Parma, OH- A frigid Byers Field with a game time temp of 29 degrees, was the site for the Division II regional final playoff matchup between the Massillon Tigers (11-1) and the Uniontown Lake Blue Streaks (12-1).
Massillon was coming off of a 42-21 win over Big Walnut, while Lake won their Regional semi-final 16-7 over Westerville South.
Massillon had a great return on the kickoff, starting their first drive at their own 48 with runs by Wiltrell Hartson and Dorian Pringle moving the ball down to the Lake 17. A face mask penalty set them up at the 8 yard line. The Lake defense tightened up and stuffed Massillon on three straight runs, and when Massillon went for it on 4th down, Lake stepped up again and stopped Hartson at the one yard line giving the ball back to the Blue Streaks after a 16 play Massillon drive ended in no points.
Lake was pinned inside the 1 yard line when QB Cale Jarvis was unable to handle the snap. While they were able to recover it, Maverick Clark was able to record a tackle in the end zone for a safety for Massillon giving them a 2-0 lead with 4:32 left in the 1st quarter.
After the safety punt, Massillon again began with great field position starting on the Lake 48. After a few short runs, Hartson broke off a 20 yard carry setting up Massillon at the Lake 21. A few more runs by Hartson brought us to the end of the 1st quarter with our score 2-0 in favor of Massillon.
The 2nd quarter began with more of the same as on the first play Hartson scored on a 4 yard touchdown run. The extra point made it a 9-0 Massillon lead.
The ensuing drive for Lake began at their own 27, and their center/QB exchange issues continued as back to back shotgun snaps went over QB Cale Jarvis’ head. On 3rd and 29 a run play went nowhere forcing a punt which again gave Massillon the ball in great field position at the Lake 43. Lake finally caught a break with an unnecessary roughness penalty, pushing the ball back to their own 28. Massillon was unable to convert the long 3rd down and were forced to punt.
The Lake offense finally got going, aided by a Massillon penalty, but were stopped on a 3rd and 10 and were forced to punt.
A short punt gave Massillon the ball at their own 34, but Hartson fumbled on the first play and Lake recovered giving them the ball at the Massillon 46. A few runs left Lake with a 4th and 3 which they converted on a via a 7 yard pass completed by Jarvis allowing the drive to continue. The Blue Streaks were able to get the ball down the Tigers 18 before Massillon's Malachi Card was able to sack Jarvis for a 5 yard loss. Then on 3rd down Gavin Griffens was able to sack Jarvis for another loss. Lake attempted to go it on 4th and 21, but were sacked again, giving the ball back to Massillon with 2:02 left in the half.
Massillon did not sit on the ball, as they began the drive with quick passes to Kyler Wiggins and few runs by Hartson moving the ball all the way down to the Lake 13 before taking a timeout. QB Jalen Slaughter fumbled the ball inside the 10, and Lake recovered ending the Massillon threat. Lake took a knee to end the half down 9-0 to Massillon
Lake began the 2nd half with the ball on their own 21 after the kick off. After a short run and back to back incomplete passes, Lake was forced to punt. It was another short punt that gave Massillon great field position again, this time at the Lake 45 yard line.
Massillon continued their punishing run game, as runs by Hartson and Dorian Pringle moved the Tigers downfield along with a few quick passes to Wiggins. The drive was capped off by a 4 yard touchdown run by Pringle. The extra point was good and Massillon took a 16-0 lead.
The next Lake drive began at their own 20 after the kickoff, but a quick 3 and out and short punt gave the ball back to Massillon again with great field position at their own 47. The Tigers again leaned on their run game, but Lake was able to stop them on their 32 on 4th and 2, getting the ball back down 16-0 with under three minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
Lake started delivering a punishing run game of their own, but were left at with a 4th and 1 at the end of the 3rd quarter, down 16-0.
The 4th quarter began with the 4th and one play, but QB Cale Jarvis fumbled giving the ball back to Massillon. They again imposed their will with the run game with Pringle and Hartson, moving the ball on the ground. Then they switched it up as QB Jalen Slaughter found Pringle on a 4 yd touchdown pass. A successful 2 point conversion gave Masillon a 24-0 lead with 5:57 left in the game.
Massillon and Lake traded possessions, and Lake added a late touchdown with 1:22 left. Massillon then kneeled and ran out the game clock. The final score from Byers Field, Massillon 24, Lake 6.
The Massillon Tigers will go on to face Hoban next week at a TBD site.
Player of the game:
Wiltrell Hartson: 40 carries, 180 yards, 1 touchdown
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