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Tigers thump Eastmoor 30-0

By DENNY J. HIGHBEN

The Tigers gained their first shutout of the season by defeating the Columbus Eastmoor Warriors 30-0 before a homecoming crowd of 9,130.

“They have a good ball club,” Tiger coach Mike Currence said following the game. “Some people don’t believe that a team is good when we win like this, but it took a total team effort. Our defense did a great job containing their running backs, our kicking game was great and our offense did a good job.”

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THE DEFENSE allowed Eastmoor only 44 net yards rushing in the first half and only 27 in the second half. Eastmoor’s quarterbacks were sacked three times and completed one of three pass attempts for nine yards.

Keith Griffin, the backbone of Eastmoor’s rushing attack, injured a knee in practice Thursday and didn’t play until the second half. He gained 39 yards on nine carries and both Currence and Warrior coach Bob Stuart commented the sophomore speedster.

“We hit him hard and still couldn’t get him down,” Currence said.

I think he did quite well, considering he was running on one good leg,” Stuart said. He said his team’s morale fell Thursday when Griffin was injured and his limited running hurt the Warrior’s offensive game.

Griffin was hit at or near the line of scrimmage on almost every one of his carries but showed the twisting, darting style of running that gained his brother, Archie, a pair of Heisman awards. His longest run was for 13 yards and he had a 14-yarder nullified by a holding penalty.

EASTMOOR’S defense put a lot of pressure on Tiger quarterback Brent Offenbecher in the first half and he connected on only four of 13 attempts and he was forced to run the ball several times. In the second half he was sacked twice.

“We got a little shook up in tile first half,” Currence said.

The Eastmoor defense was only part of the problem. The phone system between the sidelines and the coaches spotting from the roof failed, leaving the Tiger coaches on the field “blind.”

The Tiger, scored the second time they had the ball, on an 83-yard drive that took only five play.

Gerg Carpenter ran from Massillon’s 17 for nine yards on the first play, then Mike Grove charged through the right side of the line, broke two tackles and got to the Tiger 49 before being pulled down. Offenbecher passed to Grove on the next play for yards yards and Carpenter ran the ball 19 yards, to the Eastmoor 23.

FULLBACK Richard Cleveland got the handoff on the fifth play of the drive, side-stepped a mass of humanity at the line of scrimmage and rambled all 23 yards for the score. Mark Westover kicked the extra point and the Tigers led 7-0 with 5:41 left in the period.

The teams exchanged the ball for the rest of the first quarter and the Tigers got possession for the first time in the second period at their 20 after Warrior kicker Beros Kosovski punted into the end zone. Westover had to punt when the drive died on the Massillon 48, but the Eastmoor receiver fumbled the ball around the five yard line.

Several Tigers went for it as it bounded into the end, where center Dick Lutz recovered it for a touchdown. Westover was on target again and it was 14-0 with 4:36 left in the second period.

Ron Wright replaced Offenbecher at quarterback later in the second quarter and marched the team from the Tiger 35 to the Eastmoor 23 before the drive ran out of steam. Westover then kicked the ball from the 30 and it sailed through the uprights for a 40-yard field goal, making it 17-0.

Eastmoor started the second half on its own 11 and gained only four yards before punting. Massillon got the ball at the Warrior 45 after the punt and marched to the 11 yard line in seven plays.

OFFENBECHER found end Curtis Strawder open in the end zone on the next play and passed to him for score.

On the conversion attempt the snap from center was high and holder Jeff David was tackled trying to run for the extra points, so with 6:30 in the third period the Tigers had a comfortable 23-0 lead.

It looked like Eastmoor might get moving on the next series but Griffin’s 14-yard run was nullified by the holding penalty and on the next play defensive end Gene Miller sacked Warrior quarterback Scott Shaw for an eight yard loss.

On third and 34, Shaw got Eastmoor’s only completion but defensive halfback Mike Hickey tackled receiver Scott Williams as soon as he caught the ball and the gain was well short of the needed yardage.

The teams exchanged punts until midway through the fourth period, when the Tigers drove from their 25 to the Eastmoor six, only to be stopped short. Westover tried a 25-yard field goal but the attempt was wide.

WRIGHT CAME in on Massillon’s next possession, at the Eastmoor 41, threw an incomplete pass, then connected with Strawder for 11 yards and Eric Clendenning for seven yards.

Wingback Jeff Beitel ran to the seven yard line two plays later and Wright passed to Beitel on the next play for the final touchdown. Westover came through on the conversion to wrap up the scoring.

Eastmoor’s Coach said after the game, “We’re a little disappointed it wasn’t closer. We came up here thinking we could win and our kids hit and played good defense.”

The Eastmoor linebackers and secondary were exceptional on defense making a number of solo tackles in the open field to thwart plays that would have worked for long yardage.

It was the second defeat for the Warriors and the first time this season they’ve been shut out. Only once did they penetrate Massillon’s 40 yard line. They were on the Tiger 39 when Griffin made the 14 yard run that wiped out by the penalty.

Eastmoor is now 5-2 while the Tiger are 6-1. Massillon will host All-America Conference rival Warren Harding next Friday right.

M E
First downs rushing 10 4
First downs passing 8 0
First downs penalties 1 1
Total first downs 19 5
Yards gained rushing 220 109
Yard, lost rushing 32 38
Net yards gained rushing 188 71
Net yard called passing 150 9
Total yards gained 338 80
Passes attempted 25 3
Passes completed 12 1
Passes intercepted by 1 0
Yardage on passes intercepted 0 0
Times kicked off 6 1
Kickoff average (yards) 49.5 52.0
Kickoff returns (yards) 18 60
Times punted 3 7
Punt average (yards) 43.3 30.2
Punt returns (yards) 2 3
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 0 1
Lost fumbled ball 0 0
Penalties 4 3
Yards penalized 40 32
Touchdowns rushing 1 0
Touchdowns passing 2 0
Touchdowns by interception 0 0
Miscellaneous touchdowns 1 0
Total number of plays 64 45
Total time of possession 24:59 23:01

Massillon 7 10 6 7 30
Eastmoor 0 0 0 0 0

M – Richard Cleveland, 23 run (Mark Westover kick);
M – Dick Lutz, recovered fumble in endzone (Westover kick);
M – Westover, 40 yard field goal;
M – Curtis Strawder, 11 pass from Brent Offenbecher (kick foiled);
M – Jeff Beitel, pass from Ron Wright (Westover kick).

Paid attendance 9,130.

Tim Daniels