But fullback Grimsley injures knee
James’ return keys Tigers’ 30-14 win
By Rollie Dreussi
Independent Sports Editor
“You can label this one the return of James Boys,” Massillon coach Mike Currence said after the Tigers defeated Mentor Friday night before 10,534 fans in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
“The defense did the job tonight. The Tigers became hungry forthefirsttime this year,” he added.
Currence was speaking of the effect the return of tackle Bob James had on his defensive unit, which allowed the Cardinals only two first downs through the first three quarters as the Tigers rolled to a 30‑0 lead before sending in the subs.
A week ago, James was in the hospital with a viral infection . He returned to practice early in the week and was still a questionable starter as of Thursday.
But he was in the trenches when the game started, and the Massillon defense responded to his return with its most impressive showing of the season.
The offense, meanwhile, showcased a devastating running game which was complemented by some big plays by quarterback Dave Eberhart.
The senior signal caller hit one of his first two passes, then whipped his next three tosses for touchdowns the first for 18 yards to Mike Reese, the second for 40 yards to Mike Feller and the third for seven yards to Mike Jones.
That gave the Tigers a 20‑0 first‑quarter lead, and Jone‑ scored on a four‑yard run in the second quarter to give Massillon a 27‑0 halftime lead. Eberhart added a 28‑yard field goal in the third quarter to complete the scoring.
He finished with six completions in 11 attempts for 112 yards and three touchdowns, and a couple of his passes were dropped. Jones led the rushing attack with 68 yards on 13 carries.
But the Tiger offense suffered a severe blow in the second quarter when fullback Greg Grimsley limped off the field after a three‑yard run. Currence said he suffered possible torn ligaments in his left knee, and may be lost for the season.
His knee was to be checked today to determine how serious the injury is.
“We lost a big gun tonight,” Currence admitted. “He makes the offense go.”
Mentor coach Tom Frazier, when informed of Grmnsley’s injury, said: “That’s a shame. One of things which I thought made them better this year was having the big, strong fullback. He’s an exceptional
Frazier, whose team lost to the Tigers 28‑0 last season, said he thought this year’s team is better than 1979’s state playoff squad.
“They are a much more physical team defensively this year than they were last season,” he said. “Maybe it was a combination of them playing exceptionally well on defense and us playing poorly on the offensive line.
“I’m really disappointed. We knew we would have
trouble with their speed, but I’m real disappointed with the way their offensive line blew us out.”
Of his own team, which had seven starters returning oil defense and several more on offense, Frazier said: “Right now, I don’t know where we stand as a football team. we have problems in some areas, and we’re going to have to make improvements to be successful.”
The Cardinals take on Greater Cleveland Conference foe Euclid next weekend, and may have to do so without starting quarterback Shawn Palmer, who injured his back. Palmer was sacked several times by the Tiger defense, and had to throw most of his passes from the “horizontal parade rest” position. The fierce Tiger pass rush got to him even when he was able to get the pass off.
“Both our tackles did a good job tonight,” Tiger defensive coordinator Jim Letcavits said of James and Ed Newman, who sacked Palmer and recovered at the Mentor seven yard line to set up Massillon’s third score.
‑We had the good rush on the passer which we didn’t have before,” Letcavits added.
Currence said: “The name of the game for us is defense. If it can get the ball for us, we’re going to put points on the board. They did it and we’re proud of them. ”
Currence said he also liked the job his offensive line did, and noted that he felt the Tigers controlled the line of scrimmage both defensively and offensively.
With Grimsley possibly lost for the season, the possibility of switching James back to fullback was brought up. James played that position until late last season, when he was switched to the defensive line.
6’The question is, can we afford to move Bob James to fullback. We’ll have to answer that this week. He means an awful lot to out, defense. ” Currence said.
The regular backup fullback, junior Michael Moore, is out with a bruised thigh and probably won’t be ready for action by next Friday, when the Tigers will host Akroyi Garfield.
Currence said junior George Roknich, who filled in for Grimsley last night, will probably get the call there. Also, senior Dave Huth got the starting nod at halfback against Mentor because of an illness to junior Robert Oliver, who started the first two games. Oliver is expected to be ready next weekend.
With the Tiger defense stifling Mentor’s offense, Massillon had little trouble getting on the board early.
Following a punt by the Cardinals on their first possession, the Tigers drove 59 yards in nine plays for their first score. Eberhart found Reese open in the left corner of the end zone from 18 vards out with 6 31 to play in the first quarter. Eberhart’s conversion kick made it 7‑0.
Mentor punted again, and Newman recovered a fumble by Tiger kick returner Paul Turner at the Massillon 27 yard line. A clipping penalty pushed the Tigers back to their own 13.
Seven running plays moved the ball to the Mentor 40. On second‑and‑four, Eberhart used a play‑action fake to freeze the Cardinal defense, and hit the wide‑open Feller down the right sideline for a touchdown, Eberhart’s PAT kick made it 14‑0 with 1:21 to play in the quarter.
On the Cardinals’ first play from their own 18 yard 1 me. Palmer dropped back to pass. He was rushed hard by Newman and defensive end Don Fulton. It appeared that Newman batted down Palmer’s pass, but the officials ruled it a fumble, and Newman came up with it at the Cardinals’ seven yard line.
One Eberhart to Jones pass later it was 20‑0 with seven seconds still showing on the clock. Eberhart’s point‑after kick missed.
Mentor took the ensuing kickoff, and Palmer finally completed a 13‑yard pass to Mark Gartland for the Cardinals initial first down.
Middle guard Jeff Grove sacked Palmer on the next third‑down play, however, and1he Cards punted again.
The Tigers looked like they were going to get another long touchdown when Eberhart ‑ from the Mentor 42 ‑ threw long to Jones. The ball bounced off Jones’ shoulder pad, though, and fell incomplete. Two plays later the Tigers punted, and Palmer was then intercepted by junior linebacker Tim Manion at the Mentor 30 yard line.
Grimsley ran seven yards, then took a pitchout to the right and came close to a first down. He came up limping and hobbled off the field.
Eberhart threw an incomplete pass on third‑and-inches, then ran four yards for a first down. Three plays later Jones took it in from the four. Eberhart’s kick made it 27‑0 with 3:39 left in the half.
Following an exchange of punts at the beginning of the third quarter, the Tigers put together a drive that carried from their own 28 to the Mentor five yard line.
On fourth‑and‑five, the Tigers were penalized for delay of game, and Eberhart booted a 28‑yard field goal with 1:13 left in the quarter.
With the Tiger subs in the game, the Cardinals finally got their offense going. On first‑and‑10 from their own 44 yard line, Palmer found Lenny Weber open down the middle with a 56‑yard touchdown pass. The extra point kick was blocked, and the Tigers led 30‑6 with 7:20 to go in the game.
The Tigers recovered the Cardinals’ ensuing onside kick when George Nikitenko came up with the ball at his own 47. Steve Trivisonno stopped the Tigers’ drive, however, when he intercepted a Rick Spielman pass at his own 31 yard line.
With Trivisonno taking over at quarterback, Mentor drove into Tiger territory. On fourth‑and‑24 from the Massillon 34, Trivisonno hit Weber with a 34‑yard touchdown pass with 1:42 to go in the game. On a fake kick attempt, Palmer passed to Scott Ockington for the extra points.
Mentor’s Mike Caldwell recovered an onside kick at the Tiger 49, but four straight incompletions squelched the Cardinals’ final threat.
Massillon is now 3‑0 on the season while Mentor falls to 1‑2.
Statistically, Eberhart was the offensive key for the Tigers, rushing for 60 yards in eight carries in addition to his 112 yards passing. Reese was the top Tiger receiver, catching three passes for 60 yards. Grimsley finished with 30 yards in six carries and Roknich had 18 yards in four carries.
First downs‑rushing 11 3
First downs-passing 5 4
First downs‑penalties 1 0
Total first downs 17 7
Yards gained rushing 221 88
Yards lost rushing 0 56
Net Yds. gained rushing 221 32
Net yds. gained passing 132 132
Total yards gained 353 164
Passes attempted 19 15
Passes completed 7 4
Passes intercepted by 1 0
Ydg. on passes intercepted 0 0
Times kicked off 6 3
Kickoff average (ydg.) 48.5 24.0
Kickoff returns (yds.) 21 63
Times punted 3 6
Punt average (yds.) 37.3 37.5
Punt returns (yds.) 26 0
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 5 1
Lost fumbled ball 2 1
Penalties 10 5
Yards penalized 89 41
Touchdowns rushing 1 0
Touchdowns passing 3 2
Touchdowns by interception 0 0
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Total number of plays 62 46
of possession 27:06 20:54
MENTOR 0 0 0 14 ‑ 14
MASSILLON 20 7 3 0 ‑ 30
MASS ‑ Mike Reese 18 pass from Dave Eberhart (Eberhart kick)
MASS ‑ Mike Feller 40 pass from Eberhart (Eberhart kick)
MASS – Mike Jones 7 pass from Eberhart (Eberhart kick)
MASS ‑ Jones 4 run (Eberhart kick)
MASS ‑ FG 28 Eberhart
MENT ‑ Lenny Weber 56 pass from Shawn Palmer (kick fail)
MENT – Weber 34 pass from Steve Trivisonno (Scott Ockington pass from Palmer)