Tigers, Bennies in scoreless contest
By Chuck Hess Jr., Independent Sports Editor
They weren’t emotionally ready and is cost the Tigers Friday night as 11,972 saw the first 0-0 game at Tiger Stadium since Canton Lincoln turned the trick in 1945. the tie against Cleveland Benedictine axed a Massillon 16-game regular season win streak.
This was only the second scoreless deadlock in the history of the “House of Champions” and the 12th in Massillon gridiron annals. The first 0-0 affair occurred against the local Ex-Highs in 1904. The last came against skipper Bob Commings in 1969 at Steubenville.
“All of us from top to bottom were not ready for the Bennies,” Commings said. “Apparently we must have believed their past record (2-2).”
Washington High fans were thinking about what the tie would do to their team in the computer ratings which select the state playoff combatants.
“I don’t think this (4-0-1 mark) wrecks our chances,” Comings said. “We have to lick our wounds and comeback and win. We can sill get to Cincinnati, (Nippert Stadium) but it’s going to be a rough row to hoe.”
Alan Binks, almost pulled out a victory with less than a minute left but was wide left and short on field goal attempts from the 29 and 24-yard lines on fourth down, the second try came after an offside penalty.
A bright spot may have appeared in the problem-plagued passing game. Quarterback Greg Wood completed five attempts in nine tries, but more passing yardage is needed to help the running game. Split end Jeff Huffman let a 38-yarder to the end zone drop from his hands in the fourth quarter. However, he and Larry McCauley, another split end, did make key catches to keep last canto drives alive.
Huffman’s effort was a 25-yarder which put the ball on the Benedictine eight-yard line, but the Bennies’ defense stiffened and brought on the twin field goal attempts. McCauley’s pass coupled with fullback Bill Harmon’s 16-yard run, ignited a drive which burned out on the Benedictine 14 because of an offensive pass interference penalty.
Key sacks of Wood by middle linebacker Greg Rufus, and ends Lloyd Derricoatte and Bill Davis also hampered the fourth quarter drives. Tackle John Glowik’s pressure during the night also caused Wood to run for his life.
“I thought everything we tried to do with the passing game was good except for the protection,” Commings said. “We just didn’t block. We also made some silly mistakes like offensive pass interference.”
The lack of blocking also hurt the running game because of the Bennies’ terrific pursuit. Harmon got nowhere inside.
The Tigers were stopped at the Benedictine 50 and 29 on downs in the first quarter, were short by an inch at the Bennies’ 46 in the second quarter and gave up the ball at Benedictine nine in the third period.
Cornerback Mark Streeter intercepted a Benedictine pass on the Tiger 20 to stop a second period drive which the Bennies had started when Rufus recovered Streeter’s punt fumble on the Massillon 30. Substituted defensive end Rusty Venables continued his great play by throwing Benedictine quarterback Alfred Keller from the Tiger two to the five to stop another second canto effort.
Safety Mike Jackson picked off another Streeter punt fumble at the Massillon 42 in the third quarter. This started the Bennies on a drive which was stopped at the 28 with the aid of a clipping penalty.
Tom Seres tried a field goal from the 35 but was short. The try occurred one play after they had dropped a TD pass near the end zone.
“Our defensive effort was a real good one,” Benedictine head coach Augie Bossu said. “We didn’t change our plans, but we tried to mix up what we were doing and I think it paid off. I hope tying Massillon will get us going.”
The Massillon-Benedictine series stands 16-2-1 in the Tigers; favor with Bossu the culprit all three times. The last Massillon loss was 26-14 in 1962.
First downs-rush 5 4
First down-pass 4 0
First downs-pen 1 0
Total fist downs 13 6
Yards gained rush 142 153
Yards lost rush 41 16
Net yards gained rush 101 137
Total yards gained 173 137
Passes com 5-9 0-2
Passes int by 1 0
Yardage on passes int 9 0
Kickoff ave (yds) 1-59.0 1-43.0
Kickoff net (yds) 19 2
Punt ave. (yds) 4-39.3 6-35.1
Punt ret. (yds) 2 11
Fumbles lost 24 0
Yards penalized 4.37 8.70
Total num of plays 54 65
Elapsed time 21:37 26:23