PARMA, OH –
Friday night featured a strong Division 2 Region 7 Final from Byers Field in Parma. #1 Massillon Washington and #2 Uniontown Lake traveled a long way for their matchup in the regional final. The two teams had never faced each other in any game before Friday. The game time weather was a cold 27 degrees with 20 MPH winds. The key to the game for either team was to control the running game and the line of scrimmage early.
Defense Stands Tall
On their first drive of the game, Massillon Washington was driving. They took a lot of time off the clock as well while doing so. The Tigers went on a 17-play drive that lasted 7 minutes and 20 seconds. On a 4th down play from Lake’s 2-yard line Massillon got stuffed at the 1-yard line. Lake took over from their own 1-yard line. On the first play of their drive, Lake fumbled the snap and recovered. However, they could not get out of the end zone. The result of the play was a safety that started the scoring for Massillon. The Tigers were just getting started.
The Tiger Offense Attacks
After a first drive that ended with a turnover on downs, Massillon was looking to score on offense. They continued with their methodical offense and drove the ball down the field on their second drive. The Tigers ended their second drive with a 4-yard touchdown run from senior running back Willtrell Hartson. The game plan seemed simple. Run the ball and win the line of scrimmage. They were doing just that. Their running back duo of Willtrell Hartson and Dorian Pringle was dominant all game. At the half, Massillon led 9-0. Even though it did not show on the scoreboard, Massillon was dominating the game. They coughed up the ball twice in the 2nd quarter. One of which was just before the half at the Lake 4-yard line.
Massillon’s Defense Continued to Dominate
In the first half, the Tiger defense was incredible. They did not allow Lake to score. On 18 total plays they allowed only 3 yards of offense from the Blue Streaks. The start of the 2nd half showed much of the same from the Tiger defense. They forced a quick 3-and-out on Lake’s first 2 drives of the half. On Lake’s next drive, Massillon forced a fumble on a 4th down play. The following drive saw yet another 3-and-out from Lake. The only points Massillon allowed was an 18-yard touchdown run from senior running back Matthew Sollberger. It was not clear if Sollberger was going to play in the game after injuring his ankle in last week’s win over Westerville South. However, it was a big for Sollberger as he was able to find the end zone in the final game of his high school career.
When it was all said and done, Massillon came out on top 24-6. Massillon’s senior running back Willtrell Hartson had a career game. He finished the game with 41 rushes for 181 yards and a touchdown. In the first half alone, he had 25 rushes for 127 yards. Running back Dorian Pringle also saw the end zone twice. Once on a 2-yard touchdown run and the other on a 4-yard receiving touchdown. With their win, Massillon took the Division 2 Region 7 Title and advanced to the State Semi-Final.
Next Friday, the Massillon Tigers will head to InfoCision Stadium in Akron to take on the Region 5 Champion Hoban Knights. The Knights are led by University of Buffalo commit, Lamar Sperling. Sperling led Hoban to a 41-7 victory over Hudson on Friday night. He had 36 rushes for 288 yards and 5 touchdowns in the win. This may be the hardest test that Massillon has to face all year. The winner of the game will advance to the Division 2 State Final. They will play the winner of Toledo Central Catholic and Kings Mills.
NEO Sports Insiders Newsletter
Sign up to receive our NEOSI newsletter, and keep up to date with all the latest Cleveland sports news.