Tag: <span>1994 OHSAA Playoffs</span>


1994: Massillon 20, Canton McKinley 27

Mistakes doom Tigers’ title run
Massillon ends with 10-2 slate

Independent Sports Editor

The one constant in the Mas­sillon Tigers’ late‑season three ­game run of excellence was missing in their 27‑20 Division I regional championship loss to the McKinley Bulldogs before a throng of 34,208 at the Akron Rubber Bowl, Saturday night.

The Tigers simply did not play mistake‑free football against their arch‑rivals the way they did in averaging 36 points in defeating St. Vincent-­St. Mary’s in Week 9, McKinley in Week 10 and Fremont Ross in the playoff opener.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley – Playoffs

Massillon’s mistakes weren’t all of the glaring variety, but the Pups ‑ who meet St. Igna­tius this Saturday at the Rubber Bowl in the Division I state semifinals ‑ seemed to always capitalize. Among the more costly errors:

The Tigers fumbled away the football at midfield on their first possession and the Bull­dogs drove 52 yards for the game’s first touchdown.

The Bulldogs’ second score came on Adrian Brown’s 71­-yard burst and included several broken or missed tackles within 10 yards of the line of scrim­mage.

McKinley’s third tally appeared to be on a blown coverage assignment in the secondary which resulted in a 47‑yard Josh McDaniels‑to-­Mark Thewes TD strike.

Massillon’s second‑to‑last drive included a key illegal pro­ceedure penalty. It ended in a punt with 7:47 to play.

The Tigers’ final ill‑fated series reached the McKinley side of the field when an illegal shift penalty, a delay of game penalty and a dropped pass doomed their comeback.

“You can’t have those kind of things, missed tackles and penalties, against a quality opponent like McKinley,” Tiger mentor Jack Ross said after­ward.

“But I wish McKinley all the best. They are a very good foot­ball team and they played a great game out there tonight. They will represent the region well.”

Massillon certainly did not self destruct in the 12th week of the season. The Tigers had the Pups holding their collective breaths until the final seconds, ticked off the scoreboard.

The Bulldogs scored first 26‑yard wingback reverse, ex­ecuted to perfection by Jaiyvon­ne Richards.

Massillon took the ensuing kickoff and drove 73 yards in just seven plays to knot the score at 7‑7. Willie Spencer Jr. was at his best on the drive, run­ning the option with a magi­cian’s sleight of hand, all the while frustrating the McKinley defense.

On the first snap of their next possession, the Bulldogs re­gained the lead. Brown got the ball on a draw play and dashed to paydirt, leaving several Ti­gers in his wake. The conver­sion kick was wide and the Pups led 13‑7.

It was the type of play, com­ing right after Massillon scored to even the game, that could’ve broken a lesser team’s spirit. But the Tigers came resolutely back, marching 80 yards in 17 plays. Spencer covered the final seven on an option keeper around his left end. Pribich’s boot gave the locals the lead 14­-13 with 6:44 until halftime.

The Bulldogs took the second half kickoff and made a state­ment, driving 65 yards in nine plays. Kinta Mitchell’s 32‑yard gallop eventually led to his one­-yard scoring burst at 7:10 of the third stanza. McKinley failed on a two‑point pass play and it was a 19‑14 game.

Spencer got the TD hat trick as the Tigers regained the lead with an 11‑play, 62‑yard drive. The senior signal caller com­pleted clutch passes to Devon Williams (18 yards), Ryan Sha­nor (10 yards), and Leon Ashcraft (5 yards), before sweeping in from the 3‑yard line for his third tally of the evening.

After a pass fell incomplete on the try for a two‑point conversion, the Tigers owned a 20‑19 lead at 1:32 of the third period.

But the Bulldogs would land the final punch on this night. It was a roundhouse right in the form of the 47‑yard McDaniels to Thewes pass play. Julius Lancaster took a pitch from McDaniels, then hit the senior QB on a throwback for the two ­point conversion that made it McKinley 27‑20 with 11:11 to play.

Massillon drove to the McKin­ley 49, where an illegal procedure penalty changed a second-­and‑five play call into second­-and‑ten. Ace Gillens sacked Spencer two plays later to force a punt.

Spencer was injured on McKinley’s ensuing series when he brought down Brown on a pitch out around left end. The Bulldogs were forced to punt one play later and the Ti­gers last chance began at their 9‑yard line.

Ashcraft asserted his cham­pionship mettle by getting Mas­sillon out of the hole on a 34‑yard first down burst behind Aric Simpson and Tim Mendenhall. The 5‑foot, 7‑inch, senior tail­back finished the night with 131 yards on 21 carries.

With senior Mark Hiegl now at the controls, Jeremy Fraelich gained 11 yards up the middle to the McKinley 46. An illegal shift penalty followed, then a delay of game one play later set up second‑and‑20 at the Massillon 44. Hiegl rolled right and hit a receiver at the McKin­ley 33, but the ball fell incom­plete.
Two plays later the Bulldog pass rush forced an incomple­tion and Massillon’s unlikely run had ended.

“That’s the problem in the playoffs,” Rose concluded, unless you go all the way, you end on a sour note.

“Unfortunately, it had to hap­pen against (McKinley). That certainly doesn’t make it any easier.”

First downs rushing 12 9
First downs passing 6 5
First downs penalty 0 0
Total first downs 18 14
Net yards rushing 253 226
Net yards passing 92 120
Total yards gained 345 346
Passes attempted 13 12
Passes completed 7 9
Passes int. 0 0
Kickoff return yards 89 41
Punts 2 2
Punting average 36.5 44.0
Punt return yards 0 0
Fumbles 1 0
Fumbles lost 1 0
Penalties 6 4
Yards penalized 41 35
Number of plays 55 38
Time of possession 27.52 20.08
Attendance 34,208

MASSILLON 7 7 6 0 20
MCKINLEY 13 0 6 8 27


MCK ‑ Richards 26 run (McDaniels kick)
M ‑ Spencer 21 run (Pribich kick)
MCK ‑ Brown 70 run (kick failed)
M ‑ Spencer 6 run (Pribich kick)
MCK ‑ Mitchell 1 run (pass failed)
M ‑ Spencer 4 run (pass failed)
MCK ‑ Thewes 46 pass from McDaniels
(McDaniels pass from Lancaster)


Ashcraft 21‑131;
Spencer 15‑96,3 TDs;
Fraelich 3‑17.
Brown 13‑139, 1 TD;
Mitchell 7‑63, 1 TD;
Richards 1‑26 1 TD.

Spencer 7‑10 92
Hiegl 0‑30.
McDaniels 9-12 120, 1 TD.

Redrick 4‑58;
Wil­liams 1‑19;
Shanor 1‑11;
Ashcraft 1‑5.
Thewes 3‑63, 1 TD;
Brown 3­-25;
Richards 2‑21;
Mitchell 1‑11.

Leon Ashcraft


1994: Massillon 35, Fremont Ross 28

Here we go again
Tigers face Pups after edging Ross

Independent Sports Editor

The Massillon Tigers didn’t exactly stop Fremont Ross star tailback Charles Woodson at Byers Field in Parma, Saturday.

In the end, however, it was the defense’s motto of “Make ‘em take another snap” that best explains how the Tigers survived Woodson’s onslaught and secured a 35‑28 first round Division I playoff victory.

The win enables Massillon to play on, with a date Saturday against the McKinley Bulldogs in the Region 2 final at the Akron Rubber Bowl. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Woodson, 6‑foot, 1‑inch, and 190 pounds of dynamite, ex­ploded for 231 yards rushing and four touchdowns. It looked as if he’d make it five TD’s after the Tigers took a seven‑point lead with just 3:02 to play in the game.

Ross drove from its 17 to the Massillon 2, but was out of time­outs with less than :10 to play. Little Giants quarterback Shane Moran rolled right and threw into a crowd, where Tigers outside linebacker Matt Robinson tipped and then inter­cepted the football to wrap up the victory.

“When they got down there close,” Robinson said after­ward, “I kept thinking to myself, ‘Make ’em take another snap. Something good will happen if we just make ’em take another snap.’”

That something good turned out to be Robinson’s game ­saving pick.

A couple of stout defensive plays by fellow senior Steve Griffith helped set up Robin­son’s drive killer. On the third snap of the Little Giants’ final possession of the 1994 season. Woodson set sail for the end zone through a seam in the defense. He would’ve made it if not for Griffith, who ran down the speedster at the Ross 23.

Three plays later, Griffith knifed through to nail Woodson for a three‑yard loss on a third­and‑3 play.

Ross still got down to the sha­dow of the Tigers goal posts, but never did get that game‑tying touchdown.

The Tigers game‑winning drive was clutch football at its best. It began at the Massillon 21 with 10:53 to play after Ross had tied the game for the third time at 28‑28 on Woodson’s 13­yard TD burst off the right side is line.

Massillon started in a hole when false start penalty set up a second‑and‑14 at the 17. But Wil­lie Spencer found Devon Wil­liams on a curl pattern to the 30 and Leon Ashcraft converted the first down on a run over left guard.

Spencer and Williams hooked up again on a rollout left and the sophomore reached the Ross 22 before he was dragged down.

The Tigers went into their ball control mode, eating up the clock by giving the ball to Ashcraft on four consecutive plays. Then, on third‑and‑six from the Ross 7, Spencer rolled right … and rolled… and rolled, waiting for a receiver to break open. Finally, junior Vaughn Mohler did just that and Spencer threw a strike for the touchdown.

Nick Pribich nailed the extra point to cap the 13‑play, 78‑yard season‑extending drive.

“That play was supposed to go to Leon, but he was co­vered,” Spencer explained. “So I looked for my secondary re­ceiver and he was covered. I thought I was going to have to run out of bounds, but then I saw Vaughn and I threw it and he caught it.”

Massillon broke on top after Mark Lightfoot recovered a Ross fumble at the Little Giants 30 on the third snap of the game.

After an option pitch to Mohler moved the ball 26 yards to the Ross 3, Spencer got in on a quarterback sneak. Pribich’s kick made it 7‑0 at the 8:35 mark of the first quarter.

Ross, capitalizing on a muf­fed pooch kick, moved 46 yards in nine plays. Woodson went in over right tackle with 4:40 to go in the first to make it 7‑6 as the PAT was wide left.

Massillon took but six plays to move 86 yards on its next pos­session. Spencer, employing a textbook play fake, found Wil­liams wide open for 51‑yard touchdown bomb. Pribich’s boot made it 14‑6 with 1:44 left in the opening stanza.

Ross matched the Tigers six-­play, 86‑yard scoring drive with one of its own. Woodson covered the final 44 yards when his ­offensive line opened a hole on the left side and he raced through to the end zone with 7:06 until halftime.

The Tigers countered with an eight‑play, 76‑yard scoring series. Ashcraft rushed for 47 of his team‑high 136 yards on the drive. Spencer cashed it in on a six‑yard bootleg around right end. He tiptoed into the end zone at the 3:46 mark of the second quarter to make it 21‑14 Tigers.

But Ross displayed its mettle by going 65 yards in eight snaps. Woodson carried on the final four plays of the scoring drive, finding the end zone on a pitch around right end from three yards out. The PAT made it 21-21 at halftime.

Massillon came out and jam­med the second half kickoff right down the Little Giants’ throats. The Tigers’ 83‑yard drive took 17 plays and used all but three minutes of the third period. Ryan Shanor’s 12‑yard leaping catch for a first down keyed the march. Ashcraft cap­ped it from a yard out to make it a 28‑21 contest.

Woodson carried the ball on all four plays of Ross’ final scor­ing drive, knotting the game at 28‑28 with 10:53 to play.

First downs rushing 13 14
First downs passing 6 1
First downs penalty 2 2
Total first downs 21 17
Net yards rushing 236 272
Net yards passing 130 36
Total yards gained 366 308
Passes attempted 11 7
Passes completed 7 4
Passes int. 0 2
Times kicked off 6 5
Kickoff average 33.5 51.6
Kickoff return yards 51 19
Punts 1 2
Punting average 27.0 26.5
Punt return yards 0 ‑3
Fumbles 1 1
Fumbles lost 1 1
Penalties 7 4
Yards penalized 41 31
3rd‑down conver 7‑11 0‑5
Average 1st‑down yds. 7.5 8.0
Number of plays 59 43
Time of possession 30:23 17:37
Attendance 13,400

FREMONT 6 15 0 7 28
MASSILLON 14 7 7 7 35


Ashcraft 28‑136, 1 TD;
Spencer 16‑66,2 TDs.
Wood­son 28‑231, 4 TDs.

Spencer 7‑11‑130,2 TDs.
Moran 4‑6‑36‑1,
Ross 0‑1‑0‑1.

Williams 3‑89, 1 TD;
Shanor 2‑23;
Ashcraft 1 ‑11;
Mohler 1‑7, 1 TD.
Woodson 1‑16,
Kusmer 1‑11,
Lather 1‑9.

Leon Ashcraft