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Owens 241 rushing yards leads Tiger Town over Title Town 28-17

Massillon, OH- The inaugural Northeast Ohio vs America showcase kicked off Friday night. The event which saw many Massillon legends such as former Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman and 2014 Ohio State National Champion speedy wide receiver Devin Smith both inducted in the Massillon Hall of Fame and Wall of Champions.

The perfect way to sum up the historic Week 1 game that was showcased Friday evening at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium was a tale of two halfs. Valdosta, the all time winningest high school football program in the nation with 944 wins, traveled over 13 hours by charter to meet the fourth winningest program of all time with 932 wins in a game that drew over 5000 fans from all over.

"You could never question our kids effort tonight" Tigers head coach Nate Moore said postgame. "They have a few excellent players and their speed was on notice tonight".

The speed was on display from the very start of the game. Wildcat senior running Shakevious Wright opened the game with a 70 yard sprint towards the end zone before being tracked down by Tigers senior defensive back Adonis Vaughan inside the 10 yard line. Junior QB Todd Robinson found junior WR ELi Lewis a few plays later for a 15-yard touchdown pass to put Valdosta on the board first 7-0. Wright finished the game with 19 carries for 111 yards.

The Wildcat's didn't stop there. On their next drive, Robinson found sophomore WR Prince Jean on a 63 yard screen pass, extending the early lead to 14-0. Valdosta out-gained the Tigers 195-13 yards in the first quarter.

DaOne Owens who recently transferred to Massillon from nearby Copley, let his presence be known early in the second quarter, dashing for 75 yards to the 1-yard line on a QB designed run. Senior RB/LB Dorian Pringle punched it in a few plays later.

Momentum started to swing the Tigers way when Thompson injured his right ankle in the second quarter while running towards the Massillon sideline that limited his lethal dual threat abilities that eventually led to being picked off by junior linebacker Vito McConnell.

"We told each other just to do your job and lock in. I saw the man coming across the middle and I tried jumping it, fortunately the ball came straight my way for the interception" said MCconnell on what changed defensively after getting jumped on early.

Massillon showed that momentum shift on the first play of that second half, as Owens bursted up the middle on a QB dive for a 69-yard touchdown tying the game at 14. Owens had over 140 second half rushing yard finishing the game with 13 carries for 241 yards and two touchdowns.

"I been doing this since I was a little kid" Owens said postgame. "This is what the coaches expected of me the minute I transferred in. They expect me to be a runner and I gave it all for the team today against a tough opponent".

Massillon rushed for over 200 yards in the second half as a team, finishing the game with 348.

Pringle gave the Tigers their first lead of the game with less than three minutes left in the third off a 21 yard sprint to the end zone. Pringle had himself a day on both sides of the ball finishing the game with 13 carries for 65 yard and two touchdowns, to go along with with 7 tackles and one sack on the defensive side.

The Tigers scored 21 unanswered points before the Wildcats answered with a quick drive highlighted by a 49 yard pass from Thompson to senior wide receiver Jamill WIlliams. Senior kicker Franklin Garcia booted a 28 yard field goal keeping the deficit close before Massillon showed Valdosta what the true meaning of "ground and pound mean".

With over 8 minutes left in the game, Owens took his second run of 50+ yards to the house securing the win for the Tigers at 28-17.

"All week in practice we talked about making big plays, setting the tone, bringing the team together and that's just what I did to secure the win" said Owens.

Massillon (1-0) host Canton GlenOak next week on the quest for their first state title since 1970.


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