Tigers’ big TD plays jar Polar Bears
As Massillon rolls 42‑0 for seventh win
By ROLLIE DREUSSI
Independent Sports Editor
For almost two quarters Friday night the Jackson Polar Bears were in the ball game.
Two plays, one minute and 13 seconds and one halftime show later the Massillon Tigers were off and running to their seventh straight victory and fourth shutout of the season as they beat the Bears 42‑0 for the second year in a row.
The Polar Bears (4‑3) came to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium ready to play and they were doing just that. They trailed only 7‑0 with 1:00 left before halftime and the Tigers trying to move the ball from back at their own 44-yard line.
That’s when quarterback Bill Scott faked to Mike Jones into the line and lofted a perfect pass down the sideline to Bill Beitel. Who made an over the shoulder catch and never broke stride as he outran the Jackson defenders to the goal line.
Jeff’ Fry’s kick made it 14‑0 Massillon and the 13,791 fans attending the game settled back to watch a couple of fine halftime shows.
The Polar Bears, still a little dazed, come back out and kicked off and it took Bill Burkett ‑ who had scored the first Tiger touchdown in the first quarter ‑ 88 yards and 13 seconds to weave his way through the Bear coverage for the touchdown that broke Jackson’s back.
“I think the opening kickoff of the second half obviously did the trick for us,” Tiger coach Mike Currence said afterwards.
“They played a good first half. That catch Beitel made ‑ and the throw Scott made ‑ was the best execution of any play we’ve had this year. Scott picked out the secondary receiver on that one.
“That play and the kickoff did it. When you’re making the big plays like that it’s going to hurt them.”
Jackson coach Tom Geschwind couldn’t disagree.
“There were two plays that particularly hurt us,” he said in the quiet and dejected atmosphere of the Polar Bear lockerroom.
“The first one was the long touchdown just before the half, and the second was the long kickoff return. Those were the turning points. I thought we played them well the first half.
“The first quarter we moved the ball right down the field, then the interception hurt us. A score on the opening drive would have meant a lot to us.
“The momentum turned after the second‑half kickoff. Our inability’ to control their running game in the second half was the single biggest factor for us after that.”
The Polar Bears will try to regroup their forces next week against Cambridge as they prepare for the remainder of their Federal League season. They are tied for second place (3‑1) in the league and have games remaining with GlenOak and first‑place North Canton Hoover.
“It’s still very important for us to come back because we’re still in the Federal League race. Last year we did it. We came back and beat Hoover (the final game of the season).”
Currence had said earlier in the week he was hoping his team would not have a letdown. It didn’t happen and he claimed there were several reasons why.
“The crowd helped a lot,” he said. “And Paul Brown being in the stands definitely made a, difference. The kids wanted to play good for Paul.
“I was going to say something about him being here before the game, but I didn’t have to. The kids did. This crew’s been a good group this year.”
Brown who was in town to promote and autograph his book “PB: the Paul Brown Story,” must have been pleased as he watched the team he made nationally famous strike with lightning quickness to seize the momentum and roll to an easy victory.
However, the game started out looking like anything but a rout.
Jackson took the opening kickoff and started a drive that lasted better than eight minutes. Fry’s kick had gone into the end zone and the Bears started from their own 20.
There were several key plays. On third‑and‑eight at his own 45, quarterback Mike Rankin did a nice job of scrambling away from the Tiger rush and scooted 14 yards for a Jackson first down.
The Bears drove to the Tiger 29 where they faced a fourth‑and‑11 situation. Rankin hit John Roman with a pass that netted the first down by inches.
But two plays later, a Rankin pass was intercepted at the three yard line by Tiger linebacker Tim Reese and he returned the ball to the 18.
The Tigers then drove 82 yards in 11 plays with Burkett banging over from the one and Fry adding the conversion kick to give the Tigers a 7‑0 lead with 2:48 left in the quarter.
The Tigers picked up four first downs in the drive, with Burkett getting one on an 11-yard pass from quarterback Bill Scott and another on a 12‑yard run, Sam McDew running 19 yards for one (he injured his knee on the play and didn’t return to action) and Scott hitting Greg Evans for 15 yards for one that took the ball to the one yard line.
The Tigers put together a 13‑play drive that carried to the Polar Bear 14 yard line, but that one fizzled when Jim Kirven came up with his first of two interceptions, (he now has five on the year). A personal foul penalty against Massillon on the play gave the Bears the ball at their own 26.
They had to punt, however, and the Tigers took possession with just over a minute to go in the half.
On first down from the Tiger 35, Scott handed the ball to Burkett ‑‑ who handed it to Beitel ‑ who handed it back to Scott ‑‑ who eluded a Jackson defender and hit Marty Guzzetta with a 9-yard pass to the 44.
Then came the big play, with Scott and Beitel hooking up for a picture‑perfect 56‑yard TD pass play and a 14‑6 halftime lead.
Burkett then returned the opening kickoff of the second half 88 yards for a touchdown and Massillon had a 21‑0 lead over its shell-shocked opponents.
Later in the quarter, the Tigers drove 52 yards in nine plays as Beitel scored his second touchdown ‑ this one on a 3‑yard run. He also had a 20‑yard run for a first down in the drive. Fry’s kick made it 28‑0 with 2:45 to go in the‑third quarter.
Jeff Mayles intercepted a Rankin pass at the Jackson 28 and returned it to the 15, and a personal foul penalty on the Bears gave Massillon ‑ a first down at the seven yard line early in the final period.
Three plays later Bob James scored on a dive play from a yard out and Fry’s kick made it 35‑0.
Jackson then drove to the Massillon 17, but gave up the ball on downs when Bill Francis was stopped just short of a first down on a fourth‑and‑two play.
The Tigers then drove 85 yards in 10 plays with Don Fulton going the final four over right tackle and Dave Eberhart capping the scoring with an extra point kick with 1:07 on the clock.
Scott started at quarterback for the Tigers and completed 9 of 13 passes for 146 yards and one touchdown.
Guzzetta caught five of those passes for 58 yards and Beitel had two receptions for 63 yards.
Beitel also gained 47 yards in eight rushes. Burkett topped all ball carriers with 71 yards in eight carries and Mike Jones‑ who filled in at fullback for MeDew ‑ gained 49 yards in 12 carries.
For Jackson, Francis totaled 54 yards in 16 carries.
Both teams came out of the game with a couple of injured players. Jackson guard Todd Hufstetler and tackle Hank Evans both suffered ankle injuries. For the Tigers, McDew and defensive tackle Bryant Lemon both suffered knee sprains.
The Tigers will host All American Conference foe Warren Harding ‑ a team they have not beaten since 1976 ‑ Friday night in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Jackson will host Cambridge the same night.
Rushing 12 4
Passing 7 3
Penalty 1 2
Total 20 9
Yds gain rush 243 112
Yds lost rush 28 28
Net yds rush 215 84
Net yds pass 199 35
Total yds gain 414 119
Pass attempted 17 13
Pass completed 11 3
Pass int by 2 2
Pass int yds 28 8
Kickoff 7 1
Kickoff ave 49.3 48.0
Kickoff ret yds 88 112
Punts 2 6
Punt ave 41.0 36.5
Punt ret yds 6 9
Punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 0 2
Fumbles lost 0 0
Penalties 6 4
Yds penalized 77 19
TDs rushing 4 0
TDs passing 1 0
TDs by int 0 0
Other TDs 1 0
No. of plays 59 52
Time of poss 25: 24 22, 36
JACKSON 0 0 0 0 0
MASSILLON 7 7 14 14 42
Mass – Bill Burkett I run (Jeff Fry kick)
Mass – Bill Beitel 56 pass from Bill Scott (Fry kick)
Mass – Burkett 88 kickoff return (Fry kick)
Mass – Beitel 3 run (Fry kick)
Mass – Bob James 1 run (Fry kick)
Mass – Don Fulton 4 run (Dave Eberhart kick)