TIGERS BLAST BULLDOGS 29-6
Nifty Line Play Is Victory Key In 76th Game
By BOB STEWART
Repository Sports Editor
The Massillon Tigers came to town Saturday and in two hours at Fawcett Stadium showed the more than 21,000 fans a football aggregation that belies its 8-2 season record.
In a scholastic grid contest unquestionably decided in that 11-inch space known as the
line-of-scrimmage the Tigers turned in a 29-6 triumph over the upset-minded but undermanned McKinley Bulldogs.
Massillon finished the season in third place in the All-American Conference with a 3-2 mark. However, the Tigers were but two slender points away from an undefeated season and possibly state recognition.
The pair of one-point losses, to Warren and Niles, made the difference between the Tigers being in contention for the state title, or also-rans in the state and conference.
McKinley concluded its season with a 7-2-1 mark, losing to Warren and tying Niles. The Bulldogs finished fourth in the six-team conference with a 2-2-1 effort.
Tigers Dominate Series 41 to 30
The victory by Massillon ups its lead in the 76-game rivalry to 41-30, with five games ending in ties. The Tigers have won 12 of the last 15 contests.
Massillon’s Willie Spencer ran for two Tiger TDs and defensive end Derry Edwards had a day he’ll not soon forget as he intercepted two McKinley passes and ran both back for touchdowns, one 76 yards and the other 58.
But in spite of the fact Spencer’s 12 points gave him the Stark County scoring title for 1971 and he gained 142 yards in 33 carries Saturday to reign as the star runner, the glory for the Tigers belonged to the offensive and defensive linemen.
It was center Steve Studer, guards Scott Graber, Randy Heck and Bruce Christoff, tackles Glenn Weirich and Andre Heath and ends Bob Stephan and Mike McGuire who made the Massillon offense go with their devastating blocking.
In the defensive line, some of the names were the same. Stephan, a great one at 6-3 and 207 pounds, Weirich, the alert Edwards, Studer, end Todd Cocklin and middle guard Larry McLenndon, who doubles as the “other” runner in the Tiger backfield and added 64 yards in 12 rushes to the Massillon cause.
The defensive line put tremendous pressure on McKinley quarterback Jimmy Vance, causing a total of four interceptions. On Edwards’ first TD theft, the pass was deflected by the on-rushing Tiger defensive line.
And the Tigers blocked McKinley’s extra-point kick attempt.
The offensive line, anchored by center Studer in the middle and Stephan on the right side, ripped the Bulldogs defense to allow the backs to pile up 288 yards rushing.
So overwhelming was the Tiger line in the first quarter that Massillon controlled the ball for 23 plays to McKinley’s three. The Pups gained a yard on each of three running plays in that stanza.
Pups’ Big Pain Is Tigers’ Offensive Line
Commings Calls It ‘Sweet’
By ART SCHROCK
The sunshine on the leaves of the trees around Fawcett Stadium made the normal yellow color appear a Massillon orange.
Yes, it was a Saturday afternoon for the Massillon Tigers – a game which Massillon Coach Bob Commings termed “a sweet one.”
“Anytime you beat McKinley, it is a great win,” said Commings, dripping wet after being tossed in the shower.
THE TIGERS gave McKinley’s Bulldogs a steady diet of backs Willie Spencer and Larry “Pookie” McLenndon, with emphasis on the former and the result was a 29-6 triumph.
Spencer, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior tailback, ran with reckless abandon as he led the Tigers. In the big fourth quarter, he couldn’t be stopped on short-yardage situations.
After the Bulldogs closed the deficit to 13-6 with 33 seconds left in the third stanza, Commings called on Spencer to get the first downs when two and three yards were needed. Spencer never failed once on the drive which led to a big touchdown with 5:34 left.
“WE TOOK IT, to them,” said Commings. “We ran basic football. There was nothing nifty about it, McLenndon and Spencer ran hard. It was just great they way they ran.”
Commings said the shift of Spencer from end on offense to running back this season, “was the move of the year.”
“McKinley hung in there,” said the Massillon mentor.
“The realization of those two one-point losses (to Niles 7-6 and Warren 8-7) sets in. But people now know this is one of the best teams they’ve seen around here.”
“We received an excellent job from the defensive secondary. Hannon (Tom), Thompson (Art); Nussbaumer (Hank) and Jackson (James) all were great. Bill Wonsick came in and did a helluva job.”
Wonsick was a replacement for Jackson, who limped off the field at the start of the fourth quarter.
COMMINGS also lauded the right guard, Scott Graber, who was the only Tiger on the injured list before the game.
“Scott played the whole game on offense and he hadn’t played one minute in practice all week.”
“IT’S EVEN bigger than last year because this is my last year. I messed up my knee a little,” said McLenndon, who gained the game’s initial first down with second effort.
Asked if he saved anything for the game with McKinley, Spencer smiled and said: “Everything I had, I saved. I hit my head on a piece of steel out of bounds, but I’m okay now.”
After being injured slightly in the third quarter, Willie jumped up and immediately went back into the game.
Dave Gable, the Tigers’ offensive tackle coach, called the team’s line play the best of the year.
“We deserved a good game. Two penalties cost us. One cost us a touchdown,” said Gable.
QUARTERBACK Scott Dingler, a senior who will go to college but one who hadn’t had a college offer when he was interviewed, added: “We buried them once we started moving.”
“I didn’t call the plays. Most of them come from the bench. Some come from up in the press box. Our defense did the great job they have done all year. It is the biggest thrill of my life,” said the signal caller.
“We knew it,” remarked Commings when asked if he was aware of the pass-catching ability of McKinley’s Artis Zachary, “but we couldn’t do anything about it.”
NICK VROTSOS, the Massillon assistant coach, was on the field end of the phone to the Tiger aides in the press box. He thought for a moment prior to the start of the game that there was a bad connection and of course, he was concerned about some “bugging”.
One fan yelled at Commings, “Why did you take the penalty?” after the Bulldogs scored their lone touchdown on a third-and-seven situation.
The Bulldogs would have had possession with fourth-and-one on the Tigers’ two if the Tigers had not taken the penalty for illegal procedure.
Total First Downs 22 12
First Downs Rushing 20 4
First Downs Passing 2 8
First Downs Penalty 0 0
Total Offensive Plays 71 45
Net Yards Rushing 288 93
Net Yards Passing 21 162
Mis. Yardage (net) (1-23) 15
Total Offensive Yardage 286 270
Ave. Yds. Per Play (net) 4.0 6.0
Passes Comp.-Att. 4-7 10-20
Passes Had Intercepted 1 4
Net Gain Per Pass 3.0 8.1
Punts 1-29 2-71
Punts Return –Yds. 1-11 0-0
Kickoff Returns-Yds. 2-52 5-79
Interception Returns-Yds. 4-149 1-0
Fumbles-Fumbles Lost 3-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 5-50 2-10
Massillon – Spencer 33-142; McLenndon 12-64; Thompson 8-48.
McKinley – Zachary 12-48; Vance 5-31; DeGraffinreed 5-16.
Massillon – Thompson 2-18; Hannon 2-3.
McKinley – Zachary 6-107; Chambers 1-24; Carver 1-15; Lewis 1-12; DeGraffinreed 1-4.
Massillon – Dingler, 4-7-1, 21 yards.
McKinley – Vance, 10-20-4, 162 yards.