Partridge and Joey Studer organizing offseason lifting. It carried through to this season when, after two tough losses, Partridge responded with a five touchdown passes two weeks ago against Warren Harding.

"We've progressed," Hall said. "We handled high spots (five straight wins before a heart-breaking loss to St. Ignatius). We handled adversity in the middle of the season with two losses.

“Realistically, we had chance against Ignatius to win, and we didn't play well at all against Steubenville, and we still had a chance to score two touchdowns. We were at a crossroads with how our team would respond, and they responded the last two weeks."

Massillon breaks down its season in three phases. The first nine games are the first phase. McKinley is the second phase. The third is the postseason.

One game, one phase?

“For over 100 years this game has been played. Yes, it's its own phase," Hall said. “In Weeks 1 through 9, we're not thinking about McKinley. we're focused on our mission. Then it's time to progress in the second phase."

On paper, it would appear that Massillon is favored to win. Even with a McKinley win, the Bulldogs' chances are making the postseason are slim, but what a way to salvage an inconsistent year in Canton.

Hall scoffs at the notion of being favored. A game like this isn't played on paper.

Not ever.

"You don't have to sell anything to anybody in this game," Hall said. “This is not about records, who’s done what or who’s played who. This game is gonna be about two teams representing their communities and laying it on the line."
McKinley's Wilder is focus for Massillon defense

Chris Easterling
Updated: Tuesday, October 27, 2009

As the Massillon defense goes through its preparations for Saturday afternoon’s game against archrival McKinley at Fawcett Stadium, there is one player in particular the Tigers are paying extra close attention to. That would be the Bulldogs' do-everything running back Bryce Wilder.

“He’s a big playmaker for them," Tiger coach Jason Hall said this week. "You know it by just the way the put him everywhere -- in the backfield, out as a receiver. They do a lot of stuff with him, just trying to put him in space or in a position to be successful. They do a good job of that."

Wilder comes into Saturday's 118th meeting between the two programs leading McKinley with 1,188 rushing yards, along with another 60 yards on seven catches. He is also key in the Bulldogs' return game, as he has 197 yards and two touchdowns on 14 punt returns, along with 111 kickoff return yards on four returns.

That has put him head and shoulders above the rest of McKinley's skilled players in terms of warranting attention from the opposition.

“They have several weapons," Hall said, "But obviously when it comes to yards and catches and things like that, statistically he sticks out at you because of all the categories. He's athletic, He's shifty, He's a great punt returner, He's great on special teams. You really have to game plan for him and try not to have him get a big play on you."

What Wilder isn't necessarily is the kind of big, bruising tailback that McKinley has had in the past, such as a Morgan Williams. At 5-foot-9, 165 pounds, he is more of the shifty type of runner than the lower-your-shoulder-and-plow-through kind.

That has put the Tiger defense on alert to be sound in tackling techniques this week.

“He’s real dangerous in space," Tiger defensive lineman Jeff Myers said. "If he gets out there one-on-one, That's where he makes his moves. If we can swarm to the ball, it shouldn’t be a problem."

If there has been one area where the Tigers have had some trouble on defense this season, it has been in stopping the run. Last week, Mentor gained 189 yards on the ground in a 28-20 Massillon win, the fifth straight team to top 185 yards rushing.

Wilder, meanwhile, keys a McKinley running game which has averaged 235 yards a game, including four games of at least 315 rushing yards and another of 244 yards.

"I think we're taking steps each week," Tiger inside linebacker Spencer Leno said. "We're definitely working on it in practice. we're working hard on stopping the run."

A big reason for the success opponents have had running the ball against Massillon has been due to the talent of the runners involved. But while the Tigers have faced their share of shifty, athletic tailbacks -- Garfield’s Tyson Gulley chief among those -- few have brought the all-around threat in both the run and passing games that Wilder possesses.

"I would say the running back from Garfield is the closest comparison, because he just did so much for them," Hall said. "He did everything but drive the bus for them. (Wilder) is definitely the guy that they try to put everywhere, and you have to find him."

While Wilder will certainly be a focal point for the Tiger defense, don't expect to see Massillon doing any gimmicky looks designed specifically to take the McKinley senior away.

“Defense is about your kids believing and being fundamentally sound," Hall said. "We work our best to make sure our kids are always in a position to be successful. there's going to be a time where He's going to be in space and we're going to have to make a play on him in open space in our secondary.

“There’s not going to be any wholesale change with our defense. We just have to game plan and be ready for whatever formation or set and where They're going to put him."
Passion for rivlary still burns for Bruce
Chris Easterling
Updated: Tuesday, October 27, 2009

it's been over 40 years since Earle Bruce coached in his last Massillon-McKinley game. But as he stood in front of a crowd of over 100 at Tuesday’s Touchdown Club -- including dozens of Tiger players -- at the Eagles 190, one could be forgiven if they thought Bruce would the one leading the Tigers onto the field on Saturday afternoon against the archrival Bulldogs at Fawcett Stadium.

The former Massillon and Ohio State head coach packed plenty of emotion into his nearly 30-minute speech. And much of that emotion came to the forefront when the topic of discussion turned to the 118-game rivalry between the Tigers and Bulldogs.

“There’s no greater game in the country than when you play in that game Saturday," Bruce said. “The greatest high school football is here. No doubt that rivalry between Canton McKinley and Massillon is outstanding. it's a week that I will never forget. The two weeks that I participated in that game were as fine a weeks in my life as I could possibly have. I think if you're a football coach, I think you really recognize what rivalry means when you come to this football game."

Bruce coached the Tigers to a 20-0 record in 1964 and 1965, before leaving to become one of Woody Hayes’ assistant coaches at Ohio State. Included in that record was a pair of wins over McKinley.

In 1964, the Tigers were able rally in the fourth quarter to beat McKinley 20-14 at Tiger Stadium in a game that featured two undefeated teams. Massillon was forced to dig deep after losing All-Ohioan John Mulbach to a hip pointer and quarterback Steve Kanner to a pulled hamstring, but Dave Sheegog came off the bench to replace Kanner and help lead a Massillon comeback.

“The score was nothing-nothing at halftime ... for us," Bruce said. “For them, it was 14-0 in favor of them. They had 14 points. They were undefeated; had nine players going Division I playing. We had maybe two on our team."

The story was almost the same the following year when the Tigers traveled to Canton to face McKinley. Once again, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 14-0 halftime lead, one which left Bruce fretting in the locker room at the break.

But he got all the inspiration he would need as he walked back onto the field for the start of the second half.

“When I came out of the locker room to go onto the field, the entire Massillon student body was lined up in a tunnel to bring us on the field," Bruce said. "I thought, ‘Oh my God, they haven't given up. They haven't given up. Why in the devil did I give up?' That convinced me right then and there that it's worth fighting for in the fourth quarter."

The Tigers would score 18 second-half points -- 14 of those in the fourth quarter -- to win 18-14 and lock up their second straight state championship.

“In every championship football game I’ve ever played in, with any championship football team I’ve ever played against, that game, if you're really playing, is going down to the fourth quarter," Bruce said. "If you're leading 38-0, it's not going down to the fourth quarter. But if you have to win the football game, That's when the hands have to go together. That's when the team has to come together. That's when the effort has to become greater. That's when the tackling has to be that which says, ‘I'm going to do it.' If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, That's when you can't."

What one can't say about Bruce is that He's lost his fire for football. While recalling a discussion he had with a disgruntled booster about tackling, he came down from the dais and proceeded to provide a demonstration to the audience, with current Tiger defensive lineman Joe Studer serving as his somewhat-sheepish helper.

He then used it as another chance to motivate the Tiger players in attendance.

“You’re going to tackle those McKinley guys," Bruce said. "You know why He's going to go down? You know why He's going to get tackled? You know why? Because I said your (butt) is going down. Just remember that during the game. That's the best coaching advice you've ever gotten about tackling in your life."

Bruce had a few final words of advice for the Tigers before he finished.

"You want to determine your own destiny," he asked. “You’re going to determine you're own destiny on Saturday. ... You follow the Tigers no matter what if you've ever coached them. it's the greatest feeling in the world to be the head coach of the Massillon Tigers because you are something. In this town, you're something. don't let the town down."

Massillon, McKinley coaches settling into rivalry
Chris Easterling
Updated: Monday, October 26, 2009
A year ago, a number of key individuals in the Massillon-McKinley game were walking into new and uncharted territory, having never been a part of the game before. Most notable in that group were the two head coaches, Massillon's Jason Hall and McKinley's Ron Johnson, both of whom were in their first year at their respective programs.

it's a different story this week, as the days count down to Saturday afternoon’s 118th meeting between the two storied rivals at Fawcett Stadium. Unlike last year, neither Hall nor Johnson are novices to The Game, and both have a much better idea of just what lies ahead as they work toward the impending encounter.

And as they work toward the game, they also draw from their first experiences in it from a year ago.

“When I went into it last year, I had veteran guys who had been a part of it," Hall said Monday night. "(Tiger Defensive coordinator Steve) Kovacs has been a part of it for a long time. (Former Tiger assistant and head coach) Jack Rose, and just some veteran people, all the way down to (then-Jackson coach) Thom McDaniels, who’s a friend of mine. The thing we tried to do was just stay focused.

"We talked to our kids about transitioning from the school day and the activities to the practice field. It stems from being organized and being structured and being disciplined. We strive on that, so we're not changing."

The message isn't much different eight miles or so to the east. Johnson admits that little -- outside of the familiarity that comes with experience -- has changed for him in terms of the week itself.

"It's still huge week," Johnson said following Monday’s practice. "It's a very important week. it's a very intense week. I don't know if you ever get used to it just because of the importance of the game in general."

The importance of the game to both communities is what has given the rivalry such a lasting legacy. Regardless of the records, one can count on both communities to have their share of activities during the course of the week centered around the game.

On Monday, Hall and a few members of the team were part of a pep rally inside the Washington High auxiliary gymnasium. Today, the Tiger coach and his seniors and starters will attend the Touchdown Club meeting at Eagles 190, where former Massillon and Ohio State coach Earle Bruce will speak at noon.

There remains a prayer breakfast which both teams will attend on Wednesday morning, while there will also be a Beat McKinley parade on Friday in Massillon.

"It's obviously a fun environment," Hall said. "It's fun to be around. Sometimes as a coach you think that there's a lot going on. This week is non-stop; there's not a lot of sleeping, not a lot of seeing your family.

"But, at the same time, every program wishes that they had what us and McKinley have. it's just towns that live and die for this Week Ten rivalry game. Just like I said to the kids, everybody -- not only in the state, but the country -- looks for this score on Sunday."

For all of the fun and extracurriculars which surrounds the game, both coaches remain steadfast in their belief that once the players end the school day and arrive on the practice field, their minds should be focused on their rivals. That, Johnson believes, is the biggest responsibility for the coaches in the game, especially the head coach.

"We have to make sure that we keep the main thing the main thing with all parties involved," Johnson said. “Our young men who are playing in it, our coaches who are coaching in it, we have to make sure we do our best to inform them and try to get them prepared mentally for all of the stuff outside the white lines so they can do their best job inside the white lines."
Massillon entering 'second season'
Chris Easterling
Updated: Sunday, October 25, 2009
Around 10 last Friday night, the Massillon Tigers finished up their first season. Now, They're getting ready for their second season, one which begins and ends Saturday afternoon against archrival McKinley at Fawcett Stadium.

"We approach the season like there's three," Tiger coach Jason Hall said following his team's 28-20 win over Mentor last Friday. “There’s Weeks One through Nine, then it's Week Ten, then it's playoffs. This is the second part of our season and it's the biggest game on our schedule."

Despite the extra importance placed by the Tigers on this particular game, Hall does not expect to alter things greatly in terms of the approach the team takes to the week. That doesn't just start and stop with practice times and formats, but with the mental approach the Tigers take.

"It's really not going to change," Hall said. "I think our staff does a great job of keeping our kids focused. That's the first thing I told them tonight. The game’s played on emotion. there's a lot of stuff going on, so we have to stay focused."

Staying focused during McKinley Week can be a chore, especially for the players. During a normal weeks, the Tigers must deal with school, film study and practice.

But during McKinley Week, there is much more added to their plates. There are pep rallies and parades and various other extra things which can pull the players’ focus away from the their ultimate responsibility, which is preparing to face a talented yet inconsistent Bulldog squad Saturday afternoon.

"I think it really plays a big part on me and the coaches," Hall said. "We have to have our same organized structured practice. We don't change anything, just our kids staying focused. With that atmosphere, they’ll stay focused.

“The one thing about it, on Saturday at 2, it's still a football field. it's 120 yards by 52-and-a-quarter. We just have to play."

One thing that Hall is counting on is the experience his players have in dealing with all of the hoopla which comes with McKinley Week. Even a majority of the players who have never played in the game before have been associated with much of the activities of the week, either as part of the team or as a youngster watching those events from afar.

“The kids around here are really used to it," Hall said. “They know the expectations of it. The week, during the day and some of the events, are a fun, enjoyable time. I think sometimes that gets blown out of proportion. The bottom line is that when it comes time to practice, we've just got to be focused."

Even the Tigers’ most prominent newcomer -- junior Devin Smith -- comes into this week with a working knowledge of the events. Smith’s family grew up in Massillon, and many of his relatives remained in the city even as he lived in Akron and attended Ellet High School his freshman and sophomore years.

“His whole family knows about this game," Hall said. “The one thing about our kids is they have a great support system that is always around them and feeding them with expectations, knowledge, how to handle certain situations. That's part of what makes Massillon special."
partridge scrambles_0.preview.jpg
Massillon's offensive line has done a good job giving quarterback Robert Partridge, shown here against Mentor, plenty of protection this season. (courtesy Gateway Inc.)
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McKinley tailback Bryce Wilder, left, is tackled by Massillon's Josh Remark, right front, and Tyler Miller, right rear, during last year's game at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. (Courtesy Friday Night Ohio, Gateway Inc.)
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Re: McKinley 35, Massillon 21 (Oct 31-2009)

Post by David Stevenson » Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:09 pm

Apology accepted over McK slight
By Erin Pustay and Doug Staley
The Independent
Posted Nov 04, 2009 @ 11:04 PM
The battle for territory in the McKinley High School press box has ended in a cease-fire.
Canton City Schools Superintendent Dr. Michele Evans issued a short, written apology to Massillon Superintendent Lisa Carmichael on Wednesday.
The letter, just two sentences in length, reads:
"I regret that you were the unfortunate casualty of a miscommunication and error on the part of our staff. I apologize for any inconvenience you may have suffered as a result of my actions or the actions of our staff in the Canton City Schools."
That is enough for Carmichael.
“She has apologized and I accept it," Carmichael said Wednesday. "It's time to move on."
The Canton City Schools Board of Education also is expected to send its own letter of apology to Carmichael.
"I wrote up a letter today on behalf of the board," said James Carman, board president. “She wrote us a letter about the situation and we wanted to address it and say we got it and we apologize."
The letter, which was reviewed by other board members, indicates the board intends to re-evaluate the district’s policy regarding the use of the Fawcett Stadium press box before the start of the next football season, according to Carman.
He acknowledged there have been a number of controversial incidents during the century-old rivalry between the schools, "But that doesn't make it (this recent incident) right," Carman said. "We need to maintain a sense of fair play and sportsmanship. We as a board will make sure that happens in the future."
Carmichael, likewise, wants to see the two school districts move forward amicably. Next season, when the Tigers host the Bulldogs at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, she plans to extend the same courtesy she would show any visiting school.
"We will continue to issue them press passes and parking passes as we do for all of our visiting teams," Carmichael said. “There will be no retaliation."
Copyright © 2009 GateHouse Media, Inc. Some Rights Reserved.
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license, except where noted.

Canton City super behaved badly
Repository Editorial
Posted Nov 03, 2009 @ 04:26 PM
Last update Nov 03, 2009 @ 06:38 PM

When Michele Evans, Canton City Schools superintendent, saw that her counterpart at arch-rival Massillon had been seated by mistake in the Fawcett Stadium press box before Saturday's big game, Evans had a choice:

• Hold out her hand in welcome and start a new tradition of truly friendly rivalry.

• Or boot Massillon City Superintendent Lisa Carmichael out, along with her husband and her elderly father.

Unfortunately, lack of graciousness and lack of class won.

Evans’ unsportsmanlike response to an unwelcome surprise has embarrassed her district and the city.

Amazingly, it hasn't embarrassed her.

After The Rep reported Tuesday on the incident, Evans blamed Carmichael for choosing “to make this news."

No, ma’am, that was our choice -- feel free to blame the messenger.

In a letter to Repository columnist Todd Porter, which you'll see below as a letter to the editor, Evans said she was “more than courteous and professional in bringing to (Carmichael’s) attention that a miscommunication had occurred."

Asking Carmichael, her husband and her 76-year-old father to leave -- forcing them to find other seats at the last minute -- was neither courteous nor professional. It was rude, petty and unnecessary.

Evans has had such a solid record of academic accomplishment at Canton City. The district has been fortunate to have her at the helm. That makes it all the more galling to see her compound her bad judgment Saturday with a whiny passing of the buck.

We’d like to think that owning up and apologizing to her colleague would be more in keeping with Evans’ character.
Canton City Schools Board of Education issues apology to Massillon superintendent staff report
Posted Nov 05, 2009 @ 12:37 PM
Last update Nov 05, 2009 @ 02:27 PM

The Canton City Schools Board of Education has issued its apology to the Massillon superintendent following the weekend press box incident.

The letter, signed by board President James M. Carman Jr., was sent Thursday to Lisa Carmichael. Copies were sent to Canton City Superintendent Michele Evans and The Repository and Independent newspapers.

The letter reads:

“On behalf of the Board of Education and the Canton City School District, I want to apologize for how you were treated in the Fawcett Stadium Press Box at the annual McKinley versus Massillon game. Whether there was a miscommunication or not, you and your guests should not have been asked to leave the press box. Furthermore, the Board will be developing a formal policy regarding guests in the press box.

Again please accept our apologies."

Carmichael, her husband, and her 76-year-old father used passes given by Canton school officials to see Saturday's football game between the two schools. Evans asked the group to leave.

An upset Carmichael wrote a letter to the Canton school board about her treatment at the game.

Evans later blamed miscommunication within her staff and apologized on Wednesday.
Copyright © 2009 GateHouse Media, Inc. Some Rights Reserved.
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license, except where noted.

Fawcett’s press box policy something new
By Todd Porter staff writer
Posted Nov 04, 2009 @ 09:34 PM

Sitting in the press box at Fawcett Stadium never used to be the toughest ticket in town.

For years, press box courtesies have been extended to administrators from opposing schools, according to former Canton City Schools athletics administrators.

That wasn't the case last weekend during the annual McKinley-Massillon game, a high school football rivalry that at times has made headlines throughout the country.

On Saturday, Canton Superintendent Michele D. Evans asked Massillon Superintendent Lisa Carmichael and her family to leave the Fawcett press box despite the fact that Carmichael had been issued passes for the press box by a Canton City Schools official.

Evans, who sent a letter of apology to Carmichael on Wednesday but did not return messages from The Repository, wrote in an earlier letter: “As in most facilities, opposing administrators are not typically seated in the press boxes at away games."

Other current and former area officials offered a different view.

"I was there for 12 years, and we always issued passes," said former Canton City Schools Director of Physical Facilities Dan Brooks, still a tournament site manager for games at Fawcett Stadium. "We always gave eight passes to each school. It was basically following the OHSAA (Ohio High School Athletic Association) rule. And we gave them four or five parking passes to park inside the stadium."

Brooks said the practice for OHSAA tournament games is to issue eight passes to each team. Typically, two apiece go to the superintendent, athletics director and principal, leaving two extras.

“For the tournament, those passes get you entrance," Brooks said. "Because we had the facility at Fawcett Stadium even before this new press box, I permitted those passes to be in the press box."

Boardman Athletics Director Dave Smercansky, whose team played at Fawcett on Oct. 23, said he watched the game from the Fawcett press box.

"I was up there with our stats crew," Smercansky said. "We walked in the door, went up the elevator and sat down. No one asked me to leave. They were very hospitable."

Hoover Athletics Director Don Shimek, also an assistant football coach, said Fawcett Stadium has accommodated press box requests in the past. Don Hertler Sr., the father of Vikings coach Don Hertler Jr., has watched games from the Fawcett press box. McKinley played at Hoover this fall.

Hoover is playing at Massillon this week in a Division I playoff opener. Shimek said Washington High School Athletics Director Tim Ridgley has accommodated all of Hoover's press box requests.

“Massillon is very gracious," Shimek said.

During GlenOak’s game at Massillon earlier this season, not only did GlenOak receive press box passes, but the school also had Massillon's blessing to auction four of them as a fundraiser.

“Tim Ridgley worked closely with us to allow us to sell those at our annual sports auction to the highest bidder," said Tom Brabson, GlenOak’s business manager and athletics director.

Carmichael wasn't the first area administrator to be denied a seat this year in the Fawcett press box. Federal League Commissioner Joe Eaton, whose duties include observing and evaluating game officials who are working on the field, said he was asked to return his two press box passes earlier this season. He since has received them back.

Eaton was Hoover's athletics director for 19 years before retiring in 2003. Eaton said it was the Federal league's practice to send six to eight press box passes to visiting teams.

Fawcett Stadium and Paul Brown Tiger Stadium host state championship games. Brooks isn't concerned that the flap between superintendents will reflect in any way on the future of the championship games in Stark County.

“Let’s say this: I don't care what McKinley and Canton City Schools did," Brooks said. "If we're leasing the stadium for the OHSAA, we're going to determine who gets in the press box. That has nothing to do with Canton City Schools. If Massillon would play GlenOak in week two of the playoffs, and it's at Fawcett Stadium, they will get the same treatment at any tournament we've had."

Copyright © 2009 GateHouse Media, Inc. Some Rights Reserved.
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license, except where noted.
Breaking News
Canton schools chief apologizes to Massillon for press box flap staff report
Posted Nov 04, 2009 @ 04:45 PM
Last update Nov 04, 2009 @ 04:46 PM

School officials have written apology letters to the superintendent of Massillon City Schools because she and her family were told to leave press box seats at the McKinley-Massillon football game at Fawcett Stadium Saturday.

Canton City Schools Board of Education President James Carman Jr. said Wednesday afternoon that board members are reviewing a letter to be sent to Lisa Carmichael, Massillon's superintendent. That letter likely won't be ready until Thursday.

Canton Superintendent Michele Evans also has written an apology that was to be delivered to Carmichael today.

Carmichael attended Saturday's McKinley-Massillon game with her husband and father. Carmichael had press box seats and went there with her family, but after 15 minutes she was asked by Evans to leave.

In her two-sentence letter to Carmichael, Evans wrote:

"I regret that you were the unfortunate casualty of a miscommunication and error on the part of our staff. I apologize for any inconvenience you may have suffered as a result of my actions or actions of our staff in Canton City."
Breaking News
Canton schools chief apologizes to Massillon for press box flap staff report
Posted Nov 04, 2009 @ 04:45 PM
Last update Nov 04, 2009 @ 04:46 PM

School officials have written apology letters to the superintendent of Massillon City Schools because she and her family were told to leave press box seats at the McKinley-Massillon football game at Fawcett Stadium Saturday.

Canton City Schools Board of Education President James Carman Jr. said Wednesday afternoon that board members are reviewing a letter to be sent to Lisa Carmichael, Massillon's superintendent. That letter likely won't be ready until Thursday.

Canton Superintendent Michele Evans also has written an apology that was to be delivered to Carmichael today.

Carmichael attended Saturday's McKinley-Massillon game with her husband and father. Carmichael had press box seats and went there with her family, but after 15 minutes she was asked by Evans to leave.

In her two-sentence letter to Carmichael, Evans wrote:

"I regret that you were the unfortunate casualty of a miscommunication and error on the part of our staff. I apologize for any inconvenience you may have suffered as a result of my actions or actions of our staff in Canton City."
Todd Porter: Massillon superintendent not welcome in Fawcett Stadium press box
Todd Porter
Updated: Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Just when you thought the rivalry between McKinley and Massillon high schools returned to a civil level -- no one is wagering house notes any longer -- something happens that indicates otherwise. Such as the two superintendents from each school district in a tiff over the press box at Fawcett Stadium.


Massillon Superintendent Lisa Carmichael used press box passes given as a courtesy by Canton City Director of Physical Facilities Lynn Wafler. Carmichael, her husband and her 76-year-old father were in the press box before Saturday's rivalry game between the two schools when Carmichael was approached by Canton City Superintendent Michele Evans.

Carmichael initially laughed when Evans told her Massillon people weren't allowed in the press box.

"I thought she was joking," Carmichael said.

Evans didn't laugh. She then informed Carmichael she would call security to escort them out -- despite having press box passes and despite the press box being very roomy -- if necessary.

Now this doesn't rank up there with Thom McDaniels questioning the quality of Tiger head coach Lee Owens’ handshake after Owens refused a film exchange (citing quality of film as a reason), but to have superintendents marking their territory in the press box?

"I think she used very poor judgment," Carmichael said. “When she asked me to leave with my family, that was uncalled for."

Evans said she was under the impression that no opposing school’s administration watched games from the Fawcett press box. She also said there was a miscommunication between her and Wafler. She was unaware of an extension of press box courtesies between the schools.

"(Massillon) has never extended an invitation to watch the game from their press box ... and if one was extended, it wouldn’t be accepted," Evans said.

That isn't entirely true. If requested, Massillon officials do give opposing teams eight press box passes and 10 parking passes, Carmichael said.

Carmichael sent a letter to Canton City Board of Education members about an “incident that occurred at the McKinley vs. Massillon football game."

A couple of things ... First, Evans was out of touch, if not out of line, with the press box passes. Secondly, why make such an issue out of it? The press box at Fawcett could house East Canton.

And finally, Here's a solution: Limit all press box occupants to, well, the press and people with a legitimate working purpose at the game.


Carmichael is going through her first football season in Massillon. Here is a helpful note for the future: When writing about The Game as superintendent in Massillon, it's Massillon vs. McKinley.

Charita Goshay: Don Mellett crusaded for right;
Evans raises ruckus for wrong

By Charita Goshay staff writer
Posted Nov 03, 2009 @ 02:59 PM
Last update Nov 04, 2009 @ 09:09 AM

Walking through the doors of this newspaper, new journalists must master at least three essential facts:

* Whatever you write, someone isn't going to like it. Your job is to be fair, not popular.

* High school football here isn't just a game, and anyone who makes that mistake will find out the hard way (See Evans, Michele).

* Most importantly, journalism is about speaking truth to power, It is about informing people of things they don't necessarily want to hear but need to know. Our touchstone for this: the legacy of Donald R. Mellett.

In 1926, Mellett reported on the doings of a city that wasn't called “Little Chicago” for the heck of it, and it cost him his life.

The 24-hour news cycle has us all but convinced that the world is unraveling at the seams, that life was somehow safer and better 93 years ago when Mellett was murdered for his crusade against police corruption.


But it was called the Roaring ’20s for a reason. People were no more noble, no less violent than they are now; there just wasn't an endless supply of video to prove it. Bank robberies, drive-by shootings, kidnappings and lynchings were as common as rain.

Locally, locales such as Rex Avenue NE were smorgasbords for illegal gambling, vice and prostitution. The organized criminals who ran it, and who owned the cops who were supposed to stop it, viewed Mellett as a threat.

Mellett was no romanticist. He did not see himself as a martyr, not with a wife and two little daughters. He was a newspaperman who saw a wrong and tried to right it.

Then, as now, righting wrongs is the essential purpose of journalism, but because men prefer darkness rather than light, journalists still die because of it.

Critics like to declare with glee that mainstream news is going the way of the dinosaur. You’d better hope not. Look at what people do when the press is watching. Just imagine what they’d do if you had to rely on some hobbyist blogger to be your only watchdog.

In an era when many people don't want information -- just confirmation of their own biases -- Don Mellett remains a symbol of why journalism is a necessity if our society is truly to remain free.


The controversy that has engulfed Massillon City Schools Superintendent Lisa Carmichael and Canton City Schools Superintendent Michele Evans defies logic and belief. it's a permanent record of pettiness, the kind of unnecessary drama that men point to and say, “See?"

Last Saturday, on orders from Evans, Carmichael and her party of two were given the bum’s rush out of the press box at Fawcett Stadium just prior to the McKinley-Massillon football game.

Carmichael later said she thought Evans was joking.


Canton and Massillon have always been rival cities, but the rivalry never rises to the level of Northern Ireland or the Hundred Years’ War.

Residents have even been known to intermarry.

Generally, the beef is settled every November on the turf. Until now.

Evans’ unapologetic excuse was that the passes were issued by mistake, and another thing, the Tigers never invite McKinley bigwigs to sit in their press box -- but that isn't true. Even if it were true, so what?

Evans further argued that last year, Canton City administrators weren't issued parking passes when the game took place in Massillon.

Well, there you go.

A superintendent may not be in the classroom, but she’s still an educator. So what's the lesson here?
Michelle Evans, Canton City Schools superintendent
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Re: McKinley 35, Massillon 21 (Oct 31-2009)

Post by just a fan » Thu Nov 26, 2009 4:43 pm

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Re: McKinley 35, Massillon 21 (Oct 31-2009)

Post by BIGDAWG98 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:04 pm

I just remember thinking. WoW even if the pups win they still have to hope that other teams lose that day. I think it was 3 or 4 other teams. Maybe it was two either way. All of the cards fell out way and it was an awesome feeling.
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