Massillon Washington 45 - Hoover 14
November 6, 2005
Tigers play angry, make Vikings pay
Todd Porter, Canton Repository
MASSILLON – An entire week to live with losing to McKinley is an eternity in Massillon. Purgatory ended Saturday night in a Division I regional quarterfinal football playoff game at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
Massillon played with attitude and took its coach’s advice: play mad.
The Tigers gained 409 yards of offense and ended North Canton Hoover’s season with a 45-14 win in front of 8,954.
“This game was all about attitude,” Massillon running back and safety Brian Gamble said. “We took a physical beating last week. We had a little something on our shoulders we had to let off.”
Gamble finished with 146 yards on 14 carries, including an 80-yard touchdown run right after he picked off a Hoover pass. The 6-foot, 190-pounder also set the tone of the game early and often. Gamble brought the wood to Hoover’s offense on the first series.
“Brian is a leader, he’s a junior captain for a reason,” Massillon head coach Tom Stacy said. “He’s a great player. We knew Brian Gamble would be ready to play.”
The question in Massillon, after last week’s 38-8 drilling by McKinley, was would everyone else?
“We wanted them to play mad,” Stacy said. “If you’re a competitor, you’ll do that.”
Massillon scored on its second possession of the game. It was the first offensive touchdown for the Tigers in two weeks. Quarterback Bobby Huth faked a handoff on third-and-goal at the 3, then kept around right end and stretched the ball over the goal line. That score came with 56 seconds left in the first quarter.
The offense was more efficient on the next possessions. Massillon needed 10 plays to go 49 yards on Huth’s score. The Tigers went 70 yards in five plays and needed all of 54 seconds to take a 14-0 lead.
Huth completed a 37-yard pass to Zack Vanryzin to the North Canton 21.
Then, he hit Gamble for 10 yards on a perfectly executed swing pass.
Gamble took a handoff around right end and, in a blink, cut back inside to score from 11 yards out.
Steve Schott added a 28-yard field goal before halftime for a 17-0 lead.
The Vikings struggled to move the ball in the first half. They managed four first downs and never crossed the 50 after a brief appearance there on their first drive. The Vikings had just one first down after their opening drive and didn’t have a possession end across their own 40 since then, either.
Despite a lack of offense, Hoover was a score away from getting in the game. That score didn’t come until the Tigers built a 31-0 lead.
“We talked at halftime about needing to get a score,” Hoover head coach Don Hertler Jr. said. “We had a couple opportunities to create turnovers in the first half and missed. We had to get back in the game, and then they got a quick score.”
With a 17-0 lead, the Tigers received the second-half kickoff. Then, 37 seconds later, Hoover was out of it. Huth completed a 26-yard pass to Trey Miller. Then he hit Gamble on a swing pass and the running back turned it into a 54-yard touchdown. In all, Gamble had 259 yards.
Massillon scored on a fourth-and-goal from the Hoover 1 midway through the fourth quarter. Lanale Robinson, who finished with 117 yards on 12 carries, took it in. Stacy had a 38-7 lead — why not kick a field goal?
“We were better offensively, but there are still things we need to work on,” he said. “It wasn’t running up the score. We just needed to finish a drive.”
North Canton finally got something going in the third quarter. It ended when linebacker Robert Morris was all over Hoover quarterback Josh Nettleton on a screen pass and Morris tipped the pass. The ball was picked off by nose tackle Lorenzo Grizzard and returned 52 yards for a touchdown and a 31-0 Massillon lead with 8:14 to play in the third quarter.
Gamble and Robinson both finished with more than 100 yards rushing. Huth had 172 in the air, and just five incomplete passes.
“Things are different after a loss,” Stacy said. “You roll up your sleeves and go back to work. … Your mind-set is a lot different. I hope we got our edge back.”