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Passing duo highlights Tigers’ 7th win

Independent Sports Editor

The red hot passing combination of Brent Offenbecher to Curtis Strawder thawed out the Jackson Polar Bear defense as the Tigers rolled to a 42‑0 victory Friday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

A crowd a 13,112 saw Offenbecher set a single game passing record for completions as the senior quarterback hit on 15 of 19 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns.

Strawder, the fleet wide receiver with gazelle‑like grace and‑more moves than a belly dancer, hauled in eight passes for 133 yards and one touchdown, He used his speed to turn several short passes into sizable gains.

“Curtis had a great game,” Tiger bead coach Mike Currence said afterward, “just a super game. That’s the best he’s done,”

Currence also praised the work of Offenbecher, citing a 19 yard scoring pass to Marty Guzzetta in the third quarter as an especially alert play.

“He sure read that one nice to Marty. Brent waved him upfield,” Currence explained.

Guzzetta made a great diving catch in the end zone for what turned out to be Offenbecher’s 15th ‑ and record‑setting ‑ completion.

Jackson coach Tom Geschwind, a former Tiger gridder himself, was very disappointed after the loss.

“I thought we played well the first half,” Geschwind said. The Polar Bear trailed only 7-0 after the first quarter before falling behind 21‑0 at the half.

Geschwind explained that his team ran the ball a lot in the first half in an effort to control the ball. He also noted that the defense gave the Tigers the short out patterns in hopes of cutting off the long pass.

“If we didn’t give them that (short outs), we would have given them the deeper patterns. We knew we had to come up fast and tackle them but we didn’t do a very good job.”

The young Polar Bears had juniors at 15 different positions, but Geschwind said he didn’t know if the game would help or hurt the development of his players.

“At this point it is too early to tell. It will take a while to determine,” he said.

Currence said that despite the lopsided score, the Tigers knew they had been in a tough ball game.

They really hit us the first quarter . . . the first half,” he said, “we’re really bruised up. Tom Gehring (fullback) hurt his ankle and we have some other people banged up. We have to get well for next week (Warren Harding) in a hurry.

“They shut off our running game,” he noted. The Tigers totaled 149 yards rushing, “we couldn’t run on them, but they couldn’t contain the pass. They had trouble-covering Strawder.

“Their offense just kept turning the ball over to us and you can’t do that. You can’t control the ball on us. Eventually we’ll try our whole offense and that’s what we did. We went to Strawder and did some other things outside. If they could have controlled the ball the first half it would have been a different game.”

However, Currence preferred to put this win ‑ the Tigers’ seventh straight without a loss ‑ behind him.

“We don’t want to talk about records now, we’ll do that after the season’s over. We’ve got a big week this week, we’ve got to start thinking about Warren.”

Jackson drops to 3-4 on the year, including a 1‑3 record in the rugged Federal League.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff and marched 52 yards in six plays with Job Belief breaking a counter play through the middle and making a good cut to the right behind solid blocking for the final 15 yards.

Ron Wright booted the first of five straight conversions and the Tigers led 7‑0 with, 9:10 left in the period.

The rest of the quarter was a defensive struggle as both teams punted back and forth.

Jackson managed a first down ‑ its first of the game on the last play of the first quarter, but Tiger linebacker Dick Cleveland intercepted a Rich Bubenchik pass on the next play and returned it 12 yards to his own 34 yard line.

Twelve plays later Offenbecher hooked up with Strawder on a sensational 20‑yard scoring play. Strawder caught the ball at the Polar Bear seven, broke one tackle and danced around another defender before scampering into the end zone with 6:44 to go in the half. Wright’s kick made it 14‑0. That drive was aided by a series in which the Tigers were mistakenly given five downs.
Air game nets 42-0 win over Jackson
With the ball at the Jackson 34, Offenbecher hit Bill Belief with an eight-yard pass on first down. On second and two, Jeff Beitel gained about a yard and a half.

An official time out was called for a measurement, which showed the Tigers to be short of a first down. However, when the chains were brought back to the sideline, the down marker was not advanced, making it second and one when it should have been third and one.

An incomplete pass and a run for no gain followed. Offenbecher ran a keeper for five yards and a first down on what was actually fifth down instead of fourth and one.

It should be noted, however, that the mistake was made on second down, and play selection by the Tigers was made according to the official down marker and scoreboard (both of which were wrong).

Neither team and few of the fans noticed the error, which was made in the confusion of the first‑down measurement.

Dan Venables gave the Tigers the ball back a couple minutes later when he far intercepted a Jackson pass at the Polar Bear 48 yard line. Bill Beitel capped an eight play drive with a six‑yard scoring run and Wright’s kick made it 21‑0 Tigers with 2:46 left in the half.

The Tigers wasted no time getting on the board again in the third quarter. Following a Polar Bear punt. The Tigers drove from their own 49 to the Jackson 22.

Offenbecher hit Strawder with a quick pass in the left flat and the speedster turned it into a 19‑yard gain. Offenbecher found Wright open on a down and out pattern in the right comer of the end zone for the final three yards and the score. Wright booted the point after for a 28‑0 lead.

Following another Jackson punt, the Tigers drove 55 yards (not counting a 15‑yard clipping penalty) in five plays with Offenbecher capping the drive with his 19‑yard scoring toss to Guzzetta.

That 15th completion broke his old record of 14 set last year in the loss to Warren Harding. The score came with 4:54 left in the third quarter and Currence sent in the subs for the rest of the game.

The final Tiger touchdown came on an eight‑yard halfback pass from Bill Burkett to Dion Johnson with 4:11 to go in the game.

The win was the third straight shutout for the Tigers, and the defense hasn’t allowed a score since Niles McKinley notched a touchdown in the third quarter of Massillon’s 27‑7 win on September 30.

Massillon will travel to Warren Harding for an All-American Conference game next Friday and Jackson will entertain Canton Timken.

First downs – rushing 12 3
First downs – passing 10 2
First downs – penalties 0 0
Total first downs 22 5
Yards gained rushing 161 92
Yards lost rushing 12 21
Net yards gained rushing 149 71
Net yards gained passing 265 22
Total yards gained 414 93
Passes attempted 28 21
Passes completed 19 3
Passes intercepted by 2 1
Yards on passes intercepted 4 4
Times kicked off 7 1
Kickoff average (yards) 42.3 30.0
Kickoff returns (yards) 18 97
Times punted 2 6
Punt average (yards) 36.0 34.0
Pont returns (yards) 30 0
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 1 2
Lost fumbled ball 1 0
Penalties 5 3
Yards penalized 65 33
Touchdowns rushing 2 0
Touchdowns passing 4 0
Touchdowns by interception 0 0
Misc. touchdowns 0 0
Total number of plays 54 57
Total time of possession 25:51 22:09

JACKSON 0 0 0 0 0
MASSILLON 7 14 14 7 42

M – Jeff Beitel 15 run (Ron Wright Kick);
M ‑ Curtis Strawder 20 pass from Brent Offenbecher (Wright kick);
M – Bill Beitel 6 run (Wright kick);
M ‑ Wright 3 pass from Offenbecher (Wright kick);
M Marty Guzzetta 19 pass Offenbecher (Wright kick);
M Dion Johnson 8 pass from Bill Burkett (Jeff Fry kick).

Final is 42-0
Massillon routs Jackson
MASSILLON ‑ Quarterback Brent Offenbecher’s 15 connections on 19 pass attempts set a Massillon single game completion record Friday night as the undefeated Tigers romped to a 42-0 finish over Jackson High School.

Offenbecher’s air game covered 201 yards included completing three touchdown passes. The old school mark of 14 single game completions set last year was held by Offenbecher.

Six plays going 52‑yards after the opening kick‑off, Jeff Beitel scored the solo first quarter touchdown for the Tigers.

Curtis Strawder, who grabbed a total of eight tosses for 133 yards, entered the end zone with a 20‑yard pass for the second TD.

Dick Cleveland intercepted a pass by Jackson’s Rich Bubenshik at the Massillon 28‑yard line and took it back to the 34 to spark the 12‑play drive ending in Strawder’s score.

Dan Zenables nabbed the second of the two Massillon interceptions at the Jackson 48‑yard line which eight plays later sent Beitel again in to score, this time on a 6‑yard trip.

A 51‑yard drive on seven plays set up Wright’s sixed pointer in the third period.

In the same quarter, 55 yards and five plays of after a punt, Massillon moved in for the record setting pass of 19 yards received by Marty Guzzetta. off the arm of Offenbecher.

Dion Johnson took an eight‑yard halfback throw from Bill Burkett over the goal line with 4:11 left in the game to end the barrage of scoring.

Massillon has won seven, Jackson is 3‑4, 1‑3 in the Federal League.

Curtis Strawder