Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo

Tigers ‘explode’ for win over Bennies
Late 2nd quarter outburst key to 38‑6 win

Independent Sports Editor

Auggie Bossu sighed. “That throws the old game plan eight out the window,” ‘he said.

That pretty much summed up the Massillon Tigers’ 38‑6 win over Bossu’s Cleveland Benedictine ball club before 11,039 fans in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Friday night.

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The Tigers turned three “second‑quarter turnovers by the Bennies into 13 quick points and took a 23‑0 halftime lead en route to winning the battle of the unbeaten teams in the final meeting between these two teams.

Massillon is now 5‑0 while Benedictine falls to 4‑1.

The Tigers were clinging to a precarious 10‑0 ‘lead with less than two minutes left in the half and the Bennies knocking on the door.

But the Tiger defense as it has done all season forced the Bennies into a pair of turnovers and the Tigers’ offense exploded for two electrifying touchdowns to crush the Bennies hopes.

“That was the most explosive finish to a second quarter’ we’ve ever had,” Tiger coach Mike Currence said afterwards in the winners lockerroom.

“Our defense has been coming up with the turnovers, and our offense is explosive. It was just fan­tastio the way we scored at the end of the second quarter.”

Currence was talking about an 85‑yard touchdown run by Sam McDew with 1:12 left in the half, and some trick plays that netted the Tigers another TD on two plays even though only nine second were left before the band show.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff and marched 62, yards in 12 plays with McDew sweeping left end for six yards and six points. Jeff Fry’s kick gave the Tigers a 7‑0 lead.

The game then turned into a punting duel the rest of the first quarter and halfway through the second, with Tiger booter Mike Hodgson ‑ with a big assist from the Tiger defense ‑ keeping the Bennies in the bole.

The Bennies missed a chance to tie the game when defensive back Reggie Thomas almost picked off a Dave DeLong pass on the far sideline. He had clear sailing to the end zone, but I forgot to take the ball with him. (DeLong was subbing for Bill Scott who left the game with knee problems).

The Tigers punted, and on the Bennies’ second play from their own 25 yard line, Kevin Richardson broke through a hole in the left side of the line and appeared to have daylight in front of him.

However, Massillon’s Dan DiLoreto stuck an arm out in desperation and stripped the ball from Richardson’s arms with Bob Simpson recovering at the Bennie 31 and returning the ball to the 26 yard line.

The Tigers drove to the Benedictine, five yard line where they had a fourth-and‑one situation, but an illegal procedure penalty pushed them back to the 10. Fry was summoned from the bench and made good on a 26‑yard field goal attempt to put Massillon ahead 10‑0.

The Bennies then put together a drive of their own, and thanks to a Massillon offside penalty on fourth‑and‑one at the Tiger 44 and a roughing the passer call against the Tigers on the following play, the Bengals had a first down at the Tiger 25.

Benedictine quarterback Jerry Mismas went for the score on the next play with a long pass to Dale Horton, but DiLoreto tipped the ball in the air and swiped it away at the three yard line and returned it to his own nine.

McDew carried on the next play out to the 15. The Tigers then ran a trap play up the middle and center Andy Weber and guards Larry Massie and Wally Neff opened up a huge hole for him in the Benedictine line. He got a block from Marty Guzzetta and he raced 85 yards for the score, leaving a couple of Bengal defenders hopelessly behind. Only 1:12 remained in the half.

The Tiger fans were going crazy, but the best was yet to come.

The Bennies took the kickoff and started from their own 37. On third‑and‑11 Richardson fumbled the ball and Bryant Lemon recovered at the Bengal 40 yard line.

With just 15 second left on the clock ‑ and the message board atop the scoreboard flashing “BOMBS AWAY” ‑DeLong flipped a lateral pass to Paul Turner on the left sideline and the junior fired a pass to a wide‑open Bill Burkett who was tackled at the three yard line. The first down stopped the clock with one second left and the Tigers called time out.

Eschewing the field goal, De Long this time pitched right to halfback Mike Jones and he lobbed the ball over the shell‑shocked Bengal defense to Guzzetta, who’ was in the clear in the end zone. The kick failed but the Tigers had taken a 23‑0 lead and more or less put the game on ice with: their second‑quarter onslaught.

“We had some tense moments there in the first half because they took away some things we wanted to do ‑ like pass,” Currence said. “Of course, we had some quarterback problems,” he added, referring to the fact Scott reinjured his knee and DeLong was forced to come off the bench and guide the team.

Currence said Scott was OK, but just wasn’t quite ready enough to come back. Scott did complete 2 of 3 passes for 42 yards before leaving the game.

“The thing that impressed me more than anything else,” Currence continued, “was that when we needed somebody off the bench they came in and did the job. DeLong and Mike Jones in particular came in and did good jobs for us.”

In addition to his first‑half touchdown pass, Jones provided the Tigers second‑half spark, running 5 and 10 yards for touchdowns and scoring on a conversion run. He gained 32 yards in five second‑half carries.

McDew had 140 yards in 14 first‑half carries and finished up with 146 yards on 17 carries, the highest individual Tiger rushing total for a ‑ single game this season.

DeLong did a good job running the Tiger offense for the second straight week. While he completed only 1 of 4 passes, the Tigers didn’t make a turnover for the first time this season.

The Tigers only completed 5 of 11 passes for 84 yards with Marty Guzzetta catching four of them for 47 yards and Burkett hauling in one for 37 yards.

“We ran up the middle a lot,” Currence explained, “because that’s what they were giving us.”

The Tiger defense didn’t give the Bennies much at all, allowing them a total of 114 yards (only 56 in the first half) and not surrendering a touchdown until the subs were on the field in the fourth quarter protecting the 38‑0 lead.

“I can’t say enough about our defense ” Currence said. “We kept the pressure on them and kept good field position. Our secondary did a good job of hitting them and they dropped some passes. They didn’t play well offensively ‑ and that’s the name of the game when you play us. You have to control the ball.”

The Tigers intercepted three Benedictine passes and recovered three fumbles all together. DiLoreto, Kevin McClelland and Jack Wilson had interceptions while Lemon recovered two fumbles and Simpson one.

“We just had too many, turnovers,” Bossu agreed. “I don’t know about the score, but it would have been a better ball game if we hadn’t turned the ball over so much.”

Currence agreed that a few breaks either way in the first half could have made it an entirely different ball game.

“You have to give Massillon some credit, too,” Bossu said. “They forced the turnovers.”

Bossu said the game was a. new experience for his players “because I they hadn’t been behind all year.

“I don’t think this game was a true indication of the kind of team we have. Just like the previous games weren’t (four lopsided wins over easy opponents). We had too many turnovers to get a true indication of what kind of team we have.

“Massillon has the same kind of team they’ve had for the 25 years‑ we’ve been coming down here. They’re a good football team. They are quick and their execution is real good.”

Of Benedictine’s decision not to play Massillon in the future, Bossu said: “We made the decision because we felt we needed a change.”

The Bennies ‑ a Class AA team ‑ first played the Tigers in 1954 when Bossu was an assistant coach. He took over the head reins the following year, though the two teams didn’t play each other. They have played every year since, however, and Benedictine and Bossu have earned the respect of Massillon fans in the process.

The final ledger shows a 22‑2‑1 edge for the Tigers, but the Bennies always came down from Cleveland ready to play.

They turned a win over Massillon in 1957 into a state big‑school mythical championship and used a tie‑in 1973 to earn their way into the Class AA state computer playoffs and an eventual state title.

Bossu has been the Benedictine coach for 25 years, and while this was his last game against Massillon, he said he plans to keep right on coaching..

Massillon will travel to the Akron Rubber Bowl next Saturday night for a big game with the Barberton Magics ‑ who beat ‘the Tigers 9‑7 there in the 1977 season‑opener. There will be a pep rally sponsored by the Tiger Booster Club at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night at Duncan Plaza.

Benedictine will try to get back on the winning side Friday at wickliffe.

First downs:
rushing 9 2
passing 3 3
penalty 0 5
total 12 10
Yds gain rush 229 72
Yds lost rush 22 18
Net yds rush 207 54
Net yds pass 84 60
Total yds gain 291 114
Pass attempted 11 20
Pass completed 5 6
Pass int by 3 0
Pass int yds 15 0
Kickoffs 6 2
Kickoff ave 46.5 47.5
Kickoff ret yds 41 89
Punts 6 5
Punt ave 36.3 38.6
Punt ret yds 30 20
Punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 0 3
Fumbles lost 0 3
Penalties 7 6
Yds penalized 75 29
TDs rushing 4 1
TDs passing 1 0
TDs by int 0 0
Other TDs 0 0
No. of plays 50 51
Time of pass 27:04 20:56
Attendance 11,039

MASSILLON 7 16 8 7 39

Mass ‑ Sam McDew 6 run (Jeff Fry kick)
Mass ‑ Fry 26 FG
Mass ‑ McDew 85 run (Fry kick)
Mass ‑ Marty Guzzetta 3 pass from Mike Jones (kick fail)
Mass ‑ Jones 5 run (Jones run)
Mass ‑ Jones 10 run (Dave Eberhart kick)
Ben ‑ Kevin Richardson 3 run (pass fail)

Marty Guzzetta