In last year’s regional finals, Massillon upended local rival Perry 43-13. In so doing, they ran their streak of consecutive wins against their peers, the public schools, to 31 games, a mark that is second only to the 48-game streak of Paul Brown and Elwood Kammer that spanned the 1937-42 seasons. That 31-game mark will be on the line this fall in the Tigers’ opening game when they face Pickerington Central, which boasts a significant streak of their own.
Massillon’s streak is currently the highest active one among all Division 1 and 2 schools. It’s followed by Pickerington Central (21) and Cincinnati Winton Woods (13). Others of note include Avon (11), Lakota West (10), Hudson (9) and Clayton Northmont (8).
In 2017 Massillon lost to Cincinnati Winton Woods in the state semifinals and they haven’t lost to a public school since, beginning with a 49-0 rout of Canton GlenOak in Week 2 of the following season. Included in the streak are two consecutive undefeated regular seasons and three playoff regional titles. The Tigers also outscored their opponents by an average of 45-12. But, for a Division 2 school, the competition wasn’t necessarily chopped liver. What legitimizes the run is that 21 of the 31 opponents were playoff qualifiers, including the likes of Canton McKinley, East St. Louis, Perry, Warren Harding and Wadsworth, plus two very worthy foes from Pennsylvania in Gateway and Penn-Trafford. Four wins came against Warren and three were over McKinley. But in spite of all those wins and three consecutive trips to the state finals during the streak, once again it was those pesky parochial schools that got in the way of the state title, all three times.
Pickerington Central last lost to Groveport Madison 19-14 early in the 2019 season. But it didn’t stop them from winning the rest of their games and capturing the Division 1 state title with a victory over Cincinnati Elder. Their public streak currently stands at 21 and includes wins over such teams as Hilliard Davidson, Mentor (twice), Pickerington North and Westerville Central. In 2020 they were ousted from the playoffs by Cincinnati St. Xavier.
Winton Woods’ last loss came at the end of the 2018 season at the hands of Massillon, 41-20. Their streak stands at 13. Their slate of public schools has been a little light since joining the Eastern Cincinnati Conference, but they do have a pair of wins over parochial schools Cincinnati Moeller and Cincinnati LaSalle versus four defeats. Last season’s playoff run ended at the hands of LaSalle.
Avon owns an active streak of 11 games, a stretch that began following a 35-10 loss to Massillon in 2019. That defeat also broke a previous 21-game streak that stretched back into 2018. Their season ended last year in the state semifinals with a loss to Akron Hoban.
The streaks of Lakota West, Hudson and Northmont remained alive at the end of last year, as they were each ousted from the playoffs by parochial schools. In fact, every school in this story lost in last year’s playoffs to a parochial school. Hmm.
If you were wondering about the parochials vs. the publics, the longest active streak belongs to Akron Hoban, at five in a row. But keep in mind that their schedules are dominated by teams from their peers, as they rarely play public schools in the regular season. The current streak began following a loss to Massillon in the 2018 playoffs. Last year they defeated the Tigers in the finals to keep the run alive.
What will these streaks look like following the 2021 season? One for sure will fall right away when Massillon puts its 31-game streak up against Pickerington Central’s 21: the two longest active streaks in the state. It should be a good one.
Massillon bows, Rose vows comeback Moeller sinks Tigers to 2-2; tough test at Fitch up next
By STEVE DOERSCHUK Independent Sports Editor
A trace of blood tinged the top of the “4” on Andre Collins’ Cincinnati Moeller football jersey. Collins’ team had just overcome the Massillon Tigers 24-14 in front of 16,762 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Saturday night. In the process, the big junior running back became a walking symbol of his team’s series against the Massillon Tigers.
The outcome gave Moeller four victories over the Tigers in the last four years. The blood? Well, Moeller has extracted a pint or two from Tigertown. The Crusaders lead the all-time series seven games to none. A Collins has faced the Tigers in each of the last four games. In 1989 and ’90, Moeller’s hero was Andre’s brother, Carlos. Andre has suited up the last two years.
Andre hasn’t had the same impact as his brother. But the games have had a big impact on him. “This game means a lot,” said Andre, his brother rooms with ex-Tiger Eric Wright at the University of Kentucky. “I feel sad that it’s the last game between our teams. I enjoy playing here. Massillon has the greatest fans … probably in the nation.”
In the 1970s, Moeller may well have had the greatest high school teams in the nation. That is no longer the case. But the Crusaders of the ’90s are still a playoff-style team, if not an actual qualifier, every year.
Jack Rose’s Tigers are 2-2 heading into a Friday night game at Austintown, where Massillon has lost three straight times. Rose’s response to losing is anger and resolution. “We’re going to come back,” he told a large gathering of alumni late Saturday night at AMVETS Post 6.
Earlier, in the locker room after the loss, he vowed he and his staff will “get things to where we want them,” which wasn’t where they were Saturday. Yet, Rose conceded Moeller is an excellent team, well coached, more than adequately talented, and very smart.
If there were technical aspects of the game he could fault, he could not criticize his team’s effort. “We played hard,” Rose said, emphasizing the last word. “Our kids were really playing hard.”
In terms of having a shot at Moeller in the final moments of the fourth quarter, this was the Tigers’ second-best game of the series. In the 1990 game, Moeller won on a last-second touchdown reception by Carlos Collins. In the ’91 game, the Tigers led by a point at halftime but faded down the stretch.
In Saturday’s battle, the Tigers put together a touchdown drive’ that turned a 10-point deficit into a precarious 17-14 Moeller lead with 6:19 left in the game.
Moeller clinched the win on a toss to tailback Brian Balsly, who raced 44 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown. Balsly, who finished with 126 rushing yards, hobbled off the field earlier in the half. “It was back cramps,” he said. “I just played through them when I got back in.”
Moeller was coming off a loss to Covington Catholic. “That was a shame,” said Moeller head coach Steve Klonne, still tortured by a phantom (he thought) roughing-the-kicker call set up Covington’s go-ahead touchdown. “This gets us back in the right frame of mind.” “I think this will get us going,” added Balsly. “I think we can go as far as we want to go”
The Tigers stopped Moeller in ‘the early going Saturday. Massillon had the first possession and punted, then Moeller did the same thing. The Tigers then used eight plays to cover 67 yards for a touchdown.
The big plays were a third-and-eight scramble for a first down by quarterback Mike Danzy, and a 49-yard Danzy-to-Alonzo Simpson pass play. On this series, safety Dan Hackenbracht joined Andre Stinson to form the Tiger backfield. It was Hackenbracht who scored from two yards out on third adown, following blocks by Matt Orr and Mark Miller.
Jason Brown’s kick made it 7-0 with 6:09 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers wound up with a 179-135 advantage in total offense in the first half. In the end, Moeller led 360-285.
The Crusaders began making inroads on their second possession, on a drive consisting of runs of 8, 4, 3, 7, 5, 4, 6, 3 and 7 yards. There was only one pass in the mix, an incompletion that helped allow the Tigers to stop Moeller on fourth-and-one from the 18. Linebacker Jake Reed made the penetration that led to Andre Collins getting stopped.
The Tigers had a chance to take charge midway through the second quarter. A 35-yard run by Stinson gave them a first down on the 25. The chance passed when Moeller held the Tigers right there on downs.
And, from there, Moeller created the field position that led to a tie at halftime. Moeller had perhaps its poorest passing night in the Massillon series, but the Crusaders did get a key 21-yard catch from 6-7 1/2-inch tight end Bob Brannen before having to punt deep into Massillon territory.
Following a Tiger punt, the Crusaders needed two plays to score from 54 yards out. Quarterback Dan Feichtner found his favorite target, senior flanker Brad Hronek, for a 53-yard gain to the 1. Feichtner scored on the next play, and Brian Huston’s kick made it 7-7 with two minutes left in the half.
The Tigers missed another opportunity with a fumble near the Moeller 20 in the closing seconds of the half.
“We thought we were in field goal range one play before that,” Rose said. “We were trying to take one shot at the end zone before the kick. Obviously, it didn’t work out.”
Moeller went to work at the start of the third quarter, driving 80 yards in nine plays – all runs. Feichtner again scored from a yard out. Huston’s kick made it 14-7 with 6:52 left in the third quarter.
“They were real methodical,” Rose said. “They were just taking it right at us, as we thought they would. Stopping them can be difficult. They’re big, they move well, and they execute well.”
Huston kicked a 20-yard field goal with 10:20 left in the game to make it 17-7.
The Tigers’ next possession got life on a 22-yard scramble by Danzy to the Moeller 46. A 19-yard completion to Todd Peters took the Tigers into scoring territory.
Simpson almost made a spectacular, comeback catch at the 2 on a ball ruled incomplete. But on fourth-and-five, Simpson cut from left to right, underneath the secondary, and caught a Danzy pass which he carried to the 2. “We put that play (the pass to Simpson) in for this game,” Rose said.
Stinson scored from a yard out, Brown made the kick, and it was 17-14 with 6:19 left.
Moeller answered by moving 75 yards in six plays, the last of which was Balsly’s game clinching 44-yard TD run.
Now the Tigers will try to rebound against Fitch, which improved to 3-1 Saturday with a 33-25 win over Lakewood St. Edward. Fitch was upset in its opener, 14-10 by Youngstown Chaney, but bounced back to defeat Mentor 17-0 and Erie Prep 13-0.
MOELLER 24 MASSILLON 12
MA MO First downs rushing 6 14 First downs passing 6 3 First downs by penalty 2 1 Totals first downs 14 18 Net yards rushing 157 257 Net yards passing 128 103 Total yards gained 285 360 Passes attempted 26 1 Passes completed 9 4 Passes int. by 0 0 Kickoff average 48.0 56.8 Kickoff return yards 70 50 Punts 4 3 Punting average 35.8 29.7 Punt return yards 12 14 Fumbles 2 1 Fumbles lost 1 0 Penalties 3 4 Yards penalized 35 40 Number of plays 63 57 Time of possession 22:14 25:46
Moeller 0 7 7 10 24 Massillon 7 0 0 7 14
MA – Hackenbracht 2 run (Brown kick) MO – Feichtner 1 run (Huston kick) MO – Feichtner 1 run (Huston kick) MO – FG Huston 20 MA – Stinson 1 run (Brown kick) MO – Balsly 44 run (Huston kick)
Tigers Will Play First Night Game With Conneaut, Friday HIGH SCHOOL SQUAD TO MAKE THIRD BID FOR FIRST VICTORY
By KEN HARTWICK
FOOTBALL fans of Massillon and various other sections of Stark and maybe a few surrounding counties will see their first night game here Friday evening, when the Tigers of Washington high school make their third bid for victory with Conneaut high school gridders furnishing the opposition.
Unless all pass jurisdictions do not mean a thing, the game should attract one of the biggest crowds in the history of the local athletic field. More local fans will travel to the field than ever before if for no other reason than just to see how a football game looks when it is played under the stars. Football enthusiasts from other sections of the country will come here for the same reason and, if they choose to cheer either of the two teams, it is almost certain that they will pick the local squad.
Out for the First Triumph Under those conditions the only thing which will be needed to make the evening a great success is for the Tigers to crash through for a victory – their first of the season.
Predicting a victory for the Tigers under the present circumstances which include a complete lack of knowledge of what kind of a team Conneaut has would be rather foolish. Before making predictions it is always best to know just what kind of opposition a team is going to have and that is something which is not known here except for the fact that Conneaut started off its season week-end before last with a 6-0 defeat by Cleveland Marshall.
Tigers Hard at Work It can be safely said that regardless of how tough the visitors are they are going to have to work plenty hard to throw the Tigers for their third straight loss. Losing three games in a row isn’t a thing which is relished by any athletic team of the local high school or in fact, any school, and the football playing Tigers are going to do their best to prevent such a thing which would just about ruin all their hopes for any kind of season.
That it will be a different team than the one which took a 6-0 defeat from Akron East more than a week ago which will face Conneaut is certain. Of course the players will be the same but, if what the Tigers have shown in practice since that time and in the Lorain game Saturday is any indication, their playing will be better.
The Tigers, those who saw the Lorain game claim, were just about as good again Saturday as they were against East more than a week ago. That backfield hesitation which just about squashed all chances for victory against the Akron squad was conspicuous by its absence when the orange and black gridders went up against Lorain, it is said. The line was stronger and the other play was better also, the spectators reported. If that is the case the Tigers should get going in earnest Friday evening.
One Change Planned With probably only one change it is possible that the Tiger lineup will be the same as it was against East, the change being one made in the Lorain game – Getz playing left end instead of Worthington. Worthington has been a sick boy for several days and, although he was out for school yesterday, it is possible that he will not be able to play Friday. Getz, who was one of the Tigers backfield men last year, played a nice game at the end position.
Johnny Kester, classy punter probably will start at quarterback. Singer, half, started in that position at Lorain and looked fair during the half he was in. Kester went in the second half and played a much better game than he did against East, calling the signals like he used to last year.
Night Practice Just how playing under lights will affect the Tigers is uncertain. In scrimmages they held two consecutive nights against two other local squads the boys played real good ball.
TIGERS PLAY NEAT FOOTBALL IMPROVED BACKFIELD LEADS WAY TO FIRST VICTORY OF SEASON
By KEN HARTWICK
NEW page in the football history of Massillon was written at Massillon field, Friday evening, and as it was made the orange and black clad Tigers of the school marked up their first victory of the season in an impressive manner, defeating a tough lot of gridders from Conneaut high by a 26-0 score.
To the persons who in years to come will read of this bit of football history the principal point of interest will be the fact that the game was the first night affair played in this city. To the fans who attended the game the largest item was the Tigers’ imposing victory. Maybe it was because they wanted to make a good showing in their first night game – or maybe it was because they have settled down to the important business of winning football games. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that the same team which played more or less like a sandlot squad two weeks ago snapped out of it last night to pull off a series of neat plays which completely overcame the Conneaut gridders, seven of whom are veterans of last season.
Breaks Aid Local Gridders Taking advantage of the breaks given them and manufacturing a few for themselves the Tigers marked up four touchdowns, the first coming not more than three or four minutes after the game started and the last being chalked up near the middle of the final quarter.
To a backfield including three veterans of the 1929 squad and one recruit starting his first game for his new alma mater belongs the lion’s share of the glory. It was that backfield which gave the local school its first 1930 victory. The line unfortunately, did not show up as well as the backfield although it did look considerably better than it did in the first game two weeks ago.
Fumbles Hurt Conneaut it must be admitted certainly got its share of the tough breaks. These breaks started on the very first play when Jerry Mosher, fullback and captain of the squad, fumbled as he was returning the first kick. The most disastrous of the others was a fumble early in the second half which completely broke up a determined rally which had netted 40 yards on three plays.
It looked like the Tigers were going to score earlier than they did when Worthington recovered Mosher’s fumble on Conneaut’s 38-yard line on the first play. Three tries at the line, however, didn’t give the Tigers the necessary yardage and Kester punted, the ball being downed on Conneaut’s six-yard marker. Lyons immediately returned the punt, Kester taking it on the center stripe and carrying it to his opponent’s 25-yard line.
Clendening went through a nice hole made for him for eight yards and Conneaut took a five yard penalty for off-sides to put the ball on Conneaut’s 12-yard line. Foster went through for two yards. Clendening made one and Foster made five more, putting the ball four yards away from the goal and only two from a first down.
First Score of Season In the next play Kester took the ball and handed it to Clendening who circled left end and scored Massillon’s first touchdown of the game and season. Clendening’s kick was good and the score was: Massillon, 7; Conneaut, 0.
Conneaut started a determined march up the field on the next play, Lyons, clever halfback, returning the ball from Conneaut’s 30-yard stripe to Massillon’s 40-yard line in two successive smashes at the line. A disastrous fumble on the next play by Grice was recovered by Getz and the brief spurt was at an end.
For a few minutes after that the action was near midfield, the big features being a clever right end run by Foster which netted 15 yards and Worthington’s crashing through to throw the Conneaut runners for nice losses.
However, only a few minutes elapsed after the start of the second session before Massillon scored again. The successful try for the touchdown started when Foster returned a Conneaut punt to his own 33-yard line. Three successive line drives by Clendening brought a first down, the ball being on Conneaut’s 21-yard stripe. Clendening circled right end for five yards, putting the pigskin 16 yards from the goal line.
The Massillon line pulled what was probably its best bit of football in the game on the next play when it made a hole big enough for a locomotive to go through to permit Kester to go over for the touchdown. The kick was blocked and the score was: Massillon, 13; Conneaut, 0.
Pass Intercepted Another Conneaut fumble gave the Tigers the ball on their opponent’s 41-yard stripe but an attempt for a third touchdown was spoiled when Mosher took Clendening’s pass and was downed on his own 35-yard line. Conneaut started a passing attack as the half neared its end but only one of them was good, it netting seven yards. The half ended with Massillon maintaining its 13-0 lead.
The Conneaut coach must have done something to his players between halves because they certainly came back for a few minutes. Jerry Mosher probably the best man on the team, started to carry the ball and on three successive tries made 40 yards, lugging the leather from his own 25-yard line to Massillon’s 35-yard stripe. His first play brought 17 yards and a first down, the second 14 yards and another first down and the third only a foot less than the required yardage for another first down.
Conneaut’s hard luck appeared on the next play when Mosher fumbled and a Massillon man recovered on the Tiger’s 26-yard line. That break seemed to take the heart out of the visitors because when they got the ball again they didn’t do a thing, losing four yards on two tries.
Williams Scores A poor punt which sent the ball only 25 yards to Conneaut’s 45-yard line put the Tigers in place for their third touchdown. On the first play Kester ran back a little, sighted his man and passed to Clendening for a 20-yard gain. On three successive smashes at the line Williams got 13 yards and another first down. Williams again carried for two yards as the quarter ended.
With but 10 yards separating them from the goal the Tigers played determined ball to get the touchdown. Clendening crashed the line for four yards and Williams put the ball only six inches the wrong side of a first down. Williams went through for first down, placing the ball less than a foot from the goal. On the deciding play the Massillon line crashed over the Conneaut players and Williams piled on top of them over the line for six points. The kick was no good, the score being: Massillon, 19; Conneaut, 0.
Only a few minutes of play remained but it was long enough for another score. Massillon took a Conneaut punt on the opponent’s 47-yard line. A five-yard gain by Williams and a 15-yard penalty for Conneaut because of rough playing put the ball on Conneaut’s 25-yard line.
Kester went around right end for two yards. Williams made six through and Clendening lost two before the goal gaining play came. A successful pass from Kester to Worthington back of the goal brought the marker. Williams went through Conneaut’s line for the extra points.
From then on the game was not so interesting, Conneaut’s last minute try for a touchdown against a team made up of substitutes which was ruined on two successive penalties for the visitors, furnishing the only thrill of the last few moments. Fighting still as the last minute was being ticked off a Conneaut man recovered a Massillon fumble and started down what looked like a clear field but was downed by a Tiger substitute as the gun went off.
Backfield Shines Picking out a star from those backfield men is difficult. All of them played well, Kester punting his best of the season, Clendening making nice gains on end runs, Williams crashing the line for first downs when they were needed, and Foster playing a very nice game in every respect. The backfield looked more like the one of last season than at any other time this year.
The line was better than usual but showed that there is still room for improvement. Worthington was probably the outstanding player of the line. He made several nice tackles.
Jerry Mosher and Lyons, fullback and half, were the outstanding stars of the visiting team. Mosher only got going on one or two occasions but when he did there wasn’t any stopping him. Lyons played a fast game, circling end a number of times for nice gains.
The first downs of the game were even, both teams getting eight. Massillon’s came when they did the most good while Conneaut got practically all of theirs in territory where they didn’t do much good.
Night football, without a doubt, was given the approval of all fans who attended the game. The bright lights made the field as light as day, the complete absence of shadows even making the game somewhat easier to follow than a regular day affair.
The Tigers added to the brightness of the occasion with their new uniforms with orange jerseys trimmed with black and carrying white numbers. The game took on a festive air as the drum corps of Massillon Post N. 221, American Legion paraded before the game and during the half, putting on some of its prize-winning drills during the recess period.
The crowd was disappointing to say the least. About 1,500 persons, very few if any more than the number present at the Akron East game two weeks ago, were present.
The summary: Massillon Pos. Conneaut Getz LE Watson Willison LT D. Mosher Mudd LG Malaney Schott C Dickey Worthington RG Johnstrone Price RT Maney Hess RE Hissimaki Kester QB Higgins Foster LH Grice Clendening RH Lyons Williams FB J. Mosher
Score by periods: Massillon 7 6 0 13 26
Substitutions: Conneaut – Burr for Watson; Brady for D. Mosher; Ritari for Burr; Cobuzzi for J. Mosher; J. Mosher for Cobuzzi; D. Mosher for Brady. Massillon – Suttle for Getz; Hoyman for Schott; Singer for Foster; Snodgrass for Mudd; Porter for Kester; Getz for Suttle; Hoyman for Schott; Roderick for Getz; Schott for Hoyman; Snodgrass for Roderick.