MASSILLON, Ohio — For the second year in a row, the St. Edward Eagles came to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium with national championship aspirations, only to leave Stark County with their feathers ruffled.
Instead, it was Massillon Washington which remained unbeaten and bolstered its case as one of America's best teams, scoring a 15-13 upset win Friday night. St. Ed entered the matchup ranked as high as eighth in the national polls, but struggled offensively without starting quarterback Casey Bullock.
Bullock was stuck on the bench after being injured in the Eagles' prior victory over Elder. Backup Thomas Csanyi played admirably, and actually got the scoring started with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Brandon White midway through the second quarter.
However, the PAT was blocked, and after receiving the kickoff DaOne Owens led the Tigers on a 69-yard drive that ended with his own TD run. Massillon (5-0) took that 7-6 advantage into halftime before Csanyi made a costly mistake in the third quarter, as he was intercepted by Adonis Vaughan in Tiger territory.
Massillon — which came in ranked 20th in the country by High School Football America — took full advantage and a 15-6 lead following a 20-yard score by Owens. The Copley transfer took the majority of snaps at quarterback and finished with 176 yards on 26 carries, along with 50 yards and a pick on 8 of 11 passing.
Bullock attempted to lead St. Edward (4-1) back and found Brian Sullivan for a 7-yard touchdown with 1:10 left, but the subsequent onside kick was secured by none other than Owens, who nearly fumbled as he tried to kneel out the clock under center but secured it to seal the victory.
Csanyi finished the evening with 153 passing yards and a pair of TDs, but along with the interception was also sacked three times, including twice by Dorian Pringle. Overall, Massillon's defensive front won the battle in the trenches against St. Ed's vaunted offensive line, holding the Eagles to just 59 yards rushing.
Friday's game drew many similarities to last year's meeting, when the Tigers came from behind to beat the Eagles 31-28. Just like 2022, this result will likely remove St. Ed from national title consideration, although a season ago they certainly recovered by winning their second consecutive Division I state championship.
At any rate, Massillon Washington will look to stay undefeated next week when they host Middletown, Deleware, while St. Edward heads back to Lakewood next Saturday to face River Rouge, Michigan.