Massillon rallies past GlenOak behind running of Crabtree

Mike Popovich
Updated: Friday, September 5, 2014
Massillon’s J.D. Crabtree breaks loose en route to a 45-yard touchdown run during the fourth quarter of Thursday’s high school football game. Crabtree finished with 174 yards in 24 carries to lead Massillon’s offensive attack. CANTONREP.COM/BOB ROSSITER<br /><div id="dfp-300x250" style="float:right;"><script type="text/javascript">googletag.display("dfp-300x250");</script></div>
Massillon’s J.D. Crabtree breaks loose en route to a 45-yard touchdown run during the fourth quarter of Thursday’s high school football game. Crabtree finished with 174 yards in 24 carries to lead Massillon’s offensive attack. CANTONREP.COM/BOB ROSSITER


PLAIN TWP  J.D. Crabtree had one message for his Massillon teammates in the second half Thursday night.

“I told my guys ‘Look, you give me everything, I’m going to give you guys everything,’ ” the senior running back said.

Crabtree gave his team one spectacular play with the game on the line at Bob Commings Field. His 45-yard touchdown run with 5:45 left led the Tigers to a come-from behind 17-14 high school football win over GlenOak in front of a standing-room-only crowd.

A second rally on the road in as many weeks was needed for Massillon to improve to 2-0. Once again, Crabtree provided the jolt.

The game-winning touchdown run was incredible. Crabtree took the handoff and appeared in trouble near the line of scrimmage.

He busted through the coverage, kept his balance with one hand, took advantage of some blocking, broke another tackle and finally scored.

“I hit the hole and was like ‘Oh, I’m in some trouble,’ ” Crabtree said. “I was able to push some guys off me. My corner, Dylan Henderson, caught a great block for me near the end. I was able to make a cut and take it right in.”

Crabtree finished with 174 yards on 24 carries. He had 194 yards rushing in last week’s come-from-behind win at Perry.

“J.D. is a special kid,” Tigers head coach Jason Hall said. “He’s a tough kid who will lay it on the line. I’m proud of him. Everything we’ve asked J.D. to do, he has done.”

The Golden Eagles drove into Massillon territory after Crabtree’s go-ahead touchdown, but a strip and fumble recovery by defensive back Mike White helped the Tigers regain possession.

The Tigers faced fourth-and-inches near midfield. With GlenOak out of timeouts, they could have punted and forced the Eagles to go the length of the field to tie or win in a very short time.

Massillon hand a change of heart after a timeout. Crabtree took the handoff, picked up the first down and finished off GlenOak.

“The coaches were not going to chance it, and I said ‘Look, I will push that over that first down,’ ” Crabtree said.

The Tigers and Eagles played to a scoreless first half, but both teams had their chances.

Massillon’s Andrew David surprisingly pushed a 25-yard field goal attempt wide. The Eagles penetrated Tigers territory on all four of their first half possessions. They had a great chance to take the lead late in the second quarter after holder Max Hansen converted a first down on a fake field goal, but time ran out after John Simon was stopped for no gain.

The Tigers finally broke the deadlock with a Danny Robinson touchdown run on the first drive of the second half. GlenOak responded, though.

Kyle Hall’s 50-yard run on a reverse helped set up the tying touchdown, a 3-yard run by quarterback Brennon Tibbs. After a Massillon punt, Cameron Cubilla scored on a 13-yard run to give the Eagles a 14-7 lead.

David bounced back from his missed field goal and kicked a 50-yarder to bring Massillon to within 14-10. That put Crabtree and the Tigers in striking distance for another come-from-behind win.

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