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Offenbecher does it to Pups again

BY BOB STEWART
Repository Sports Editor

It was a case of deja vu,
as Offenbecher threw for two.
Massillon won again, of course.
The ’10‑run rule’ was not in force!

MASSILLON ‑ The Lord giveth. The Massillon Tigers taketh away!

Massillon High quarterback Brent Offenbecher turned the 83rd high school football classic against McKinley Senior High into an aerial circus in the final six minutes of the game to wipe out a 10‑0 deficit and give the Tigers a 13‑10 victory before 21,592 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Program Cover

Offenbecher, the 6‑foot‑1, 175‑pound senior who last year passed for two TDs and ran for another in the Tigers 21‑0 win in Canton, gave the McKinley followers an unwanted rerun.

Only this year it was in more heartbreaking.

McKinley had nearly blown the Tigers off the field in the first half. But in the end, the Bulldogs just blew the game in the waning minutes.

Not only Offenbecher’s passes helped beat the Bulldogs. It was the McKinley passes which really put the Pups down the tubes, the last two of which were intercepted by the Tigers.

So for one more year, the McKinley fans went home mumbling. Not since 1968 have the Pups won here in the Tigers’ lair, and the Massillon win was its third straight over the Bulldogs and its seventh in the last nine games.

But there was no clock malfunction this year. The timepiece ticked to perfection. The officiating was adequate, and no flag felled the visitors. So for the vanquished, only one villain remained ‑ the coach.

The second‑guessers were out in force for McKinley’s Coach John Brideweser’s decision to throw the ball on first‑and‑15 from the Pups’ own 22 with 5:20 left in the game and the Bulldogs leading 10‑6.

“We had to maintain ball control,” said Brideweser in answer to the inevitable question.
Tigers dump Bulldogs
“We had to get the first down, and, after we drew the motion penalty and had a first‑and‑15, I thought we needed to hit the pass.”

Game photo from Massillon vs. Canton McKinley 1978

McKinley’s Dave Seaman, the junior quarterback who stepped in at mid‑season, saw his aerial tipped by Tiger tackle Harry Foster and grabbed off by junior linebacker Tim Reese in a diving catch just before the ball hit the ground at the McKinley 31.

Offenbecher then threw three straight quick lookin Passes, a 14‑yarder to Curtis Strawder, a 10‑yarder to Martin Guszetta and then the winning TD of 7 yards again to Strawder, the amazing pass‑eating machine who finished a two‑year career with a record 68 catches for 1,072 yards. Saturday he caught eight for 92 and both TDs.

It was not a bad call,” said Massillon coach Mike Currence of Bridey’s first‑down pass.

“They needed the yardage and the first down, and‑they might not have been able to get it running,” he said.

But the Pups took their 10‑point lead mostly by ripping through the Massillon defensive line on the ground.

In the first half McKinley gained 71 yards in 27 rushes, while holding the Tigers to a net yards rushing of “minus‑11.”

But despite the running of the Pups, they had to get a big break to get in the end gone.

Massillon’s leading rusher this season, Jeff Beitel, fumbled on the first play after a Todd Maragas punt, and McKinley’s Tony Floyd covered at the Tiger 16.

Six running plays later Brantley Kelly crashed in from the 2‑yard‑line and John Grimsley kicked the conversion to put the Pups on top 7‑0 with less than four minutes left In the half.

McKinley moved the ball 55 yards in 11 plays to get Grimsley’s 22‑yard field goal with 9:29 left in the game. That drive was keyed by Seaman’s 28‑yard pass to Doyle Lewis.

Lewis, whose catch came on his only offensive play of the game, was made at the seven between two Massillon defenders. He just out‑jumped them. But a motion penalty put the Pups back at the 19, and three runs got but seven yards, and they settled for the three.

Sam Hill’s 35‑yard return of the ensuing kickoff put the ball at the Tigers’ 43, from where Offenbecher directed his team to the end zone in seven plays, hitting Strawder an the 12‑yard TD. It was his fifth completion in that drive.

After Massillon’s go‑ahead TD, Seaman unloaded from his 29 and a broken pass pattern by his receiver allowed Darren Longshore to intercept at the 43 with 3:25 remaining. Longshore fell catching the ball, and then leaped up and ran off the field holding the bail high. The result was a brief bench‑clearing brawl, but the police, sheriff’s deputies and coaches restored order rather quickly, and Massillon resumed running out the clock.

Offenbecher’s final pass of the day, a 14‑yard completion to Strawder, naturally, came on third‑and‑10 with 1:28 left and sent the McKinley fans scurrying to the parking lot.

Offenbecher completed 9 of 9 for 95 yards in the fourth quarter, giving him 17 of 20 for, the day for 177 yards. He finally has completed his career at Massillon, with more than a mile‑and‑a‑half in yards passing, and virtually all the passing records in the Tigers school record book.

Massillon finished with an 9-0-1 overall record and won the All‑American Conference with a 4‑0‑1 mark. McKinley finished 7‑2 overall and 4‑1 in the AAC.

Tiger, Bulldog Lineups
TIGERS
Offense
QUARTERBACK: 14 Brent Offenbecher (Sr., 6‑1. 175);
FULLBACK: 43 Tom Gehring (Sr., 5‑10, 171), 16 Wally Neff (Jr., 5-8, 172), 49 Sam Hill (Jr., 5‑6, 160); HALFBACKS: 45 Jeff Beitel (Sr., 5‑7, 158), 22 Bill Beitel (Jr., 5‑7, 148);
ENDS: 42 Curtis Strawder (Sr., 5‑10, 153), 13 Ron Wright (Sr., 5‑9, 173), 25 Marty Guzzetta (Jr., 5‑9. 160); TACKLES: 67 Doug Wood (Sr., 6‑2, 191); 76 Mark Kircher (Jr., 6‑1, 212);
GUARDS: 69 Jim Horton (Sr., 6‑0, 177), 79 Eric Barnard (Sr., 6‑2, 215), 65 Larry Massie (Jr., 5‑7, 195);
CENTER: 51 Scott Kasunick (Sr., 5‑9, 181).

Defense
ENDS: 81 Bruce Solinger (Sr., 6‑0, 175), 88 Wilson (Sr., 6‑0, 182);
TACKLES: 72 Harry Foster (Sr., 6‑2, 232), 71 Jeff Pedro (Sr., 6‑3, 204);
MIDDLE GUARD: 55 Bob Simpson (Jr., 5‑11, 190);
LINEBACKERS: 28 Dick Cleveland (Sr., 5-11, 188), 38 Kevin Harris (Sr., 5‑10, 182). 59 Tim Reese (Jr.. 5‑9, 163);
MONSTER BACK: 11 Darren Longshore (Sr., 6‑1, 175);
SAFETY: 21 Jamie Schlegel (Jr., 5‑11, 160);
HALFBACKS: 34 Jeff David (Sr., 5‑9, 188), 12 Dan Venables (Sr., 5‑10, 160).
KICKERS: 13 Wright (punts, extra points), 86 Mike Hodgson, 79 Barnard (kickoff).

BULLDOGS
Offense
QUARTERBACK: 12 Dave Seaman (Jr., 165);
FULLBACK: 34 Charles Taylor (Sr., 190), 31 David Faur (So., 167), 30 Michael Lynch (So., 157); HALFBACKS: 42 Doyle Lewis (Sr., 180), 33 Robin Kindell (Jr., 150), 32 Lucius Rowser (Sr., 180), 40 Brantley Kelly (Jr., 160), 11 Todd Maragas (Sr ., 184);
ENDS: 82 ‑Jeff Thompson (Sr., 168), 84 Ron Rankin (Jr., 170);
TACKLES: 73 Steve Stranan (Sr., 215), 50 Brian Blosser (Sr., 205);
GUARDS: 64 Milton Young (Sr., 197), 67 Scott Dean (Sr., 170), 65 Cyle Cole (Sr., 185);
CENTER: 51 Eric Kempthorn (Sr., 180).

Defense
ENDS: 34 Taylor, 86 Bo Zeren (Sr., 180), 80Mitchell Kelly (Jr., 170), 81 Phil Glavasis (Jr., 165); TACKLES: 75 Tony Floyd (Jr., 205), 73 Strahan, 83 Troy Sanders (So., 195), 85 Joe Sanders (Sr., 185); MIDDLE GUARD: 32 Rowser;
LINEBACKERS: 64 Young, 67 Dean, 65 Cole;
MONSTER BACK: 22 Andy Kneffler (Sr., 160);
SAFETY: 42 Lewis;
HALFBACKS: 21 ‑ Mark Green (Sr., 155), 20 Kelly Mullane (Jr., 160), 33 Kindell.

SERIES: 83rd meeting, Massillon holds 45‑32‑5 edge.
LAST MEETING: 1977. Massillon 21, McKinley 0.
POINTS SCORED BY: Massillon 265, McKinley 140.
POINTS SCORED AGAINST: Massillon 29, McKinley 42.

A lesson in perseverance

The Washington High School football team was the toast of the city today for its fourth quarter conquest of arch rival Canton McKinley Saturday afternoon in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Trailing 10‑0 in the fourth period, the Massillon Tiger team lived up to tradition Saturday afternoon by staging a comeback to score 13 points and win the game 13‑10. In so doing it learned one of the great lessons of life – never give up.

Many a football team would have quit after McKinley, leading 7‑0 going into the last period, put three more points on the board – but not the Tigers. That’s when they became aroused and, at the urging of Massillon fans, scored two touchdowns in the final minutes to complete the regular season undefeated for the first time since 1972. A tie with Warren spoiled an otherwise perfect mark.

It was the Tigers’ determination to succeed that saw them through, and we give them great credit for never having given up in their efforts to win the game. In sports they call that “desire,” and the Massillon boys certainly had it Saturday afternoon; otherwise they would have been on the losing end of the score.

Their late rally was typical of fourth period comebacks against McKinley a number of times in past years. Remembrances of these historical games kept most ‑fans in their seats hoping that what appeared to be the impossible would become possible.

In victory we cannot help but feel some compassion for the vanquished. They were a dejected group of McKinley players who came off the field, their hopes crushed after having had victory almost within grasp. They played hard and, even though defeated, can hold their heads high for their efforts.

As a result of the victory the Tigers are champions of the All-American Conference, and we congratulate them and Coach Mike Currence and his assistant coaches for winning the title.

Curtis Strawder