Tag: <span>Eric Wright</span>


1991: Massillon 13, Cleveland St. Ignatius 14

Ugh! Big Ig nips Tigers

Independent Sports Editor

A hungry Massillon defense spent most of Saturday night di­ving shark‑like into the bally­hooed Cleveland St. Ignatius offense.

Ignatius, however, turned the second half into a “touchdown sandwich” ‑ scoring at the start of the third quarter and end of the fourth quarter ‑ to bag a 14‑13 victory in front of 20,150 at the Rubber Bowl in the Division I high school football playoff semifinals.

Jason Woullard, who played a whopper of a game on defense, became a hero on offense with a fourth down, 42‑yard TD pass reception from quarterback Nick Mossides to break a 7‑7 tie with 4:36 left in the game.

Someone asked Massillon head coach Lee Owens if the play was ad libbed.

“We’ve practiced it 100 times,” Owens said. “It was just a play‑action fake and pass.”

The play was unusual, though, because it was Woul­lard’s first varsity reception. It was reminiscent of the recent regular‑season finale against McKinley, when star lineback­er Eric Wright’s first rushing attempt as a varsity player went for a touchdown.

After Woullard’s TD catch, Jason Brown’s extra‑point kick try hit the right crossbar and bounced away. The uprights at the Rubber Bowl, home field for the University of Akron, are the NCAA width, 5 feet. narrower than the high school width. The kick would have made it be­tween the wider uprights.

That kept the score at 13‑7.

The Tigers went for the kill on the subsequent kickoff. Brown was to attempt a pop‑up kickoff designed to travel 25 to 30 yards to an open side of the field.

“It was the same type of kick we used to gain possession right at the end of the first half,” Massillon head coach Lee Owens said.

Even if the Tigers didn’t re­cover, Owens said the maneuv­er seemed safer than allowing the threat of a kickoff return.

“We practice that kind of kick every day,” he said.

Brown, who became Massillon’s all‑time, single‑season point‑after‑touchdown record holder earlier in the game, ap­plied his foot too low on the ball, creating a very short kickoff. Ignatius took over on its own 47­-yard line, then drove 53 yards for a touchdown.

Senior running back Jack Mulloy went in from two yards out to make it 13‑13 with 1:23 left in the game. Fernando Paez boomed the P.A.T. kick into the 18th row of seats at the closed end of the Rubber Bowl. It be­came the game‑winning point.

Paez then kicked off into the end zone for a touchback that forced the Tigers to start from

their own 20. A 14‑yard Mossides‑to‑Geoff Merchant pass on first down offered hope, but the next four plays went no­‑where, returning the ball to Ignatius on downs with 51 seconds left.

Ignatius quarterback Kevin Mayer fell on the ball twice and the game was over.

“I give all the credit to our kids.” said Ignatius head coach Chuck Kyle. “They never lost faith in themselves.”

“They were up against a ,real team that had all the motivation in the world ‑ they’d dedicated the season to Paul Brown.”

“I feel the same way about this team I’ve felt all season,” Owens said. “I’m very proud of the way they conducted them­selves all year. This is a special group.”

“It’s just a shame all the work they put in had to end this way. It doesn’t seem fair. But give Ignatius credit. They’re an out­standing team.”

The Tigers led 7‑0 at halftime, thanks to a single play that was the same length as Ignatius’ de­cisive, final TD drive.

On third and seven from the Massillon 47, Tiger senior Marc Stafford beat defensive back Bill Craighead in man to man coverage, then took in a perfect­ly thrown bomb from Mossides and easily ran in for a touch­down. The 53‑yard play ended with just 39 seconds left in the first half. Brown’s kick made it 7‑0.

At halftime, Ignatius had mustered just 61 yards against a Massillon defense that put a hard pass rush on the All‑Ohio candidate, Mayer.

An interception by Dan Hackenbracht snuffed out Ignatius’ first possession. A crunching sack by Woullard and Wayne Gallion stopped the second one.

At the start of the second half, though, Ignatius set up at its own 48 after a squib kick and return. Having sputtered while using formations with four wide receivers, the Wildcats switch­ed to an option attack with just two wideouts.

“That’s just normal for us, to switch around,” Mayer said.

A 21‑yard scramble by Mayer became the key item in a nine ­play, 52‑yard touchdown drive capped by sophomore fullback Eric Haddad’s six‑yard run on second‑and‑goal. The kick by Paez was good and it was 7‑7 with 7:46 left in the third quarter.

The Tigers then drove 49 yards in seven plays, featuring a 32‑yard run by Travis McGuire, who wound up with 118 rushing yards. On second and six from the 20, Falando Ashcraft plowed for four yards but lost the football. Mike McHale recovered for Ignatius at the 16.

The Massillon defense adjusted to the option attack, forc­ing Ignatius to punt.

Again, the Tigers drove, this time from their own 45 to the Ignatius 23. Again, they lost the ball on second and six. This time, it was Mossides and McGuire unable to make the connection on a handoff. Igna­tius pounced on the loose pigs­kin at the 27.

On third down, Mayer’s deep pass was broken up by Hacken­bracht and Troy Burick, forcing another Ignatius punt. It had been raining for about five mi­nutes when the Tigers took over on their own 40‑yard line. On third and short, Mossides sneaked three yards to the Igna­tius 48. Moments later, it was fourth down on the 42, with less than half the fourth quarter re­maining.

Mossides made a play action fake, set up, and let loose a high­ arcing pass that floated over Ignatius linebacker Regan Fitz­patrick. Woullard caught the ball at the 32‑yard line and out­raced Fitzpatrick into the end zone to give the Tigers their momentary lead.

Ignatius came back with its decisive drive.

Massillon’s defense was out­standing through most of the night.

Take away the two touch­down drives and Ignatius gained just 79 yards on eight other possessions.

“We played good defense all night,” Owens said. “We couldn’t ask the defense to play much harder. The two times they scored, we gave them a short field on the kickoff, and they took advantage of it.”

Massillon wound up with a 293‑182 edge in total offense.

Ignatius, on the other hand, contained the Tigers’ powerful ground game. Massillon finished with 155 rushing yards, ­the second lowest total of the season (lowest was 134 yards against Moeller).

Mayer completed just 10 of 27 passes for 119 yards, with one interception.

“They played some of the best pass defense I’ve seen,” Mayer said. “They mix up their coverages and they come hard on the rush.”

The Ignatius ground game produced 104 forward yards, but when quarterback sacks were factored in, there were 41 yards in losses, giving the Wild­cats a net of 63 yards on the ground.

Junior Dean Lamirand rushed 12 times for 58 yards.

Mayer and Lamirand made the key plays on Ignatius’ game‑winning drive.

Mayer delivered one completion on third‑and‑six that took the ball to the Massillon 42‑yard line with 3:50 left in the game. On fourth‑and‑six, he hit Mulloy along the left sideline for a first down. Mulloy went out of bounds with 1:57 left in the game.

The Tigers were still in de­cent shape, though, until Lamirand took the ball on an op­tion pitch and bolted 22 yards up the middle to the 2. Mulloy scored on the next play.

“When we got to the 2,” said Ignatius’ 315‑pound offensive tackle, Juan Porter. “we pretty much knew there was no way we weren’t going in.”

Owens said this morning that the pain of the loss had not left him, and that he is not sure it “ever will completely.”

“I’m still dying inside,” the coach said. “The state title was right there. To come so close to the final game only to lose it at the end is difficult to take.”

Owens stressed that the final kickoff in the game was not an onside kick attempt.

He said that even though the Tigers had recovered a short kickoff earlier in the game, Ignatius had left an open por­tion of the field around the 25­yard line again, and the kick was designed to go there.

“The reason we didn’t call for a squib kick was that they have been effective at fielding and returning squibs,” Owens said.

Owens said Ignatius started the game in a different run de­fense set than had been antici­pated.

“They committed more peo­ple to the run than anybody we’d played,” he said,

The Tigers adjusted to how the Ignatius ends were blocking the Massillon tackles and the counter play opened up in the second half, Owens said.

Owens said the defensive staff had an excellent game plan.

“Everything Coach (Jack) Rose wanted to do, he was able to do,” Owens said.

Owens said Ignatius final drive was “a matter of only being able to hold down such an outstanding offensive team for so long.

First downs rushing 9 4
First downs passing 1 8
First downs by penalty 0 1
Totals first downs 14 13
Yards gained rushing 186 104
Yards lost rushing 31 41
Net yards rushing 155 63
Net yards passing 138 119
Total yards gained 293 182
Passes attempted 13 27
Passes completed 7 10
Interceptions 0 1
Times kicked off 3 3
Kickoff average 26.7 53.7
Kickoff return yards 37 24
Punts 4 6
Punting average 41.8 28.3
Punt return yards 8 21
Fumbles 2 0
Fumbles lost 2 0
Penalties 3 1
Yards penalized 25 5
Number of plays 62 57
Time of possession 26:19 21:41
Attendance 20,150

Ignatius 0 0 7 7 14
Massillon 0 7 0 6 13

M ‑ Stafford 53 pass from Mossides (Brown kick)
I ‑ Haddad 6 run (Paez kick)
M ‑ Woullard 42 pass from Mossides (kick failed)
I ‑ Mulloy 2 run (Paez kick)

Individual statistics

(Massillon) McGuire 24‑118, Ashcroft 17‑55, Wright 2‑5.
(Ignatius) Sako 1 ‑(minus)2, Lamirand 12‑56, Haddad 4‑14, Mul­loy 2‑3.

(Massillon) Mossides7‑13‑0 158.
(Ignatius) Mayer 10‑27‑1 119.

(Massillon) McGuire3‑19, Stafford 2‑63, Woullard 1‑42, Merchant 1‑14.

It was written in the skies:
Game would be electrifying

Steve Doerschuk
Independent Sports Editor

Sometimes you can see it in there eyes.

Sometimes you can see it in the skies.

Put your mind on rewind and stop the tape at Aug. 17, in Lakewood Ohio.


The Massillon Tigers, with a tradition older than the crusty, two‑story houses that frame Lakewood High Stadium, are playing a practice game of foot­ball against Cleveland St. Igna­tius, the Goliath come lately of Ohio high school football.

Wind kicks up. Heavens ex­plode. Thunder and lightning break dance in measure so vio­lent that play is stopped.

It is a late‑summer storm of foreshadowing.

The teams would meet again. They would bring the storm to the floor of a stadium dug out of the earth in Akron.

They would play one of the classic games in the history of the high school playoffs.

In the end, the outcome would pierce like lightning through the hearts of the Massillon players, coaches, fans.

Ignatius scores a touchdown and kicks the extra point to give itself a 14‑13 lead with 83 seconds left in the state semifinal conflict.

Joe Studer, a former Massillon player, a Massillon coach, a Massillon man, is bloodied but unbowed.

“We can win it! ” he yells on the sidelines. His eyes flash. He stands tall.

A cold rain is failing. There is no lightning in the sky. There is no miracle play.

The last of the thunder rolls through Massillon’s majority share of the phenomenal crowd, announced at 20,150, which if true would mean there were 15,000 empty seats in the Rubber Bowl ‑ and there surely didn’t seem to be.

The final score is 14‑13, Ignatius.

It had been a night of one team’s thunder against the other team’s lightning.

Massillon scores first on a bomb. Ignatius ties the game on a long drive. Massillon goes ahead with a fourth‑down pass that goes for a touchdown, followed by a narrowly missed extra ­point kick try. Ignatius gets the ball in a do‑or‑die and drives for 7.

If it wasn’t a classic game in terms of execution ‑ fumbles, dropped passes and missed assignments were sprinkled throughout ‑ it was a blockbuster in terms of drama and hard hitting.

“Ten, 20, 30 years from now,” Chuck Kyle, the Ignatius coach, said in his post‑game team speech, “people will talk about this game.”

Kyle underscored his thought by repeating the words.

“They will talk about this game.

For the moment, the talk will come easily in Cleveland. The words will come hard in Massillon.

This was, probably, the most painful among a handful of similar losses absorbed by the Tigers during the Lee Owens era.

There was a 43‑yard field goal by Jeff Wilkens that gave Austintown‑Fitch a victory over the Tigers in 1988. There was a last‑ditch drive capped by a last‑second touchdown pass to Carlos Collins that gave Cincinnati Moeller a win over the Tigers in 1990.

The loss to Ignatius was more painful than even the one to Moeller mainly because the Tigers have never been closer to winning a state championship than they were this year.

Sure, the Tigers made it to the state finals in 1980, but there they met a Moeller team that put away the game early.

They made it to the championship game again in 1982, but another loaded Moeller team won going away, 35‑14.

This time, the Tigers were one key play away from making it to the championship game with a loaded team of their own, against a Centerville team that is a clear underdog against, as it turns out, Ignatius.

Amid the pain, it must be remembered 1991 was the year Massillon, which went to the playoffs just four times in the first 16 years, made a habit of playing in the tournament.

It was the Tigers’ third straight playoff season.

It must also be remembered that they excelled in the 1991 tournament, winning two games by a combined 70‑27, then outgaining by a margin of 293 yards to 182 the team whose program is bucking for its third state title in‑the last four years.

Rewind your mind one more time, to the moments after Saturday night’s final gun.

The defeat stings infinitely more than cold rain on the face as the Massillon players trudge to the locker room.

The team passes through a human tunnel of people dressed in orange.

“We love you,” yells one of them, a man named Phil Glick. “Hold your heads up. We love you.”

Eric Wright

1991: Massillon 42, Toledo St. John 21

Deja vu at the Rubber Bowl: Tiger win recalls ’89 thriller

Independent Sports Editor

It is almost as if the Massillon Tigers bottled the 1989 season, popped the cork, and are watch­ing it spill over the 1991 land­scape.

“It’s scary,” Massillon head coach Lee Owens was saying after Saturday’s 42‑21 playoff victory over Toledo St. John’s, “’how much this season, at times, has reminded me of 1989.”

Coming back from a 21‑7 de­ficit to beat St. John’s was just the latest leg in the Tigers’ trip down Deja Vu Boulevard.

The game was quite similar to the 1989 playoff win over Walsh Jesuit, in which the Ti­gers trailed 24‑7 before rallying for a 42‑24 victory.

Adding to the spookiness is the fact the Walsh Jesuit and Toledo St. John’s high school buildings are exactly the same ‑ built from the same bluep­rint, the same year.

The 1989 Tigers bounced back from a fourth‑week loss to Moel­ler and won four straight games, lost to a strong Catholic ­school team to snap the losing streak, then rode into the play­offs with a win over McKinley.

The 1991 Tigers have followed ­exactly the same course.

So why should they stop now?

Just as the ’89 Tigers adv­anced to the state semifinals against Cleveland St. Ignatius in the Rubber Bowl, so will the 1991 team.

Come to think of it, Owens said, now is the time to put an end to this replay business.

”As many similarities as there have been,” Owens said, “it’s time to write another script.”

The 1989 Tigers lost to Igna­tius by the same 42‑21 score posted against Toledo St. John’s at the Rubber Bowl Saturday night.

“The only way we can approach it,” said Owens, “is to believe we have a much better shot at Ignatius this time around.”

The Tigers can hope the St. John’s game, witnessed by a crowd announced at 10,809, put foreshadowing in place of flashbacks.

The contest ended with back­up fullback Dan Seimetz bashing his way inside the 1-­yard line. The referee’s spot had the ball pushing against the goal stripe as time expired, symbolic of the momentum the Tigers established with ‘a block­buster second half.

St. John’s scored on its first play from scrimmage in the second half on a wide‑open, 46 ­yard pass play from quarter­back Dave Croci to split end Brad Vineyard. A wide‑open, two‑point conversion pass cre­ated a 21‑7 lead for the Titans, sparking memories not of 1989, but of 1990, when the Tigers were dismissed from the playoffs by Sandusky, 27‑7 at the Rubber Bowl.

However, there was still the question of St. John’s being able to contain Massillon’s running game.

Moments before Vineyard’s stunning touchdown, the Tigers had made a statement. Defying all convention, especially since they trailed by a meager 6 points at the time, they “went for it” on fourth‑and‑one from their own 29‑yard-line in the early moments of the third quarter.

“We wound up having to punt on that possession,” Massillon head coach Lee Owens said, “but we easily made the first down on the fourth‑and‑one. It was our way of saying, ‘We’re not having our way now, but we’re the better team.”

Travis McGuire was the man who ran for the first down on the fourth‑and‑one.

Falando Ashcraft would become the man who got the Tigers over the top, providing their first lead of the game with an 80‑yard touchdown run.

But it was McGuire who led the early part of the comeback,

It was McGuire who exploded for gains of 34 and 20 yards to set up a three‑yard smash by Ashcraft with 5:50 left in the third quarter, trimming St. John’s lead to 21‑7.

The Tigers’ next possession started on their own 18, but McGuire spinned and sprinted for 53 yards in two plays to quickly create a scoring threat Ashcraft smashed through the line for 18 to make a first‑and-goal at the 7.

On fourth down from the 2, Eric Wright came in as a blocking back, and McGuire dove over his block for a touchdown. The P.A.T. kick was wide right enabling St. John’s to keep a 21-20 lead with 33 seconds left in the third quarter.

A sack by “Rob” defensive end Jason Woullard set up a St. John’s punt, but the Tigers again had poor field position starting at their own 11 in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter. McGuire got the Tigers out of the hole with a nine yard gain to the 20, which led to a “free play” on which quarterback Nick Mossides tried to hit Marc Stafford deep down the right sideline. The pass sailed out of bounds, setting up a third-and‑one.

The give went to Ashcraft on, trap play.

“That was no surprise,” said Toledo St. John’s head coach Fred Beier. “The fullback trap and the tailback counter trey are their bread and butter.”

Ashcraft confirmed that St John’s read the play well however, he said his team’s offensive line also blocked it well.

“Travis turned the guy he was blocking out, and I went the opposite way,” Ashcraft said.

He broke into the clear, out­running Titan defensive back Jason Dzierwa into the right comer of the end zone for an 80 yard touchdown. The play and McGuire’s two‑point conversion run gave the Tigers a 28‑21 lead with 9:49 left in the game.

“That was the game ­winner,” Owens said. “That’s the one that put us ahead.”

The kayo punch came seconds later, on St. John’s next play from scrimmage. Gadget plays had been kind to the Titans in the first half, including a fake field goal that produced a touch­down.

This time, a gadget play ‑ a double‑pass ‑ became a killer. Croci fired a quick out to Dzier­wa, who in turn fired the ball upfield. By that time, the Tigers had switched from zone to man-­to‑man coverage, and linebacker Brandon Turley easily inter­cepted the ball.

The Tigers took “over on the Titans’ 32 with nine minutes left in the game. A 17‑yard run by Ashcraft helped set up a one-­yard flip into the end zone by McGuire with 6:04 left in the game. Brown’s kick made the score 35‑21.

It was “stick a fork in the Titans” time when cornerback Ron Roberson intercepted a Croci pass moments later. Roberson made a short return to the St. John’s 6.

Ashcraft’s two‑yard run and Brown’s kick made it 42‑21.

Sophomore Mike Danzy, who would have been the starting quarterback had Mossides been unable to play (coming off a concussion suffered in last week’s Akron Ellet game) finished out the game.

Had Seimetz gained another foot on the final play of the game, the Tigers would have scored close to 50 points in a game it had looked like they might well lose.

St, John’s got off to a good start when Vineyard found a seam in the middle of the field and returned the opening kick­off 65 yards to the Tiger 28.

“That threw us off balance a little,” Ashcraft said.

On that possession, Dan Maidlow, who kicked a game ­winning, 40‑yard field goal against Barberton the previous week, lined up for a 42‑yard attempt. The Titans set up for the field goal with three receiv­ers on the right side of the field ‑ the fake was on. Croci, an all‑district quarterback who wound up completing 13 of 20 passes for 212 yards, was the holder on the play. He straight­ened up, rolled right, and easily connected with Dzierwa on a 24­-yard TD pass. Maidlow’s kick made it 7‑0 with just 97 seconds gone in the game.

The Tigers then drove 50 yards to the Titans’ 14, where it was fourth‑and‑five, They, too, went for the fake field goal, but holder Jerry May’s run was stopped, setting up an 86‑yard St. John’s touchdown drive that featured the “trips” (three­ receiver) formation and 52 pas­sing yards by Croci.

“They were giving us some cusion with their defensive backs at that point, and we took advantage of it,” Beier said.

Running back Jon Beier, the coach’s nephew, ran seven yards for a touchdown. Maidlow’s kick was wide right and it was 13‑0. St. John’s, with just over eight minutes gone in the game.

The Tigers’ later adjustment to tight, man‑to‑man coverage and heavy blitzing worked. However, Owens contended there was another factor in the early part of the game.

“St. John’s had probably nev­er played in front of a crowd this big under this kind of pressure against a ‘name’ team like Mas­sillon,” he said. “We’ve seen it many times before. A‑team will come out against us riding a wave of adrenalin and make great play after great play. That’s what seemed to be hap­pening.

“One thing we tell our players is that a team riding that big, early, emotional wave will probably burn itself out. We tell our guys to just keep playing their game.”

The Tigers’ second and third possessions ended in punts; conversely, so did St. John’s third and fourth possessions.

Midway through the second quarter, the Tigers staged a 49­-yard scoring drive. The march started with McGuire fumbling and losing four yards, but he gained 18 yards on a screen pass on the next play. The Tigers ran the next eight plays for 35 yards, the last of them a three-­yard, third‑and‑goal touchdown run over the right side bv McGuire. Brown’s kick made it 13‑7 with 4:37 left in the first half, and that score stood up at intermission.

“We were fired up at half time,” said Tiger offensive, tackle Brandon Jackson.” We knew what we had to do.”

Certainly, the Tigers looked like they knew what they were doing throughout the second half.

First downs rushing 16 4
First downs passing 1 4
First downs by penalty 0 0
Totals first downs 17 12
Yards gained rushing 442 87
Yards lost rushing 4 28
Net yards rushing 438 59
Net yards passing 29 212
Total yards gained 467 271
Passes attempted 10 20
Passes Completed 3 13
Passes Int. by 0 2
Times kicked off 7 4
Kickoff average 43.4 44.5
Kickoff return yards 39 152
Punts 3 5
Punting average 43.3 42.6
Punt return yards 44 16
Fumbles 3 1
Fumbles lost 0 0
Penalties 4 5
Yards penalized 50 62
Number of plays 67 40
Time Of Possession 27:52 20:08
Attendance 10,809

St. John’s 13 0 8 0 21
Massillon 0 7 13 22 42

SJ ‑ Dzierwa 24 pass from Croci (Maidlow kick)
SJ ‑ Beier 7 run (kick failed)
M ‑ McGuire 3 run (Brown kick)
SJ ‑ Vineyard 46 pass from Crocl (Dzierwa pass from Grocl)
M ‑ Ashcraft 2 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ McGuire 2 run (kick failed)
M ‑ Ashcraft 80 run (McGuire run)
M ‑ McGuire 1 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ Ashcraft 2 run (Brown kick)



(Massillon) McGuire 29‑229, Ashcraft 18‑16S, May 1‑0, Wright 3‑7, Danzy 2‑24, Seimetz: 2‑6, Copeland 1‑3.
(St. John’s) Clark 7‑35, Croci 8‑20, Beier 3‑13.


(Massillon) Mossides 3‑10‑0 29.
(St. John’s) Croci 13‑19‑2 212.


(Massillon) McGuire 1‑18, Ashcraft 2‑11.
(St. John’s) Dzierwa 6‑64, Maid­l

Eric Wright

1991: Massillon 28, Akron Ellet 6

Tigers oust Orangemen

Independent Sports Editor

Late autumn. Orange‑and-­black vs. Orangemen. Two good running teams. Too cold to pass.

It was a perfect night for some smash‑pumpkin football.

And that is what the Massillon Tigers played Saturday night in carving out a 28‑6 football play­off victory over the Akron Ellet Orangemen in front of 11,000 frozen customers at Fawcett Stadium.

Massillon advanced to the Re­gion 2 (of Division 1) cham­pionship game Saturday night at 7 against Toledo St. John’s at the Akron Rubber Bowl. Ellet finished the year with a 9‑2 record.

The Tigers ripped open a 21‑0 halftime lead and had no trou­ble riding out the victory even though starting quarterback Nick Mossides spent the second half in the locker room after his head bounced off the hard turf after a hit late in the first half.

It was so clear Massillon was the better team that Ellet head coach Joe Yost didn’t bother moping.

“They’re the best we’ve seen, he said. “We didn’t play our best game, but let’s face it. They’re an outstanding team.”

Massillon, 9‑2, was mightier on both lines of scrimmage against an Ellet team billed as a big bunch of bruisers.

“They looked bigger on film than they actually were ” Massillon head coach Lee Owens said. “They did, in fact, have good size. But Walsh Jesuit, Cincinnati Moeller and Akron St. V all had bigger teams.

“They were very aggressive. The only team that’s played more physical than Ellet was probably St. V.”

The Tigers got back their one-­two running punch, with full­back Falando Ashcraft, who sat out most of a 42‑13 win over McKinley with a sprained ank­le, rushing for 102 yards.

‘G.A.’ to apply
at Rubber Bowl
All tickets for Saturday’s 7 p.m. Massillon‑Toledo St. John’s playoff game at the Akron Rubber Bowl will be general admission, Washing­ton High ticket official Josie Rollstin said Sunday.
Tickets, $5 apiece, will go on sale Tuesday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Hours that day will be 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Tiger Sta­dium.
The sale will shift to Washington High School Thursday (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and Friday (7 a.m. to noon).
There will be no special hours for season ticket hol­ders, and no limit on the num­ber of tickets one can buy.

Travis McGuire stayed on fire with a 19‑carry, 198‑yard, two‑touchdown night.

Ellet wound up with a 48‑21 lead in passing yards, but it was the smash‑pumpkin stats that mattered: Massillon led 318‑124 in rushing yards.

McGuire expanded his school‑record, single‑season rushing total to 1,612 yards (8.1 per carry). Ashcraft moved nearer second place on the Mas­sillon career rushing yards list. He has rushed for 1,106 yards this year after totals of 195 as a sophomore and 1,182 as a junior. That adds up to 2,483, just short of Bill Harmon’s second‑place total of 2,505 (1973­-75). Tops on the list is Art Hast­ings (3,090 yards, 1958‑60).
In Saturday’s game, Ashcraft exploded over the right side on a trap play for a 49‑yard touch­down run that gave the Tigers a 21‑0 lead with 7:25 left in the second quarter.

“I wasn’t 100 percent … probably in the late 80s,” Ashcraft said. “I was still a little sore. This was like a little test. I’ll definitely be back close to 100 percent next week.”

The Tigers advanced to the Region 2 championship game against Toledo St. John’s Satur­day night at the Akron Rubber Bowl. St. John’s nipped Barberton 10‑7 in another playoff opener.

Ellet, also 9‑2, gave the Tigers a dose of Jackson deja vu on the first play from scrimmage.

A year ago, Jackson scored early in a playoff game against Massillon at Fawcett on a long run by Jaiye Murdock. On Saturday, Ellet would have scored on a broken play had not one of the Orangemen been caught clipping. Ellet tailback Bobby Clark picked up a bad pitch deep in his own territory, retreated to his own goal line, and wound up running at least 150 yards to the opposite end zone. The clip was nowhere close to the streaking Clark; Yet, it brought the ball all the way back to the Ellet 26‑yard line.

Ellet punted after three plays, then the Tigers tried three passes and had to punt themselves.

Thanks to its defense, Massil­lon had the ball back on a punt in good field position moments la­ter. McGuire traveled 33 yards on a counter play for a touch­down. Jason Brown’s P.A.T. kick made it 7‑0 with 5: 27 left in the first quarter.

Ellet’s next possession ended when a pass from quarterback Ryan George hit an official and ricocheted to Massillon’s Wayne Gallion. Two plays la­ter, McGuire exploded for a 28-­yard touchdown run, but the play was called back by a hold­ing penalty. The possession en­ded with a punt.

Another Ellet possession be­came another three‑and‑out. This time, a 25‑yard punt return by Troy Burick gave the Tigers possession on the Ellet 31‑yard line. By this point, the Tigers were relying almost exclusive­ly on the run. It took eight run­ning plays to create another touchdown ‑ McGuire’s one-­yard run. Brown’s kick made it 14‑0 with 9:16 left in the second quarter.

Ellet again had to punt after three plays. This time the Ti­gers took over on their own 43. Mossides hit McGuire for a seven‑yard gain on first down. On second down, Ashcraft ex­ploded for his 49‑yard touch­down run. Brown’s kick made it 21‑0 with 7:25 left in the half.

“Falando’s touchdown was on a trap away from (the strong side of) our unbalanced line,” Owens said. “It was a great play call.”

Owens said offensive players recommended the play, which was in turn endorsed by offen­sive line coach Joe Studer.

“That touchdown was a key play,” Owens said. “Another big key was our defense stop­ping their scoring threat late in the first half. If they find a way to score, that gives them some­thing to build on in the second half.”

Ellet had driven to the Massil­lon 27 with just over a minute left in the half before a sack by Massillon’s Jason Woullard and Brandon Turley snuffed out the threat.

Sophomore Mike Danzy took over at quarterback for the Ti­gers in the second half.

Neither team mounted a scor­ing threat until early in the fourth quarter, when Danzy en­gineered an all‑running, 59-­yard touchdown drive. Gains of 21 yards by Ashcraft and 25 yards by McGuire set up an eight‑yard touchdown run by Eric Wright.

Brown’s P.A.T. kick gave the Tigers a 28‑0 lead with 8:36 left in the game.

Ellet salvaged some pride with a touchdown with 1:07 left, a two‑yard run by 6‑foot‑4, 215­pound fullback Danny Crook­ston.

The point‑after pass attempt failed, and the final score stood at 28‑6.

“We played hard and with a lot of effort,” Owens said. “We really played well on defense. We played hard on offense, but not as well. Our continuity was not that good.”

“Still, we had some nice ex­plosiveness on offense, at times. Ellet had only given up 48 points all season and we scored 21 in the first half.”

On defense, the Tigers forced Ellet to pass, and the Orange­men were ineffective. George, who likes running the ball out of an option attack, completed only three of 17 passes, with two interceptions. Eric Woods made his third interception in the last two games.

As for the Jackson deja vu factor, it fizzled quickly,

Clark, the tailback whose long touchdown run was called back by the clip, disappeared.

First downs rushing 10 8
First downs passing 0 1
First downs by penalty 1 1
Totals first downs 11 10
Yards gained rushing 326 268
Yards lost rushing 8 44
Net yards rushing 318 124
Net yards passing 21 48
Total yards gained 339 172
Passes attempted 12 17
Passes completed 5 3
Passes int. by 0 2
Times kicked off 5 2
Kickoff average 49.2 24.0
Kickoff return yards 12 80
Punts 4 7
Punting average 33.8 36.0
Punt return yards 68 6
Fumbles 2 2
Fumbles lost 2 0
Penalties 9 3
Yards penalized 87 45
Number of plays 49 56
Time of possession 20:17 27:43
Attendance 11,000

Ellet 0 0 0 6 6
Massillon 7 14 0 7 28

Eric Wright
Massillon vs. McK - Throwback (Large) History

1991: Massillon 42, Canton McKinley 13

Tigers rip ‘dogs, head for playoffs

Independent Sports Editor

When the final gun sounded, it seemed as if Steve Studer was shot out of it.

Within seconds of the finish of Saturday’s 42‑13 Massillon vic­tory over McKinley, Studer, the Tigers’ strength coach had sprinted across the field and seized the victory bell that goes to the winner.

He and a pack of cheerleaders wheeled the bell across the Fawcett Stadium grass, to the Massillon side. It took the cheerleaders about 30 seconds to paint the bell orange and black.

“Let’s haul that baby home,” exclaimed Jeff Thornberry, president of the Tiger Sidelin­ers amid general approval of a celebrating Massillon mob.

Thornberry had been in charge of the “Beat McKinley” parade Friday night. He said it drew a record number of en­tries. He heaved a sigh of relief after the parade was over. It had taken a lot of work.

Beating McKinley and mak­ing the state playoffs pumped a big second wind into him.

“I’ll have another parade,” he said.

The Tigers rained down a pa­rade of points on the Bulldogs.

It was the biggest point spread in the classic battle in 31 years, dating to Massillon’s 42‑0 victory in 1960.

Even Paul Brown’s six Mas­sillon teams that beat McKinley never did so by as many as the 29 points that separated the Tigers and Bulldogs Saturday.

Travis McGuire 302 Rushing Yards and 5 TD’s.

Saturday’s game was a page out of the Chuck Mather play­book. Mather, who attended Saturday’s game, was head coach of the Tigers when they beat McKinley 33‑0 in 1950, 40‑0 in 1951, 41‑8 in 1952 and 48‑7 in 1953.

The effort of Massillon’s offensive line and running back Travis McGuire was second to none.

McGuire scored five touch­downs and rushed for a school record 302 yards. Tiger statisti­cian Richie Cunningham turned in the figure at 299 yards at the end of the game, then went home to review the videotape. He found three more yards and adjusted the figure. It is 302 that will go into the official record books, surpassing the previous record of 263 by Homer Floyd in 1954 ‑ against McKinley.

Game Action vs. Canton McKinley

Tiger head coach Lee Owens improved his record against McKinley to 3‑1.

“Not as good as 4‑0,” he said.

But not too shabby, either.

McKinley’s Thom McDaniels now is 5‑5 against Massillon.

Massillon linebacker Eric Wright, in his third

year as a starter, is 2‑0 against McKinley at Fawcett Stadium. After­ward, he demonstrated a quali­ty that has made him a team captain the last two years. He did not pat himself on the back for another smashing game. Asked to identify the turning point of the game, he credited a teammate.

“The two interceptions by that man right there,” he said, pointing to junior defensive

Game Action vs. Canton McKinley

back Eric Woods, back in Mas­sillon, in the Tiger locker room.

Season holders get first shot at tickets
Akron Ellet will be the Massillon Tigers’ opponent in the first round of the Ohio high school football playoffs.

Ellet, 9‑1, will take on Massillon, 8‑2, at 7 p.m. Saturday in Fawcett Stadium, where the Tigers mauled McKinley 42‑13 two days ago.

Game manager Dan Brooks of Canton City Schools said Sunday that the only tickets sold early in the week will be reserved seats.

“Last year, when Massillon played Jackson (in a Division I playoff tilt at Fawcett), we gave both schools 11,000 tickets,” Brooks said. “I can’t imagine that Ellet will need that many.”

All tickets will be $5, Brooks said, adding there will be no discount for students.

Tickets will go on sale Tuesday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium for season ticket holders who display their green card only. Hours will be 7:30 a.m. through 9 p.m.

Woods helped render McKin­ley’s passing game almost harmless.

“We were a little surprised by how little they passed,” he said. “We thought they would pass most of the time.”

Instead, McKinley’s junior quarterback Joe Pukansky completed just six of 13 passes for 40 yards.

“Give credit to our line” for putting some heat on Pukansky, Woods said.

Woods’ first interception stopped McKinley’s first pos­session of the third quarter and led to a Tiger touchdown that broke open a 21‑13 game. Woods made the pickoff after team­mate Jason Woullard tipped a Pukansky pass headed for tight end Paul Popko.

McKinley had looked like a serious threat to the Tigers ear­ly in the game, scoring on its first possession.

“We were too aggressive on their first series,” Woullard said. “We were over‑running the tackles.”

The Bulldogs gained 80 yards on their first possession. They picked up just 87 more yards the rest‑of the game.

“We played our base cover­ages most of the game,” Woul­lard said. “We just played it well.”

Woullard played a full game at “Rob” defensive end after missing most of the previous week’s contest with a bruised shoulder.

“Beating McKinley beats a little pain any time,” he said.

Massillon’s offensive line gave the Bulldogs a beating.

“I think everyone on the line had his best game today,” said Ryan Orr, a card‑carrying member of “The Wrecking Crew,” as the line calls itself. “We stayed low and did a good job executing.”

Orr hopes the Tigers can blow a few more teams out of the water.

“It’s just one game at a time, and everybody pulling together, trying for a four‑game winning streak,” he said.

Four more wins would make the Tigers state champions.

The Tiger Booster Club will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Washington High gym, and not in the school auditorium where the meetings usually are held.

Studer boys give line
a lift, get kick out of
pounding of McKinley

Independent Sports Editor

Nobody enjoyed Saturday’s 42‑13 Massillon victory over McKinley more than Joe Studer.

“It was as great a win as any I’ve ever been a part of as a coach,” said Studer, who gave up the head coaching job at Triway High after the 1990 season to become offensive line coach of the Massillon Tigers.

Triway was 8‑2 in Studer’s last year there, but trading in status as a successful boss for a job as an assistant made sense to him. He was a senior on the 1974 Massillon team and he bleeds Tiger orange.

Now he knows what it’s like to beat McKinley as a Tiger play­er, and as a Tiger coach. What’s more fun?

“That’s a tough one,” Studer said. “My senior year McKin­ley was 9‑0 and we beat them on a last‑second pass from Greg Wood to Eddie Bell. That was the McKinley team with Jap Je­ter and Jonathon Moore. That’s a good memory.”

Outstanding play by the Mas­sillon offensive line will be a memory that will last for many who saw the 1991 win over McKinley.

“It was a nice game for the line,” Studer allowed. “We came off the ball well and we were able to move their line. My hat is off to the young men.

“Of course, there’s always room for improvement.”

In what areas?

“There was one play for minus yardage against McKinley,” Studer said.

Another good game by the line would come in handy Satur­day when the Tigers face Akron Ellet in the first round of the playoffs Saturday.

Ellet has one of the best de­fensive fronts the Tigers will have seen.

“Their tackles are real big so we have to make sure we play low and come off the ball low and gets under their pads,” Studer said.

How does Ellet’s defensive front wall stack up to the best the Tigers have seen?

“In terms of overall scheme, talent and quickness, Moeller was the best,” Studer said. “For flat‑out physical size, Walsh was No. 1. Of course, Akron St V was real strong, too.”

Studer took a quick look at the Massillon unit that calls itself “The Wrecking Crew.”

Center Scott Chariton (5‑10 215, Sr.) ‑ “His biggest asset is balance. He keeps a low center of gravity.”

Strong guard Ryan Orr (S‑10, 250, Sr.) ‑ “A great down blocker, and very consistent … a lot of hip strength.”

Strong tackles Brandon Jack­son (6‑4, 300, Jr.) and Mark Mil­ler (6‑0, 245, Jr.) ‑ “Both of them have come a long way since having to step in for Chris (Dottavio). It left us with a big hole when Chris got hurt and these guys have done the job.”

Quick guard Matt Williams (6‑1, 215, Sr.) and quick tackle Steve Miller (6‑0, 215, Sr.) ‑”Both have overcome the fact they aren’t the size of someone you’d visualize as an offensive lineman. Both have come a long way. They have quick feet and they’re technicians with good football sense.”

Tight end Greg Paul (6‑3, 215, Sr.) ‑ “When Travis (McGuire) has run the counter Greg has been at the point of attack putting a good block on a guy who’s usually bigger than him.”

Senior Dan Sciury (6‑2, 250, Sr.), an all‑county performer on defense, started on the offen­sive line last year. Sciury still plays some on offense. He was in there against McKinley when the Tigers used an unusual three‑tackle set.

“Dan means so much to our defense that we’ve used him sparingly on offense,” Studer said. “He’s a great student of the game.”

Two other seniors have been part of the line’s success, be­hind the scenes.

“Seth Aegerter has backed up at tight end and he’s on the kick­off return team,” Studer said. “Jason Crites backs up at guard and he’s also on the kickoff re­turn team. Both of them have put in a lot of hard work.”

Studer has received more than a little help from assistant coach Tim Daniels and strength coach Steve Studer.

The Studers, who are brothers, and Daniels all were offensive line starters in col­lege. Steve and Joe hogged the starting center position at Bowling Green for six straight years during the 1970s. Daniels was a big tackle for the Tennes­see Volunteers in the early 1980s.

“The strength program has been real important in what we’ve done on the line,” Joe Studer said. “Steve put these guys through a lot of hard work in the off‑season.”

“The training techniques I used at Triway I got from Steve,” Joe Studer said. “When I came back to Massillon to coach Steve and I were pretty much on the same page right from the start.

“One thing we’ve done this year that has helped has been maintain and even build our strength as this season has progressed. A lot of times, a football player will lose strength during the season.”

Studer said the key to his un­it’s progress this year has been quite simple: hard work.

“The way these guys apply themselves as a group is im­pressive,” he said. “They’ve been so consistent in their effort. They also have a lot of football sense. You don’t have to tell them a lot of things twice.

First downs rushing 22 6
First downs passing 0 2
First downs by penalty 0 0
Total first downs 22 8
Yards gained rushing 408 140
Yards lost rushing 4 13
Net yards rushing 404 127
Net yards passing 3 40
Total yards gained 407 167
Passes attempted 3 13
Passes completed 1 6
Passes int. by 2 0
Times kicked off 7 3
Kickoff average 41.3 48.0
Kickoff return yards 78 132
Punts 1 4
Punting average 32.0 26.0
Punt return yards 16 5
Fumbles 1 1
Fumbles lost 1 1
Penalties 3 5
Yards penalized 11 40
Number of plays 63 43
Time of possession 23:17 24:43

MASSILLON 14 7 14 7 42
McKINLEY 7 6 0 0 13

M ‑ Eric Wright 18 run (Jason Brown kick)
Mc ‑ Don Martin 1 run (Jack Vincenzio kick)
M ‑ Travis McGuire 14 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ McGuire 11 run (Brown kick)
Mc ‑ Ron Burr 3 pass from Joe Pukansky (kick failed)
M ‑ McGuire 6 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ McGuire 1 run (Brown kick)
W ‑ McGuire 79 run (Brown kick)

(Massillon) McGuire 36‑302, Wright 6‑46, Mike Danzy 5‑18, Dan Seimetz 3‑10, Falando Ashcraft 3‑7, Nick Moasides 1‑6, Eugene Copeland 3‑5, Marc Stafford 1‑3;
(McKinley) Pukansky 6‑45, Martin 7‑35, Che Bryant 6‑27, Bruce Richards 9‑24, Tremaine McElroy 1‑1.

(Massillon) Mossides 1‑3‑0, 3;
(McKinley) Pukansky 6‑13‑2, 40.

(Massillon) Paul 1‑3.
(McKin­ley) Burr 3‑17, Martin 2‑10, Richards 1‑23.

Eric Wright
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1991: Massillon 25, Akron St. Vincent St. Mary 28

Tigers wounded by St. Vincent

Ashcraft, Woullard say they’ll play against Bulldogs

Independent Sports Editor

The recovery will be painful as the Massillon Tigers attempt to restore the glow on their 1991 football season.

As head coach Lee Owens put it, “No matter what you try to say, there’s never anything good about a loss,” including Friday’s 28‑25 setback to Akron St. Vincent‑St. Mary in front of 12,300 on a warm October night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

So it was when the Tigers lost 14‑7 to Cleveland St. Joseph on a frozen night the ninth week of the 1989 season. That year’s team recovered ‑‑ after a grim week of practice for McKinley ‑ to beat the Bulldogs and win two playoff games.

“There’s really no magic ab­out trying to come back,” Owens said. “I’ve had a lot of confidence in this team all sea­son and that’s not going to change now. We’ll just prepare as hard as we can, as always. We’ll make every effort to be as well prepared as we can.”

The Tigers had to adjust Fri­day to two things they hadn’t prepared for ‑ in‑game in­juries to “rob” (read outside backer) defensive end Jason Woulland and fullback Falando Ashcraft,

On the first series of the game, Woullard suffered what was diagnosed as a bruised (not separated, as one fast‑traveling rumor had it) right shoulder. In the third quarter, Ashcraft sus­tained a sprained right knee judged to be less serious than the one that knocked quarter­back Nick Mossides out of the fifth game of the season. Ashcraft’s injury was initially thought to be a sprained ankle; in fact, he was helped off the field after the game with no shoe on his right foot, and his ankle heavily wrapped. After the game, he climbed out of a cold whirlpool bath and de­clared, “I’ll, be all right.”

Woullard, like Ashcraft, said he would be able to play against McKinley.

No one can deny the injuries hurt the Tigers. Ashcraft had rushed for 75 yards at the time of his injury, pushing his season total to 998 (Travis McGuire gave the Tigers 135 rushing yards, lifting his season total to 1,113). Woullard has quietly had a superb season in one of the Tigers’ most demanding defen­sive positions.

On the other hand, no one was denying St. Vincent is an out­standing team. The Fighting Ir­ish, whose 7‑2 record is the same as the Tigers’, clinched a Division III playoff spot and could be back at Tiger Stadium next month playing for a state title.

“St. V played a great game,” Owens said. “They beat us phy­sically and they beat us a couple of times at the skill positions.”

Third‑year starter Chris “Juice” Campbell set a record for most yardage by a wide re­ceiver facing Massillon in catching five passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns. He is simply a magnificent athlete, and he still looked fresh at the end despite playing full‑time on offense and defense, and on kickoff teams.

Irish tailback Larry Hender­son also showed flashes of bril­liance but was generally con­tained (27 on one carry, 31 yards over nine other lugs) before he left the game with a cramped thigh. Henderson’s replace­ment, junior Cameron Puhler, hardly cramped St. V’s style af­ter entering the game in the third quarter. He rushed 13 times for 77 yards. Puhler ‘ whose efforts were key in touch­down drives that reversed what had been a 17‑7 Massillon lead was billed in advance by Irish head coach John Cistone as an outstanding back. So, he was a surprise only to those unfamil­iar with the Irish.

Everything was going the Ti­gers’ way at the start of the third quarter. They emerged from the locker room with a dominating offensive march that expanded a 10‑7 halftime lead to 17‑7. Then they stuffed the first Irish offensive posses­sion of the second half and got the ball back on a punt.

The Tigers drove 65 yards for a touchdown on the opening series of the second half. Ashcraft opened the drive with five smashing carries for 40 yards. It was third down from the 9 when McGuire made one of his most spectacular runs of the season, taking a short pass from Mossides near the line of scrimmage, advancing the ball to the 3 where he was met by a swarm of defenders, then fight­ing and spinning his way through St. V’s Bosco Pearson, Brandon Stancliff, Henderson and Craig Hoffman. All four wound up on the sand turf, with McGuire in the end zone.

Brown’s P.A.T. kick made it 17‑7 with 7:43 left in the third quarter.

The turning point of the game came midway through the third period, on second‑and‑eight from the Massillon 42. Hender­son, playing defensive back, in­tercepted a tipped pass from Nick Mossides and returned it 27 yards to the Massillon 39; Henderson pulled up lame after the run and never returned.

St. Vincent’s next play was a 23‑yard pass to Campbell. The Irish scored on third‑and‑eight when junior quarterback Josh Zwisler hooked up with flanker Bosco Pearson on a 14‑yard scoring pass to the right flat. Ed Jamison’s P.A.T. boot made it 17‑14 with 3:26 left in the third quarter.

The Tigers then started their first series after Ashcraft’s in­jury. They punted after three plays.

Two plays later, Zwisler lob­bed a bomb over the middle, and Campbell ran under it for the catch and a 48‑yard gain to the Tiger 25. Puhler’s running took care of the rest of the 71‑yard drive. A 17‑yard gain put the ball on the 4, and he scored on the next play. Jamison’s kick made it 21‑17, St. V, with 10:44 left in the game.

A squib kick left the Tigers buried on their own 10, and they again had to punt after three plays. The Irish got the ball on the Massillon 42, and scored on a 33‑yard play on which Camp­bell ran under a bomb along the right sideline. Jamison’s kick again was good, and it was 28-­17, St. V, with 6:25 left in the game.

The Tiger offense responded with its most impressive scor­ing possession of the night, 55 yards in six plays, eating up just 1:56.

A 13‑yard run by McGuire, a 15‑yard Mossides pass to Marc Stafford, and a 14‑yard Mos­sides pass to McGuire set up McGuire’s 4‑yard TD run on first‑and‑goal. The Tigers went for two so they could close the gap to a field goal, and suc­ceeded when McGuire hit Greg Paul on an option pass.

It was 28‑23 with 4:29 left in the game.

“I felt real good about our chances if we got the ball back,” Owens said. ‘”The offense showed a lot of deter­mination, on that drive.”

Essentially, the game came down to a third‑and‑eight play with the clock winding toward the 2 1/2‑minute mark. With the ball on the Irish 33, Puhler took the ball on a sprint draw, in the face of a blitz, dodged a tackler, and sprinted up the middle 12 yards for a first down to the 45. Puhler ran 10 yards on the next play, and from there the Irish had no trouble running out the clock.

Massillon had dominated the first half, except for the game’s opening series when Campbell burst over the middle on a third-and‑nine and was wide open when he caught a Zwisler pass in stride en route to a 64‑yard touchdown play.

It was 7‑0 with 61 seconds gone in the game.

The Tigers struck back quick­ly, driving 66 yards in seven plays, ignited by a 14‑yard com­pletion to Terry Holland. On first down from the 9, McGuire broke up the middle, broke two tackles and burst into the end zone. Jason Brown’s booming P.A.T. boot to the top row of the north end zone made it 7‑7 just 1:57 after Campbell’s TD.

Following a missed 45‑yard St. Vincent field goal try, the Ti­gers drove 67 yards before run­ning out of downs at the 13. The Tigers quickly got the ball back on a Henderson fumble and Jonathon Jones’ recovery at the Massillon 40. The Tigers drove 56 yards to the 4 before settling for a 21‑yard field goal by Brown. It was 10‑7 with 8:56 left in the half.

It stayed that way at half­time, at which point St. Vincent led 178‑175 in total offense.

The Irish wound up with a 386­-309 edge in total offense.

The Tigers still have a solid chance to make the playoffs for the third straight year and seventh time overall.

However, Owens said, “The playoffs are the last thing on my mind right now.”

The Tiger locker room was not a happy place. Outside the locker room, a woman walked toward a park­ing lot on the outside of a fence. “Yea, Tigers,” she said. “I still love you.”

St. Vincent head coach John Cistone was happy but not gloating after the game.

First downs rushing 12 7
First downs passing 4 7
First downs by penalty 2 0
Totals first downs 18 14
Yards gained rushing 225 162
Yards lost rushing 6 8
Net yards rushing 219 154
Net yards passing 90 232
Total yards gained 309 386
Passes attempted 15 19
Passes completed 8 9
Passes int. by 0 1
Times kicked off 5 5
Kickoff average 49.2 50.0
Kickoff return yards 108 83
Punts 4 3
Punting average 35.0 36.7
Punt return yards 12 15
Fumbles 0 1
Fumbles lost 0 1
Penalties 1 9
Yards penalized 5 53
Number of plays 59 53
Time of possession 24:24 23:36
Attendance 12,300

St. VINCENT 7 0 7 14 28
MASSILLON 7 3 7 8 25

SV ‑ Campbell 64 pass from Zwisler (Jami­son kick)
M ‑ McGuire 9 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ Brown 21 FG
SV ‑ Pearson 14 pass from Zwisler (Jamison kick)
SV ‑ Puhler 4 run (Jamison kick)
SV ‑ Campbell 33 pass from Zwisler (Jami­son kick)
M ‑ McGuire 3 run (Good pass from McGuire)


(Massillon) McGuire 23‑135, Ashcraft 16‑75, Mossides 1‑0, Seimetz 2‑5, Stafford 1‑4;
(St. Vincent) Henderson 10‑58, Pethel 6‑15, Zwisler 4‑4, Puhler 13‑77.

(Massillon) Mossides 8‑15‑90, 1 TD, 1 int.;
(St. Vincent) Zwisler 9‑19‑232, 3 TDs.

(Massillon) Holland 1‑19, Stafford 2‑41, Ashcraft 1‑4, McGuire 4‑26;
(St. Vincent) Campbell 5‑191, Pethel 1‑3, Frattura 1‑22, Henderson 1‑2, Pearson 1‑14.

Eric Wright
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1991: Massillon 76, Youngstown East 26

42‑6 at 3:06 of first quarter

Tigers call off the dogs in 2nd half, overwhelm East 76‑26

Independent Sports Editor

Quarterback Nick Mossides, who played in only the early part of Massillon’s 76‑26 victory over Youngstown East, had ice on the knee that kept him out of a football game four weeks ago.

He also had a smile on his face when asked if his playing status might be jeopardized for next Friday’s big game against Akron St. Vincent‑St. Mary.

Program Cover

“No way!” he said.

It was the same answer to the following question: Was there anything East could do to slow down the Tigers in the first quarter?

There was nothing. Nothing at all.

The Tigers led 14‑0 after four minutes were played, 42‑6 at the end of one quarter. The 42 points in one quarter is believed to be a Massillon record.

Luther Emery, editor emeritus of The Independent, recalled a 94‑0 victory over Akron North in 1922 but didn’t think there were 42 points after a quarter. There was a 90‑0 win over Barberton in 1959, but the Tigers hadn’t reached 42 at the quarter stop.

Time elapsed on Massillon scoring possessions, which were all of them in the first half, weren’t measured in minutes, but in seconds.

It took 104 seconds before Travis McGuire scored on a 28-yard counter play.

Falando Ashcraft’s 15 yard TD run on a cut to the outside ended a 67‑second possession.

Ashcraft scored again, from 5 yards out, to finish a 50‑second drive.

If you’re still keeping score, there was 4:48 left in the first quarter when McGuire ran 6 yards for a TD. The drive took 105 seconds and pushed Massillon’s lead to 28‑6 (East did have some good players, including junior Charles Perdue and quarterback Darnell Bracy, who hooked up on a 70‑yard sideline pass that went for a TD moments before McGuire’s 6yard TD bolt).

East left a side of the field unprotected and Jason Brown’s kickoff went there. Massillon recovered then used 52 seconds before McGuire broke loose on a counter and gave East defenders Leon Gayles and Eric Bostick a ride into the end zone at the end of a 33‑yard run.

East’s next play was a Bracy passing attempt to the sidelines ‑ but it was a backwards pass, a lateral. The throw was nearly picked off by Dana Wofford. It was a live ball when Troy Burick picked it up and ran 27 yards for a Tiger touchdown. The play covered 8 seconds.

Jason Brown’s P.A.T. kick made it 42‑6 with 3:02 left in the first quarter.

Massillon’s remaining touchdowns in the first half came on possessions that lasted 130, 12, 33 and 165 seconds.

The touchdowns were scored by Ashcraft (22‑yard pass from Mossides), backup quarterback Michael Danzy (22‑yard run), Ashcraft (5‑yard run) and Ashcraft (15‑yard run).

It was 69‑6 when the gun sounded to end the first half, at which point Massillon head coach Lee Owens sought out East head coach Jerron Jenkins.

“I told him (Jenkins) that our first string was finished for the night,” Owens said. “I offered to keep the clock running in the second half. When we approached the officials they said there was nothing in the rules that allowed them to keep the clock running.”

One East assistant coach spent the post‑game loudly grousing about Massillon running up the score, using the “onside kick” (where Brown booted to the unprotected part of the field) and a fake punt in the third quarter.

Jenkins protested, too, albeit more mildly.

He indicated he was upset by “the fake punt and some other things.”

Owens said he thought the Tigers went an extra mile and then some to keep the score down. He was unhappy to hear about the displeasure in the East camp.

“He (Jenkins) can’t be sore about anything,” Owens said “We were kind to him.”

It was mentioned to Owens that the Tigers might have reached the 100‑point mark.

“Without any trouble,” he said.

As for the fake punt in the third quarter, Owens blamed poor execution by East, which he said did not line up as do most teams in an alignment to guard against a fake.

Massillon hammered East 45-7 a year ago. The teams have an agreement to play the next two years.

“Right now, we’re under contract,” Owens said. “They have some athletes, and if they get it together, they could be competitive. They’ve just fallen apart the second half of this season.”

In the second game of this season, East beat Boardman, which later defeated defending state champion Warren Hard­ing. A week ago, East trailed unbeaten Youngstown Chaney just 6‑0 at halftime.

Concluded Jenkins, “If it’s going to be like this, I don’t know if I want to come down here any more.”

Jenkins said he has nothing to do with the schedule, which, he said, is handled by the athletic director.

Owens also defended his deci­sion to play his starters the en­tire first half. Normally, he said, the starters would play the first half and one series in the second half in order to stay sharp for the following game.

“There’s no way to simulate game conditions, and it’s important for the players to be in the game,” Owens said. “You also have to remember that these guys who are seniors on our team and have earned posi­tions only have so many games left in a Massillon Tiger uni­form. They don’t want to hear in the locker room at halftime that they’re finished for the night.”

McGuire and Ashcraft got in a night’s worth of yardage in one half.

McGuire rushed nine times for 151 yards and now has 972 on the year. Ashcraft picked up 134 yards in 16 carries to swell his 1991 total to 932.

East used big plays to score three touchdowns in the second half. The Golden Bears’ first ­string offense was operating against second‑ and third‑team Massillon players the entire time.

Pat McVeen scored Massil­lon’s only second‑half touch­down on a one‑yard run in the fourth quarter.

The theme of the week in the Massillon camp was to get bet­ter as a team instead of taking a breather against a foe that was obviously outgunned.

Mission accomplished, Mos­sides said.

The quarterback motioned to assistant coach Greg Gillum and said, “These guys kept pounding it into our heads to stay focused.

“I think we did a good job of executing. We got after it and worked really hard.”

Mossides said his knee was “a little sore but nothing serious.”

Added defensive end Jason Woullard, “Last week we slip­ped back a little bit, but this week we took some steps for­ward. We weren’t on the field for many plays tonight, but I thought we went to the ball a lot better when we were.

“We knew we play sloppy this week. We have two tough opponents coming up.”

The Tigers came close to hit­ting their season average in tot­al offense per game by the end of the first half, when they led 369‑119 in net offense.

They led 296‑11 in rushing yar­dage at that point.

Ashcraft finished with five touchdowns. Only five Massil­lon players have ever scored more than five TDs in a game. The record was set in 1922 when Dutch Hill rang up eight TDs in that 94‑0 win over Akron North.


First downs rushing 19 3
First downs passing 5 6
First downs by penalty 1 2
Totals first downs 25 11
Yards gained rushing 494 136
Yards lost rushing 16 15
Net yards rushing 478 121
Net yards passing 108 280
Total yards gained 586 401
Passes attempted 11 21
Passes completed 8 10
Passes int. by 2 1
Yardage on pass int. 9 0
Times kicked off 11 4
Kickoff average 45.0 39.0
Kickoff return yards 64 112
Punts 1 3
Punting average 41.0 14.0
Punt return yards. 17 0
Fumbles 0 3
Fumbles lost 0 3
Penalties 6 4
Yards penalized 52 24
Number of plays 71 52
Attendance 10,243

East 6 0 14 6 26
Massillon 42 27 0 7 76

M ‑ McGuire 28 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ Ashcraft 15 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ Ashcraft 5 run (Brown kick)
E ‑ Perdue 70 pass from Bracy (pass failed)
M ‑ McGuire 6 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ McGuire 33 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ Burick 27 interception return (Brown kick)
M ‑ Ashcraft 22 pass from Mossides (kick failed)
M ‑ Danzy 23 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ Ashcraft 5 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ Ashcraft 15 run (Brown kick)
E ‑ Perdue 67 run (pass failed)
E ‑ Gayles 81 pass from Bracy (Smith pass from Bracy)
M ‑ McVeen I run (Payne kick)
E ‑ Perdue 1 run (pass failed)

Eric Wright
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1991: Massillon 41, Indianapolis North Central, IN 0

Owens aims to turn offense on again

“D” keys Tigers’ 41-0 blowout

Independent Sports Editor

There were some thorns on the other side of Jack Rose’s cartwheel that capped the Mas­sillon Tigers’ 41‑0 victory over Indianapolis North Central Saturday night.

After the Massillon defense knocked another opponent head over heels, Rose turned acrobat to celebrate his first shutout as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator.

Program Cover

Head coach Lee Owens, though, wasn’t waving a pin­wheel over the play of the offense.

“We’re very lucky that our defense played as well as it did,” Owens said. “I’m really upset with the play of our offense.”

“We had turnovers, penalties and missed assignments that should not have been there. We’d play one good series with a lot of emotion and then the next three series would be horrible.”

North Central’s offense con­sisted of wide receiver Derrick Mayes (six catches, 78 yards).

“He’s not that fast.” said Massillon’s Travis McGuire, who shadowed Mayes at corner­back, while also gaining 99 yards as a running back. “But he’s big and athletic and he has good hands.”

“He’s a great kid,” added Owens. “He’s the kind of kid who could go to Notre Dame and do well.”

Notre Dame and everybody else are after Mayes, a 6‑2, 190­-pound senior.

North Central has another su­perb athlete in junior split end/defensive back Eric Allen, whom the Tigers will see next year when they take on the Panthers in the Indianapolis Hoosierdome.

North Central’s top running back Saturday was Adam Evans, who finished the night with seven carries for eight yards. That’s 24 feet, for you track and field fans, and happens to be almost exactly what Adam cleared this past spring in winning the Indiana state long jumping championship.

The Panthers’ rushing attack went 47 yards ahead and 28 yards in reverse for a grand tot­al of 19 yards.

“We swarmed to the ball and everybody did his job,” said Ti­ger defensive end Joey Lococo. “They reminded me of Moeller in a way, because they had big offensive linemen. But we used speed to get the advantage.”

Massillon’s run defense has probably been the most consis­tent bright spot on the team. Nose guard Carl Hye offered a reason why the Tigers have been sharp against the run all year.

“We get ready to play our best every game,” Hye said. “After we played Moeller and lost, we put the game behind us. Now we have to do the same thing. We won. We played a pretty good game. But it’s over. We have to treat the next game, and every game, like it’s for the state championship.”

Youngstown East, a 21‑0 loser to undefeated Youngstown Chaney (7‑0) Saturday, will visit Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Friday.

Massillon’s offense was hard­ly a washout Saturday. Falando Ashcraft rushed for 143 yards and now has 798 through seven games. McGuire’s 99 rushing yards (he also caught four pas­ses for 28 yards) lifted his sea­son total to 821.

Quarterback Nick Mossides, in his second week back after missing the Fitch game with a sprained knee, threw almost twice as many passes as the previous week. He completed seven of 19 for 69 yards and no interceptions.

But it was things like a first­ half sequence ‑ when the Ti­gers scored on their first pos­session, then punted, fumbled, and punted on the next three possessions ‑ that disturbed Owens.

The Tigers used an eight‑play (all runs), 63‑yard drive to take a 7‑0 lead. Ashcraft’s six‑yard run around the right side pro­duced the touchdown and Jason Brown’s P.A.T. boot was good with 9:25 left in the first quarter.

Early in the second quarter, a Jason Woullard punt buried the Panthers at the 5. Senior quar­terback Jason Jacobs dropped back to pass on the next play. Ti­ger linebacker Eric Wright shot through on a blitz so quickly that Jacobs never had a chance to react as he was dropped for a safety.

The ensuing free kick enabled the Tigers to drive to the 4 be­fore settling for a 21‑yard field goal by Brown, who seemed to put more oomph behind the ball than usual all night.

It was 12‑0, Tigers, with 6:01 left in the half.

Wright’s linebacking part­ner, Brandon Turley, set up Massillon’s next score. With the Panthers in punt formation, Turley broke through the line and smothered booter Tom Hadley so closely that he seemed to blocked the boot with his belly button. Massillon took over on the Panthers’ 22 and scored in two runs by Ashcraft, covering 9 and 13 yards.

Brown’s kick made it 19‑0 with 3:18 left in the half. That became the halftime score.

Early in the second half, the Tigers made it to the 6‑yard line on a 20‑yard pass play from Mossides to McGuire out of a bizarre formation Owens called a 10‑man shift. Ashcraft fum­bled on the next play, but North Central wasn’t off the hook.
Weird play spices victory
over squad from Indiana

Independent Sports Editor

One if by land, two if by sea, and I on the opposite sideline will be.

No, it wasn’t Paul Revere’s famous ride. It was Travis McGuire’s 20‑yard romp on one of the weirdest plays in Massil­lon football history. It spiced a 41‑0 victory Saturday night be­fore 10,869 amused onlookers Saturday night in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“I don’t think I ever did that before,” Massillon head coach Lee Owens said. “We just call it the 10‑man shift.”

Early in the second quarter, the Tigers broke huddle and approached the line of scrim­mage on first down from the North Central 26. The whole house was shocked when half the Tiger line jogged to the west sideline, and the other half jog­ged to the east sideline. North ­Central’s defense played along and were lined up over the Mas­sillon linemen as they assumed their three‑point stances. Cen­ter Scott Chariton and quarter­back Nick Mossides (in shotgun formation) had the middle of the field all to themselves.

Charlton snapped the ball, and Mossides fired a pass to Travis McGuire, who was lined up near the east sideline.

“We thought there might be a lane for Travis down that side­line,” Owens said.

There wasn’t. North Central had jammed up the play, but the crafty McGuire saw an opening back the other way and cut across the right side of the field, nearly breaking free for a touchdown before he was caught at the 6‑yard line.

“I was looking for a little wrinkle, a little something to add some fun to practice during the week,” Owens said. “When we drew up the play a couple of our coaches looked at me like I’d flipped.”

Word leaked out of the prac­tice field that the Tigers might be cooking up a strange, new trick play to use on North Cen­tral.

“You can’t keep a secret in this town,” Owens said. “Some­body asked me at a gas station what we were up to.”

Team doctor Robert Erick­son, Owens said, was ques­tioned about the rumored trick­ery during surgery this week.

“I wasn’t sure what was going to come of the play,” Owens said. “The guess was that we’d force them to take a timeout, and that would have burned a timeout they didn’t want to burn. But the play went off.”

What’s in store for this week Is foe, Youngstown East. A double fleafficker, triple‑reverse with two‑and‑a‑half twists?

Maybe not.

“I think that will be the last you see of the 10‑man shift,” Owens said.

During the second half, Dr. Erickson was happy to note from the sideline that safety Dan Hackenbracht had entered the game. It was Hacken­bracht’s first game action in nearly two months. he suffered a broken leg two days after a preseason scrimmage against Cleveland St. Ignatius.

“Hack is back! ” Erickson crowed.

Hackenbracht, who started last year as a sophomore, said he’s not sure if he’ll be able to regain all his speed by the end of the season.

“Right now, I’m getting my timing back,” he said. “But I feel good … real good.”
Derrick Mayes, North Cen­tral’s star senior receiver, said the Tigers were in the same class as Ben Davis, last year’s Indiana state champion and the favorite to win the title in ’91.

“Massillon had all the ingre­dients you see in a very good team,” Mayes said. “They’re one of the best teams I’ve seen.”
Nick Vrotsos and Ducky Schroeder, both of whom served for many years as Tiger assistant coaches, each drew a warm standing ovation when they were recognized at half-time for their contributions.
North Central head coach George Pappas was dis-appointed in his team’s offensive line play.

“We have good size on the line, but not much quickness,” Pappas said. “Still, our people should be able to do the kind of things we’re asking them to do. We had a second and one (near midfield with Massillon leading 7‑0) and failed to make a first down’ That hurt.

“They forced us to pass, and you can’t throw the ball all stinking night. You just can’t do it.

“Of course, you can’t over­took the fact we did play a pret­ty good team.”

Pappas was fairly happy with his team’s ability to throw the Tigers’ offense out of rhythm.

“They had a great defensive scheme and that made it a chal­lenge,” Owens said. “They played a lot of man to man and a lot of sets we seldom see.”

Pappas praised the Tigers’ defense and running game.

“They don’t do a whole heck­uva lot of things with their de­fense and they don’t have to,” he said. “They’re fundamental­ly sound, and they buckle up the old chinstrap and come at you.

“On offense, they run some very basic plays … the buck, the cross, the belly, the boot. But when you execute them well and in the proper sequence they can be really quite devas­tating. ”

Jacobs was carried off the field at the end of the first half with a sprained ankle but was back in at quarterback, and again drop­ping back to pass in the end zone. This time, he was press­ured by Woullard and tackled by Jonathon Jones for another safety. It was 14‑0 with 9:13 left in the third quarter.

McGuire returned the en­suing free kick 44 yards to set up his own 12‑yard touchdown run. The kick was no good but Mas­sillon’s lead had swelled to 27‑0 just 63 seconds after the safety.

The Tigers drove 56 yards for a TD, McGuire going in from the 2, and Brown’s kick made it 34‑0 with 1:06 left in the third‑quarter.

Mike Danzy came on at quarterback and directed an 84‑yard scoring drive capped by Dan Seimetz’s 16‑yard TD romp. Brown’s kick made it 41‑0 with 6:36 left in the game.

The contest ended with North Central on the march and the Panthers trying to lob the ball to Mayes in the end zone. Dana Wofford leaped high to break up the last attempt and preserve the shutout.

First downs rushing 17 3
First downs passing 6 7
First downs by penalty 2 1
Totals first downs 25 11
Yards gained rushing 330 47
Yards lost rushing 10 28
Net yards rushing 320 19
Net yards passing 103 150
Total yards gained 423 169
Passes attempted 19 31
Passes completed 10 10
Passes int. by 0 1
Times kicked off 7 1
Kickoff average 52.9 32.0
Kickoff return yards 67 136
Punts 4 7
Punting average 43.0 27.7
Punt return yards 27 14
Fumbles 2 3
Fumbles lost 2 1
Penalties 5 4
Yards penalized 35 44
Number of plays 69 56
Time of possession 24:31 23:29
Attendance 10,869

North Central 0 0 0 0 0
Massillon 7 12 15 7 41

M ‑ Ashcraft 6 run (Brown kick) 11
M ‑ Safety, Wright tackles Jacobs in end zone
M ‑ FG Brown 21
M ‑ Ashcraft 13 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ Safety, Jones tackles Jacobs in end zone
M ‑ McGuire 12 run (kick failed)
M ‑ McGuire 2 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ Seimetz 16 run (Brown kick)

Individual statistics


(Mas) Ashcraft 19‑143, McGuire 17‑99, Copeland 4‑37, Danzy 3‑12, Seimetz 2­22, McVeen 3‑9.
(NC) Evans 7‑8, Morgan 3‑1, Jacobs 12‑11.


(Mas) Mossides 9‑17‑0 69; Danzy 1‑2‑0 34.
(NC) Jacobs 10‑31‑1 150.


(Mas) McGuire 4‑28, Hawkins
3‑23, Merchant 1‑5, Ashcraft 1‑13, Holland 1‑34.
(NC) Mayes 6‑78, Evans 3‑55, May 1‑17.

Eric Wright
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1991: Massillon 35, Toledo St. Francis 14

Massillon romps to 35-14 win

Tiger offense gets 448 yards

Repository sports writer

MASSILLON ‑ There’s one risk undertaken by a team at­tempting to play what some call “smash‑mouth” football with the Massillon Tigers ‑ you could come out with a bloody lip and minus a few teeth.

That, in essence, was what happened to Toledo St. Francis Saturday night. The state’s fourth‑ranked team tried to play Massillon straight‑up and saw its interior line disintegrate almost from the outset. Final score: Massillon 35, St. Francis 14.

Program Cover

“That’s the kind of game line­men look forward to,” said of­fensive tackle Ryan Orr of Massillon. “We don’t like to pass the ball.”

The Tigers rolled up 381 yards rushing and 448 yards total offense, running 67 plays from scrimmage and holding a 31:02‑16:58 advantage in time of possession. Massillon running backs Travis McGuire (23 car­ries, 187 Yards, one touchdown) and Falando Ashcraft, 27 car­ries, 160 yards, two TDs) both had big games against a defen­sive interior Tiger linemen said was the best they had faced.

“There were a lot of holes , McGuire said. “We just powered it down their throat. Our line had its best game of the year.”

Quarterback Nick Mossides, showing signs of recovery from a sprained knee that kept him out of last week’s game, twice completed passes to tight end Greg Paul for touchdowns as Massillon (5‑1) never trailed.

St. Francis (5‑1) managed 218 yards total offense, 95 of it coming on two plays. Quarterback Tom Takats was 4 of 16 passing for 73 yards thanks to a pass rush that had Tiger lineman Jonathon Jones breathing down Takats’ neck on nearly every attempt.

“The pass rush was the main thing we’ve been trying to im­prove upon.” Jones said. We knew it would be smash‑mouth football, and we had to mentally prepare for that kind of game.”

The Tigers scored on their second, third and fourth drives of the first half to lead 21‑7 at intermission.

With 3:18 to go in the first quarter, McGuire had 103 yards rushing. He high‑stepped into the end zone on a counter play to the right side that went 37 yards for Massillon’s first TD. Later in the quarter. Mossides rolled right and found Paul in the right side of the end zone for a 4‑yard score and a 14‑0 lead,

Takats recorded three of’ his four completions on a 74‑yard drive that pulled the Knights within 14‑7, dropping a perfect strike to Scott Davison for a 29‑yard touchdown. Massillon fumbled the ensuing kickoff, but stopped the Knights cold before reeling off a 69‑yard, seven‑play drive. Ashcraft went in standing tip from a yard out for a 21‑7 Tiger advantage.

The Tigers scored on their second and third drives of the second half to lead 35‑7. Mos­sides lobbed a fourth‑down pass, to Paul for a 17‑yard score and Ashcraft hit pay dirt on a dive over the right side from a yard out.

Toledo St. Francis 7 0 0 7 14
Massillon 14 7 7 7 35

M ‑ McGuire 37 run (kick failed)
M – Paul 4 pass from Mossides (Ashcratt run)
T ‑ Davison 9 pass from Takats (Woollard kick)
M ‑ Ashcraft 1 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ Paul 17 pass from Mossides (Brown kick)
M ‑ Ashcraft 1 run (Brown kick)
T – Harshman 66 run (Woollard kick)

Records: Massillon 5‑1: St. Francis 5‑1.

Commings sidelined by cancer

Repository sports editor

PLAIN TWP. ‑ Bob Com­mings may have coached his final game at GlenOak High School Friday night when his Golden Eagles came from be­hind to beat Timken 35‑18 in Fawcett Stadium.

Saturday morning the GlenOak players learned what he had told his coaches Friday night after the game.

“I just told them the truth, that I have lung cancer,” said Commings Saturday in his matter‑of‑fact style.

The man who soared from head coaching positions at Massillon High School to the University of Iowa had only learned the bad news himself Friday night.

He had undergone tests and a biopsy earlier in the week, and his wife Sharon was told the bad news Friday afternoon.

She told him that night, and he told his coaches, one of’ whom is his son.

“We are going to have Bob Commings, Jr. be the team leader of the coaching staff the rest of the season,” said GlenOak Principal Jackie De­Garmo‑Reigner, who indicat­ed the staff will remain intact for the remainder of the sea­son.

“That will make for a nice communication between fa­ther and son,” she said.

“My doctor has made ar­rangements for me to start things at the Cleveland Clinic right away,” said the elder Commings.

“I understand that the tests and treatments will be time consuming, pain­ful and probably make it im­possible for me to be with the team.”

Commings didn’t speculate on whether or not he would be “around” but the players were told by the coaches Sat­urday Coach Commings might be at the games but he wouldn’t be at the practices.

Commings is in his 12th sea­son as the head coach at Glen­Oak, and his record going into this year was 71‑39‑1. His pre­sent club is 2‑4.

The graduate of Youngs­town East High School play­ed at the University of Iowa under Forrest Evashevski, and was a starting guard on the 1956 Hawkeyes team that went 9‑1 and earned the Rose Bowl berth.

Eric Wright
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1991: Massillon 26, Austintown Fitch 7

Massillon rebounds Tigers smashing in 26‑7 win
Biggest point spread ever against Fitch

Independent Sports Editor

At 8 p.m. Friday, he was Falando the Forgotten Man.

By the time Dick Goddard was doing the weather, the fore­cast had changed. It was: Be­ware of the Fabulous Falando.

That is, watch out for the guy who rushed for 214 yards to car­ry Massillon to a 26‑7 victory over Austintown‑Fitch before 11,376 at Paul Brown Tiger Sta­dium.

Program Cover

“I was getting tired of hear­ing that if you stopped No. 1 (Travis McGuire) you stopped our running game,” Massillon head coach Lee Owens said af­ter his team improved to 4‑1 on the coolest night of the season (Fitch is 2‑3).

Amazing anyone would think so, considering Ashcraft rushed for 1,182 yards last year as a junior, but true, Owens insisted .

The false perception was cre­ated by the fact Ashcraft’s run­ning mate, Travis McGuire, is off to such a hot start. McGuire came into the game with 439 rushing yards to Ashcraft’s 281.

“Falando,” Owens added, “was tired of hearing it, too.”

Ashcraft didn’t sound a bit like a vindicated man after the game, though. He spoke matter of factly about becoming the fifth‑leading ground gainer in a single game in Massillon his­tory (ahead of him are Homer Floyd, 263; Bill Harmon, 224; Art Hastings, 220; and Ace Grooms, 215).

“Our scouting report showed that the plays I do were open against Fitch last year,” Ashcraft said. “So, that’s what we ran tonight.”

Ashcraft explained that Mas­sillon’s offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage, McGuire provided tough lead blocks (“He’s a good blocker”), while receivers Geoff Merchant and Mark Hawkins cleared the way for some of his long runs with strong upfield blocking.

That wasn’t the whole story. Ashcraft broke more than a few tackles by knocking defenders into next Tuesday.

“I was also reading a little better tonight,” Ashcraft said. “I was waiting back a little more to see where the best openings were.”

Ashcraft and McGuire each scored two touchdowns. McGuire wound up with 96 yards on 13 carries, including a 46‑yard touchdown run on a counter play that broke open the game.

Fitch had used the passing of senior quarterback Jeff Melody to close a 13‑0 halftime deficit to 13‑7 midway through the third quarter. The Tigers answered that challenge by scoring on their next possession, on McGuire’s long run.

“We played some smash ­mouth,” Owens said. “Our thinking was to bust it up there, bust it up there, bust it up there … and having had some success with that, it opened up the coun­ter play.”

The Tigers tried only four passes and completed none, largely because the game plan was to run, partly because standout safety Troy Burick was thrust into the quarter­backing job due to starting QB Nick Mossides’ sprained knee suffered in last week’s loss at Cincinnati Moeller.

Burick played every snap Fri­day at both quarterback and safety.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever done that,” Burick said. “I feel a little bit bruised, but I’m all right.

“I started the game at quar­terback against Nordonia last year and played safety, too. But I didn’t play much in the second half because we were so far ahead.

“I was definitely rusty early in the week in practice. Playing quarterback against Garfield (three weeks ago for just one series) didn’t help much. But I thought things went pretty well as the week went on. I had a lot of confidence in the team and the coachers put me in a good position.”

It is probably fair to call Melody the second‑best quar­terback the Tigers have faced this year, after Moeller’s Shawn Brennan. As usual, the Tigers stuffed the running game (Fitch netted 20 yards on the ground) and the opponent resorted to the pass. Melody connected on 15 of 25 tosses for 180 yards. The Tigers wound up outgaining Fitch 331‑200 in total offense.

Fitch head coach David Hartman, who was a senior lineman on the 1964 Massillon team, attended the Moeller game last week. He nodded his head when asked if the same pass schemes that had worked for Moeller were the ones clicking for Fitch, that is, those that feature a lot of rollouts, bootlegs and scrambles by the quarterback.

“They (the Tigers) seem not to want to give up the big play,” Hartman said. “They give up a lot underneath. We tried to run on them, we just couldn’t.”

“Our kids fought. It’s just that they had some 300- and 250­-pounders going up against our 165‑pounders.”

If some aspects of the Fitch game were reminiscent of the one with Moeller, the products as wholes were far different. The Tigers did finish off Fitch to the extent the 19‑point spread was the biggest in the history of the series, still led by Fitch, four games to three.

“We had a lot better concen­tration than we had at Moel­ler, ” said the Tigers’ fine senior end, Jason Woullard. “We were aggressive the whole time. For some reason, we lost some of our intensity in the third and fourth quarters against Moel­ler. I don’t know if it was the long road trip catching up to us, or what. I don’t want to make excuses. We were intense to the end tonight.”

Hartman, using mostly juniors and off to the worst start in his 10 years at Fitch, now has three losses to playoff conten­ders. The two besides Massillon ‑ Mentor and Youngstown Chaney ‑ are unbeaten.

“Massillon,” Hartman said when asked to compare, “is the strongest team we’ve played so far, without a doubt.”

There is some doubt as to who will play quarterback next Saturday against unbeaten and state‑ranked Toledo St. Francis.

“If Nick is healthy,” Owens said, “he’s our quarterback.”

Mossides wore a knee brace and walked without crutches along the sidelines at Friday’s game. Owens said indications are there’s “a good chance” Mossides will be ready to face St. Francis.

It was clear right away Fri­day that Ashcraft was ready to face Fitch. On the Tigers’ first play from scrimmage, he gained 15 yards on a play called back by clipping. He proceeded to surge for gains of 5, 3, 9, 10, 4 and 16 yards, by which time the ball was on the 1. He took it in from there, Jason Brown added the P.A.T. kick, and it was 7‑0 three seconds past the halfway point of the first quarter.

The drive covered nine plays and 49 yards.

The defense stuffed Fitch on three plays and Ashcraft went right back to work.

Ashcraft bulled, twisted and sprinted for gains of 22, 4, 24 and 21 yards to ram the ball to the Fitch 16. On third down from the 10, McGuire stampeded over the left side for a touchdown. Brown’s kick was wide right and it was 13‑0 with 24 seconds left in the quarter.

The Tigers had a chance to make it an early blowout after Dana Wofford blocked a punt and Bubba Pachis recovered the ball at the Falcons’ 20‑yard line. However, Fitch stopped Ashcraft for no gain on fourth-­and‑goal, enabling the Falcons to escape with just a 13‑0 half­time deficit.

Melody started to warm up the passing game late in the half, when he kept drives alive and the ball away from the Ti­gers.

The Tigers’ Eric Woods shut off a last‑second Fitch scoring threat by blocking Gary Pritch­ard’s 35‑yard field goal attempt with three seconds left in the half.

The Tigers got the first pos­session of the third quarter and were poised to go for it on fourth‑and‑one from the Fitch 44. However, an offsides penal­ty against the Tigers led to a punt.

The situation led Owens to question Fitch’s “sports­manship.” Owens contended the Fitch defenders were call­ing Massillon’s cadence, which is against the rules. Owens said he tipped off game officials that Fitch might do this.

Fitch used the possession following the punt to make the game close. Melody mixed up his passes (junior Bob Moore caught six for 60 yards on the night) and drove the Falcons 79 yards in just eight plays. The touchdown came on an eight-­yard scramble by Melody. Pritchard’s extra point made it 13‑7 with 5: 21 left in the third quarter.

The Falcons got a bit cocky at that point. Senior lineman Todd Draper turned to the Massillon crowd and cupped his hand over his ear, as if to say, “I can’t hear you.” Dave Hackenbracht, a former Massillon linebacker whose brother Dan hopes to re­turn to the 1991 Tigers following an injury, stood and got into a jawing match with Draper.

The Massillon offense made a loud reply of its own. After starting on their own 47 follow­ing a short kickoff, Ashcraft plowed for a gain to the Fitch 46. The next play was the counter to McGuire that went for 46 yards down the right sideline for a score. A conversion run failed, but the Tigers led 19‑7 with 4:44 left in the third quarter. They were never seriously threatened again.

Ashcraft added the coup de grace on a three‑yard TD run with 1:26 left in the game. That capped a 10‑play, 63‑yard drive and was punctuated by Brown’s P.A.T. boot.

Owens was concerned about a few areas, such as the team’s failure to score after the block­ed punt, and another opponent’s ability to complete passes.

But the victory one week after an emotional loss to Moeller was more than welcome.

“Our pride had been ques­tioned,” he said. “We had some­thing to prove.”

St. Francis had no trouble im­proving to 5‑0 Friday, scoring a 35‑7 win over Grafton Midview (2‑3).

Moeller struggled Friday to outlast Cincinnati Xavier 28‑21.

Chaney, one of the teams that beat Fitch, beat Boardman 14‑3 a week after Boardman stunned defending state champion War­ren Harding.


First downs rushing 14 4
First downs passing 0 7
First downs by penalty 0 1
Totals first downs 14 12
Yards gained rushing 337 54
Yards lost rushing 6 34
Net yards rushing 331 20
Net yards passing 0 180
Total yards gained 331 200
Passes attempted 4 25
Passes completed 0 15
Passes int. by 0 0
Times kicked off 5 2
Kickoff average 44.6 27.0
Kickoff return yards 16 79
Punts 4 6
Punting average 31.0 26.2
Punt return yards 5 48
Fumbles 0 0
Fumbles lost 0 0
Penalties 8 6
Yards penalized 66 54
Number of plays 48 51
Time of possession 20:34 27:26
Attendance 11,376

FITCH 0 0 7 0 7
MASSILLON 13 0 6 7 26

M ‑ Ashcraft 1 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ McGuire 10 run (kick failed)
F ‑ Melody 8 run (Pritchard kick)
M ‑ McGuire 46 run (run failed)
M ‑ Ashcraft 3 run (Brown kick)

Individual statistics

(Massillon) Ashcraft 25/214, McGuire 13/96, Burick 6/21;
(Fitch) Kamrad 6/16, Ferraro 8/‑2, Melody 10/0, Sandquist 1/6.

(Massillon) Burick 0-4-0;
(Fitch) Melody 15‑25‑180.

(Fitch) Moore 6/60, Vanek 3/33,
Ferraro 3/56, Sandquist 1/3, Barwick 1/20, Kamrad 1/8.

Eric Wright
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1991: Massillon 13, Cincinnati Moeller 27

Moeller quarterback hot, Tigers QB hurt in defeat

Independent Sports Editor

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.

Program Cover

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.

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

(Massillon) McGuire 12‑94, Ashcraft 11‑34.
(Moeller) Davis 23‑66, Bren­nan 3‑9, Jackson 4‑4.

(Massillon) Mossides 11‑17‑1, 81.
(Moeller) Brennan 20‑31‑1, 256.


(Massillon) Stafford 6‑32 McGuire 4‑45, Hawkins 2‑25.
(Moeller) Raussen 4‑75, Brown 6‑62, Davis 3‑17, Langenkamp 1‑26, Cariberg 2‑18, Kent 2‑30, Baur 2‑28

Eric Wright