PARMA, Ohio – With temperatures below freezing at Byers Field, and wind chills adding to the harshly cold atmosphere, the Massillon Tigers shut down the Lake Blue Streaks and made it back to the Final Four.
Massillon (12-1) won 24-6 on a cold night in Parma, in which the Tigers kept Lake’s offense in check despite turning the ball over twice in the first half, via a pair of fumbles.
Lake totaled 67 yards of offense to Massillon’s 287 and ran for just two rushing yards on 24 carries. The Tiger defense also stopped the Blue Streaks on all 10 of their third-down attempts for the contest.
Leading the way for the Tiger offense was running back Willtrell Hartson, who tied his school’s single-season record for rushing yards with a 175-yard performance. Dorian Pringle also added to the Tigers’ scoring on a pair of touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving), while quarterback Jalen Slaughter completed 11 of 17 passes for 52 yards and a touchdown.
Massillon scored in each of the four quarters on Friday, beginning with a first-quarter safety on a Blue Streaks fumble that followed the Tigers being stopped on 4th-and-1 deep in the red zone. In the second quarter, Hartson pushed for a 4-yard touchdown, but the Tigers failed to score on their following three drives before the break.
After forcing a three-and-out on the Lake offense to start the second half, Massillon charged down the field before Pringle scored on a 2-yard run, and scored again in the final period on a 5-yard dart from Slaughter.to make it 24-0. Pringle also led the Tigers’ defense with 5.5 tackles (five solo), while Brandon Carman, Malachi Card, Maverick Clark, and Mike Wright, Jr. each recorded a sack on Streaks quarterback Cale Jarvis (6-12, 62 passing yards, fumble).
Lake (12-2) achieved its lone score on a Matthew Sollberger 18-yard touchdown run with 1:22 remaining. Sollberger, whose game status was questionable before Friday due to an injury sustained in the Streaks’ previous playoff win over Westerville South, scored on his only rushing attempt, while starting tailback Will Butler was held to 11 yards on 12 carries.
The Tigers return to the state semifinals for the third time in five seasons, and the first since their 2020 state final appearance.