1975: Massillon 15, Canton McKinley 21
BULLDOG THEFTS HELP DECLAW TIGERS 21-15
By BOB STEWART
Repository Sports Editor
It was a rude way to treat a visitor, Massillon got mugged in Canton Saturday.
The visiting Massillon Tigers had to believe they were in “fun city” and the McKinley Bulldogs stole everything but the orange-and-black sox.
The Bulldog bandits, better known as the McKinley defense, picked off four Massillon passes and pounced on three fumbles to slap the Tigers wit a 21-15 defeat.
There were 20,435 witnesses to the “crime” at Fawcett Stadium as the weatherman misplaced his calendar and provided a beautiful September day on Nov. 8.
It was the 80th game in the scholastic football classic that dates back to 1894. McKinley now has won 32, Massillon 43 and five were ties.
The victory concludes the season with McKinley winning its ninth straight to finish 9-1. Massillon is 6-3-1.
The win also gave the Bulldogs an unbeaten 5-0 mark and undisputed championship of the All-American Conference. Massillon finishe4d 3-2 in the conference in a second-place tie with Warren Harding.
Bill Poulos and Eric Llewellyn were the heroes for the Bulldogs.
Poulos, who has played in the shadow of the Pups fine quarterback Roch Hontas, turned in a magnificent performance as he intercepted two Massillon aerials in the first half to set up two McKinley touchdowns.
Massillon Coach Chuck Shuff called Poulos’ second interception the key to the game.
“It allowed them (the Bulldogs) to get that second score just before the half and I think that made a great deal of difference in the game,” Shuff said.
Llewellyn pounced on two Massillon fumbles in the second half, but he made the big play in the fourth period when he intercepted another errant aerial and returned it 25 yards to the Tigers’ 12-yard line to set up the winning and final McKinley TD.
“It was a great effort by our kids,” said a jubilant McKinley Coach John Brideweser. “The defense was great, just super. You can’t ask any more of those guys.”
“All year our kids have been doing things they really shouldn’t be able to do and they do it on sheer determination and guts,” Brideweser praised.
Four minutes into the game Poulos stung the Tigers the first time quarterback Todd keller put the ball in the air.
The 5-foot-9, 195 pound senior cornerback stepped in front of the Tiger receiver at the 50, grabbed the pass and raced all the way to the Massillon 16. From there Hontas got four yards on a rollout after scrambling back to the 40 and after fullback Ken Hall was stopped for no gain, an offside penalty against the Tigers put the ball on the 7.
Hontas pitched left to swift Tom Grafton who sped into the end zone behind the blocking of Larry DuBose and Elmer Jackson.
A McKinley fumble gave Massillon the ball at midfield 35 seconds before the end of the half.
Keller was sacked by McKinley’s Tim Moore and also was called for intentionally grounding the ball, to put the ball at the Tigers’ 34.
Poulos then pulled his second theft of the Keller pass, returning it from the 44 to the 27. Hontas completed a 15-yarder to Mel Weatherspoon, who got out-of-bounds at the 12.
Then Hontas fired into the end zone where Massillon defensive back Anthony Grizzard tipped the ball, but McKinley’s Ray Ellis snared it for the TD just six ticks of the clock before halftime.
The third quarter was less than three minutes old when another McKinley fumble (the Bulldogs lost three of four) gave Massillon the ball at its own 40, where the Tigers mounted their only drive of the game.
Massillon went 60 yards in 15 plays, with fullback Bill Harmon running 12 times for 47 of the yards, including the five-yard TD plunge. His brother, Keith kicked the point and the Tigers trailed only 13-7.
McKinley deep back Fred Haywood, a 6-2 senior, came up with a defensive gem saving a Tiger TD early in the fourth period when he batted down a halfback pass from Bill Harmon and intended for Bill Bammerlin who had beaten the Bulldogs’ secondary.
On the next play, middle guard Gerald Jackson belted Keller loose from the ball and Llewellyn covered his second fumble. But the Pups had to punt it away, with Poulos kicked it to the Tigers’ 23.
After Harmon got a yard, Keller put it in the air again and disaster struck. Llewellyn picked it off at the 35 and raced to the 12. Mike Beadle then got six on his lone carry of the day and Grafton swept to the one. Hontas then used the silent count quarterback sneak to ice the game with 6:50 left on the clock.
Massillon put the fans on their feet for the final time two plays later when Tom Grizzard found a hole in the left side of the McKinley line, cut back using the umpire for a key block and raced 75 yards for the final Massillon score. Bill Harmon’s run cut the margin to
21-15, the final score, with 5:37 left.
The Pups put together a time-consuming march from their own 47 to the Tiger’s 23, before losing the ball on downs with 1:32 remaining.
Keller threw two incompletions and Haywood picked off the fourth interception of the day and ran it back to the Tiger’s 16, where Hontas fell down twice to run out the clock and give Canton McKinley fans peace and tranquility for another 364 days.
Ends – Bill Bammerlin (6-2, 167, Sr.); Mark Matie (6-0, 225, Sr.).
Tackles – Mike Lauber (5-11, 207, Sr.); Sylverster Drobney (6-1, 216, Sr.).
Guards – Todd Schumacher (5-11, 200, Sr.) Carl Christoff (5-8, 172, Sr.).
Center – Dan Nagle (5-11, 232, Sr.).
Quarterback – Todd Keller (6-1, 185, Sr.).
Halfbacks – Tom Grizzard (6-0, 185, Sr.) Keith Harmon (6-2, 195, Sr.).
Fullback – Bill Harmon (6-1, 237, Sr.)
Ends – K. Harmon; Drobney.
Tackles – Steve Easter (6-1, 203, Sr.); Matie.
Middle guard – Jess Toles (5-10, 192, Jr.).
Linebackers – Anthony Grizzard /(5-10, 163, Jr.); T. Grizzard).
Secondary – Glenn Arner (6-1, 173, Sr.); Don Stewart (5-11, 151, Sr.); Willey Conley (5-11, 173, Sr.); Harold Dorsey (5-11, 188, Sr.).
First downs-rushing 8 4
First downs-passing 1 5
First downs-penalties 2 2
Total first downs 11 11
Yards gained rushing 222 121
Yards lost rushing 18 24
Net yards gained rushing 204 97
Net yards gained passing 17 82
Total yards gained 221 179
Passes completed 1-10 7-12
Yardage on passes intercepted 0 4-100
Kickoff average (yards) 3-44.3 4-54.7
Kickoff returns (yards) 51 0
Punt average (yards) 4-40.0 6-39.0
Punt returns (yards) 11 4
Had punts blocked 0 0
Lost fumbled ball 3-3 3-4
Yards penalized 8-56 6-60
Touchdowns rushing 2 2
Touchdowns passing 0 1
Total number of plays 55 53
Total time of possession 27:05 20:15
City getting steamed up for big grid game
By CHUCK HESS, JR.
Independent Sports Editor
The victory bell was ringing, Washington High hallways were decorated with pep signs, a car parade wound its way up Oak Ave SE past Washington High. You could tell it was Thursday – two days before the season ending football game with arch-rival Canton McKinley.
The schools are closed today because of a county-wide teachers’ in-service training day.
IN HIS OFFICE, Tiger Athletic Director and Head Coach Chuck Shuff concentrated on plans for Saturday’s contest which is to start at 2 p.m. at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium before a sellout crowd of 22,000. Standing room only tickets will go on sale at 1 p.m. at the stadium’s Blake Ave. gate.
Fans were advised to use car pools and get to the stadium early because parking spaces will not be as plentiful this year. This is because of construction work on the McKinley High School, slated to open for the 1976-77 school year.
“McKinley will be the most well-balanced team offensively we will have faced,” Shuff said. “Roch Hontas is the hub of the Bulldogs’ offense. The way he goes is the way McKinley’s offense will go.”
Hontas is the All-American Conference’s leading passer. Split end Mel Weatherspoon and wingback Ray Ellis, his favorite targets are among the league’s leading receivers.
The Bulldogs, on the strength of Hontas’ arm and aided by the quick threats of tailback Tom Grafton (9.7 clocking in the 100) and halfback Ken Hall, will be out to get revenge for a last-second 20-15 loss pinned on them by the Orange and Black in 1974 at Tiger Stadium. A win will give McKinley a 5-0 record, the AAC title and an outside chance of getting into the state’s Class AAA playoffs.
THE BULLDGOS, who would end the season 9-1, if they win, (they lost their opener), were knocked out of the playoff picture by the Tigers last year. The Orange and Black (6-2-1, 3-1) are in second place in the AAC and would like to spoil the Pups’ chances again and tie for the league title.
McKinley is in second place in the Region 3 computer poll. Massillon is in fifth.
“We have to put pressure on Hontas Saturday,” Shuff said. “We can’t let him have a lot of time to throw.”
Hontas, who passed for one touchdown and kicked a 25-yard field goal in the 1974 game, has picked apart teams which have given him too much time to set up. He throws a lot of bootleg passes.
The Bulldogs use Hontas’ passing to help maintain control of the ball with short passes,” Shuff said. “He has the choice of running or passing on the bootleg. He’ll throw on any down and he will throw the bomb.”
Shuff expects the Bulldogs to use a six-man line against the Tigers in order to hobble Tiger fullback Bill Harmon, the AAC leading ground gainer and second leading scorer.
“They’ve been running it quite a bit this year,” the skipper said. “If we feel we can pass to break it up, we will pass.”
SHUFF REPORTED that practices have been spirited this week. The team knows it has a job to do, the students are ready and both groups hope all fans will show their support tonight and Saturday. Because one of the biggest crowds ever turned out for last year’s parade and rally and because they gave their loud support at the game, the Tigers sprang an upset on the Bulldogs.
“Desire is always a big part of this game and it will be again Saturday,” said Shuff, who will be in his second game as the Tiger chief.
Both teams will be in top shape. Senior defensive end Jeff Lab is expected to see some action. He has been sidelined a good part of the season with an injury.
One change in the Tigers’ starting defensive lineup will see senior Steve Easter at left tackle.
The Tigers and their coaches will be feted one last time tonight by the Tiger sideliners. Dinner will start at 5:45 p.m. at the Massillon American Legion Post 221.
Then it will be on to the “Beat McKinley” downtown parade and bonfire rally at Agathon Field. Starting time for the parade will be 7 p.m.
The team will have a pancake and steak breakfast at 9:30 a.m., Saturday at the high school. Then they’ll walk to St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church and the traditional service conducted by the Rev. Wayne E. Yeager, the church’s pastor.
After that buses will take them to Fawcett Stadium.
Large crowd cheers
Tigers in parade,
By CHUCK HESS, JR.
Many Massillonians took one last fling Friday night in getting their Tigers ready for today’s 80th renewal of the famed Massillon-Canton McKinley grid classic. The game will be played before a sellout crowd of 22,000 at 2 p.m., at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium.
One of the largest crowds ever to witness a pre-game parade and rally turned out for the pep events.
The traditional “Beat McKinley” parade started at Washington High School and wound its way through downtown streets to Agathon Field, where a bonfire rally was held. Leading the parade was the Tiger Swing Band.
COACHES, school officials and Tiger Booster Club officials spoke to the fans, all assuring them that the Orange and Black would not disappoint their faithful today.
For the team and their coaches, the night’s festivities began at the home of American Legion Post 221, where the Tiger Sideliners held the final meal of the season with the team. Then came the parade and rally.
The team and coaches ate a pancake and steak breakfast this morning at the high school. They then proceeded to St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church for the traditional pre-game service.
McKinley tops Massillon by 6
By Hymie Williams
Plain Dealer Bureau
CANTON – Alert defensive plays that turned Massillon miscues into dividends propelled the Canton McKinley Bulldogs to a 21-15 victory Saturday at Fawcett Stadium before 20,435 in the 80th renewal of the nation’s best known scholastic football rivalry.
Four interceptions and three fumble recoveries by the Bulldogs helped them to their ninth straight victory after an opening game setback to Youngstown Cardinal Mooney. The triumph also handed them the championship of the All-American Conference. Massillon finished the season with a 6-3-1 mark and leads in the series with McKinley, 43-22-5.
Massillon trailed, 13-0, at the half but tallied in the third period to cut the margin to 13-7. McKinley snapped back when linebacker Eric Llewellyn, the defensive star for the Canton team, intercepted a Tiger aerial on the 12 in the fourth period. Three plays later, McKinley had another touchdown which proved enough. Llewellyn had two fumble recoveries, one interception and was the leading tackler.
McKinley was led on offense by Roch Hontas, senior quarterback who started the game for the second straight year. He hit on seven of 12 attempts for 82 yards. One of the passes went for a touchdown. Hontas also scored the final McKinley touchdown on a one-yard sneak.
Big Billy Harmon, the 237-pound Massillon fullback, was stymied in the first half with only 25 yards but he wound up with 94 yards and scored Massillon’s first touchdown.
The first touchdown for the Bulldogs, which came at 6:48 of the opening quarter, was set up by corner Bill Poulos, who intercepted and ran to the Tiger 16. Hontas made it to the 12 before 190-pound linebacker Tommy Grafton zipped around left end for the score. Hontas kicked the extra point.
Midway in the second quarter, Massillon had driven to the McKinley 30 but fumbled and Llewellyn hopped on the bouncing ball.
It appeared the half might end without further scoring when Massillon recovered a McKinley fumble late in the stanza. But Poulos was Johnny-on-the-spot again on the 23.
Hontas hit Melvin Weatherspoon on the 12. On the next play, Hontas rifled a pass towards wingback Ray Ellis in the end zone.
Two Tiger defenders took turns at swatting at the ball but the ball oozed into the waiting arms of Ellis, who did a happy dance in the end zone after the catch. Hontas’ attempt for the extra point was wide to the left.
Massillon was inspired for the second half. The Tigers recovered a McKinley miscue and with Bill Harmon carrying the mail in 12 of 14 plays the Tigers covered 60 yards for the score. Keith Harmon, Billy’s 205-pound brother, kicked the extra point.
Massillon appeared headed goal-wards again soon after but Llewellyn discovered a Tiger fumble on the 42 and captured it. McKinley could make no headway and was forced to kick.
Quarterback Todd Keller of Massillon, who had a disturbing afternoon, attempted a pass which was intercepted by Llewellyn on the Tiger 12. In three plays, McKinley was across the goal line on Hontas’ one yard sneak. Grafton ran over for the extra points.
Massillon didn’t quit. The Tigers roared back as tailback Tommy Grizzard ran 75 yards in a scintillating dash down the field. Bill Harmon bulled over for the extra points.
Massillon had a final chance with the ball with 90 seconds to play but Weatherspoon intercepted a Keller pass to extinguish the Tigers hopes. McKinley ran out the clock and walked off the field with its sweetest victory of the season.
’75 puzzling season
for Tiger grid team
By CHUCK HESS, JR.
Independent Sports Editor
What’s the answer?
Two days after the season closing 80th renewal of the Massillon-Canton McKinley gridiron classic the Tigertown faithful are still asking that question. What made a season which appeared to have so much promise never live up to its rave notices?
How can a team be so snake bitten in one afternoon before 20,435 fans at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium that is has four passes intercepted, setting up all of Canton McKinle4y’s touchdowns in its 21-15 win? How can a team be so unlucky that it also has three fumbles recovered by the opposition, each killing promising drives?
HOW CAN “Tiger Luck” desert the Orange and Black as disastrously that what Washington High defensive coordinator Joe Siesel called a “super defensive effort” might as well not have been. The Tigers held a well-balanced McKinley offense to 179 total yards. Eighty-two of those yards came in the air, compared to Massillon’s 17.
The Bulldogs felt the pain Tiger defenders dished out, to the tune of losing three of their four fumbles. McKinley assistant coach Bill Michaels, a former aide, described the situation well.
“You should have seen us at halftime,” he said. “We left it all out there on the field.”
Hashing and rehashing the 1975 season may help to make the 10 long months until the 1976 season opens pass faster for the Tiger faithful. There are many factors to consider. Even Tiger Coach Chuck Shuff isn’t sure of all the answers.
“I don’t know what the problem was in the first half,” Shuff said. “If you could be too ready for a game, maybe that was the case. I know our kids were ready. We showed it the second half. We just made mistakes you can’t go with.
“IT WAS a physical game. I can’t be prouder of our kids. We hit them. We didn’t receive any hitting. We made very few adjustments at halftime. We just reassured the boys of the things we had to get done and they came out and did it. Joe Siesel and the defensive staff did a whale of a job. The defensive kids played great football. They kept coming back and making the plays.”
But a team can stand only so much pressure.
McKinley halfback Bill Poulos started the heart breaking afternoon for Tiger quarterback Todd Keller by picking off a pass on the Bulldog 38 and running back to the WHS 16 where Keller knocked him out of bounds. Two plays later tailback Tom Grafton skirted end from the seven – after a Massillon encroachment penalty – with 6:48 left in the first quarter. Roch Hontas kicked the conversion and the 7-0 lead gave the Bulldogs the momentum early.
Poulos picked off another pass on the Massillon 42 late in the second quarter and ran to the Tigers’ 27. Hontas threw consecutive passes to Mel Weatherspoon and wingback Ray
Ellis – who had the help of Willie Conley’s deflection to aid his catch – but Hontas’ kick was wide left to keep the score at 13-0 with six seconds left in the half.
The third steal was by linebacker Eric Llewellyn who returned from the Massillon 35 to the Tigers’ 12 in the last quarter. Three plays later Hontas sneaked over from the half-yard line – with 6:50 left in the game – after a Massillon personal foul penalty. Grafton raced outside end for the conversion.
LLEWELLYN ALSO recovered a pair of Tiger fumbles inside McKinley territory to put the brakes on the Orange and Black.
The Tigers scored in the third quarter on a 59-yard, 15-play drive after halfback Don Stewart had recovered a McKinley fumble on the Bulldogs’ 41. Fullback Bill Harmon carried on 13 of the plays and over guard from the five for the score with 1:40 left. Brother Keith kicked the conversion.
Harmon ended with 94 yards to 25 attempts and 1,278 yards for the season to make him the second all-time leading rusher in the All-American Conference.
The Obiemen’s other score came on a 75-yard draw play in the fourth quarter. After a
15-yard punt runback by Pete Killins, tailback Tommy Grizzard, obviously tired from playing an outstanding game at linebacker, made the run with 5:37 left on the clock. Bill took a pitch off tackle for the conversion.
“Our kids played with pain all season,” McKinley Coach John Brideweser said. “Roch Hontas had a broken hand twice and never said a thing. Ray Ellis had a broken thumb. Cliff Frazier had a sprained shoulder and re-injured it when he hit Harmon.
Shuff plans to
stay as coach
Tiger head football Coach Chuck Shuff cast aside today, weekend rumors which had him tendering his resignation as coach.
“I have a three-yard contract and for all loyal Tiger Boosters, I’m saying I plan to stay,” Shuff said.
Shuff has one year to go on a three-yard contract. He came to Massillon in 1974 from Fremont. His two-year record is 12-7-1.
The final Tiger Booster Club session of 1975 will be delayed one day due to a meeting of All-American Conference coaches which will find the mentors selecting this year’s all-league team.
The booster will meet Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the Washington High School auditorium. Films of the McKinley game will be shown and head Coach Chuck Shuff will answer questions on the game.
Distance no deterrent
to fans of Pups, Tigers
By DAVE KAMINSKI
One’s first indication that the Massillon vs. McKinley football game is not just another high school contest might have come by walking to Fawcett Stadium Saturday afternoon.
There are not many games that will draw so many out-of-state license plates, as seen on cars parked around Fawcett Saturday. Distance is no deterrent to some fans of the annual clash.
It certainly wasn’t for Tom Beadle of Tamp, Fl. Tom was on hand in the crowd of 20,435 to see his brother Mile play defense for the Bulldogs and to run once out of the McKinley backfield for 6 yards.
Helium balloons were big for both sides. The Massillon fans had a few hundred black and orange orbs contained in giant plastic bags on the sidelines, waiting to be released when the Tigers took to the field.
It looked like Massillon’s helium show would outdo host McKinley’s. But, as the Bulldogs emerged from their locker room, the roof suddenly came off a replica of McKinley high positioned on a trailer on the field and from out of the school came McKinley’s spheres of black and red.
Like a flock of birds, the balloons from both cheering sections rose and floated out of the stadium to signal the start of the contest.
Meanwhile, Obie, Massillon’s Tiger mascot, was inspecting the Massillon sideline, stopping to lick the hands of friendly fans while tethered on the leash of his trainer.
He playfully pawed and nuzzled the orange-clad faithful, but one has to wonder if Obie is trained to see the color red in a different light.
A psychological war took place between the opposing teams before the real battle began. McKinley took to the field and assumed more than its half of the 100 yards to perform warm-up exercises. To counter, this, the Tigers, grouped in the end zone suddenly jumped into a sprint across field, stopping just short of colliding with the first row of Bulldogs.
Fans, sporting orange or red, depending on their persuasion, participated in their own kind of mayhem in the seats.
But soon the contest began and the festival trappings of the game took a back seat to the action.
In total net rushing, Massillon out-legged McKinley 189-93.
Leading in the individual-offense figures were a couple of runners for the losing Massillon Tigers. Tailback Tom Grizzard totaled 90 yards in 5 carries, including a 75-yard scamper in the fourth quarter for Massillon’s second touchdown. Fullback Bill Harmon carried 24 times for 87 yards.
McKinley’s leading rusher was halfback Tom Grafton, who managed 50 net yards on 15 totes. Backfield mate Ken Hall rushed for 35 yards in 7 tries.
Roch Hontas’ passing was much the story of McKinley’s offensive success. Hontas hit on 7 of 13 aerials for 83-yards and a touchdown. In comparison, Tiger signal caller Todd Keller netted only 17 yards on one completed pass. He tried 10 and had 4 intercepted.
McKinley lost 3 of its 4 fumbles, while the Tigers gave up all 3 of their bobbles. In first downs, the Pups led 13-11. Bill Poulos averaged 36.8 yards per attempt on 5 punts for McKinley. Tiger punter Keith Harmon booted 4 times and averaged 38 yards per shot.
McKinley lost 67 yards on 6 penalties, while the Tigers had 60 markers stepped off against them in 8 incidents.