Select Page

Tigers crush Steubenville 41-22
Big Red scores on two blocked punts

By DENNY J. HIGHBEN
The Tigers blasted Steubenville out of its own stadium Friday, 41-22, in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicates.

The Massillon air commandoes combined for 237 yards on 12 completions and two touchdowns and the ground attack accounted for 162 yards. Steubenville had a scant 15 net yards rushing and 99 passing – 64 of which came on a fourth-quarter touchdown pass that gave the Big Red its only offensive points of the game.

STEUBENVILLE’S two other touchdown came in the fourth period on runbacks of blocked punts.

Tiger coach Mike Currence was so pleased with the team’s performance even the blocked punts didn’t bother him to any noticeable degree. Only one thing got to Currence – a third-quarter brawl that eventually contributed to the blocked punts.

We did everything well except we didn’t hold our tempers well. That ruined my whole night,” he said, and added that he didn’t feel the fight was the fault of the Tigers but it still shouldn’t have occurred.

The brawl took place on the Tigers’ second possession of the third quarter. On the first play, from Massillon’s 27 yard line, quarterback Ron Wright threw an incomplete pass to end Mark Pringle and Pringle was roughed up out of bounds. The Big Red was tagged for a personal foul and on the next play, from the 32, halfback Mike Grove took a reverse ran to the left and a battle erupted on the right. Steubenville ‘s middle guard, Jerome Holmes, started some “unsportsmanlike conduct” with Tiger center Dick Lutz: Lutz retaliated and for a few moments many of the players and several officials were knotted up around Massillon’s 40 yard line.

The end result was that both Lutz and Holmes were ejected from the game and each team was called for a personal foul.

“HAVING LUTZ ejected definitely hurt us, and I thick Steubenville was offsides on both of the blocked punts,” Currence said.

The Big Red defenders were extremely fast in getting to the punter and the snaps from junior center Scott Kasunick were not as accurate as Lutz’s, slowing up the punter. The first punt, by Wright, was blocked with 9:18 left in the final period and Steubenville defensive back Buzz Bell scooped up the ball at Massillon’s 22 and ran it in. Quarterback Greg Taylor pitched to Chris Mills and he scored the two-point conversion, making the score 35-8.

Steve Michalak, Big Red’s kicker, put the ball in the end zone on the ensuing kickoff and the Tigers were stalled on their 29 after a penalty and two incomplete passes. Mark Westover attempted to punt but it was blocked and linebacker Selmond Johnson picked the ball up as it bounced backwards and trotted five yards for the TD. Taylor tried to run in for the conversion but was stopped short and the score was 35-14 with 7:04 left.

Grove then took the kickoff at Massillon’s nine and ran past the 25. As he was being tackled an enthusiastic teammate grabbed him and dragged him to the 32, and the Tiger were flagged for illegally advancing a runner.

Wingback Greg Carpenter and fullback Richard Cleveland ran the ball from the 17 to the 28 yard line. Wright passed to end Curtis Strawder for 13 yards but the play was wiped out by a procedure penalty.

WRIGHT THREW a pass over the middle on the next play to Grove. The pass was a bit too high but Grove made a fantastic one-handed catch to give the Tigers a first down on their 42 yard line.

Two plays later Wright found Carpenter open in the same area and connected on a pass that Carpenter carried down to Steubenville’s 19. Wright followed that up with a touchdown pass to Strawder in the deep left corner of the end zone. Wright’s pass for the conversion was no good and the Tigers were on top 41-14 with 3:14 left.

Big Red ended the scoring when Taylor, on third-and-four at the Steubenville 36, couldn’t find anyone open downfield and passed to running back Terry McKinney at the line of scrimmage. McKinney weaved his way through Tiger tacklers and went the distance. Bernard Stevenson ran a sweep to score two points, making it 41-22.

Steubenville coach Bill Bohren said of the blocked punts. “We go after them all the time and we do it as good as anyone in the league. We’ve blocked four so far this year and had 13 last season.” He added that his charges were penalized six times for roughing the kicker in one game while trying to block punts. Assessing the entire game, he said, “it gave us a lift.”

The Tigers built a 35-0 lead before the fourth quarter fireworks. They got on the board before some Tiger fans had found parking spots around the stadium.

THE FIRST score came on a 60-yard drive that was highlighted by a 27-yard pass from Brent Offenbecher to Strawder and a 20-yard pass from Offenbecher to Grove. Five plays later Cleveland punched in from the three. Westover kicked the conversion and the Tigers were on top 7-0 with 8:27 left in the first period.

Stevenson ran the kick-off back to his 40 and the Big Red marched to the Tiger 27. On first down Stevenson was tackled for a two-yard loss, and Big Red was called for clipping. That put the ball on the 44 and Stevenson and Taylor were thrown for losses on the next two plays, which killed the only semblance of a drive Steubenville had all night.

The Tigers started from their 20 on the next series and after four plays and two penalties, were staring at a second-and-23 at their 12 yard line. Cleveland took the ball on a draw and rambled 29 yards and Offenbecher followed up with a 13-yard pass to Mark Pringle. Two plays later the junior quarterback hit Grove for a 43-yard scoring strike and Cleveland ran in the two- point conversion with 11:18 left in the second quarter.

Fifty-four seconds later, the Steubenville quarterback was hit as he pitched wide and defender Mike Hickey grabbed the ball and ran 22 yards for a touchdown. Westover’s kick made it 21-0.

The Tigers started their last scoring drive of the half on their own 32. They moved to the Big Red two yard line in seven plays, with Offenbecher hitting Pringle with two passes, Strawder with one, and Grove charging 26 yards on a double reverse. Carpenter took the ball in from the one with 2:23 left and Westover’s kick made it 28-0. The 28 points equaled the amount Steubenville’s defense had surrendered in the first live games of the season combined.

THE TIGER faithful got a scare on Massillon’s first possession of the first period when Offenbecher pitched to Cleveland and was flattened. He lay motionless for a few moments, then peeled himself off the turf and walked to the sidelines. Wright went in and handed off to Carpenter over right tackle and he went 26 yards for the score. Westover added the kick and with 7:11 left in the third and the score at 35-0, the stage was set for the wild fourth period.

Currence said Offenbecher appeared to be alright after a few moments but the coach decided to keep him out and Wright did a great job for the rest of the game. Offenbecher finished the night with eight completions on 12 attempts, 153 yards and a touchdown. Wright completed four of eight for 84 yards and a touchdown. Pringle and Grove each caught four passes, Strawder pulled in three and Carpenter caught one.

Currence also applauded the defense for an out standing job. “Our defense stopped them on that first drive and that gave us a psychological boost.”

And after that first drive, there were none. The Tiger defenders nailed Big Red runners for 50 yards in losses, Dan Venables intercepted a pass, Hickey returned a wayward pitch for a score and he also intercepted a pass, but the play was wiped out by a penalty.

Coach Brunei was impressed by the Tiger defense but he was overwhelmed by the offense. “That’s a super offense. If you don’t get to Offenbecher you’re done because he is a very skilled athlete and he has great receivers. I’d say Massillon has the best offensive football team in the state.”

MASSILLON, now sporting a 5-1 record, Bonds powerful Columbus Eastmoor next Friday night for the WHS homecoming. Steubenville 2-4 hosts city rival Steubenville Central next Saturday.

Friday’s contest was the second All-American Conference game for both teams. Massillon is 2-0 in the league and the Big Red is 0-2.

GRIDSTICK
M S
First downs rushing 10 3
First downs passing 10 1
First downs penalties 1 2
Total first downs 21 6
Yards gained rushing 178 65
Net yards gained rushing 162 15
Net yards gained passing 237 99
Total yards gained 399 114
Passes attempted 20 8
Passes completed 12 3
Passes intercepted by 1 0
Yardage on passes inter. 0 0
Times kicked off 7 4
Kickoff average (yards) 48.3 49.5
Kickoff returns (yards) 45 122

lineups

TIGERS
Offense
Quarterback: 14 – Brent Offenbecher (Jr., 6 0, 167);
fullback: 28 – Richard Cleveland (Jr., 5 11, 185);
halfbacks: 44 – Mike Grove (Sr., 5 9, 175), 33 – Greg Carpenter (Sr., 6 0, 208), 45 – Jeff Beitel (Jr., 5 7, 150);
ends: 20 – Mark Pringle (Sr., 6 1, 182), 80 – Curtis Strawder (Jr., 5 10, 147), 86 – Bobby Grizzard (Sr., 5 5. 150), 87 – Eric Clendening (Sr., 5 10, 174);
tackles: 75 – Tim Daniels (Sr., 6 8, 260), 78 – Mark Namany (Sr., 6 4, 210 ), 73 – Bob Kovacsiss (Sr., 5 11, 246);
guards: 65 – Bob Berquist (Sr., 5 10, 195), 61 – Toby Leonard (Sr., 5 8, 183), 66 – Ken Nagle (Sr., 5 10, 191);
center: 50 – Dick Lutz (Sr., 6 1, 212).

Defense
Ends: 85 – David Engler (Sr., 5 9, 190), 51 Frank Sweterlitsch (Sr., 6 1, 193);
tackles: 68 – Tony Matie (Sr., 6 1, 218), 39 – Jerry Shafrath (Sr., 6 1, 214);
middle guard: 59 – Carl Dorsey (Sr., 5 10, 192);
linebackers: 62 – Kurt Walterhouse (Sr., 5 11, 187), 47 – Steve Dottavio (Sr., 5 9, 212);
monster back: 27 – John Letcavits (Sr., 6 1, 173);
safety: 21 – Marc Longshore (Sr., 6 1, 182);
halfback: 22 – Mike Hickey (Sr., 5 10, 171), 11 – Darren Longshore (Jr., 6 0, 165).
Kicker: 75 – Mark Westover (Sr., 6 1, 218).

BIG RED
Offense
Quarterback: 9 – Greg Taylor (Sr., 5 11,185);
fullback 25 – Lennoe Brown (Jr., 6 0, 180);
halfbacks: 31 ‑ Bob Rush (Sr., 5 11, 190), 32 – Bernard Stevenson (Jr., 5 11, 170);
ends: 80 – Dan Constanitine (Sr., 5 11, 150), 81 – Mike Lockett (Sr., 6 3, 210);
tackles: 76 ‑ Mark Vulekic (Sr., 6 1, 230), 78 ‑ Bob Hays (Sr., 6 1, 253);
guards: 51 ‑ Rusty Lewis (Sr., 5 10, 180), 62 Sam Petrides (Sr., 5 11, 190);
center: 50 ‑ Frank Prolago (Sr., 6 0, 165).

Defense
Ends: 81 ‑ Lockett, 54 – Ken Wilson (Jr., 5 11, 185);
tackles: 78 – Hays, 75 – Bruce Biggio (Sr., 6 0, 220);
middle guard: Jerome Holmes (Jr., 5 11, 170);
linebackers: 60 – Anthony Baldin (Sr., 5 10, 175), 40 – Selmond Johnson (Jr., 6 0, 185);
safeties : 35 – Jimmy DeFrank (Sr., 5 10, 165), 14 – Brian Bell (J r., 5 9, 145);
halfback: 22 ‑ Terry Creech (Sr., 5 10, 160), 12 – John Maltese (Sr., 5 10,150)

Series:
41st meeting, Massillon holds 35-3-2 edge.

Points scored by:
Massillon 124,
Steubenville 54.

Points scored against:
Massillon 51,
Steubenville 28

Big Red Eyes Tiger Invasion

On Sports
By John Phillips

“Massillon does every everything well,” said Steubenville Football Coach Bill Bohren Thursday. “I don’t think there is a team in the state which could do as well as the Tigers.”

Bohren was asked to evaluate tonight’s All‑American Conference opponent at Harding Stadium. Massillon comes to Steubenville with a 4‑1 log while Big Red is 2‑3. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.

“We’ve had a good chance to look at some films,” added Bohren, “and they don’t really have any weaknesses.”

Big Red has, as usual, been working hard all weak for tonight’s invasion by the Tigers, the rivals meeting for the 41st time with Massillon holding a commanding 35‑3‑2 edge in the series.

“I just look at the difference in that series and it really surprises me,” continued Bohren. “It shouldn’t be like that…but it is.”

The players are apparently looking at this game the same as they did any other this year. “In the past, the week of the game, the boys are usually jabbering away like crazy about the Tigers, but this week it seems to be a low‑key approach. Maybe that’s the way it should be. There’s no reason we can’t beat this team.”

There will be a few lineup changes for Big Red tonight, Dave LaRue, a 180‑pound junior, moves in as fullback for Lennie Brown while junior Terry Mckinney starts at one of the halfback slots opposite Chris Mills.

Asked if he planned anything different for tonight’s game , Bohren said no, “but, we would like to get a little more balance in our offense. We’ve got to make their defense respect us.”

As for Big Red’s defense, Bohren voiced pleasure with that group’s effort. “Our defense has been playing as well as we expected it to play,” continued Bohren. “They haven’t given up that many points. We’ll have to be alert tonight, though, to stop Massillon’s big play offense.”

“Our offense was expected to do great things this year,” said the Big Red mentor, “but it just hasn’t materialized. We need better performances from our line so that we can shake our backs loose.”

The usual large crowd is expected for tonight’s game. The only tickets available are general admission in the end zone for $3.

Pigskin Predictions

One only has to spend a few minutes answering my phone here on Tuesdays to find out things are getting fairly difficult in making these selections.

Just when it’s felt we’ve got everything figured out, there’s a few surprises along the way. However, we’re strugging now at a .723 percentage with 94 correct and 29 wrong. There’s been a few ties thrown in.

Just hoping to keep above the dreaded .700 level, here we go again.

GAMES TONIGHT

MASSILLON AT BIG RED ‑ Look for a hard‑hitting defensive battle between these rivals. I’d like nothing better than to see Big Red turn the trick here, but everything points to the Tigers. MASSILLON 14, Big Red 6.

Probable Lineups

Big Red
No. Wgt. POS.
80 Dan Costantini 145 SE
76 Mark Vukelic 230 LT
61 Kevin King 240 LG
50 Frank Prolago 165 C
62 Sam Ferrules 190 RG
78 Bob Hay 250 RT
81 Mike Lockett 210 TE
9 Gret Taylor 190 QB
21 Chris Mills 165 LH
10 Terry McKinney 170 RH
33 Dave LaRue 180 FB

DEFENSE
E –Luckett, 81, Wilson 54.
T ‑ Hays, 78, Pearce 74.
NG – Holmes, 66,
LB ‑ Johnson, 41, Baldwin, 60.
DB ‑ Bell, 14, Maltese, 12, DeFrank, 35, Creech, 22.

Massillon
Wgt. No.
150 Curt Strawder 80
210 Mark Namanny 78
180 Toby Leonard 61
212 Dick Lutz 51
195 Bob Berquist 65
260 Tim Daniels 75
196 Mark Pringle 20
170 B. Offenbecher 14
208 Greg Carpenter 33
176 Mike Grove 44
185 D. Cleveland 28

DEFENSE
E ‑ Sweterlitsch, 52, Engler, 85.
T ‑ Shofroth, 39, Matie 68.
NG – Dorsey, 59.
LB ‑ Dottavio, 47, Walterhouse, 62.
DB ‑ Letcavits, 27, Longshore, 11.
M.- Longshore, 21, Hickey, 22.

Tim Daniels