Greatest Victories of All-Time – The 1980s

1st – 1980 – MASSILLON (8-1-1) vs. CANTON MCKINLEY (9-1) – 14-6

  • Coaches – Massillon: Mike Currence; McKinley: Terry Forbes
  • Prelude – In the annual rivalry game McKinley was completely dominant on both of the sides of the ball in besting Massillon, 16-7.  Normally, this would be the end of the season for the Tigers.  But In 1980 the playoffs were expanded such that two teams qualified from each region rather than one.  And as luck would have it, McKinley and Massillon finished first and second respectively in their region and thus would face each other again the following week.
  • Game Action vs. Canton McKinley 1980 – Playoffs

    The Game – Attendance: 19,029 at Fawcett Stadium.  This game became a masterpiece of a turnaround.  In spite of being behind again in the stats, the Tigers used three Bulldog turnovers, coupled with a tenacious defense that pressured the quarterback all night, to turn the result in their favor.  It was also their first-ever playoff win.  A 12-yard Dave Eberhart toss to Mike Reese in the third quarter finished off an 80-yard drive that sealed the win.  Rick Spielman (Southern Illinois) was inserted at inside linebacker due to an injury and he remained their throughout the rest of the playoffs.

  • Postscript – Massillon would defeat Willoughby South the following week, only to lose to Cincinnati Moeller in the state finals.  Eberhart was named 1st Team All-Ohio, while Spielman became QB1 the following year.

2nd – 1982 – MASSILLON (10-0) vs. SANDUSKY (10-0) – 29-7

  • Coaches – Massillon: Mike Currence; Sandusky: Jim Colwell
  • Prelude – Undefeated Massillon vs. undefeated Sandusky.  A perfect playoff first-round matchup for the Chris Spielman-led Tigers in their quest for a state championship.
  • The Game – Attendance: 15,597.  Massillon scored once in each quarter, while holding the Blue Streaks to a mere 101 yards of offense, and kept them off the board throughout the final three quarters.  Running backs Spielman (Ohio State / Detroit / Cleveland) and Jim Bushe (US Air Force) each topped the 100-yard mark, rushing for 113 and 117 yards, respectively, and scored three of the four touchdowns.  Gary Conley also caught a 64-yard pass from quarterback Brian Dewitz (Indiana).
  • Postscript – After defeating Berea 31-0 the following week, Massillon dropped a state finals matchup to Cincinnati Moeller in front of 31,409 fans at Ohio State Stadium.

3rd  – 1989 – MASSILLON (8-2) vs. WALSH JESUIT (8-1) – 42-24

  • Coaches – Massillon: Lee Owens; Walsh Jesuit: Jerry Rardin
  • Prelude – A first round playoff game, slated at home in order to hold the crowd, turned out to be anything but a cakewalk.
  • The Game – Attendance 12,500.  Walsh went to the air from the get-go and Massillon couldn’t keep up, falling behind 17-0 early in the second quarter and 24-6 by halftime.  The Tigers also went to the air behind quarterback Lee Hurst (Kent State), but they were plagued by fumbles and interceptions that negated potential scoring opportunities.  In fact, they punted just once during the night.  In the second half, the strategy switched to the ground game, utilizing running backs Lamonte Dixon and Ryan Sparkman (Youngstown State), and also Hurst.  The change worked and they combined to score four touchdowns, with Rameir Martin (Bowling Green) added a fifth off a Hurst pass, while holding the Warriors scoreless.  For the game, Massillon rolled up 337 yards rushing and 451 overall in a great comeback.  Dixon led all rushers with 181 yards in 10 carries.  Walsh passed for 275 yards, but was picked off three times.
  • Postscript – Massillon would defeat Akron Garfield 43-7 in the regional finals the following week before falling to Cleveland St. Ignatius in the state semifinals.  Rameir Martin was named 1st Team All-Ohio.