Buckeye bound quarterback Justin Zwick threw for 314 yards and five touchdowns.
By BOB ROTH
MASSILLON -- Two former Cardinal Mooney High teammates met as opposing football coaches for the second straight season.
Austintown Fitch coach Carl Pelini and Massillon Washington coach Rick Shepas played on Don Bucci's title teams of 1980 and 1982.
Friday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Shepas' Tigers defeated Fitch, 54-14.
"Fitch has enough talent, and Carl is doing a good job," Shepas said. "The question now is, when will they begin to believe in themselves? For us, after last week, we just wanted to play a good football game."
Coming off a loss to Cleveland St. Ignatius last week, the Tigers played with a purpose, rolling up 562 total yards to Fitch's 244.
Zwick cruises: Leading the Tigers' attack was senior quarterback Justin Zwick, who completed 18-of-32 passes for 314 yards and five touchdowns.
Four of those touchdowns went to receiver Devon Jordan, who made nine catches for 149 yards.
"We wanted to execute better than last week," Zwick said. "With our receivers and backs, we got it done."
Also gaining much of Massillon's attention was senior kicker David Abdul, who made field goals of 49 and 53 yards and missed on a 68-yard attempt. Abdul also booted six balls into the end zone for touchbacks.
"Making that first field goal gave me confidence," Abdul said of his 49 yarder. "I felt strong on my kickoffs, but after the rain, the ball was heavy and I couldn't get it there."
Fitch quarterback Steve Burnich completed 12-of-24 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions. Miles Williams caught both of those touchdown passes and had five catches for 123 yards.
Ray Betts led the Falcons with 17 carries for 47 yards. Davanzo Tate added 41 yards on nine carries.
Robert Oliver paced the Tigers with 17 carries for 131 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three passes for 41 yards.
Massillon took a 23-7 lead at halftime.
Zwick's tossed three first half touchdown passes to Jordan, who had four catches for 99 yards. The scoring strikes covered 5, 63 and 13 yards. Zwick completed 10-of-18 passes for 170 yards and the three touchdowns in the first half.
Massillon also got Abdul's 49-yard field goal.
Fitch scored the game's first points on Burnich's 26-yard touchdown pass to Williams, with Shea Stewart adding the extra-point kick. Williams had four catches for 54 yards in the first half.
Burnich completed 6-of-11 passes for 79 yards and the one touchdown in the first half.
At the half, Massillon outgained Fitch in first downs (11-8) and total yards (243-104). The Tigers defense was also strong, limiting the Fitch rushing attack to 25 yards on 18 carries.
Fitch defensive end Chris Bowmaster stood out, pursuing Massillon all over the field.
"We played a well-coached team, with great athletes," Pelini said. "Now, we must go on and put this game behind us."
The game was delayed about 20 minutes midway through because of lightning.