Tigers’ 4th‑quarter rally downs South
22‑point period nets 36‑25 victory
By ROLLIE DREUSSI
Independent Sports Editor
“We don’t play them next year, do we coach?”
“Heck no, let somebody else play ‘em.” Massillon coach Mike Currence said.
And good luck to whoever does.
For the second time in three weeks the Massillon Tigers came from behind to pull out a hard‑fought victory as they downed Youngstown South 36‑25 Friday night in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
The Warriors’ now 4‑2, have a young team ‑ with four sophomores and only nine seniors starting ‑ but they gave the Tigers all they could handle.
They took a 19‑14 lead early in the fourth quarter, and it took a 22‑point final period by the Tigers to finally subdue them.
South’s 25 points was the most scored by an opposing team in Tiger Stadium since 1969 when Niles beat the Tigers 33‑20. It was the most points scored against the Tigers, period, since 1974 when the Tigers lost 31‑14 at Upper Arlington and 35‑10 at Warren Harding.
The Tigers and Warriors piled up a total of 661 yards ‑ 352 of those by South, all on the ground.
“Those are the finest two backs I’ve seen here in five years,” Currence said of seniors Scott Ivy and Arthur Beck. “And (Kevin) Burkley, he’s a super quarterback for a sophomore.”
Those three Warrior backs did all the running for South, with Ivy gaining 166 yards in 19 carries, Beck picking up 98 in 22 rushed and Burkley finishing with 94 in 19 tries.
But it was a clutch fourth‑quarter effort by the Tiger offense which helped Massillon raise its unbeaten record to 5‑0‑1.
Quarterback Dave Eberhart’s second touchdown of the game gave Massillon a 22‑19 lead, and a pair of TD runs by fullback Don Fulton clinched the game for the Tigers.
Fulton, who had been the starting halfback in preseason before being switched to end to shore up the defense, had an outstanding game.
“He did a great job,” Currence said of the 6‑0, 200‑pound senior. Fulton rushed for 160 yards in 16 carries
Eberhart only gained two yards, but they were big ones ‑ each being a one‑yard sneak for a touchdown. He also hit eight of 10 passes for 70 yards.
He was three‑for‑three for 44 yards in the fourth quarter, with all three passes going for first downs in the Tigers 66‑yard, 13‑play drive that put them ahead to stay.
Eberhart climaxed that drive with a one‑yard TD sneak to put the Tigers ahead 20‑19, then did a great job of scrambling as he ran in the extra points for a threepoint cushion that the Tigers never lost.
The Warriors never gave up, however, and might have pulled out the game had it not been for a crucial fourth‑quarter mistake by Burkley.
with his team trailing 22‑19, Burkley took off on one of his option runs (which had given the Tiger defense fits all night). He gained 10 yards up to the South 44 and had a first down ‑ when he lateralled the ball forward to a teammate. That resulted in a five‑yard penalty from the point of the foul and also incurred a loss of down.
That put South back at its own 39 with a second‑and‑six, and defensive tackle Ed Newman then sacked
Burkley for a seven‑yard loss. Burkley threw an incomplete pass, and then completed a pass for minus-three yards on a fake punt play an fourth down.
Massillon took over at the South 30, And senior Dave Huth had a touchdown run on first down called back by a clipping penalty. He still got credit for a nine‑yard gain on the play, and following an illegal procedure penalty against Massillon, be scampered another 13 to the South 13.
Fulton then carried for four yards, and followed a Todd Kasunick block for nine more yards and a TD on the following play with 3:35 left.
Massillon’s 29‑19 lead shrank 1:09 later when Beck bolted 25 yards for a touchdown on a draw play. Beck was stopped however, on his conversion run attempt and the Tigers led 29‑25.
The Tigers had a close call when South almost pulled off an onside kick, but Massillon managed to come up with the ball at the South 49.
Fulton burst through the line for 47 yards, with Ivy (who also played In the secondary) barely catching him from behind. Fulton carried it in from the two with 1:39 left to seal the victory.
Massillon had opened the scoring in the first quarter by driving 53 yards in eight plays with Eberhart going in from a yard out.
The Tigers stopped South on its ensuing possession, but Mike Spicer fumbled a punt and the Warriors recovered at the Tiger 24. Three plays later they were at the Tiger 14. Ivy broke through the line to the three where he fumbled the ball. It rolled into the end zone and receiver John Collins recovered it for the TD.
The Tigers drove 75 in eight plays in the second quarter with Robert Oliver carrying three yards for the score.
The Tigers appeared to have a 14‑7 halftime lead locked up, but Ivy sped 62 yards for a touchdown on a draw play with just 15 seconds on the clock. Mike Spicer blocked the extra point kick, however, to keep the Tigers in the lead.
South appeared to gain the momentum in the third quarter as they controlled the ball for almost 10 minutes, and then scored early in the final period to take the lead.
But the Tigers had the grit to come back and take control of the game.
“We’ve got great kids,” South coach Bob Stoops said, afterwards. “The pitch forward was the‑key play,” he acknowledged. He refused to fault Burkley, though. “What a great performance the kid had.
“I don’ t know what else to say. We have the greatest kids in the country. We could have won the game and we didn’t.”
South played a fine game, and the Warriors received a good hand from the Tiger fans as they marched off the field.
South controlled the hall to 29:40 with their awesome running attack, while the Tigers had the ball for only 18:20. But, as is always the case, statistics can’t change the numbers on the scoreboard.
One noteworthy statistic for the Tigers is Fulton’s 160 yards. That is the most yards any running back has gained since Currence installed the run‑and‑shoot offense when he came here in 1976.
It is the most yards rushing for a Tiger back since 1975 when Billy Harmon gained 224 in the sixth game of the season against Steubenville.
Nobody wants to remember when the lost time an opposing team rushed for 352 yards against a Tiger defense. And that’s one of the reasons everybody is glad Youngstown South won’t be back next year.
First down rushing 11 15
First downs passing 6 0
First downs by penalty 0 2
Total first downs 17 17
Yards gained rushing 256 360
Yards lost rushing 17 8
Net yards gained rushing 239 352
Net yards gained passing 70 0
Total yards gained 309 352
Passes attempted 10 6
Passes completed 8 2
Passes intercepted by 1 1
Yardage on passes intercepted 46 0
Times kicked off 6 5
Kickoff average 47.8 34.0
Kickoff return yardage 75 67
Punts 1 3
Punting average 44.0 36.3
Punt return yardage 8 67
Punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 2 4
Fumbles lost 1 0
Penalties 4 6
Yards penalized 50 40
Touchdowns rushing 5 3
Touchdowns passing 0 1
Touchdowns by interception 0 0
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Total number of plays 54 64
Total time of possession 18:20 29:40
SOUTH 7 6 0 12 25
MASSILLON 7 7 0 22 36
MASS – Dave Eberhart 1 run (Eberhart kick)
SOUTH – John Collins fumble recovery in end zone (Julius Poole kick)
MASS – Robert Oliver 3 run (Eberhart kick)
SOUTH – Scott Ivy 62 run (kick blocked)
SOUTH – Collins 3 pass from Kevin Burkley (pass fail)
MASS – Eberhart 1 run (Eberhart kick)
MASS – Don Fulton 9 run (Eberhart kick)
SOUTH – Arthur Beck 25 run (run fail)
MASS – Fulton 2 run (Eberhart kick)