Greatest Victories of All-Time – The 1970s

1st – 1970 – MASSILLON (9-0) vs. CANTON  MCKINLEY (8-0-1) – 28-0

  • Coaches – Massillon: Bob Commings; McKinley: John Brideweser
  • Prelude – Coming into this one Massillon was 9-0 and ranked first in the state.  Unbeaten and defending state champ Upper Arlington was second and McKinley was 8-0-1 and ranked third.  Surely the state title was on the line.
  • Here’s the Tigers vs. McKinley

    The Game – Attendance: 22,500.  This one was played in a driving cold rainstorm on a muddy Tiger Stadium field.  But the fireworks started early when Larry Harper (Miami of Ohio) returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown.  From that point on the Tigers never looked back.  After leading 16-0 at halftime, they put the game away in the fourth quarter with two more touchdowns.  Tailback Mike Mauger (Wisconsin / Kent State) rushed 27 times for 137 yards and scored a pair of TDs, of 4 and 3 yards.  His second score was set up by Willie Spencer (Ottawa Roughriders / Memphis Southmen of the WFL / Minnesota / New York Giants), who picked off a McKinley pass and returned it 42 yards to the four yard line.  From there Mauger ran it in with 0:18 left in the game.  Quarterback Dennis Franklin (Michigan / Detroit) only needed to throw twice, with his single completion going to Steve Luke (Ohio State / Green Bay).  He also rushed 58 yards and scored once, on a 37-yard run.  Meanwhile, the defense held the Bulldogs to just 75 yards on the ground.  As such, they were forced to air 14 times.  But it was ineffective as they only completed five passes for 40 yards. So dominate was the defense that McKinley only moved the sticks once first half.

  • Postscript – Massillon would win the state title and also be recognized as the second best team in the nation.  McKinley finished third in the state.  Commings would later coach the University of Iowa.

2nd – 1974 – MASSILLON (5-4) vs. CANTON MCKINLEY (9-0) – 20-15

  • Coaches – Massillon: Chuck Shuff; McKinley: John Brideweser
  • Prelude – Canton McKinley was unbeaten and headed for a certain bid in the playoffs, whereas Massillon was struggling through a 5-4 season.
  • Eddie Bell scores the winning touchdown in the 1974 game.

    The Game – Attendance: 21,754.  In spite of the odds being stacked against them, the Tigers would have none of that underdog talk as they opened a 14-0 halftime advantage off a 24-yard pass from Greg Wood to Mark Streeter and a Wood 2-yard run.  As expected, McKinley flexed its muscles in the second half with two touchdowns and a 25-yard Roch Hontas (Tulane) field goal to assume a 15-14 lead with just 73 seconds left.  Little time for Massillon to mount a comeback.  But they did just that.  Three down-and-out passes from Wood to Eddie Bell, less a quarterback sack, advanced the ball to the McKinley 33 with just 13 seconds left.  Somehow on the next play Wood avoided the blitz, stepped to his side and unloaded a pass to Bell, who had beaten his defender down the right sideline.  Bell caught the ball in the end zone and pandemonium ensued. For the game Wood completed 7 of 10 passes for 119 and two touchdowns.  Bell caught four passes.

  • Postscript – The loss eliminated McKinley from playoff contention (only one team from each region qualified in these early years of the tournament) and it was New Philadelphia that took their place.

3rd (tie) – 1977 – MASSILLON (7-2) vs. CANTON MCKINLEY (9-0) – 21-0

  • Coaches – Massillon: Mike Currence;  McKinley: John Brideweser
  • Prelude – In spite of just one team qualifying in each region for the playoffs, McKinley was a lock with their undefeated record and with Barberton having lost the week before.  Massillon owned two losses: a 2-point setback to Barberton and a 1-pointer to Warren Harding.  Clearly, the Bulldogs were the favorite in this one.  But nature has a funny way of changing things.  Seven inches of snow fell the morning of the game and the field was sloppy wet after being cleared.  Massillon had offered Canton their field tarp in anticipation of the storm, but they declined.
  • Game Action Massillon vs. McKinley 1977

    The Game – Attendance: 20,339 at Fawcett Stadium on a 20-degree, snowy day.  Operating within their run-and-shoot offense, the Tigers scored once in the first half and twice in the second, while being in complete control of the game throughout.  Although quarterback Brent Offenbecher (Wake Forest / Ohio State) only passed nine times, he completed seven for 162 yards and two touchdowns.  Meanwhile, the defense completely shut down the vaunted McKinley offense, holding them to just four first downs and 87 yards of total offense.  In fact, they didn’t move the sticks until halfway through the fourth quarter, since they just couldn’t run in the mud.  Vaunted tailback Rick Asbury (Penn State) was completely stymied throughout the game.  Massillon’s scores came on a 10-yard run by Offenbecher and two Offenbecher passes, a 50-yarder to Curt Strawder (Wake Forest) and a 48-yarder to Greg Carpenter.

  • Postscript – McKinley won their first round playoff game against Cleveland St. Joseph, but lost the next week in the state finals to Cincinnati Moeller, 14-3.

3rd (tie) – 1972 – MASSILLON (2-0) vs. UPPER ARLINGTON (2-0) – 14-0

  • Coaches – Massillon: Bob Commings; Upper Arlington: Paul W. “Pete” Corey
  • Prelude – In 1966 Upper Arlington traveled to Massillon and won 21-6.  A return trip the next year gained a second victory, 7-6, and a state title, the first of three consecutive crowns.  Then in 1970, The Tigers ran the table and were named champs ahead of unbeaten Upper Arlington.  That didn’t sit too well with the Golden Bears.  So it was time to get it on, this time in Columbus.
  • Tom Hannon bursts through the Upper Arlington Line. Also shown is Larry Mayles (66) and Terry Edwards (42). (Massillon Yearbook photo)

    The Game – Attendance: 11,000.  After a scoreless first half, Upper Arlington fumbled the second half kickoff and Massillon recovered at the UA 33, launching a march to the end zone.  Following a 19-yard draw play by Tommy Hannon (Michigan State / Minnesota Vikings), Terry Edwards went over from the one for the initial score.  Hannon’s PAT run made it 8-0.  Then early in the fourth, the Tigers scored again following a Brian Bach interception at the UA 25. Massillon needed just two plays for the clincher.  Again it was Edwards, tallying his second TD, this time on a 13-yard run.  It followed a 12-yard jaunt by Hannon.  The game ended with the Golden Bears on the Tigers 14 yard line.  But it didn’t matter as Massillon fans celebrated the victory throughout the long ride home.  Massillon led in total yardage, 328-130.  Hannon rushed 24 times for 212 yards.

  • Postscript – Massillon finished the season undefeated and qualified for the Ohio’s first-ever playoffs.  But they lost to Cincinnati Princeton in the state semifinals, 17-14.  Hannon was named 1st Team All-Ohio.