Meet McKinley in playoffs
Tigers will get another Chance Friday
By ROLLIE DREUSSI
Independent Sports Editor
The Massillon Tigers won’t have to wait a whole year to gain revenge for the 16‑7 loss the McKinley Bulldogs inflicted on them Saturday afternoon in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
The Tigers will be going to the playoffs for the second straight year, but not on the basis of their performance on Saturday.
The Bulldogs simply outplayed the Tigers both offensively and defensively to raise their record to 9‑1 and grab first place in the Division I, Region 3 computer rankings.
The Tigers’ 8‑1‑1 record still produced enough points to net them second place, thanks to Lakewood St. Edward ‘s loss to Cleveland St. Joseph Saturday night.
So now, we’ll do it all over again when the Tigers travel to Canton’s Fawcett Stadium for the Region 3 championship game Friday at 7:30 p.m.
That may be the end of the road for the Tigers, however, unless they dramatically improve upon the kind of performance they turned in Saturday before the 21,754 fans who packed Tiger Stadium to see the 85th meeting between the two schools,
The Bulldogs unleashed a bevy of fast, hard‑running backs who totaled 221 yards rushing against the Tiger defense. That running attack was complemented by the eight of 12 passing of quarterback Rick Worstell, which accounted for another 92 yards.
This balanced attack proved too much for the Tiger defense. The Bulldogs controlled the ball and kept the Tiger offense off the field. McKinley had the ball for 32:46 compared to just 15:14 for the Tigers.
And when Massillon did get the ball, they did little with it. The Tigers netted only 96 yards ‑ 42 rushing and 54 passing ‑‑ and lost the ball twice on interceptions and once on a fumble.
Whether the Tiger’s simply had a bad day, or were just plain outmanned, will be determined Friday.
“You have to hand it all to our kids.” a happy Terry Forbes said about his team’s victory in his first game against Massillon as the McKinley coach.
“They wanted the game so much. We were able to concentrate and do the things we wanted to do. One thing stood out: our character and togetherness, and our ability to come from behind.”
Currence, in the quiet atmosphere of the Tiger lockerroom, also touched on togetherness ‑ or the lack of it ‑ his team displayed.
“We didn’t play well today. We didn’t hit good and we didn’t have any togetherness or unity. We knew we would have to come up with the big play, but they got them. You can’t make mistakes and beat them.
“I’ve already cried, and now I’m ready to go on. We have a great football program here, and if things work, we’ll get another shot at them Friday. I’d like to go back after them.”
While much ado was made of the speed of the McKinley backs, Currence indicated his team lost the game in the trenches, where the Bulldog lines were bigger and more physical than the Tigers.
“We’ve played quick teams before and won,” Currence said. “They have great quickness and we knew their speed was going to hurt us. We knew they’d score because they have a great offensive team. But they controlled the ball on us.
“We can take their fast backs, but (wide receiver Todd) Fisher is the guy we didn’t do the job on. They got their passing attack going, and when that happens you’ve got to give up ground to the running attack. They have better balance than they’ve had in the past.”
Despite the Pups’ offensive performance, Currence said the turning point of the game was an unusual conversion pass by the Bulldogs, and a safety against the Tigers.
The Bulldogs took a 14‑7 lead in the third quarter when Paul Giavasis rolled right after a fake kick attempt and passed into the end zone. The ball was batted away by Tiger defensive back Dwayne Boss in the back of the end zone, but fell into the unsuspecting hands of Fisher, who just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
The safety then gave the Bulldogs a 16‑7 lead and meant the Tigers would have to score twice to win the game.
“Psychologically, the safety hurt us,” Currence explained, “because we were down by two scores. Take those two plays away and we’re back in the ball game.”
The Tigers started off in trouble on the opening kickoff, when it was fumbled ‑ but recovered ‑ by Rick Boerner at his own 14 yard line.
The Tigers punted, and the Bulldogs took over in good position at the Massillon 47. Their drive stalled at the 28, however, and the Tigers took over.
With the help of a pass interference call and an 11 yard run by halfback Robert Oliver, the Tigers eventually moved to the McKinley 47. On second‑and‑eight, McKinley’s Mike Freeman intercepted a tipped pass and the Pups took over at their own 46.
A clipping penalty on the first play pushed them back to the 29, but on third‑and‑21 Worstell hit Fisher with a 22‑yard pass and a first‑down at the Tiger 43.
Six plays later Sidney Lewis swept 11 yards around left end for the score. The kick failed, and McKinley led 6‑0 with 1:32 left in the quarter.
The Tigers couldn’t move the ball, but a tremendous 65‑yard punt by Dave Eberhart ‑ which spiraled over the Bulldog returners’ heads ‑ settled on the McKinley one yard line and the Tigers had the Pups in the whole
From the nine, Ed Grimsley shanked a 22‑yard punt and Massillon had the ball at the Bulldog 31. Seven plays later, Eberhart sneaked over from the one, and booted the extra point to put the Tigers out front 7‑6 with 6:05 to go in the half.
The Bulldogs received the kickoff to open the second half, and promptly marched 80 yards in 15 plays with Lewis taking it in from four yards out. The drive was highlighted by three Worstell completions ‑ two to Fisher ‑ all for first downs.
The Bulldogs then faked the kick and Giavasis’ batted pass was caught by Fisher for a 14‑7 Bulldog lead with 5:06 to go in the quarter.
Massillon immediately turned the ball back over to the Bulldogs when Eberhart dropped back to pass, was hit and literally had the ball taken out of his hands by McKinley’s Scott Dixon.
Dixon had clear sailing the final 30 yards to the end zone, but he tumbled the ball. Bob Harsh alertly recovered for McKinley.
The bulldogs then drove to the Massillon six, but on third‑and‑goal Mike Spicer intercepted Worstell’s pass in the back of the end zone. He mistakenly tried to run the ball out, however, and was tackled at the three.
On the first play, halfback Mike Jones was nailed in the end zone for a safety, and the momentum suddenly shifted back to the Bulldogs. The safety gave the Pups, a 16‑7 lead with 26 seconds left in the third quarter.
That third quarter was the Tigers’ undoing, as McKinley scored 10 points while the Tigers had the ball for only two offensive plays ‑ a fumble and a safety.
McKinley mounted another drive following the kickoff after the safety, but Spicer again intercepted Worstell, this time at his own eight.
The Tigers then drove to the McKinley 14, but that drive was killed when Harsh intercepted Eberhart’s pass at the nine, ending the Tigers’ comeback hopes.
So Saturday was one day the Tigers will have to forget, And nothing would erase the bad memory of a loss to McKinley more than a victory one week later.
Thanks to the expanded playoff system, the Tigers will get that chance.
First downs rushing 3 12
First downs passing 2 5
First downs by penalty 2 0
Total first downs 7 17
Yards gained rushing 66 225
Yards lost rushing 24 4
Net yards gained rushing 42 221
Net yards gained passing 54 92
Total yards gained 96 313
Passes attempted 17 12
Passes completed 5 8
Passes intercepted by 2 1
Yardage on passes intercepted 3 3
Times kicked off 3 3
Kickoff average 59.0 47.0
Kickoff return yardage 38 18
Punts 4 3
Punting average 43.0 23.7
Punt return yardage 3 1
Punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 1 1
Fumbles lost 1 0
Penalties 3 7
Yards penalized 15 73
Touchdowns rushing 1 2
Touchdowns passing 0 0
Touchdowns by interception 0 0
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Total number of plays 38 61
Total time of possession 15:14 32:46
McKinley 6 0 10 0 ‑ 16
MASSILLON 0 7 0 0 ‑ 7
McK ‑ Sidney Lewis 11‑yard run (kick failed)
MASS ‑ Dave Eberhart 1‑yard run (Eberhart kick)
McK ‑ Lewis 4‑yard run (Todd Fisher pass from Paul Giavasis)
McK – safety
end Stark Debate
Massillon’s unbeaten streak
By Milan Zban
Beacon Journal staff writer
Nobody bothered to ask Amy Carter about Canton McKinley’s proliferation of running backs.
But Stark County’s version of the great debate is over. McKinley settled the issue on the football field on a chilly but sun‑splashed Saturday at Massillon’s Paul Brown Stadium.
Amy would have agreed with 21,754 that it was the running of four Bulldog backs who applied so much pressure on Massillon’s defense that it cracked, tottered and finally fell, 16‑7. And with it went Massillon’s unbeaten, but once tied, streak through nine games.
Terry Forbes, McKinley’s first year coach, also ended Massillon’s four‑year domination of the 85‑yeard‑old classic on his first try.
He sent Dwayne Randle, Sid Lewis, Mike Simms and Mike Lynch pounding off the tackles and sweeping the ends for 221 yards on the ground.
And when they were temporarily stalled, the call went to quarterback Rick Worstell, who will be around for another classic next year. Worstell threw a dozen times, completing eight for 92 additional yards.
THE VICTORY pushed McKinley atop the Division I, Region 3 state computer ratings, giving it a shot at the state playoff quarterfinals, next week.
Massillon, the pre‑game leader over McKinley, 147.75‑to‑133.37 in computer points, may still win a berth in the playoffs as third‑place Lakewood St. Edward lost a 21‑6 decision to Cleveland St. Joseph Saturday night.
Massillon probably will wind up second and behind McKinley. If that happens, the teams will be rematched Friday night at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium.
While the McKinley offense was doing it’s job, rolling up 313 yards, the Bulldogs’ defense also was quite effective. It almost completely shut down dangerous Dave Eberhart, Massillon’s gifted quarterback who has passed for 1000 yards.
McKinley breaks Massillon streak
Eberhart was only five‑for‑17 for 54 yards with two interceptions.
“IT WASN’T so much McKinley’s secondary that took away our passing game, but Mckinley’s rush,” Eberhart said. “They came at me in that slanting defense which we couldn’t pick up and I didn’t get much of a chance to set up and throw.
“Maybe we’ll play them again next week,” he said hopefully, “but I’d rather had beaten them this week.
“Their defense did a great job. They only gave us the ball inside the 50 one time and we took that in for a score.”
Eberhart got Massillon’s only points, sneaking 1 yard for a touchdown, then booting the extra point for a 7‑6 Massillon lead in the second quarter.
It was Eberhart’s booming 65‑yard punt to the McKinley 1‑yard line which set up the score. In the exchange of punts, McKinley’s Ed Grimsley shanked the hall and it traveled only 23 yards to the McKinley 32. Seven plays later with 6:05 left in the half, the Tigers had taken the lead.
McKinley’s Lewis, who hadn’t scored a touchdown all season, got his first of two Saturday when he raced 11 yards to culminate a 72‑yard drive ignited by Mike Freeman’s interception of an Eberhart pass at his 29.
Lewis was almost caught at the 3‑yard line but stiffarmed Massillon defender Dwayne Boss and darted into the end zone.
With 1:32 left in the opening quarter, and following a Mckinley offside penalty, Nick Faulkner’s conversion kick was wide left.
Faulkner’s miss left the door ajar for Massillon to lead at the hall.
McKinley wasted little time in the second half. It dominated the third quarter, allowing the Tigers only two possessions and each of those lasted only one play.
The Bulldogs marched 80 yards to regain the lead on a 4‑yard sprint by Lewis and an amazing two‑point conversion catch by Todd Fisher on a batted pass from Paul Giavasis at the 5:06 mark.
ON MASSILLON’S first possession of the second half, Eberhart’s arm was hit as he attempted to pass and end Scott Dixon scooped up the loose ball at the Massillon 37. After running to the 23, he fumbled, but teammate Bob Harsh was there to fall on the ball.
However, the Bulldogs’ opportunity was thwarted by an end zone interception by Massillon’s Mike Spicer who unwisely attempted to run out of the end zone and was nailed at the 3‑yard line.
On the ensuing play, Massillon running back Mike Jones was smothered in the end zone by the left side of McKinley’s line for a safety which boosted McKinley into a 16‑7 lead with only 26 seconds left in the quarter.
McKinley threatened again early in the fourth quarter, reaching the Massillon 19, but, with 8:40 remaining, Spicer again intercepted Worstell at the 7.
Massillon, with the help of a pass interference call on McKinley’s Rob Dine, reached the Bulldog 14 with 2:24 remaining but Harsh picked off an Eberhart pass to turn back the Tigers once more.
“THE GUY who killed us was Fisher,” said Massillon coach Mike Currence. “I thought we did all right against McKinley’s ground game, but Fisher came up with the big catch time and again.”
Fisher, who had four catches for 52 yards, grabbed a 20-yarder on third and two, caught one for eight yards on third and six and had another eight‑yard pickup on second and six.
Randle was the game’s leading rusher with 110 yards in 18 tries. Sims had 56 in 11 carries, Lewis 37 in seven attempts and Lynch 30 yards in 10 tries.