Tigers defeat defending champs 7-0
By CHUCK HESS, JR.
Independent Sport Editor
Tom Persell, Tiger statistician, calls them “miscellaneous touchdowns,” but we’ll take them any way they come.
The only TD the Massillon Tigers scored in beating defending class AAA state champion Warren Harding before a capacity house of 15,500 Friday night at Mollenkopf stadium in Warren could be the most important of the 1972 season and certainly is the most important in the career of senior center Todd Cocklin.
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WITH THE Orange and Black just about to cap a 15-play, 77-yard drive after the second kickoff and left half Tom Hannon running through the center from the four on second down, disaster struck. Hannon, who had almost lost the kickoff on a fumble, was hit hard by two tacklers and the ball danced into the end zone where Cocklin fell on it with the clock showing 5:04.
“I saw the ball bobbling around and knew I had to get it,” the 6-1, 195-pound blond said.
He also scored the only TD against Warren here last year when he pounced on a Black Panther fumble which rolled into the end zone from the six.
Cocklin also did his bit Friday night by helping to open up some big holes in the middle for fullback Charles Danzy. And he did it while playing opposite a tough “nose” man, senior Chuck Cullins (5-11, 185).
Add the names Don Muhlback, Tim Gutshall, Charles Swann, Terry Edwards and Kevin Westover to the list who had one of the key nights in their careers.
It was Muhlback who kicked the only conversion after being sick most of the week and not practicing until Thursday.
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“IT WAS THE most important point I’ve scored in my life,” the bespectacled senior said. “It felt good because I was kicking poorly in practice Thursday. We can almost touchdown it (a state championship).
On the TD drive the Tigers had a first and 15 on the Warren 46 when Westover
boot-legged to the right as everybody else went left and carried 17 for a first down on the Panther 39 to keep the drive alive.
“That opened up so pretty,” Westover said. A guard (Tri-Captain Larry Mayles) through a great block. It was just a great team effort all the way. And don’t forget to give Tom (Hannon) credit for another great job.”
He was held to 80 net yards in 23 carries, his lowest mark of the season, but had some key ones like the six for 18 yards on the TD jaunt.
Edwards carried the ball five times for 33 yards while under the duress of an injured leg which he sustained last week.
“It hurt alright but I had to play and just gutted it out,” the tall senior said.
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TO WHICH HIS Coach Bob Commings added, “He was the epitome of courage. We debated using him in the second half, but he went in and ran like a Tiger!”
Gutshall, a sophomore, and Swann, a junior, teamed to stop a 40-yard combined first and second period Warren drive after a punt, on the Massillon five. Warren sophomore quarterback Jim Richburg passed to split end Ron Cullins, a junior, but Swann cracked Cullins who lost the ball and Gutshall claimed it.
“They (Warren) knocked it loose again, but the referee had called it dead,” Gutshall beamed. “I was sure happy!”
“And so was I!” Swann chimed in.
Gutshall also recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass in the second half, but the fumble recovery came after the ball had been ruled dead. Hannon also pilfered a pass near the end of the fourth quarter to kill any further Warren chances.
The offense displayed good ball control, running 62 plays to Warren’s 43 to combine with another sterling defensive job. Outside of Cullins’ opening-kickoff runback to his 43 where he stumbled to the turf while apparently in the clear, Warren got out of its end of the field only once during each half.
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BESIDES THE second quarter jaunt, the Panther’s went on one near the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth which carried 62 yards to the Tigers’ one. Richburg was thrown on the four on third down and on fourth down senior middle guard Tom Balizet and senior tackle Mike Green threw a crunching detour on left half Wilbur Boggs who had carried nine times in the two drives for 34 yards, showing why he is the number two ground gainer to Hannon in the All-American conference.
The Tigers were stopped at the Warren 28 and 35 in the second quarter – the latter time on senior linebacker Mike Blazek’s interception – and at the Panther 25 in the fourth period.
“That goal line stand was terrific,” Commings said. “We were a little tight in the first half – maybe a little too high, but we were loose in the second half. If there are five outstanding teams in Ohio, Warren has to be one of them. They prepared for us beautifully. They’re a great team.”
The win made it 8-0 for the No. 1 ranked Tigers , 5-3 for Warren and allowed the Tigers to hold onto a tie for first place in the AAC with Canton McKinley whose season-ending date here Saturday, Nov. 11 is looming bigger and bigger.
WARREN – 0
Ends – Pytlik, R. Cullins, McCleary, Brown, Hudson.
Tackles – Roberts, Amos, Williams, Santell, Daugherty, Billock.
Guards – Pegg, Varley, Vishos.
Center – Hall.
Quarterback – Richburg.
Halfbacks – W. Boggs, Dixon.
Fullbacks – Elzy, Honeywood, Dansler.
Middle Guard – C. Cullins.
Linebacker – Blazek.
Defensive Halfbacks – Ice, Shannon, Kokrak, C. Boggs.
MASSILLON – 7
Ends – D. Edwards, Sullivan, Bodiford, Bash, McCauley.
Tackles – Green, Geiser, Csonka, Lee.
Guards – Mayles, Guiffre, Keller.
Center – Cocklin.
Quarterbacks – Westover, Bickford.
Halfbacks – Hannon, T. Edwards, Columbus Danzy.
Fullbacks – Charles Danzy, A .Wood.
Middle Guard – Balizet.
Linebackers – T. Gutshall, Ahlstrom.
Defensive Halfbacks – Jackson, Dan Gutshall, Dennis Gutshall, Swann, Muhlbach, G. Wood, Christie, DiLoreto, Mayor.
MASSILLON 0 0 7 0 7
WARREN 0 0 0 0 0
M – Cocklin, fumble recovery in end zone (Muhlbach kick).
Referee – James Keefer.
Umpire – Billy Jedel.
Head Linesman – Tom Ascani.
Field Judge – Charles Hinkle.
First downs, rushing 11 5
First downs, passing 1 0
First downs, penalties 1 1
Total first downs 13 6
Yards gained rushing 188 121
Yards lost rushing 16 4
Net yards gained rushing 172 117
Net yards gained passing 29 8
Total yards gained 201 125
Passes completed 2-7 1-5
Passes intercepted by 2 1
Yardage on passes intercepted 7 0
Kickoff average (yards) 2-46.0 1-48.0
Kickoff returns (yards) 11 59
Punt average (yds.) 4-34.0 4-31.5
Punt returns (yds.) 10 2
Fumbles (lost) 3(0) 2(1)
Yards penalized 4-20 5-35
Total number of plays 62 43