Defense makes strong case
Tigers whip Barberton
By STEVE DUNGJEN
Independent Sports Editor
MASSILLON ‑ Mike Currence made a plea for the defense Friday night.
“The defense hung in there, and that was important,” he said following the Tigers’ hard‑earned 25-6 win over Barberton at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
“We wanted a shutout. We came close, and I’m proud of the way they came back,” the Tiger head coach said, alluding to last week’s wild 38‑31 affair against Stow, a game where the defenses rested their cases
“You can’t blame our defense for their (Barberton) score. If we don’t make the mistake we get the shutout,” Currence said.
The miscue Currence referred to happened in the second quarter when Jeff Smith failed to find the handle on a Barberton punt, the Magics’ Roy Fez Ferguson recovering at the Tiger 14.
Five running plays later and the Magics (0-6) scored when quarterback Joe Underation snuck over from less than a yard out with 1:26 left in the half.
By the time the Magics got on the board, they were faced with an 18‑0 deficit as the Tigers (4‑3) struck early and often.
Massillon, which has now won three straight, put it to the Magics right out of the starter’s gate as quarterback Mike Scott came at throwing.
Scott, who last week threw for 302 yards, attempted eight passes in the opening drive. For that matter, the senior put the ball in the air on the first four plays.
The Tigers easily marched into Barberton territory as Scott hit Bruce Spicer twice for 15 and 14 yards, Wes Siegenthaler for nine, and Irwin Hastings for 17 more.
The 14‑yard pass to Spicer came on a fourth and four from the Magic 20, and led to halfback Derrick Newman’s 6‑yard touchdown jaunt behind the blocking of fullback Duane Crenshaw and guard Jared Mayle.
After stopping the Magic on three downs, the Tigers took over on Barberton’s 49 following a poor 27‑yard punt for their next possession.
And if the passing game highlighted the first score, it was the running attack that was featured on the next TD drive, a six‑play, 49-yard march on the ground.
Newman, playing with a soft cast to protect a broken wrist he suffered two weeks ago, ran over and through several Magic defenders on a 23-yard scamper. Crenshaw then tacked on runs of 8 and 9 yards to give the Tigers a first-and-goal inside the 10.
Newman, who finished with 68 yards on 11 carries, then ran for four more yards before Crenshaw added two stripes to set up the second of three Newman TDs, this one from 3 yards out on the heels of a crunching Crenshaw block. A subsequent two point conversion pass failed.
It didn’t take the Tigers long to strike again as the ensuing kickoff eluded Barberton’s Mike Fields, ending in the arms of Chris Singer at the Magic 38.
Scott, ala Green Bay Packer great Bart Starr, went deep right away, connecting with Siegenthaler on an apparent 38 yard TD strike. An illegal procedure call on the Tigers nullified the score, albeit temporarily.
With the ball now nestled on the 43, Siegenthaler went 15 yards for a first down on a reverse. Crenshaw, the game’s leading ground gainer with 69 yards on 10 carries, then rambled for 14 more before Hastings was thrown for a yard loss.
Faced with a second-and-11 from the Magic 15, Scott rifled a frozen rope to Hastings over the middle with 1:43 left in the quarter for an 18‑0 lead. Another two point conversion pass was thwarted.
With their backs firmly planted against the wall, the Magics set out to do something about it.
Aided by a pass interference call and two key first downs on third‑and‑nine and fourth‑and‑three, the Magics found themselves with a first‑and‑goal from the Tiger 5. On their third crack into the Massillon defense, fullback Pat Boone fumbled after a vicious hit, the orange and black’s John Kroah recovering at the goal line.
Still, the Magics trailed just 18‑6 at intermission as they took advantage of a fumbled Tiger punt return.
If the first half belonged to Massillon, then the third quarter was strictly Barberton’s as the Magics had the ball for all but three minutes.
Following the band shows, it looked as if the Magics were going to make a game of it as they chewed more than six minutes off the clock on the second half’s opening drive only to come away empty-handed.
After then forcing a Tiger punt, the Magics promptly moved deep into Massillon territory once again. This time Brian Miller came up with the big play, intercepting Underation at the 1‑yard line.
“You can’t score if you don’t get the ball,” Currence said of the Tigers’ second‑half showing. “They kept us off balanced.”
Miller returned the ball 15 yards, and the revitalized Tiger offense went back to work, moving 84 yards in 12 plays with Newman scoring on a 3‑yard run. Big plays were third down passes for first downs to Spicer and Siegenthaler. Dan Kozma added the point‑after try and Massillon had its margin of victory in front of 8,681 fans.
The final minutes of the game found the Tigers substituting freely.
And now the Tigers must prepare for the home stretch against Akron St. Vincent‑St. Mary (6‑1), Perry (6‑1) and Canton McKinley (4‑3) in subsequent weeks.
It was announced that former Tiger Craig Johnson, now a member of the Michigan State Spartans, has reached the final 50 in Wheaties’ Search for a Champion II. Johnson and the rest of Tigertowners will have to wait until December 31 to find out if he made the final six, which would put him on the cover of the cereal’s box.
Johnson is being backed by CAATS (Concerned about All Tiger Sports), just like Chris Spielman was a year ago.
Tiger cheerleader Meg Arciello was named Homecoming queen prior to the game.
Don and Anita Barnes were in attendance. They came all the way from Juneau, Alaska, The Barnes’ were in town for a 35th reunion and were the guests of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Bonk. Mr. Bonk was the captain of the 1945 Tiger team that went 5‑0‑5, and he caught a touchdown pass in front of 60,000 fans in Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium that year to tie Cathedral Latin.
The Tiger Booster Club honored M.C.A. Sign Company at halftime for 48 years of service. M.C.A. has promoted enthusiasm among Tiger fans by printing and handing out lapel stripes for free.
In 1937, the late Alvin “Dutch” Wampler founded the program, and it’s been going strong ever since. Booster Club president Bob Bushaman presented Paul Stoner, vice president of M.C.A. with a plaque.
Another former Tiger is doing well on the collegiate level. Steve Walterhouse was named defensive captain of the University of Pennsylvania’s freshmen team Friday. The cornerback sparked the Quakers to a 31‑14 win over Brown in an Ivy League meeting.
First down rushing 8 8
First downs passing 9 4
First downs by penalty 1 2
Totals first downs 18 14
Yards gained rushing 172 132
Yards lost rushing 2 8
Net yards rushing 170 124
Net yards passing 143 67
Total yards gained 313 191
Passes attempted 24 24
Passes completed 12 8
Passes int. by 1 0
Times kicked off 5 2
Kickoff average 42.4 54.0
Kickoff return yards 33 74
Punts 3 3
Punting average 38.0 33.3
Punt return yards 5 12
Punts blocked by 0 0
Fumbles 3 3
Fumbles lost 1 3
Penalties 7 5
Yards penalized 55 36
Touchdowns rushing 3 1
Touchdowns passing 1 0
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Number of plays 53 59
Time of possession 20:19 27:41
MASSILLON 18 0 7 0 25
BARBERTON 0 6 0 0 6
M ‑ Derrick Newman 5 run (kick failed)
M ‑ Newman 3 run (pass failed)
M ‑ Irwin Hastings 15 pass from Mike Scott (pass failed)
B – Joe Underation 1 run (kick failed)
M – Newman 3, (Dan Kuzma kick)