TIGERS STOP BULLDOGS 12-3
22,371 Watch Aerials Blast Hopes of Pups
By BOB STEWART
Repository Sports Editor
MASSILLON – Washington High School Tigers used the cool head and hot arm of quarterback Kevin Westover to turn back a fierce band of Canton McKinley Bulldogs 12-3 here Saturday afternoon in the state’s most celebrated scholastic grid rivalry.
The 77th classic was viewed by 22,371 at Tiger Stadium here, the third largest crowd ever in the “House That Paul Brown Built.”
The victory gave Massillon:
ITS 499th TRIUMPH in the school’s long and fabled history.
ITS 42nd WIN of the Canton series, against 30 losses and five ties in the dispute that dates to 1894.
ITS 6th CHAMPIONSHIP in the 10 years of the prestigious All-American Conference one of the best schoolboy loops in the nation and certainly the toughest in the state.
ITS 17th UNDEFEATED and untied team as it closed the regular season with a 10- mark.
ITS 22nd MYTHICAL STATE championship team since 1930 when state titles were recognized officially.
ITS FIRST Class AAA Region 3 title and a berth in the first Ohio High School Athletic Association state championship playoffs.
The Tigers wrapped up state titles in both wire service polls, although the final results won’t be announced until later this week.
13th Title in AP Poll
The Associated Press poll of sportswriters and broadcasters will be released Tuesday and it will mark the 13th AP state title for Massillon since the poll was originated in 1947.
United Press International’s poll of Coaches has been won by Massillon five times.
The official computerized rating will be announced today, but there is no way Massillon will be anywhere but on top of this region’s “AAA” rankings.
The Tigers will play in the semifinals at Ohio State University Saturday at 11 a.m., probably against Cincinnati Princeton. The title game is Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in Akron’s Rubber Bowl.
Defeats Piling Up
For the McKinley fans, the loss was another in a series – defeats which are coming with uncomfortable regularity. It marked the 13th time in the past 16 games Massillon has prevailed.
The game can be analyzed with a look at what happened on third downs.
In 11 third-down situations, McKinley got the first down only three times.
Massillon, however, converted seven times on 13 third-down plays. Two of them were game breakers.
McKinley Scores First
McKinley got on the board first, at 3:27 of the first period when Ken Bush booted a
23-yard field goal.
The kick had all the classic style of a Hoyt Wilhelm knuckleball and just got through the lower right corner of the uprights. But it was good and it marked the first time this season Massillon was behind in a football game.
McKinley had taken the opening kickoff and with fullback Chuck Gelal as the main, almost only, runner (he carried the first six plays and on eight of the first nine) moved to the Massillon 26 before the teams traded interceptions.
Pup Pass Intercepted
Massillon’s Danny Gutshall picked off Garland Burns’ first aerial, one of three Pup passes grabbed by the Tiger secondary. But two plays later, McKinley’s John Thompson returned the favor on Westover’s first throw, to set up the only McKinley score.
Led by junior tackle Lee Geiselman and guard Mike Carbone, who went after Massillon runners like hungry lions after unarmed Christians, McKinley’s defense by and large, bottled up the Tiger running game. But Westover’s arm proved too accurate.
The lighting struck five minutes into the second period.
Faced with a third-and-eight on their own 38, the Tigers went for broke…and rolled a “7”.
Bomb Is Unloaded
Westover, with two days and 20 minutes to look around behind the fantastic pass protection blocking of the offensive line, unloaded the bomb to end Greg Sullivan.
McKinley’s defensive back Jon Barnett was playing intercept and got burned as Westover’s wing was true and Sullivan didn’t even break stride as he took the ball over his shoulder at the 30 and cruised to the goal line to complete the 64-yard TD play.
Sullivan does more than catch, though. Two minutes before the half, Sullivan and guard Larry Mayles blasted the key blocks for halfback Tom Hannon, who scampered 25 yards on a sweep in a third-and-two situation to put the ball on the McKinley 31, setting up the other Tiger TD.
Hits on Two More
After Westover hit a couple of 12-yard passes, one each to Chuck Danzy and Terry Edwards and Hannon bulled seven yards to the one, the strawberry-blond quarterback with the bushy mustache to match sneaked into the end zone behind center Todd Cocklin and guard Percy Keller. It was 51 seconds before the band show.
Hannon’s attempted runs for both of the PAT’s were stopped by the Bulldogs.
The victory ran Massillon in victory streak to 12, the last loss coming 8-7 to Warren last season. Since McKinley beat them 14-7 in the last game of the 1969 season, the Tigers have won 28 of their last 30 games, the Warren loss and a 7-6 defeat at the hands of Niles the only blots.
For McKinley, it marked the first time the Bulldogs have failed to score a touchdown in 20 games, since Massillon shut out McKinley 28-0 in 1970.
new for the Tigers
They’ll meet Princeton in playoffs
via 12-3 victory over Bulldogs
By CHUCK HESS, JR.
Independent Sports Editor
“There is nothing new under the sun,” according to Ecclesiastes, but there sure is for the Massillon Tigers!
They’ve never been in playoffs for the state football championship before, but they’ll be there Saturday at 11 a.m. at Ohio stadium in Columbus as the Ohio High School Athletic association (OHSAA) holds its first such affair.
Opposite the 10-0 Tigers, who will be trying for the school’s 500th win, will be 9-0-1 Cincinnati Princeton. The Vikings, who battled Upper Arlington to a scoreless tie the week after the Tigers beat the Golden Bears 14-0, seldom throw in their attack, preferring the power sweeps and off tackles because Coach Pat Mancuso is an avid disciple of Ohio State’s Woody Hayes.
* * *
THE BIG team from Cincinnati works from the power-I, led by tailback Bill Gales, one of the best 100 backs in the nation, as named in a pre-season selection by a national sports magazine.
Warren Western Reserve (10-0) and Toledo Scott (8-0-1) will vie in the second game of Saturday’s semifinal computer selected Class AAA doubleheader. Game time will be
Dr. Harold A. Meyer, OHSAA commissioner, Sunday dispelled rumors that the title game, slated for Akron’s Rubber Bowl Saturday, Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m., would be moved to Kent State university because of the “sea of mud” reported there.
The Tigers got into the playoffs by completing a 10-0 season last Saturday with another of their so-familiar solid team efforts which gave them a 12-3 victory over ferocious arch-rival Canton McKinley before 22,371 at Tiger stadium. It was the second largest crowd over there and third largest in the McKinley rivalry.
McKinley failed to score a TD in a game for the first time since the Tigers held them scoreless in 1970.
Their sixth All-American conference title in 10 years, sure-to-come mythical championships from both wire polls – the 13th by the Associated Press – their 25th state title in all and their 19th undefeated season is not what fans are talking about today.
It’s the playoffs.
TIGER COACH Bob Commings spent Sunday morning with his coaches reviewing the McKinley game film, went to Columbus in the afternoon for playoff instructions and returned Sunday night for another film session with his coaches – this one with Princeton films exchanged Sunday.
Princeton had scouted the Tigers in last Saturday’s game with McKinley but Commings has not scouted Princeton.
Playing on the synthetic turf at Ohio State will be “no factor whatsoever,” according to Commings. “We will not practice on Bladwin-Wallace college’s synthetic turf as some people had thought.”
Commings said the OHSAA has bought “the best shoes money can buy” for use Saturday for what Dr. Meyer has termed a “shoe bank” also for use in future games. All teams will see the shoes and the turf for the first time this weekend.
One of the key factors in the Tigers’ winning their 42nd game over the Bulldogs 30 losses and five ties, including 13 of the last 15, was the aerial show put on by quarterback Kevin Westover, split end Greg Sullivan and right halfback Terry Edwards when the Massillon ground game was put to a stop by McKinley’s great defense led by tackle Lee Geiselman and middle guard Mike Carbone.
Ironically, it was the skyways which weren’t good to the Tigers early in the season, but they began to brighten during the last three games. Last Saturday, Westover passed to Sullivan for a touchdown and hit Sullivan, fullback Charles Danzy and Edwards – again playing with a lot of pain from a leg injury – with key possession passes, helping the Tigers to convert seven of 13 third down situations while the Bulldogs could do it only three of 11 times.
THE TIGERS went into the second quarter finding themselves behind for the first time this season after a 35-yard McKinley drive off the opening kickoff and traded pass interceptions by the Tigers’ Tim Gutshall and the Bulldogs’ John Thompson which left the ball on the Massillon 13.
Three plays later Ken Bush booted one that just went over from 23 yards out with 3:27 left on the clock.
The Tigers went 78 yards in six second quarter plays following a punt, with the big play being Westover’s aerial, thrown with a couple of Bulldogs close on his heels, which soared 34 yards from third down on the Tigers’ 36. Sullivan outran a McKinley defender at the Bulldogs’ 30, grabbed the pigskin and went in for the TD with 6:51 left.
“That was the most important pass of my life,” Westover said. “I had the option of running or throwing deep. I saw Greg had him beaten and I threw it deep.”
“I just outran my guy,” Sullivan grinned. “It was a great pass and that had to be the most important catch I’ve ever made.”
* * *
THE TIGERS held for one series – even though roughing the kicked – and moved 77 yards for their second score in 12 plays with Westover throwing 11 and 12-yard passes to Edwards and combining with Danzy on a 12-yard screen before sneaking one yard for the other score with 51 seconds left in the second stanza.
A 25-yard power-pitch sweep by left half Tom Hannon and a seven-yard sweep up the center were also key yardage grabbers, with the latter putting the ball in position for Westover’s TD. Commings played it smart here by not relying on a lot of ball handling on the scoring play.
Hannon was short on both conversion plays but had another sparkling day running, picking up 97 net yards in 28 carries. He came up 30 yards short of the all-time one-season conference rushing record of 1,266 yards, but ended his regular season performance with one that won’t be forgotten.
The second half was all defense with each team getting out of its own territory only twice. Westover threw 35 yards to Sullivan who added three more to set up a first down on the Bulldogs’ 27 late in the third quarter, but missed by inches on fourth down at the 28 just after the start of the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs had missed by about the same margin at the Tigers’ 31 on the series before the Obiemen’s jaunt which had started when Westover’s sneak on fourth down on the Massillon 40 was also agonizingly short.
* * *
THE ORANGE and Black held again in the goodbye frame when Tim and Dan Gutshall and Dari Edwards smothered Will Grimsley on fourth down at the Bulldogs’ 45 in the fourth, but got nowhere offensively.
The Pups made one last try, with the help of an interference penalty and 19-yard pass from Grimsley to Tom Carver for a first down on the Massillon 38. However, free safety Hannon intercepted the next try on the 20.
McKinley Couldn’t Get the Inches
Ho-Hum, It’s the 17th
Perfect Slate Ever
for Massillon Gang
Tigers Eye Initial Shot At Real Title
By BOB STEWART
Repository Sports Editor
MASSILLON – The winning locker room is the only place to be.
You don’t have to watch what you say, everyone is happy, smiling and willing to talk.
Such as it was under the stands on the north end of the west side of Tiger Stadium here Saturday.
But he revelry was not raucous in the den of the Tigers, who had just downed archrival, Canton McKinley Bulldogs, by 12-3 to wrap up another (ho-hum) unbeaten season – the 17th in the school’s history.
The gladness was there and the super smiles.
But the air was one of the yeoman, the journeyman, the craftsman – who knows his work well, to the point of artistry – and who has just completed what he was assigned to do.
It was like – “was there every any doubt!”
Perhaps, it’s that this year is unique. It’s the first season there will be a “real” Ohio High School football champion crowned.
The first year of the playoffs set up by the OHSAA will see Massillon representing Region 3 (the northeast) in the Class AAA semifinals next week at Ohio State.
The players, coaches and fans know that this was not the climax this season as it has been 76 times in the past.
There are two more games to go before the Tigers, who claim more mythical state titles (22) than anyone else in Buckeyeland, are to be able to stand up and say, “We’re the real champs.”
– : –
For Massillon Coach Bob Commings it was euphoric enthusiasm coupled with a certain sense of relief.
The coaches who won’t say it and the fans who will say it are of the opinion that Canton McKinley is the second best team in the state and was the only real threat to the Tiger title aspirations.
– : –
“Kevin Westover was magnificent,” bubbled Commings.
“His passing was great. Greg Sullivan’s catching was great. The backs ran hard. The defense was superb. And our coach called a great game,” he quipped.
Turing to the serious side, Commings said he was hard pressed to talk about McKinley because he didn’t want to sound insincere.
“It’s really got to sound like all the clichés, but McKinley has a fine football team. I really mean it.”
“Those Bulldogs were tough and they came to play and they hit. They gave it to us for 48 minutes and they have nothing to hang their heads about and I’m as sincere as I can be,” the Bengal boss said, adding it was the toughest McKinley team he’s faced in four years in Tigertown.
– : –
“I’m really proud of our kids. It’s the first time we were ever behind and nobody was pushing any buttons.”
“Yes, we knew Westover was a fine passer and he showed it today. We knew we had him when it counted and he really came through in the clutch.”
“I can’t say who all did great jobs, but I know Westover and Sullivan and Tommy Hannon really gave it all they had.”
– : –
“And how about those Gutshall kids. They really played a game in the secondary,” Commings said.
Commings referred to Danny Gutshall, who intercepted McKinley’s first pass and Tim Gutshall, who intercepted another, almost stole two others and broke up a couple more.
Commings also went on to praise the fourth quarter punting by Westover and Todd Cocklin, the junior center.
“Man, on those punts they knew that everybody was coming and Cocklin really fired that ball back there right on the money.”
Regarding punts, of which Massillon didn’t have any until four minutes into the third period, Commings said it was the first “shaky” punt (for 17 yards) that led him to the decision to go for the first down in a crucial third period situation, which could have turned the game around.
The Tigers had it fourth-and-one on their own 40 and decided to try Westover on a sneak for the first. He missed by inches and it gave McKinley new life with great position and 4y
minutes left in the third period.
But the Bulldogs tried the same thing four plays later and Chuck Gelal missed his fourth-down plunge by inches, also, on the Massillon 31.
It was three minutes into the final canto when McKinley got the ball back on the Massillon 28.
Brideweser went the first three quarters with junior quarterback Garland Burns and at the onset of the fourth, he put in senior Will Grimsley.
The Burns-running vs. Grimsley-passing argument has split the McKinley followers all season long.
– : –
Asked if he instituted adjustments at halftime, Commings smiled and said, “We didn’t change anything, I just yelled a lot.”
Commings said McKinley made some adjustments in its defense for this game “that just shut off completely our sweeps…in fact it about ruined our running game. They did a fine job.”
“We didn’t change anything, no defensive switches, no new plays. We didn’t work on stopping any particular part of their game, we just tried to work on stopping everything,” he said.
– : –
Perhaps no one is more happy, not so much at the outcome of the game, but simply that it’s over, as Sharon Commings, Bob’s lovely and charming wife (sometimes mistaken for his daughter).
Sharon came in the coach’s office and received a well planted kiss and a long, long embrace.
“She’s the one who’s got the ulcer,” said Bob of his wife, who grinned with tears streaming down her face.
“Yes, I’m really glad it’s over, I’m the pessimist in the family, I wasn’t sure we could do it.”
“Yes, the pressure is unbelievable, it’s just tremendous. I’m, glad it’s over,” Sharon said.
Bob must’ve neglected to mention four years ago that coaching at Massillon just isn’t quite like coaching at Struthers…or anywhere else on earth, either!
key Tiger Attack
By ART SCHROCK
MASSILLON – The Massillon Tigers’ defense was terrific as usual, but the 12-3 winners also attained their edge on the scoreboard with offensive performances from Kevin Westover and Tom Hannon, the All-American Conference leaders in passing and ground gaining.
Westover, the individual singled out for a job well done by McKinley Bulldog Coach John Brideweser, was sharp, completing six of nine passes for 153 big yards.
The rangy Tiger quarterback picked up 102 yards on two passes to end Greg Sullivan. The first, a 64-yard play, put Massillon head to stay and Kevin was 4-for-5 in the deciding second quarter.
Hannon, although scoreless for the second time in three games, was the cog in Massillon’s ball-control game with his hip-shaking runs.
– : –
HE TOTED the ball 28 times for a net 97 yards, pushing his season total to 1,236 yards in 231 carries for an average of 5.3 yards per attempt.
The All-American Conference record in rushing is 1,266 by Rick Gales of Niles McKinley in 1969. Willie Spencer of the Tigers totaled 1,251 yards last year.
Westover overshadowed Garland Burns and Willard Grimsley of McKinley, who combined for 6 of 16 passes for 53 yards.
Grimsley, the Bulldogs’ senior signal caller, entered the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter and took to the air. He was 4-for-11, but his final heave was intercepted by Hannon.
– : –
THE BULLDOGS had three passes intercepted to Massillon’s one.
Massillon led in net yards rushing 140-50. Thirty-seven of McKinley’s ground yards came in the first quarter when fullback Chuck Gelal notched 36 in 11 tries.
Gelal led the Bulldogs’ rushers with a net 50 yards in 17 rushes. Among the other top McKinley runners, Dan Contrucci had only five yards in four carries, Eric Escola was a minus-six yards in two tries and John Barnett failed to gain in his lone tote.
Massillon commanded first downs 12-7. The Tigers were ahead in first downs rushing 7-3 and first downs through the air, McKinley notched a first down on a penalty.
– : –
THE WINNERS were ahead in total yardage 293-103 and offensive plays 62-50. They led with three penalties for 35 yards to McKinley’s one infraction for five yards.
Neither team lost possession of the ball on a fumble although the Bulldogs fumbled twice and the Tigers once.
McKinley’s John Barnett was superior in the punting department, averaging 37 yards for four boots to an average of 26 yards for three Westover kicks. The Bulldogs averaged 57 yards for their two kickoffs and Massillon averaged 43.3 yards for three kickoffs.
Massillon’s tough defense allowed only one touchdown in the final five games of the regular season and that was a third-quarter score in 34-8 conquest of Alliance. The Tigers have given up only 29 points all year.
First downs-rushing 7 3
First downs-passing 5 3
First downs-penalties 0 1
Total first downs 12 7
Yards gained rushing 157 68
Yards lost rushing 17 18
Net yards gained rushing 140 50
Net yards gained passing 153 53
Total yards gained 293 103
Passes attempted 9 16
Passes completed 6 6
Passes intercepted by 3 1
Yardage on passes intercepted 27 2
Times kicked off 3 2
Kickoff average (yards) 43.3 57.0
Kickoff returns (yards) 17 52
Times punted 3 4
Punt average (yards) 26.0 37.0
Punt returns (yards) 2 14
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 1 2
Lost fumbled ball 0 0
Penalties 3 1
Yards penalized 35 5
Total number of plays 62 50
Team W L Pts. Op. W L Pts. Op.
x-Massillon 5 0 81 17 10 0 180 29
McKinley 4 1 104 51 8 2 238 74
Niles 3 2 91 75 8 2 255 106
Steubenville 2 3 51 75 7 3 193 120
Warren Harding 1 4 50 59 5 5 239 98
Alliance 0 5 57 157 2 8 119 234