Greatest Victories of All-Time – The 1960s

1st – 1964 – MASSILLON (1-0) vs. NILES MCKINLEY (1-0) – 14-8

  • Coaches – Massillon: Earl Bruce; Niles: Glenn Stennett
  • Prelude – Niles was sitting on a 48-game unbeaten streak and had captured two state titles in the last three years.  For Massillon, they had squeaked by in their first game under new head coach Earl Bruce and were considered the underdog in this one.  There was also tremendous hype going into the game by various media outlets, including the Niles newspaper, which of course predicted a Red Dragon win.  In order for the Red Dragons to protect their significant home winning streak and provide sufficient tickets for all parties, the Week 2 game was moved from Niles to the Akron Rubber Bowl.
  • The Game – Attendance: 30,128.  Charter buses lined the stadium parking lot.  It was a defensive struggle throughout, as neither team was able to gain 200 yards on the night.  All of the scoring came in the second quarter.  The Red Dragons tallied first and the Tigers responded with two touchdowns: a 38-yard run by Jim Lawrence and a 16-yard pass from Steve Kanner to Rick Paige.  Massillon then held on in the second half for the win.  The final stats were fairly even, with Massillon gaining 178 yards and Niles 184.  But Niles struggled in the passing game, completing just 5 of 19 for 67 yards.  After the game Coach Bruce remarked that “it was the night I became a Tiger.”
  • Postscript –Massillon would finish the season 10-0 and be awarded the state title, while Niles finished 8-2.  Both would enjoy several years competing against each other in the All-American Conference.  Bruce would later coach Ohio State.

2nd – 1964 – MASSILLON (9-0) vs. CANTON MCKINLEY (9-0) – 20-14

  • Coaches – Massillon: Earl Bruce; McKinley; Don Nehlen
  • Prelude – Both teams entered the contest undefeated, with Massillon ranked first in the state and McKinley second.  It was the closest one could get to a state finals playoff game.
  • Dave Sheegog scores the winning touchdown in the 1964 Massillon-McKinley game.

    The Game – Attendance: 22,682, the largest ever crowd at Tiger Stadium to witness this rivalry game.  Playoff atmosphere.  The Bulldogs had opened up a 14-0 halftime lead and held that into the fourth quarter.  With Tiger quarterback Steve Kanner out with leg cramps late in the game, junior Dave Sheegog (Kent State) came in and engineered one of the greatest comebacks in Massillon history.  The first score came at the 10:11 mark of the fourth quarter when Jim Lawrence went over from the one to cap a 40-yard drive, making the score 14-6.  After regaining possession at their own 39, the Tigers again drove to the end zone, with Bob Hewitt going in from the one.  Sheegog then scored the two extra points to tie the game at 14 with 3:32 left.  The Bulldogs failed to move and Sheegog returned the punt 33 yards to the McKinley 17.  On 3rd and 7, Sheegog faked the handoff and sped toward the end zone, eluding several tacklers along the way, and just crossed the goal line with 54 seconds left for the win.  A desperation final drive by McKinley ended on the Massillon 17 when time expired.

  • Postscript – Massillon was voted state champs and was also named national runner-up.  McKinley finished second in the state.  Bruce would later coach Ohio State.  Nehlen would later coach West Virginia.  These two coaches would meet again in 1987 when OSU defeated WV, 24-3.

3rd – 1966 – MASSILLON (3-4) vs. STEUBENVILLE (8-0) – 12-0

  • Coaches – Massillon: Bob Seaman; Steubenville: Abe Bryan
  • Prelude – If there was ever a year that Steubenville was going to make its mark in the All-American Conference, this was it.  They were the No. 1 team in the state and the only opponent standing in the way was a substandard Massillon eleven, which sported a losing record.  But it was Steubenville’s only road game of the year and that proved to be fatal.
  • The Game – Attendance: 17,404.  Steubenville held Massillon to a 3-and-out on their first possession and then blocked the punt.  But that would be their only highlight of the game.  After being held on downs and missing a field goal, the Tigers took over and drove 80 yards, with Tom James (Kent State) going over for the score from the 13 yards out.  Massillon would add another TD in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run by QB Craig Maurer.  And that would be all the Tigers needed.  Defensively, Steubenville recorded just three first downs and gained 11 yard on the ground and 28 yards in the air.  But for Massillon, it was a magnificent effort for a decided underdog.
  • Postscript – Massillon lost to Canton McKinley the following week and finished the season 4-5-1, their first losing record since 1931.  Steubenville finished 9-1 and 4th place in the final state poll.  The two teams would duel again the following year, with yet another Big Red potential undefeated season gone by the wayside.  Seaman would later coach Wichita State.