Fired up Tigers Annihilate Aviators
Ground game clicks in 44-0 win
By ROLAND A. DREUSSI
Independent Sports Editor
“When them Tigers get mad they hit people,” head coach Mike Currence said after his Washington High gridders demolished Alliance 44-0 Friday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
The Tigers used a bone-crunching ground game and a few timely passes as they rolled up 13 first downs and 244 total yards in the first half, scoring the first four times they had the ball to take a 28-0 lead into the locker-room at halftime.
“THAT WAS the first time we played four quarters of good football all year,” Currence said. “The way we were coming off the ball tonight nobody could have beat us.”
The Tigers’ offensive line opened gaping holes in the Aviator defense, and Alliance coach Julius Tonges said that was his team’s downfall.
“We expected our defense to be better,” Tonges said following the game. “We’re disappointed. We didn’t penetrate the way we had expected.
“Offensively, when we got behind we tried to throw. We threw a couple on the money but we didn’t catch them. The big thing was the defense. We just didn’t have it,” Tonges said.
‘They had to control the ball on us to win,” Currence pointed out, “and our defense kept giving the ball to us.”
ASKED IF the game planned called for more running, Currence said: “We planned on doing everything we could to win. The fact that we were blocking well is why we stayed on the ground. Also, Julius Tonges is a great coach and they took the pass away from us. They were on us like glue.”
When the Tigers did pass, it was reserve quarterback Ron Wright who did most of the throwing. Wright came in when Offenbecher was shaken up late in the second quarter and threw one touchdown pass and set up another TD with a pass.
He finished the night with five out of eight for 78 yards. Offenbecher, the leading passer in the All‑American Conference, finished ‘with two of seven for 31 yards.
“Ron did a super job,” Currence said. “I’ve been telling everybody all year that we have two great quarterbacks.”
Currence said Offenbecher got the wind knocked out of him when he was hit just after he released the ball.
“I JUST didn’t think he was as effective after that,” Currence said.
The Tigers took the opening kickoff and marched 77 yards in 12 plays with Richard Cleveland scoring on a seven-yard run with 6:58 left in the first quarter. Cleveland, who gained 39 yards in the drive, ran for the extra points and an 8-0 Tiger lead. Massillon rolled up four first downs in the drive.
Alliance then started a drive that carried into Massillon territory, but on a second and six at the Tiger 33, Tiger defensive tackle Tony Matie nailed Willie McCray in the backfield for a five-yard loss.
Following a 19-yard punt, the Tigers took over at their own 19 and marched 81 yards in nine plays with Greg Carpenter plunging one yard for the score with 11:30 to go in the second quarter.
CARPENTER HAD opened the series with a fine 24-yard run. On third and 12 at the Alliance 34, Wright threw down the middle to Tom Gehring. The pass was deflected by an Aviator defender and Gehring bobbled the ball but hung on for a remarkable catch and a first down at the Alliance one. Carpenter scored on the next play. Mark Westover’s kick was wide and the Tigers led 14-0.
Following another short Alliance punt, the Tigers took the ball at their own 40 and Carpenter scored his second TD of the game seven plays later on a five-yard run with 6:40 left in the half.
Westover hooted the point after and the Tigers led 21-0.
Yet another bad punt by Alliance gave the Tigers the ball at their own 40 and once again they used seven plays to score. On a fourth and three from the Alliance 10, Wright found Mike Grove open in the end zone for a touchdown. Westover made good on the conversion kick and the Tigers led 28-0 with 2:01 to go in me the half.
The Tigers almost scored again before the half when defensive tackle Jerry Shafrath recovered an Alliance fumble at the Aviator nine yard line with just over a minute showing on the clock. A halfback pass by Jeff Beitel on fourth down was batted down at the linem however, and Alliance ran out the clock.
IN THE second half, the Tigers stopped the Aviators cold following the kickoff, and took over at their own 42 yard line following a punt.
Massillon then drove to the Alliance 22 in 11 plays when the drive stalled. Westover came in and kicked a 40 yard field goal that cleared the crossbar with room to spare, giving the Tigers a 31-0 lead with 4:49 left in the third quarter.
Following an Alliance punt, the Tigers drove from their own 32 to paydirt in eight plays with Beitel making a slick run on a right sweep from nine yards out for the score. Westover split the uprights with his conversion kick add the Tigers led 38-0 with :08 left in the third period.
The big play in the drive was a 22-yard pass from Offenbecher to Eric Clendening. Clendening took a quick pass over the middle and made a good run, giving the Tigers a first down at the Alliance 12. Beitel’s score came two plays later.
The Tigers final tally of the night came after Kevin Gowins intercepted a pass at midfield and raced down the right sideline all the way to the Alliance three, carrying several tacklers along the last five or 10 yards.
JOHN WILKERSON scored off left tackle on the next play, despite a penalty against the Aviators, and Massillon led 44-0 with 52 seconds left in the game.
Wright, who had the only Tiger punt of the night, booted the extra point, but a holding penalty forced him to try it over from 35 yards out and the kick was wide.
The Tigers ground game accounted for 272 of 379 yards and 18 of 24 first downs. Cleveland led a balanced attack with 84 yards in 13 carries, while Grove added 77 on 12 carries and Carpenter had 69 on 12 carries.
This win, witnessed by 10,566 faithful, should give the Tigers some momentum for the grand finale next week against Canton McKinley. A win by the Tigers next Saturday will give them a share of the All-American Conference title they won outright last season.
First downs rushing 18 3
First downs passing 6 0
First downs penalties 0 0
Total first downs 24 3
Yards gained rushing 300 73
Yards lost rushing 28 31
Net yards gained rushing 272 42
Net yards gained passing 107 0
Total yards gained 379 42
Passes attempted 15 1
Passes completed 7 0
Passes intercepted by 1 1
Yardage on passes intercepted 48 7
Times kicked off 8 1
Kickoff average 55.6 45.0
Kickoff returns (yards) 9 67
Times punted 1 7
Punt average (yards) 38.0 28 0
Punt returns (yards) 5 0
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 3 1
Lost fumbled ball 0 1
Penalties 2 1
Yards penalized 20 15
Touchdowns rushing 5 0
Touchdowns passing 1 0
Touchdowns by interception 0 0
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Total number of plays 72 40
Total time of possession 30:05 17:55
Massillon 8 20 10 6 44
Alliance 0 0 0 0 0
M – Richard Cleveland 7 run (Cleveland run)
M – Greg Carpenter 1 run (kick failed)
M – Carpenter 5 run (Mark Westover kick)
M – Mike Grove 10 pass from Ron Wright (kick Westover)
M – Westover 40 FG
M – Jeff Beitel 9 run (Westover kick)
M John Wilkerson 1 run (kick fail).