Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo

Owens. Forget and move on
Moeller wins on pass with seconds left

Independent Sports Editor

The Browns were on live Sunday but the Massillon Tigers watched re­runs.

The game they watched was bet­ter than the Browns vs. the Jets, too.

It was, of course, the game film of the previous night’s 24‑23 loss to Cin­cinnati Moeller before 16,764 in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. You could give it the title: “The Ecstasy and the Agony.”

But head coach Lee Owens prefer­red another: “History.”

“We’ve officially closed the book on Cincinnati Moeller,” Owens said at 3:45 p.m., just after the team film viewing ended.

“It was a great game to coach in. It was one big chess match … there were literally adjustments made by both sides on every play.

“It was also an extremely difficult game to lose. But it’s over. It’s time to prepare for another tough challenge.”

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The Tigers, whose 3‑1 record is the same as Moeller’s, will play Friday at Austintown‑Fitch. Fitch is off to a 4‑0 start, including a dominating performance against a Mentor team that thought this might be a playoff year. The Falcons have won their only two games against the Tigers in Austintown.

In fact, the most recent loss at Fitch was quite like Saturday’s set­back to Moeller.

At Fitch in 1988, Jeff Wilkens kick­ed a 43‑yard field goal on the last play of the game to reverse a Tiger lead.

At Tiger Stadium Saturday, with the Tigers leading 23‑17 in the clos­ing seconds, Carlos Collins streaked open over the middle and caught a perfectly thrown 39‑yard touchdown pass from Moeller quarterback Neil Dougherty.

The play ended with 14 seconds left to tie the game at 23‑all. Senior Terry Knecht, who has the same thunder in his right leg as Wilkens, easily boomed the extra point through the uprights.

It was a crushing moment for Tigertown.

Prior to Moeller’s final posses­sion, which began with 2:55 left in the game and 67 yards away from the Massillon goal line, the Tigers had clearly played well enough to end their 10‑year jinx during which the Cincinnati powerhouse had won the only four games ever played be­tween the teams.

Prior to the final possession, the Tigers led 234‑198 in total offense…and looked good doing it.

Dougherty, however, led Moeller downfield and came up with a couple big plays. He converted twice on crucial fourth downs, including a fourth‑and‑10 one play before Collins’ dramatic catch.

Yet, wrenching as it was, one of the elements that makes Massillon Tigertown was exposed even as Col­lins danced back to the sidelines.

Spontaneous applause broke out among the Tiger fans.

“I thought the boys played a good game,” explained one woman who was applauding.

No question about that. This was by far the best of the Massillon‑Moeller games. It also was the first one in which the Tigers had the lead.

The Tigers took the lead by ram­ming the ball 69 yards on the first possession of the second half. They got the second‑half kickoff following a little bit of macho ‑ they had de­ferred after winning the opening coin toss, choosing to kick off to Moeller.

Knecht’s 33‑yard field goal on’ Moeller’s first possession of the second half made it 21‑17. The Tigers took a 23‑17 lead on the fourth play of the fourth quarter when Knecht, serving as Moeller’s punter, couldn’t reach a high snap that squirmed out of the end zone for a safety.

The Tigers couldn’t capitalize on good field position off the ensuing ‘fee kick, nor on similarly good field position after a Moeller punt.

Scott Karrenbauer’s fair catch of that punt gave Massillon possession on its own 29 with 6:46 left. Two play­ers who had their finest games adv­anced the ball downfield. Tight end Chris Roth caught a Barry Shertzer pass for 14 yards. Later, running back Travis McGuire twisted and churned for a 17‑yard gain for a first down on the Moeller 32.

On fourth‑and‑one from the 23, as the clock wound near 3:00, the Ti­gers decided to go for a first down.

“I thought they’d try to kick a field goal there,” Moeller coach Steve Klonne said. “If they’d have made a field goal, we’d have been dead.”

Owens said a field goal was not a realistic option, the coaches having determined from practice kicks that their range is 30 to 35 yards. The field goal would have been around 40 yards.

Instead, the give went to Falando Ashcraft, who had a touch of day­light inside but seemed to spot a big­ger opening to the outside. He bounced outside but was stopped by Moeller’s best defensive player, linebacker Jason Knecht.

Moeller proceeded to move the ball despite sacks by Massillon line­men Mark Murphy and Jermaine Hinton. Dougherty came up with the big completions when his team needed them the most. None was bigger than the fourth‑and‑10 pass to senior Jon Hess to the Massillon 39.

The play was somewhat controversial. Replays suggested Hess may have caught the sideline pass on a short hop. The spot of the ball seemed generous. Klonne seemed in agony on the sideline, apparently fearing it was over.

But when the measurement was made, Massillon coach Jim Letca­vits observed with quiet resolve on the sideline, “They got it by half the ball.”

Collins then scored on the next play, The big one had slipped away, leaving the Tigers hoping for better things in the next big one, this week.

First downs rushing 9 4
First downs passing 4 8
First downs Penalty 0 0
Total first down 13 12
Net yards rushing 156 151
Net yards passing 92 160
Total net yards 234 265
Passes attempted 15 23
Passes completed 9 12
Passes intercepted 0 1
Fumbles/lost 2‑1 1‑1
Punts 4 5
Punting average 42.0 38.0
Penalties 0 5
Yards penalized 0 40

Moeller 7 7 3 7 24
Massillon 7 7 7 2 23

MOE – Langenkamp 11 pass from Dougherty (Knecht kick)
MAS ‑ Ashcraft 1 run (John kick)
MOE ‑ Collins 4 run (Kncecht kick)
MAS ‑ McGuire 9 run (John kick)
MAS ‑ Ashcraft 1 run (John kick)
MOE ‑ FG Knecht 34
MAS ‑ Safety, Punt snapped out of end zone
MOE – Collins 39 pass from Dougher­ty (Knecht kick)

Moeller rallies
to stun Massillon

Repository sports writer

MASSILLON ‑ It was a simple play, but not an easy one to exe­cute unless you have an athlete with composure, good hands and 4.4 speed.

Unfortunately for an estimated crowd of just over 18,000 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, the Cincin­nati Moeller High School football team has just that type of athlete, senior running back Carlos Col­lins.

Collins, who last year stabbed the hearts of Massillon Washing­ton football fans with 322 yards rushing in a 41‑7 rout of the Ti­gers, did it again Saturday night. His 39‑yard TD reception with 14 seconds left in the game lifted Moeller (3‑1) to a 24‑23 victory over the Tigers.

Lined up as the inside receiver in the trips formation on fourth­and‑10, Collins blew past the out­side linebacker, streaked by the free safety and snared a perfectly thrown pass by quarterback Neil Dougherty. Terry Knecht’s PAT gave Moeller the one‑point win and raised the Crusaders’ lifetime record against the Tigers to 6‑0.

“The play is nothing fancy,” said Moeller head coach Steve Klonne. “Carlos just streaks ‑zoom! Right down the field. We knew there was nobody on the field who could stay with Carlos.

Not many high school kids can.”

Massillon defensive coordina­tor Greg Gillum said he knew the game‑winning formation was trouble, even though the Cru­saders had lined up in it earlier and not thrown to Collins.

“They’ve hit that play for big yardage in all the games they’ve played,” Gillum said. “We knew they’d be looking for Carlos. We had a guy play about five yards off to try and give them the under­neath stuff, but Carlos just blew by everyone.”

Collins, who finished with a game‑high 131 yards rushing on 23 carries, knew he was going to score as soon as he lined up.

“After about six steps, I saw the whole thing develop,” said the 6­foot‑1, 187‑pound Collins. “This was a thing of beauty, much more exciting than last year.”

The game also was a thing of beauty for the Tigers ‑ until the final drive, that is. But on that drive, which started at the Moeller 22 with 2:39 left to play, Moeller converted a third‑and‑ 10 situation at the Moeller 37, a fourth‑and‑seven at the Moeller 40 and the final fourth‑and‑10 sit­uation that crushed the Massillon faithful.

Massillon’s offense gave the Ti­gers a 21‑14 lead by taking the second‑half kickoff and going 69 yards on 14 plays. Junior Falando Ashcraft finished the drive 5:54 after it began by driving into the end zone from a yard out. Ryan John added the PAT.

Massillon’s defense then held Moeller to a 34‑yard field goal by Knecht at the 1:51 mark of the third.

Massillon punter Chris Roth had a big hand in the next score for Massillon ‑ a safety with 9:52 left in the game that gave Massillon a 23‑17 lead.

Roth boomed a 56‑yarder that backed the Crusaders up on their own 8. Four plays later, a high snap went through punter Knecht’s hands and out of the end zone.

What would have been Massil­lon’s game‑winning drive was stopped on fourth‑and‑1 at the Crusader 22. With 3:13 to go in the game and after Massillon had driven 49 yards in eight plays, Ashcraft plowed into the line, but was stopped for no gain.

Moeller out gained the Tigers in total yards, 265‑234. Moeller had one turnover, while Massillon had none.

Ashcraft led Massillon in rushing with 48 yards on 20 carries. He scored two TDs, the first coming on a 1‑yard run that tied the score at 7‑7 in the first quarter.

Massillon running back Travis McGuire, who had some big gains off the draw play, set up Ash­craft’s second TD with a 23‑yard burst to the 1. He also scored on a 9‑yard draw up the middle to knot the score at two TDs apiece with 1:17 left in the first half.

Moeller 7 7 3 7 24
Massillon 7 7 7 2 23

MO ‑ Lagenkamp 8 pass from Dougherty (Knecht kick)
MA ‑ Ashcraft 1 run (John kick)
MO – Collins 4 run (Knecht kick)
MA ‑ McGuire 9 run (John kick)
MA ‑ Ashcraft 1 run (John kick)
MO ‑ FG Knecht 34
MA ‑ Safety. Punt snap out of end zone
MO ‑ Collins 39 pass from Dougherty (Knecht kick)

Chad Buckland