Leopards Down Massillon 28-18 to Finish 5-3-1 – Freshman Football
Louisville 28, Massillon 18
The Louisville Leopards Freshman Football Team downed the visiting Massillon Tigers 28-18 in their season finale Thursday Evening at Louisville Leopards Stadium. With the victory, Louisville finishes the season with a winning 5-3-1 record.
Quarterback Jordan Cherry caught, ran, and threw for touchdowns to lead the Leopards to victory. His 67 yard fourth quarter touchdown run put the final nail in the coffin giving Louisville a double digit 28-18 with 1:14 remaining.
Leopards and Tigers Exchange 1st Quarter Touchdowns
Massillon answered when Runningback William Marshall scored on a 4 yard touchdown run as time expired in the opening quarter. But Shane Gates made the stop for the Leopards on the Tiger conversion attempt to keep the game knotted at 6-6 at the end of one.
Louisville Takes a 14-12 Lead into the Half
The Leopards went to the air on their next drive. Cherry found Wide Receiver Chase Mueller a step ahead of the defender down the right sideline for a 54 yard completion to the Massillon 11. Two plays later, Cherry hit Seth Anderson on a screen pass to his left for an 8 yard touchdown. Cherry also walked into the endzone untouched on the conversion try after Kaden Pawley and Jacob Shammo paved the way to put LHS ahead 14-6.
The Tigers quickly answered needing just 3 plays to travel the necessary 65 yards for a touchdown in only 52 seconds of game time. Marshall ran 40 yards on the second play of the drive. Then Quarterback Kalix Collins hit Ardell Bank on a 20 yard slant route that went for a score. Jacob Davide and Shammo shut down the conversion run to preserve the Leopards 14-12 lead.
Louisville went three-and-out on their next drive and punted the ball back to Massillon. The Tigers drove from their own 36 all the way to the Leopards 8 yard line. On 4th-and-5, Massillon lofted a pass to the left side of the endzone. The Tigers receiver was caught out of position and there to pull in the interception was Roberts out of his defensive back position. The pick came with just 8 seconds left in the second quarter and preserved the LHS 14-12 advantage heading into the break
Leopards Fourth Down Magic
The Tigers possessed the ball first in the second half and faced a 4th-and-4 from their own 41. A short pass to the left tipped off of the hands of the runningback and was intercepted at midfield by Louisville Defensive Back Luke Castles.
The Leopards responded with an 8 play, 49 yard scoring drive that featured two fourth down conversions. On 4th-and-2 from the Tiger 41, Cherry rolled to his left and launched a pass into traffic deep downfield. Wide Receiver Conner Morley sized up the ball and hauled it in while in the midst of two Massillon defenders. The reception was good for 38 yards and set Louisville up with 1st-and-goal on the 3 yard line.
On 4th-and-goal from the 2, Cherry moved to his right and threw a perfectly placed pass to the back of the endzone. The 6’4 Mueller posterized the smaller Tiger defender by extending over the top of him and came down with the football for a touchdown. Runningback Andrew Essik ran in the two-point conversion on a toss play to take a double digit 22-12 advantage with 5:18 left in the third quarter.
Louisville and Massillon Defenses Step Up Big
The Leopards got another big break on the Tigers next drive. Massillon quickly marched down the field into the Louisville redzone. But on a handoff up the middle, the Tiger ball carrier stumbled and took a hit from Gates jarring the ball free. Castles pounced on it at the LHS 11 giving the ball back to the Leopards.
Louisville tested the Massillon secondary on the ensuing possession with a deep pass into double coverage. Bank intercepted the pass for the Tigers who took over on their own 37.
Massillon moved the chains into Leopard territory. On 3rd-and-6, Louisville’s Clay Chambers shot into the backfield for a sack that netted an 11 yard loss. The Tigers 4th-and-17 pass was broken up by Roberts and the Louisville defense held again.
The Leopards threatened to blow the game open on their ensuing possession. Running the option, Cherry pitched to Essik who ran 22 yards through several defenders down to the Tiger 13 yard line. But the Massillon defense stiffened and a 4th-and-5 pass to the endzone fell incomplete.
Tigers Turn the Tide
The Tigers drove the length of the field traveling 92 yards to get within a single possession of taking the lead. Collins went up top to Bank who won a jump ball for a 33 yard catch to the Leopards 39 yard line. Three plays later, Collins left the pocket to scramble for 5 yards on 3rd-and-4 to move the chains again.
The drive ended when Collins fired a pass to Bank in the middle of the field for an 18 yard touchdown pass. Cherry deflected away the conversion pass to leave the score at 22-18 with 2:45 to go.
Louisville went to the ground to try to run out the rest of the clock and clinch the victory. But Damian Coram punched the ball out and Brennen Crowe fell on it for Massillon at the Leopards 43 yard line giving them prime field position.
Leopards Seal the Win
The Louisville defense slammed the door shut as Massillon looked to take their first lead of the contest. On first down, Cayden McKimmie tackled the quarterback in the backfield for a 1 yard loss. Roberts and Mueller deflected away passes on the next two downs to set up a 4th-and-11. The Tigers fourth down pass attempt fell incomplete as Anderson and Davide converged on the intended receiver to break up the pass.
Two plays later, Cherry took the snap out of the shotgun and ran Student Body Left behind a hoard of blockers. Dodging a pancake block by his teammate, Cherry regained his balance down the left sideline, weaved between defenders, and finally made it to the endzone for the game-clinching 65 yard score.
Massillon attempted one last desperation heave. The lame duck pass went into triple coverage and Mueller came down with it for the Leopards fourth takeaway of the game.
Louisville ran out the clock in victory formation and first year Freshman Head Coach Cory Guidone was drenched with a Gatorade shower by his players in celebration.
The Tigers and Leopards have now played at the Freshman level the past four years. Massillon won the first two matchups, but Louisville has now won in back-to-back seasons.
LEOPARDS 28, TIGERS 18
LOUISVILLE – Jordan Cherry 9 Yard Pass from Charlie Roberts (Pass Failed) | LHS 6, WHS 0, 4:33
MASSILLON – William Marshall 4 Yard Run (Run Failed) | LHS 6, WHS 6, 0:00
LOUISVILLE – Seth Anderson 8 Yard Pass from Jordan Cherry (Jordan Cherry Run) | LHS 14, WHS 6, 7:56
MASSILLON – Ardell Bank 20 Yard Pass from Kalix Collins (Run Failed) | LHS 14, WHS 12, 7:02
LOUISVILLE – Chase Mueller 2 Yard Pass from Jordan Cherry (Andrew Essik Run) | LHS 22, WHS 12, 5:18
MASSILLON – Ardell Bank 18 Yard TD Pass from Kalix Collins (Pass Failed) | LHS 22, WHS 18, 2:45
LOUISVILLE – Jordan Cherry 67 Yard Run (Run Failed) | LHS 28, WHS 18, 1:14
Records: Louisville 5-3-1, Massillon 3-6