Playoff game here Saturday night
Sandusky next as Tigers nip Pups
By MIKE HUDAK
Independent Sports Editor
MASSILLON – Victory whoops echoed throughout a locker room where passage was difficult because of wall-to-wall well wishers wanting to reach out and congratulate the players who were an extension of their own lives.
But Ty Beadle, the Tigers’ 6-foot-2, 265 pound senior tackle was not smiling. The young giant was drained mentally and physically and his eyes seemed to peer through the floor he was staring at.
It was a helluva game, he understated.
Teammate Charles Calhoun, the Gladiator like Tiger guard, brought the twinkle back to Beadle’s eye. “We showed them the line could run today, too, he quipped.
Early in the third quarter, Calhoun had provided the only levity in what wasn’t a laughing matter, picking up a fumbled snap and carrying the ball six yards before being pulled down by the swarming Pup defense.
“That was the famous Clydsdale right play,” quipped Calhoun and Beadle laughed.
Beadle deserved to laugh, the Tigers had won, a perfect regular season had been completed and a home date in the playoffs assured. Unemployment may have hit the highest mark in Massillon since the 1930s but there was no “Depression” in Tigertown on Saturday, Nov. 6, 1982.
According to Tiger statistician Tom Persell, the talk around town after the game was that the Tigers were “flat”, that they had heard so often how they were supposed to overwhelm the Bulldogs that they were lulled by the publicity.
Not so. The first time the Tigers touched the ball following the opening kickoff they held the ball 18 plays, moving down to the Bulldog 15 before a penalty and a devastating McKinley pass rush moved them back to the 34 where a fake punt and a run by quarterback Brian DeWitz fell short of the first down.
This initial stand buoyed the Pups confidence. McKinley from that moment on played to its maximum defensive potential – known to be quite good before the game even began. It was the McKinley offense that was suspect and despite moments of glory, it remained the Pups ‘Achilles Heel’ as they failed to score for the first time in the annual classic since 1979.
After the Tigers initial drive, neither team threatened again the remainder of the half. Massillon fans were contemplative at halftime; typical reactions when friends spotted each other were raised eyebrows or shrugged shoulders when would the vaunted Tiger offense roll into gear?
Again, the Tigers first possession of the half, after forcing McKinley to punt, appeared to be the opening of the flood gates.
Beginning possession on the McKinley 42, halfback Chris Spielman, who enjoyed a spectacular day and garnered more page one press than perhaps any junior in journalistic history, picked up chunks of turf in eight-yard chunks as the Tigers drove to the Pup three.
But a flag for clipping on the run that set up first and goal turned the drive around. Moments later, it was fourth and goal from the 17.
Bronc Pfisterer rushed onto the turf for a field goal attempt. But at the last second, he rushed off and Tim Sampsel rushed on, barely avoiding a delay of game flag and attempted a kick that was wide left.
Tiger head coach Mike Currence explained the apparent confusion.