Tag: <span>Chad Buckland</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1990: Massillon 7, Sandusky 27

Soph sees Tigers

Promising start erodes Into 27-7 Sandusky win

Independent Sports Editor

AKRON – Lofton is a familiar name to football fans.

James Lofton is a famous fast receiver whose game is finesse.

Tron Lofton is an infamous (as to Massillon Tiger fans are concerned) running back whose game was power Saturday night when he led Sandusky to a 27-7 victory in the Region 2 championship game in front of 11,729 fans at the Rubber Bowl.

Lofton put on the greatest display by a sophomore running back opposing the Tigers since Charles Gladman rushed 199 yards in an Akron Garfield loss at Massillon in 1981.

Playing a ton bigger than his listed dimensions (5-8, 170 lbs), Lofton broke dozens of tackles during a first half in which he ran 13 times for 95 yards.

The Tiger defense adjusted at halftime and held Lofton to just 13 more yards in eight carries. Since the Massillon offense wasn’t clicking, however, the damage was done.

Lofton’s running powered a 57-yard Sandusky drive that tied the game at 7-all early in the second quarter. His 55-yard explosion up the left sideline set up a score with 1:55 left in the half that gave the Blue Streaks a 14-7 advantage.

Both of the drives ended on one yard touchdown blasts by Lotton, who pinballed into the end zone each time and came away standing up.

Afterward, Sandusky head coach Larry Cook said he hadn’t been hiding Lofton (just 349-yards in the first 11 games). It was just a matter of nursing along a sophomore, who by now is ready for prime time.

Cook keeps it simple for Lofton, who uses 5-7, 212-pound senior fullback (and all district nose guard) Shon Grant like a body guard. All Lofton has to do is follow No. 31 (Grant) and let his talent take over.

“To tell you the truth,” Cook said, “everything we do is fairly simple. We aren’t fancy. We work very hard on performing the limited number of things we do extremely well.”

Lofton was riding the bench early when it seemed the Tigers were headed for something like the 20-7 victory they scored over Sandusky in 1982 at Massillon – that was the only other time the teams ever met.

The Tigers roared to a perfect start. Captain Brent Back literally flew through the pre game hoop, belly-flopping onto the Rubber Bowl carpet, then senior Gary Young returned the opening kick 36 yards to the Tiger 44.

A five yard blast off tackle by Falando Ashcraft, a five-yard encroachment penalty on Sandusky, and a four-yard plow by Ashcraft made it second and six on the Blue Streaks’ 42. Junior Travis McGuire got a hole on a counter danced toward the right sideline, and was gone on a 42-yard touchdown run. Ryan John’s P.A.T. kick made it 7-0 with just 100 seconds gone in the game.

Joe Matthews and Grant were the running back in Sandusky’s first offensive set.

“That’s the way we’ve been working it,” Cook said. “Tron (Lofton) doesn’t come in until the second series.”

All district quarterback Mike Franklin directed Sandusky to the Massillon 42, where it was fourth-and-one. Cook elected to punt. The Tigers took over on their 18 and proceeded to look unstoppable for another few minutes. Ashcraft sandwiched gains of 13 and 12 yards around a six-yard McGuire run. A clipping penalty two plays later on an end around killed the promising drive.

The Tigers were still in control as their defense stuffed the Streaks and forced a punt on fourth-and-12. The Tigers’ next possession, though, was a portent of things two come – two incompletions and a punt.

That’s when Lofton reared his head. On the ensuing series he made gains of 3, 6, 6, 6 and 3 yards, opening up avenues elsewhere (passes and scrambles by Franklin) and setting up the first Sandusky touchdown with 7:39 left in the half.

Young nearly turned the game upside down on the ensuing kickoff. The 5-foot-8, 160-pound senior, well known for his fearless, headlong style, burst up the middle, made a spectacular leap over a body, and brought the kick 68 yards to the 17. McGuire made 12 yards on the next two plays for a first and goal at the 5.

An incomplete pass on third down, a dead-ball personal foul, and a delay of game penalty ruined the scoring opportunity and gave Sandusky the ball on downs at the 25. The Streaks’ first play was Lofton’s 55-yard run, Lofton scored seven plays later.

Again the kick return gave the Tigers a chance to rip the momentum from Sandusky. This time 5-8, 155-pound junior Shawn Shell shot torpedo-like up the middle and was stopped only when he became entangled with a teammate at the end of a 58-yard return to the 32.

The Tigers couldn’t make a first down, and the Blue Streaks punctuated their first-half lead with a 14-yard run by Lofton.

Sandusky inflicted a mortal blow by scoring on the opening series of the second half. The focus went from Lofton to Franklin, the quarterback.

Lofton went to a passing game that had the look of the run-and-shoot attack in place for Massillon when the Tigers played Sandusky in 1982. He didn’t finish with big yardage (91), but the timing of his 10 completions (in 16 attempts) sustained drives, including this one.

After a sequence that included scrambles of 12 and 14 yards by Lofton, Tiger head coach Lee Owens summoned his troops to the sideline during a timeout. On the next play, Franklin hit Andrew Johnson for six yards, but on the next play the Tigers won on a gamble in which Jason Woullard showed blitz early then showed Grant the ground on what could have been a key five-yard loss to the 14. It was third-and–nine. Franklin’s subsequent 13-yard completion to Johnson was one of the key plays in the game.

It set up another one-yard touchdown plunge by Lofton. Sandusky let 21-7 with 6:52 left in the third quarter.

The Tigers fought back. They started on their own 40 and the offensive line showed some real spunk in leading a six play, all running drive to the Sandusky 21 where it was first down. Ashcraft, who wound up with 78 yards in 13 carries, gained 33 yards during the sequence.

Sandusky produced another key play, though, stopping McGuire for a five-yard loss on another counter. McGuire limped off the field on a sore ankle, and the next three plays produced incomplete passes and gave the ball back to Sandusky.

Still trailing 21-7, the Tigers were back in Sandusky territory at the 32 late in the third quarter, this time with Troy Burick in at quarterback in relief of Barry Shertzer. Again the Tigers ran out of downs.

Jamie Lazzara’s interception of a Burick pass with eight minutes left set up a Sandusky touchdown with 5:19 left that ended the Tigers’ hopes of a comeback.

First downs rushing 6 12
First downs passing 0 6
First downs by penalty 6 12
Totals first downs 12 18
Yards gained rushing 169 256
Yards lost rushing 16 18
Net yards rushing 153 248
Net yards passing 20 91
Passes attempted 16 16
Passes completed 2 10
Passes int. by 0 2
Times kicked off 2 5
Kickoff average 50 45.2
Kickoff return yards 193 44
Punts 2 4
Punting average 28.0 29.5­
Punt return yards ‑7 0
Fumbles 2 0
Fumbles lost 1 0
Penalties 7 6
Yards penalized 84 65
Number of plays 45 62
Time of possession 18:22 29:38

SANDUSKY 0 14 7 6 27
MASSILLON 7 0 0 0 7

M – McGuire 42 run (John kick)
S – Lofton 1 run (Miller kick)
S – Lofton 1 run (Miller kick)
S – Lofton 1 run (Miller kick)
S – Lazzara 11pass from Franklin (kick failerd)


(S) – Lofton 21-108, Franklin 9-68, Grant 9‑53
(M) – Ashcraft 13‑78, McGuire 10-70.

(S) – Franklin 10-16-0 91,
(M) – Shertzer 1-10-1 6, Burick 1-6-1 14.

(S) – Johnson 4-32, Lofton 3-26
(M) – McGuire 1-6, Brown 1-14

Chad Buckland
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1990: Massillon 21, Massillon Jackson 15

Tigers nip Bears in night at the races

Owens says key play ‘clearly’ a fumble; Schuetz modifies view to ‘inconclusive’

Independent Sports Editor

The big game was decided by the big race.

And, the big question: was if really a fumble?

Jaiye Murdock sped to victory in the first race. He served early notice the Jackson Polar Bears can run with the big dogs.

Jeff Perry won the last race. It was the one that provided the Massillon Tigers with a scream‑til‑the-­gun 21‑15 victory in the Division I high school football playoffs Saturday night at Fawcett Stadium.

Murdock and Perry were two of Stark County’s brightest track stars last spring.

Murdock was among Ohio’s top freshman sprinters. In Jackson’s final 1990 dual meet, against North Canton, he won the 100‑, 200‑ a 400‑meter dashes.

Football scouting reports said Murdock, now a 5‑foot-6, 150‑pound sophomore, was Jackson’s only burner, but might not be ready to prowl under pressure.

The report was half right. Less than 2 1/2 minutes into the game, Murdock lined up wide left, took an inside reverse handoff, and flew through a gaping hole that led to the right sideline. All‑county cornerback Chad Buck­land, Massillon’s fastest defensive player, put up a good chase but Jaiye (pronounced “hi”) turned on the jets and said goodbye. His 53‑yard run and Brian Parkison’s P.A.T. kick made it 7‑0 and left the crowd of 18,124 agog.

Parkison was victimized by a late (and penalized) hit that shook him up. He kept kicking but held an ice pack to the back of his head when not on the field.

The ice was long melted w it was Perry’s turn.

By early this May, Perry had emerged as western Stark County’s top‑ranked runner in the 110‑meter high hurdles. His football position was to be a shot‑put kind of job ‑ defensive end.

Perry has wound up playing outside linebacker. He lined up at the position early in the fourth quarter. Jackson led 15‑13 and was driving, Stark‑County MVP Jeff Morris dropped back to pass.

Massillon senior Mark Murphy, playing the end spot formerly manned by Perry, was unblocked.

“It was one of the few times they messed up,” Mur­phy said.. “They played tight. It was a helluva game. But on that play it opened up and I shot through.”

Murphy made a clean sack of Morris. Either the collision (the officials’ interpretation) or Morris’ impact when he fell (the Jackson camp’s opinion) separated the quarterback from the ball.

“I saw him (Murphy) cause the fumble and I saw the ball pop loose,” Perry said. “I grabbed the ball.”

But he stopped.

Murphy ran toward the north grandstand, packed with Massillon fans. He leaped and pumped his fists.

“I figured the play was dead,” Perry said. “Every­body stopped.”

Somebody in the press box screamed: “Was there are whistle?! ?” Apparently not. Perry caught himself and began running. Jackson’s Milan Herceg, who like everyone else had relaxed, recovered and got his hands on Perry. But the Massillon captain escaped and steamed toward a huge opening on the left sideline. All‑county running back Dan Craven gave chase but Perry expanded a 3‑yard cushion to 5 yards as he headed for I-77 and the east end zone.

It took a while for the fact to sink in among the fans, but the officials’ outstretched arms made it final: touchdown.

Falando Ashcraft’s two‑point conversion run over the right side made it 21‑15, Massillon, with 11: 43 left in the game.

The sequence will live in infamy at Jackson.

Jackson head coach Elmer Schuetz’s home was flooded with calls Sunday from fans who thought it was a bad call. Many asked the same question: What can we do about it?

They already knew the answer: nothing.

Massillon head coach Lee Owens said he had a clear lock at the play and judged it to be a true fumble. He said game films confirmed it was a fumble.

Either of two men had authority to make a ruling on the Murphy‑Morris‑Perry play ‑ referee Ed Miltko or umpire Dale VanHose. Miltko allowed the touchdown to stand.

It was a night of controversy for Miltko, who did not call intentional grounding against Tiger quarterback Barry Shertzer on an early play that appeared to war­rant such, but did flag Morris for grounding on a fourth ­quarter play that looked like a carbon copy.

Schuetz was initially emphatic in stating Morris should have been ruled down.

He modified his view after poring over his camp’s game film.

“You can’t tell concretely what happened,” he said. “We think it happened one way and Massillon thinks it happened the other way.

“I was mad last night. Part of that came from frus­tration. You hate to lose on a play like that. It was a game between two good football teams, both of which are capable of advancing beyond the next round.

“Again, I was mad, but I take nothing away from Massillon. They played a good game and I wish them luck.”

Owens said Miltko made “a great call.” He said he closely studied a clear video account of the play filmed by veteran camera man Ron Prunty.

“You can clearly see the ball coming out before Mor­ris hits the ground,” Owens said. “The ball rolled around and basically was pulled off Murphy’s back by Perry.”

Owens said players may have relaxed because of Murphy’s gesture of celebration.

“A lot of them probably saw Mike Martin go up to Mark where he was celebrating and thought the play was over,” Owens said. “Mike turned around and made a block that helped Jeff get free.”

Miltko never indicated the play was anything but alive. He maintained his crouched posture, watching the action, as the entire scene unfolded.

Playoff officials are basically all‑star crews. Hun­dreds of officials apply to the OHSAA for the privilege of working in the playoffs. The best 100, in the OHSAA’s eyes, are selected.

Saturday’s crew consisted of Miltko, a Steubenville resident with 25 years of experience; VanHose, a Col­umbus resident, 19 years; linesman Emerson Payne of Mount Vernon, 37 years; line judge Dave D’Annabal of Steubenville, 13 years, and back judge Bob Graf of Men­tor, 22 years.

Polar Bears and not zebras were all anybody noticed in the early minutes of the game.

The Tigers won the opening coin toss and attempted to send a message by deferring. That is, they chose to play defense first and kick off to Jackson. In essence, they were telling the Bears: We think we can stop you.

Instead, Jackson drove 75 yards for a touchdown. On third‑and‑seven, Morris and all‑county wide receiver Shawn Lutz hooked up on one of their pet plays, a side­line pass that takes advantage of Lutz’s 6-foot‑6 frame and soft hands. It went for 18 yards. Murdock scored.

The game’s next three series were “three‑and‑punt,” but Jackson won the battle of field position and started on the Massillon 32‑yard line after a 15‑yard punt return by Craven. Another inside reverse to Murdock and a run by Craven netted 11 yards.

Then, on second‑and‑six, Morris went over the middle on a well‑timed throw to tight end Brent Bowen for 21 yards and a touchdown.

P.A. T. holder Beau Schuetz, the coach’s son, scored a two‑point conversion on a fake and it was 15‑0, Bears, with 5:28 left in the first quarter.

The scene at the end of Schuetz’s run said a lot about why the game was so close. Tiger cornerback Dan Hackenbracht got in Schuetz’s face in the end zone. Schuetz didn’t back down, and neither did the Bears at any point in the night.

But then, neither did the Tigers, who went on to dominate the second quarter.

After one period, the Bears led 123‑21 in total offense.

In the second quarter, the Tigers outgained Jackson 88‑22.

Massillon drove 66 yards to the 8‑yard line before running out of downs on its first possession of the second period.

The Tigers got the ball and consumed most of the rest of the quarter on a 68‑yard scoring drive. Massillon had begun to win the war in the trenches and Ashcraft was picking up steam en route to a 126‑yard rushing day that left him with 1,091 on the season.

But it took a 6‑yard end‑around run by Marc Stafford, on fourth‑and‑goal to get the touchdown. Ryan John made his 30th straight point‑after kick and it was 15‑7 with 2:36 left in the half.

The Bears made a statement by scoring the first time they had the ball. The Tigers sent a similar message or the first series of the second half. Gary Young delivered a frisky 43‑yard kickoff return to give the Tigers posses­sion at midfield.

On second and eight, Ashcraft followed a strong lead block by Travis McGuire and shed several would‑be tacklers on his most impressive run of the night, a 41­yarder to the 6. Ashcraft scored two plays later behind a strong block by Duane Scott.

Bowen intercepted a Troy Burick pass on an attemp­ted two‑point conversion, and it was 15‑13 with 9:51 left in the third quarter.

The Bears did not go into hibernation. Their next six plays included gains of 4, 14, 15 and 17 yards. On second-and-eight from the Massillon 26, though, all‑county linebacker Eric Wright snuffed out the drive with an interception.

All‑county (yes, there were a lot of all‑stars in this game) punter Chris Roth looked the part with a 50‑yard boomer to Jackson’s 15. The Tigers soon got the ball back near midfield on a punt, but they could not capitalize on the field position because Jackson’s Bryan Scheetz intercepted a tipped bomb intended for Stafford. He returned it 43 yards to the Massillon 40 and the Bears were in good shape with the game growing old.

An 8‑yard pass to Craven, a 5‑yard run by Morris, a 3‑yard run by Craven and a 1‑yard gain by Craven hammered the ball to the Tiger 23, where it was third and six. The next play was the controversial one that produced Perry’s touchdown.

Midway, through the fourth quarter, the Bears penetrated Tiger territory. On third and three, defensive end Mike Martin grounded Murdock for a 3‑yard loss and the Bears had to punt.

Jackson never threatened again, although the Bear got the ball back deep in their own territory with the hope of getting another big play. Linebacker Jason Woullard’s interception with a minute left ended a doubt.

Jackson fumble
lifts Tigers

Repository sports writer

CANTON ‑ Half of western Stark County loves’ referee Ed Miltko and the other half probably wishes his mug would turn up on the side of a milk carton.

The rest of the football fans who saw Satur­day’s Division I, Region 2 semifinal game between Massillon Washington and Jackson just plain enjoy­ed the ups and downs of Massillon’s 21-15 victory over the Polar Bears.

The victory, which came in front of a noisy 17,124 fans at Fawcett Stadium, moved the 8‑3 Tigers into next Saturday’s Region 2 championship game against 11‑0 Sandusky at a site to be determined. Sandusky beat Toledo St. John’s 21‑15 in overtime Saturday.

While the Tigers go on to play for their second regional title, the 9‑2 Polar Bears are left with hav­ing to deal with The Fumble.

That one call, a questionable fumble on the first play of the fourth quarter that resulted in a 72‑yard return by defensive end Jeff Perry for the game­ winning touchdown, left Miltko as the most despised referee in the history of Jackson football.

Here’s what happened:

Leading 15‑13 and looking at third‑and‑four at the Massillon 23, Jackson quarterback Jeff Morris was sacked and stripped of the ball by Massillon tackle Mark Murphy.

Perry scooped up the ball at the 28 and stood there with it for about a second or two. All the players reacted as if the play had been called dead, but finally realized it was a live ball.

There was some question of: 1) whether Morris already was down before the fumble, 2) whether Perry was down after picking up the fumble and 3) whether the official had blown the play dead.

Perry did the smart thing, darting down the right side of the Field for the touchdown. He says he’s been clocked at 4.4 in the 40 and it looked that way as he pulled away from three Polar Bears down the stretch.

Falando Ashcraft added the two‑point conversion to give the Tigers the win.

But the question remained. What happened?

Here’s Jackson’s side of it.

“It may have been a fumble, but the ref’ blew the whistle, and he knows it,” Morris said. “He even came up to me and said, ‘I’m sorry, I blew it.”

Miltko couldn’t be reached for comment after the game.

Jackson head coach Elmer Schuetz didn’t hear Miltko apologize for making a bad call.

“I’m glad I didn’t hear that or I’d have really been upset,” said an very hot Schuetz. “It was a terrible call, a terrible one. It’s a shame. Our kids deserved better than that.”

Here’s Massillon’s side of it:

“It definitely was a fumble,” Perry said. “I grab­bed the ball and I stood there. But then I said to myself’, ‘I haven’t heard the whistle.’ That’s when I took off.”

“It seemed like I was the only one in the stadium who saw the ball come out and realize it was a live ball,” Massillon head coach Lee Owens said. “I saw the whole thing beginning to end and I be­lieve it was the right call.”

To argue the point any further is ridiculous. Massillon played well enough to win, regardless of the call. Meanwhile, Jackson didn’t play poorly enough to lose.

Jackson took a 15‑0 first‑quarter lead on a 54‑yard touchdown run off an inside reverse to sophomore Jaiye Murdock and an excellently placed 21­yard TD pass from quarterback Jeff Morris, over linebacker Jason Woullard and into the hands of tight end Brent Bowen.

Massillon was outgained in total yards, 246‑207. Ashcraft led all rushers with 23 carries for 126 yards, including a 32‑yard run in which he broke a bundle of tackles to reach the Jackson 6 and set up the Tigers’ second score.

Morris completed 9‑of‑23 passes for 117 yards, one TD and two interceptions. Dan Craven and Murdock both had 62 yards rushing, while Bowen caught four passes for 70 yards.

Massillon 0 7 6 8 21
Jackson 15 0 0 0 15

J ‑ Murdock 54 run (Parkison kick)
J ‑ Bowen 21 pass from Morris (Schuetz kick)
M ‑ Stafford 6 run (John kick)
M – Ashcraft 5 run (Pass intercepted)
M – Perry 72 fumble recovery (Ashcraft run)

Records: Jackson 9‑2. Massillon 8‑3.

Chad Buckland
Massillon vs. McK - Throwback (Large) History

1990: Massillon 7, Canton McKinley 20

Forget Pups, ‘Bear’ down Tigers say

Owens hopes ‘right Massillon team’ shows up after 20‑7 loss to McKinley

Independent Sports Editor

A great season may still await them.

But there is only one way to attain it, one of the Mas­sillon Tiger football captains said after Saturday’s 20‑7 loss to McKinley.

“The only thing that can help us get over this,” senior cornerback Chad Buckland said, “is if we go all the way.”

“All the way” means a four‑game winning streak against competition that will get nastier each week.

The Tigers are one of 16 teams in the Division I play­offs. The one that wins the next four weekends will be state champ.

Program Cover

Right now, though, the Tigers are a 7‑3 team needing just one win to get over a loss to their arch‑rival.

Two months ago, the Tigers were a play away from beating mighty Cincinnati Moeller. Now they are a team that must prove itself all over again.

“Can we come back?” said Tiger coach Lee Owens, repeating a question put to him. “We didn’t do a good job of it the last time we were in a similar situation (losing in Austintown a week after falling to Moeller). I hope we do better than we did the last time.

Owens senses it will be easier to rebound this time. He noted the Tigers didn’t seem crushed by the McKinley loss the way they were after getting nipped by Moeller.

But the team needs a spark, he said.

“Some of the fans have been saying, , Which Massil­lon team will show up today?’ And I see their point,” Owens said. “There have been times when we’ve been good enough to play with any team in Ohio. There have been other times when we could be defeated by any one of the teams entering the playoffs.

“It will depend on which Tiger team shows up. I hope it’s the right one.”

Were the Tigers lacking fire in their bellies against McKinley because they knew a playoff spot was locked up?

“I don’t think so,” Tiger defensive tackle Ron Hum­phrey said. “I hardly even thought about the playoffs all week. I was just thinking about McKinley.

“There’s nothing you can say or do to change what happened today. We lost. It’s over.

“We’ve got to get our sulking out of the way in one day and get back to work.”

“We have to get this one behind us as soon as we can,” agreed senior wide receiver Steve Brown.

“We can’t hang our heads,” echoed tight end Chris Roth.

“We have to forget McKinley and regroup,” said junior linebacker Eric Wright. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to play hard in the playoffs and try to win all our games.”

“We’ve got to keep our heads up and not make a big deal out of the McKinley game,” said running back Falando Ashcraft.

Every Tiger interviewed gave the Bulldogs their due.

“I knew they were capable of playing like this,” Buckland said. “I thought all along they were going to explode. Unfortunately, they did … against us.

“On the positive side for us, McKinley has to sit home. It’s a lot better knowing you’re going to get to play again.”

Owens learned Sunday that his team will face Jackson in the first round of the playoffs Saturday at Fawcett Stadium. He had little to say on the matter, in keeping with the tight ship he says will be run this week.

“It does not matter who we play this week,” the coach said Sunday night at 8 from his office.

“We’re just glad to be in the playoffs.” His only comment on Jackson: They must be a good team, having won nine games. When a team loses only once you assume they’re a fine team.”

Owens had been through a busy Sunday already. He wasn’t finished.

“It’s going to be a long one,” he said.

Ma Mc
First downs rushing 3 10
First downs passing 4 7
First downs by penalty 1 1
Totals first downs 8 18
Yards gained rushing 68 183
Yards lost rushing 20 19
Net yards rushing 48 164
Net yards passing 113 143
Total yards gained 161 307
Passes attempted 22 22
Passes completed 8 14
Passes int. by 1 3
Times kicked off 2 4
Kickoff average 57.5 47.3
Kickoff return yards 42 16
Punts 6 2
Punting average 30.2 42.5
Punt return yards 2 13
Fumbles 3 3
Fumbles lost 1 1
Penalties 3 7
Yards penalized 45 70
Number of plays 46 70
Time of possession 17.21 30.39
Attendance 16,741

McKINLEY 0 7 7 6 20
MASSILLON 0 0 7 0 7

McK ‑ Martin 28 pass from Henry (Curtis kick)
Mas ‑ Roth 38 pass from Burick (John kick)
McK ‑ Curtis 1 run (Curtis kick)
McK ‑ Kaiusin 3 run (kick failed)

Individual Statistics

(Mass) Ashcraft 14‑41. Stafford 1‑7. McGuire 6‑5.
(McK) Richards 27‑114. Katusin 11‑32.

(Mass) Shertzer 7‑19‑3 75. Burick 1­3‑0 38.
(McK) Henry 14‑22‑1 143.

(Mass) Brown 5‑44. Roth 2‑57.
(McK) Martin 3‑72. Richards 3‑24. Johnston 3‑22.

Chad Buckland
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1990: Massillon 24, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 9

Bring on the Bulldogs Tigers overtake St. V; starter at QB up in the air

Independent Sports Editor

The Massillon Tigers made their fans nervous but got the job done Friday night in their final “prelude to the Pups.”

They trailed 9‑7 at halftime and put Akron St. Vincent‑St. Mary in scoring range early in the third quarter. That was enough to make folks remember a loss to Cleveland St. Joseph in last year’s McKinley warmup.

The Tigers were smashing the rest of the way, though, en route to a 24‑9 victory.

Program Cover

Massillon goes into McKinley week with a 7‑2 record and four‑game winning streak. St. Vin­cent fell to 4‑4, which is also McKinley’s record following an 18‑15 loss at unbeaten Boardman last night.

There is a strong possibility the Tigers will be in the Division I playoffs, win or lose next Satur­day. Head coach Lee Owens sees a loss as un­speakable, however.

“We will tell our players we need to beat‑‑McKinley to make the playoffs,” he said.

Whether or not that comes true, the point is this: if the Tigers hope to win playoff games, a loss to McKinley is the worst way to get ready.
It is uncertain who will start at quarterback against McKinley.

Barry Shertzer started, as usual, Friday night. But it was Troy Burick who finished. It was Burick who accounted for the Tigers’ only first‑half touchdown, finding tight end Chris Koth over the middle from nine yards out. It was Burick behind center when the Tigers scored their two second‑half touchdowns, one set up on his well thrown 46‑yard bomb to Marc Stafford.

“We’ll look at the films and we’ll look at how things go in practice,” Owens said.

Burick has played extensively all year but never so much in key situations as against St. V.

Barry was throwing the ball high in practice all week and he was throwing it high again tonight,” Owens said. “It was one of those situa­tions where your starting pitcher doesn’t have his best stuff and you go to the bullpen.
The Tigers got the ball first Friday and punted after three incomplete passes, all catchable but high throws by Shertzer. Shertzer completed six of 11 passes for 57 yards in his remaining action. For the season, he has completed 69 of 151 passes for 849 yards, with seven touchdowns and four interceptions.

Burick came into the game with eight completions in 17 attempts for 108 yards. His passing has been fair, but he has been a dangerous man on the bootleg runs that are a big part of Owens’ run‑and‑boot offense.

“Everyone knows Troy gives us an added dimension,” said Owens, speaking of the junior’s aptitude for making tacklers miss.

Burick had his best passing night against St. V, completing three of five for 62 yards. He also rushed six times for 22 yards, giving him 20 carries for 151 yards on the year.

Don’t look for Owens to announce early who will go at QB against McKinley. He’ll keep the Bulldogs guessing.

There will be no guesswork, though, when it comes to running back Falando Ashcraft. The Tiger junior will get the ball.

Ashcraft dented St. V for 124 yards in 25 carries. He looked dow­nright scary in the fourth quarter, when the Tigers put the game away.

With 6:39 left in the game, James McCullough scored from three yards out and Ryan John converted the kick to give the Tigers a 17‑9 lead .

Mike Martin’s kickoff, a squib job, resulted in a fumble, and Mar­tin recovered. Burick ran for 11 yards to the St. Vincent 31‑yard line. Then Ashcraft got the ball and a sweep left and roared around the well‑blocked left side. He looked like a man possessed as he steamed away from a pack of pursuers into the end zone, where he showed the nail to the portion of a crowd of 10,327 seated in the north grandstand at Paul Brown Tiger Sta­dium.

John’s kick, his 28th successful conversion in a row, made it 24‑9 with 6:05 left. It was “turn out the lights” time for the Fighting Irish.

Owens said a key to Ashcraft’s big night was St. Vincent’s strategy.

“‘The last three times we’ve play­ed them they’ve keyed on the A-­back (it was Travis McGuire Fri­day),” Owens said. “That opens up some things for the bootleg runs. and it opened up some things for Falando.

“Of course, Falando is really run­ning the ball well. He’s improved. He’s a load to try to bring down.”

Ashcraft said there is another factor in a season in which he has rushed 152 times for 888 yards.

”The offensive line. has been more intense lately,” he said, “That’s helped a lot.”

There were mixed opinions as to how rugged an opponent St. Vincent was. The Irish came in billed as a formidable team with huge linemen on both sides of the ball.

“They were just big and fat,” joked Tiger defensive tackle Mark Murphy. “They weren’t bad. We were down at halftime, but we still thought we’d played pretty good de­fense.”

“They’re tough,” said Tiger offensive lineman Brent Bach. “You’d hit them and they’d slide off.”

“We should have had an easier time with them than we did,” said defensive back Chad Buckland, who shares the team interceptions lead (five) with Dan Hackenbracht after both of them picked off a pass.”

They were more physical than Stow. But they were about as cap­able a team as Stow.”

As for the progression of Friday’s game, it went like this.

St. Vincent’s first possession started after a 25‑yard punt return from slick junior Chris Campbell. The Fighting Irish drove 39 yards to where John Donatelli booted a 31­yard field goal with 7:48 left in the first quarter.

The Tigers answered on the en­suing possession, driving 67 yards in 14 plays. Shertzer directed a drive from the Massillon 33 to the Irish 15. Ashcraft then made perhaps his best run of the night — he was caught in the backfield but fought loose and plowed three yards for a first down.

Burick came on, as he has in the past in the goal‑line offense. On third down from the nine, Burick sold St. V on the run, then hit a wide­ open Roth for a touchdown with 1:21 left in the first quarter. John’s kick made it 7‑3.

It stayed that way until late in the half, when a facemask penalty against the Tigers kept a St. Vin­cent drive alive. On second and three from the 28, sophomore quarterback Josh Zwisler unleashed a pass to the left corner of the end zone, where the 6‑1 Campbell leaped over 5‑8 cornerback Scott Karrenbauer for a touchdown re­ception.

Jeff Perry blocked the conver­sion kick attempt and it was 9‑7 with 33 seconds left in the half.

At halftime, when the offense and defense break into separate meet­ings, assistant coach Gary Wells delivered his most peppery talk of the season. Owens didn’t play it up as much, for two reasons; first, he thought his team was superior to St. Vincent and would win the game; second, there were some boos at halftime when the Tigers ran out the clock with two running plays.

“The guys felt bad enough about that,” he said. “I didn’t think I needed to get on them any more.”

St. V received the second‑half kickoff and was stuffed in three plays. Hackenbracht picked up a bouncing punt and fumbled, giving the Irish possession at the Tiger 37. Tiger tackle Ron Humphrey reco­vered a St. V fumble three plays later at the 31. From there the Ti­gers ‑‑ under Shertzer’s direction ‑‑ marched 69 yards in 10 plays to where John kicked a 26‑yard field goal. It was 10‑9, Tigers, with 4:08 left in the third quarter.

Hackenbracht atoned for his mis­take by intercepting a pass and re­turning it 30 yards to the Irish 21. Burick came on but the Tigers couldn’t convert the opportunity.

He fared better on his next series, steering the Tigers 77 yards in six plays, most notably the 46‑yard pass to Stafford.

“Marc has great speed and he made an outstanding catch,” Owens said.

It was the longest catch of Staf­ford’s varsity career … something else for McKinley to think about.

McCullough scored three plays later at 6:39 of the fourth quarter, and a scant 34 game seconds later, Ashcraft was in the end zone.

The game was won.

First downs rushing 10 2
First downs passing 4 4
First downs by penalty 2 1
Totals first downs 16 7
Yards gained rushing 190 97
Yards lost rushing 21 15
Net yards rushing 169 82
Net yards passing 119 79
Total yards gained 288 161
Passes attempted 19 10
Passes completed 9 4
Passes int. by 0 2
Times kicked off 5 3
Kickoff average 40.6 41.0
Kickoff return yards 46 72
Punts 3 5
Punting average 36.0 29.8
Punt return yards 27 41
Fumbles 2 8
Fumbles lost 1 2
Penalties 2 6
Yards penalized 2 6
Number of plays 20 51
Time of possession 25:39 22:21
Attendance 10,327

Individual statistics

(M) Ashcraft 25‑124,
Burick 6‑22,
McGuire 6‑14,
Shertzer 2‑6,
McCullough 2‑3.

(St. V) Peththel 7‑38,
Vincent 7‑24,
Zwisler 12­16,
Henderson 3‑2.

(M) Shertzer 6-14-0, 57 yards;­
Burick 3‑5‑0, 62 yards;
(St. V) Zwisler 4‑10‑2, 79 yards.

(M) Stafford 3‑67,
Ashcraft 1-­19,
McGuire 2‑11,
Brown 1‑6,
Roth 1‑9,
Weber 1‑7.
(St. V) Campbell 3‑66,
Butts 1‑13.

St. Vincent 7 0 3 14 24
Massillon 3 6 0 0 9

V – FG Donatelli 31
M – Roth 9 pass from Burick (John kick)
M – Campbell 28 pass from Zwisler (kick failed)
M – FG John 26
M – McCullough 3 run (John kick)
M – Ashcraft 26 run (John kick)

Chad Buckland
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1990: Massillon 45, Youngstown East 7

Tigers roar in the rain

45‑7 win good practice for St. V, McKinley wars

Independent Sports Editor

Last year’s hit played just fine on the P.A. last night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“Don’t worry … be happy.

This was no night to fret about a win.

The Massillon Tigers knew one was coming.

Turned out to be a come‑from‑behind (if you want to get technical) 45‑7 high school football victory over Youngstown East before about 6,500 in rain‑soaked (but sand‑turf dry) Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

The Tigers are 6‑2. East is 0‑8.

No surprises.

This was a night for fun.

“Ga‑ree! Ga‑ree! Ga‑ree! fans sang in the rain, hoping human cannon­ball Gary Young would get a touchdown. His only one, a 60‑yarder, was called back by a penalty. Still, “Air Gary” made a spectacular somersault on a TD try from the 2. He didn’t score, So what?

It was a night to prepare for the big ones. Akron St. Vincent‑St. Mary. McKinley. Teams the Tigers probably must beat to make the playoffs.

Another Gary, Miller, the Tigers’ starting center, said Friday amounted to “more or less a practice game for St. V.”

It was good practice.

“We did pretty well,” Miller said. “Everything seemed to fit together.”

It vas a night to build confidence.

“We have a good chance to go to state,” said Brandon Turley, the outside linebacker.

Turley is a junior. Senior Ron Humphrey did a double take when he heard his younger teammate talking so.

“It’s not time to talk about that yet,” he said.

Humphrey looked at Turley and laughed.

East is a playoff albatross. It paid next to nothing (2.5 computer points) to defeat the winless team. But the night could have been worse. The Tigers gained points from these Friday winners: Stow (26‑0 over Spring­field), Covington Catholic (35‑14 over Kentucky Scott), Akron Garfield 20‑0 over Ellet) and even Nordonia (13‑7 over Cuyahoga Falls ‑ not bad for a team that lost 70‑0 here two weeks ago).

It was a night to learn about respect. You may have nukes to their pistols, but you lose unless your finger and mind are on the trigger.

East drove 62 yards in 10 plays and scored on the game’s first series. That wasn’t supposed to be in the cards.

“One thing we got out of tonight,” junior linebacker Jason Woullard said, “was learning never to take any team lightly.

“We came out in a trance. We were lackadaisical. They scored on us. After that I don’t think we were in a trance any more.”

East was little.

East was playing a dozen sophomores.

East even used two freshmen.

But East led 7‑0 when junior quar­terback Darnell Bracy hit diving senior end Leo Hudson for a 12‑yard touchdown, and Hudson added the extra‑point boot.

There was 8:15 left in the first quarter when East scored. There was 6:37 left in the first quarter when it became apparent it didn’t really matter. That was when Tiger senior James McCullough blasted 10 yards for a touchdown one play after his running mate, Falando Ashcraft, weaved 31 yards.

Ryan John made the first of his six P.A.T. kicks and it was 7‑7.

Brian Cole snared an interception moments later, setting up a 12‑yard touchdown run by Ashcraft. The score came with 4:25 left in the quarter. The Tigers led 14‑7 less than four minutes after they had trailed.

Ashcraft proceeded to amass his second‑biggest game of the year ‑11 carries for 142 yards and three touchdowns. The man who dented Covington Catholic for 190 yards in the Buddy LaRosa Classic now has rushed 127 times for 764 yards and 12 touchdowns.

McCullough, a transfer from McKinley, had his biggest night with 83 yards in 11 carries, Usually starting in his position is junior Tra­vis McGuire, who didn’t dress be­cause of an ankle injury. McGuire said he has been jogging and will play against St. Vincent.

Also skipping Friday’s game were tight end Chris Roth (separated shoulder), guard Dan Sciury (sprained ankle) and defensive tackle Mark Murphy (bronchitis), Head coach Lee Owens said all are expected to Play against St. Vin­cent.

Friday was even night to practice kicking field goals. The Tigers had yet to attempt one this season until John delivered a 26‑yarder with 5:23 left in the game.

Backup quarterback Troy Burick rushed for touchdowns on two short runs.

Senior receiver Steve Brown caught three passes for 54 yards and now leads the team in recep­tions (26) and receiving yards (779).

Owens was unhappy about East’s early success. But he couldn’t be too displeased.

“It was a chance to work on some different sets,” he said. “It was nice to get a big win.”

The Tigers didn’t give away too many secrets for scouts from St. Vincent and McKinley.

“We were awful basic,” Owens said. “At the same time we got to try out a couple of different plays and a couple of different combina­tions of players we may use in the future.”

The future?

It most surely was a night to think about that.

First downs rushing 18 1
First downs passing 4 7
First downs by penalty 2 1
Totals first downs 24 9
Yards gained rushing 370 53
Yards lost rushing 15 32
Net yards rushing 355 21
Net yards passing 73 106
Total yards gained 428 127
Passes attempted 15 23
Passes completed 6 7
Passes int. by 1 4
Times kicked off 8 2
Kickoff average 47.1 39.0
Kickoff return yards 33 122
Punts 1 3
Punting average 35.0 25.7
Fumbles 0 2
Fumbles lost 0 2
Penalties 4 5
Yards penalized 34 56
Number of plays 70 43
Time of possession 28:32 19:28

East 7 0 0 0 7
Massillon 14 14 14 3 45

(M) Ashcraft 11‑142, McCul­lough 14‑83, Young 12‑58, Roberson 8‑28, Burick 3‑29, Slicker 1‑9, Mossides 1‑10.
(E) Johnson 7‑38, Perdue 10‑7.

(M) Shertzer 5‑14‑1, 67 yards; Burick 1‑1‑0, 6 yards.
(E) Bracy 7‑23‑4, 106 yards.

(M) Brown 3‑54, Ashcraft 1‑16, Stafford 1‑13.
(E) Hudson 4‑50, Ortiz 3‑56.

E ‑ Hudson 12 pass from Bracy (Hudson kick)
M ‑ McCullough 9 run (John kick)
M ‑ Ashcraft 13 run (John kick)
M ‑ Burick 2 run (John kick)
M ‑ Ashcraft 60 run (John kick)
M ‑ Burick I run (John kick)
M ‑ FG John 26

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1990: Massillon 21, Indianapolis North Central, IN 15

Defeated coach still loves Tigertown

Loss in Massillon prepares Team for Indiana title chase

Independent Sports Editor.

Massillon is a football town, by George.

In fact as George Papas went on and on about Tigertown long after Saturday night’s game in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, it almost seemed he did not want to leave..

Eventually, he boarded a charter bus, though. He had to. He is head coach of the Indianapolis North Central team that dropped a 21-15 decision to Massillon before a crowd of 10,002.

Program Cover

Many coaches in Pappas’ position would have been seeing red. A yellow storm left North Central penalized nine times for 107 yards.

Instead, Pappas blamed his own camp for the mistakes. And he talked a blue streak about the orange and black.

“I love coming here,” said Papas. “It does a helluva lot for your kids. The whole atmosphere is fantastic, the big crowd, the great stadium.

“The biggest thing, though is playing against that team. Those kids play football the way it is supposed to be played. That helps your program. It shows you the way it is supposed to be done.

This was not some greenhorn from Hayseed High talking. Papas is a former Purdue University linebacker who has made his North Central team competitive against the best in Indiana.

In fact, the thrust of his post-game speech was getting ready for a run at the Indiana state championship.

“We close our regular season next week against Terre Haute North, he said. “Then we have a playoff game against Decatur Central (North Central will be a heavy favorite). Then its on to Carmel baby. We have to play at Carmel, but I don’t care if we play ‘em in a gravel pit.”

Carmel is the defending Indiana state champion. And yes, the North Central-Carmel game is already scheduled – they do things differently in the Hoosier State, where everybody makes the playoffs.

North Central would need to win six playoff games to be state champs. The Panthers are currently 4-3, but all three losses have been in competitive games against powerful teams.

Massillon will have to earn a playoff spot. The Tigers are 5-2 heading into their final three regular season games: an anticipated easy game against winless Youngstown East, a contest against a St. Vincent-St Mary squad that lost in overtime-here last year, and the traditional war against Canton McKinley.

East and St. Vincent both lost Saturday. The Youngstown team fell 21-6 to Chaney. The Akron team bowed 15-6 to Youngstown Cardinal Mooney. McKinley was idle this past weekend.

The Tigers would almost certainly make the playoffs by winning all three games.

Head coach Lee Owens said the outing against North Central was a bit rough around the edges. But he also saw it as a win over one of the top teams on the schedule.

“In terms of talent North Central is really not that much different than Cincinnati Moeller,” Owens said, “The only real difference is Moeller’s discipline.”

“If North Central can iron out some of the mistakes. I think they’re good enough to win their state championship. It would be something if we eventually could say we beat a state champion from Kentucky (Covington Catholic) and a state champion from Indiana.”

Pappas was perplexed about the discipline angle.

“Mistakes have cost us in each of our loses,” he said. “I wish I had an answer on why some of these things go wrong. Honestly, we work on the things over and over again in practice.”

Still, Pappas was pleased with the improvement made over last yaear’s game in Massillon, a 39-14 loss.

“I was very disappointed with the way we played defense here last year,” he said. “It was different this time.”

He hopes there will be a next time.

“I’d love to come back,” he said.

North Central athletic director Roland Inskeep is supposed to decide this week if he will sign a new two-year contract with the Tigers.

Owens has already said he would accept a new contract.

Adam Alexander, a senior lineman for the Panthers, offered about the same appraisal as Pappas.

“Massillon doesn’t seem to have extraordinary talent, but they play the game the way it’s supposed to be played,” He said. “It was exciting to be here. It was a good experience for those of us who probably, won’t go on to play at a college.”

First downs rushing 5 9
First downs passing 7 2
First downs by penalty 3 0
Total first downs 15 11
Yards gained rushing 155 181
Yards lost rushing 29 32
Net yards rushing 126 149
Net yards passing 159 40
Total yards gained 285 189
Passes attempted 19 15
Passes completed 11 6
Passes int. by 0 1
Times kicked off 4 3
Kickoff average 44,5 32.3
Kickoff return yards 25 73
Punts 5 6
Punting average 32.2 40.6
Punt return yards 70 12
Fumbles 3 2
Fumbles lost 1 1
Penalties 4 9
Yards penalized 36 107
Number of plays 61 46
Time of possession 25:43 22:17
Attendance 10,007

North Central 7 0 0 8 15
Massillon 7 7 0 7 21

M – McCullough 2 run (John kick)
NC ‑_Evans, 62 run (Nelson kick)
M – Roth 26 pass from Shertzer (John kick)
M – McCullough 1 run (John kick)
NC – Meyers 9 pass from Black (Mayes pass from Black)

Individual statistics

(M) Ashcraft 14-6, McCullough 14-36, McGuire 7-16, Burick 4-31.
(NC) Nibbs 12-45, Evans 9-76, Black 9-46..

(M) Shertzer 11-18-0, 159 yards.
(NC) Black 6-15-1, 40 yards.

(M) Brown 4-66, McGuire 3-38, Roth 2-35, Stafford 1-8, McCullough 1-12.
(NC) Mayes 5-30, Allen 1-10.

Chad Buckland
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1990: Massillon 70, Nordonia 0

Tigers crown Knights, 70-0

Independent Sports Editor

Remember how you felt the last time you were in the middle of the big hill on your favorite roller coaster?

That sort of giddy release flushed the faces of most Massillon Tiger fans Friday night after a 70‑0 atomic drop on Nordonia at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Following gut‑twisters that became losses to Cincinnati Moeller and Austintown‑Fitch playoff hungry Tigertown did not need a simple victory over a clear underdog Nordonia.

Tigertown needed ‑ and got ‑ a knockout punch. A crowd of 9,872 saw Massillon improve to 4‑2 and Nordonia fall to 3‑3.

The Tigers put a Falando Ashcraft ‑ ‘flyin’, Travis McGuire‑’high‑fivin’, Gary Young‑’skyin’ 70‑0 whoppin’ on the Knights. That trio accounted for 252 of the Tigers 423 rushing yards.

Other 70-0 games

Friday’s 70-0 rout of Nordonia was the fifth such victory in Massillon history. The other 70-0 games:

Year, foe Tiger coach
1922, New Philadelphia Paul Brown
1935, Akron East Paul Brown
1936, Portsmouth Paul Brown
1959, Mansfield Leo Strang

The five biggest Tiger routes:

Year, foe Score
1922, Akron North 94-0
1959, Barberton 90-0
1918, Orrville 82-0
1923, Salem 82-0
1924, Alliance 77-0

Program Cover

Ashcraft, who scored three touchdowns, said the Tigers are back.

“We wanted to blow them out early and give the guys on the second team a chance to play,” he said after rushing 74 yards in 12 carries.

If was 35-0 at halftime. The first unit played one series in the third-quarter. The second and third units came on (strong, in fact), the way the Tiger bench players did in a famous 90-0 win over Barberton in 1959.

This was the fifth time in Massillon history the Tigers have won by a 70-0 final. Massillon teams have won 11 shutouts by scores greater than 70-0, including a record 94-0 win over Akron North in 1922.

“Right now,” Ashcraft added, we’ve forgotten about the first half of the season, Right now, we’re concentrating on winning the rest of our games, one week at a time.”

Ashcraft wasn’t the only Tiger who thought Friday’s outcome was good tonic for the Tigers.
“I was not worried about us at all,: said Young, the little speed merchant who looked like Barry Sanders on breakaway touchdown runs of 50 and 38 yards. “Both of the losses were in our hands. We were close to being undefeated.

“Right now,” added Young, known for his headlong dives on special teams, “this brings us back together… where we need to be…a team.:

“The main thing,” added Dan Scinry, a junior who has looked strong on the offensive line, “was getting our pride back. We had a tough week of practice. In fact, we had a new drill called The Pride Drill. It helped a lot.:

Head coach, Lee Owens cited the underrated factor of getting playing time for everyone on the team.
“We played everyone and any number of guys did a good job,” he said. “We talked all week about starting over again. Tonight was he first leg of a five‑game home stand. There are some tough games coming up. But it was a great way to start.”

Junior Troy Burick got the start at quarterback, with senior Barry­ Shertzer wearing a sport hat and a Massillon American Legion baseball jacket on the sidelines after suffering a concussion last week.

Burick let it all hang out early, throwing an incomplete bomb to Marc Stafford on the first play of the game. The Tigers didn’t score on that series, but the second time they had the ball Burick, whose forte is running, found a grand canyon around the right side on a bootleg run and raced 38 yards to the 17.­

On the next play McGuire showed some cuts and jukes that could soon get him a job at an Arthur‑Murray studio near you. It went for a touchdown.

The Tigers had only two other possessions the rest of the way on which they did not score.

Nick Mossides and Seth Aegerter joined Burick as Tiger quarterbacks who directed touchdown drives.

“I thought all of our quarterbacks looked good,” Owens said.

It is believed Shertzer will reclaim the starting job when he returns to full health. He will not be allowed to take part in contact drills until the middle of next week at the earliest; hence his status is uncertain for next Saturday’s game against Indianapolis North Central.

“We’ll have to see how things go in practice. Owens said.

By, the late stages of the second quarter, it was apparent the Tigers had far too many horses for the Knights.

A scout from Indianapolis captured the mood when the Tigers gained possession on the 13-yard line after a ball was snapped over the Nordonia punter’s head.

“Two plays or three?” the scout said to his partner.

Surprise! It took the Tigers four plays to score (James McCullough bulled in from the two with seven seconds left in the half)

Ryan John, who has quietly become a reliable point after kicker, converted the boot to create the 35-0 halftime score.

Some of the Nordonia players were bothered that the Tigers added another 35 in the second half.

Nordonia head coach Jim Fox held no grudges whatsoever.

“I told Lee, ‘I didn’t think you ran up the score’ He put in his second and third units and you can’t tell them to lay down,” said Fox. “I’m embarrassed we did so poor more than anything else.

“I knew it would be a real physical mismatch. Stow was picked to win our conference, Nobody picked us for a high finish. We have a competitive, scrappy bunch of guys. But when I saw that Massillon beat Stow 51-0, I knew we might be in some trouble.”

The Tigers led only 7‑0 after one quarter but scored on the first play of the second period, Stafford, who could become a more prominent figure in the passing game the rest of the way, got wide open in the left flat, took a short pass from Burick at the 12, and juked the rest of the way on a 19-yard scoring play.

A Ron Humphrey fumble recovery at the six set up the third touchdown, a six yard run by Ashcraft with 9:39 left in the half.

The Tigers then drove 61 yards after a punt. Ashcraft scoring from two yards away.

Nordonia crossed midfield for the only time on the opening possession of the second half before stalling at the 23. The first‑team offense drove 77 yards. Ashcraft running four yards for a TD with 4:40 left in the third quarter. John kick made it 42-0.

McCullough, the Tigers’ big backup fullback, muscled his way 25 yards for a touchdown with 10:57 left in the game. John’s kick made it 49‑0.

The Tigers quickly got the ball back on a fumble, and the 5‑foot‑8 Young quickly found daylight and put some distance on the pack on a 50-yard TD burst with 9:32 left.

Jason Brown’s P.A.T. kick made it 56 zip.

Nordonia punted after three plays and Young scored on a carbon copy of his previous touchdown play, this time traveling 38 yards. Gary Miller, who gave up placekicking to focus on being this year’s starting center, booted one for old time’s sake and it was 63-0 with 6:10 left.

The final touchdown was set up by Aegerter’s 52-yard bootleg run to the two. Ron Roberson scored on the next play with 2:49 left. Miller’s kick enabled the Tigers to hit the 70 mark for the first time since 1959, when Mansfield Senior was handed a 70-0 shiner.

First downs rushing 16 4
First downs passing 4 3
First downs by penalty 1 0­
Total first downs 21 7
Yards gained rushing 422 129
Yards lost rushing 11 36
Net yards rushing 412 93
Net yards passing 64 33
Total Yards gained 476 126
Passes attempted 12 13
Passes completed 5 3
Passes Int. by 2 1
Yardage on pass int. 10 2
Kickoff average 42.9 45.0
Kickoff return yards 19 74
Punts 2 7
Punting average 46.0 29.7
Punt return yards 54 4
Fumbles 3 3
Fumbles lost 1 2
Penalties 3 4
Yards penalized 25 29
Number of plays 55 57
Time of possession 18:02 29:58

Nordonia 0 0 0 0 0
Massillon 7 26 7 28 70

M ‑ McGuire 17 run (John kick)
M ‑ Stafford 19 pass from Burick (John kick)
M ‑ Ashcraft 6 run (John kick)
M – Ashcraft 2 run (John kick)
M – Ashcraft 4 run (John kick)
M – McCullough 25 run (John kick)
M – Young 50 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ Young 38 run (Miller kick)
M – Roberson 2 run (Miller kick)

Chad Buckland
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1990: Massillon 7, Austintown Fitch 14

Another loss in Austintown

Tigers’ Twilight zone
rears its ugly head, 14-7

Independent Sports Editor

AUSTINTOWN ‑ The Massillon Tigers have found their Bermuda Triangle. They have located their Twilight Zone. They have landed on their Field of Dreams (nightmares are dreams, too, aren’t they?). For the Tigers, its name is Fitch Stadium. They lost there 14‑7 Friday night to drop to 3‑2 in the 1990 high school football season.

The Fitch Falcons, 5‑0 this year, improved to 3‑0 against Massillon at that dastardly place. In 1986 the Tigers lost at Fitch on the last play from scrimmage. In 1988 they lost on a game‑ending field goal.

Last night they lost with a quarterback who played much of the fourth quarter with a concussion not discovered until after the game, played in a murky rain.

Counting the games in Massillon, the Tigers are 2‑4 in the all‑time series against Fitch.

Program Cover

‘We could make so many excuses if we wanted to. But maybe that’s not what we need to be doing right now’
Lee Owens

Fitch’s head coach throughout has been David Hartman.

In 1965 Hartman earned a diploma from Washington High. Maybe they should take it back. On the other hand, it’s nothing personal. “You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” Hartman said amid Fitch’s post‑game celebration.

What Fitch does best is block out of the wing‑T formation on offense. Hartman ought to get an honorary masters degree in misdirection.

“We have guys going this way, that way and every which way,” Hartman said. “Massillon has a lot of quick kids who really swarm to the football. If you run the same guy on the same play all of the time, they’ll kill, you. With a.11.9ur misdirection, they had a difficult time ganging up on us.”

Tiger head coach Lee Owens knows better than anyone two straight losses is the wrong direction.

“We were flat, there were some big penalties, the field was wet we could make so many excuses i
we wanted to. But maybe that’s not what we need to be doing right now,” Owens said. “There was a
point in the game when they were outplaying us. We started playing harder, but we couldn’t get over the

“There’s no reason for what happened tonight. I really felt coming in we were definitely the better team. Fitch played a good ball game. We didn’t.”

Fitch’s misdirection started clicking at the end of the first half when the Falcons drove 57 yards for a touchdown. With 1:22 left in the half, 6‑4 tight end Dave Fitz‑Patrick caught an eight‑yard touchdown pass from 5‑9 quarterback Frank Senediak on third‑and‑eight.

“We thought their cornerback would be playing up and he was,” Fitz‑Patrick said. “That enabled me to get pretty open.”

Senediak, a carbon copy of Fitch’s bootlegging wizard who was the 1988 quarterback, Derrick Fletcher, passed just enough to keep the Tigers off balance, completing six of seven for 68 yards.

Senediak also ran 16 times for 64 yards. His ball handling was the key on Fitch’s opening possession of the third quarter, which ended when he hit another wide‑open receiver, running back Chris Davis, on an 18‑yard touchdown pass.

Gary Pritchard, who gave up soccer to be a placekicker, boomed the P.A.T. and it was 14‑0 with 7:54 left in the third quarter.

Facing a must‑score possession, the Tigers did just that, driving 65 yards off the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. It wasn’t easy. Following two bootleg runs by quarterback Barry Shertzer that went for losses, it was fourth‑and‑16 from the 29.

Tight end Chris Roth lined up on the right side, beat the coverage on a post pattern, and hauled in a nicely thrown bomb from Shertzer for the touchdown. Ryan John’s P.A.T. kick sneaked over the crossbar and it was 14‑7 with 3:47 left in the third quarter.

It was unclear when Shertzer suffered the concussion, but it may have been on a hit during one of those bootleg runs.

Shertzer, who completed a key third‑and‑11 pass of 37 yards to split end Steve Brown, was woozy after the contest. At 1:15 a.m., he was in the emergency room at Massillon Community Hospital. It was believed he would stay overnight as a precaution.

Shertzer had thrown only one interception in four games but was picked off twice Friday. The Tigers also fumbled the ball twice.

“Their offense did a nice job, but as far as their defense I thought it was mostly a matter of us stopping ourselves,” Owens said.

The Massillon (defense took control in the fourth quarter. With just under seven minutes to go, the Tigers had caught on to Fitch’s misdirection and stuffed the falcons deep in their own territory. On a third down carry that went nowhere, Fitch senior running back Jim Toto made the mistake of yelling an expletive at Tiger cornerback Chad Buckland.

Fitch was penalized half the distance to the goal and had to punt from its own 14.

A 43‑yard punt still left Massillon in excellent field position, but Fitch had the ball back on a fumble on the next play.

The Tiger defense made another big stand, but a punt evaded return man Troy Burick, who pounced on the pigskin at the 7.

On the next play, Falando Ashcraft charged over the left side and nearly broke away for a touch­down. He was stopped after a 21­yard gain. Two plays later, Ashcraft bounced outside and gained 32 yards to the Fitch 42. The Tigers were in business.

Ashcraft ran two yards on a cri­tical fourth‑and‑one moments la­ter, but on first down, a Shertzer pass seemed to slip out of his hand and went directly into the arms of Toto.

“It was an automatic,” Owens said. “Fitch didn’t have our receiv­er covered and Barry called the au­dible.”

But Fitch called the shots after that, and ran out the clock.

Nobody seemed to give Fitch much of a chance before the game, a fact not lost on the Falcons.

“Even the local paper, The Vindi­cator, said we didn’t have a chance,” said Senediak. “It got us fired up when we read we weren’t supposed to have much talent or much size. We didn’t think we were going to win. We knew we were going to win.”

Fitz‑Patrick, the tight end who caught the early touchdown pass, painted the Falcons as a confident bunch.
“We think we can win the state championship,” he said.

Owens had said before the game this year’s Fitch team is capable of beating any state power on a given night, but may have difficulty doing it consistently.

Hartman concedes the Falcons still have some proving to do. “That remains to be seen,” he said, when asked if his team is cap­able of beating Ursuline, Mooney and Boardman, three powerhouses left on the schedule.

The Tigers’ next three games are against Nordonia, Indianapolis North Central and Youngstown East, all at home.

‘To tell you the truth, I didn’t say much to our players after the game,” Owens said. “It’s clear what we have to do … work our tails off and rebuild after these set­backs.”

First downs rushing 3 11
First downs passing 6 3
First downs by penalty 1 0
Totals first downs 10 14
Yards gained rushing 119 177
Yards lost rushing 25 14
Net yards rushing 94 163
Net yards passing 155 68
Total yards gained 249 231
Passes attempted 25 7
Passes completed 10 6
Passes int. by 2 0
Yardage on pass int 0 20
Times kicked off 2 3
Kickoff average 38.0 44.7
Kickoff return yards 32 34
Punts 3 4
Punting average 42.7 38.5
Punt return yards 14 27
Fumbles 3 2
Fumbles lost 2 1
Penalties 4 6
Yards penalized 35 46
Number of plays 50 55
Time of possession 18:11 29:49
Attendance 11,500

Individual statistics

(M) Ashcraft 12‑89.
(F) Sene­diak 16‑70, Javit 12‑38, Davis 10‑39.

(M) Shertzer 10‑25‑2,155 yards.
(F) Senediak 6‑7‑0, 68 yards.

Massillon 0 0 7 0 7
Fitch 0 7 7 0 14

F – Fitz-Patrick 8 Pass from Senediak (Pritchard kick)
F ‑ Davis 13 pass from Senediak (Pritch­ard kick)
M ‑ Roth 29 pass from Shertzer (John kick)

Chad Buckland
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1990: Massillon 23, Cincinnati Moeller 24

Owens. Forget and move on
Moeller wins on pass with seconds left

Independent Sports Editor

The Browns were on live Sunday but the Massillon Tigers watched re­runs.

The game they watched was bet­ter than the Browns vs. the Jets, too.

It was, of course, the game film of the previous night’s 24‑23 loss to Cin­cinnati Moeller before 16,764 in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. You could give it the title: “The Ecstasy and the Agony.”

But head coach Lee Owens prefer­red another: “History.”

“We’ve officially closed the book on Cincinnati Moeller,” Owens said at 3:45 p.m., just after the team film viewing ended.

“It was a great game to coach in. It was one big chess match … there were literally adjustments made by both sides on every play.

“It was also an extremely difficult game to lose. But it’s over. It’s time to prepare for another tough challenge.”

Program Cover

The Tigers, whose 3‑1 record is the same as Moeller’s, will play Friday at Austintown‑Fitch. Fitch is off to a 4‑0 start, including a dominating performance against a Mentor team that thought this might be a playoff year. The Falcons have won their only two games against the Tigers in Austintown.

In fact, the most recent loss at Fitch was quite like Saturday’s set­back to Moeller.

At Fitch in 1988, Jeff Wilkens kick­ed a 43‑yard field goal on the last play of the game to reverse a Tiger lead.

At Tiger Stadium Saturday, with the Tigers leading 23‑17 in the clos­ing seconds, Carlos Collins streaked open over the middle and caught a perfectly thrown 39‑yard touchdown pass from Moeller quarterback Neil Dougherty.

The play ended with 14 seconds left to tie the game at 23‑all. Senior Terry Knecht, who has the same thunder in his right leg as Wilkens, easily boomed the extra point through the uprights.

It was a crushing moment for Tigertown.

Prior to Moeller’s final posses­sion, which began with 2:55 left in the game and 67 yards away from the Massillon goal line, the Tigers had clearly played well enough to end their 10‑year jinx during which the Cincinnati powerhouse had won the only four games ever played be­tween the teams.

Prior to the final possession, the Tigers led 234‑198 in total offense…and looked good doing it.

Dougherty, however, led Moeller downfield and came up with a couple big plays. He converted twice on crucial fourth downs, including a fourth‑and‑10 one play before Collins’ dramatic catch.

Yet, wrenching as it was, one of the elements that makes Massillon Tigertown was exposed even as Col­lins danced back to the sidelines.

Spontaneous applause broke out among the Tiger fans.

“I thought the boys played a good game,” explained one woman who was applauding.

No question about that. This was by far the best of the Massillon‑Moeller games. It also was the first one in which the Tigers had the lead.

The Tigers took the lead by ram­ming the ball 69 yards on the first possession of the second half. They got the second‑half kickoff following a little bit of macho ‑ they had de­ferred after winning the opening coin toss, choosing to kick off to Moeller.

Knecht’s 33‑yard field goal on’ Moeller’s first possession of the second half made it 21‑17. The Tigers took a 23‑17 lead on the fourth play of the fourth quarter when Knecht, serving as Moeller’s punter, couldn’t reach a high snap that squirmed out of the end zone for a safety.

The Tigers couldn’t capitalize on good field position off the ensuing ‘fee kick, nor on similarly good field position after a Moeller punt.

Scott Karrenbauer’s fair catch of that punt gave Massillon possession on its own 29 with 6:46 left. Two play­ers who had their finest games adv­anced the ball downfield. Tight end Chris Roth caught a Barry Shertzer pass for 14 yards. Later, running back Travis McGuire twisted and churned for a 17‑yard gain for a first down on the Moeller 32.

On fourth‑and‑one from the 23, as the clock wound near 3:00, the Ti­gers decided to go for a first down.

“I thought they’d try to kick a field goal there,” Moeller coach Steve Klonne said. “If they’d have made a field goal, we’d have been dead.”

Owens said a field goal was not a realistic option, the coaches having determined from practice kicks that their range is 30 to 35 yards. The field goal would have been around 40 yards.

Instead, the give went to Falando Ashcraft, who had a touch of day­light inside but seemed to spot a big­ger opening to the outside. He bounced outside but was stopped by Moeller’s best defensive player, linebacker Jason Knecht.

Moeller proceeded to move the ball despite sacks by Massillon line­men Mark Murphy and Jermaine Hinton. Dougherty came up with the big completions when his team needed them the most. None was bigger than the fourth‑and‑10 pass to senior Jon Hess to the Massillon 39.

The play was somewhat controversial. Replays suggested Hess may have caught the sideline pass on a short hop. The spot of the ball seemed generous. Klonne seemed in agony on the sideline, apparently fearing it was over.

But when the measurement was made, Massillon coach Jim Letca­vits observed with quiet resolve on the sideline, “They got it by half the ball.”

Collins then scored on the next play, The big one had slipped away, leaving the Tigers hoping for better things in the next big one, this week.

First downs rushing 9 4
First downs passing 4 8
First downs Penalty 0 0
Total first down 13 12
Net yards rushing 156 151
Net yards passing 92 160
Total net yards 234 265
Passes attempted 15 23
Passes completed 9 12
Passes intercepted 0 1
Fumbles/lost 2‑1 1‑1
Punts 4 5
Punting average 42.0 38.0
Penalties 0 5
Yards penalized 0 40

Moeller 7 7 3 7 24
Massillon 7 7 7 2 23

MOE – Langenkamp 11 pass from Dougherty (Knecht kick)
MAS ‑ Ashcraft 1 run (John kick)
MOE ‑ Collins 4 run (Kncecht kick)
MAS ‑ McGuire 9 run (John kick)
MAS ‑ Ashcraft 1 run (John kick)
MOE ‑ FG Knecht 34
MAS ‑ Safety, Punt snapped out of end zone
MOE – Collins 39 pass from Dougher­ty (Knecht kick)

Moeller rallies
to stun Massillon

Repository sports writer

MASSILLON ‑ It was a simple play, but not an easy one to exe­cute unless you have an athlete with composure, good hands and 4.4 speed.

Unfortunately for an estimated crowd of just over 18,000 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, the Cincin­nati Moeller High School football team has just that type of athlete, senior running back Carlos Col­lins.

Collins, who last year stabbed the hearts of Massillon Washing­ton football fans with 322 yards rushing in a 41‑7 rout of the Ti­gers, did it again Saturday night. His 39‑yard TD reception with 14 seconds left in the game lifted Moeller (3‑1) to a 24‑23 victory over the Tigers.

Lined up as the inside receiver in the trips formation on fourth­and‑10, Collins blew past the out­side linebacker, streaked by the free safety and snared a perfectly thrown pass by quarterback Neil Dougherty. Terry Knecht’s PAT gave Moeller the one‑point win and raised the Crusaders’ lifetime record against the Tigers to 6‑0.

“The play is nothing fancy,” said Moeller head coach Steve Klonne. “Carlos just streaks ‑zoom! Right down the field. We knew there was nobody on the field who could stay with Carlos.

Not many high school kids can.”

Massillon defensive coordina­tor Greg Gillum said he knew the game‑winning formation was trouble, even though the Cru­saders had lined up in it earlier and not thrown to Collins.

“They’ve hit that play for big yardage in all the games they’ve played,” Gillum said. “We knew they’d be looking for Carlos. We had a guy play about five yards off to try and give them the under­neath stuff, but Carlos just blew by everyone.”

Collins, who finished with a game‑high 131 yards rushing on 23 carries, knew he was going to score as soon as he lined up.

“After about six steps, I saw the whole thing develop,” said the 6­foot‑1, 187‑pound Collins. “This was a thing of beauty, much more exciting than last year.”

The game also was a thing of beauty for the Tigers ‑ until the final drive, that is. But on that drive, which started at the Moeller 22 with 2:39 left to play, Moeller converted a third‑and‑ 10 situation at the Moeller 37, a fourth‑and‑seven at the Moeller 40 and the final fourth‑and‑10 sit­uation that crushed the Massillon faithful.

Massillon’s offense gave the Ti­gers a 21‑14 lead by taking the second‑half kickoff and going 69 yards on 14 plays. Junior Falando Ashcraft finished the drive 5:54 after it began by driving into the end zone from a yard out. Ryan John added the PAT.

Massillon’s defense then held Moeller to a 34‑yard field goal by Knecht at the 1:51 mark of the third.

Massillon punter Chris Roth had a big hand in the next score for Massillon ‑ a safety with 9:52 left in the game that gave Massillon a 23‑17 lead.

Roth boomed a 56‑yarder that backed the Crusaders up on their own 8. Four plays later, a high snap went through punter Knecht’s hands and out of the end zone.

What would have been Massil­lon’s game‑winning drive was stopped on fourth‑and‑1 at the Crusader 22. With 3:13 to go in the game and after Massillon had driven 49 yards in eight plays, Ashcraft plowed into the line, but was stopped for no gain.

Moeller out gained the Tigers in total yards, 265‑234. Moeller had one turnover, while Massillon had none.

Ashcraft led Massillon in rushing with 48 yards on 20 carries. He scored two TDs, the first coming on a 1‑yard run that tied the score at 7‑7 in the first quarter.

Massillon running back Travis McGuire, who had some big gains off the draw play, set up Ash­craft’s second TD with a 23‑yard burst to the 1. He also scored on a 9‑yard draw up the middle to knot the score at two TDs apiece with 1:17 left in the first half.

Moeller 7 7 3 7 24
Massillon 7 7 7 2 23

MO ‑ Lagenkamp 8 pass from Dougherty (Knecht kick)
MA ‑ Ashcraft 1 run (John kick)
MO – Collins 4 run (Knecht kick)
MA ‑ McGuire 9 run (John kick)
MA ‑ Ashcraft 1 run (John kick)
MO ‑ FG Knecht 34
MA ‑ Safety. Punt snap out of end zone
MO ‑ Collins 39 pass from Dougherty (Knecht kick)

Chad Buckland
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1990: Massillon 20, Akron Garfield 14

Tigers get win, Rams get respect
Moeller next for 3‑0 Massillon

Independent Sports Editor

Forget the “looking ahead to Moeller factor.

Instead, give Akron Garfield an Aretha Franklin salute:


That’s what the Rams deserve for giving the Massillon Tigers a night on the edge be­fore 11,370 in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium,

While it is true the Massillon Tigers were not at their best in a 20‑14 victory over Gar­field, a couple other things also are true.

Program Cover

One, in the words of old warhorse Nick Vrotsos as he kicked around the game with other Massillon coaches, “The name of the game is to win.”

Two, Garfield is a very good team; so good, in fact, that head coach Lee Owens made sense when he said, “I’d be surprised‑if- they lost another game.”

Two observers in entirely different parts of the Massillon locker room made exactly the same point. They were Gary Vogt, last year’s Booster Club president, and Tom Stacy, the Tigers’ offensive coordinator.

“Garfield has got to be the best 0‑2 team in the state,” they both said.

Hard to argue. The Rams have outgained both McKinley (218‑184) and Massillon (293­236) in their defeats.

Bill McGee, the classy Garfield head coach, did not seem to take the loss hard.

“This was definitely a much better effort than our game against McKinley,” he said.

I’m proud of ’em. I think we’re on our way. ”

The Tigers, 3‑0, wore down their first two opponents, Stow and Covington Catholic, in winning by a combined 90‑14 margin. Both of those opponents used many two‑way players. So did Garfield, but the Rams hardly faded in the fourth quarter.

In fact, Garfield drove 81 yards for a touch­down early in the fourth quarter to make it 20‑14 and had the ball at midfield with three minutes left before an interception by Dan Hackenbracht on a flea‑flicker pass snuffed out the big scare.

McGee said one of the most important things his staff did all week was to plan sub­stitutions so two‑way starters could stay fresh.

“I think Massillon’s greatest strengths are diversification and the two‑platoon system,” McGee said. “We knew we’d be facing fresh players every time the ball changed hands.”

Two weeks ago Owens was saying the Tigers were at an exceptional level considering the earliness of the season. No more.

“We’ve practiced poorly the last two weeks and it’s started to catch up to us,” he said after improving his personal record against Garfield to 2‑0. “My biggest concern is that we have not improved. I’m just glad Moeller is the next team we play. That will force the entire team to come up a notch. I expect to have a great week of practice.”

Ah, yes, Moeller. The Fighting Crusaders, 4‑0 in the abbreviated all‑time series with the Tigers, will be in Massillon next Saturday.

“In my heart I believe we are a better team than they are,” said Owens, speaking of Moeller. “I hope we can convince the players of that.”

One player who does not need to be con­vinced is defensive tackle Ron Humphrey.

Tigers needed some big plays to beat Garfield and Humphrey provided a couple of them. One was an eight‑yard sack of Gar­field’s junior quarterback, Barry Christ, late in the first half that preserved a 13‑8 lead at the intermission.

” I don’t think we were looking ahead, ” said Humphrey, a 6‑foot‑2, 235‑pound senior. “We were coming off the road trip to Cincinnati and we were a little tired. We weren’t fo­cused. I think we will be next week.

“Garfield was also a lot stronger than the other teams we’ve played. A lot smarter, too. They used their running backs to help block our front four and it was effective. The other teams hadn’t done that.”

Tony DeLappi, a senior lineman on the other side of the ball, agreed Garfield was the best of the Tigers’ three opponents so far. He also agreed the Tigers weren’t at their best.

“We didn’t play to our full potential,” the 5‑11, 230‑pound offensive tackle said. “We’re capable of playing better. Next week, I think everybody will see us play to our potential.”

DeLappi was on the field during the most important series of the game when the Tigers scored after the second‑half kickoff to take a two‑touchdown lead.

Massillon also scored on its first possession of the first quarter after a sack by Tiger de­fensive end Jermaine Hinton snuffed out Garfield’s opening series. On fourth down from the 13‑yard line, Tiger quarterback Barry Shertzer had good enough protection to scan both sides of the field, then loft a pass over 6‑3 cornerback Corvin Harrison to 6‑5 split end Steve Brown at the back of the end zone on the right side. Ryan John’s kick made it 7‑0 with 5: 50 left in the first quarter.

Garfield then started on its own 25 after sophomore Jason Brown’s kickoff. Two plays later, on third-and‑two, 6‑foot, 185‑pound senior halfback Troy Robinson broke two tackles on the right side and exploded 67 yards for a touchdown. It was a play Garfield has been using for many years. The powerful, speedy Robinson followed 220 pound fullback Sean James’ block on an off‑tackle play. Foes know it’s corning, but Garfield’s execution can still kill you.

Garfield took an 8‑7 lead on a bit of luck. The P.A.T. snap was botch­ed. Sophomore quarterback Joe Nemith, the place‑kick holder, tracked down the loose ball and found John Wright wide open for a two‑point conversion pass.

Massillon showed its respect for Garfield on the next series. On fourth‑and‑one from their own 43, the Tigers punted. Under Owens, they usually use a fake or a regular play under similar circumstances.

Senior Chris Roth, who had his best night as a Tiger punter, buried Garfield at the 16. Garfield plowed to midfield when, on a carry by Robinson, Scott Karrenbauer strip­ped the ball and Chad Buckland rec­overed for the Tigers.

Shertzer went to Brown again seven plays later, lofting a 21‑yard scoring strike over 5‑10 defender Reggie Hitchcock. Brown’s second TD was part of a big night that in­cluded eight catches for 82 yards.

The Tigers had trouble after the touchdown, calling two timeouts to sort out some confusion before a two‑point conversion pass attempt failed when Roth dove to catch a tipped ball but landed just out of bounds.

That made it 13‑8 at the half.

Garfield had bottled up the Ti­gers’ running game in the first half. Junior Falando Ashcraft, who rushed for 190 yards against Covington Catholic, was held to 12 yards the first half. He doubled that number immediately with a 24­yard blast on his first carry of the second half.

A twisting 11‑yard run by Travis McGuire on second‑and‑nine was another key as the Tigers marched 76 yards in 11 plays. Ashcraft dove in from the one and John added the P.A.T. kick to make it 20‑8 with 8:26 left in the third quarter.

Garfield stopped itself on its next possession, as Hitchcock, one of the two‑way starters, simply lost the handle on a handoff. Hackenbracht, continuing to show a big‑play knack (two interceptions last week), reco­vered the fumble.

It was three plays and punt for the Tigers, though. Another good Roth punt pinned Garfield at the 19. It took the Rams three plays to dig out and turn the game back into a thril­ler. The play was a 47‑yard pass to Corvin Harrison, who was covered well but forcefully snatched Christ’s deep pass.

On fourth‑and‑seven from the 13 Christ hit Hitchcock for 10 yards. Morris Cosey, best known as a 250­pound defensive tackle, got the ball from the fullback position on the next play and barged Fridge‑like into the end zone, off tackle, stand­ing up.

The Rams tried a fake kick on the P‑A‑T, but it was short‑circuited when sophomore Eric Woods tack­led Nemith before Nemith could get off a pass. It was 20‑14 with 9:38 left.

The Tigers, then the Rams, then the Tigers again went one‑two­-three‑punt on the game’s next three series.

The Rams got the ball on their 30‑yard line with 3:41 left.

“They’d run the ball effectively but they were running out of time,” Owens said. “They couldn’t just try to drive the ball down the field.”

On second‑and‑seven from the Tiger 47, as the clock wound past two minutes, Robinson took a handoff, then pitched the ball to Christ. The quarterback heaved a bomb toward Harrison, but Hackenbracht was in perfect position and made an over-­the‑shoulder interception on the 8.

Ashcraft mustered a 13‑yard run on first down, a key play in that the Tigers were then able to run out the clock.

First downs rushing 8 7
First downs Passing 5 3
First downs Penalty 1 0
Total first down 14 10
Net yards rushing 149 229
Net yards passing 99 81
Total net yards 236 293
Passes attempted 18 8
Passes completed 9 4
Passes intercepted 0 2
Fumbles/lost 2‑1 6‑2
Punts 5 3
Punting average 40.6 42.3
Penalties 1 4
Yards Penalized 5 28
Time of poss 21:28 38:32


(Mas) McGuire 9‑43, Ashcraft 17‑68, Shertzer 6‑18, McCullough 1‑8.
(Gar) Robinson 17‑124, Hitchcock 6‑45, James 7‑40, Cosey 4‑13.

(Mas) Shertzer 9‑18‑0,99 yards.
(Gar) Christ 4‑8‑2, 81 yards.

(Mas) Brown 8‑82, Stafford 1‑7, McGuire 1‑10.
(Gar) Hitchcock 1‑11, Harrison 2‑60, Robinson 1‑10.

Massillon 7 6 7 0 20
Garfield 8 0 0 6 14

M ‑ Brown 13 pass from Shertzer (John kick)
G ‑ Robinson 67 run (Wright pass from Nemith)
M ‑ Brown 2l Pass from Shertzer (pass failed)
M ‑ Ashcraft 1 run (John kick)
G ‑ Cosey 3 run (run failed)

Chad Buckland