STEUBENVILLE-Heading into Friday's battle with Massillon, Reno Saccoccia admitted he was concerned with the Tigers' depth. Turns out, his worries were valid.
Ohio's top-ranked Division II club wore down the Big Red with its power running game and physical defense in the second half to earn a 37-21 victory before a huge crowd at Harding Stadium.
The 47th meeting between the schools (Massillon holds a 40-5-2 series lead) provided those in attendance with a little bit of everything. Both teams were brilliant at times and both shot themselves in the foot several times. There were big plays, huge defensive stops, turnovers, fumbles and a whole bunch of penalties.
Jason Hall's Tigers scored on three of its first four possessions during the final 24 minutes in running their record to 5-0. Big Red drops to 4-1 and will hit the road next week, traveling to Barberton.
"They're very deep, particularly along the offensive and defensive lines," Saccoccia said. "They play a lot of kids. Their depth just wore us down."
Massillon finished the night with 277 rushing yards (161 coming in the second half). Senior Lyron Wilson, who showed power and speed, accounted for 239 of those stripes and crossed the goal three times.
Up 16-14 at the half, the Tigers traveled 45 yards in just five plays to start the third quarter. Massillon was able to cover Big Red's onside kick attempt and started the drive inside Steubenville territory. J.D. Crabtree accounted for all the yardage and scored on a five-yard burst.
Big Red, who entered the contest as the fourth-rated Division IV squad, appeared ready to respond but its ensuing drive was slowed by a chop block penalty and then thwarted thanks to a Devon Ingram interception.
Starting at its own 46, Massillon gained nine yards on three plays, resulting in a fourth-and-1 at Big Red 45. Instead of going for it, Hall opted to punt and the snap sailed over the head of David, giving Big Red new life at the Tigers 35.
Saccoccia's crew capitalized in a hurry. Sophomore Dimitri Collaros found senior tight end Cameron King open over the middle for 23 yards. Hard-running senior tailback Garon Lytle gained a pair before Collaros made a great throw to the back of the end zone. Junior receiver Lucas Herrington hauled in the pass and managed to get a foot down for the score. John Paul Duff's kick closed the gap to 23-21.
Unfortunately for Big Red, Massillon responded with a nine-play ground-and-pound drive covering 60 yards. Wilson gained half the yards on the ground and freshman quarterback Danny Clark connected with senior Beau Huffman for a 4-yard score.
Field position played a major role in Massillon's ability to take its halftime lead. The Tigers started drives at the Big Red 8t, 23, 45 and 44. On the other hand, Saccoccia's crew began possessions at its own 20 (three times), 2, 7 and 15 (twice).
Clark, the first freshman in Massillon's history to start at quarterback, completed 5 of 7 passes for 41 yards. He also had the one interception. He did hit Rogers for 26 yards on Massillon's third scoring drive of the second half.
Massillon's deep and physical defense held Big Red to 74 rushing yards on 35 attempts. Lawrence-Burke led the way with 56. Collaros threw for 121 yards and a touchdown while Lawrence-Burke added 39 and another score.