KENT: The rematch of arguably the best rivalry turned out to be a mismatch.
Using the speed and power of Ryne Moore and the deft passing of Kyle Kempt, Massillon defeated Canton McKinley 28-19 in a Division I regional semifinal Saturday night at Dix Stadium at Kent State University.
With the victory, the Tigers (11-1) face Toledo Whitmer, a 39-28 winner over Hudson, in the regional final Saturday at a site to be announced later today by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
It is only the second time either team has beaten the other twice in the same season. The Tigers did it in 2001.
In the first half, Kempt broke the school record for career passing yardage set by former Ohio State quarterback Justin Zwick with 159 yards, completing 9-of-13 passes with two touchdowns. Kempt, a 6-foot-5 senior, needed 135 yards to break the record.
Kempt, who is going to the University of Cincinnati, finished 11-of-16 for 177 yards and enjoyed the sweetness of the moment, remembering defeats of the past.
“It feels amazing after getting beat the previous four games I’ve played,” Kempt said. “The most important thing is that we have moved on to the next round of the playoffs.”
Massillon coach Jason Hall said the Tigers’ fast start in this game was just like the Week 10 annual renewal of the rivalry.
“Our kids are hungry; they are anxious to play,” Hall said. “We did not want to make the stupid plays when you have a three-score lead.”
That is why Moore, the 5-foot-8 senior with speed and battering-ram power, was the key to the Tigers’ offense.
Moore, who is looking at Toledo among several schools, finished with a career high 227 yards on 37 carries and two touchdowns.
“Our goal is to get out right from the get-go to a fast start against teams and get them [mentally] down,” Moore said.
The Tigers did that to perfection. The Tigers jumped ahead 14-0, scoring on their first two possessions of the game.
Moore’s 1-yard plunge capped a 74-yard, nine-play drive for the first touchdown.
The Tigers’ second drive covered 55 yards in six plays culminating with a 9-yard pass from Kempt to tight end Beau Huffman, who had three catches for 59 yards, to lead 14-0 with 6:55 left in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs’ lone touchdown of the first half came on a wild scramble by quarterback Eric Glover-Williams, who kept the play alive until he just heaved a pass down the middle to a wide open Terrance Burt for the 34-yard completion with 9:14 left in the first half.
Not to be outdone, Kempt also showed his quick feet until he found Gareon Conley alone for a 52-yard touchdown to put Massillon ahead 21-7 with 1:49 left in the first half.
The Tigers doubled the Bulldogs in yardage 266-125.
The crushing blow for the Bulldogs came on a 10-play, 65-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard run by Moore to put the Tigers ahead 28-7 with 5:26 left in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs (8-3) closed the gap to 28-13 when Glover-Williams, who completed 15-of-28 passes for a career-high 211 yards, scored from a yard out three minutes later, but the extra point was missed.
The missed extra point became an issue when Glover-Williams scored with 44 seconds left in the fourth and the extra point was partially blocked, leaving the Bulldogs still down two scores.
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