Moeller topples Massillon 35-19
Tigers unable to come back in second half;
By TODD PORTER
Repository sports writer
MASSILLON ‑ It was throwback night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Saturday night. A lot of old memories were brought back, but they left after the halftime show.
Including the way a Massillon High School football team is supposed to play the game they cherish here. At least for two quarters, the Tigers played their best half of the season.
The Massillon Tigers were kicked into gear to start the game, but Cincinnati Moeller came out in the second half and kicked them in the teeth.
The Crusaders handed Massillon its fifth loss of the season in winning 35‑19 in front of’ an inflated crowd announced at 11,518.
There were members of’ Chuck Mather’s 1948‑54 teams on the field before the game. They even formed a tunnel for the Tigers to run through.
The Tiger Swing Band took on the look of George “Red” Bird’s bands, the famed band leader while Paul Brown coached here.
That was enough to inspire Massillon for a half; unfortunately, there are two halves in a football game.
“We made a few adjustments, nothing major, but we started running to our trips because they walked off their (weakside) linebacker to that side,” Moeller head coach Steve Klonne said of’ his team’s second‑half effort.
Massillon gained less than 100 total yards in the second half, while Moeller ran off 266 and outscored the Tigers 27‑12.
The Tigers took points off the board on the opening drive of’ the game. Massillon took the ball to the Moeller 15, where Brett Marshall made a 32‑yard field goal. However, the Crusaders were called for roughing the kicker and the Tigers had the first‑and‑goal at the 7. Two plays later, though, Massillon fumbled the ball on a bad handoff and Moeller recovered.
That was not doom.
The Massillon defense forced Moeller to punt. The real Tigers came out this time.
Jason Jarvis returned the punt 17 yards to the Massillon 46. Running back Marc Cleveland was split right in a slot position, went in motion to the left, and took the handoff from junior quarterback Dave Irwin. Cleveland gained 39 yards and the Tigers had the ball inside the Moeller 20 at the 14.
Fullback Ron Lynn took a trap play, broke a tackle at the line, and scored from 14 yards out to give Massillon a 7‑0 lead with 2:04 left in the first quarter.
As good as Irwin was in his first varsity start, he was not perfect. He was sacked on a third‑and‑18 play from the Massillon 20 and Moeller’s John Oscar recovered at the 27.
But Irwin turned in perhaps the best performance of the year for a Massillon QB. He has spent the entire season as the starting junior varsity QB and running the scout team offense.
Massillon had a slim chance to take the lead before halftime. Defensive back Jamie Allman intercepted a Moeller pass inside the Tigers’ 10 and returned it to midfield. However, Massillon was out of timeouts and had less than a minute to score.
A sack and delay of’ game penalty ‑ after Massillon stopped the clock by spiking the ball on third down ‑ squashed any chances of’ a late first‑half touchdown.
Moeller set the tone in the second half when sophomore Marcus Blanks took most of the snaps at tailback. The Crusaders needed eight plays to go 65 yards and score after the second‑half kickoff. On four of’ those plays. Blanks gained 10 yards or more. He had runs of 14, 22, 16 and 10.
Brian Reisert scored on a keeper from a yard out and Moeller led 15‑7.
The Crusaders tacked on another TD in the third quarter. while Massillon could not respond.
“I think the first touchdown took a little wind away from them” Klonne said. “I think the second score is what put them away.
“Massillon’s offense got better from last week, and their defense has always been good. I think if you look at what (head coach Rick Shepas) is working with, and what he’s trying to do … you just need to be patient with them.”
How do you coach heart and effort when the game is on the line?
More than 40 minutes after the game. Massillon head coach Rick Shepas, whose team is 3‑5 for the first time since 1931, was not made available for comment.
Moeller 0 8 14 14 35
Massillon 7 0 0 12 19
MAS ‑ Lynn 14 run (Marshall kick)
MOE ‑ Hughes 3 run (Hughes run)
MOE ‑ Reisert 1 run (Murphy kick)
MOE ‑ Reisert 16 run (Seuberling kick)
MAS ‑ Irwin 8 run (pass failed)
MOE ‑ Jackson 10 pass from Reisert (Seuberling kick)
MOE ‑ Ryan 25 pass from Reisert (kick failed)
MAS ‑ Miller 77 kickoff return (pass failed)