Tag: <span>1991 OHSAA Playoffs</span>


1991: Massillon 13, Cleveland St. Ignatius 14

Ugh! Big Ig nips Tigers

Independent Sports Editor

A hungry Massillon defense spent most of Saturday night di­ving shark‑like into the bally­hooed Cleveland St. Ignatius offense.

Ignatius, however, turned the second half into a “touchdown sandwich” ‑ scoring at the start of the third quarter and end of the fourth quarter ‑ to bag a 14‑13 victory in front of 20,150 at the Rubber Bowl in the Division I high school football playoff semifinals.

Jason Woullard, who played a whopper of a game on defense, became a hero on offense with a fourth down, 42‑yard TD pass reception from quarterback Nick Mossides to break a 7‑7 tie with 4:36 left in the game.

Someone asked Massillon head coach Lee Owens if the play was ad libbed.

“We’ve practiced it 100 times,” Owens said. “It was just a play‑action fake and pass.”

The play was unusual, though, because it was Woul­lard’s first varsity reception. It was reminiscent of the recent regular‑season finale against McKinley, when star lineback­er Eric Wright’s first rushing attempt as a varsity player went for a touchdown.

After Woullard’s TD catch, Jason Brown’s extra‑point kick try hit the right crossbar and bounced away. The uprights at the Rubber Bowl, home field for the University of Akron, are the NCAA width, 5 feet. narrower than the high school width. The kick would have made it be­tween the wider uprights.

That kept the score at 13‑7.

The Tigers went for the kill on the subsequent kickoff. Brown was to attempt a pop‑up kickoff designed to travel 25 to 30 yards to an open side of the field.

“It was the same type of kick we used to gain possession right at the end of the first half,” Massillon head coach Lee Owens said.

Even if the Tigers didn’t re­cover, Owens said the maneuv­er seemed safer than allowing the threat of a kickoff return.

“We practice that kind of kick every day,” he said.

Brown, who became Massillon’s all‑time, single‑season point‑after‑touchdown record holder earlier in the game, ap­plied his foot too low on the ball, creating a very short kickoff. Ignatius took over on its own 47­-yard line, then drove 53 yards for a touchdown.

Senior running back Jack Mulloy went in from two yards out to make it 13‑13 with 1:23 left in the game. Fernando Paez boomed the P.A.T. kick into the 18th row of seats at the closed end of the Rubber Bowl. It be­came the game‑winning point.

Paez then kicked off into the end zone for a touchback that forced the Tigers to start from

their own 20. A 14‑yard Mossides‑to‑Geoff Merchant pass on first down offered hope, but the next four plays went no­‑where, returning the ball to Ignatius on downs with 51 seconds left.

Ignatius quarterback Kevin Mayer fell on the ball twice and the game was over.

“I give all the credit to our kids.” said Ignatius head coach Chuck Kyle. “They never lost faith in themselves.”

“They were up against a ,real team that had all the motivation in the world ‑ they’d dedicated the season to Paul Brown.”

“I feel the same way about this team I’ve felt all season,” Owens said. “I’m very proud of the way they conducted them­selves all year. This is a special group.”

“It’s just a shame all the work they put in had to end this way. It doesn’t seem fair. But give Ignatius credit. They’re an out­standing team.”

The Tigers led 7‑0 at halftime, thanks to a single play that was the same length as Ignatius’ de­cisive, final TD drive.

On third and seven from the Massillon 47, Tiger senior Marc Stafford beat defensive back Bill Craighead in man to man coverage, then took in a perfect­ly thrown bomb from Mossides and easily ran in for a touch­down. The 53‑yard play ended with just 39 seconds left in the first half. Brown’s kick made it 7‑0.

At halftime, Ignatius had mustered just 61 yards against a Massillon defense that put a hard pass rush on the All‑Ohio candidate, Mayer.

An interception by Dan Hackenbracht snuffed out Ignatius’ first possession. A crunching sack by Woullard and Wayne Gallion stopped the second one.

At the start of the second half, though, Ignatius set up at its own 48 after a squib kick and return. Having sputtered while using formations with four wide receivers, the Wildcats switch­ed to an option attack with just two wideouts.

“That’s just normal for us, to switch around,” Mayer said.

A 21‑yard scramble by Mayer became the key item in a nine ­play, 52‑yard touchdown drive capped by sophomore fullback Eric Haddad’s six‑yard run on second‑and‑goal. The kick by Paez was good and it was 7‑7 with 7:46 left in the third quarter.

The Tigers then drove 49 yards in seven plays, featuring a 32‑yard run by Travis McGuire, who wound up with 118 rushing yards. On second and six from the 20, Falando Ashcraft plowed for four yards but lost the football. Mike McHale recovered for Ignatius at the 16.

The Massillon defense adjusted to the option attack, forc­ing Ignatius to punt.

Again, the Tigers drove, this time from their own 45 to the Ignatius 23. Again, they lost the ball on second and six. This time, it was Mossides and McGuire unable to make the connection on a handoff. Igna­tius pounced on the loose pigs­kin at the 27.

On third down, Mayer’s deep pass was broken up by Hacken­bracht and Troy Burick, forcing another Ignatius punt. It had been raining for about five mi­nutes when the Tigers took over on their own 40‑yard line. On third and short, Mossides sneaked three yards to the Igna­tius 48. Moments later, it was fourth down on the 42, with less than half the fourth quarter re­maining.

Mossides made a play action fake, set up, and let loose a high­ arcing pass that floated over Ignatius linebacker Regan Fitz­patrick. Woullard caught the ball at the 32‑yard line and out­raced Fitzpatrick into the end zone to give the Tigers their momentary lead.

Ignatius came back with its decisive drive.

Massillon’s defense was out­standing through most of the night.

Take away the two touch­down drives and Ignatius gained just 79 yards on eight other possessions.

“We played good defense all night,” Owens said. “We couldn’t ask the defense to play much harder. The two times they scored, we gave them a short field on the kickoff, and they took advantage of it.”

Massillon wound up with a 293‑182 edge in total offense.

Ignatius, on the other hand, contained the Tigers’ powerful ground game. Massillon finished with 155 rushing yards, ­the second lowest total of the season (lowest was 134 yards against Moeller).

Mayer completed just 10 of 27 passes for 119 yards, with one interception.

“They played some of the best pass defense I’ve seen,” Mayer said. “They mix up their coverages and they come hard on the rush.”

The Ignatius ground game produced 104 forward yards, but when quarterback sacks were factored in, there were 41 yards in losses, giving the Wild­cats a net of 63 yards on the ground.

Junior Dean Lamirand rushed 12 times for 58 yards.

Mayer and Lamirand made the key plays on Ignatius’ game‑winning drive.

Mayer delivered one completion on third‑and‑six that took the ball to the Massillon 42‑yard line with 3:50 left in the game. On fourth‑and‑six, he hit Mulloy along the left sideline for a first down. Mulloy went out of bounds with 1:57 left in the game.

The Tigers were still in de­cent shape, though, until Lamirand took the ball on an op­tion pitch and bolted 22 yards up the middle to the 2. Mulloy scored on the next play.

“When we got to the 2,” said Ignatius’ 315‑pound offensive tackle, Juan Porter. “we pretty much knew there was no way we weren’t going in.”

Owens said this morning that the pain of the loss had not left him, and that he is not sure it “ever will completely.”

“I’m still dying inside,” the coach said. “The state title was right there. To come so close to the final game only to lose it at the end is difficult to take.”

Owens stressed that the final kickoff in the game was not an onside kick attempt.

He said that even though the Tigers had recovered a short kickoff earlier in the game, Ignatius had left an open por­tion of the field around the 25­yard line again, and the kick was designed to go there.

“The reason we didn’t call for a squib kick was that they have been effective at fielding and returning squibs,” Owens said.

Owens said Ignatius started the game in a different run de­fense set than had been antici­pated.

“They committed more peo­ple to the run than anybody we’d played,” he said,

The Tigers adjusted to how the Ignatius ends were blocking the Massillon tackles and the counter play opened up in the second half, Owens said.

Owens said the defensive staff had an excellent game plan.

“Everything Coach (Jack) Rose wanted to do, he was able to do,” Owens said.

Owens said Ignatius final drive was “a matter of only being able to hold down such an outstanding offensive team for so long.

First downs rushing 9 4
First downs passing 1 8
First downs by penalty 0 1
Totals first downs 14 13
Yards gained rushing 186 104
Yards lost rushing 31 41
Net yards rushing 155 63
Net yards passing 138 119
Total yards gained 293 182
Passes attempted 13 27
Passes completed 7 10
Interceptions 0 1
Times kicked off 3 3
Kickoff average 26.7 53.7
Kickoff return yards 37 24
Punts 4 6
Punting average 41.8 28.3
Punt return yards 8 21
Fumbles 2 0
Fumbles lost 2 0
Penalties 3 1
Yards penalized 25 5
Number of plays 62 57
Time of possession 26:19 21:41
Attendance 20,150

Ignatius 0 0 7 7 14
Massillon 0 7 0 6 13

M ‑ Stafford 53 pass from Mossides (Brown kick)
I ‑ Haddad 6 run (Paez kick)
M ‑ Woullard 42 pass from Mossides (kick failed)
I ‑ Mulloy 2 run (Paez kick)

Individual statistics

(Massillon) McGuire 24‑118, Ashcroft 17‑55, Wright 2‑5.
(Ignatius) Sako 1 ‑(minus)2, Lamirand 12‑56, Haddad 4‑14, Mul­loy 2‑3.

(Massillon) Mossides7‑13‑0 158.
(Ignatius) Mayer 10‑27‑1 119.

(Massillon) McGuire3‑19, Stafford 2‑63, Woullard 1‑42, Merchant 1‑14.

It was written in the skies:
Game would be electrifying

Steve Doerschuk
Independent Sports Editor

Sometimes you can see it in there eyes.

Sometimes you can see it in the skies.

Put your mind on rewind and stop the tape at Aug. 17, in Lakewood Ohio.


The Massillon Tigers, with a tradition older than the crusty, two‑story houses that frame Lakewood High Stadium, are playing a practice game of foot­ball against Cleveland St. Igna­tius, the Goliath come lately of Ohio high school football.

Wind kicks up. Heavens ex­plode. Thunder and lightning break dance in measure so vio­lent that play is stopped.

It is a late‑summer storm of foreshadowing.

The teams would meet again. They would bring the storm to the floor of a stadium dug out of the earth in Akron.

They would play one of the classic games in the history of the high school playoffs.

In the end, the outcome would pierce like lightning through the hearts of the Massillon players, coaches, fans.

Ignatius scores a touchdown and kicks the extra point to give itself a 14‑13 lead with 83 seconds left in the state semifinal conflict.

Joe Studer, a former Massillon player, a Massillon coach, a Massillon man, is bloodied but unbowed.

“We can win it! ” he yells on the sidelines. His eyes flash. He stands tall.

A cold rain is failing. There is no lightning in the sky. There is no miracle play.

The last of the thunder rolls through Massillon’s majority share of the phenomenal crowd, announced at 20,150, which if true would mean there were 15,000 empty seats in the Rubber Bowl ‑ and there surely didn’t seem to be.

The final score is 14‑13, Ignatius.

It had been a night of one team’s thunder against the other team’s lightning.

Massillon scores first on a bomb. Ignatius ties the game on a long drive. Massillon goes ahead with a fourth‑down pass that goes for a touchdown, followed by a narrowly missed extra ­point kick try. Ignatius gets the ball in a do‑or‑die and drives for 7.

If it wasn’t a classic game in terms of execution ‑ fumbles, dropped passes and missed assignments were sprinkled throughout ‑ it was a blockbuster in terms of drama and hard hitting.

“Ten, 20, 30 years from now,” Chuck Kyle, the Ignatius coach, said in his post‑game team speech, “people will talk about this game.”

Kyle underscored his thought by repeating the words.

“They will talk about this game.

For the moment, the talk will come easily in Cleveland. The words will come hard in Massillon.

This was, probably, the most painful among a handful of similar losses absorbed by the Tigers during the Lee Owens era.

There was a 43‑yard field goal by Jeff Wilkens that gave Austintown‑Fitch a victory over the Tigers in 1988. There was a last‑ditch drive capped by a last‑second touchdown pass to Carlos Collins that gave Cincinnati Moeller a win over the Tigers in 1990.

The loss to Ignatius was more painful than even the one to Moeller mainly because the Tigers have never been closer to winning a state championship than they were this year.

Sure, the Tigers made it to the state finals in 1980, but there they met a Moeller team that put away the game early.

They made it to the championship game again in 1982, but another loaded Moeller team won going away, 35‑14.

This time, the Tigers were one key play away from making it to the championship game with a loaded team of their own, against a Centerville team that is a clear underdog against, as it turns out, Ignatius.

Amid the pain, it must be remembered 1991 was the year Massillon, which went to the playoffs just four times in the first 16 years, made a habit of playing in the tournament.

It was the Tigers’ third straight playoff season.

It must also be remembered that they excelled in the 1991 tournament, winning two games by a combined 70‑27, then outgaining by a margin of 293 yards to 182 the team whose program is bucking for its third state title in‑the last four years.

Rewind your mind one more time, to the moments after Saturday night’s final gun.

The defeat stings infinitely more than cold rain on the face as the Massillon players trudge to the locker room.

The team passes through a human tunnel of people dressed in orange.

“We love you,” yells one of them, a man named Phil Glick. “Hold your heads up. We love you.”

Eric Wright

1991: Massillon 42, Toledo St. John 21

Deja vu at the Rubber Bowl: Tiger win recalls ’89 thriller

Independent Sports Editor

It is almost as if the Massillon Tigers bottled the 1989 season, popped the cork, and are watch­ing it spill over the 1991 land­scape.

“It’s scary,” Massillon head coach Lee Owens was saying after Saturday’s 42‑21 playoff victory over Toledo St. John’s, “’how much this season, at times, has reminded me of 1989.”

Coming back from a 21‑7 de­ficit to beat St. John’s was just the latest leg in the Tigers’ trip down Deja Vu Boulevard.

The game was quite similar to the 1989 playoff win over Walsh Jesuit, in which the Ti­gers trailed 24‑7 before rallying for a 42‑24 victory.

Adding to the spookiness is the fact the Walsh Jesuit and Toledo St. John’s high school buildings are exactly the same ‑ built from the same bluep­rint, the same year.

The 1989 Tigers bounced back from a fourth‑week loss to Moel­ler and won four straight games, lost to a strong Catholic ­school team to snap the losing streak, then rode into the play­offs with a win over McKinley.

The 1991 Tigers have followed ­exactly the same course.

So why should they stop now?

Just as the ’89 Tigers adv­anced to the state semifinals against Cleveland St. Ignatius in the Rubber Bowl, so will the 1991 team.

Come to think of it, Owens said, now is the time to put an end to this replay business.

”As many similarities as there have been,” Owens said, “it’s time to write another script.”

The 1989 Tigers lost to Igna­tius by the same 42‑21 score posted against Toledo St. John’s at the Rubber Bowl Saturday night.

“The only way we can approach it,” said Owens, “is to believe we have a much better shot at Ignatius this time around.”

The Tigers can hope the St. John’s game, witnessed by a crowd announced at 10,809, put foreshadowing in place of flashbacks.

The contest ended with back­up fullback Dan Seimetz bashing his way inside the 1-­yard line. The referee’s spot had the ball pushing against the goal stripe as time expired, symbolic of the momentum the Tigers established with ‘a block­buster second half.

St. John’s scored on its first play from scrimmage in the second half on a wide‑open, 46 ­yard pass play from quarter­back Dave Croci to split end Brad Vineyard. A wide‑open, two‑point conversion pass cre­ated a 21‑7 lead for the Titans, sparking memories not of 1989, but of 1990, when the Tigers were dismissed from the playoffs by Sandusky, 27‑7 at the Rubber Bowl.

However, there was still the question of St. John’s being able to contain Massillon’s running game.

Moments before Vineyard’s stunning touchdown, the Tigers had made a statement. Defying all convention, especially since they trailed by a meager 6 points at the time, they “went for it” on fourth‑and‑one from their own 29‑yard-line in the early moments of the third quarter.

“We wound up having to punt on that possession,” Massillon head coach Lee Owens said, “but we easily made the first down on the fourth‑and‑one. It was our way of saying, ‘We’re not having our way now, but we’re the better team.”

Travis McGuire was the man who ran for the first down on the fourth‑and‑one.

Falando Ashcraft would become the man who got the Tigers over the top, providing their first lead of the game with an 80‑yard touchdown run.

But it was McGuire who led the early part of the comeback,

It was McGuire who exploded for gains of 34 and 20 yards to set up a three‑yard smash by Ashcraft with 5:50 left in the third quarter, trimming St. John’s lead to 21‑7.

The Tigers’ next possession started on their own 18, but McGuire spinned and sprinted for 53 yards in two plays to quickly create a scoring threat Ashcraft smashed through the line for 18 to make a first‑and-goal at the 7.

On fourth down from the 2, Eric Wright came in as a blocking back, and McGuire dove over his block for a touchdown. The P.A.T. kick was wide right enabling St. John’s to keep a 21-20 lead with 33 seconds left in the third quarter.

A sack by “Rob” defensive end Jason Woullard set up a St. John’s punt, but the Tigers again had poor field position starting at their own 11 in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter. McGuire got the Tigers out of the hole with a nine yard gain to the 20, which led to a “free play” on which quarterback Nick Mossides tried to hit Marc Stafford deep down the right sideline. The pass sailed out of bounds, setting up a third-and‑one.

The give went to Ashcraft on, trap play.

“That was no surprise,” said Toledo St. John’s head coach Fred Beier. “The fullback trap and the tailback counter trey are their bread and butter.”

Ashcraft confirmed that St John’s read the play well however, he said his team’s offensive line also blocked it well.

“Travis turned the guy he was blocking out, and I went the opposite way,” Ashcraft said.

He broke into the clear, out­running Titan defensive back Jason Dzierwa into the right comer of the end zone for an 80 yard touchdown. The play and McGuire’s two‑point conversion run gave the Tigers a 28‑21 lead with 9:49 left in the game.

“That was the game ­winner,” Owens said. “That’s the one that put us ahead.”

The kayo punch came seconds later, on St. John’s next play from scrimmage. Gadget plays had been kind to the Titans in the first half, including a fake field goal that produced a touch­down.

This time, a gadget play ‑ a double‑pass ‑ became a killer. Croci fired a quick out to Dzier­wa, who in turn fired the ball upfield. By that time, the Tigers had switched from zone to man-­to‑man coverage, and linebacker Brandon Turley easily inter­cepted the ball.

The Tigers took “over on the Titans’ 32 with nine minutes left in the game. A 17‑yard run by Ashcraft helped set up a one-­yard flip into the end zone by McGuire with 6:04 left in the game. Brown’s kick made the score 35‑21.

It was “stick a fork in the Titans” time when cornerback Ron Roberson intercepted a Croci pass moments later. Roberson made a short return to the St. John’s 6.

Ashcraft’s two‑yard run and Brown’s kick made it 42‑21.

Sophomore Mike Danzy, who would have been the starting quarterback had Mossides been unable to play (coming off a concussion suffered in last week’s Akron Ellet game) finished out the game.

Had Seimetz gained another foot on the final play of the game, the Tigers would have scored close to 50 points in a game it had looked like they might well lose.

St, John’s got off to a good start when Vineyard found a seam in the middle of the field and returned the opening kick­off 65 yards to the Tiger 28.

“That threw us off balance a little,” Ashcraft said.

On that possession, Dan Maidlow, who kicked a game ­winning, 40‑yard field goal against Barberton the previous week, lined up for a 42‑yard attempt. The Titans set up for the field goal with three receiv­ers on the right side of the field ‑ the fake was on. Croci, an all‑district quarterback who wound up completing 13 of 20 passes for 212 yards, was the holder on the play. He straight­ened up, rolled right, and easily connected with Dzierwa on a 24­-yard TD pass. Maidlow’s kick made it 7‑0 with just 97 seconds gone in the game.

The Tigers then drove 50 yards to the Titans’ 14, where it was fourth‑and‑five, They, too, went for the fake field goal, but holder Jerry May’s run was stopped, setting up an 86‑yard St. John’s touchdown drive that featured the “trips” (three­ receiver) formation and 52 pas­sing yards by Croci.

“They were giving us some cusion with their defensive backs at that point, and we took advantage of it,” Beier said.

Running back Jon Beier, the coach’s nephew, ran seven yards for a touchdown. Maidlow’s kick was wide right and it was 13‑0. St. John’s, with just over eight minutes gone in the game.

The Tigers’ later adjustment to tight, man‑to‑man coverage and heavy blitzing worked. However, Owens contended there was another factor in the early part of the game.

“St. John’s had probably nev­er played in front of a crowd this big under this kind of pressure against a ‘name’ team like Mas­sillon,” he said. “We’ve seen it many times before. A‑team will come out against us riding a wave of adrenalin and make great play after great play. That’s what seemed to be hap­pening.

“One thing we tell our players is that a team riding that big, early, emotional wave will probably burn itself out. We tell our guys to just keep playing their game.”

The Tigers’ second and third possessions ended in punts; conversely, so did St. John’s third and fourth possessions.

Midway through the second quarter, the Tigers staged a 49­-yard scoring drive. The march started with McGuire fumbling and losing four yards, but he gained 18 yards on a screen pass on the next play. The Tigers ran the next eight plays for 35 yards, the last of them a three-­yard, third‑and‑goal touchdown run over the right side bv McGuire. Brown’s kick made it 13‑7 with 4:37 left in the first half, and that score stood up at intermission.

“We were fired up at half time,” said Tiger offensive, tackle Brandon Jackson.” We knew what we had to do.”

Certainly, the Tigers looked like they knew what they were doing throughout the second half.

First downs rushing 16 4
First downs passing 1 4
First downs by penalty 0 0
Totals first downs 17 12
Yards gained rushing 442 87
Yards lost rushing 4 28
Net yards rushing 438 59
Net yards passing 29 212
Total yards gained 467 271
Passes attempted 10 20
Passes Completed 3 13
Passes Int. by 0 2
Times kicked off 7 4
Kickoff average 43.4 44.5
Kickoff return yards 39 152
Punts 3 5
Punting average 43.3 42.6
Punt return yards 44 16
Fumbles 3 1
Fumbles lost 0 0
Penalties 4 5
Yards penalized 50 62
Number of plays 67 40
Time Of Possession 27:52 20:08
Attendance 10,809

St. John’s 13 0 8 0 21
Massillon 0 7 13 22 42

SJ ‑ Dzierwa 24 pass from Croci (Maidlow kick)
SJ ‑ Beier 7 run (kick failed)
M ‑ McGuire 3 run (Brown kick)
SJ ‑ Vineyard 46 pass from Crocl (Dzierwa pass from Grocl)
M ‑ Ashcraft 2 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ McGuire 2 run (kick failed)
M ‑ Ashcraft 80 run (McGuire run)
M ‑ McGuire 1 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ Ashcraft 2 run (Brown kick)



(Massillon) McGuire 29‑229, Ashcraft 18‑16S, May 1‑0, Wright 3‑7, Danzy 2‑24, Seimetz: 2‑6, Copeland 1‑3.
(St. John’s) Clark 7‑35, Croci 8‑20, Beier 3‑13.


(Massillon) Mossides 3‑10‑0 29.
(St. John’s) Croci 13‑19‑2 212.


(Massillon) McGuire 1‑18, Ashcraft 2‑11.
(St. John’s) Dzierwa 6‑64, Maid­l

Eric Wright

1991: Massillon 28, Akron Ellet 6

Tigers oust Orangemen

Independent Sports Editor

Late autumn. Orange‑and-­black vs. Orangemen. Two good running teams. Too cold to pass.

It was a perfect night for some smash‑pumpkin football.

And that is what the Massillon Tigers played Saturday night in carving out a 28‑6 football play­off victory over the Akron Ellet Orangemen in front of 11,000 frozen customers at Fawcett Stadium.

Massillon advanced to the Re­gion 2 (of Division 1) cham­pionship game Saturday night at 7 against Toledo St. John’s at the Akron Rubber Bowl. Ellet finished the year with a 9‑2 record.

The Tigers ripped open a 21‑0 halftime lead and had no trou­ble riding out the victory even though starting quarterback Nick Mossides spent the second half in the locker room after his head bounced off the hard turf after a hit late in the first half.

It was so clear Massillon was the better team that Ellet head coach Joe Yost didn’t bother moping.

“They’re the best we’ve seen, he said. “We didn’t play our best game, but let’s face it. They’re an outstanding team.”

Massillon, 9‑2, was mightier on both lines of scrimmage against an Ellet team billed as a big bunch of bruisers.

“They looked bigger on film than they actually were ” Massillon head coach Lee Owens said. “They did, in fact, have good size. But Walsh Jesuit, Cincinnati Moeller and Akron St. V all had bigger teams.

“They were very aggressive. The only team that’s played more physical than Ellet was probably St. V.”

The Tigers got back their one-­two running punch, with full­back Falando Ashcraft, who sat out most of a 42‑13 win over McKinley with a sprained ank­le, rushing for 102 yards.

‘G.A.’ to apply
at Rubber Bowl
All tickets for Saturday’s 7 p.m. Massillon‑Toledo St. John’s playoff game at the Akron Rubber Bowl will be general admission, Washing­ton High ticket official Josie Rollstin said Sunday.
Tickets, $5 apiece, will go on sale Tuesday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Hours that day will be 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Tiger Sta­dium.
The sale will shift to Washington High School Thursday (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and Friday (7 a.m. to noon).
There will be no special hours for season ticket hol­ders, and no limit on the num­ber of tickets one can buy.

Travis McGuire stayed on fire with a 19‑carry, 198‑yard, two‑touchdown night.

Ellet wound up with a 48‑21 lead in passing yards, but it was the smash‑pumpkin stats that mattered: Massillon led 318‑124 in rushing yards.

McGuire expanded his school‑record, single‑season rushing total to 1,612 yards (8.1 per carry). Ashcraft moved nearer second place on the Mas­sillon career rushing yards list. He has rushed for 1,106 yards this year after totals of 195 as a sophomore and 1,182 as a junior. That adds up to 2,483, just short of Bill Harmon’s second‑place total of 2,505 (1973­-75). Tops on the list is Art Hast­ings (3,090 yards, 1958‑60).
In Saturday’s game, Ashcraft exploded over the right side on a trap play for a 49‑yard touch­down run that gave the Tigers a 21‑0 lead with 7:25 left in the second quarter.

“I wasn’t 100 percent … probably in the late 80s,” Ashcraft said. “I was still a little sore. This was like a little test. I’ll definitely be back close to 100 percent next week.”

The Tigers advanced to the Region 2 championship game against Toledo St. John’s Satur­day night at the Akron Rubber Bowl. St. John’s nipped Barberton 10‑7 in another playoff opener.

Ellet, also 9‑2, gave the Tigers a dose of Jackson deja vu on the first play from scrimmage.

A year ago, Jackson scored early in a playoff game against Massillon at Fawcett on a long run by Jaiye Murdock. On Saturday, Ellet would have scored on a broken play had not one of the Orangemen been caught clipping. Ellet tailback Bobby Clark picked up a bad pitch deep in his own territory, retreated to his own goal line, and wound up running at least 150 yards to the opposite end zone. The clip was nowhere close to the streaking Clark; Yet, it brought the ball all the way back to the Ellet 26‑yard line.

Ellet punted after three plays, then the Tigers tried three passes and had to punt themselves.

Thanks to its defense, Massil­lon had the ball back on a punt in good field position moments la­ter. McGuire traveled 33 yards on a counter play for a touch­down. Jason Brown’s P.A.T. kick made it 7‑0 with 5: 27 left in the first quarter.

Ellet’s next possession ended when a pass from quarterback Ryan George hit an official and ricocheted to Massillon’s Wayne Gallion. Two plays la­ter, McGuire exploded for a 28-­yard touchdown run, but the play was called back by a hold­ing penalty. The possession en­ded with a punt.

Another Ellet possession be­came another three‑and‑out. This time, a 25‑yard punt return by Troy Burick gave the Tigers possession on the Ellet 31‑yard line. By this point, the Tigers were relying almost exclusive­ly on the run. It took eight run­ning plays to create another touchdown ‑ McGuire’s one-­yard run. Brown’s kick made it 14‑0 with 9:16 left in the second quarter.

Ellet again had to punt after three plays. This time the Ti­gers took over on their own 43. Mossides hit McGuire for a seven‑yard gain on first down. On second down, Ashcraft ex­ploded for his 49‑yard touch­down run. Brown’s kick made it 21‑0 with 7:25 left in the half.

“Falando’s touchdown was on a trap away from (the strong side of) our unbalanced line,” Owens said. “It was a great play call.”

Owens said offensive players recommended the play, which was in turn endorsed by offen­sive line coach Joe Studer.

“That touchdown was a key play,” Owens said. “Another big key was our defense stop­ping their scoring threat late in the first half. If they find a way to score, that gives them some­thing to build on in the second half.”

Ellet had driven to the Massil­lon 27 with just over a minute left in the half before a sack by Massillon’s Jason Woullard and Brandon Turley snuffed out the threat.

Sophomore Mike Danzy took over at quarterback for the Ti­gers in the second half.

Neither team mounted a scor­ing threat until early in the fourth quarter, when Danzy en­gineered an all‑running, 59-­yard touchdown drive. Gains of 21 yards by Ashcraft and 25 yards by McGuire set up an eight‑yard touchdown run by Eric Wright.

Brown’s P.A.T. kick gave the Tigers a 28‑0 lead with 8:36 left in the game.

Ellet salvaged some pride with a touchdown with 1:07 left, a two‑yard run by 6‑foot‑4, 215­pound fullback Danny Crook­ston.

The point‑after pass attempt failed, and the final score stood at 28‑6.

“We played hard and with a lot of effort,” Owens said. “We really played well on defense. We played hard on offense, but not as well. Our continuity was not that good.”

“Still, we had some nice ex­plosiveness on offense, at times. Ellet had only given up 48 points all season and we scored 21 in the first half.”

On defense, the Tigers forced Ellet to pass, and the Orange­men were ineffective. George, who likes running the ball out of an option attack, completed only three of 17 passes, with two interceptions. Eric Woods made his third interception in the last two games.

As for the Jackson deja vu factor, it fizzled quickly,

Clark, the tailback whose long touchdown run was called back by the clip, disappeared.

First downs rushing 10 8
First downs passing 0 1
First downs by penalty 1 1
Totals first downs 11 10
Yards gained rushing 326 268
Yards lost rushing 8 44
Net yards rushing 318 124
Net yards passing 21 48
Total yards gained 339 172
Passes attempted 12 17
Passes completed 5 3
Passes int. by 0 2
Times kicked off 5 2
Kickoff average 49.2 24.0
Kickoff return yards 12 80
Punts 4 7
Punting average 33.8 36.0
Punt return yards 68 6
Fumbles 2 2
Fumbles lost 2 0
Penalties 9 3
Yards penalized 87 45
Number of plays 49 56
Time of possession 20:17 27:43
Attendance 11,000

Ellet 0 0 0 6 6
Massillon 7 14 0 7 28

Eric Wright