Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo

Massillon defense smothers Barberton
Holds Magics to 64 yards in 21 ‑ 6 win

Independent Sports Editor

Massillon Tiger coach Mike Currence didn’t have too much. too say after his team’s game in the cold, wet and windy Akron Rubber Bowl Saturday night.

He didn’t have to.

The Tigers passed their toughest test of the season by beating the Barberton Magics 21‑6. That gives the Tigers a perfect 6‑0 record while Barberton falls to 5‑2.

The Tiger defense was outstanding, holding the Magics to a total 64 yards for the game and registering nine quarterback sacks.

The offense had a few problems, but Dave DeLong and Bill Scott managed to come up with enough of a passing game ‑ despite the miserable conditions ‑ to assure the Tiger victory.

“I’m just pleased with everyone,” Currence said afterwards. “I’m pleased that we can come up to the Rubber Bowl and play a great team like Barberton and come out a victor.

“It’s just too bad we can’t pat ourselves on the back and take a week off. We have to come back Monday ‑ and lose a day of rest and start preparing for Jackson (which comes to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Friday night).

“I think I get about a five second high out of it,” he added of the Tiger victory which avenged a 9‑7 loss to the Magics two years ago.

“There’s a lot of determination on this ball club,” Currence said. “And it showed. Our kids played like they wanted it.”

That was almost an understatement. Except for a shakey start ‑ the Tigers fumbled four times in the first half but lost only one – the Tigers controlled the tempo of the game.

The Tiger defense held the Magics to 24 yards in the first half as Massillon took a 7‑0 lead. The Magics tried to use the shotgun in an effort to get their passing game going, but the Tigers consistently put a hard rush on quarterback Brian

“They threw a lot of people at us,” Magic coach Rudy Sharkey acknowledged after the game. “And we didn’t handle it well. We played well except on the offensive line.”

Sharkey was also upset at the officials ruling on a controversial pass play that set up the Tigers’ first score.

On a second‑and‑10 from the Barberton 46, DeLong threw a long pass to wide receiver Marty Guzzetta.

Guzzetta turned back and caught the ball ‑ despite being bumped by Magic defensive back John Verhotz – and he Verhotz tumbled to the turf. Verhotz came up with ball and Barberton fans thought they had an interception.

There was a pass interference penalty against Verhotz on the play, but the officials ruled simultaneous catch and the Tigers declined the penalty and took the ball at the Barberton five yard line.

On fourth‑and‑goal from there, DeLong ran a keeper around left end, hurtling over a Magic defender into the end zone for a 6‑0 Tiger lead. Jeff Fry’s kick made it 7‑0.

All this came in the second quarter, after the Tigers had fumbled away their initial possession of the game, and almost fumbled away the lead on their next possession.

The Tigers had taken the opening kickoff and marched to the Magic 35, where they faced a fourth‑and‑five situation. DeLong ran a keeper, but fumbled the ball over (Jeff Wade recovered) to the Magics at the 33.

Barberton drove to the ‘Tiger 41, but a 19‑yard punt gave the Tigers possession on their own 22.

They started another drive which reached the Barberton 42 when DeLong hit Mike Reese for 13 yards and a first down. On the next play, Mike Jones carried into the line and had the ball knocked from his arms into the air. Several Barberton players rushed for it, and knocked it even farther back while trying to pick it up.

Tiger tackle Gerald Wesley then fell on it, but it squirted away on the slippery artificial turf all the way back to the Tiger 35 where DeLong alertly recovered it (for a 23‑yard loss).

The Tigers had one more scoring threat in the second quarter, but it ended when Fry missed on a 43‑yard field goal attempt.

The third quarter started out with Len Robinson intercepting a Breitenstine pass on the third play from scrimmage. DeLong was then intercepted on a long pass to Guzzetta, with Verhotz picking the ball off at his own 18.

The two teams then punted the ball back and forth for the remainder of the third quarter. The Tigers started a drive near the end of the third period that carried to the Magic 27 as the quarter ended.

Scott ‑ who has been hobbled by a knee sprain – entered the game for the first time to start the fourth quarter. The Tigers faced a fourth‑and‑two situation, and Scott hit Guzzetta on a curl pattern for a first down at the Magic 20, Two plays later, however, Verhotz tipped Scott’s pass and Wade picked it off at the 19.

Breitenstine went to the air on the first play, and Tim Reese intercepted the ball at the Magic 31 and returned it to the 21.

Following three incompletions (one by DeLong), Scott hit Guzzetta on a fourth‑and‑10 play for 13 yards and a first down at the Magic 18.

On second‑and‑12 from the 20, Scott hit Bill Beitel for eight yards and then found Greg Evans open down the middle for the touchdown with 7:50 to go in the game. Fry’s kick failed and Massillon led 13‑0.

The Magics’ score was set up when Mike Hodgson took a low snap while attempting to punt and was forced to run with the ball, He almost got away, but was tackled for a two‑yard loss at his own 24.

Seven plays later ‑ on fourth‑and‑18 from the 20 – Breitenstine scrambled out of the pocket and hit Dave Carrell with a pass for the touchdown. Bryant Lemon sacked Breitenstine as he looked to pass for the extra points.

The Magics then tried an onside kick, but Guzzetta recovered the ball at his own 45 while sliding out of bounds with 1:25 left in the game.

Three plays later, Bill Burkett burst 56 yards through the Barberton line and crossed the goal line with :03 showing on the clock. DeLong hit Beitel with a conversion pass to cap the scoring.

DeLong finished the game with five completions in 14 attempts for 100 yards. Scott was 4 of 7 for 40 yards and one touchdown. Burkett topped the Tigers with 58 yards rushing in eight carries, while Sam McDew added 41 in 14 carries and Beitel had 36 in five carries. DeLong picked up 29 yards in eight carries.

Defensively, Bob Simpson led the Tigers with five quarterback sacks and one tackle for minus yardage. The Tiger middle guard also had nine solo tackles and five assists.

The Tiger defense held the Magics to a net total of 10 yards rushing.

The Tigers will play Jackson Friday at 8 p.m. in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. The Magics will host Toledo Scott.

The win should put the Tigers at or very near the top of the Class AAA Region 3 computer rankings,

First downs:
rushing 5 3
passing 8 2
penalty 0 1
total 13 7
Yds gain rush 187 57
Yds lost rush 42 47
Net yds rush 145 10
Net yds pass 140 54
Total yds gain 285 64
Pass attempted 22 16
Pass completed 9 6
Pass int by 2 2
Pass int yds 0 3
Kickoffs 4 2
Kick off ave 48.5 27.0
Kickoff ret yds 13 46
Punts 3 7
Punt ave 31.7 30.0
Punt ret yds 23 0
Punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 5 0
Fumbles lost 1 0
Penalties 6 4
Yds penalized 79 21
TDs rushing 2 0
TDs passing 1 1
TDs by int 0 0
Other TDs 0 0
No, of plays 59 50
Time of poss 24:48 23: 12
Attendance 10,000

MASSILLON 0 7 0 14 21
BARBERTON 0 0 0 6 6

Mass ‑ Dave DeLong 5 run (Jeff Fry kick)
Mass ‑ Greg Evans 12 pass from Bill Scott (kick fail)
Barb ‑ Dave Carrell 20 pass from Brian Breitenstine (run fail)
Mass ‑ Bill Burkett 50 run (Bill Beitel pass from DeLong)

Massillon’s passing game
is too much for Barberton
Preps Milan Zban

It wasn’t Sunday and it wasn’t the National Football League, but Massillon and Barberton weren’t a bit bashful about putting the ball in the air.

In the 34th meeting between the two teams Saturday night at the Rubber Bowl, Massillon employed a two‑quarterback system and attempted 22 passes, completing nine for 145 yards.

The result was a 21‑6 win over the Magics before a chilled and wet crowd of about 10,000, most of whom left before the finish and failed to witness the game’s longest score, a 50‑yard sprint from scrimmage by Massillon’s Bill Burkett with just seven seconds to go.

The win kept the Tigers unbeaten through six games while Barberton slipped to 5‑2.

Barberton tried to match Massillon’s passing game, but the Magics’ offensive line couldn’t contain the Massillon defenders. Middle guard Bob Simpson sacked Magics quarterback Brian Breitenstine five of the eight times he was dropped.

MASSILLON coach Mike Currence used both Dave DeLong and Bill Scott, DeLong setting up the game’s first score with a 41‑yard pass and Scott throwing to tight end Craig Evans for a 12‑yard touchdown in the fourth period.

Barberton, whose deepest penetration had been to Massillon’s 42‑yard line in the first half, finally got on the board after trailing 13‑0 when Breitenstine, a sophomore, connected with tight end Dave Carrell for a 20‑yard scoring shot with 1:25 left in the contest.

Both coaches agreed it was Massillon’s pass rush that made the difference.

“Simpson had a tremendous game, but he plays like that all the time,” said Currence of his 6‑0, 205‑pound defensive lineman. “I think he’s the best in the state and when they had to double- and triple‑team him, that allowed our other linemen to seep through.

“This was a big, big game for us,” Currence added. “This should help us the rest of the way and put us in pretty good shape in the computer standings.”

Massillon, ranked atop the Beacon Journal’s Class AAA poll, is second in the Associated Press statewide survey and fifth in the computer ratings in Region 3.

Barberton, ranked fourth by the Beacon Journal and 17th by the AP, stood 13th in the computer ratings.

A DISILLUSIONED Barberton coach Rudy Sharkey allowed that Massillon’s ferocious pass rush sawed off his shotgun offense. “Massillon controlled the line of scrimmage and we couldn’t pass. When we can’t pass, we don’t go anywhere,” he said.

“The first touchdown was a gift by the officials,” said Sharkey, alluding to split end Marty Guzzetta’s controversial catch over Barberton defender John Verhotz, who had apparently intercepted the 41‑yard pass which set up the Tigers’ initial touchdown in the second quarter. “The rest (of the touchdowns) they earned.”

“That first score changed the complexion of the game. But from where we started the season (a loss to Buchtel), we’ve come a long way, so I guess I’ve no complaint.”

DeLong, who was five for 14 for 100 yards with one interception, set up the game’s first score with the heave to Guzzetta and later hit the end zone himself with a diving attempt from the four-yard line which made it 7‑0 at the half.

Then alternate quarterback. Scott came on the scene in the second half, throwing but seven times and completing four, including the 12‑yard touchdown pass to Evans in the fourth period.

After Barberton got on the board with 1:25 to go in the game, it appeared the Tigers would just run out the clock. That is, to everybody except Burkett, who bolted up the middle for 50 yards and the game’s final score with just seven seconds to go.

Massillon’s win was the 27th of the long series between the two schools. Barberton, which won the last meeting in 1977, 9‑7, owns six wins. One game ended in a tie.

Marty Guzzetta