Massillon QB Huth knocked out as Moeller rolls to 48‑14 victory
By CHRIS EASTERLING
The Massillon Tigers hoped Saturday’s late afternoon game with Moeller inside Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati would answer some questions about themselves. Instead, the 48‑14 loss at the hands of the Crusaders simply opened up many more queries in search of answers.
“I thought we were better than that.” Tiger coach Tom Stacy said. “We didn’t get tested the first two weeks. But we’re going to have to find out where our weaknesses are, maybe make some personnel changes and go from there.”
It was a potentially costly game for the Tigers, as quarterback Bobby Huth was knocked out of the game on the next‑to‑last play of the third quarter on a passing play. He spent the remainder of the game in an apparent daze on the bench.
Stacy would not speculate on the nature of the injury. The Tiger coach didn’t expect a diagnosis until today at the earliest.
“I don’t know to what extent he’s hurt without the doctors looking at him first,” Stacy said.
No one questioned the fact the Tigers were going to face their first legitimate test of the season when they teed it up against Moeller. Massillon outscored its first two foes ‑ North Park (Ont.) and H.D. Woodson (D.C.) ‑ by a 127‑13 margin, but neither boasted a rugged, tough, hard‑hitting defense like the Crusaders.
But what transpired on Saturday afternoon was a splash of cold water in the face for the Tigers, who felt they had an offense which could still score points against Moeller’s 3‑3‑5 defense.
Outside of the Tigers’ second‑quarter scoring drive and a last‑ditch possession at the end of the game, Massillon snapped the ball just once on the Moeller side of midfield in accumulating just 198 yards off offense.
“We need to try to get better and do what we do‑best.” Stacy said. “Maybe there are some things we’re doing that we shouldn’t doing. Maybe we got some false information from playing two opponents in those first two games who weren’t very good’. We’ll have to regroup and look at the tape and try to get better.”
Things don’t exactly get easier for Massillon, with or without Huth. The Tigers return to the friendly confines of Paul Brown Tiger Stadium this Saturday, but the opponent is nationally ranked Arizona power Hamilton.
The Tigers will hope the return home can bring with it a better start than the one they had against Moeller. The Crusaders scored four times – three touchdowns and a field goal ‑ in a span of 5:30 late in the first quarter to jump on top 24‑0 after a Ryan Sunderland 37‑yard field goal with six seconds left in the stanza.
That fast start by the Crusaders was as much a result of Massillon miscues as it was Moeller plays. The Tigers surrendered a punt return for a score by Chedrick Cherry, an interception return for a touchdown by Dean Gaier and then set up the Crusaders’ third touchdown with a fumble at their own 21.
For the game, Moeller had more return yards ‑ punt and interception – than ‑ it had offensive yardage. The Crusaders had 245 return yards ‑ 146 of those punt return yards by Cherry – compared to 205 offensive yards.
“We’ve been working our tails off on special teams,” Moeller coach Bob Crable said. “Our special teams came through.”
A year ago, Massillon had to hold off a furious Elder rally after jumping on top 35‑7 before eventually prevailing 35‑31.
The Tigers tried to pull off one of their own, cutting the deficit to 24‑7 on a 3‑yard Brian Gamble run with 6:29 left in the second quarter.
Massillon cut it to 24‑14 when Corey Hildreth blocked a punt off the foot of the punter, and without breaking stride, grabbed the ball and raced 24 ‑ yards for a touchdown just 1:39 into the second half.
“There’s no question,” Stacy said of his faith in a comeback. “I always believe our kids and their ability to comeback. We have enough guys who played last year who believe the same things. We just didn’t execute.”
Nor did they have much of a chance to in the third quarter. Massillon ran all of eight plays in the third stanza, compared to 20 for Moeller, which led 27‑14 after three.
Any Massillon comeback attempt was negated by three Crusader scores on fourth‑quarter possessions. Two of those touchdowns were set up by turnovers by the Tigers, who gave the ball up five times on the day.
“I thought defensively we played well,” Stacy said. “We just gave them short field after short field. You have to give them credit.”
Massillon 0 7 7 0 14
Moeller 24 0 3 2 48
Moe ‑ Chedrick Cherry 49 punt return (Ryan Sunderman kick)
Moe ‑ Dean Gaier 50 interception return (Sunderman kick)
Moe ‑ Cherry 11 pass from Ross Oltorik (Sunderman kick)
Moe ‑ Sunderman 37 field goal
Mas ‑ Brian Gamble 3 run. (Steve Schott kick)
Mas ‑ Corey Hildreth 21 blocked punt return (Schott kick)
Moe ‑ Sunderman 45 field goal
Moe ‑ Oltorik 9 run (Sunderman kick)
Moe – Oltorik 11 run (Sunderman kick)
Moe – Bemary 4 run (Sunderman kick)
Gamble 11‑55 TD; J.T. Turner 6‑34; K.J. Herring 4‑21; Tommy Leonard 1‑7.
Patrick Blanks 17‑54.
Huth 10‑19‑69 2 INTs; Steve Ryder 1‑3‑6
Oltorik 12‑20‑142 TD 2 INTs.
Bryan Sheegog 4‑70; Andrew Dailey 3‑17; Giorgio Jackson 2‑8; Trey Miller 1‑8.
Brian Albrink 3‑53; Patrick Curtin 3‑28; Cherry 2‑26 TD; Blanks 2‑2.
Moeller topples Massillon 35-19 Tigers unable to come back in second half;
By TODD PORTER Repository sports writer
MASSILLON ‑ It was throwback night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Saturday night. A lot of old memories were brought back, but they left after the halftime show.
Including the way a Massillon High School football team is supposed to play the game they cherish here. At least for two quarters, the Tigers played their best half of the season.
The Massillon Tigers were kicked into gear to start the game, but Cincinnati Moeller came out in the second half and kicked them in the teeth.
The Crusaders handed Massillon its fifth loss of the season in winning 35‑19 in front of’ an inflated crowd announced at 11,518.
There were members of’ Chuck Mather’s 1948‑54 teams on the field before the game. They even formed a tunnel for the Tigers to run through.
The Tiger Swing Band took on the look of George “Red” Bird’s bands, the famed band leader while Paul Brown coached here.
That was enough to inspire Massillon for a half; unfortunately, there are two halves in a football game.
“We made a few adjustments, nothing major, but we started running to our trips because they walked off their (weakside) linebacker to that side,” Moeller head coach Steve Klonne said of’ his team’s second‑half effort.
Massillon gained less than 100 total yards in the second half, while Moeller ran off 266 and outscored the Tigers 27‑12.
The Tigers took points off the board on the opening drive of’ the game. Massillon took the ball to the Moeller 15, where Brett Marshall made a 32‑yard field goal. However, the Crusaders were called for roughing the kicker and the Tigers had the first‑and‑goal at the 7. Two plays later, though, Massillon fumbled the ball on a bad handoff and Moeller recovered.
That was not doom.
The Massillon defense forced Moeller to punt. The real Tigers came out this time.
Jason Jarvis returned the punt 17 yards to the Massillon 46. Running back Marc Cleveland was split right in a slot position, went in motion to the left, and took the handoff from junior quarterback Dave Irwin. Cleveland gained 39 yards and the Tigers had the ball inside the Moeller 20 at the 14.
Fullback Ron Lynn took a trap play, broke a tackle at the line, and scored from 14 yards out to give Massillon a 7‑0 lead with 2:04 left in the first quarter.
As good as Irwin was in his first varsity start, he was not perfect. He was sacked on a third‑and‑18 play from the Massillon 20 and Moeller’s John Oscar recovered at the 27.
But Irwin turned in perhaps the best performance of the year for a Massillon QB. He has spent the entire season as the starting junior varsity QB and running the scout team offense.
Massillon had a slim chance to take the lead before halftime. Defensive back Jamie Allman intercepted a Moeller pass inside the Tigers’ 10 and returned it to midfield. However, Massillon was out of timeouts and had less than a minute to score.
A sack and delay of’ game penalty ‑ after Massillon stopped the clock by spiking the ball on third down ‑ squashed any chances of’ a late first‑half touchdown.
Moeller set the tone in the second half when sophomore Marcus Blanks took most of the snaps at tailback. The Crusaders needed eight plays to go 65 yards and score after the second‑half kickoff. On four of’ those plays. Blanks gained 10 yards or more. He had runs of 14, 22, 16 and 10.
Brian Reisert scored on a keeper from a yard out and Moeller led 15‑7.
The Crusaders tacked on another TD in the third quarter. while Massillon could not respond.
“I think the first touchdown took a little wind away from them” Klonne said. “I think the second score is what put them away.
“Massillon’s offense got better from last week, and their defense has always been good. I think if you look at what (head coach Rick Shepas) is working with, and what he’s trying to do … you just need to be patient with them.”
How do you coach heart and effort when the game is on the line?
More than 40 minutes after the game. Massillon head coach Rick Shepas, whose team is 3‑5 for the first time since 1931, was not made available for comment.
Moeller 0 8 14 14 35 Massillon 7 0 0 12 19
MAS ‑ Lynn 14 run (Marshall kick) MOE ‑ Hughes 3 run (Hughes run) MOE ‑ Reisert 1 run (Murphy kick) MOE ‑ Reisert 16 run (Seuberling kick) MAS ‑ Irwin 8 run (pass failed) MOE ‑ Jackson 10 pass from Reisert (Seuberling kick) MOE ‑ Ryan 25 pass from Reisert (kick failed) MAS ‑ Miller 77 kickoff return (pass failed)
Team statistics Rushing: Moeller 47‑281, Massillon 27-115.
Afterward, Moeller coach Steve Klonne talked like some who had dodged a bullet, while Massillon’s Jack Rose had the look of someone who’d stopped one.
Moeller had just rallied from a seemingly insurmountable 24-7 fourth quarter Massillon lead to hand the Tigers a devastating 28‑24 set back at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Saturday. The Crusaders lingered on the field for a half hour following the game, reveling in their victory.
The Tigers sat stunned in their locker room, physically and emotionally spent from the drastic turn of events that saw them on the verge of upsetting the state’s No. 3 ranked Division 1 squad only to see the game and a strong shot at the playoffs slip away.
The turning point, in Klonne’s eyes, came when his offense went to a three wide receiver, set and spread out the Massillon defense.
“We’re down 24‑7 and things aren’t looking very good,” Klonne said. “We got in trips and the two‑minute offense right away. The game came down to trips and our running backs running the football a little bit. We were fortunate to complete some passes and get into the end zone.”
From Rose’s perspective, the Tigers lost the game much earlier, when they failed to capitalize on scoring opportunities in the first three quarters.
“We had our chances to blow the game wide open,” he said. “But those dropped balls … .”
“When you play a team like that you don’t feel comfortable with a 17‑point lead even in the fourth quarter because they have the ability to make the big play. The difference in the game was … except for one pass play where we make the big play, they have two or three plays that they make big plays out of and we didn’t.”
Massillon trailed 7‑6 at halftime, thanks to a 21‑yard Ryan Cooper to Casey Clark pass early in the second quarter. The Tigers came within a missed extra point of tying the score when Christian Morgan capped off a five‑play, 80‑yard drive by sweeping right into the end zone from three yards out with eight minutes until the band show. Two 25‑yard Tip Danzy to Dave Hodgson pass plays set up the score.
But the Tigers could have owned a one or two touchdown advantage at that point, if not for eight penalties (five for illegal procedure) and a couple dropped passes deep in Moeller territory.
“At halftime, I told the guys ‘Catch the hall. Just catch the football,”‘ Rose said. “We had played good defense except for the one pass play they popped on us.
Massillon owned the third quarter, as Morgan steamed 80 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage after taking a pitch from Danzy around his left end. Danzy scored the two‑point conversion and the Tigers led 14‑7 before the fans had settled back into their seats.
The Tigers marched 80 yards in 11 plays on their second possession of the half, keyed by two long Hodgson runs on draw plays. Danzy put the finishing touches on the drive when he lofted a perfectly thrown 28‑yard pass into the right corner of the end zone that Tyrie Clifford snagged for a touchdown with 1:38 left in the third period. Hose hit the PAT and it was 21‑7 Tigers.
Hose extended the lead to 24-7 when he split the uprights with a 36‑yard field goal at 9:11 of the fourth quarter, but the lead began to crumble on Moeller’s next possession.
After Hose’s deep kickoff pinned the Crusaders at their 6‑yard line, the hosts went to a three wide receiver set. Moeller gained a first down on a Cooper scramble to the 23. From there, the senior quarterback hit 210‑pound tailback Grant Crosthwaite with a swing pass on the right sideline and he did the rest, breaking two tackles and sprinting 77 yards to paydirt.
Tom Pucke’s conversion kick made it 24‑14 at 8:30 of the fourth.
“They had the long end of the field,” Rose observed. “They throw it to their back and we have him pinned on the sideline. But our DB doesn’t follow through with the tackle and knock him out of bounds. He bumps him. You can’t do stuff like that against a team like Moeller. It will get you beat every time.”
Moeller got the ball back with 5:32 to play after a Massillon punt rolled dead at the 3. But Cooper hit Brad Murphy for 57‑yards on the second play of the series then found Clark for 13 more on the next snap to move the hall to the Tiger 27-yard line. Six plays later, Crosthwaite found a gaping hole over right guard and scored from three yards out to make it a 24‑21 game at the 3:21 mark.
Then came the back breaker as Pucke executed the onside kick to perfection with the Crusaders recovering the ball at the Massillon 30. Four running plays later, Chris Wietmarschen went in from the 5 and the Tigers were history.
“Our kids were spent on defense,” Rose said. “We don’t have a lot of depth and we were rushing Cooper and chasing him around all night.
“We left our defense on the field the fourth quarter.”
Klonne tipped his hat to the Massillon defense afterward.
“We could not run the ball at all against Massillon,” he said. “Their front is physical and fast. They play some great defense.
“Our guys are cardiac arrest every week. But somehow they find a way to win.”
MOELLER 28 MASSILLON 24 Mo Ma First downs rushing 9 9 First downs passing 9 6 First downs by penalty 0 1 TOTAL first downs 18 16 Net yards rushing 141 193 Net yards passing 291 150 TOTAL yards 432 343 Passes attempted 17 24 Passes completed 12 8 Passes intercepted 0 0 Punts 4 5 Punting average 39.8 36.6 Fumbles/Lost 2/2 3/1 Penalties 2 11 Yards penalized 22 73
MOELLER 0 7 0 21 28 MASSILLON 0 6 15 3 24
Mo ‑ Clark 21 pass from Cooper (Pucke kick) Ma ‑ Morgan 3 run (Kick failed) Ma ‑ Morgan 80 run (Danzy run) Ma ‑ Clifford 28 pass from Danzy (Hose kick) Ma ‑ Hose 36 field goal Mo ‑ Crosthwaite 77 Pass from Cooper (Pucke kick) Mo ‑ Crosthwaite 2 run (Pucke kick) Mo ‑ Wietmarschen 4 run (Pucke kick)
Massillon receiving: Clifford 3‑55, Hodgson 2-49, James 2‑36, Venables 1‑10. Moeller receiving: Murphy 4‑119, Crosthwaite 3‑93, Clark 3‑38, Brandt 1‑29, Ryan 1‑
Moeller storms back to beat Massillon 28-24
Crusaders score three touchdowns in final 8:30
By CAREY HOFFMAN Enquirer contributor
Moeller scored three touchdowns in the final 8:30 to come from behind and score a 28‑24 victory over Massillon Saturday night at Nippert Stadium.
Moeller’s winning touchdown was set up by an onside kick with 3:29 left in the game that the Crusaders’ Matt Edwards recovered at the Massillon 30. Five rushing plays later, Chris Wietmarschen scored on a five‑yard run to give Moeller its first lead since halftime.
Massillon had one final chance beginning at its own 34 with 1:23 left in the game. The Tigers faced a fourth‑and‑15 at their own 29, but a sack by Moeller’s Joe Schulte ended the threat.
Moeller had cut the lead to 24‑20 when Grant Crosthwaite scored on a 77‑yard pass reception with 8:30 to play, then followed with a two‑yard run with 3:29 left.
A crowd announced at 5,074 watched as two of the state’s greatest traditions met in game filled with playoff implications. Moeller (7‑1) came into the game ranked No. 3 in Ohio Division 1, while Massillon (6‑2) was ranked No. 16.
After Moeller held a 7‑6 halftime lead, Massillon stunned Moeller on the opening play of the second half. Tailback Christian Morgan, who had been held to 13 yards on seven carries in the first half, took a pitch left, cut back into the middle and went 80 yards for a go‑ahead score. Quarterback Tip Danzy’s two‑point run put Massillon ahead 14‑7.
Massillon put Moeller in a two‑touchdown hole late in the third quarter after a long Moeller drive resulted in a missed field goal. Starting at its own 20, Massillon took 11 plays to move downfield.
The touchdown came on fourth-and‑14 from the Moeller 29. A Moeller blitzer came through clean on Danzy, but just before he made the hit, Danzy launched a high‑arcing pass towards the corner of the end zone. Massillon’s fastest player, wideout Tyrie Clifford, ran under the ball and made the catch, putting Massillon ahead, 21‑7.
After Moeller turned the ball over on downs in its own half of the field early in the fourth quarter, Massillon added to its lead, moving to a 24‑7 edge on Josh Hose’s 36‑yard field goal.
Moeller finally got back on the scoreboard when quarterback Ryan Cooper found Crosthwaite on a dump pass on the sideline and Crosthwaite danced around a pair of defenders, then went 77 yards for a TD. That cut the Massillon lead to 24‑14 with 8:30 to play.
Both teams turned to the air to find offense – and points – in the first half.
Moeller struck first at the 9:46 mark of the second quarter, when Cooper hit receiver Casey Clark on a short curl‑in pattern and Clark weaved through traffic into the end zone for a 21‑yard TD that put Moeller up 7‑0.
Moeller had only eight yards offense prior to the drive. The drive’s key play was Moeller’s first completed pass of the night, a 48‑yarder from Cooper to Brad Murphy to the Massillon 33‑yard line.
Massillon 0 6 15 3 24 Moeller 7 0 0 21 21
Moe ‑ Clark 21 pass from Cooper (Pucke kick) Mas ‑ Morgan 3 run (Kick wide) Mas ‑ Morgan 80 run (Danzy run) Mas ‑ Clifford 29 pass from Danzy (Hose kick) Mas ‑ Hose 36 FG Moe ‑ Crosthwaite 17 pass from Cooper (Pucke kick) Moe ‑ Crosthwaite 77 run (Pucke kick) Moe ‑ Wietmarschen 5 run (Pucke kick)
When it was gut‑check time, the Tigers laid it on the line against Cincinnati Moeller Saturday night in The Repository Game of the Week.
The unlikeliest of heros ‑ a second‑string fullback ‑ led the top‑ranked Tigers to a 20‑15 win over perennial pain‑in‑the‑neck Moeller.
Junior fullback Dave Hodgson broke a 74‑yard trap play that hit Moeller like a sledgehammer as the Tigers defeated the Crusaders for the second year in a row in front of 13,102.
“I never would have expected (Hodgson) would be the guy that decided this game,” Massillon head coach Jack Rose said. “Dave has some speed. It was an unbelievable run.”
Beating Moeller finally gave Massillon the “L” it has been searching for: Legitimacy.
“It seems like we haven’t gotten a lot of respect lately,” said Rose, whose players noticed they were 6‑3 underdogs in The Repository.
“I think they deserve it,” Moeller head coach Steve Klonne said. “Rankings are rankings and they don’t mean a thing unless you play like the No. 1 team in the state come the playoffs.”
The win against No. 7 Moeller will assure Massillon of keeping its No. 1 ranking by the Associated Press. Depending how Massillon’s opponents did over the weekend, the win should help the Tigers in their quest to break Cleveland St. Ignatius’ computer‑point record of 450.45 last year. The Tigers should have close to 300 with two weeks left to play.
The victory all but assures Massillon of a playoff spot, too. It didn’t come easy, though.
It was a game of momentum swings and emotional highs and lows.
When it looked like Massillon fans would have to sit through the final two minutes of torture and possibly watch one of those famous Moeller comebacks, the Crusaders ended that nightmare.
Massillon’s Eric Lightfoot punted to the Crusaders with less than three minutes to play. However, Moeller’s Tony Hamilton had already fumbled away one punt in the first half.
He did it again when the gamer mattered most.
“I really feel sorry for the play,” Klonne said. “It happened to him twice. We win as a team and we lose as a team. We had a lot of mistakes.”
Moeller fumbled the ball five times and lost three of those. The two teams combined for eight fumbles in a constant mist.
Not rain, snow, nor a brick wall could have brought down the 5‑foot‑8, 180‑pound Hodgson.
Hodgson took the trap handoff, which had been very successful against Moeller all night, broke three tackles near line of scrimmage, and outran Moeller to the end zone.
“I’m the second‑string fullback,” Hodgson said, “there wasn’t anything or anyone that was going to stop me once I got going. I really had myself believing I could run through a brick wall.”
Massillon didn’t do itself any favors as soon as the game started. On the first play from scrimmage, Tigers’ tailback Christian Morgan fumbled at the Massillon 14.
Moeller took a 6‑0 lead when Tom Pucke scored from a yard out. The PAT was blocked.
“That’s not the kind of start we had in mind,” Rose said.
Massillon then put together an 11~play‑drive that stalled at the Moeller 49. After a Massillon punt, the Crusaders had the ball in their own 5. Three plays later, Massillon defensive back Josh Kreider picked off a Ryan Cooper pass at the. seven and took it in for the first Massillon score. Josh Hose’s PAT gave Massillon a 7‑6 lead.
Massillon took a 13‑9 lead when the Tigers silenced a gambling Moeller defense that sent defensive ends almost every play. Massillon quarterback Ben Hymes, sprinted to his left, and handed off to tailback Elijah Blake, who took the sprint draw play 35 yards for the Tigers’ TD. That drive took Massillon all of 28 seconds to go 73 yards.
Moeller’s Pucke also had field goals of 32 and 45 yards that made the score 13‑12 Massillon at halftime. He nailed a 46 yarder that had plenty of distance in the fourth.
“I have to give our defense a lot of credit,” Rose said. “They won this one.”
The Massillon defense held Moeller to 240 total yards, 96 in the second half.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a lot,” Klonne said. “Massillon deserves credit. They were opportunistic.”
at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Cincinnati Moeller 6 6 0 3 15 Massillon 7 6 0 7 20
Mo ‑ Price 1 run (kick failed) Ma ‑ Kreider 10 interception return (Hose kick) Mo ‑ FG Pucke 32 Ma ‑ Blake 35 run (run failed) Mo ‑ FG Pucke 45 Ma ‑ Hodgson 74 run (Hose kick) Mo ‑ FG Pucke 46
Jack Rose has removed other monkey from the back of the Massillon Tigers.
A year ago, the Tigers traveled to Austintown and defeated the Fitch Falcons at Fitch for the first time in Massillon football history.
Then, in November, Rose had the weight of the world lifted from his shoulders by notching its first win over storied rival Canton McKinley.
On Saturday, the Tigers did what no Massillon team had ever done before by dealing Cincinnati Moeller a 21‑18 defeat in front of 15,394 frenzied fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
But an exhausted Rose didn’t want to talk about jinxes or hexes after the Moeller victory.
“All we’re going to do now is worry about Garfield,” Rose said of this Friday’s opponent. “They’re an awfully good football team, so we’ve got to get our feet back on the ground and get ready for them.”
Tiger tailback Vinny Turner who rushed for 196 yards and all three Massillon touchdowns in just 25 carries, shared some of his coach’s sentiments.
“This is a big monkey off our backs,” Turner said. “This win helps us out a lot. It shows us where we’re at.
“Now we’ve got to get ready for Garfield. We’ve got to get our minds on Garfield.”
Turner was absolutely magnificent against Moeller. He accounted for more than 75 percent of the Tigers’ total offensive yardage.
Moeller let field position slip away early when a punt returner failed to field a kick midway through the first quarter. It rolled dead at the Crusaders’ 15. Three plays later the visitors punted and the Tigers were in business at the Moeller 42‑yard line.
On third and six from the 38, Turner took the ball on a draw play, broke a tackle on the left side of his line and went the distance. Josh Hose’s PAT made it 7‑0 Massillon with 2:42 left in the first quarter.
Moeller’s special teams betrayed the Crusaders again as the Tigers’ Nate Wonsick fell on a fumbled punt at the visitors’ 29‑yard line with 6:43 1eft in the first half.
Turner was open deep down the left sideline on first down, but the pass was overthrown. The senior came right back on second down, breaking four tackles on a draw play for a 14yard pickup to the Moeller 15.
Five plays later, Turner followed Tim Mendenhall, Ben Mast and Randy Weiford over the right side and into the end zone from a yard out. Hose’s conversion made it 14‑0 with 3:43 left in the half.
“Special team mistakes hurt us and then we couldn’t stop them when we had to stop them,” lamented head coach Steve Klonne.
“We got quick scores both times they made mistakes on special teams,” Rose agreed. “Good teams get a turnover and convert it into points. We did that well tonight.”
A disputed field goal ‑ after it appeared time had run out in the first half ‑ made it a 14‑3 game. Moeller came out of the locker room after halftime, stopped the Tigers’ initial second‑half drive, and then marched 80 yards in 11 plays. Quarterback Pat McLaughlin ran the option keeper around left end for the touchdown with 3:32 remaining in the third quarter. He hit Ted Fitz for the two‑point conversion and suddenly Mo was back in it at 14‑11.
That’s when Turner and the Tigers turned it up a notch.
Taking over at the Massillon 34 after the kickoff, Turner bulled for 10 yards off right guard and tackle on first down. On the next snap he burst off left guard, shedding several tacklers at the line, and sprinted 40 yards to the Moeller 16.
One play later, Turner got the ball on a delayed handoff, found a seam in the middle of the line, then broke tackles at the 5‑ and 3‑yard lines before crossing the goal line. Hose’s boot made it 21‑11 Massillon with 1:33 left in the third period.
But Turner was nearly the goat, fumbling the ball away at the Moeller 44 after a nifty 19-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.
Six plays later, the Crusaders scored on Jim Higgins dive from three yards out. The kick by Jim Siciliano made it 21‑18, with 3: 00 to play.
It appeared Moeller would get another shot at it when the Tigers failed to complete a third‑and‑six pass play at their own 28. But a roughing the passer penalty on the Crusaders – a call Klonne did not dispute – gave Massillon’s offense new life and the hosts ran out the clock.
“I felt it would have been a great injustice if they would’ve won the game on that fumble,” Rose said. “When he fumbled it there at the end, Vinny felt terrible.
“But he is only going to get better. He is a tailback who can break tackles and we haven’t had one of those around here in a while.
“My heart just about stopped when I lost that fumble,” Turner said. “I’m glad the defense did what it did when it had to.”
Although Moeller had more total yards than the Tigers (281-268), Klonne had praise for the Massillon defense.
“I thought they played very well, very sound,” he said. “They didn’t beat themselves by giving up the big play. They made us earn everything and they stopped our rushing game pretty good tonight.”
Massillon averaged 6.7 yards per running play to Moeller’s 4.2.
Our defensive front seven played a lot tougher and stronger this week,” Rose said. “We start eight underclassmen on defense and I thought they did a pretty good job against a really sophisticated offense.
“I’d like to see our underneath coverage get better. On the plus side, I was happy to see our defensive line flash their hands and bat down some passes out there.”
MASSILLON 21 MOELLER 18 M C First downs rushing 12 8 First downs passing 2 9 First downs penalty 1 0 Total first downs 15 17 Net yards rushing 222 146 Net yards passing 46 135 Total yards gained 268 281 Passes attempted 9 18 Passes completed 4 14 Passes int. 0 0 Times kicked off 4 3 Kickoff average 36.0 46.3 Kickoff return yards 38 28 Punts 3 4 Punting average 40.3 34.2 Punt return yards 5 0 Fumbles 2 1 Fumbles lost 1 1 Penalties 1 4 Yards penalized 1 31 Number of plays 42 54 Time of possession 20:08 27:57 Attendance 15,394
Massillon bows, Rose vows comeback Moeller sinks Tigers to 2-2; tough test at Fitch up next
By STEVE DOERSCHUK Independent Sports Editor
A trace of blood tinged the top of the “4” on Andre Collins’ Cincinnati Moeller football jersey. Collins’ team had just overcome the Massillon Tigers 24-14 in front of 16,762 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Saturday night. In the process, the big junior running back became a walking symbol of his team’s series against the Massillon Tigers.
The outcome gave Moeller four victories over the Tigers in the last four years. The blood? Well, Moeller has extracted a pint or two from Tigertown. The Crusaders lead the all-time series seven games to none. A Collins has faced the Tigers in each of the last four games. In 1989 and ’90, Moeller’s hero was Andre’s brother, Carlos. Andre has suited up the last two years.
Andre hasn’t had the same impact as his brother. But the games have had a big impact on him. “This game means a lot,” said Andre, his brother rooms with ex-Tiger Eric Wright at the University of Kentucky. “I feel sad that it’s the last game between our teams. I enjoy playing here. Massillon has the greatest fans … probably in the nation.”
In the 1970s, Moeller may well have had the greatest high school teams in the nation. That is no longer the case. But the Crusaders of the ’90s are still a playoff-style team, if not an actual qualifier, every year.
Jack Rose’s Tigers are 2-2 heading into a Friday night game at Austintown, where Massillon has lost three straight times. Rose’s response to losing is anger and resolution. “We’re going to come back,” he told a large gathering of alumni late Saturday night at AMVETS Post 6.
Earlier, in the locker room after the loss, he vowed he and his staff will “get things to where we want them,” which wasn’t where they were Saturday. Yet, Rose conceded Moeller is an excellent team, well coached, more than adequately talented, and very smart.
If there were technical aspects of the game he could fault, he could not criticize his team’s effort. “We played hard,” Rose said, emphasizing the last word. “Our kids were really playing hard.”
In terms of having a shot at Moeller in the final moments of the fourth quarter, this was the Tigers’ second-best game of the series. In the 1990 game, Moeller won on a last-second touchdown reception by Carlos Collins. In the ’91 game, the Tigers led by a point at halftime but faded down the stretch.
In Saturday’s battle, the Tigers put together a touchdown drive’ that turned a 10-point deficit into a precarious 17-14 Moeller lead with 6:19 left in the game.
Moeller clinched the win on a toss to tailback Brian Balsly, who raced 44 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown. Balsly, who finished with 126 rushing yards, hobbled off the field earlier in the half. “It was back cramps,” he said. “I just played through them when I got back in.”
Moeller was coming off a loss to Covington Catholic. “That was a shame,” said Moeller head coach Steve Klonne, still tortured by a phantom (he thought) roughing-the-kicker call set up Covington’s go-ahead touchdown. “This gets us back in the right frame of mind.” “I think this will get us going,” added Balsly. “I think we can go as far as we want to go”
The Tigers stopped Moeller in ‘the early going Saturday. Massillon had the first possession and punted, then Moeller did the same thing. The Tigers then used eight plays to cover 67 yards for a touchdown.
The big plays were a third-and-eight scramble for a first down by quarterback Mike Danzy, and a 49-yard Danzy-to-Alonzo Simpson pass play. On this series, safety Dan Hackenbracht joined Andre Stinson to form the Tiger backfield. It was Hackenbracht who scored from two yards out on third adown, following blocks by Matt Orr and Mark Miller.
Jason Brown’s kick made it 7-0 with 6:09 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers wound up with a 179-135 advantage in total offense in the first half. In the end, Moeller led 360-285.
The Crusaders began making inroads on their second possession, on a drive consisting of runs of 8, 4, 3, 7, 5, 4, 6, 3 and 7 yards. There was only one pass in the mix, an incompletion that helped allow the Tigers to stop Moeller on fourth-and-one from the 18. Linebacker Jake Reed made the penetration that led to Andre Collins getting stopped.
The Tigers had a chance to take charge midway through the second quarter. A 35-yard run by Stinson gave them a first down on the 25. The chance passed when Moeller held the Tigers right there on downs.
And, from there, Moeller created the field position that led to a tie at halftime. Moeller had perhaps its poorest passing night in the Massillon series, but the Crusaders did get a key 21-yard catch from 6-7 1/2-inch tight end Bob Brannen before having to punt deep into Massillon territory.
Following a Tiger punt, the Crusaders needed two plays to score from 54 yards out. Quarterback Dan Feichtner found his favorite target, senior flanker Brad Hronek, for a 53-yard gain to the 1. Feichtner scored on the next play, and Brian Huston’s kick made it 7-7 with two minutes left in the half.
The Tigers missed another opportunity with a fumble near the Moeller 20 in the closing seconds of the half.
“We thought we were in field goal range one play before that,” Rose said. “We were trying to take one shot at the end zone before the kick. Obviously, it didn’t work out.”
Moeller went to work at the start of the third quarter, driving 80 yards in nine plays – all runs. Feichtner again scored from a yard out. Huston’s kick made it 14-7 with 6:52 left in the third quarter.
“They were real methodical,” Rose said. “They were just taking it right at us, as we thought they would. Stopping them can be difficult. They’re big, they move well, and they execute well.”
Huston kicked a 20-yard field goal with 10:20 left in the game to make it 17-7.
The Tigers’ next possession got life on a 22-yard scramble by Danzy to the Moeller 46. A 19-yard completion to Todd Peters took the Tigers into scoring territory.
Simpson almost made a spectacular, comeback catch at the 2 on a ball ruled incomplete. But on fourth-and-five, Simpson cut from left to right, underneath the secondary, and caught a Danzy pass which he carried to the 2. “We put that play (the pass to Simpson) in for this game,” Rose said.
Stinson scored from a yard out, Brown made the kick, and it was 17-14 with 6:19 left.
Moeller answered by moving 75 yards in six plays, the last of which was Balsly’s game clinching 44-yard TD run.
Now the Tigers will try to rebound against Fitch, which improved to 3-1 Saturday with a 33-25 win over Lakewood St. Edward. Fitch was upset in its opener, 14-10 by Youngstown Chaney, but bounced back to defeat Mentor 17-0 and Erie Prep 13-0.
MOELLER 24 MASSILLON 12
MA MO First downs rushing 6 14 First downs passing 6 3 First downs by penalty 2 1 Totals first downs 14 18 Net yards rushing 157 257 Net yards passing 128 103 Total yards gained 285 360 Passes attempted 26 1 Passes completed 9 4 Passes int. by 0 0 Kickoff average 48.0 56.8 Kickoff return yards 70 50 Punts 4 3 Punting average 35.8 29.7 Punt return yards 12 14 Fumbles 2 1 Fumbles lost 1 0 Penalties 3 4 Yards penalized 35 40 Number of plays 63 57 Time of possession 22:14 25:46
Moeller 0 7 7 10 24 Massillon 7 0 0 7 14
MA – Hackenbracht 2 run (Brown kick) MO – Feichtner 1 run (Huston kick) MO – Feichtner 1 run (Huston kick) MO – FG Huston 20 MA – Stinson 1 run (Brown kick) MO – Balsly 44 run (Huston kick)
MASON ‑ Steve Klonne couldn’t get what he wanted, so he took what he could get.
“We wanted to run the ball but we couldn’t,” the 10th‑year Cincinnati Moeller High head coach said. “Massillon has a lot of good players, and they were stuffing us.
So Klonne, noting Massillon’s two‑deep, zone coverage in the secondary, took what he could get.
He scrapped the run and watched quarterback Shawn Brennan pass the Crusaders to a 27‑13 high school football victory in front of a standing‑room‑only crowd of 10,600 on a crisp, clear Saturday night at Galbreath Field.
“We’ve never had a quarterback who can run the way Shawn can,” said Klonne. “He made all the right moves.”
Klonne, a St. Xavier High graduate, noted that Brennan, who transferred from St. Xavier High last year, needed time to adjust to Moeller’s system.
“You definitely could say he came of age today;” Klonne said.
Brennan, who completed 8‑of‑15 passes for 106 yards the previous week, when he had emerged as the starter for a game against Trotwood‑Madison, exploded for 20 completions in 31 throws for three touchdowns against the Tigers.
It was Brennan, more than anyone, who pulled out a victory against a Massillon team that spent 32:39 of the game’s 48 minutes with a lead.
The Tigers had grabbed the lead on a 42‑yard touchdown run by Travis McGuire on the sixth play of the game.
Moeller trailed until Brennan rainbowed a 43‑yard touchdown bomb to senior Jeff Raussen with 35 seconds left in the third quarter.
Raussen and cornerback John Harpring, whose diving interception set up the TD bomb, competed with Brennan for the quarterbacking job in the early part of the season.
After the game, Moeller players and fans romped through a giddy celebration during which they chanted, “State! State! State! ” It is abundantly clear Brennan is the quarterback they will try to ride into the playoffs.
“With the schedule we play,” said Klonne, whose team is 3‑1, “a 7‑3 record would probably get us there ‑ at 8‑2, we’d be a lock.”
The Tigers, also 3‑1, might have to continue their bid for a third straight playoff appearance without quarterback Nick Mossides, who was injured late in the game while trying to stage a last‑ditch comeback.
“It’s a sprained or a strained knee, whatever you want to call it,” Owens said back in Massillon Sunday afternoon. “Dr. (Robert) Erickson will examine him again Monday. He’s scheduled for an M.R.I. (magnetic resonance imaging) Tuesday. He’s not been able to walk on it yet. Right now it doesn’t look real good in terms of Nick being able to play this week.”
Owens said Troy Burick would step in as the starter, with sophomore Mike Danzy working as the No. 1 backup this week in practice. The Tigers will play a Friday night home game against Austintown-Fitch, which has won its last two games after an 0‑2 start. Fitch beat Lakewood St. Edward this past weekend.
Mossides had completed 11 of 17 passes for 81 yards against Moeller when he was hit while throwing the ball with 4:23 left in the game and Moeller leading 27‑13. Burick replaced him on the next play.
In his four games as a starter, Mossides has completed 37 of 65 passes for 5l2 yards, with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Owens said he talked to Burick Sunday.
“Troy is ready to do whatever it takes,” he said.
The Tigers are wondering what it takes to get rid of that giant toothache called Moeller. Moeller won the first four games in the series convincingly but had to come back for victories in the 1990 and ’91 games.
Owens shouldered a share of the blame for the latest loss.
“We made some calls I wish we had back,” he said. “We didn’t make some of the coaching adjustments as well as we should have.”
The Tigers led 13‑6 late in the first half and had the ball in Moeller territory when Owens elected to try for more points rather than running out the clock.
Things were looking up when Falando Ashcraft bulled for six yards to the Massillon 40 on a first‑down carry with 1:52 left in the half.
The next two plays were pass calls. Both became incompletions. It was fourth down when the clock was stopped with 1:16 left in the half. Punter Jason Woullard caught the snap but seemed to rush and dropped the ball. A big pileup left Moeller with the ball on the Massillon 35.
With 12 seconds left in the half, Brennan sprinted to his left until Raussen worked his way open over the middle. The two hooked up on a 10‑yard touchdown pass. Senior Erik Bryant’s point‑after kick smashed into the left upright and bounded wildly toward I‑71 ‑ no good. The Tigers managed to keep the lead, 13‑12, but the turnover had Moeller to get close.
The Tigers had made it look easy on their first possession, roaring 71 yards in six plays. A third‑down Mossides‑to‑Marc Stafford pass went for eight yards and a first down to the Moeller 45. After a two‑yard surge up the middle by Ashcraft, Mossides took advantage of an aggressive rush by Moeller, gave the ball to McGuire on a counter, and watched the running back sprint into a gaping hole over the right side en route to a 42yard touchdown run. Jason Brown’s kick was good to make it 7‑0, Massillon, with 9:14 left in the first quarter.
Moeller had tried to make a statement by winning the coin toss, yet, electing to kick off to the Tigers. Massillon stuck that strategy in Moeller’s ear.
The Crusaders, though, scored on their next possession, consuming seven minutes and 71 yards. Brennan scored from five yards out on a scramble, but Bryant’s kick was no good and the Tigers kept the lead, 7‑6, with 2:09 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers scored again the second time they had the ball, driving 72 yards in 10 plays. Mossides completed four passes in four attempts to help the Tigers reach the Moeller 15 on first down. McGuire gained four yards to the 11 then, second down, got the ball on a delay. Moeller;s rush had already blown by, giving McGuire room to sprint 11 yards up the middle for a touchdown. Brown’s kick misfired and the Tigers settled for a 13-6 edge with 9:47 left in the half.
The Tigers might have had Moeller in real trouble in the first half, but, as Klonne noted, “We got a lot of key plays on third downs.”
The Tiger defense was rugged on first and second down, but Moeller gained 57 yards on four third-down conversions. The Crusaders needed 26 plays to gain 87 yards on their remaining first-half plays.
In the second half, with No. 1 running back Kelly Davis hobbled, the Crusaders began passing on first and second down, with much success.
Still, the Tigers had a chance to take control of the game until late in the third quarter.
Moeller began the period with an impressive drive into Massillon territory. Again, big third‑down plays were the key.
Brennan was getting plenty of time to throw, as was the case most of the night. When he did begin to feel a rush, he regularly escaped via the scramble.
But with the ball on Massillon’s 23‑yard line with 4:30 left in the third quarter, Tiger tackle Jonathon Jones was breathing in Brennan’s face. The pressure influenced Brennan’s pass, intended for Raussen, but picked off by Tiger defensive back Ron Roberson at the 12. Roberson returned the ball nearly to midfield.
The Tigers had escaped a serious Moeller scoring threat, and now had good field position. It lasted only a few moments. With the ball on Moeller’s 42 on third‑and‑nine, Mossides tried to find Stafford on the right flat, Instead, Harpring knifed in to make an acrobatic interception.
By then, Moeller had grown used to playing without its bluechip tight end, 6‑5, 245‑pound Max LangenKamp, who had strained a knee in the first half. On first down, Brennan found backup tight end Chris Kent on the left side for a 19‑yard pickup.
Passing again on first down, Brennan turned to the left side of the field ‑ and the bomb. Massillon defensive back Dana Wofford had a bead on the ball, but seemed mesmerized by the high‑arcing throw for a split second. That allowed Raussen to get behind him by a step. Raussen took the ball in stride and went in for the touchdown. The play covered 43 yards.
A two‑point conversion pass gave Moeller a 20‑13 lead with 35 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Tigers had lost their offensive flow and soon had to punt. But with 9:30 left in the fourth quarter, Moeller went for the block. Woullard, the punter, saw that he had no chance to‑kick, the ball and began to run. He lost the ball on his escape attempt and Moeller took over at the Tiger 32.
The Tigers kept Moeller from scoring on that possession, taking over at the 2. The Tigers’ hopes soared and crashed all at once, on the next play. Ashcraft made an impressive run up the middle for nearly 10 yards, but fumbled while trying for an extra yard and Moeller took over at the 12.
MOELLER 27 MASSILLON 13 MA MO First downs rushing 7 5 First downs passing 5 12 First downs by penalty 1 1 Totals first downs 13 18 Yards gained rushing 134 83 Yards lost rushing 17 3 Net yards rushing 117 80 Net yards passing 102 256 Total yards gained 219 336 Passes attempted 18 31 Passes completed 12 20 Passes int. by 1 1 Times kicked off 3 5 Kickoff average 45.3 54.6 Kickoff return yards 80 49 Punts 1 2 Punting average 27.0 31.5 Punt return yards 10 0 Fumbles 2 0 Fumbles lost 2 0 Penalties 2 5 Yards penalized 18 52 Number of plays 44 62 Time of possession 18.55 29.05
Massillon 7 6 0 0 13 Moeller 6 6 8 7 27
MAS ‑ McGuire 42 run (Brown kick) MOE ‑ Brennan 5 run (kick failed) MAS ‑ McGuire 11 run (kick failed) MOE ‑ Raussen 10 pass from Brennan (kick failed) MOE ‑ Raussen 43 pass from Brennan (Brown pass from Brennan) MOE ‑ Carlberg 10 pass from Brennan (Lucke kick)
Individual statistics Rushing
(Massillon) McGuire 12‑94, Ashcraft 11‑34. (Moeller) Davis 23‑66, Brennan 3‑9, Jackson 4‑4. Passing
Owens. Forget and move on Moeller wins on pass with seconds left
By STEVE DOERSCHUK 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.”
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.
MOELLER 24 MASSILLON 23 MA MO 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
By MARK CRAIG 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)
Tigers’ 7-year itch turns ouch vs. Mo Fitch next after 41-7 loss to Crusaders
By STEVE DOERSCHUK Independent Sports Editor
Most of Ohio will only have seen the ugly numbers. Cincinnati Moeller 41, Massillon 7.
They won’t know that this was the first time in four trips the Tigers gave Mighty Mo a run at it deep into the fourth quarter.
In the end it looked worse than any of the previous Moeller victories over Massillon: 30-7 in 1980, 24-6 in 1981, 35-14 in 1982.
Yes, the last time these teams met was 1982. The Tigers had a chance to soothe their seven-year itch.
Alas, this wound up like a barefoot stroll through a poison-ivy farm.
As Massillon head coach Lee Owens put it after Saturday’s battle witnessed by 16,764 in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Someone said the score was not indicative of the game. I totally disagree. They dominated us on both lines of scrimmage.”
That certainly was true, even as the fourth quarter began with the Tigers trailing 21-7.
Yet, the fact remained that Massillon linebacker Craig Turkalj recovered a Carlos Collins fumble at the Moeller 42-yard line with 11:24 left in the game.
And moments later, there was tight end Doug Harig rambling past the Moeller bench on a 13-yard gain on a Lee Hurst pass.
There was hope. There was time to make up the 14-point deficit.
Moments earlier, the Tigers had gambled on fourth-and-inches at mid-field by calling a pass instead of a run. Split end Rameir Martin broke into the clear, poised to score a relatively easy touchdown. Hurst’s arm was hit as he threw, though, and Moeller came up with an interception.
But now the Tigers had the ball back on the Moeller 27. They could make the score respectable, maybe even have a chance to win.
Hurst, however, suffered his fifth sack of the night on first down. The Tigers eventually lost the ball on downs with 6:45 left.
Up to that point, Collins, a junior tailback, was having a big night, with 187 rushing yards but with no gains longer than 14 yards.
That changed quickly. With six minutes left, he finished off a 52-yard touchdown sprint and it was 27-7. With 2:30 left, he broke loose for an 83-yard TD run and it was 34-7. With 1:19 left, after the Tigers fumbled deep in their own territory, Moeller inflicted the final pain with a 2-yard TD run.
The 6-foot-1, 187-pound Collins ,who says he runs 100 meters in 10.9 seconds (.3 slower than Euclid’s Robert “Mr. Football” Smith, who gained 358 yards against Jackson recently), finished with 35 carries for 322 yards.
“I thought it would be a very difficult game and as a matter of fact it was,” said Collins. “We just pulled away at the end.”
It wasn’t the way Tiger fans had hoped to prolong the 50th anniversary celebration of The House That Brown Built.
It was, in fact: <Massillon’s most lopsided home defeat since a 42-3 loss to Toledo Scott in 1920, when “home” was Agathon Park. <The worst Massillon defeat ever at Tiger Stadium. It tied the 34-point margin by which the Tigers fell 40-6 to Toledo Waite in 1946, three years before Tiger Stadium opened. <The Tigers’ most one-sided setback since 1962, when they bowed 46-0 at Alliance.
The outcome left Moeller with a 4-0 record and the Tigers with a 3-1 mark. Massillon will try to rebound Friday at home against Austintown-Fitch, 4-0 following a 46-12 win over Glenville Friday. Take note of the fact Glenville opened its season by defeating a Wooster team that is 3-0 since then.
“It doesn’t get any easier at all,” Owens said. “I believe Fitch is even more dominant on the offensive line than the Moeller team whose line dominated us tonight.”
“We have o put this game behind us as soon as we can. We’re going to find out how much resiliency we have.”
Moeller wound up with a 368-74 advantage over the Tigers in rushing yards and a 485-239 edge in total offense.
“We thought we’d line it up and run and see if they could stop us,” said Moeller coach Steve Klonne, who runs a one-back offense similar to the one GlenOak deployed against the Tigers recently, except GlenOak had nobody like Carlos Collins.
“Carlos doesn’t have the swivel-hipped style of the classic dominant back. He’s more of a loper…but all of a sudden, he’s in the secondary. I think we hit Massillon with more traps and counter plays than they’d seen us use.”
Collins said his job was easy.
I just followed the tackles all night,” he said.
Moeller’s lines are smaller than usual but the tackles – Paul Barkey (6-3, 270) and Keith Fulmer (6-2, 246) are big enough.
Moeller punted after three plays on its opening series but was unstoppable after that.
During one stretch of the first half, Collins had consecutive gains of 14,7, 8, 8, 2, 9, 4, 10, 6, 2, 3, 9 and 10 yards.
The one-back offense spread the Tiger defense and kept it spread because quarterback Adam Hyzdu was effective when he did pass. Hyzdu showed by far the strongest and most accurate arm of any quarterback the Tigers have seen – probably any they will see – in completing seven of 13 passes for 117 yards.
“I think Adam was the key to the whole game,” Klonne said.
The 6-foot-3 Hyzdu will attract major football scouts, Klonne said.
“He’s firmly committed to playing baseball,” Klonne said. “He won’t be playing college football.”
The Tigers counted on bating Moeller’s disciplined defense into biting on fake keys. It worked on shovel passes and draw plays until late in the game.
Running back Ryan Sparkman was credited with seven receptions for 62 yards, mostly on shovel passes flicked to behind the line of scrimmage by Hurst.
Leading 14-0, Moeller bit hard on fakes, allowing Lamonte Dixon to hit wide-open territory on a draw play that sent the ball to the 4. Sparkman scored from a yard out and the Tigers trailed 14-7 with 5:20 left in the first half.
Moeller regained control by taking the ensuing kickoff and driving inside the 10 before missing a 26-yard field goal attempt at the end of the half.
Owens said the Tigers threw the kitchen sink at Moeller in the way of stunts and blitzes and gambling with extra men on the line of scrimmage.
But whatever the Tigers did, Moeller kept blocking it.
“They were trying to mix us up,” said Moeller split end Matt Birrell, who caught four passes. “We just had it going tonight.”
It was going so well, in fact, that it’s hard to imagine anybody slowing Moeller down.
Tiger-Moeller grid lineups Here are the probable starting lineups for Saturday’s game between the Massillon Tigers and Cincinnati Moeller Fighting Crusaders. Kickoff time is 8 p.m. in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
TIGER OFFENSE Quarterback – No. 15, Lee Hurst, 6-3, 180, Sr. A-back – No 44, Lamonte Dixon, 5-9, 185, Sr. B-back – No. 34, Ryan Sparkman, 5-8, 175, Sr. Flanker – No. 8, Troy Manion, 6-0, 180, Sr. Wide receiver – No. 21, Rameir Martin, 6-4, 170, Sr. Tight end – No. 83, Doug Harig, 6-2, 195, Sr.; No. 87, Steve Brown, 6-5, 195, Jr. Center – No 57, Nick Hill, 5-10, 165, Sr. Guards – No. 65, Mike Silverthorn, 6-1, 230, Sr.; No. 60, Jim Goff, 6-0, 180, Sr. Tackles – No. 74, Ray Kovacsiss, 6-4, 265, Sr.; No 66, Tom Menches, 6-0, 240, Sr.
TIGER DEFENSE Tackles – No. 80, Chris Roth, 6-6, 225, Jr.; No. 77, Brent Bach, 6-1, 225, Jr. Ends – No. 94, Jeff Perry, 6-1, 180, Jr.; No. 95, Mike Martin, 6-1, 185, Jr. Inside linebackers – No. 37, Craig Turkalj, 6-2, 206, Sr.; No 55, Mark McGeorge, 5-8, 205, Jr.; No. 45, Eric Wright, 5-9, 185, So. Outside linebackers – No. 9, Joe Pierce, 6-2, 190, Sr.; No 22, Kevin McCue, 6-3, 167, Sr. Backs – No. 20, Keith Rabbitt, 6-4, 170, Sr.; No. 5, Chad Buckland, 6-0, 185, Jr.; Eddie Williams, Sr.; No. 23, Don Blake, 6-1, 165, Jr.
MOELLER OFFENSE Quarterback – No. 9, Adam Hyzdu, 6-3, 211, Sr. Running backs – No. 21, Carlos Collins, 6-1, 187, Jr.; No. 32, Jody Smith, 5-11, 201, Jr. Center – No. 76, Todd Shaffer, 6-2, 235, Sr. Guards – No. 66, Matt Baer, 6-1, 195, Sr.; No. 65, Rob Steltenpohl, 5-11, 217, Sr. Tackles – No. 77, Paul Barkey, 6-3, 272, Jr.; No. 63, Keith Fulmer, 6-2, 246, Sr. Tight ends – No. 87, Joe Currin, 6-5, 200, Sr.; No. 84, Chris Ashbrook, 6-4, 193, Sr. Split end – No. 18, Matt Birrell, 5-10, 170, Sr.
MOELLER DEFENSE Tackles – No. 90, Brad Hindersman, 6-0, 188, Sr.; No. 75, Chad Whitaker, 6-2, 230, Sr. Ends – No. 80, Todd Ille, 5-11, 160, Sr.; No. 98, Dan Buckley, 5-11, 165, Jr. Inside linebackers – No. 51, Jeff Poore, 6-0, 195, Sr.; No. 59, Jeff Crable, 6-3, 193, Sr. Outside linebackers – No. 56, Jason Knecht, 6-1, 175, Jr.; No. 33, Brian Zelina, 6-0, 195, Sr. Backs – No. 37, Ken Darby, 5-10, 147, Sr.; No. 34, Tony Walker, 5-10, 166, Sr.; No. 43, Chris Woycke, 5-10, 150, Sr.
CINCINNATI MOELLER 41 MASSILLON 7
STATISTICS M CM First downs rushing 5 15 First downs passing 9 6 First downs by penalty 1 0 Totals first downs 15 21 Yards gained rushing 118 374 Yards lost rushing 44 6 Net yards rushing 74 368 Net yards passing 165 117 Total yards gained 239 485 Passes attempted 30 13 Passes completed 14 7 Passes int. by 0 1 Times kicked off 2 7 Kickoff average 45.5 50.7 Kickoff return yards 139 29 Punts 3 2 Punting average 41.7 39.5 Punt return yards 0 19 Fumbles 2 1 Fumbles lost 2 1 Penalties 0 6 Yards penalized 0 66 Number of plays 57 63 Time of possession 19:11 29:49 Attendance 16,764
Receiving (Moe) Birrell 4-70, Collins 1-15, Valerius 2-32.
Moeller 7 7 7 20 41 Massillon 0 7 0 0 7
MO – Hyzdu 1 run (Hyzdu kick) MO – Smith 1 run (Hyzdu kick) MA – Sparkman 1 run (Miller kick) MO – Collins 12 run (Hyzdu kick) MO – Collins 52 run (kick failed) MO – Collins 83 run (Hyzdu kick) MO – Adkins 2 run (Knecht kick)
By MARK CRAIG Repository sports writer
MASSILLON – Massillon Washington High School, which knows just about everything there is to know about power football, learned a little more Saturday night.
No. Make that a lot.
The Tigers, playing host to the master of power football in Ohio, Cincinnati Moeller, were hammered by the Crusaders 41-7 in front of 16,764 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. It was the worst beating a Massillon football team had rece3ived and the most points the Tigers have given up since Alliance beat the Tigers 46-0 in 1962.
If you like power football, then hang on for these stats.
Carlos Collins, a 6-foot-1, 187-pound junior All-Ohio candidate, broke two Moeller school records, rushing the ball 35 times for 322 of 368 yards rushing. He also scored on runs of 12, 52 and 83 yards in the second half as Moeller scored 27 unanswered second-half points in the rout.
“This is the greatest day “I’ve ever had running the ball,” said Collins, who also caught one pass for 15 yards and returned two punts for 28 more yards. “I never really seen anything in Massillon’s defense that made me think I could do this. It was just a matter of my linemen going out and kicking some butt.”
Moeller’s line certianly did kick some, especially guards Keith Fulmer and Rob Steltenpohl and center Todd Shaffer. They blasted the inside of the line wide open so Collins could run for 123 first-half yards to lead Moeller to a 14-7 lead.
“We were dominated on the line of scrimmage from start to finish,” said Masillon head coach Lee Owens, whose team is 3-1 and hosts Austintown Fitch next Friday. “I felt very lucky to be down 14-7 at the half. We’re a better team than we showed, but you have to give them credit for the way the handled the line of scrimmage.”
Overall, Moeller piled up 485 yards total offense while holding Massillon to 239. The Crusaders also had 21 first downs and held onto the ball for 29 of the game’s 48 minutes.
Moeller quarterback Adam Hyzdu completed 7-of-13 passes and ran the ball 10 times for 32 yards and one TD.
When Collins wasn’t running the ball, Hyzdu was throwing the ball to wide receiver Matt Birrell. Birrell caught four balls for 70 yards, with a long reception of 22.
“We originally planned to throw the ball a lot more than we did, but we got in here in front of this big crowd and got afraid of making a mistake,” said Moeller coach Steve Klonne, whose 4-0 team was ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press Division I poll, just ahead of the Tigers. “Then we started giving the ball to Carlos, and he was getting eight and nine yards a crack, so we let him run. That eventually opened up the passing.”
Moeller’s defense didn’t do badly either. The Crusaders sacked Hurst eight times for 35 yards. Hurst also had no time to throw the ball, leading to a 14-of-30 performance with one interception.
Hurst also didn’t get the ball much, especially in the first half when Moeller kept the ball 16 minutes. They scored twice, once going 72 yards in 10 plays and the other time going 64 yards in nine plays.
Moeller opened the scoring in the first quarter with a one-yard scoring run by Hyzdu. Hyzdu was held up by Joe Pierce and Keith Rabbitt at the goal line on third-and-inches, but Hyzdu, who stands 6-3 and weighs 215 pounds, still fought his way in for the score.
Moeller stretched its lead to 14-0 after holding the Tigers’ offense to three plays and a punt.
Taking the ball on their own 28, the Crusaders took 10 plays to go 72 yards in 7:08. Jody Smith walked the final yard untouched, and Hyzdu added the PAT.
Massillon refused to be embarrassed by the visitors, at least in the first half. The Tigers took the ensuing kickoff and drove 64 yards in nine plays to score a touchdown at the 5:20 mark.
Ryan Sparkman scored from the 1, and Gary Miller added the point after. The key plays in the drive were a 22-yard shuttle pass to Sparkman and a 26-yard draw play to Lamonte Dixon down to the Moeller 3.
MO – Hyzdu 1 run (Hyzdu kick) MO – Smith 1 run (Hyzdu kick) MA – Sparkman 1 run (Miller kick) MO – Collins 12 run (kick failed) MO – Collins 52 run (Hyzdu kick) MO – Collins 83 run (Hyzdu kick) MO – Adkins 2 run (Knecht kick)
Collins helps Moeller rush by Massillon 41-7
By Bill Lilley Beacon Journal staff writer
Cincinnati Moeller junior running back Carlos Collins left a lasting impression Saturday night on the crowd of 16,764 at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium as he rushed for a school-record 324 yards and scored three touchdowns.
But it was the Crusaders’ offensive and defensive lines that left a permanent dent in the Tigers’ pride – and unbeaten record – as Moeller dominated on both sides of the line.
The two factors were more than enough to lift the unbeaten Crusaders to a 41-7 victory over the Tigers.
Things didn’t start badly for Massillon as Moeller was forced to punt after three runs left the Crusaders 1 yard shy of a first down on their first possession.
The next two times, however, Moeller’s offensive line opened huge holes in the front wall of the Tigers’ 4-4 defense.
Collins took full advantage of the situation.
The 6-foot-1, 187-pounder used a combination of traps and counters to pick up 38 yards on the Crusaders’ next possession.
That sparked a 9-play, 63-yard drive that was culminated by quarterback Adam Hyzdu’s 1-inch sneak on third down. Hyzdu’s kick gave Moeller a 7-0 lead with 1:46 left in the first period.
The Crusaders went right back to Collins after they forced Massillon, which was held to 15 yards in the first quarter, to punt after three plays.
Collins netted 35 yards and Hyzdu hit senior Matt Birrell for gains of 14 and 20 to move the ball to the Tigers’ 1-yard line.
The Tigers figured Collins was an automatic to get his number called at this point.
Instead, Crusader coach Steve Klonne went from a 1-back to a 3-back offense and Collins, who gained 123 yards in the first half, was used as a decoy off left tackle.
The Tigers bit. That enabled senior Jody Smith to go off right tackle untouched into the end zone and up Moeller’s lead to 14-0 with 8:07 left in the first half.
The Massillon offense, on the other hand, showed very little sign of life in the first quarter.
Quarterback Lee Hurst was harried on his passing attempts by a ferocious rush. Running backs Lamonte Dixon and Ryan Sparkman were forced to run without the aid of progressive blocking – aka getting stuffed at the line.
Massillon offensive coordinator Tom Stacy went to a variety of misdirection, including shuffle passes, on the Tigers’ first possession of the second quarter.
Massillon, which had gained 15 yards in the first 16 minutes, used two shuffle passes to Sparkman for 29 yards and a 25-yard draw play to Dixon to drive 62 yards to the Crusaders’ 1.
Sparkman scored on second down and Gary Miller’s kick brought Massillon to 14-7 with 5:20 left in the half.
The Crusaders, who amassed 217 yards in the first half, drove to the Massillon 15, but Hyzdu’s 32-yard field goal attempt with 12 seconds left was wide to the left.
That spared the Tigers, but it was only temporary.
The Crusaders took the second-half kickoff and, again, used Collins’ running and Hyzdu’s passing to pierce the Tiger D. Collins finished off the 71-yard march with a 12-yard run.
Massillon had two chances early in the fourth quarter to cut into the 14-point deficit, but a fourth-down pass from mid-field was intercepted and a fourth-down pass from the Crusaders’ 30 fell incomplete.
Collins then put the game away for all practical purposes when he raced 52 yards for a touchdown that gave Moeller a 21-point margin with six minutes to play.
Tigers fall in state final 35‑14 Moeller had ‘too many horses’
By MIKE HUDAK Independent Sports Editor
COLUMBUS ‑ The place was the state capital, the date Nov. 27, 1982.
But for the Tiger head coach Mike Currence it might as well have been medieval Mongolia. Why? Because he must have felt like a villager seeing the rising cloud of dust marking the approach of Attila the Hun, with his only viable option left to mutter “there’s too many horses” and go down fighting as best as possible.
Saturday, Attila the Hun was Francisco Hiawatha and the rest of the Moeller Crusaders the Mongol Horde. Moeller captured the Division I state championship with a 35‑14 win, overcoming a fine first‑half effort by the Tigers, giving the Crusaders their sixth state title in the past eight years and 95th win in the last 97 games.
The Tigers’ first loss of the year made them settle for the title of “Ohio Public School Champs.” Sunday’s horrendous weather caused a postponement of the team’s “Recognition Day,” but festivities are reslated for tonight beginning at 7:30 in the school auditorium. The team, band and cheerleaders will all be honored, plus officers for next year will be introduced to the throng.
The weather for Saturday’s game was near perfect. It was a bit chilly but bright sunshine made conditions as conducive as possible for the contest, especially considering the sleet, snow and rain of Friday and Sunday.
Massillon received the opening kickoff, but on the second play from scrimmage, Tim Sampsel absorbed a hit which caused the ball to fly straight up in the air, where Moeller linebacker Shane Bullough pounced on the loose orb at the Tiger 38.
The Tigers sacked Moeller quarterback John Shaffer on the first play, but then D’Juan Francisco and brother Hiawatha took over, grinding out big chunks of yardage, particularly with end sweeps.
The first score came when D’Juan, the sophomore sibling, scored from four yards out with 7:26 remaining in the opening quarter. Rob Heintzman’s soccer‑style conversion kick was good.
The Tigers came right back to fill their thousands of fans with hope. Junior quarterback Brian DeWitz rolled out on a second‑and‑two play and found wide receiver Gary Conley open over the middle. Conley, the senior speedster, caught the ball on the dead run and ran unmolested into the end zone. Bronc Pfisterer added the conversion kick to tie the score with 3:13 left in the period.
It remained tied until the second quarter. Moeller had advanced to its own 42 on a 19‑yard pass from Shaffer to Steve Williford, then went the remaining 58 yards as Hiawatha broke up the middle and used his unbelievable speed to outrun the entire defense into the endzone. The kick was good with 8:19 left in the half.
The next time the Moe‑Men had the ball, they marched 70 yards for a score. The tally came with 4:03 left in the half as Scott Mahan took a 28‑yard pass into the endzone after evading a tackle at the point of the catch. The kick was again good for a 21‑7 lead.
But the Tigers still weren’t deflated. They used most of the remainder of the half, 15 plays to be exact, to march 80 yards for a touchdown.
There were three key plays in the drive. The first was a diving sideline catch by receiver Jim Geiser to give the Tigers’ possession on the Moeller 39 good for 18 yards. it appeared that Geiser had neither foot in bounds for the catch, but the Tigers’ weren’t about to quibble.
But it looked like the break would go for naught when Massillon was faced with a third and 16 with just 45 seconds until intermission. But DeWitz evaded a strong rush and scrambled 20 yards for a first down to the Moeller eight. On the next play, DeWitz led Geiser with a perfect pass to the right corner of the end zone, and Pfisterer’s kick made it 21‑14 at halftime.
Moeller received the second half kick and began another drive, but on a fourth‑and‑one most of the Tiger front line stacked up Hiawatha to give the Tigers the ball back on their own 35.
The Tigers started a drive of their own, but junior defensive back Byron Larkin ended the threat with an interception on the Crusader 30. This time the Crusaders used the running of fullback Dave Springmeier and the passing of Shaffer to move 70 yards for the score. The capper came on a 10‑yard run by Springmerier, followed by the kick. The play took 11 plays and ended with 3:53 left in the quarter.
The ball control antics of the Crusaders wore the Tigers down eventually. Moeller’s final score came in the fourth quarter on an 87‑yard drive in eight plays, including runs of 16 and 27 yards by brother D’Juan. The final 18‑yards came on a pass from Shaffer to Williford, followed by the kick, with 3:23 remaining on the clock, but no hope was left in the hearts of Tiger fans, who started to empty the stands and prepare for the long journey back to Tiger Town and cries of “wait till next year.”
Offensively, the Tigers’ offensive total of 282 yards compared favorably to how they performed against both Sandusky and Berea ‑ when they had the ball to work with a lot more.
But defensive was another story. Moeller racked up 479 yards of offense, including 326 on the ground and 153 more though the air on a nine‑of‑14 performance by Shaffer.
The problem was, the Francisco brothers were all they were cracked up to be, plus the others were better than feared. Hiawatha amassed 151 yards and D’Juan 123 more, while Springmeier was more than effective with 77 yards in 10 bolts. Williford was a killer on pass receiving with five glue‑handed grabs for 57 yards.
After falling behind early, the Tigers went almost exclusively to the pass in hopes of scoring quickly. The Tigers carried only 20 times for 79 yards, led by DeWitz’ 31 yards in eight carries and Chris Spielman’s 28 yards in five attempts. Passing, DeWitz hit on 13 of 31 for 200 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, while Spielman was one of two in the passing department. Spielman also had five catches for 60 yards, while Conley grabbed four for 78 yards and Geiser three for 47 yards.
First‑year coach Steve Klonne praised his senior dominated team, noting that they deserved “their day in the sun” after losing 13‑0 to McKinley in last year’s title clash while basically a junior‑oriented squad.
As for Currence, he concluded, “We played better than we did in 1980 against them down at Dayton. I just wish we could have won it all, but the great thing about sports is, there’s always next year.” Tiger gridstick MASSILLON 14 MOELLER 35 M 0 First downs rushing 3 14 First downs passing 8 7 First downs by penalty 1 0 Totals first down 12 21 Yards gained rushing 91 362 Yards lost rushing 12 36 Net yards rushing 79 326 Net yards passing 203 153 Total yards gained 282 479 Passes attempted 33 14 Passes completed 14 9 Passes int. by 0 2 Yardage on pass int. 0 0 Times kicked off 3 6 Kickoff average 41.0 51.3 Kickoff return yards 91 10 Punts 4 3 Punting average 36.0 44.7 Punt return yards -3 20 Punts blocked by 0 0 Fumbles 5 1 Fumbles lost 1 0 Penalties 6 7 Yards penalized 30 75 Touchdowns rushing 0 3 Touchdowns passing 2 2 Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0 Number of plays 54 64 Time of possession 20:34 27:26 Attendance 42,000 (est)
MOELLER 7 14 7 7 35 MASSILLON 7 7 0 0 14
Moe ‑ D. Francisco 3 run (Heintzman kick) Mas ‑ Conley 58 pass from DeWitz (Pfisterer kick) Moe ‑ H. Francisco 58 run (Heintzman kick) Moe ‑ Mahan 29 pass from Shaffer (Heintzman kick) Mas ‑ Geiser 8 pass from DeWitz (Pfisterer kick) Moe ‑ Springmeier 11 run (Heintzman kick) Moe ‑ Williford 18 pass from Shaffer (Heintzman kick)
Title hopes die hard in Columbus Tigers, fans gave it their all By DENNY HIGHBEN Independent Staff Writer COLUMBUS ‑ There’s a savage splendor about the Ohio State Stadium, which boldly thrusts its massive ramparts into the heavens.
On the floor of this storied arena, American gladiators have battled with all their strength and wit for the rush of glory that comes with conquest; and for that screaming, cheering worship from the spectators.
Every schoolboy in Buckeyeland who puts on the pads dreams of playing in that landmark along the Olentangy. The best, on rare occasions, get their chance.
That’s how it was Saturday, with some 42,000 spectators there. But they were more than just spectators. They were part of the battle, so intimately attached to the struggle that they were one with the young warriors below.
The Tigers of Massillon and the Crusaders of Cincinnati Moeller were locked in battle, and the energy created in the stands was so powerful it had a life of its own. It swept down from the maelstrom of its birth to join the struggle, growing as it rolled down through row after row, wave after wave of explosive emotion.
The emotion which erupted Saturday had been building for a long time, especially for the Massillon faithful. Many things contributed: years of watching the state championship elude the Tigers, usually to turn up in Cincinnati; two previous losses to Moeller; and the final insult of watching Massillon’s arch‑rival, McKinley, knocking off Moeller first and for the state crown to boot.
When the Tigers drilled Berea in the semifinals, the fuse was lit. And the site change to Ohio Stadium seemed to add even more fuel to the Tiger’ fans’ fire.
One man, at least, didn’t like the change. We would fill Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati he said. But as big as OSU stadium is, even 30,000 fans would be “lost” in the bowels of that concrete‑and steel canyon.
But 42,000 showed up and they were far from lost. The crowd was something to behold. The size, the colors, the noise, the energy … To step back and take a hefty drink of the surroundings made you tremble with excitement.
The OSU officials were shaken, too. obviously, such a following for a high school game was not considered. Only the main gate was open for admission of those with tickets and for ticket sales. When it was undeniable that one gate couldn’t handle the crowd, others were opened.
Still, however, some fans didn’t get inside until the first period of battle was well under way. And it wasn’t because the fans were late. Not for this game. Oh no! Not for this game.
In the first half, the hopes of the Massillon fans blossomed and withered time and again. From a seven‑yard gain by the Tigers on the first play to a fumble recovered by Moeller on the second play, ecstasy and misery traded shots within the hearts of the legions from Tigertown. Moeller turned that fumble recovery into a score, but the Tigers came back and tied it with a lightning bolt strike when Brian DeWitz passed the Gary Conley.
Boom‑Boom. Two touchdowns behind, time running out in the half and 80 yards away. But they did it, pushed the ball down the length of the field for another score. The reaction of the fans was awesome. They knew the Tigers had the stuff to win.
“Hey, Moeller’s tough, but we’re still in the game. We can do it!” one man said to no one and everyone within hearing distance at halftime. His sentiments belonged to the thousands in black and orange.
Perhaps the most powerful outburst of emotion ‑ even bigger than Moeller’s final victory cheer, came early in the third quarter. The mighty Crusaders were stopped on a fourth‑and‑one Hiawatha Francisco, that cross between a tank and a gazelle, was stopped cold.
But, victory was not to belong to Massillon on this day. It turned very cold towards the end; bitterly cold, it seemed. And the temperatures made the burden of losing harder to bear; Moeller dominated the second half. There was still hope until late in the fourth quarter, until Moeller built a three touchdown lead. The outcome could not be denied after that touchdown, and the Massillon loyalists had to endure.
The disappointment was uncontrollable for many, fans and players alike. For they all had given it everything they had.
It was a day for heroes, and though Moeller left no doubt who the champion was on Saturday, every Massillon fan knew this small town had just as many heroes on the field as Mighty Mo.
And as the final minutes ticked away, many a perplexed Tiger fan had to resist the urge to sneak up behind a Moeller player and lift up his jersey. What was really under those blue‑and‑gold shirts: muscle and bone or armor plate and high‑impact plastic?
As one dismayed Tiger fan put it, “They ain’t human.”