MASSILLON The last two games, Massillon’s defense has been like a brick wall for opposing offenses to try and penetrate. On Friday night against Benedictine, that defense had a little more give to it than previously, but it was still far from giving.
And when the Tigers needed a big play, that defense was more than happy to provide it as well. That was a big reason why Massillon was able to win its third consecutive game, a 28-10 victory over the Bengals at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
“I’m really proud of the guys,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said after his team improved to 2-1 heading into next Friday’s game with St. Ignatius. “They really answered the bell from last week. … Defense played really well again. Ran to the football, physicality, tackling and picked up some turnovers, which were huge.”
Benedictine was able to post 285 yards of offense on 68 plays, both of which were season highs for Tiger opponents by a wide margin. The Bengals also scored the first points – a first-quarter Ivan Shuran 42-yard field goal – and first touchdown – a fourth-quarter 26-yard Ronnie Schultz-to-Christopher Gales pass to make it 14-10 – that Massillon had allowed since Week 1 against St. Edward.
However, none of that ultimately hurt the Tigers in the final tally. That’s because their defense was able to get the big takeaway when it needed to get one.
“They had 285 yards, which is more than we want,” said Moore, whose offense had 266 total yards on 49 plays. “It’s a huge number, but they ran 68 plays. That’s the biggest thing. Our offense has to protect our defense more. We have to retain possession more, keep the chains moving more and that will help our defense out.”
On three different occasions in the second half, the Tigers were able to come up with interceptions to keep Benedictine from making things more difficult for them. Not only that, but Massillon converted all three of them into touchdowns to turn a 7-3 halftime lead into the final margin.
Two of those interceptions were courtesy of Martavien Johnson on consecutive fourth-quarter possessions. The biggest, though, may have come courtesy of Isaiah Clark late in the third quarter.
Benedictine, which only trailed by four, had marched on 17 plays to the Tiger 10, where it faced third-and-goal. Clark jumped the route at the 5, picking off the pass and bringing it back to Bengal 43.
“Just a great break on the ball,” Moore said. “Played very aggressive.”
Three plays later, Raekwon Venson runs it in from the 3 to give Massillon a 14-3 lead with 1:41 left in the third. It was the second of what was three touchdown runs for Venson, who finished with 108 yards on 23 carries.
Johnson would set up Venson’s third scoring run with his first pick of the night, which was brought back 38 yards into Benedictine territory. Five plays later, aided by a Bengal personal foul, Massillon made it 21-10 on a 5-yard scoring run with 6:54 left.
“I just thought he came out and ran hard,” Moore said of Venson. “That’s all we’re asking him to do. He answered the bell. He came out and ran hard.”
Benedictine’s third pick in four possessions came when Johnson pulled one in on Massillon’s side of the 50. The Tigers would turn that into a game-sealing Jumacius Portis 6-yard run with 29 seconds remaining.
By JOE SHAHEEN – The Independent Joe.Shaheen@IndeOnline.com
It’s back to the drawing board for the Massillon Tigers, who dropped their seventh game in a row dating back to last year and fell to 0-2 on the season with a 34-7 shellacking at the hands of defending Division III state champs Cleveland Benedictine at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Friday.
Massillon was in the game at halftime, trailing just 14-7, and it was a 17-7 game after three quarters. But the wheels fell off the Tiger wagon when Benedictine scored two touchdowns in a 15-second span in the fourth quarter, one on the Bengals’ second interception return for a touchdown of the game. Massillon came into the season with the idea of running the football but injuries to running backs Jermaine Moncrief and Lanale Robinson forced the Tigers to rely more on the passing game and the result against Benedictine was five interceptions and five other potential pickoffs that the Bengal defense dropped.
“I thought we got a little bit better,” said Tiger head coach Rick Shepas. “We couldn’t establish the run game like we wanted to.” We’ve just got to get better. The interceptions hurt. We had five today. We’ve just got to continue to work hard and get better. We’ve got a lot of young kids and we’re just going to go from here.”Benedictine, which improves to 1-1, rushed for 222 yards to the Tigers’ 23.” I think we had found our identity but we have to stay healthy at the running back position,” Shepas said. “We’re not the same without Moncrief and Paris (McCall) running at full strength. It makes a difference.” I even asked (Benedictine) coach (Art) Bortnick ‘What do you think we need to work on?’ He said, ‘Moncrief makes a difference.'”
Benedictine built on its seven-point halftime lead when Alex Steigerwald nailed a 26-yard field goal midway through the third period to make it 17-7.Massillon appeared in position to negate that score with a field goal of its own, but the kick was blocked and momentum seemed to leave and never return to the host’s sideline.Steigerwald added another three-pointer a minute into the fourth quarter for a 20-7 Benedictine lead but the Tigers again looked poised to respond when junior quarterback Shawn Weisend hooked up with Troy Ellis for a 56-yard pass and run to the Bengal 28. But four straight incompletions ensued and the Tigers would never threaten again. Benedictine junior tailback Jahmal Brown, who finished with 167 yards in 24 carries, broke the game open with a 58-yard scoring scamper with 7:21 to play.
The icing on the cake came on Massillon’s next play from scrimmage when Bengal senior Rashad King returned an interception eight yards to paydirt with 7:09 to play to close the scoring. “We make three out of five plays,” Shepas said. “Then we make a mistake on the fourth play and then that critical mistake on the fifth play.” That’s the way things go when you’re trying to work some thigns out.”
The Tigers were dogged by the big play in the first half, just as they were a week ago in the season-opening loss to Buchtel. Benedictine began the game with superb field position when King fielded the opening kickoff at the 4 and didn’t stop running until Massillon’s Neil James tracked him down from behind 79 yards later at the Tiger 17.On third-and-nine from the 16, Bengal tailback Chris Austin went over his left tackle virtually untouched into the end zone. Steigerwald tacked on the extra point and Benedictine led 7-0 at 9:32 of the first quarter. Midway through the first quarter, Ellis gave Massillon field position with a 54-yard punt return to the Benedictine 45.Tiger signal caller Quentin Paulik found tight end Wayne Gates open over the middle for an 11 yard gain that gave Massillon a first down at the 26. After a near interception – Benedictine’s second dropped pickoff of the first quarter – Paulik drilled Kurt Jarvis with a laser at the 1 and the diminutive senior turned into the end zone for Massillon’s first and only score of the game. Steve Schott’s conversion kick was true and the Tigers had tied the game at 7-7 at 4:52 of the first quarter. Benedictine took the lead for good early in the second quarter when its play. Bengal junior linebacker John Dunn stepped in front of a Massillon pass at the Tiger 20 and went unimpeded into the end zone for the go-ahead score. Steigerwald’s kick was good and Benedictine was up 14-7 with 10:32 remaining until halftime. It appeared Massillon was going to tie the game late in the first half as two Paulik completions, one for 16 yards to Jarvis and the second for 12 yards to Ellis, moved the ball inside the Benedictine 10. But on first and goal, Bengals’ junior linebacker Nick Valentino snared an overthrown pass at the 1-yard line for a drive-killing interception.
Missed opportunities and big plays spelled doom for the Massillon Tigers, who fell to 1‑1 in the young 2003 season with a 34‑20 setback to a veteran and talent‑laden Cleveland Benedictine team Friday evening at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
Massillon led 17‑14 at intermission but the Tiger margin could have ‑ and should have ‑ been much larger. The Bengals scored their touchdowns on Jon Huddleston’s 92‑yard kickoff return and Raymond Williams’ shocking 65‑yard run from scrimmage as time expired before the band show.
“I knew we needed a big play to get the momentum on our side,” Williams said. “So I had to go all out on that play because there were only a few seconds left in the first half. Massillon’s defense expected us to go deep but the draw play was there all night. Fortunately we ran it and I got into the end zone.”
Benedictine head coach Art Bortnick cited Williams’ scoring dash as the game’s turnaround play.
“Momentum was clearly on Massillon’s side and there was no time left on the clock,” Bortnick recalled, “and in the blink of an eyelash, Raymond came down that sideline and put that score in and all of a sudden the game is very manageable from our standpoint. Now we’re within striking distance, and the game can go either way in the second half.
“He has the ability and he read a couple of good blocks. Once he got in the secondary, he was so determined to make a big play and Massillon was caught with not enough people back and they lost their angles. Once he cleared that second level there was no one there to defend him. When you’re defending Raymond, you can never relax, and they may have relaxed there for a moment.”
In the first half, Massillon ran 41 plays to Benedictine’s 17. The Tigers also won the giveaway‑takeaway battle 4‑1, yet their lead was just three points.
“They run a kickoff back for a touchdown and they have one run at the end of the half ‑ that accounts for their 14 points,” acknowledged Tiger coach Rick Shepas. “Other than that we controlled the ball, we controlled the clock. We controlled the whole game at that point. We had them tired. We did the very best we could on both sides of the ball and I thought our defense played really well. There is no question we didn’t take advantage of the turnovers as much as we could. We had four turnovers in the first half and we didn’t take near advantage of that. We should have had 28 points on the board in the first half.
‘We had four turnovers in the first half and we didn’t take near advantage of that. We should have had 28 points on the board in the first half.’
Rick Shepas, Tiger coach
“Last week we came out and played pretty much mistake‑free. Other than not capitalizing on the turnovers, we didn’t make a whole lot of mistakes tonight, but there were a whole lot of points on the board that we could have got.”
Massillon extended its lead to 20‑14 on Zach Smith’s 25‑yar d field goal with under three minutes to play in the third quarter. From that point on, there wasn’t much to cheer about for the Tiger partisans.
After a Max Shafer punt pinned Benedictine at its own 28 early in the fourth quarter, disaster struck Massillon. On first down, Bengal quarterback Joe Laffey looked to his right for sophomore split end Lorenzo Hunter, who was covered by Billy Relford. But ‑ ‑ Relford tripped, Hunter grabbed the ball and sprinted unimpeded to the end zone for a 72‑yard score that tied the game at 20‑20.
Massillon recorded one first down on its next possession but was forced to punt, and Shafer boomed a 50‑yarder. Benedictine began inside its own 20 and on second down Maurice White ‑ Williams’ understudy found a hole over his right guard and exploded through the gap for a 72‑yard touchdown. Sam Koyl drilled the extra point and the Bengals were up 28‑20 with 8:49 to play.
Williams applied the knockout punch when he picked up a Tiger fumble on Massillon’s next possession and scampered 37 yards for a touchdown with 6:35 to play.
Massillon had another shot at cutting into the deficit when Vince Volpe came up with his second fumble recovery of the game inside the Benedictine 10 with 4:30 to play, but the Tigers could get no closer than the 2‑yard line before turning the ball over on downs.
“Our defense played as hard as any defense can play because if you look back, Massillon was so many times in the red zone and they had so many opportunities,” Bortnick observed. “But we made them work so hard and if we made them settle for a three, it kept us within striking distance and let us come back on them.”
Benedictine kept Tiger quarterback Steve Hymes in check, limiting the elusive senior to an average of 2.5 yards per carry.
“He has such a great knack of finding seams,” Bortnick said of Hymes. “In the second quarter we started cutting the seams down and we really, really hustled and played with tremendous amounts of determination on that side of the football.”
“I just think we made more mistakes in the second half,” Shepas said. “We kind of lost confidence a little bit.”
A highly entertaining first half began well for Massillon when Relford returned a Benedictine punt 56 yards for a touchdown. The versa tile senior ran out of a Bengal tackle near midfield, then cut back across the field at the Benedictine 35 and went the rest of the way untouched for six.
Benedictine drove from its 27 to the Massillon 16 on its ensuing possession but Relford killed the march with an interception at the goal line.
Tiger sophomore Dirk Dickerhoof pounced on a Benedictine fumble at the Bengal 35 to set up Massillon’s second tally.
On the fourth snap after the turnover, Steve Hymes lofted a pass to Relford near the goal line. Relford cut inside the defensive back, snared the football and stepped into the end zone for the score. Smith’s point‑after conversion made it 14‑0 at 9:43 of the second quarter.
But Benedictine bounced back immediately as Huddleston fielded the ensuing kickoff at his 8, found a huge gap in the kick coverage and sprinted 92 yards to pay dirt. A fumbled snap doomed the extra point try, and Massillon’s lead was 14‑6 at 9:27 of the second quarter.
Williams made a superb play on Massillon’s next possession, tipping away what looked to be a fourth down 30‑yard touchdown pass to Relford at the last possible moment, displaying phenomenal closing speed in the process.
Williams closed the first half scoring as the clock wound down with his 65‑yard touchdown run. It turned the game around.
SCORING M ‑ Billy Relford 56 punt return (Zach Smith kick) M ‑ Relford 24 pass from Hymes (Smith kick) B ‑ Huddleston 92 kickoff return (kick failed) M ‑ Smith 20 FG B ‑ Williams 65 run (Williams run) M ‑ Smith 25 FG B ‑ Hunter 72 pass from Laffey (kick failed) B ‑ White 72 run (Koyl kick) B ‑ Williams 38 fumble return (Koyl kick)
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS Massillon rushing: Hymes 28‑70, Lanale Robinson 14‑31 Benedictine rushing: Williams 23‑155, 1 TD, White 5‑72, 1 TD
Tigers’ late surge buries Bennies 31‑0 Defense brilliant in logging first shutout
By DENNY J. HIGHBEN
Between the Benedictine offense and the Tiger defense, Massillon had ample opportunity to put Friday night’s game on ice in the first half.
But it took a second half offensive surge and a continuing stellar performance by the Tiger defenders to white‑wash Cleveland Benedictine, 31‑0.
“The defense saved us again when we were sputtering,” Tiger coach Mike Currence said after his team chalked up its fifth straight win and first shut‑out of the season.
The Beanies lost four fumbles in the first half, two deep in their own territory, but the Tigers could take advantage of only one. That was recovered in the Massillon end one by defender Jamie Schlegel for a touchback.
Three plays later senior halfback Jeff Beitel took off on a sweep, picked up some excellent blocks and charged down the sideline 68 yards for the Tigers’ only touchdown of the first half. Ron Wright’s kick was no good, and the score was 6-0 with 9:08 remaining in the half. Schlegel’s key recovery in the end zone was just the beginning of a great performance by the junior defensive halfback. He picked off a pass on Cleveland’s first play of the second half and a few moments later brought the crowd of over 10,000 to its feet with one of the most exciting punt returns in many a‑game at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. The return set up another Tiger score.
The Tiger offense had its problems in the first half and most of the credit for those problems has to go to the talent and size of the Benedictine defensive backs and linebackers. “It’s real tough throwing over those tall guys!” Currence exclaimed after the contest. The Bengals’ defensive line had some tall trees that blocked Tiger Quarterback Brent Offenbecher’s view. And the secondary was even taller.
Sixteen of Massillon’s 31 first‑half plays were completed. Offenbecher usually found his target in the first two quarters, and a big Bengal usually found the target too just in time to break up the play.
In all, Offenbecher finished the night with 12 completions in 30 attempts for 167 yards and three interceptions.
“Two of those interceptions were my fault,” Currence said, noting that his strategy backfired a couple times when his foe, Benedictine Coach Augie Bossu, changed his defensive procedures.
The Tiger mentor praised Bossu’s ability as a coach and added the two have had a rivalry ever since Currence was the field general at Lakewood St. Edward’s. “We didn’t get to use as many of our players as we wanted to, because Angle always keeps his starting team in. He doesn’t substitute,” Currence added.
“And with about eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, and only up 24 points, you can’t ease up against him,” Currence said.
Although Benedictine picked up 222 yards in the game, the Bennies only knocked on Massillon’s door once. They marched downfield early in the second period and had a second‑and‑three situation at the Tiger 10‑yard line.
Sophomore halfback Don Cline carried the ball into the line, was hammered by linebacker Richard Cleveland and, as he tried to twist and squirm for more yardage, lost the ball which Schlegel recovered in the end zone.
Though the Tiger defense recovered fumbles at the Bennies’ 29 and 18 yardlines after the score, the offense couldn’t reach the promised land again in the first half.
However, things were different in the second half. Senior Curtis Strawder returned the kickoff 24 yards and the Tigers went to work from their 43 yard line.
Beitel ran his trademark sweep ‑ a play that is fast becoming the Tigers’ bread and butter on the ground for 10 yards. Fullback Tom Gehring went up the middle for two yards and then Offenbecher found Beitel open and connected on a nine-yard gainer. Junior Bill Beitel squirmed through the line for another 10 yards and then brother Jeff was off‑and‑running again.
Behind some powerful blocks, Jeff swept down the hometown sideline for a 25‑yard touchdown scamper. Offenbecher tried to pass for the extra points, but the ball fell incomplete and the Tigers were on top 12‑0 with 10:35 remaining in the third quarter.
Cline returned the kickoff to the Benedictine 40, but quarterback Dale Horton’s pass on the first Play was picked off by Schlegel.
Offenbecher started marching the Tiger’s downfield, but a third‑and‑six pass was picked off and the Bennies had the ball at their 10‑yard line. The Tiger defense gave up five yards on three plays, and the Bennie’s punted to Schlegel.
Defense brilliant in logging first shutout Schlegel caught the punt and ran a country mile for what turned out to be a 40‑yard return. He caught the ball at ratified on the east sideline, ran backwards about 15 yards to avoid tacklers while he crossed the field and zoomed down the west sideline to the 10 before being hauled down from behind.
Two plays later Gehring rammed through the center of the line for his first of two touchdowns. The conversion pass was broken up and, with 5:49 remaining in the third period, the score was 18-0.
Benedictine failed to get a first down on the next series, punted, and Darren Longshore ran it back 65 yards for another TD, only to have it called back on a clipping infraction. The Tigers had to start at their 21, and “Mr. Clutch” came in at quarterback to give Offenbecher, who had been sprinting left and sprinting right all night, a breather. “Mr. Clutch,” as Currence calls him, is Wright – split end, kicker, and quarterback. Wright didn’t waste any time showing his talents to the Bengals. After four running plays, that gave Massillon a second‑and‑14 at the Tiger 31, Wright connected with Gehring on an 18‑yard gainer, Two plays later he fired on a run to junior end Marty Guzzetta, who battled for some extra yardage of the ball on Benedictine’s 20 ‑ a play good for 31 yards.
The Bennies’ defense slammed the door on Massillon’s running game again, and on fourth-and-10 Wright went back to Guzzetta for a 15‑yarder and with a whistle on Benedictine for a late hit, Massillon had a first‑and‑goal at the three. Gehring barged over the line for his second TD, Wright’s conversion pass was incomplete and it was 24‑0 with 11:43 remaining to play. Massillon’s defense again held the Bennies at bay, but a booming punt by 6-4 Dave Marshall, one of those trees on defense, put the Tigers on their 20.
Offenbecher returned to action, with the nod from Currence to call his own game. “When Brent went out he was determined to take it all the way,” Currence said. He did ‑ with a little help from the defense.
The offense ran two plays and got a 15-yard holding penalty in the process, putting the ball back at the 13. Two plays later Offenbecher got hit as he threw the ball and Scott Modzelewski intercepted at the Benedictine 48. The Beanies went to the air right away and Horton connected with 6‑6 end Joe Mincek. The tall guy ran for some good yardage but fumbled when he was tackled and Cleveland recovered for the Tigers at Massillon’s 22. So Offenbecher went to work again. He hit Strawder and Bill Beitel on consecutive passes, threw an incomplete pass, then rolled to his left and picked up 12 yards an his own. He got steamrollered when he was already out of bounds, which gave the Tigers an additional 15 yards.
With a second‑and‑one on the Bennies’ 21, however, Massillon returned the yardage on an illegal receiver penalty. That infraction made it second‑and‑16 at the Cleveland 36, but a hard run by Sam Hill and a pass to Guzzetta made it first‑and‑10 at the 15. Offenbecher hit junior end Scott Gehring at the three, and kept the ball on three successive plays until he punched into the end zone with 3:01 remaining.
“Yeah, the fumbles sum hurt us,” Bossu said after the game. “Our defense was on the field longer than it should have been, and Massillon has an awfully strong offense,” he added. Thinking of those fumbles and interceptions, Currence said, “I have to apologize to our defense. We should have scored so many more times.” So, what‑the‑heck; 31‑0 isn’t bad at all.
M CB First down, rush. 9 4 First downs pass. 12 4 First downs pen. A 2 Total first down 21 10 Yards gained rushing 221 130 Yards lost rush. 48 5 Net yds. gained rush. 173 125 Net yds. passing 241 97 Total yds. gained 414 222 Passes att. 34 11 Passes completed 15 5 Passes intercepted 3 3 Yardage on passes intercepted 20 4 Times kicked off 6 1 Kickoff ave. 46 42 Kickoff returns 25 93 Times punted 2 6 Punt average 25 34 Punt returns 45 0 Punts blocked 0 0 Fumbles 1 7 Lost fumbles 1 5 Penalties 5 3 Yards penalized 74 24 Touchdowns rushing 5 0 Total number of plays 73 55 Time of Poss. 25:03 22:57
BENEDICTINE 0 0 0 0 0 MASSILLON 0 6 12 13 31
M ‑ Jeff Beitel 68 run (Ron Wright kick fail); M ‑ J. Beitel 25 run (pass fail); M – Tom Gehring 4 run (pass fail); M – T. Gehring 3 run (pass fail); M – Brent Offenbecher 1 run (Wright kick).
Offense QUARTERBACK: 14 – Brent Offenbecher (Sr., 6‑1,175); FULLBACK: 49 ‑ Sam Hill (Jr., 5‑6,160), 43 ‑ Tom Gehring (Sr., 5‑10. 171); HALFBACKS: 45 ‑ Jeff Beitel (Sr., 5‑7 158), 22 ‑ Bill Beitel (Jr., 5‑7, 148); ENDS: 42 – Curtis Strawder (Sr., 5-10, 153), 13 ‑ Ron Wright (Sr., 5-9,173), 25 Marty Guzzetta (Jr., 5-9, 160); TACKLES: 67 – Doug Wood (Sr., 6‑2, 191), 76 ‑ Mark Kircher (Jr., 6‑1, 212); GUARDS: 69 ‑ Jim Horton (Sr., 6-0,177), 65 ‑ Larry Massie (Jr., 5‑7, 195); CENTER: 51 Scott Kasunick (Sr., 5‑9, 181).
Defense ENDS: 81 ‑ Bruce Solinger (Sr.. 6-0, 175), 88 ‑ Kent Wilson (Sr. 6-0, 182); TACKLES: 72 ‑ Harry Foster (Sr, 6‑2, 222), 71 ‑ Jeff Pedro (Sr., 6‑3, 204); MIDDLE GUARD: 55 ‑ Bob Simpson (Jr., 5‑11, 190); LINEBACKERS: 28 ‑ Dick Cleveland (Sr., 5 11,188), 38 Kevin Harris (Sr. 5‑10, 182); MONSTER BACK: 11 Darren Longshore (Sr., 6-1, 175); SAFETY: 21 – Jamie Schiegel (Jr., 5‑11, 160); HALFBACKS: 34 – Jeff David (Sr., 5-9, 188), 12 ‑ Dan Venables (Sr., 5‑10, 160) KICKERS: 13 ‑ Wright (punts, extra points), 86 ‑ Mike Hodgson (Jr., 6‑5. 194) kickoffs.
Offense QUARTERBACK: 10 – Dave Horton (Jr., 5‑8, 124); FULLBACK: 21 Mark Mariani (Sr., 6-0. 186); HALFBACKS: 22 Don Cline (Soph., 5‑10, 160); 95 – Joe Mencek (Sr., 6‑6, 186); ENDS: 85 ‑ Dave Marshall (Sr., 6-4, 188), 81 ‑ John Goode ( J r. , 6-2, 192); TACKLES: 72 ‑ Dan Cash (Jr., 6-2, 190), 71 ‑ Tom Glowik (Sr., 6‑4, 215); GUARDS: 61 ‑ Greg Shenedy (Sr., 5‑9, 166), 66 ‑ Joe Buerger (Jr., 5-11, 179), 63 – Dan Frate (Sr., 5-11, 178 ), 60 – John Savage (Jr., 5‑10, 177); CENTER: 55 – Mike Shantery (Jr., 5-11, 175).
Defense ENDS: 64 ‑ Willie Tucker (Sr., 6‑1, 191), 57 – Tony Pletka (Sr., 6-0, 176); TACKLES: Jim Urda (Sr., 6-3, 210) , 70 ‑ Jim Kutka (Soph., 5-11, 175); LINEBACKERS: 50 – Ted Chiudioni (Sr., 5-9, 164), 90 – Derick Dove (Sr., 6-2, 185); OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS: 60 – John Savage, 85 ‑ Dave Marshall; HALFBACKS: 30 ‑ Hugh Evert (Sr., 5‑10, 155), 32 – Scott Modzelewski (Jr., 5-10, 166); SAFETY: 95 – Joe Mincek. KICKER: 57 ‑ Tony Pletka.
The Massillon Tigers limited the Cleveland Benedictine Bengals to 18 yards in the first half and coasted to a 24-7 victory Friday night before a Dad’s sight crowd of 9,356 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
“Massillon controlled the football and the line of scrimmage and that was the ball game,” Bengal head coach August Bossu saidafter the game.
“THEY’RE VERY good. They were what we expected them to be,” Bossu said.
The Tigers shut down the Bengals in the first half and rand up 17 points, picking up 122 yards rushing.
“We worked hard all week on the running game and we had planned to do more running tonight,” Tiger head coach Mike Currence said.
The Tigers drove inside the Benedictine 10-yard line twice in the first quarter, losing the ball on downs both then times.
“When you’re driving down the field you have to take what they give you.” Currence said, explaining why the Tigers stuck to the ground. “Then we’d get down there in a short yardage situation and we couldn’t get it. You ought to be able to make it. We weren’t pleased at all with those situation plays down inside their 10.”
THE TIGER defense came to the rescue, however, as it recorded its third safety in three games.
After Massillon gave up the ball at the Benedictine seven on downs, the Bengals took over and were promptly assessed a motion penalty that put the ball at the three. On the second down, halfback Bill St. John was hit and downed in the end zone by David Engler, Tony Matie and John Letcavits.
The Tigers got the ball with 1:58 left in the first quarter following a Bengal punt and drove 59 yards in nine plays, with Greg Carpenter running it in from four yards out with 11:07 left in the half. Mark Westover booted the extra point for a 9-0 Tiger lead.
Then, following another Bengal punt, Massillon took over at the Benedictine 39 after an 18 yard return by Darren Longshore.
The Tigers didn’t waste any time as junior quarterback Brent Offenbecher hit wide receiver Curtis Strawder down the left sideline for a touchdown. Dick Cleveland ran in the extra points and the Tigers took a 17-0 lead into the lockerroom at the half.
IN THE second half, the Bengals came out and made a game of it, but it was a little too late.
Their only score against the tough Tiger defense came when James Few recovered a Massillon fumble at the Tiger 44 yard line in the third quarter.
Bengal quarterback Jamie Georgeson kept the drive alive with two key passes for first downs. The first was to Terry Modzelewski for 18 yards and the second to Pete Germano for 13 yards.
Bengal fullback Few punched over far the TD from the one and Frank Szoks added the conversion kick.
Early in the fourth quarter, Massillon drove to the Bengal two only to lose the ball on downs.
HOWEVER, the Bengal punted from their own four and the Tigers’ Mike Hickey caught the ball at the Bennie 32 and scampered untouched down the left sideline for a touchdown. Westover capped the scoring for the night with his extra point and the Tigers went home with a 24 7 win and a 4-1 record.
“They turned out to be a little strong, defensively.” Currence said. “They changed up on us some. They switched Few from inside linebacker to defensive end.
“They had some pretty good people and I think they’ll win a few games for us this year,” he said, referring to the state computer poll.
BOSSU SAID he was disappointed his team didn’t come up with a better first half.
“Our defense was better the second half and I thought we played better offensively as well as defensively the second half. Our only mistake was on the punt coverage.
“We would have liked to pass more,” Bossu explained, “but we didn’t have good enough protection for our quarterback and we had poor field position.”
Benedictine is 3-2 on the season.
The Tigers will play at Steubenville Friday night in their second All-American Conference game of the season.
Offenbecher hit 5 of 10 passes for 98 yards and one TD while Mike Grove gained 93 yards rushing in just seven carries.
GRIDSTICK M B First downs rushing 10 3 First downs passing 5 2 First downs penalties 2 0 Total first downs 17 5 Yards gained rushing 219 82 Yards lost rushing 24 18 Net yards gained rushing 195 64 Net yards gained passing 108 31 Total yards gained 303 95 Passes attempted 14 6 Passes completed 6 2 Passes intercepted by 1 1 Yardage on passes intercepted 0 0 Times kicked off 4 3 Kickoff average (yards) 52.3 49.3 Kickoff returns (yards) 59 81 Times punted 2 7 Punt average (yards) 40.0 30.8 Punt returns (average) 58 4 H ad punts blocked 0 0 Fumbles 1 1 Lost fumbled ball 1 0 Penalties 3 3 Yards penalized 25 24 Touchdowns rushing 1 1 Touchdowns passing 1 0 Touchdowns by interception 0 0 Miscellaneous touchdowns 1 0 Total number of plays 57 45 Total time of possession 27:33 20:27
Benedictine 0 0 7 0 7 Massillon 2 15 0 7 24
M – safety; M – Greg Carpenter 4 run (Mark Westover kick); M – Curtis Strawder 39 pass from Brent Offenbecher (Richard Cleveland run); B – James Few 1 run (Frank Szoks kick); M – Mike Hickey 32 punt return (Westover kick) Attendance: 9,356
lineups TIGERS Offense Quarterback: 14 Brent Offenbecher (Jr., 6 0, 167); fullback: 28 Richard Cleveland (Jr., 5 11, 185); halfbacks: 44 Mike Grove (Sr., 5 9,, 175), 33 Greg Carpenter (Sr., 6 0, 208); 45 Jeff Beitel (Jr., 5 7, 150) end: 20 Mark Pringle (Sr., 6 1, 182), 86 Bob Grizzard (Sr., 5 5, 150), 80 Curtis Strawder (Jr., 5 10, 147), 87 Eric Clendening (Sr., 5 10, 174); tackles: 75 Tim Daniels (Sr., 6 8, 260), 78 Mark Namany (Sr., 6 4, 210), 73 Bob Kovacsiss (Sr., 5 11, 246); guards: 65 Bob Berquist (Sr., 5 10, 195), 61 Toby Leonard (Sr., 5 8, 183); center: 66 Ken Nagle (Sr., 5 10, 191), 50 Dick Lutz (Sr., 6 1, 212).
Defense Ends: 85 David Engler (Sr., 5 9, 190), 52 Frank Sweterlitsch (Sr., 6 1, 193); tackles: 68 Tony Matie (Sr., 6 1, 218), 39 Jerry Shafrath (Sr., 6 1, 214); middle guard: 59 Carl Dorsey (Sr., 5 10, 192); linebackers: 62 Kurt Walterhouse (Sr., 5 11, 187), 47 Steve Dottavio (Sr., 5 9, 212); monster back: 27 John Letcavits (Sr., 6 1, 172); safety: 21 Marc Longshore (Sr., 6 1, 182); defensive halfbacks: 22 Mike Hickey (Sr., 5 10, 171), 11 Darren Longshore (Jr., 6 0, 165) Kicker; 15 Mark Westover (Sr., 6 1, 218).
BENGALS Offense Quarterback: 10 Jamie Georgeson (Sr., 5 7, 155); fullback: 32 James Few (Sr., 6 1, 209); halfbacks: 22 Bill St. John )Sr., 5 10, 176), 81 Terry Modzelewski (Sr., 5 9, 161); ends; 99 Pete Germano (Sr., 6 3, 183), 85 Dave Marshall (Jr., 6 3, 185); tackles: 60 Art Eulinberg (Sr., 6 1, 203), 74 Spencer Stokes (Sr., 5 11, 234); guards: 55 Nick Baucco (Sr., 5 10, 175), 63 Andy Smith (Sr., 6 1, 187); center: 73 Sidney Peterson (Sr., 5 11, 228)
If maestro Mike Currence can get the Tiger offense to stop throwing in those discords, the Orange and Black’s victory song will sound much sweeter.
On Friday for the third time in five weeks, the Washington High School team was behind at half time. The Tigers came roaring back on the ground and in the air at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium to claim an 18-3 victory over traditionally tough Cleveland Benedictine before 9,800 homecoming fans.
IT WAS the third straight win for the 3-2 Tigers. Benedictine dropped to 2-2-1.
The Tigers squandered away two scoring opportunities in the first half while the Massillon and Benedictine defenses hammered away at each other. As a result, both teams were bottled up in their own territory. Massillon punted six times, Benedictine five.
But quarterback Bret Traylor scored twice and fullback Rich Cleveland once in the second half to assure a Tiger victory. For the second consecutive week Traylor did some fine passing and running to aid the Orange and Black’s offensive cause.
Cleveland gained 71 yards without a loss in 11 carries, but for the first time in three weeks failed to pass the century mark. The tenacious Benedictine defense was the reason.
Traylor and fullback Jerry Shafrath didn’t get together on a second period handoff at the Benedictine 27-yard line. Guard Steve Tanner recovered on the 32 and Traylor’s 16-yard run and Cleveland’s 15-yard effort went down the drain.
Halfback Mike Grove caught a Traylor pass on the Benedictine 20 in the first quarter and scored but a clipping penalty crossed it off the book and two plays later the Obiemen were forced to punt.
Halfback Jay Harper and Traylor had combined for a 33-yard pass-run effort on the aborted drive. Harper almost went the distance but was knocked out of bounds by halfback John DiPaola on the Benedictine 25.
TRAYLOR HAD some more trouble in the third period when halfback Ron Manning intercepted his pass at the Benedictine nine but the Bennies, still suffering from poor field position because of great Tiger defensive work, were forced to punt from their 16.
The Tigers took over on the Benedictine 43, Traylor hit Grove with a 14-yarder and the Orange and Black were off on their first touchdown jaunt. Harper and Traylor combined on a 26-yard pass-run and Traylor charged in from the one with 4:56 left. Mike Hardwick’s conversion kick went under the crossbar.
Anthony Grizzard came up with another of his great punt runbacks (21 yards) at the start of the fourth quarter and in five plays the Currencemen had scored again. Rich Chovan grabbed a Traylor pass for 15 yards, Harper ran for 15 and Traylor skirted end for a 38-yard TD with 9:15 left.
But Chovan couldn’t hang on to Traylor’s conversion pass.
THE TIGERS drove from their 27 in five plays after a punt for their final score. End Mark Pringle and Traylor combined talents for a 46-yarder, Grove caught an eight-yarder and Cleveland, the sophomore running sensation, went the remaining distance (seven yards) with 4:58 left.
Grove’s conversion run was short.
Benedictine’s 25-yard field goal by junior Fran Szocs came after a second quarter punt. Terry Modzelewski returned for 10 yards to the Massillon 46, halfback Bob Conwell, who netted 77 yards in 17 carries, picked up 32 yards in two carries on the scoring drive and Szocs kicked on fourth down with 8:28 left.
“We decided at halftime that we would have to throw to beat Benedictine,” said Currence. “They’re just too big and strong. Their pursuit was great. That’s Augie and that 6-1 defense. That middle linebacker, Richard Saunders, was tough.”
Currence said that it was also determined at halftime that the Tiger defense would have to turn things around aggressively if they were going to win.
“IT TAKES a little bit of success offensively for our boys to get rolling,” Currence said. “It’s taken Traylor a little longer to read the opponent’s defense. There’s so many options off of our defense.”
Currence saluted Frank Thomas, Jim Letcavits, Gary Wells and Dale Walterhouse for a terrific job of coaching the defense this year. Besides the usual work of linebacker Kurt Walterhouse, tackle Jesse Toles, middle guard Carl Dorsey, monster back Grizzard, and junior tackle Tony Matie did an outstanding job as Currence gave more players a chance to participate.
“Benedictine blockers let us go the way they wanted us to go and then the back went the opposite way,” Currence said. “Their tackles are so big we couldn’t see. Steve Tanner is very tough. The Bennies hurt us on their quick drive.”
Currence said for a Class AA school, Benedictine is one of the toughest teams the Tigers have played.
“It was hard because we had poor field position,” said Benedictine chief Augie Bossu. “At times we moved the ball good but we had the good play to make and maybe were afraid to go for the big one. We also had to play catch-up ball after awhile.”
Augie thought the right side of his offensive line did a great job of blocking for Conwell. “We had a good defensive effort,” Bossu said. “It’s hard covering the run and shoot sideline to sideline.”
BOSSU POINTED out that when Grizzard was brought to the middle of the defense the Benedictine backs didn’t pick him up.
“We went up against an excellent ball club tonight,” Bossu said.
SCORING SUMMARY B – Frank Szocs, 25 field goal; M – John Traylor, 1 run (kick failed); M – Traylor, 38 run (pass failed); M – Rich Cleveland, 7 run (run failed).
OFFICIALS Referee – Steve Nagy. Umpire – Chuck Hinkle. Head Linesman – Tom Cleman. Field Judge – Bob Hipple. Back Judge – Don Fowler.
ATTENDANCE – 9,800.
GRIDSTICK M B First downs rushing 5 4 First downs passing 6 6 First downs penalties 0 0 Total first downs 11 10 Yards gained rushing 203 106 Yards lost rushing 34 50 Net yards gained rushing 169 56 Net yards gained passing 145 105 Total yards gained 314 161 Passes completed 6-17 9-23 Passes intercepted by 1 2 Yards on passes Intercepted 30 17 Kickoff average (yards) 4-47 2-45 Kickoff returns (yards) 34 24 Punt average (yards) 3-34 9-39 Punt returns (yards) 48 7 Had punts blocked 0 0 Fumbles 2-1 4-2 Yards penalized 5-43 5-35 Touchdowns rushing 3 0 Total number of plays 60 66 Total time of possession 26:30 21:30
Tiger offense explodes for 36-8 win Harmon scores first 22 points
By DENNY HIGHBEN
The Tiger defense continued its outstanding play and the offense finally got rolling Friday night at Tiger Stadium as Massillon thrashed Cleveland Benedictine, 36-8.
It was “Dads’ Night” at the stadium and the Tigers’ performance certainly made the group of fathers proud – and two of the men had double reason to smile.
ONE WORE placards bearing numbers 32 and 43, identifying him as the father of Bill and Keith Harmon. The other wore numbers 35 and 45, identifying him as the father of Tom and Tony Gizzard. Bill and keith accounted for 30 of Massillon’s points. Tom and Tony gained any yardage needed when Bill wasn’t running the ball and together formed a hard-hitting duo as Tiger linebackers.
Bill Harmon carried the ball 27 times, over, under, around and through the Bennies’ defense, gained 196 yards and scored Massillon’s first 22 points. He also threw some fine blocks for his fellow running backs.
“We didn’t know how many yards he had,” Shuff commented in the locker room. “We would have let him run the ball a few more times to break 200 yards if we had known.”
The concrete fullback did gain 201 yards but, unbelievable as it seems, he lost five yards somewhere and finished with a net 196 yards – and he didn’t touch the ball in the fourth quarter.
But Harmon was not alone on the Tiger side of the scrimmage line. The whole offensive team played an outstanding game and the defense held the Bengals to a total of eight first downs, (two on penalties) and only three of those were in the second half.
BENEDICTINE HAD only lost one game – by four points – prior to the battle at Tiger Stadium and Coach Auggie Bossu said his team’s defensive play was its strongest point. After the game he summed the loss up by saying, “We couldn’t stop the run.”
The Bennies kept the game interesting in the first half and the teams went into the locker rooms at the half with eight points each. Asked if the Tigers were worried about the halftime score, Shuff said, “I don’t know about anybody lese, but I was.”
“But we came out poppin’ it the second half…They (the Bennies) never gave up, we just wore then down,” Shuff added.
After exchanging punts, Harmon ran the ball six times, with Tom Grizzard running it once just to keep the Bennies guessing and with 3:05 left in the first quarter Bill went six yards for a score. Quarterback Todd Keller handed off to Harmon on the conversion and the big fullback crossed the line for two more points.
Benedictine moved into Tiger territory on the following series and on first-and-10, at Massillon’s 29, quarterback Steve Martuas threw a touchdown pass to end Bruce Kniola. Martuas and Kniola teamed up on another pass for the conversion and the score was tied at 8-8.
WHEN THE TIGERS got the ball in the third quarter the first time, runs by Harmon, Tom and Tony Grizzard got the ball to the Benedictine two-yard line and Bill drove in for the TD with 7:26 left in the period. Harmon ran for the extra points, making it 16-8.
A few moments later Massillon had the ball on Cleveland’s 49 and Harmon ran a sweep around the left end. Expert blocking took out most of the Benedictine defenders, Harmon ran over the rest and went THE distance for the score with 4:44 left in the third. Tom Grizzard tried a run for the extra points but was stopped short and the score was 22-8.
“We tried a couple new plays tonight, to get Harmon wide,” Shuff said. That sweep was one of them.
After that score, fresh troops for the Tigers poured into the game and the result was another 14 points. As the third period ended, reserve tailback Pete Killins followed the interior line and Bill Harmon into the end zone from two yards out for a score and Keith Harmon booted the extra point.
With 10:14 left in the final period reserve quarterback Dave Smith dropped back and threw an 18-yard pass to Keith Harmon for the final TD.
THE LAST POINT took some time to score. The Tigers lined up at the three and Keith was going to kick the conversion, but Massillon was penalized five-yards for illegal procedure. The Tigers lined up again but got another five-yarder tacked on, so Keith ended up kicking from the 20-yard line, which made it a 30-yard extra point.
Keith was wide on a 39-yard field goal attempt in the second period.
Though Bengal running backs Bob Conwell and Damian West both made some fine runs, gaining a combined total of 84 yards, the Cleveland rushing game couldn’t do the job and the Bennies resorted to the pass. The results were two interceptions, one by Willie Conley in the third period and one by Tom Grizzard in the fourth. Grizzard’s interception came at the Massillon 34 and he was prevented from going the distance by a shoe-string tackle that tripped him up at the Bengals’ 18. That’s when Smith stepped in and threw the bomb.
“It was a total team effort,” Shuff summarized. He gave the reserve players a lot of credit. Those athletes haven’t seen much action this season because of the rough going experienced by the starting units in previous games.
“The reserves work awful hard in practice to make our first unit go and they proved themselves tonight,” Shuff said.
The contingent of reserves that played contained four sophomores and one, fullback, Ken Nagle, was mistakenly identified as Van Jones. Jones is the regular number 24 and Nagle was also wearing a number 24 Friday night. Nagle played offense while Jones played defense.
The Tigers, now 3-1-1, travel to Steubenville Friday for a game against AAC foe Steubenville. Steubenville is 3-2.
MASSILLON 8 0 21 7 36 BENEDICTINE 0 8 0 0 8
SCORING SUMMARY M – B. Harmon, 6 yard run (B. Harmon run); B – Kniola, 29 pass from Martuas (Kniola pass from martaus); M – B. Harmon, 49 run (run failed); M – Killins, 2 run (K. Harmon kick); M – Killins, run (K. Harmon kick); M – K. Harmon, 18 pass from Smith (K. Harmon kick).
MASSILLON – 36 Ends – Arner, Conley, Chovan, Butterfield, Eberhart, Matie, Bammerlin, Jones. Tackles – Mark Lauber, Genet, Drobney, Baughman, Mike Lauber, Dennison, Tourney. Guards – Ricker, Brand, King, Schumacher, Christoff, Baus, Bettilyon, Ramsey, Hauser, Fatigati, Sweterlich. Centers – D. Nagle, Grove, Mitcheal, Englehardt. Backs – Smith, Traylor, Arner, Keller, Stewart, Warthen, Jones, Harper, B. Harmon, Killins, A. Grizzard, Ellis, Rogers, Parson, K. Harmon, Dorsey, T. Grizzard, Toles, K. Nagle, Walterhouse.
Tigers outside game beats Bennies Shaky start but the ending turns out okay
By CHUCK HESS, JR. Independent Sports Editor
The end was okay but the start was a little shaky Friday night at Tiger Stadium as the Tigers took step number one on their way back to respectability.
An uninspired Orange and Black team shut out an unusually poor Cleveland Benedictine team 24-0 before 8,989 fans, the season’s smallest crowd, to raise their record to 2-3 and break a two-game losing steak. Benedictine, defending Blass AA state champion, dropped to 1-4.
THE TIGERS had problems moving the ball in the first half and looked listless, but head coach Chuck Shuff had a few well chosen words for his crew at halftime and they played better football in the third quarter. The reserves were in for most of the fourth stanza.
“We told the fellows they had to go out and play better football,” Shuff said. “We were not up for the game and we played like we practiced. Our workouts were mediocre this week, not spirited. I would hope that we didn’t look at this game as one against a team with a 1-3 record because we were only 1-3.”
The Tigers were too quick around the ends for the Bennies with options and pitch sweeps. With Benedictine playing a 6-1 defense it opened the way for 34 and 32-yard pass catches by senior split end Eddie “Tinker” Bell and a 14-yarder by senior tight end Thee Lemon which set up two of the touchdowns and Lemon’s eight-yard touchdown catch.
“We had good sweeps and options tonight and hit Harmon inside a couple of times in the second half and kept them honest,” Shuff said. “With Benedictine playing six linemen and only one linebacker we wanted to try to get the ball in the air a little more. I thought we hit more than five of 13, but we got our highest yardage of the season.”
One of the things which made the option plays go so well was senior quarterback Greg Wood’s faking at attackers, springing senior tailback Mark Streeter and junior tailback Tom Grizzard effectively.
“OUR DEFENSE came along real well and held them to 118 yards on 46 attempts,” Shuff said. “That’s pretty good.”
Because the Tigers moved the ball so well, they had 18 more plays than the Bennies. That always helps.
Augie Bossu, veteran Benedictine mentor, agreed, “The Tigers were quicker than we were and hurt us around the ends. Harmon kept us honest up the middle. You also hurt us with your passes and were quicker than we were.”
Senior middle guard Gary Waldrop picked off a Benedictine fumble at the Bennies’ 29-yard line in the first quarter and four plays later the Tigers had a TD, set up by Streeter’s 15 and 11-yard pitch runs. Junior fullback Bill Harmon bulled over the one but Dave Dowd’s conversion kick was wide.
Near the end of the quarter junior punter Todd Keller’s fumble gave Benedictine the ball on the Massillon 38. Two plays later senior line backer Tim Gutshall pounced on senior fullback John Colagiovanni’s fumble at the 40 and the Tigers were off for what looked like another TD drive.
STREETER GALLOPED 33 yards around end on a pitch to the Benedictine 33, but misplayed a pitchout from the seven on the first play of the second quarter, senior halfback Bruce Kniola recovered for the Bennies.
Bell intercepted a Herb Wilborn aerial on the Tigers’ 29 later in the second quarter to put the Orange and Black on the prowl again. In five plays the Obiemen had their second score as Bell and Lemon handled the aforementioned pass receptions and Wood added a 15-yard end run. Greg tried to hit junior swingback Keith Harmon for the conversion after Lemon’s TD catch but senior halfback Tome St. John knocked the ball down.
Lemon almost got the Tigers a TD on the final play of the first half when he intercepted a pass on the Benedictine 26 and run back to the one.
The Tigers took over on their 17 after a third quarter punt and in 11 plays had their third TD. Bill Harmon’s 17-yard run through the center and Bell’s 32-yard pass reception on the three were keys. Streeter scored three plays later from the nine after an offside penalty had robbed Harmon of a TD. “Streets’” run featured a beautiful second effort to him into the end zone on the pitchout.
St. John knocked down Wood’s pass for Lemon on the conversion try.
THE TIGERS gained possession later in the stanza after a poor punt gave them the ball on their 42. Harmon went off tackle for 18 yards to the 40 and Streeter 20 yards on an option during the seven-play drive. Wood sneaked in from the one for the score but Dowd’s kick attempt was wide.
In the fourth quarter senior linebacker Brandon White hopped on Wilborn’s fumble at the Benedictine 31. Six plays later the Tigers lost the ball on downs at the Benedictine eight.
The Tigers stopped a Benedictine threat at the Orange and Black 42 in the fourth quarter, Shuff put in the reserves with 9:30 left and that was it.
SCORING SUMMARY M – B. Harmon, 1 run (kick failed); M – Lemon, 8 pass from Wood (pass failed); M – Streeter, 9 run (pass failed); M – Wood 1 run (kick failed).
OFFICIALS Referee – Fred Vicarel. Umpire – Bill Kulich. Head Linesman – Jack Werkowitz. Field Judge – Dick Creed. Back Judge – Tim Murray.
ATTENDANCE – 8, 989.
GRIDSTICK M B First downs – rushing 16 4 First downs – passing 4 1 First downs – penalties 0 1 Total first downs 20 6 Yards gained rushing 316 94 Yards lost rushing 53 23 Net yards gained rushing 263 71 Net yards gained passing 106 47 Total yards gained 369 118 Passes completed 5-13 4-14 Passes intercepted by 2 0 Yardage on passes intercepted 31 0 Kickoff average (yards) 5-41.6 1-43.0 Kickoff returns (yards) 22 42 Punt average (yards) 3-38.3 6-36.8 Punt returns (yards) 35 0 Had punts blocked 0 0 Lost fumbled ball 2-6 3-3 Yards penalized 4-40 3-31 Touchdowns rushing 3 0 Touchdowns passing 1 0 Total number of plays 64 46 Possession Time 24:58 23.02
They weren’t emotionally ready and is cost the Tigers Friday night as 11,972 saw the first 0-0 game at Tiger Stadium since Canton Lincoln turned the trick in 1945. the tie against Cleveland Benedictine axed a Massillon 16-game regular season win streak.
This was only the second scoreless deadlock in the history of the “House of Champions” and the 12th in Massillon gridiron annals. The first 0-0 affair occurred against the local Ex-Highs in 1904. The last came against skipper Bob Commings in 1969 at Steubenville.
“All of us from top to bottom were not ready for the Bennies,” Commings said. “Apparently we must have believed their past record (2-2).”
Washington High fans were thinking about what the tie would do to their team in the computer ratings which select the state playoff combatants.
“I don’t think this (4-0-1 mark) wrecks our chances,” Comings said. “We have to lick our wounds and comeback and win. We can sill get to Cincinnati, (Nippert Stadium) but it’s going to be a rough row to hoe.”
Alan Binks, almost pulled out a victory with less than a minute left but was wide left and short on field goal attempts from the 29 and 24-yard lines on fourth down, the second try came after an offside penalty.
A bright spot may have appeared in the problem-plagued passing game. Quarterback Greg Wood completed five attempts in nine tries, but more passing yardage is needed to help the running game. Split end Jeff Huffman let a 38-yarder to the end zone drop from his hands in the fourth quarter. However, he and Larry McCauley, another split end, did make key catches to keep last canto drives alive.
Huffman’s effort was a 25-yarder which put the ball on the Benedictine eight-yard line, but the Bennies’ defense stiffened and brought on the twin field goal attempts. McCauley’s pass coupled with fullback Bill Harmon’s 16-yard run, ignited a drive which burned out on the Benedictine 14 because of an offensive pass interference penalty.
Key sacks of Wood by middle linebacker Greg Rufus, and ends Lloyd Derricoatte and Bill Davis also hampered the fourth quarter drives. Tackle John Glowik’s pressure during the night also caused Wood to run for his life.
“I thought everything we tried to do with the passing game was good except for the protection,” Commings said. “We just didn’t block. We also made some silly mistakes like offensive pass interference.”
The lack of blocking also hurt the running game because of the Bennies’ terrific pursuit. Harmon got nowhere inside.
The Tigers were stopped at the Benedictine 50 and 29 on downs in the first quarter, were short by an inch at the Bennies’ 46 in the second quarter and gave up the ball at Benedictine nine in the third period.
Cornerback Mark Streeter intercepted a Benedictine pass on the Tiger 20 to stop a second period drive which the Bennies had started when Rufus recovered Streeter’s punt fumble on the Massillon 30. Substituted defensive end Rusty Venables continued his great play by throwing Benedictine quarterback Alfred Keller from the Tiger two to the five to stop another second canto effort.
Safety Mike Jackson picked off another Streeter punt fumble at the Massillon 42 in the third quarter. This started the Bennies on a drive which was stopped at the 28 with the aid of a clipping penalty.
Tom Seres tried a field goal from the 35 but was short. The try occurred one play after they had dropped a TD pass near the end zone.
“Our defensive effort was a real good one,” Benedictine head coach Augie Bossu said. “We didn’t change our plans, but we tried to mix up what we were doing and I think it paid off. I hope tying Massillon will get us going.”
The Massillon-Benedictine series stands 16-2-1 in the Tigers; favor with Bossu the culprit all three times. The last Massillon loss was 26-14 in 1962.
M B First downs-rush 5 4 First down-pass 4 0 First downs-pen 1 0 Total fist downs 13 6 Yards gained rush 142 153 Yards lost rush 41 16 Net yards gained rush 101 137 Total yards gained 173 137 Passes com 5-9 0-2 Passes int by 1 0 Yardage on passes int 9 0 M B Kickoff ave (yds) 1-59.0 1-43.0 Kickoff net (yds) 19 2 Punt ave. (yds) 4-39.3 6-35.1 Punt ret. (yds) 2 11 Fumbles lost 24 0 Yards penalized 4.37 8.70 Total num of plays 54 65 Elapsed time 21:37 26:23
It’s a whole new ball game for Augie Bossu this season, but it’s the same old story for the Massillon Tigers. They’re still a prime target for the skipper of the Cleveland Benedictine Bengals.
Cleveland’s defending city champions will help the Tigers open the season at Tiger stadium Friday at 8 p.m. The former East Senate league high school team has gone 9-1 in the past four seasons with the only defeat each time being here at the hands of the Orange and Black. * * * “WE’RE APPROACHING this season differently,” Bossu said today. “It’s something new for us. In the past we have played two or three top teams and let the rest of the schedule take care of itself. Now we believe we have a representative schedule and a tremendous challenge. There are teams aiming for us who have never played us before.”
Among these aggregations are Dover, Willoughby South, Erie, Pa., East, Collinwood and Parma Padua to name some in the 1971 Senate champs taste of independent competition.
“It puts a lot of pressure on us to play Massillon first,” Bossu said. ‘Our coaching staff is small and there’s an awful lot to be done. We make early mistakes which we must correct later. We can’t afford those mistakes against a good one like Massillon and stay in the game.”
Bossu did not comment on whether he figured meeting the Tigers would be a different kind of experience this time because of a varied Massillon attack.
“The Tigers will be strong in whatever phase of the game they should be,” the 18-year veteran coach said. “They always have the best in material.” * * * THE BENGALS have won three scrimmages and Bossu was interested to hear that the Tigers won one and had another rained out, but did not comment on whether or not he thought this would be of benefit to his team.
It will be the same type of hard-charging, hard-hitting Benedictine team as in other years facing WHS Friday. Bossu will use variations of the “I” offensively and six-man front defense.
When asked if he agreed with Massillon Coach Bob Commings that the Bennies would be bringing the best team here since Commings came to town in 1969, Bossu replied, “We don’t have the speed we had then, but we’re a little heavier.”
In that year, the Bengals lost 22-20, but threw a scare into the Tigers when will-o-the-wisp halfback Jim Kacivinsky scored twice in the second half. “We have about half a dozen boys back who played regularly last year,” Bossu said. * * * SENIORS ARE quarterback Duane Petrovich (5-10, 175) and right halfback Jim Teresczuk (5-11, 191), two-way halfback Pat Moriarty (6-1, 160), offensive tackle Rick Switalski (6-5, 235), offensive halfback-middle linebacker Mike Woods (6-2, 217) and punter Paul Friery, also an offensive end and cornerback (6-2, 162).
Juniors are center-defensive guard John Glowik (6-1, 188), junior cornerback Al Keller (5-11, 160) and fullback-defensive end Gerald Modzelewski (6-0, 200), a distant relative of former Cleveland Browns star Dick Modzelewski.
Woods could be a key to the Bengals’ chances Friday night. He’s a powerful runner and roams well from his linebacking spot.
“He hasn’t done it yet,” Bossu said, “He’s a possible threat if we can get him to the line and find room for him to get through.”
Tiger Coaches say Woods reminds them of Willie Spencer, the Orange and Blacks’ all-everything tailback last year. But Woods was not listed as an offensive started for Friday.
Besides Switalski on the hefty side on the offensive line, there’s junior Frank Malec (6-2, 245). Defensively, junior John Nemeth (6-1, 250) and Jeff Mazer (6-1, 200) will man the tackle slots. * * * COMMINGS IS toying with the idea of experimenting with the tie-breaker rule. The decision will be made week by week, after conferring with opposing coaches. The All-American has not approved the modified new rule.
Tigers Sputter but win opener 15-6
By CHUCK HESS, JR. Independent Sports Editor
New Massillon Washington High Trainer, Bill Meier may unknowingly have made the best assessment of Friday night’s opening Tiger football game when he passed on to this reporter a small orange-and-black badge in the dressing room following the game.
“Together there’s so much we can do” was written on the badge. It was by sticking together to play great defense during a spotty offensive performance that the Tigers edged a tough Cleveland Benedictine team 15-6 before 12,181 fans and it should be by sticking together to work hard in practice next week that the Orange and Black will show their faithful that the Tigers the fans saw Friday night were not the true Obiemen of 1972.
THE LONE offensive bright spot was the running of tailback Tom Hannon. The groovy-hipped senior carried 27 times for a net 145 yards after having only lugged the pigskin four times in one pre-season scrimmage and five in another. He was fighting a couple of painfully cramped legs Friday night.
The real Tigers just don’t lose four of six fumbles, get penalized 87 yards and get to the four, the two, the one and the half-yard line and not score. All four times the huge Benedictine defense held admirably.
But the Tigers put it to the Bennies just too often and as veteran Benedictine boss, Augie Bossu said, “You can only be on defense so often and then something’s going to happen.”
Benedictine did not feel his team wore down but Tiger Coach Bob Commings said, “We appeared to have more steam left than they did,” when asked why his charges seemed to catch fire in the fourth quarter when they switched to the fullhouse T. “I thought we played a real gutty game.”
“We didn’t play any differently in the last quarter,” Bossu declared.
COMMINGS reminded he had been telling the Tigers all week that they would be playing a fine team Friday.
“If we had been sharper, we could have blown them into oblivion,” Commings said. “For the first game of the year, I thought our passing game was excellent, but we’ve got to concentrate on making the sure catch.”
The fourth quarter was when the Tigers put the clincher on the contest which saw both teams capitalize and fail to capitalize on the others miscues. Linebacker Charlie Swann picked off a Duane Petrovich pass on the Benedictine 35-yard line and returned to the 20.
Quarterback Kevin Westover found tight end Dari Edwards on the two on the next play. Don Muhlbach kicked the conversion with 5:11 left.
The Tigers had one more chance in the goodbye canto when tackle Tim Graber scooped up Pat Moriarty’s bobble on the Benedictine 28, but five plays later Westover bobbled the snap on the four and guard Manuel Martinez covered on the four. * * * NEITHER TEAM scored in the first half when Massillon had 38 plays to Benedictine’s 25. The Tigers took the opening kickoff and moved from their 35 to the two only to have Westover’s pitchout go awry on fourth down.
Ten and 14-yard passes to Edwards and split end Greg Sullivan respectively helped open up the Benedictine defense and may be the answer to ensuing games because the short power game wasn’t there Friday night. With the help of two 15-yard and one five-yard award the Tigers moved to the one after a punt. There halfback Gerald Modzelewski and guard John Glowick brought down Hannon.
Benedictine’s Paul Friery quick kicked from the end zone on first down. The Tigers used one series, punted and Hannon recovered when the ball hit the safetyman and bounded to the 14. That series came to an abrupt halt on the 24.
Sophomore Tim Gutshall intercepted a Petrovich pass on the 25 and ran to the 20, but the Tigers got stalled again – on the 33.
From there, Benedictine mounted a drive to the Massillon 28 but lost the ball on downs, thanks to tackle Bill Csonka. The Bennies also moved from their 46, after another Tiger effort had failed to the Massillon 21 – largely on 11-yard and 22-yard passes from Petrovich to Friery and end Dick Schutte, respectively.
Tom Seres’ field goal attempt was wide left. * * * HALFBACK JIM TERESCZUK fumbled the second half kickoff, Jim Jackson covered on the Cleveland 40, Hannon took a Westover pitch and raced 30 yards around the left side to the 10, two plays later from there through the center to the one and almost swept left end for the score on the next play but middle backer Mike Woods stuck a hand out at the last minute and tripped him on fourth down.
Friery punted badly out of bounds on the Benedictine 30 on third down and Hannon – with a good second effort – squeezed through left tackle on the first play for the touchdown with 8:32 left.
Benedictine’s lone TD came when Woods recovered Jackson’s third period fumble on the Massillon 13 and the Bennies rammed the ball in in three plays with Moriarty carrying 10 yards through right tackle to the four and Petrovich sneaking over from the one-half yard line two plays thereafter with 1:09 remaining.
Muhlback missed the kick but a procedure penalty against Benedictine netted a second chance and a Hannon run between right guard and right tackle.
Linebacker Brian Bash broke through to snare Petrovich as he was about to pass for the conversion.
With the Tigers moving back up field after the kickoff, Jay McGuire fumbled with Martinez covering on the Massillon 47. However, Csonka picked up a fourth quarter bobble at the Tigers’ 37 to halt that attempt.
“I think failing to get in that scrimmage at Warren Western Reserve last week hurt us in two ways,” Coming said after the game. “We didn’t get a chance to get into our pre-arranged goal line defense or into punt returns.”