Tag: <span>1982 OHSAA Playoffs</span>


1982: Massillon 14, Cincinnati Moeller 35

Tigers fall in state final 35‑14
Moeller had ‘too many horses’

Independent Sports Editor

COLUMBUS ‑ The place was the state capital, the date Nov. 27, 1982.

But for the Tiger head coach Mike Currence it might as well have been medieval Mongolia. Why? Because he must have felt like a villager seeing the rising cloud of dust marking the approach of Attila the Hun, with his only viable option left to mutter “there’s too many horses” and go down fighting as best as possible.

Saturday, Attila the Hun was Francisco Hiawatha and the rest of the Moeller Crusaders the Mongol Horde. Moeller captured the Division I state championship with a 35‑14 win, overcoming a fine first‑half effort by the Tigers, giving the Crusaders their sixth state title in the past eight years and 95th win in the last 97 games.

The Tigers’ first loss of the year made them settle for the title of “Ohio Public School Champs.” Sunday’s horrendous weather caused a postponement of the team’s “Recognition Day,” but festivities are reslated for tonight beginning at 7:30 in the school auditorium. The team, band and cheerleaders will all be honored, plus officers for next year will be introduced to the throng.

The weather for Saturday’s game was near perfect. It was a bit chilly but bright sunshine made conditions as conducive as possible for the contest, especially considering the sleet, snow and rain of Friday and Sunday.

Massillon received the opening kickoff, but on the second play from scrimmage, Tim Sampsel absorbed a hit which caused the ball to fly straight up in the air, where Moeller linebacker Shane Bullough pounced on the loose orb at the Tiger 38.

The Tigers sacked Moeller quarterback John Shaffer on the first play, but then D’Juan Francisco and brother Hiawatha took over, grinding out big chunks of yardage, particularly with end sweeps.

The first score came when D’Juan, the sophomore sibling, scored from four yards out with 7:26 remaining in the opening quarter. Rob Heintzman’s soccer‑style conversion kick was good.

The Tigers came right back to fill their thousands of fans with hope. Junior quarterback Brian DeWitz rolled out on a second‑and‑two play and found wide receiver Gary Conley open over the middle. Conley, the senior speedster, caught the ball on the dead run and ran unmolested into the end zone. Bronc Pfisterer added the conversion kick to tie the score with 3:13 left in the period.

It remained tied until the second quarter. Moeller had advanced to its own 42 on a 19‑yard pass from Shaffer to Steve Williford, then went the remaining 58 yards as Hiawatha broke up the middle and used his unbelievable speed to outrun the entire defense into the endzone. The kick was good with 8:19 left in the half.

The next time the Moe‑Men had the ball, they marched 70 yards for a score. The tally came with 4:03 left in the half as Scott Mahan took a 28‑yard pass into the endzone after evading a tackle at the point of the catch. The kick was again good for a 21‑7 lead.

But the Tigers still weren’t deflated. They used most of the remainder of the half, 15 plays to be exact, to march 80 yards for a touchdown.

There were three key plays in the drive. The first was a diving sideline catch by receiver Jim Geiser to give the Tigers’ possession on the Moeller 39 good for 18 yards. it appeared that Geiser had neither foot in bounds for the catch, but the Tigers’ weren’t about to quibble.

But it looked like the break would go for naught when Massillon was faced with a third and 16 with just 45 seconds until intermission. But DeWitz evaded a strong rush and scrambled 20 yards for a first down to the Moeller eight. On the next play, DeWitz led Geiser with a perfect pass to the right corner of the end zone, and Pfisterer’s kick made it 21‑14 at halftime.

Moeller received the second half kick and began another drive, but on a fourth‑and‑one most of the Tiger front line stacked up Hiawatha to give the Tigers the ball back on their own 35.

The Tigers started a drive of their own, but junior defensive back Byron Larkin ended the threat with an interception on the Crusader 30. This time the Crusaders used the running of fullback Dave Springmeier and the passing of Shaffer to move 70 yards for the score. The capper came on a 10‑yard run by Springmerier, followed by the kick. The play took 11 plays and ended with 3:53 left in the quarter.

The ball control antics of the Crusaders wore the Tigers down eventually. Moeller’s final score came in the fourth quarter on an 87‑yard drive in eight plays, including runs of 16 and 27 yards by brother D’Juan. The final 18‑yards came on a pass from Shaffer to Williford, followed by the kick, with 3:23 remaining on the clock, but no hope was left in the hearts of Tiger fans, who started to empty the stands and prepare for the long journey back to Tiger Town and cries of “wait till next year.”

Offensively, the Tigers’ offensive total of 282 yards compared favorably to how they performed against both Sandusky and Berea ‑ when they had the ball to work with a lot more.

But defensive was another story. Moeller racked up 479 yards of offense, including 326 on the ground and 153 more though the air on a nine‑of‑14 performance by Shaffer.

The problem was, the Francisco brothers were all they were cracked up to be, plus the others were better than feared. Hiawatha amassed 151 yards and D’Juan 123 more, while Springmeier was more than effective with 77 yards in 10 bolts. Williford was a killer on pass receiving with five glue‑handed grabs for 57 yards.

After falling behind early, the Tigers went almost exclusively to the pass in hopes of scoring quickly. The Tigers carried only 20 times for 79 yards, led by DeWitz’ 31 yards in eight carries and Chris Spielman’s 28 yards in five attempts. Passing, DeWitz hit on 13 of 31 for 200 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, while Spielman was one of two in the passing department. Spielman also had five catches for 60 yards, while Conley grabbed four for 78 yards and Geiser three for 47 yards.

First‑year coach Steve Klonne praised his senior dominated team, noting that they deserved “their day in the sun” after losing 13‑0 to McKinley in last year’s title clash while basically a junior‑oriented squad.

As for Currence, he concluded, “We played better than we did in 1980 against them down at Dayton. I just wish we could have won it all, but the great thing about sports is, there’s always next year.”
Tiger gridstick
M 0
First downs rushing 3 14
First downs passing 8 7
First downs by penalty 1 0
Totals first down 12 21
Yards gained rushing 91 362
Yards lost rushing 12 36
Net yards rushing 79 326
Net yards passing 203 153
Total yards gained 282 479
Passes attempted 33 14
Passes completed 14 9
Passes int. by 0 2
Yardage on pass int. 0 0
Times kicked off 3 6
Kickoff average 41.0 51.3
Kickoff return yards 91 10
Punts 4 3
Punting average 36.0 44.7
Punt return yards -3 20
Punts blocked by 0 0
Fumbles 5 1
Fumbles lost 1 0
Penalties 6 7
Yards penalized 30 75
Touchdowns rushing 0 3
Touchdowns passing 2 2
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Number of plays 54 64
Time of possession 20:34 27:26
Attendance 42,000 (est)

MOELLER 7 14 7 7 35
MASSILLON 7 7 0 0 14

Moe ‑ D. Francisco 3 run (Heintzman kick)
Mas ‑ Conley 58 pass from DeWitz (Pfisterer kick)
Moe ‑ H. Francisco 58 run (Heintzman kick)
Moe ‑ Mahan 29 pass from Shaffer (Heintzman kick)
Mas ‑ Geiser 8 pass from DeWitz (Pfisterer kick)
Moe ‑ Springmeier 11 run (Heintzman kick)
Moe ‑ Williford 18 pass from Shaffer (Heintzman kick)

Title hopes die hard in Columbus
Tigers, fans gave it their all
Independent Staff Writer
COLUMBUS ‑ There’s a savage splendor about the Ohio State Stadium, which boldly thrusts its massive ramparts into the heavens.

On the floor of this storied arena, American gladiators have battled with all their strength and wit for the rush of glory that comes with conquest; and for that screaming, cheering worship from the spectators.

Every schoolboy in Buckeyeland who puts on the pads dreams of playing in that landmark along the Olentangy. The best, on rare occasions, get their chance.

That’s how it was Saturday, with some 42,000 spectators there. But they were more than just spectators. They were part of the battle, so intimately attached to the struggle that they were one with the young warriors below.

The Tigers of Massillon and the Crusaders of Cincinnati Moeller were locked in battle, and the energy created in the stands was so powerful it had a life of its own. It swept down from the maelstrom of its birth to join the struggle, growing as it rolled down through row after row, wave after wave of explosive emotion.

The emotion which erupted Saturday had been building for a long time, especially for the Massillon faithful. Many things contributed: years of watching the state championship elude the Tigers, usually to turn up in Cincinnati; two previous losses to Moeller; and the final insult of watching Massillon’s arch‑rival, McKinley, knocking off Moeller first and for the state crown to boot.

When the Tigers drilled Berea in the semifinals, the fuse was lit. And the site change to Ohio Stadium seemed to add even more fuel to the Tiger’ fans’ fire.

One man, at least, didn’t like the change. We would fill Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati he said. But as big as OSU stadium is, even 30,000 fans would be “lost” in the bowels of that concrete‑and steel canyon.

But 42,000 showed up and they were far from lost. The crowd was something to behold. The size, the colors, the noise, the energy … To step back and take a hefty drink of the surroundings made you tremble with excitement.

The OSU officials were shaken, too. obviously, such a following for a high school game was not considered. Only the main gate was open for admission of those with tickets and for ticket sales. When it was undeniable that one gate couldn’t handle the crowd, others were opened.

Still, however, some fans didn’t get inside until the first period of battle was well under way. And it wasn’t because the fans were late. Not for this game. Oh no! Not for this game.

In the first half, the hopes of the Massillon fans blossomed and withered time and again. From a seven‑yard gain by the Tigers on the first play to a fumble recovered by Moeller on the second play, ecstasy and misery traded shots within the hearts of the legions from Tigertown. Moeller turned that fumble recovery into a score, but the Tigers came back and tied it with a lightning bolt strike when Brian DeWitz passed the Gary Conley.

Boom‑Boom. Two touchdowns behind, time running out in the half and 80 yards away. But they did it, pushed the ball down the length of the field for another score. The reaction of the fans was awesome. They knew the Tigers had the stuff to win.

“Hey, Moeller’s tough, but we’re still in the game. We can do it!” one man said to no one and everyone within hearing distance at halftime. His sentiments belonged to the thousands in black and orange.

Perhaps the most powerful outburst of emotion ‑ even bigger than Moeller’s final victory cheer, came early in the third quarter. The mighty Crusaders were stopped on a fourth‑and‑one Hiawatha Francisco, that cross between a tank and a gazelle, was stopped cold.

But, victory was not to belong to Massillon on this day. It turned very cold towards the end; bitterly cold, it seemed. And the temperatures made the burden of losing harder to bear; Moeller dominated the second half. There was still hope until late in the fourth quarter, until Moeller built a three touchdown lead. The outcome could not be denied after that touchdown, and the Massillon loyalists had to endure.

The disappointment was uncontrollable for many, fans and players alike. For they all had given it everything they had.

It was a day for heroes, and though Moeller left no doubt who the champion was on Saturday, every Massillon fan knew this small town had just as many heroes on the field as Mighty Mo.

And as the final minutes ticked away, many a perplexed Tiger fan had to resist the urge to sneak up behind a Moeller player and lift up his jersey. What was really under those blue‑and‑gold shirts: muscle and bone or armor plate and high‑impact plastic?

As one dismayed Tiger fan put it, “They ain’t human.”

Jeff Boerner

1982: Massillon 31, Berea 0

Berea bombed; Moeller last step

Independent Sports Editor

AKRON ‑ Was Massillon head coach Mike Currence kidding?

After Saturday’s 31‑0 thrashing of Berea, Currence commented, “We were lucky tonight. We got some big breaks.”

The only response to that comes from “The Sports Writer’s Bedside Companion of Cliches and Alliteration” ‑ a good team makes its own breaks. Perhaps in this case, a great team made them.

Berea entered the game having allowed only 36 points in 11 contests. The Tigers almost matched that in a single night; no other team had ever even scored twice on the Braves.

The Braves were allowing barely 100 yards a game defensively. On the Tigers’ second possession, they marched 99 yards Braves for the first score of the game, eating up almost eight minutes of the clock.

Berea was expected to struggle offensively; a shutout certainly concedes the point. With star running back Rod Witlow hobbled, the Braves’ running game was nonexistent. Passing wasn’t much better, as Berea quarterback Bill Davis completed only eight of 30 attempts as the Tigers’ hard‑hitting and strong rush resulted in a flurry of hurried passes and some ill‑timed drops.

A crowd of 15,250 showed up at the Akron Rubber Bowl. Conditions were less than perfect; an intermittent drizzle fell from the heavens while a steady wind made the temperature seem colder than it was.

The Tigers received the opening boot but had to punt. So did Berea, with quarterback Davis’ kick downed at the Tiger one‑yardline.

Led by the big, bad boomers known as the Massillon front line, the running combination of junior Chris Spielman and senior Jim Bushe ground out steady chunks of yardage.

It took the Tigers’ 12 plays to move the length of the field.

The only pass was a 22‑yarder from quarterback Brian DeWitz to Spielman to end the first quarter. The score came on a three‑yard linebuck by Spielman with 8:44 remaining in the half. Bronc Pfisterer added the conversion kick.

Berea was forced to punt again, and this time the Tigers moved 60 yards to score in eight plays. The capper came on a first‑and‑23 play following a holding penalty. DeWitz stepped back and unleashed a perfect strike to senior receiver Gary Conley, who enjoyed his greatest night as a Tiger. The perfectly‑executed 28‑yard scoring play ended with the Tigers leading 14‑0.

With 1:42 left in the half, Conley’s receiving and defensive backfield cohort, senior Jim Geiser, intercepted a halfback option pass and returned it deep into Berea territory at the 21.

With 13 seconds remaining in the half, DeWitz fired over the middle to Conley, who put on the best open‑field running exhibition of the year in sidestepping defenders en route to a 13‑yard touchdown. Pfisterer’s kick made it 21‑0 at halftime.

Berea received the second half kickoff, but Tiger linebacker George Ziegler got the ball right back with an interception, returning the ball to the Berea 31.

The Tigers’ advanced to the Berea six, but played it safe and relied on the steady foot of Pfisterer for a field goal. The 23-yarder made it 24-0 with 6:23 left in the third period.

The only downer of the night came on the Tigers’ next possession when DeWitz took a vicious blindside hit and fell unconscious to the ground. Serious injury was feared, but he left the field under his own power and later returned for a punt. Brad Offenbecher and Pfisterer split quarterback duties the rest of the way.

Whether the injury caused a lapse of concentration or not, the Tigers lost a quick seven on the very next play. Spielman took a pitchout and launched a wobbly‑but‑on‑target strike to a wide‑open Geiser, who lost control of the ball. It was a rare miss for Geiser, noted for his glue hands.

The Tigers’ final score came with 3:52 remaining in the game. Conley capped his sensational night with an interception and 37‑yard return for a touchdown. Pfisterer’s kick climaxed the 31‑0 barrage.

The Tigers, still perfect at 12‑0, dominated most statistical categories. Massillon led in total yardage 245‑116 and in time of possession, 28:03 to 19:57.

Individually, Spielman carried 16 times for 56 yards, while Bushe carried 11 times for 49 yards. Jeff Boerner carried twice for 18 yards in a good late showing, plus lost a big‑gainer to a penalty flag.

DeWitz finished with a stellar night, completing nine of 14 passes for 112 yards, including two TDs and no pickoffs. Conley caught four passes for 72 yards while Geiser caught three for 31 yards.

“Jubilant” would be the proper word to describe the post‑game lockerroom.

Two‑way lineman Tim Sweterlitsch summed up everybody’s feelings.

“You bet I’m excited about playing Moeller. That’s what we’ve been working all year for.”

The hard work has paid off.

Massillon romps
into state finals
By Milan Zban
Beacon Journal staff writer
It didn’t take Massillon long Saturday night at the Rubber Bowl to soil Berea High’s reputation as a defensive giant.

The Tigers scored three times in the second quarter en route to a 31‑0 victory in the semifinals of the state Division I playoffs before 15,520. The victory advances Massillon to Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. championship game against Cincinnati Moeller at Ohio Stadium.

Berea came into Saturday’s game with an unblemished 11‑0 record and a defensive yield of little more than three points per outing.

But Massillon drove the ball 99 yards on its second possession with tailback Chris Spielman going the final 3 yards for the game’s first score. Bronc Pfisterer kicked the first of three conversions to give the Tigers a 7‑0 lead.

Then wide receiver Gary Conley and quarterback Brian DeWitz took over.

DeWitz and Conley collaborated for touchdown passes of 38 and 13 yards before the half to put the Tigers on top 21‑0.

After Pfisterer booted a 23‑yard field goal in the third quarter, Conley scored again, this time intercepting a Bill Davis pass and returning it 37 yards for his third score of the night.

CONLEY, who had never scored three times in a single game before, credited DeWitz with throwing perfect passes for his two scoring receptions.

“He just laid the ball up there. All I had to do was run under it,” Conley said.

Conley did a bit of fancy shimmying on his second TD, eluding two Berea tacklers just outside the goal line before he stepped across.

Of his interception, Conley said: “I was playing the outside and he (Davis) just hung the ball out there. I got a couple of nice blocks and took it in.

“This is one heck of a team,” Conley said, “we can hurt you running or passing.”

DEWITZ, who took a solid hit by Berea tackle Ted Thompson in the second half, said he hit his head on the AstroTurf on the play and was dazed for awhile. But the game already was in Massillon’s pocket.

“I was trying to set up and got blind‑sided,” DeWitz said. “But I’ll be all right for the finals.”

DeWitz, who wears No. 13, was asked if he was superstitious.

“No, I’m not. My brother Brent wore No. 12 and I wanted the same number, but it wasn’t available, so I went one number higher.”

DeWitz’ passing numbers included 9‑for‑14 for 117 yards without an interception. He also punted three times for a 42.7 yard average.

Conley bad four receptions for 73 yards.

MASSILLON coach Mike Currence, whose Tigers are 12‑0, said the 99‑yard drive was the pivotal point in the game.

“It was a long time for their defense to be on the field,” he said. “You have to remember we got a couple of breaks on that drive. You have to have a couple of breaks to win in a game like this.”

The big break was a facemask call against the Braves after Spielman had dashed 6 yards to the Braves’ 49. DeWitz then completed a 22‑yard pass to Spielman to the Berea 25 and six plays later the Tigers had their first score.

“You have to have the big play,” Currence repeated, “and it was Conley who got it for us.

“Usually we don’t throw long because the longer the pass the lower the percentage it be completed,” he said.

“Now, we can talk about Moeller,” said Currence, who had been asked about the perennial state title contenders week in and week out.

“I don’t think anybody can hit as hard as Berea, but I think Moeller is much quicker than Berea. We’re going to have to play a super game and get some breaks.

“Right now, we’re hot. I just hope we can stay that way.”

BEREA coach Tom Madzy said he had no regrets. His team had had a fine season.

“If anything, that second touchdown (Conley’s 38‑yard reception) is what really hurt us. Our defense won us a lot of games this year, but they were on the field for an awfully long time tonight and so we came out on the short end of the score.”

Berea also was hurt by the inability of speedster Rod Whitlow to go at full speed. An ankle injury sustained several weeks ago sidelined him. He played only sparingly and finally, in the last quarter, limped off the field.

Spielman was the game’s top rusher with 61 yards in 17 attempts. Jim Bushe added 47 yards in 11 carries.

For Berea, Mike Kostyack gained 25 yards in eight tries.


MASSILLON 0 21 3 7 31
BEREA 0 0 0 0 0

MASSILLON ‑ Spielman 3 run (Pfisterer kick)
MASSILLON ‑ Conley 38 pass from DeWitz (Pfisterer kick)
MASSILLON ‑ Conley 13 pass from DeWitz (Pfisterer kick)
MASSILLON – Pfisterer 23 FG
MASSILLON – Conley 37 run with pass interception (Pfisterer kick)

Mass Berea
First Downs 16 7
Yards Rushing 126 45
Yards Passing 121 73

Tigers bomb Berea
on way to finals

Jeff Boerner

1982: Massillon 29, Sandusky 7

Massillon runs over Sandusky 29‑7
Spielman, Bushe are two tough Tigers

Repository Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ Paul Revere would have hung only one lantern in the old North Church.

“One if by land,” would have been the signal. But here Saturday night, it was two by land, as Chris Spielman and Jim Bushe romped through, over and around the Sandusky Blue Streaks, leading the Mas­sillon Tigers to a 29‑7 victory in an OHSAA Division I playoff game.

The crowd of 14,949 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium watched the two tough Tigers each run for more than 100 yards in registering the 11th Massillon win in as many games and advance to next Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. semifinals.

The OHSAA officially will make the pairings and sites known tonight, but it would appear Massillon will travel to Akron’s 38,000‑seat Rubber Bowl to meet unbeaten Berea (11‑0), a 7 – 0 winner over Men­tor Saturday night.

It was the first loss for Sandusky, which had shut down the running games of its 10 regular season foes.

The Blue Streaks, who had limited opponents to a mere 68 yards a game on the ground, found the relentless Massillon offensive line too much to handle as the Tigers roiled up 260 yards running the ball.

Spielman, the 6‑foot‑2, 206‑pound junior, ran 25 times for 127 yards and Bushe, a 6‑1, 185‑pound senior, toted 19 times for 118 yards.

“We took a physical beating in the game,” said Sandusky coach Jim Colwell. “We knew his (Massillon coach Mike Currence) game plan would be to run the ball at our smaller defense. But we couldn’t stop it.

“We had hoped to get a couple of quick scores, and make them have to play catchup, but they just ran it down our throat,” said Colwell.

Both Colwell and Currence said the blocked field goal with the game tied at 7 in the second period was the turning point of the game.

“Yes, that gave us a big lift,” said Currence. “We knew the defense had to come up with a big play somewhere. They (the Blue Streaks) had been moving the ball on us.”

Sandusky had moved the ball to the Massillon 8, and faced a fourth-and‑five situation, when Alan Antel came on to attempt the 24‑yard field goal, less to five minutes into the second period.

Massillon’s Charles Calhoun leaped high behind the defensive line and got a hand on the kick, which trickled harmlessly into the end zone.

The play fired the Tigers, who marched 80 yards in 13 plays … seven carries by Bushe and six by Spielman … to score the go‑ahead TD 46 seconds before the band show. Bushe banged it in from the 3.

Massillon dominated the second half controlling the ball for all but 5:02 of the 24 minutes of playing time. The Blue Streaks not only failed to get a first down in the second half, they had a minus‑24 yards total offense in the third and fourth periods, and in one series, lost 18 yards in three plays, culminating in a safety when Massillon’s Derrick Johnson lowered the boom on quarterback Bret Ninke in the end zone.

The latecomers weren’t even in their seats when Massillon drew first blood.

Sandusky’s Richard Twine returned the opening kickoff 13 yards to the 24, but on the first play from scrimmage, the Tiger defense separated him from the ball and linebacker George Ziegler pounced on it at the 18.

Spielman slammed for 10 and a down, then ripped off the 8 yard TD jaunt as the game was only 97 seconds old.

The Blue Streaks came right back with a mighty march, which included three straight clutch conversions two on third down and one on fourth‑and‑three.

With a first down at the Massillon 28, the Blue Streaks started what appeared to be a reverse, but halfback Dave Turner stopped, and fired a halfback pass to a wide open Randy Moore at the goal line. The conversion tied the score at 7 with 5:07 left in the first period.
Massillon-Sandusky game summary
Sandusky 7 0 0 0 7
Massillon 7 7 7 8 29

Mas ‑ Spielman 8 run (Pfisterer kick)
San ‑ Moore 28 pass from Turner (Antel kick)
Mas ‑ Bushe 3 run (Pfisterer kick)
Mas ‑ Safety Johnson tackled Ninke in end zone
Mas ‑ Spielman 1 run (kick failed)
Att ‑14,949.
Mass Sand
First downs rushing 15 5
First down passing 2 3
Total first downs 17 8
Rushes-yards 54‑260 24‑32
Passing-yards 49 69
Return yards 54 43
Passes 2‑5‑0 5‑12‑1
Punts 2‑41.5 2‑32
Fumbles‑lost 2‑0 2‑3
Penalties‑yards 2‑30 0‑0
Time of Possession 29:24 18:36
Massillon, Spielman 25‑127, Bushe 19‑118, Sampsel 4‑16.
Sandusky, Twine 10‑22, Steele 7‑26.

Massillon, DeWitz 2‑5‑0‑1‑49,
Sandusky, Ninke 4‑11‑1‑0‑41, Turner 1‑1‑0‑1‑28.
Missed field goal ‑ Sandusky, Antel 24.

Massillon turned the ball over on downs at the Sandusky 31 with 2:16 left in the opening canto, and Sandusky began its drive that ended in the blocked kick with 7:22 left in the half.

There were no penalties and no punts in the first two periods, but each team had to punt the first time they had possession in the third quarter.

Massillon’s junior quarterback Brian DeWitz came up with his first completion of the game midway in the third period, hitting a 31‑yarder to end Jim Geiser at the Sandusky 21.

Seven rushes later, five by Spielman and two by Bushe, the Tigers were in the end zone again. Spielman blasted the final yard.

Massillon continued to march, and turned the ball over on downs at the Sandusky 18, 2 1/2 minutes into the fourth period, but three plays later came the safety. Included in the minus march was a five‑yard sack by Massillon’s Sam Clark.

After the free kick, Massillon was forced to punt, but Willie Clark fumbled the return and the Tigers’ Mark Smith gobbled up the loose ball at the Massillon 41, from where the Tigers roared 59 yards in eight plays, the score coming on a 19‑yard pass from DeWitz to Gary Conley, with 1:55 left in the game.

On the first play after the kickoff, Geiser, who doubles as a weak safety in addition to his split end duties, intercepted Ninke, and Massillon ran out the clock.

Sandusky had only 101 yards in total offense, 69 of it passing on five completions in 12 attempts. DeWitz completed 2 of 5 for 49 yards.

Antel’s conversion kick made it 7‑7 with 5:07 left in the first quarter.

CURRENCE said neither he nor his team was expecting such a play. “They were running so well at the time that I don’t think anyone expected them to throw.”

The Blue Streaks threatened to go ahead by moving from their own 31 to the Massillon 8 with 7:22 left in the ball, but the Tigers forced a fourth and five situation and Colwell elected to try a field goal.

That’s when Spielman came over the top to block it and give Massillon the needed momentum.

The Tigers took over at their own 20 following Spielman’s defensive gem and with fullback (rest of article not available)

Spielman’s blocked kick
sparks Massillon victory
By Milan Zban
Beacon Journal staff writer
Chris Spielman had more numbers than the Ohio Lottery.

The Massillon tailback‑linebacker rushed for 116 yards in 23 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns Saturday night as the Tigers downed Sandusky 29‑7 in the quarterfinals of the state Division I playoffs before 14,949 at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

But Spielman’s most important statistic was his block of an attempted field goal try of 24 yards by previously unbeaten Sandusky which would have given the Blue Streaks a 10‑7 lead.

Spielman came crashing over the top of the line to get a hand on Alan Antel’s attempt from the 14‑yard line.

Massillon took over at its own 20, marched 80 yards in 13 plays for a 14‑7 advantage and never looked back.

THE WIN allowed Massillon to advance to the semifinals where they will meet Berea, a winner over Mentor in another Division I quarterfinal. The site reportedly will be the Rubber Bowl Saturday night.

Both coaches, Mike Currence of Massillon and Jim Colwell of Sandusky, called Spielman’s blocked field goal pivotal.

“Had we been able to grab the lead, Massillon would have been forced to play catch‑up and that was our only hope,” said Colwell. “Ironically, that was the first blocked kick we’ve had all season.”

Currence, who saw his Tigers jump to a 7‑0 first‑quarter lead after recovering a fumble on Sandusky’s first possession and converting it into a 7‑yard scoring sprint by Spielman, lauded his offensive unit.

After Spielman’s first touchdown, coming just three plays after linebacker George Ziegler recovered Richard Twine’s fumble, Sandusky marched 72 yards to tie the game by using a bit of razzle dazzle.

Quarterback Bret Ninke, who kept the drive alive by optioning for key yardage on a fourth and two situation, handed off to wing back David Turner on an apparent end sweep. But Turner stopped and threw a pass downfield to wide receiver Randy Moore who was wide open at the Massillon 6. He turned and stepped into the end zone for the touchdown.

Jim Bushe and Spielman each carrying 6 times for 40 yards, they broke the tie with 46 seconds left in the half as Bushe cracked into the end zone from 3 yards out. Bronc Pfisterer’s conversion kick was good and Massillon led 11‑7 at intermission.

MASSILLON padded its lead when Spielman added his second touchdown on a 1‑yard run following a drive of 50 yards.

The big play in the march was a 30‑yard pass from Brian DeWitz to Jim Geiser which carried to the Sandusky 20. The score came with 1:32 left in the third period, but more was on the way.

With 7:14 remaining in the game, Ninke was nailed in his own end zone for a safety by Massillon end Derrick Johnson.

DeWitz later passed 19 yards to Gary Conley for the Tigers’ final score with 1:55 remaining. The Tigers drove the ball 60 yards to score after Mark Smith recovered another fumble by Twine.

Bushe was the game’s lop ground gainer with 117 yards in 18 attempts. Massillon’s defense surrendered only 22 yards in 10 carries by Twine and 26 yards in 7 attempts by Tracy Steele.

Massillon advances
Tigers run over Sandusky
Beadle blocks big boost
for Tiger backs
Assistant Sports Editor
MASSILLON ‑ Ty Beadle thinks Jim Bushe and Chris Spielman are merely the two best high school running backs in Ohio.

Now, Beadle may be a tad prejudiced.

He blocks for them, you see.

Beadle did his usual good job of blocking Saturday. Spielman and Bushe did their usual good job of running.

And there was the usual result: a runaway victory for the Massillon Tigers. The victim, by a 29‑7 score – the Tigers’ seventh blowout in their last eight games ‑ was unbeaten Sandusky.

This time it was a game of more than usual importance. It is the time of the season when a loss means the end of the season. It was a quarterfinal playoff victory in the Ohio Division I playoffs.

“Blocking Sandusky,” Beadle said afterward, “was harder than usual, but not as hard as against McKinley (the team the Tigers tamed 7‑0 a week earlier to qualify for the playoff).”

Massillon, 11‑0, advances to a semifinal game against Berea, also 11‑0, next Saturday night in Akron’s Rubber Bowl.

The Tigers almost made it look easy against Sandusky (10‑1), unleashing a rushing attack that netted 118 yards in 19 carries for Bushe and 127 yards in 25 totes for Spielman.

When one runs behind Beadle, a 6‑foot‑2, 265‑pound senior tackle (not to mention an outstanding supporting cast of offensive linemen), sometimes it is easy.

Beadle’s attitude about doing the blue‑collar work for the Tiger backs: “My pleasure.”

“They’re the best backs in Ohio,” he said.

What makes Spielman effective?

“He hits somebody,” Beadle said. “He rolls ’em over.”

And Bushe?

“Speed … he dodges people. He fakes ’em out,” Beadle appraised.

Beadle gave the Massillon fans among a throng of 14,949 a scare when he limped off the field in the fourth quarter. He said there is nothing to worry about, diagnosing his ailment as “just a charlie,” of the horse variety.

Sandusky made a game of it for one half. The Blue Streaks counteracted Massillon’s beefeater ground game with some French pastry, scoring on a 28‑yard flea flicker to tie it at 7‑7 in the first quarter.

The Blue Streaks threatened to take a lead in the second quarter, using burner Richard Twine and bulldozer Tracy Steele to rush into field goal position, only to watch a 24‑yard attempt get blocked by another Massillon offensive lineman, Charles Calhoun.

The coaches cited the block as the turning point.

It may not have been. Sandusky showed no evidence all night of being able to arrest the Tiger ground patrol.

By the third quarter, after Massillon had pushed its lead to 21‑0 and stalled the Sandusky offense, the only burning issue was whether Bushe or Spielman would be the first to reach 100 yards.

Bushe, a 6‑3, 185‑pound senior, said the Tigers agreed at halftime it was time to get going.

“We knew that offensively and defensively we had to pull together and go out and beat ’em like the Tigers beat everybody,” said Bushe, who scored the second‑quarter touchdown that put Massillon ahead to stay.

Spielman, who also did a bang‑up job at linebacker, said he wouldn’t have worried had Sandusky converted the field goal for a 10-7 lead.

“If they would’ve gone ahead, it wouldn’t have been for long,” the 6‑2, 206‑pound junior said. “We made some adjustments at halftime, kept them from spreading out our defense and shut them down. And we kept running our offense.”

Sandusky came to town with two running backs, Richard Twine and Willie Clark, said to go from zero to 60 faster than a Ferrari.

A night of running into Massillon’s trucks negated their skills. Twine gained 24 yards in 10 carries, Clark minus‑two yards in two trips. Steele, a 225‑pound fullback, rushed for 26 yards in seven carries.

The Sandusky passing game was effective for a time ‑ it produced 69 yards ‑ but it, too, died in the second half.

Somebody asked Spielman if the Massillon defense took it personally when the Blue Streaks scored.

“Yeah,” he grinned. “We go for a shutout every game. We’re the Massillon Tigers. We just stayed with our defense, went out there to stick ’em.”

One of Massillon’s big sticks was a relatively small defensive end, 185‑pound senior Derrick Johnson, who played one of his best games, at one point tackling Sandusky quarterback Bret Ninke in the end zone for a fourth‑period safety.

“As the season goes on, we get more and more psyched,” Johnson said. “Our sheer desire to win pulled us through.”
TIGER TALES: Tiger quarterback Brian DeWitz had three season lows Saturday: attempts (five), completions (two) and yards (49).

“We didn’t have to pass,” Massillon coach Mike Currence said. “We wanted to keep the ball away from Sandusky, because they could get the big play at any time, And we were having a lot of success keeping it on the ground.”

Sandusky coach Jim Colwell lamented the blocked field goal.

“After that, they took over and ran the ball right down our throats, and scored. That gave them a big lift,” he said.

“I’m not sure we were back far enough on the field goal. One of our players came out after the block and said he thought the holder was only back about 5 yards instead of our normal 7.

The last thing Sandusky wanted was to fumble away its first possession. but that’s just what happened, and the Tigers turned the miscue into two Spielman runs for 18 yards and a touchdown.

“Our kids showed a lot of courage to come back with a touchdown drive,” Colwell said.

Of the flea‑flicker pass play, Colwell said, “We ran that same play last week against Fremont, and we had the guy open, but our receiver dropped the ball.”

Dave Turner, who threw the TD off a reverse, was the first‑team quarterback two years ago as a sophomore when Bret Ninke was out with a knee injury all season.

Colwell tried several lineup changes to stop Tiger runners.

“We were trying to get someone in there who wouldn’t get blown five yards down field on every play … we didn’t find anyone.

Jeff Boerner