Tag: <span>Fawcett Stadium</span>


1985: Massillon 6, Canton McKinley 21

Defeat can’t hide Tiger pride
Pups end Massillon season

Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ They’ve pulled the plug on the football season, and it’s quiet around here all right.

No football playoffs to get crazy about … heck, not even a scrimmage against Akron East.

Maybe the calendar says “Nov. 4,” but its winter, baby.

You can say this, though. As the sports soul of Tigertown sighs and enters hibernation, it can be tucked in with a blanket of pride.

Program Cover

Here’s a nut and bolts way to took at it: the Tigers got a 21‑6 spanking from the playoff‑bound McKinley Bulldogs Saturday before 20,174 fans in Canton’s Fawcett Stadium to close their season with a 7‑3 record under first‑year head coach John Maronto.

Here’s another way: the Bulldogs were heavy favorites but got a pretty good scare.

If you want to get at the soul of this 91st game, which left the Tigers with a 50‑36‑5 lead in the fabled series, climb on down off the scoreboard.

How close was this game?

With 8:39 left, Mike Norris was digging for yardage round the 2‑yard line, needing to get inside the 1 for a first down and into the end zone for a chance for the Tigers to turn a 14‑6 deficit into a 14‑14 tie – Norris was stopped right there at the 2 on fourth down.

How close?

With fire minutes left, the Tiger defense stuffed the Pups, and Massillon got the ball on a punt in A‑1 field position near midfield.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1985

Here was another chance to gun for a touchdown, a two-point conversion, and some dancin’ in the streets.

On the first play after they took over, the Tigers lost the ball on an interception, McKinley got a quick score on a bomb, and that was that.

How close.

Dead even, almost. In the end, McKinley had 211 total yards to 199 for the Tigers.

Of course, “close” only cuts so much ice. Plenty of Tigers shed plenty of tears after the clock froze at 0:00.

McKinley was going to the play offs, against GlenOak Saturday night in Fawcett Stadium as it turns out, with a 9‑1 record.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1985

The Tigers were going home.

After the bus wheeled into Paul Brown Tiger Stadium and the players met for it quiet team meeting, Duane Crenshaw found his locker and removed his pads slowly.

He was sad and proud all at once.

”Everybody said they would blow us out,” said the senior defensive tackle. “They sure didn’t blow us out.”

Crenshaw’s locker was near that of Cornell Jackson. By now Jackson had removed his No. 8 for the last time, having gone out in splendid fashion.

His 83 yards in 18 rushing attempts made him the most visibly consistent offensive player in the game. Late in the contest, he turned the intangible of “determination” into something that could be seen with the naked eye.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1985

On the late drive that set up the Tigers with their fourth and short from the 3, trailing by 8, Jackson got good blocking and shed many tacklers as he plunged ahead for 38 yards in seven memorable carries.

“It dawned on me at about that time that within a number of minutes my high school career would be over,” said Jackson, who was in his third game of a comeback after arthrosopic knee surgery. “I wanted to go out with my best effort. I’m just upset that we fell short.”

Maronto was upset, too. His marathon vigils in the film room, which produced a game plan laced with short passes and helped the Tigers stay in the game, were not enough to overcome a McKinley team seen by many as a solid state championship contender.

Maronto fought to get out the words as he spoke with reporters in the Tiger Stadium locker room after delivering the season‑ending address to his troops.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1985

“It’s hard to feel anything good about losing to McKinley,” said the man who arrived from Detroit De La Salle High in mid‑June. “But maybe I have to look at it more maturely. I can say this. The kids just spilled their guts.”

The game’s first four possessions developed with the Tigers and the Bulldogs imitating each other.

McKinley received the opening kickoff and had to punt after three plays.

Then the Tigers had to punt after three plays.

Then McKinley scored on a long march. Then the Tigers scored on a longer march.

McKinley’s scoring drive began in Massillon territory after Chris Clax returned a punt 15 yards to the 48. Using Brian Chaney‑to‑Jerome Perrin passes and runs by fullback Percy Snow and the tailback Clax, the Bulldogs marched on six plays to the 6, where it was first down.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1985

From there, Snow found a gaping hole on a left‑side trap play and literally trotted into the end zone for a McKinley score with 5:38 left in the first quarter. Mark Smith’s kick made it 7‑0, Bulldogs.

The Tigers started from their 34 after the kickoff. Behind senior Paul Fabianich’s sharpest quarterbacking of the season, the Tigers maneuvered downfield against McKinley’s vaunted angle defense.

Highlights included a 12‑yard pass to Bart Letcavits, a 16‑yard Fabianich scramble (his longest of the season), a 10‑yard strike to Wes Siegenthaler and a 17 yard, third and 10 completion to tight end Derick Newman to the 9.

Had later events favored the Tigers, the completion to Newman would have emerged as one of the most interesting developments in the game.

On the play, Fabianich nimbly darted away from the Bulldog linebacker Perrin. A year ago, Perrin was making tackles in that kind of situation, as his big‑play tackles sparked McKinley to a 17‑6 win and led to a first‑team, All‑Ohio berth for Perrin.

But this time, Fabianich stole the moment and zipped a completion to Newman … who had been a fullback all season.

“We wanted to use Derick as a tight end from the start, but injuries didn’t let us go that way,” Maronto said.

Norris, a junior fullback, plowed six yards up the middle to the 3. On second and goal, Fabianich flicked a quick pass over the right side of the line that barely zipped over the linebacker Snow’s hand and nestled into Newman’s grasp for a touchdown.

Norris changed shoes and lined up for the PAT attempt, but his kick sailed low and wide right, and the score stayed at 7‑6 with 1:31 left in the first quarter.

The game of copycat continued through the rest of the half, which was colored by excellent defense from both sides.

McKinley punted, Massillon punted. Then the Bulldogs punted again, then the Tigers punted again … but this time Ken Hawkins’ boot was partially blocked.

McKinley took over on its 46 with three minutes left in the half. The Bulldogs could get no farther than the Tiger 35, where they ran out of downs when a Chaney pass sailed over Perrin’s head.

The Tigers couldn’t budge, and the half ran out shortly after they punted with McKinley leading 7‑6.

The defenses dominated the third quarter, too, with McKinley shifting its alignment to take away Massillon’s short passing game, and Massillon playing “stuff the run,” as the Bulldogs put Chaney’s arm in seclusion and unsuccessfully tried to operate a power attack.

In their first five possessions of the third period, the teams combined for just five first downs on drives that all ended with punts.

The fifth of the punts sank the Tigers.

The boot, a low-flying 41-yarder off the foot of Hawkins, was taken by Clax at the McKinley 38. Clax started for the middle and found an opening to the outside. He broke to the left sideline and then back toward the middle of the field, outracing two Tigers and arriving in the end one at the end of a 62‑yard jaunt.

Smith’s PAT kick made it 14‑6, McKinley, with 1:55 left in the third quarter.

There was still fight left in the Tigers.

The Tigers took over on the kickoff at their 29 and, with the help of a 15‑yard pass interference penalty, used the running of Jackson and Norris to hammer out a length‑of‑the field drive.

On the eighth play of the march, which now was in the fourth quarter, Jackson exploded through the line on a trap play and exploded for 15 yards, almost breaking away for a touchdown but getting dragged down just outside the 10.

Jackson then went around the left side but slipped and fell at the 8. Norris bulled straight ahead for five yards, but on third and about two from the 3, Jackson tried the right side and was stopped for no gain.

Now it was fourth and two.

Do you go for the field goal and make it 14‑9 with about eight minutes left? Or do you go for the touchdown and two‑point conversion to tie?

“We needed a touchdown,” Maronto said, who mapped out strategy during a timeout called by McKinley.

The Bulldogs might be looking for Jackson to come around one of the ends, as he had on two of the previous three plays, Maronto figured.

The Tigers would try to pop Norris through the line.

“It was an inside belly play,” Maronto said. We felt we had enough force to make that play work. Norris is a strong runner.”

Norris lined up close to Fabianich. Fabianich handed him the ball an instant after the snap and Norris charged into the left side of the line. McKinley nose guard Cary Brown lid directly into Norris’ path and made the hit as other players arrived. Norris went down in a pile at the 2. It was McKinley’s ball.

McKinley’s poor field position loomed as a possible silver lining for the Tigers, but that went away when Snow ran eight yards to the 10 on the next play.

Still, the Tigers were alive and kicking when they forced the Bulldogs to punt from their 22. Massillon took over on its 44 with five minutes left in the game, but Smith’s interception killed a would‑be drive before the orange army in the north stands could get worked up.

Five plays after the interception, Smith struck again, racing behind two Tiger defensive backs and hauling in a perfect strike from Chaney on a 41-yard TD play. Smith’s kick gave the Bulldogs a 21‑6 lead with 2:30 left, and the seats cleared out early.

Fabianich finished with a season high of 21 passing attempts. He completed nine throws for 75 yards, two interceptions and the touchdown, the only aerial TD the Tigers achieved in 1985.

Chaney completed eight of 13 passes for 62 yards.

Snow led McKinley’s rushing attack with 64 yards in 15 carries. Clax, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 1984, was held under 600 yards for 1985 as a result of gaining just 20 yards in nine carries Saturday.

Back to Ringling Bros.
Tiger football season ends for Obie XVI, seniors

MASSILLON Ed Annen looked a bit sad. But then, he was about to lose a friend.

“It’s back to Ringling Brothers for her now,” Annen sighed as he looked at the friend, who lives in a cage and answers to Obie XVI.

With help from some loiterers, Annen wheeled the cage of Obie XVI out of a pickup truck and into her fall home at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

The football season was over for another year, and so were Annen’s special duties: caretaker of the live tiger that is part of what makes game days in Massillon different than game days in other towns.

The echo of the final gun was still so fresh that the players were in a team meeting within growling distance of Obie’s cage.

In an unplanned moment, the locker room door cracked open and revealed the meeting scene … a silent room filled with bowed heads.

Forget about Obie. Nobody who wears the orange and black feels much in a circus mood after losing to McKinley, as these Tigers had by a 21‑6 score in Fawcett Stadium on this Saturday.

“I thought we played pretty well against McKinley, but we could have played better … we could have beat ‘em,” said Jerrod Vance, a junior linebacker. “Next year we’re going to have a super team. I’m going to try my best to make sure of that.

The meeting broke up, and folks moved quietly amid the benches,

The seniors said their good byes to the locker room in which legends have been born. The juniors talked about setting things straight next year.

“I thought we played pretty well against McKinley, but we could have played better … we could have beat ‘am,” said Jetted Vance, a junior linebacker. ”Next year we’re going to have a super team. I’m going to try my best to make sure of that.

“I thought we should have done better this year. But we came a long way,”

Another junior linebacker who will go some more of the way with

Duane Crenshaw

1983: Massillon 18, Canton McKinley 7

Tigers capture 89th classic 18-7

Bulldogs fall in misty Fawcett

Repository Sports Editor

In the 89 games the Bulldogs and the Tigers have battled on the high school football field since 1894, there have been numerous surprises and upsets.

But it was not to be Saturday, as the favored Massillon Tigers mugged the feisty but overmatched McKinley Senior Bulldogs 18-7 before 21,232 fans in a freezing mist at Fawcett Stadium.

Program Cover

It was the 50th victory for the Tigers in this scholastic gridiron granddaddy, increasing the edge over the Bulldogs, who have won 34 times and tied five others.

To be sure, this 1983 band of Bulldogs fought the valiant fight, played perhaps as well as they have played this disappointing season. But it was not enough this dreary afternoon.

The Massillons had too many guns. The outcome was never really in doubt.

Massillon was favored by 10 points, according to the odds fellows. The Tigers won by 11.

It could have been worse, embarrassingly much worse.

Massillon’s first scoring threat misfired when Bronc Pfisterer missed on a 34-yard attempt for a field goal.

Game Action 1983 Massillon vs. Canton McKinley

The Tigers also missed a TD near the end of the half when McKinley’s Pierre Taylor intercepted a Brian Dewitz pass in the end zone, a bizarre play on which the officials almost mistakenly awarded the Tigers a safety (see Stewart on Sports column, Page 43).

In addition after the longest drive of the day, Massillon fumbled the ball away on the McKinley 1-yard line in the fourth period, and after that had an apparent interception taken away for roughing the Pups’ passer.

The Tigers’ rushing game was perhaps short of awesome, but certainly more than effective. Massillon’s ball carriers netted 260 yards on the ground, an average of 5.1 per carry, and it allowed the Tigers possession for 61 percent of the clock time.

The victory salvaged respectability for the Tigers, who with a 9-1 record will watch from the sidelines as the OHSAA grid playoffs begin this weekend.

Game Action 1983 Massillon vs. Canton McKinley

It is expected to be announced today that Alliance (10-0) and Akron Garfield (9-0), the team which tamed the Tigers 14-10 in the second game of the season will play for the Region 3 championship in Division 1.

If Alliance is the No. 1 team in the computer ratings for the region, the playoff game probably will be in Fawcett, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

McKinley finished 6-4, it’s worst record since 1976, the first year of consolidation from four Canton high schools to two.

But McKinley coach Thom McDaniels said his players had nothing to be ashamed about Saturday.

“I’m proud of the way they (the Bulldogs) attempted to win the football game,” he said.

Game Action 1983 Massillon vs. Canton McKinley

“The Ursuline and Elder games (two of the losses) left a bad taste in the mouth. Against Moeller, (the other loss) we weren’t ashamed of ourselves, either,” said the coach who completed his second season as the head man at McKinley, and his fourth at the school.

”I didn’t have any heart attacks in the first half,” Massillon Coach Mike Currence was to say afterward. “But I had about five in the second half.”

“McKinley didn’t quit, and they played a good game. McDaniels is a great coach, and he did not have the best material this season.”

“I don’t think this was a great McKinley team, when compared to some of the ones in the recent past, but they played tough.”

Tigers trip Bulldogs

The swift senior tailback, Craig Johnson, who carried only once for a loss of three yards in the Tigers first possession that ended in the aborted field goal, finished with a flourish, running for 138 yards in 20 carries, putting him at 1,008 yards for the 1983 season.

Game Action 1983 Massillon vs. Canton McKinley

On their second possession, the Tigers zipped 52 yards in only four plays, the finale a
one-yard touchdown plunge by All-Ohioan Chris Spielman, who not only gained 55 yards on 15 carries and scored both Tiger touchdowns, but also led a swarming defense from his linebacker position which stifled McKinley’s running game.

Dewitz sparked the TD drive with a 19-yard rollout romp on the first play, and then was hit late by a Bulldog. The 15-yard penalty put the Tigers on the Pups’ 18, from where Johnson got eight and Spielman nine to set up the touchdown.

Spielman’s 33-yard punt return on the last play of the first period set up the second Tigers’ score.

Even though the Bulldogs’ defense held Massillon to 13 yards over the first six plays of the second quarter, Pfisterer drilled a 36-yard field goal to put the visitors up 10-0 with 9:20 left in the half.

Game Action 1983 Massillon vs. Canton McKinley

The Bulldogs’ junior Jeff Angione sparked his team with a 42-yard return of the ensuing kickoff, and McKinley marched to the Tigers’ 28, before a dropped pass on fourth down turned the ball over.

But three plays later, Anthony McCullough pounced on a Dewitz fumble and the Pups were back in business at the Tigers’ 47, from where they scored in eight plays.

McKinley quarterback Kevin Parrish, who completed six of 21 passes for 82 yards before being injured late in the fourth period, hit Jeff Smith in the end zone with a 15-yard scoring strike 55 seconds before the band show. Anthony Taylor’s placement pulled the Pups to within three at 10-7.

After Spielman returned the kickoff to his own 43, Dewitz flipped a screen pass to the fleet Johnson, and he turned the play into a 41-yarder, putting the ball at the Bulldogs’ 16.

Then came Pierre Taylor’s interception in the end zone with seven seconds left.

After the lengthy discussion by the officials, who finally made the right ruling of a touchback, Parrish fell on the ball to end the half.

What may well have been the final turning point came midway in the third period.

Game Action 1983 Massillon vs. Canton McKinley

McKinley couldn’t move with the third quarter kickoff, and Massillon marched from its own 14 to the McKinley 12, thanks to a 38-yard scamper by Johnson and runs of 17 and 13 by Dewitz, who was the Tigers second leading rusher with 62 yards on 11 carries.

But Dewitz fumbled and McKinley middle guard Bob Gilmore covered the ball, only to have the Bulldogs’ offense fumble it right back on the first play.

Four plays later, Johnson ran in from four yards out to make it 16-7.

The PAT took a while.

Finally, from 13½ inches away, Spielman plunged for the two-pointer to conclude the day’s – and the season’s – scoring, with 4:29 remaining in the third period.

McKinley came back to the Tigers’ 18, thanks mostly to a 25-yard pass from Parrish to junior end Rafe Lazar, the Pups’ longest gainer of the day.

The Tigers, with 2:12 left in the third, then took final control of the game. They managed to come up with the key plays, just when the Pups thought they had them stopped, and moved the ball 81 yards in 14 plays to the McKinley 1, where, with a second-and-goal, Dewitz fumbled the snap again, and the ball wound up in the end zone where McKinley’s Jeff Smith covered it for another touchback.

A pass interference penalty and a 22-yard Parrish to Pierre Taylor aerial putt he ball on the Tigers 40, from where Parrish threw a pass that was picked off by Massillon’s Derrick Dave. But the Tigers’ were flagged for roughing Parrish, and the Pups had a first down at the Tiger 25…but without Parrish, who left the game with a knee injury. Reports indicate he was treated and released at Timken-Mercy Medical Center after the game.

Brian Worstell, a 5-11 junior, came on, but he could fare no better, and the Pups gave up the ball at the 19.

Troy Jenkins, McKinley’s premier runner who had gained 1,101 yards in his first nine games, picked up 72 yards in 15 carries.


Massillon……………….. 7 3 8 0 – 18
McKinley Senior……….. 0 7 0 0 – 7

Mas – Spielman 6 run (Pfisterer kick)
Mas – FG Pfisterer 36
McK – Smith 15 pass from Parrish (A. Taylor kick)
Mas – Johnson 4 run (Spielman run)
A – 21,232.

Mass. McK.
First downs rushing 15 3
First downs passing 3 6
First downs penalties 2 2
Totals first downs 20 11
Rushes – yards 51-260 23-82
Passing yards 78 97
Total Net yards 338 179
Return yards 75 92
Passes 4-11-1 8-29-1
Punts-avg. 2-27 4-36.5
Punt return yards 48 2
Kickoff-avg. 4-45.5 2-35.2
Kickoff return yards 25 96
Fumbles lost 4-3 2-1
Penalties-yards 6-51 4-39
Third down conversions 4-11 5-13
Total plays 64 52
Time of possession 29:11 18.49

Rushing – Massillon: Johnson 20-138, Dewitz 11-62,
Spielman 15-55, Gruno 2-3, Hastings 1-2,
Sampsel 2-0.
McKinley Senior: Jenkins 15-72, Parrish 3-4,
Calhoun 2-3, Smith 2-3, Lytle 1-0.

Passing – Massillon: Dewitz 4-11-1-78.
McKinley Senior: Parrish 6-21-0-82,
Worstell 2-8-15-1.

Pass Receiving – Massillon: Johnson 2-57, Spielman 1-13,
Crenshaw 1-8,
McKinley Senior: Jenkins 3-17, Lazar 2-32,
p. Taylor 1-21, Draper 1-12, Smith 1-15.

Missed field goals – Massillon: Pfisterer 34.

Massillon celebrates
Golden Anniversary

Independent Sports Editor

CANTON – Massillon football celebrated a Golden Anniversary of sorts Saturday afternoon at Fawcett Stadium – 50 wins over McKinley.

The Tigers (9-1) posted an 18-7 victory over the Bulldogs (6-4) in the 89th meeting between the two before a packed house. With the win Massillon upped its series lead to 50-34 with five ties.

Massillon held the statistical edge in nearly every category of importance: first downs (19 to 11), rushing (227 yards to 79) and total yards (332 to 175).

It was one of those kind of days where everything went wrong, but nothing did.

Although the Tigers scored two touchdowns and a field goal, head coach Mike Currence’s squad squandered away more golden opportunities than it wanted to.

In the first quarter alone the Tigers had a first down at the McKinley 18 and came away empty-handed when a 34-yard field goal went astray.

Massillon was knocking on the door again late in the second quarter, with a first down at the Bulldog 16. This time an interception halted the drive.

Another time, this in the third period, the Tigers had a first down at the McKinley 12. A lost fumble again stymied Massillon.

And if three blown opportunities weren’t enough, the Tigers continued their version of give-away in the final period when another fumble at the McKinley one stopped yet another golden chance.

“We made some mistakes,” Currence admitted, citing the fumble in the end zone in the fourth quarter as a prime example. “That was terrible.”

Through it all, though, the Tigers still prevailed. That’s because a stingy defense made it happen.

Forced to go to its passing game in the second half, McKinley finished with just 79 yards rushing on 23 carries. The Bulldogs’ lone TD occurred following a Massillon fumble.

In the air the Bulldogs picked up 96 yards, but quarterbacks Kevin Parrish and Brian Worstell combined to complete just eight-of-29 attempts.

Only two of McKinley’s 10 possessions began inside Massillon territory. More often than not the Bulldogs were pinned back inside their own turf, especially in the opening stanza when the hosts netted a total of nine yards.

Massillon appeared well on its way to a score on the game’s opening set of downs, marching to the McKinley 18 with a first down. Two straight runs lost five yards when quarterback Brian Dewitz ran for six yards.

On fourth down Pfisterer, who holds career and single-season field goal kicking school records, missed on a 34-yard attempt.

A roughing the punter call on McKinley during the drive kept the Tiger hopes alive.

After holding McKinley on its second possession, the Tigers were back in action with the ball at their own 48.

Dewitz scampered 19 yards on a bootleg, but McKinley was called for spearing on the play. With the ball now on the 18 stellar running back Johnson, who finished with 133 yards rushing, gained nine yards.

Then Spielman got into the act, gaining eight yards to the one and adding the final yard for the TD at the 4:14 mark. Pfisterer added the extra-point and the Tigers led 7-0.

McKinley was stopped in its tracks once again on its next series, but Spielman broke off a 33-yard punt return to give Massillon good field position at the Bulldog 32.

Johnson picked up eight yards on the first play from scrimmage and Spielman added three more for a first down. Dewitz was then sacked for a six-yard loss when the Tigers were then called for illegal motion.

A Dewitz pass fell incomplete before Johnson broke off a 13-yard scamper to the McKinley 19 to put Pfisterer within field goal range. The senior booter responded with a 36-yard field goal, giving Massillon a 10-0 lead at 9:30.

McKinley mounted its first serious threat on the next series with tailback Troy Jenkins running four yards on a fake punt for a first down. However, the drive stalled on Massillon’s 28 when a Parrish pass bounced off the hands of Leon Draper.

Three plays later and the Tigers gave the ball right back when Dewitz lost the handle on the center exchange. McKinley’s Anthony McCullough recovering at the 47.

Eight plays later and Parrish found Jeff Smith on a slant over the middle for a score with 51 seconds left in the half.

With time running out in the half Massillon reached the Bulldog 16 when Johnson ran 41 yards down the right sidelines on a screen pass. Dewitz then threw a pass over the middle which was intercepted by Pierre Taylor.

Taylor, who caught the ball in the end zone, then ran out of the end zone. Currence was quick on the field, asking for a safety.

After some deliberation by the game’s officials the Tigers were awarded a two-point safety. Now, it was McKinley head coach Thom McDaniels’ turn to “discuss” the play.

Again the game’s officials conferred. When they broke huddle they reversed their earlier decision and took the two points off Massillon’s side of the scoreboard.

“The McKinley coaches out coached me on that one,” Currence said tongue-in-cheek. “They showed me the ruling. It doesn’t seem right to intentionally take a safety.”

The two teams swapped turnovers in the third quarter, Dewitz losing a fumble to Bob Gilmore and Massillon’s Tim Sampsel recovering a Bulldog bobble one play later.

Four plays after Sampsel’s fumble recovery gave the Tigers excellent field position at the McKinley 19, Johnson ran four yards to pay dirt behind a good block by Tom Gruno at the 4:29 mark.

On the conversion, McKinley was called three straight times for encroachment. With the ball resting inside the one, Spielman carried in the two-pointer for a 18-7 Tiger lead.

McKinley then drove to a first down at the Massillon 23 following a 25-yard pass play, but three straight passes fell incomplete to stop the drive.

Massillon then chewed up over eight minutes of time on its next possession, but came away with nothing to show for it when the center snap was bobbled at the McKinley one with Smith recovering in the end zone.

The Bulldogs put together their last threat on the ensuing series, marching from their own 20 to Massillon’s 21 thanks in large part to a pair of 15-yard penalties, one for pass interference and another for roughing the quarterback.

But the drive stalled when a fourth down pass failed to gain the necessary yardage.

On last McKinley hope was thwarted by a Pat Spicer interception with less than a minute left.

Tiger ‘D’ turned
Pups into kittens

Independent Sports Writer

CANTON – While the Massillon offense surprised McKinley with some new wrinkles Saturday in Fawcett Stadium, the Tiger defense was its reliable self in the 18-7 victory.

The Bulldogs did get one touchdown off the tight Tiger defense, but the score was set up by a Tiger fumble.

Other than that drive, the Tiger defense didn’t yield much. In the first quarter McKinley’s offense ran nine plays for nine yards.

Tackle Tom Gruno and nose guard John Franke incessantly applied pressure to Bulldog quarterback Kevin Parrish. The defense up front also showed strong pursuit on flushing out McKinley’s screen passes.

“I was getting a little concerned in the third quarter when they started driving,” Franke said. But then when we stopped them on our 18-yard line, I knew they weren’t going to score on us any more.”

Gruno admitted that Saturday’s game was the most exhausting of his career, but well worth it.

“With eight minutes left in the game I felt like dropping; I could hardly breathe,” said Gruno, who doubled at fullback. “Usually we’re ahead 44-0 in the fourth quarter and I’ll get a rest. This is by far my most tiring game.”

“I’d go to the sidelines when Timmy Sampsel would replace me at fullback. Every time I kept saying to the rest of the defensive players, ‘We’ve got to stop them.’ Nothing stood in our way. I knew it after we stopped them three consecutive times at getting a first down in the first quarter.”

“McKinley has some big tackles. But we were able to out-quick them. That was all we could do. We got so fired up every time I went to the sidelines on my offensive breaks. Beating McKinley is great.”

HUMBLE HERO – Tailback Craig Johnson was the first Tiger to go over the 1,000-yard mark rushing this season. His 133 yards against McKinley give him 1,003 on the season.

“How many yards to I have for the season?” a humble Johnson asked in the locker room after the game.

Johnson went over the magic number with a 13-yard gain in the fourth quarter.

“I didn’t know it then,” Johnson answered. “Which play was it?”

SPIELMAN’S VOW – When McKinley stopped the Tigers two years ago at Fawcett Stadium to earn a trip to the playoffs and eventually win the state championship, Chris Spielman vowed that the Tigers would never lose at Fawcett while he was playing.

“After we lost two years ago I said our team – and you can underline team, would not be beaten on this field again,” said Spielman. “I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. I’d like to thank Massillon for everything.”

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN – The Tigers may not be going to the playoffs, but based on Saturday’s performance, could be the best team in the state.

“If we played Akron Garfield next week we’d beat them by four touchdowns,” said Gruno. “This is a much improved team. I’ve been sitting in bed, listening to the radio and praying that Alliance or Garfield would lose. But we can’t control that.”

Neither Alliance nor Garfield, which beat Massillon 14-10 on Sept. 9, have lost. They’ll meet in the first round of the playoffs Saturday.

Topics of discussion such as the great Garfield debate are what keep the off-season fires burning.

Chris Spielman

1981: Massillon 6, Canton McKinley 9

Massillon outplays McKinley, but losses 9‑7
Pups’ big plays waste fine Tiger effort

Independent Sports Editor

The Massillon Tiger lockerroom was ripe with the stunned silence of a team that had just played its heart out, outplayed its opponent and lost.

Amid the hanging heads and wet eyes stood Tiger coach Mike Currence. The hurt he felt in his heart for his team showed on his face. “They’re all different,” he said.

Program Cover

True to form, Saturday’s 87th Massillon‑McKinley game was different from all the rest. The Bulldogs’ 9‑6 victory before 22,828 fans in Canton’s Fawcett Stadium gave them their first perfect season since 1956 and puts them into the computer playoffs‑for the second year in a row.

Yet, except for one play, it was a game that seemed to belong to the Massillon Tigers.

That one play, however, was a big one. An 81‑yard pass from Bulldog quarterback Rick Worstell to end Nick Faulkner that wiped out a 6‑3 Tiger lead and proved to be the margin of victory.

It was just about the only defensive mistake the Tigers made all day. However, several offensive mistakes left the Bulldogs off the hook.

The Tigers won a decisive victory in the battle of the statistics, but the only stat that really counts is the one in lights on the scoreboard.

Massillon had 14 first downs to five for McKinley, and held the Pups to 55 yards rushing in 31 carries. McKinley gained only six yards rushing the first half, and didn’t get a first down rushing until just before the end of the third period.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1981

The Tigers piled up 265 yards to 163 for McKinley. Take away the one pass play, and the Bulldogs had only 82 yards total offense.

“It’s a tough one to lose, especially when you play as well as we played and control the ball the way we did,” Currence said.

“But we had some turnovers that caused us bad field position. That stopped us from working our whole offense, which stopped us from scoring more.

“I thought we moved the ball real well and I was never worried when our defense was on the field. I thought we would score in the second half,” he added.

But two fumbles and an interception haunted the Tigers in the second half, and the superior McKinley kicking game probably was the overall difference.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1981

Nick Xides had a school record 44‑yard field goal in the first half. The boot was a low line drive that was literally carried just over the crossbar by a strong wind.

However, Massillon’s Tim Manion had the wind at his “back when he got too far under a 30‑yard attempt and it fell short with 4:28 to go in the third quarter.

A short punt by Manion into the wind also helped set up field goal.

While Manion had his problems kicking, he played an outstanding defensive game, moving from linebacker to end and causing the Pup offense trouble all day.

He helped stop McKinley’s only – other serious – scoring threat late in the third quarter when he tipped a pass at the goal line that was intercepted in the end zone by Matt Hickey.

Perhaps the most crucial event of the game came with 1:53 left to play and the Tigers driving for what their fans hoped would be the winning score.

Starting at their own 15 after a clipping penalty on a punt return, the Tigers were grinding it out on the ground.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1981

Greg Grimsley gained four yards, George Roknich bolted for 10 and a first down, then Grimsley carried for 15 and another first down.

Roknich carried for five more, Larry Newman for two and Grimsley was stopped for a two‑yard gain on third-and‑three at the Bulldog 47.

On fourth‑and‑one, Tiger quarterback Rick Spielman lost control of the ball after the snap and McKinley middle guard Stan Jackson fell on it, ending the Tiger threat and insuring his team of a 10‑0 season.

Tiger tans were stunned. Their team had outplayed the Bulldogs all day and they were certain this drive would be the clincher.

It was ironic that Spielman would be victimized by the fumble. He had put the Tigers in the lead with a brilliant 21‑yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1981

Facing a fourth‑and‑15 at the Pup 21, he dropped back to pass. He was almost; sacked in the pocket, but broke free and scrambled to the left. He broke another tackle and cut back across the middle of the field. He slipped through the grasp of another Bulldog tackler at the 15 and scooted around the right side all the way for a score. The Tiger offensive line also did a great job of blocking off the pursuit on the play.

The score, which came at 9:42 of the second quarter, gave the Tigers a 6‑0 lead.

But Xides booted his field goal at 3:45 and a Ross Rankin interception (his first of two for the day) stopped another Tiger drive at the Bulldog 19, and two plays later, Worstell and Faulkner hooked up on their game winning play.

“Faulkner came up with the key play,” Bulldog coach Terry Forbes said afterwards in a joyous McKinley lockerroom. “We went deep a couple of times and that was the only time we connected all day.”

Forbes said the Pups made some minor adjustments at halftime to counteract the Tiger air attack, which had accounted counted for 81 yards in the first half. Massillon didn’t complete a pass in the second half, with Rankin picking off Spielman’s only pass in the third period, and the Tiger senior quarterback going 0‑for‑4 in the final period.

But Currence said the Tigers hadn’t planned to pass much in the second half anyway. He and his coaches felt they could move the ball on the ground against the McKinley defense.

They were doing just that prior to the fumble on their final series.

Spielman ended the day with seven completions in 20 attempts for 81 yards while Worstell had five completions in 14 attempts for 108 yards.

Leading receivers for the Tigers were Roknich with two catches for 38 yards, Robert Oliver with three for 23 yards and Newman with three for 20 yards.

The Tigers totaled 184 yards rushing, with Grimsley gaining 80 yards on 14 carries and Roknich picking up 41 yards on six carries to lead the way.

Forbes had praise for the Tigers’ effort, though he wouldn’t say they were the best team his Bulldogs played all year.
“We’ve played some fine football teams and Massillon ranks right up there with the best.”

Except for a few plays on this sunny November Saturday, no comparisons would have been necessary.

Winter arrives early
for Tiger grid faithfull
Independent Sports Editor
The air was warm and the sun shone brightly as it set on the first day of winter Saturday afternoon in Massillon.

Forget the calendar, winter started with the sounding of the gun which ended the annual season finale between the Massillon Tigers and the McKinley Bulldogs in Canton’s Fawcett Stadium.

You see, the score stood at nine points for the Bulldogs and but six for the Tigers.

So, for the first time since 1975, winter in Massillon has started a month and a half early.

And for the first time in his six seasons as the Tigers’ head coach, Mike Currence won’t have the glow of victory over McKinley to warm his football thoughts until spring.

For most of the early afternoon on Saturday it had appeared otherwise. The Tigers, undaunted by the Bulldogs’ 9‑0 record, had come to play.

And play they did. Even McKinley fans agreed afterwards that the Tigers had played the better game.

But luck was on the side of the Bulldogs this day, and they made the big plays the Tigers couldn’t.

Except for an 81‑yard touchdown pass from quarterback Rick Worstell to end Nick Faulkner, in which Tiger defensive backs Grady Robinson and Rodney Hill missed tackles, the Tigers controlled the game.
Even despite the pass, the Tigers could have won had they not turned the ball over four times.

Indeed, Currence played down the Bulldogs’ big play.

“Those things happen sometimes,” he said of the Tigers misreading the coverage and then missing the tackle. He said he felt the four turnovers were what hurt the most. That and bad field position. The Tigers were able to roll up a lot of yards, but produce only six points. They needed 10.

The game was hard fought, and the 22,828 fans in the stands received more than their money’s worth. It was anybody’s ball game right to the end, when the Bulldogs’ Stan Jackson recovered a fumble at his own 49 to kill the Tigers’ final threat.

It was sweet revenge for Bulldog fans. The Pups had lost four straight to Mike Currence coached teams until last season, when they won 16‑7. That didn’t last long, however, as the Tigers turned around and upset McKinley 14‑6 the following weekend in a quarter‑final playoff game. The Tigers went on to finish second in the state, the Bulldogs stayed home and prepared for the sudden winter.

There will be no rematch this time. The Bulldogs will play Parma Normandy Saturday night in Canton’s Fawcett Stadium in the playoff quarter‑final match.

After Saturday’s game had ended, McKinley coach Terry Forbes paid a visit to the Tiger lockerroom to congratulate Currence on the fine game his team played.

The coaches exchanged compliments and shook hands.

“Good luck in the playoffs,” Currence said. “Our people will be here next week rooting for you. Beat Moeller.”

And so ended the Tigers’ season. The 7‑3 record marks the first time the Tigers lost more‑than twice under Currence. It also means the Bulldogs, after four straight losses, have won two of the last three from the Tigers.

It was a disappointing season, but for awhile on Saturday afternoon it looked like it was going to have a happy ending.

As it turned out, Tiger fans found themselves muttering those four words they had almost forgotten: wait until next year.

Tim Manion

1979: Massillon 24, Canton McKinley 0

Playoff‑bound Tigers pound Pups 24‑0
Defense awesome in 4th straight win over McKinley

Independent Sports Editor

There used to be a sign in the Massillon weight room that read: “Offense wins games, defense wins championships.”

On the strength of an overpowering performance in their 24‑0 win over Canton McKinley Saturday afternoon, the Massillon Tiger football team will get its first chance to prove that theory since 1972.

Program Cover

For the team and their “Tiger Bag” waving fans are headed for the Class AAA computer playoffs. They will play Parma Padua Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in a semifinal game in the Akron Rubber Bowl.

The Tiger defense’ was awesome against the Bulldogs, registering nine sacks for 78 yards in losses. Six of the sacks came in the first half as the Tigers shocked the Pups by rolling up three touchdowns for a 21‑0 halftime lead.

Quarterback Bill Scott accounted for the first two scores, throwing nine yards to Marty Guzzetta for the first touchdown, then hooking up with Greg Evans oil a 54‑yard bomb.

Evans’ score, which came on a third‑and‑six play, dazed the Bulldogs, but it was linebacker Tim Reese’s interception on the Pups’ next possession that broke their backs.

On a second‑and‑10 from his own 46, Bulldog quarterback Dave Seaman threw over the middle for Ron Rankin, but Reese stepped in and picked the pass off at his own 43 and returned it 30 yards to the Bulldog 27.

After an incomplete pass, fullback Sam McDew gained 26 yards in three rushes and halfback Bill Beitel scored from a yard out on the next play.

Jeff Fry’s third straight extra point kick made it. 21‑0 with 1:30 left in the half. The only other scoring was a 26‑yard field goal by Fry in the fourth quarter.

“It was a great, great victory to a great great year,” Tiger coach Mike Currence said afterwards. We hope we can just keep on going ‑ and win two more.”

Two more wins, of course, would bring the Ohio prep football championship back to Massillon for the first time since 1970 ‑ and it would be the first for the Tigers since the computer playoff system was installed.

The Tigers are now 10‑0 – their first perfect season since 1972 ‑ and have claim to the final All‑American Conference football championship (the league is now disbanded).

The Tigers have now either won outright or shared the AAC title four straight years ‑ all under Currence, who has now beaten the Bulldogs four straight.

And the key to this one, he said, was the defense.

“The defense gave us the field position,” he said, referring to the nine sacks and three interceptions (Jamie Schlegel and Len Robinson also picked off passes).

Currence said the sacks were a combination of a fierce pass rush and great coverage by the Tiger secondary.

Seaman tried to pass 11 times in the first half,, and six times the Tiger “Sack Cats” threw him for losses.

Currence also credited his offense, of course.

“That was a great catch by Guzzetta and a great pass by Scott,” Currence said of the Tigers’ first touchdown. “And Evans catch was a big play, it really hurt them.

“But it was the interception by Reese that broke their backs.”

Currence said he was still nervous with a 21‑0 lead especially when Phil Giavasis blocked a Mike Hodgson punt. late in the third quarter and Mitchell Kelly recovered the ball at the Massillon 11 yard line.

However, tackle Dave Geschwind threw Brantly Kelly for a one‑yard loss on the first play, and two plays later Geschwind Tom Mummertz and Bryant Lemon sacked Rick Worstell for a 12‑yard loss. An incomplete pass in the end zone on fourth down gave the Tigers the ball at their own 19.

When the Pups got the ball back, Jamie Schlegel intercepted a Worstell pass at the Bulldog 27 and returned it to the two yard line. Four plays later, at 7:52 of the fourth quarter, Fry booted his 26‑yard field goal.

“After the field goal I relaxed,” Currence said.

“The difference was the big play,” he explained. “When you get the big play, you’ve got them. The kids were looking for them, and they made them.

“This game will be like a springboard for us,” he added, referring to the playoffs. “We have momentum now.”

The Tigers’ first score came on their second possession. Massillon took over at the Bulldog 35 following a 17‑yard McKinley punt.

Seven plays later, Scott lofted the ball over the middle and over an unaware Sid Lewis to Guzzetta who made a diving catch in the end zone. Fry’s kick made it 7‑0 with 1:45 left in the first quarter.

The Tigers took over at 6:55 of the second quarter at their own 42 following a Bulldog punt.

On third‑and‑six from the 46, Scott threw long for Evans. A Bulldog defender leaped in an attempt to make an interception, but he missed the ball and Evans caught it at the 18 yard line. He scampered the rest of the way for the score with 5:17 left in the half.

Reese’s interception then set up Beitel’s one‑yard touchdown run just. before the half, and Schlegel’s interception set up the field goal by Fry in the fourth quarter which capped the scoring.

Now it’s on to the Rubber Bowl and, hopefully, a state championship. BEAT PADUA!

First downs:
Rushing 7 1
Passing 5 2
Penalty 0 0
Total 12 3
Yds gain rush 155 53
Yds lost rush 28 82
Net yds rush 127 29
Net yds pass 143 58
Total yds gain 270 29
Pass attempted 15 10
Pass completed 7 3
Pass int by 3 2
Pass int yds 63 2
Kickoffs 5 1
Kickoff ave 48.8 48.0
Kickoff ret yds 20 96
Punts 3 6
Punt ave 38.7 35.2
Punt ret yds 21 22
Punts blocked 1 0
Fumbles 1 1
Fumbles lost 1 0
Penalties 3 3
Yds penalized 3.5 20
TDs rushing 1 0
TDs passing 2 0
TDs by int 0 0
Other TDs 0 0
No. of plays 56 38
Time of poss 26: 27 21:33
Attendance 21,000

MASSILLON 7 14 0 3 24
McKINLEY 0 0 0 0 0

Mass ‑ Marty Guzzetta 9 pass from Bill Scott (Jeff Fry kick)
Mass ‑ Greg Evans 54 pass, from Scott (Fry kick)
Mass ‑ Bill Beitel 1 run (Fry kick)
Mass ‑ Fry 26 FG

Tiger, Bulldog lineups
Quarterback: 10 ‑ Bill Scott (Sr., 6‑1, 170); 15 Dave DeLong (Sr., 5‑10, 169);
Fullback: 49 ‑ Sam McDew (Sr., 5‑7, 167);
Halfbacks: 31 ‑ Bill Burkett (Sr., 5‑11, 162), 22 ‑ Bill Beitel (Sr., 5‑7, 162):
Ends: 25 ‑ Marty Guzzetta (Sr., 5‑11, 165), 87 ‑ Greg Evans (Sr., 5‑10, 168);
Tackles: 76 Mark Kircher (Sr 6‑2 218), 74 ‑ Gerald Wesley (Sr., 6‑0, 233);
Guards: 66 ‑ Wally Neff (Sr., 5‑9, 175), 65 ‑ Larry Massie (Sr., 5‑7, 206);
Center: 51 Andy Weber (Sr., 6‑0, 190), 53 ‑ Doug Eberhart (Jr., 5‑10, 191)
Ends: 86 ‑ Mike Hodgson (Sr., 6‑6, 208), 80 ‑ Tom Mummertz (6‑5, 190);
Tackles: 77 ‑ Dave Geschwind (Sr., 6‑0, 200), 44 ‑ Bryant Lemon (Sr., 5‑11, 215);
Middle Guard: 55 ‑ Bob Simpson (Sr., 6‑0, 205), 99 ‑ Ed Newman (Jr., 6‑0, 192):
Linebackers; 59 ‑ Tim Reese (Sr., 5‑9, 175), 58 Kevin McClelland (Sr., 6‑3, 195), 30 ‑ John Mayles (Jr., 5‑9, 181);
Monster Back: 23 ‑ Jim Blogna (Sr., 5‑10, 176); Safety: 21 ‑ Jamie Schlegel (Sr., 6‑0, 170);
Halfbacks: 24 ‑ Dan DiLoreto (Sr., 5‑9, 162), 27 ‑ Len Robinson (Sr., 5‑10,153).
Kickers: 20 ‑ Jeff Fry (Sr., 6‑0, 180), placements, kickoffs; 86 ‑ Hodgson, punter

Quarterback: 12 Dave Seaman (Sr., 175);
Fullback: 20 ‑ Dwayne Randle (Jr., 175), 32 John Lewis (Sr., 181);
Halfbacks: 40 ‑ Brantly Kelly (Sr., 175), 23 Brian Jenkins (Jr., 164), 35 ‑ Bert Lynch (Sr., 180), 42 ‑Michael Simms (Jr., 185), 24 ‑ Sidney Lewis (So., 175);
Ends: 87 ‑ Terry Draper (Jr., 155), 84 ‑ Ron Rankin (Sr., 189(, 88 ‑ John Grimsley (Sr., 200) ;
Tackles: 75 ‑ Tony Floyd (Sr., 220), 77 ‑ Eric Torrence (Sr., 185);
Guards: 62 ‑‑ Ed Grimsley (Jr., 1,75), 60 ‑‑ Sam. Elfaye (Jr., 175) ;
Center: 51 – Robert Nau (Jr., 180).
Defense Ends: 80 – Mitchell Kelly (Sr., 185), 81 ‑ Phil Giavasis (Sr., 185), 83 ‑Scott Dixon (Jr., 185);
Tackles: 75 ‑ Floyd, 79 Troy Sanders (Jr., 210);
Linebackers: 62 ‑ E. Grimsley, 31 ‑ David, Faur (Jr., 185);
Monster Back: 88 ‑ J. Grimsley;
Safety: to ‑ Robert Davies (Jr., 175);
Halfbacks: 24 ‑ S. Lewis, 43 ‑Bob Harsh (Jr., 1 65), 82 ‑ Craig Massey (Sr., 175).

Series: 84th meeting, Massillon holds 46‑32‑5 edge.
Last meeting: 1978, Massillon 13, McKinley 10.
Records: Massillon 9‑0, McKinley 7‑1‑1.
Points scored by: Massillon 278, McKinley 174.
Points scored against: Massillon 24, McKinley 67.

The Tigers did it all

The 82nd victory in the football coaching career of the Massillon Tigers’ Michael L. Currence had to be one of his sweetest, for it carried him and his 1979 Tigers to a record, an All‑American Conference title and a shot at the state championship.

Saturday’s foe was Canton McKinley, who went into the game with a good 7‑1‑1 record and were primed for another of the upsets that have marked 84‑year Tiger‑Bulldog rivalry. Coach John Brideweser of McKinley had lost all three of his previous ‑meetings with Currence’s Tigers.

But the Tigers, too, were ready. Currence had polled them on stage at a bonfire rally Friday night, asking each what he plann­ed to do to the Bulldogs Saturday afternoon. And they did it all.

Now, for the second time since computers got into the act, the, Tigers have a crack at a state ti­tle. They will play Parma Padua (9‑1) in the Akron Rubber Bowl
Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and the winner will advance to the state finals the following Saturday at the Rubber Bowl.

Tiger quarterback Bill Scott, speaking of Padua and Cincinnati Moeller, the team he expects to face in the championship, said: “I think we can do it. We’ve got a whole town behind us.”

That the Tigers have. Let’s show them this week how much we are behind them. BEAT PADUA!

Massillon Does It Again!

…And so another Massillon-McKinley rival match is in the record books, and Massillon continues to dominate the action.

The Tigers’ 24‑0 whitewashing of the Bulldogs last weekend made it four straight over the Pups. Over the past three years, Massillon has outscored McKinley, 58‑10, including two shutouts in the last three years, both at Fawcett Stadium. Their latest triumph upped the overall series mark to a commanding 47‑32‑5 lead.

Is the rivalry becoming too one sided’?

“No way,” said Massillon Coach Mike Currence. “Massillon and Canton will always play this game. They’ve been playing it now for 84 years, and they’re going to continue playing it long after John and I (McKinley Coach John Brideweser) are gone.”

I don’t think anyone would question that. I can’t imagine November without a Massillon‑McKinley game, but there’s no question that the Tigers are becoming a more dominant force in this classic.

There are several theories as to why that’s the case. The first one is that the entire town is behind Massillon, whereas Canton doesn’t totally back McKinley.

A second theory is that the Tigers are just getting better material out of their feeder schools than the Bulldogs are, and the third theory states that many of Massillon’s players have played together longer than McKinley’s have because most of them attended the same grade schools and junior highs. Massillon is less diversified than Canton, and this might be a possible explanation contributing to Massillon’s dominance.

Personally, I support the ‘town theory.’ The fact that Massillon has its entire town behind the Tigers is a mighty big boost in a game of this magnitude.

Sure, the Tigers were gunning for the playoffs and trying to keep a perfect mark intact, but they also defeated McKinley the last three years when they weren’t headed for the playoffs.

McKinley will always have a great challenge lying ahead of them in this game, because let’s face it: Not everyone who lives in Canton is a ‘live or die’ McKinley Bulldog fan.’

Marty Guzzetta

1977: Massillon 21, Canton McKinley 0

WHAT A DAY! Tigers romp 21-0

Independent Sports Editor

The Massillon Tigers may not be going to the state football playoffs, but they’re number one in the hearts and minds of all their fans.

The Tigers simply tore apart the playoff-bound Canton McKinley Bulldogs by a 21-0 score before 20,339 snow capped fans Saturday afternoon on a muddy, waterlogged Fawcett Stadium field.

Program Cover

A NEAR blizzard in the second-quarter threatened to turn the game into a “Snow Bowl,” but a flurry of passes from Tiger quarterback Brent Offenbecher and complete domination by the Massillon offensive and defensive lines simply turned it into a rout.

Offenbecher scored the Tigers first TD on the first play of the second quarter when he bootlegged 11 yards around right end and literally dove over a Bulldog defender at the goal line, falling into the end zone.

He then hit Curtis Strawder with a 50-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter and hooked up with Greg Carpenter for a 48-yard TD toss early in the fourth quarter.

Offenbecher finished the day with 7 of 9 passing for 162 yards on a field that no one thought he would be able to pass on. He ends the year with 1,369 yards passing on 84 of 146 passes, all Tiger records.

“Bridey (McKinley head coach John Brideweser) forgets he has to run in the mud when he lets the field get wet.” Tiger head coach Mike Currence chided in the jubilant Massillon lockerroom after the game.

HE WAS referring of course to the fact that Brideweser had declined to put the tarp on the field after the Tiger Booster Club brought it over Thursday.

Game Action Massillon vs. McKinley 1977

“The big thing,” Currence said on a serious note, “was that we were able to throw in the mud and that we controlled the line of scrimmage. They weren’t able to run in the mud and they couldn’t throw either.

“Our lines were super,” he continued. “We beat them on the line. Their backs ran hard but they had nowhere to go.”

Brideweser’s explanation was simpler.

“We just got our ass kicked,” he said. “They’re a good football team. They’re as good as anybody in the state. How they lost two games I’ll never know.”

BRIDEWESER said his players never thought about the computer poll even after Barberton eliminated itself completely by losing to Cuyahoga Falls Friday night, assuring the Bulldogs of a berth even if they lost to Massillon.

He did agree that the loss to the Tigers would make it tough for his team Friday night at 7:30 when the Bulldogs play Cleveland St. Joseph in the Class AAA semifinal game in the Akron Rubber Bowl.

The 21-0 score Saturday wasn’t indicative of the game the Tigers played. It could have been worse. Massillon completely outplayed the Bulldogs in every facet of the game, not even allowing a first down until 6:51 was left in the game, and not many McKinley fans left in the stands.

All the Tiger fans were there though. Glued to their seats – when they weren’t standing to cheer – by a performance many just hadn’t expected to see. Sure, they new the Tigers could win, but few expected such a performance.

The condition of the field before the game was so bad that you had to wonder if the Tigers’ run and shoot offense might not turn into a slip and slide. It looked like a defensive battle might be waged.

“AT THE beginning,” Offenbecher said, we came in and saw the field and thought there was no way we could pass. Then we got out there, and it was bad, but it wasn’t real bad.”

Offenbecher showed the Tigers weren’t afraid to pass when he threw twice in the first series. One was complete to Mark Pringle for the Tigers first first down of the game and the other fell incomplete. The first drive, which included a 13-yard bootleg by Offenbecher and some good running and blocking by his teammates, ended when Mark Westover’s 34-yard field goal attempt was wide left.

The Tiger defense forced the Bulldogs to punt and Mike Hickey returned the ball five yards to midfield with 5:38 to go in the first quarter.

After one first down, the Tigers faced a third and six at McKinley’s 39 yard line. Offenbecher found Pringle open for 11 yards and a first down.

The Tigers then stuck to the ground and an eight-yard run by Carpenter gave them a first down at McKinley’s five. He then lost six yards on the last play of the first quarter, and the Tigers faced a second and goal from the 11.

Offenbecher took to the air again, this time by running 11 yards around right end and diving over a Bulldog defender into the end zone. Westover’s kick was no good and the Tigers look a 6-0 lead.

Following another Bulldog punt, Massillon took over on its own 43. Offenbecher fooled everybody, including his coach, when be took the ball and ran 24 yards around a wide-open left end.

That gave Massillon a first down at the McKinley 33. The Tigers drove to the eight when Offenbecher was hit and fumbled the ball attempting to pass on third down. McKinley recovered and ran out the clock, trailed only 6-0 at the half.

The Tigers kicked off to open the second half and like clockwork, the Bulldogs punted four plays later.

The Tigers took over at their own 40 and after four running plays and an offside penalty, faced a third and 11 at midfield.

OFFENBECHER dropped back to pass and spotted Strawder cutting across the middle at about the 25. He threw him the ball and the junior sprinted to the zone untouched, after his defender fell down.

Offenbecher then rolled right and hit Pringle with a two-point conversion pass to make it 14-0 Tigers.

Following several punts by each team, the Tigers took over at the McKinley 49 early in the fourth quarter.

Following a holding penalty against the Tigers, a run for no gain and a 19-yard pass to Mike Grove, the Tigers faced a third and nine at the Bulldog 48.

Offenbecher dropped back to pass again and hit Carpenter on the left sideline at about the 25. The senior wingback then broke down the sideline and didn’t stop until he crossed the goal line. Westover’s kick was good and the Tigers had a 21-0 lead with 8:34 left in the game. Many McKinley fans headed for the exits.

IT WASN’T until 6:51 left that Rick Asberry broke off a 14-yard run for the Pups’ initial first down. They made three more in the drive, but Kevin Gowins kept them out of the end zone when he picked off a Mike Brown aerial inside the Massillon 10.

The Bulldogs, who lost 7 3 to Massillon last year, have yet to score a touchdown against Currence.

The statistics bear out the fact that it was a super team effort by the Tigers. They gained 162 yards passing and 115 rushing while allowing the Bulldogs 81 rushing (51 of which came in their last drive) and six passing.


First downs rushing 8 4
First downs passing 5 0
Total first downs 13 4
Yds. gained rushing 160 101
Yds. lost rushing 45 20
Net yds. gained rushing 115 81
Net yds. gained passing 162 6
Total yds. Gained 277 87
Passes attempted 9 5
Passes completed 7 1
Passes intercepted by 1 0
Times kicked off 4 1
Kickoff average (yards) 54 5 47 0
Kickoff returns (yards) 17 68
Times punted 2 7
Punt average (yards) 39.0 23.4
Punt returns (yards) 11 1
Fumbles 1 1
Lost Fumbled ball 1 0
Penalties 3 0
Yds. Penalized 25 0
TD’s rushing 1 0
TD’s passing 2 0
Total number of plays 52 47
Total time of possession 25:51 22:09

MASSILLON 0 6 8 7 21
McKINLEY 0 0 0 0 0

MASS – Brent Offenbecher 11 run (kick failed);
MASS – Curtis Strawder 50 pass from Offenbecher (Mark Pringle pass from Offenbecher);
MASS – Greg Carpenter 48 pass from Offenbecher (Mark Westover kick).

Attendance: 20,339.

Massillon upsets McKinley
despite snowy conditions

Beacon Journal Staff Writer

CANTON – You’ll never convince Massillon football Coach Mike Currence or his quarterback Brent Offenbecher that foul weather is a passer’s worst enemy.

Offenbecher warmed up by throwing bullets through a snow storm before unloading two “bombs” of 48 and 51 yards as Massillon upset the state’s No. 2 – ranked and previously unbeaten Canton McKinley Bulldogs 21-0 at Fawcett Stadium Saturday.

Tim Daniels

1975: Massillon 15, Canton McKinley 21


Repository Sports Editor

It was a rude way to treat a visitor, Massillon got mugged in Canton Saturday.

The visiting Massillon Tigers had to believe they were in “fun city” and the McKinley Bulldogs stole everything but the orange-and-black sox.

The Bulldog bandits, better known as the McKinley defense, picked off four Massillon passes and pounced on three fumbles to slap the Tigers wit a 21-15 defeat.

There were 20,435 witnesses to the “crime” at Fawcett Stadium as the weatherman misplaced his calendar and provided a beautiful September day on Nov. 8.

Program Cover

It was the 80th game in the scholastic football classic that dates back to 1894. McKinley now has won 32, Massillon 43 and five were ties.

The victory concludes the season with McKinley winning its ninth straight to finish 9-1. Massillon is 6-3-1.

The win also gave the Bulldogs an unbeaten 5-0 mark and undisputed championship of the All-American Conference. Massillon finishe4d 3-2 in the conference in a second-place tie with Warren Harding.

Bill Poulos and Eric Llewellyn were the heroes for the Bulldogs.

Poulos, who has played in the shadow of the Pups fine quarterback Roch Hontas, turned in a magnificent performance as he intercepted two Massillon aerials in the first half to set up two McKinley touchdowns.

Massillon Coach Chuck Shuff called Poulos’ second interception the key to the game.

“It allowed them (the Bulldogs) to get that second score just before the half and I think that made a great deal of difference in the game,” Shuff said.

Llewellyn pounced on two Massillon fumbles in the second half, but he made the big play in the fourth period when he intercepted another errant aerial and returned it 25 yards to the Tigers’ 12-yard line to set up the winning and final McKinley TD.

“It was a great effort by our kids,” said a jubilant McKinley Coach John Brideweser. “The defense was great, just super. You can’t ask any more of those guys.”

“All year our kids have been doing things they really shouldn’t be able to do and they do it on sheer determination and guts,” Brideweser praised.

Four minutes into the game Poulos stung the Tigers the first time quarterback Todd keller put the ball in the air.

The 5-foot-9, 195 pound senior cornerback stepped in front of the Tiger receiver at the 50, grabbed the pass and raced all the way to the Massillon 16. From there Hontas got four yards on a rollout after scrambling back to the 40 and after fullback Ken Hall was stopped for no gain, an offside penalty against the Tigers put the ball on the 7.

Hontas pitched left to swift Tom Grafton who sped into the end zone behind the blocking of Larry DuBose and Elmer Jackson.

A McKinley fumble gave Massillon the ball at midfield 35 seconds before the end of the half.

Keller was sacked by McKinley’s Tim Moore and also was called for intentionally grounding the ball, to put the ball at the Tigers’ 34.

Poulos then pulled his second theft of the Keller pass, returning it from the 44 to the 27. Hontas completed a 15-yarder to Mel Weatherspoon, who got out-of-bounds at the 12.

Then Hontas fired into the end zone where Massillon defensive back Anthony Grizzard tipped the ball, but McKinley’s Ray Ellis snared it for the TD just six ticks of the clock before halftime.

The third quarter was less than three minutes old when another McKinley fumble (the Bulldogs lost three of four) gave Massillon the ball at its own 40, where the Tigers mounted their only drive of the game.

Massillon went 60 yards in 15 plays, with fullback Bill Harmon running 12 times for 47 of the yards, including the five-yard TD plunge. His brother, Keith kicked the point and the Tigers trailed only 13-7.

McKinley deep back Fred Haywood, a 6-2 senior, came up with a defensive gem saving a Tiger TD early in the fourth period when he batted down a halfback pass from Bill Harmon and intended for Bill Bammerlin who had beaten the Bulldogs’ secondary.

On the next play, middle guard Gerald Jackson belted Keller loose from the ball and Llewellyn covered his second fumble. But the Pups had to punt it away, with Poulos kicked it to the Tigers’ 23.

After Harmon got a yard, Keller put it in the air again and disaster struck. Llewellyn picked it off at the 35 and raced to the 12. Mike Beadle then got six on his lone carry of the day and Grafton swept to the one. Hontas then used the silent count quarterback sneak to ice the game with 6:50 left on the clock.

Massillon put the fans on their feet for the final time two plays later when Tom Grizzard found a hole in the left side of the McKinley line, cut back using the umpire for a key block and raced 75 yards for the final Massillon score. Bill Harmon’s run cut the margin to
21-15, the final score, with 5:37 left.

The Pups put together a time-consuming march from their own 47 to the Tiger’s 23, before losing the ball on downs with 1:32 remaining.

Keller threw two incompletions and Haywood picked off the fourth interception of the day and ran it back to the Tiger’s 16, where Hontas fell down twice to run out the clock and give Canton McKinley fans peace and tranquility for another 364 days.

Ends – Bill Bammerlin (6-2, 167, Sr.); Mark Matie (6-0, 225, Sr.).
Tackles – Mike Lauber (5-11, 207, Sr.); Sylverster Drobney (6-1, 216, Sr.).
Guards – Todd Schumacher (5-11, 200, Sr.) Carl Christoff (5-8, 172, Sr.).
Center – Dan Nagle (5-11, 232, Sr.).
Quarterback – Todd Keller (6-1, 185, Sr.).
Halfbacks – Tom Grizzard (6-0, 185, Sr.) Keith Harmon (6-2, 195, Sr.).
Fullback – Bill Harmon (6-1, 237, Sr.)

Ends – K. Harmon; Drobney.
Tackles – Steve Easter (6-1, 203, Sr.); Matie.
Middle guard – Jess Toles (5-10, 192, Jr.).
Linebackers – Anthony Grizzard /(5-10, 163, Jr.); T. Grizzard).
Secondary – Glenn Arner (6-1, 173, Sr.); Don Stewart (5-11, 151, Sr.); Willey Conley (5-11, 173, Sr.); Harold Dorsey (5-11, 188, Sr.).

Mass. McK.
First downs-rushing 8 4
First downs-passing 1 5
First downs-penalties 2 2
Total first downs 11 11
Yards gained rushing 222 121
Yards lost rushing 18 24
Net yards gained rushing 204 97
Net yards gained passing 17 82
Total yards gained 221 179
Passes completed 1-10 7-12
Yardage on passes intercepted 0 4-100
Kickoff average (yards) 3-44.3 4-54.7
Kickoff returns (yards) 51 0
Punt average (yards) 4-40.0 6-39.0
Punt returns (yards) 11 4
Had punts blocked 0 0
Lost fumbled ball 3-3 3-4
Yards penalized 8-56 6-60
Touchdowns rushing 2 2
Touchdowns passing 0 1
Total number of plays 55 53
Total time of possession 27:05 20:15

City getting steamed up for big grid game

Independent Sports Editor

The victory bell was ringing, Washington High hallways were decorated with pep signs, a car parade wound its way up Oak Ave SE past Washington High. You could tell it was Thursday – two days before the season ending football game with arch-rival Canton McKinley.

The schools are closed today because of a county-wide teachers’ in-service training day.

IN HIS OFFICE, Tiger Athletic Director and Head Coach Chuck Shuff concentrated on plans for Saturday’s contest which is to start at 2 p.m. at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium before a sellout crowd of 22,000. Standing room only tickets will go on sale at 1 p.m. at the stadium’s Blake Ave. gate.

Fans were advised to use car pools and get to the stadium early because parking spaces will not be as plentiful this year. This is because of construction work on the McKinley High School, slated to open for the 1976-77 school year.

“McKinley will be the most well-balanced team offensively we will have faced,” Shuff said. “Roch Hontas is the hub of the Bulldogs’ offense. The way he goes is the way McKinley’s offense will go.”

Hontas is the All-American Conference’s leading passer. Split end Mel Weatherspoon and wingback Ray Ellis, his favorite targets are among the league’s leading receivers.

The Bulldogs, on the strength of Hontas’ arm and aided by the quick threats of tailback Tom Grafton (9.7 clocking in the 100) and halfback Ken Hall, will be out to get revenge for a last-second 20-15 loss pinned on them by the Orange and Black in 1974 at Tiger Stadium. A win will give McKinley a 5-0 record, the AAC title and an outside chance of getting into the state’s Class AAA playoffs.

THE BULLDGOS, who would end the season 9-1, if they win, (they lost their opener), were knocked out of the playoff picture by the Tigers last year. The Orange and Black (6-2-1, 3-1) are in second place in the AAC and would like to spoil the Pups’ chances again and tie for the league title.

McKinley is in second place in the Region 3 computer poll. Massillon is in fifth.

“We have to put pressure on Hontas Saturday,” Shuff said. “We can’t let him have a lot of time to throw.”

Hontas, who passed for one touchdown and kicked a 25-yard field goal in the 1974 game, has picked apart teams which have given him too much time to set up. He throws a lot of bootleg passes.

The Bulldogs use Hontas’ passing to help maintain control of the ball with short passes,” Shuff said. “He has the choice of running or passing on the bootleg. He’ll throw on any down and he will throw the bomb.”

Shuff expects the Bulldogs to use a six-man line against the Tigers in order to hobble Tiger fullback Bill Harmon, the AAC leading ground gainer and second leading scorer.

“They’ve been running it quite a bit this year,” the skipper said. “If we feel we can pass to break it up, we will pass.”

SHUFF REPORTED that practices have been spirited this week. The team knows it has a job to do, the students are ready and both groups hope all fans will show their support tonight and Saturday. Because one of the biggest crowds ever turned out for last year’s parade and rally and because they gave their loud support at the game, the Tigers sprang an upset on the Bulldogs.

“Desire is always a big part of this game and it will be again Saturday,” said Shuff, who will be in his second game as the Tiger chief.

Both teams will be in top shape. Senior defensive end Jeff Lab is expected to see some action. He has been sidelined a good part of the season with an injury.

One change in the Tigers’ starting defensive lineup will see senior Steve Easter at left tackle.

The Tigers and their coaches will be feted one last time tonight by the Tiger sideliners. Dinner will start at 5:45 p.m. at the Massillon American Legion Post 221.

Then it will be on to the “Beat McKinley” downtown parade and bonfire rally at Agathon Field. Starting time for the parade will be 7 p.m.

The team will have a pancake and steak breakfast at 9:30 a.m., Saturday at the high school. Then they’ll walk to St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church and the traditional service conducted by the Rev. Wayne E. Yeager, the church’s pastor.

After that buses will take them to Fawcett Stadium.

Large crowd cheers
Tigers in parade,
bonfire rally


Many Massillonians took one last fling Friday night in getting their Tigers ready for today’s 80th renewal of the famed Massillon-Canton McKinley grid classic. The game will be played before a sellout crowd of 22,000 at 2 p.m., at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium.

One of the largest crowds ever to witness a pre-game parade and rally turned out for the pep events.

The traditional “Beat McKinley” parade started at Washington High School and wound its way through downtown streets to Agathon Field, where a bonfire rally was held. Leading the parade was the Tiger Swing Band.

COACHES, school officials and Tiger Booster Club officials spoke to the fans, all assuring them that the Orange and Black would not disappoint their faithful today.

For the team and their coaches, the night’s festivities began at the home of American Legion Post 221, where the Tiger Sideliners held the final meal of the season with the team. Then came the parade and rally.

The team and coaches ate a pancake and steak breakfast this morning at the high school. They then proceeded to St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church for the traditional pre-game service.

McKinley tops Massillon by 6

By Hymie Williams
Plain Dealer Bureau

CANTON – Alert defensive plays that turned Massillon miscues into dividends propelled the Canton McKinley Bulldogs to a 21-15 victory Saturday at Fawcett Stadium before 20,435 in the 80th renewal of the nation’s best known scholastic football rivalry.

Four interceptions and three fumble recoveries by the Bulldogs helped them to their ninth straight victory after an opening game setback to Youngstown Cardinal Mooney. The triumph also handed them the championship of the All-American Conference. Massillon finished the season with a 6-3-1 mark and leads in the series with McKinley, 43-22-5.

Massillon trailed, 13-0, at the half but tallied in the third period to cut the margin to 13-7. McKinley snapped back when linebacker Eric Llewellyn, the defensive star for the Canton team, intercepted a Tiger aerial on the 12 in the fourth period. Three plays later, McKinley had another touchdown which proved enough. Llewellyn had two fumble recoveries, one interception and was the leading tackler.

McKinley was led on offense by Roch Hontas, senior quarterback who started the game for the second straight year. He hit on seven of 12 attempts for 82 yards. One of the passes went for a touchdown. Hontas also scored the final McKinley touchdown on a one-yard sneak.

Big Billy Harmon, the 237-pound Massillon fullback, was stymied in the first half with only 25 yards but he wound up with 94 yards and scored Massillon’s first touchdown.

The first touchdown for the Bulldogs, which came at 6:48 of the opening quarter, was set up by corner Bill Poulos, who intercepted and ran to the Tiger 16. Hontas made it to the 12 before 190-pound linebacker Tommy Grafton zipped around left end for the score. Hontas kicked the extra point.

Midway in the second quarter, Massillon had driven to the McKinley 30 but fumbled and Llewellyn hopped on the bouncing ball.

It appeared the half might end without further scoring when Massillon recovered a McKinley fumble late in the stanza. But Poulos was Johnny-on-the-spot again on the 23.

Hontas hit Melvin Weatherspoon on the 12. On the next play, Hontas rifled a pass towards wingback Ray Ellis in the end zone.

Two Tiger defenders took turns at swatting at the ball but the ball oozed into the waiting arms of Ellis, who did a happy dance in the end zone after the catch. Hontas’ attempt for the extra point was wide to the left.

Massillon was inspired for the second half. The Tigers recovered a McKinley miscue and with Bill Harmon carrying the mail in 12 of 14 plays the Tigers covered 60 yards for the score. Keith Harmon, Billy’s 205-pound brother, kicked the extra point.

Massillon appeared headed goal-wards again soon after but Llewellyn discovered a Tiger fumble on the 42 and captured it. McKinley could make no headway and was forced to kick.

Quarterback Todd Keller of Massillon, who had a disturbing afternoon, attempted a pass which was intercepted by Llewellyn on the Tiger 12. In three plays, McKinley was across the goal line on Hontas’ one yard sneak. Grafton ran over for the extra points.

Massillon didn’t quit. The Tigers roared back as tailback Tommy Grizzard ran 75 yards in a scintillating dash down the field. Bill Harmon bulled over for the extra points.

Massillon had a final chance with the ball with 90 seconds to play but Weatherspoon intercepted a Keller pass to extinguish the Tigers hopes. McKinley ran out the clock and walked off the field with its sweetest victory of the season.

’75 puzzling season
for Tiger grid team

Independent Sports Editor

What’s the answer?

Two days after the season closing 80th renewal of the Massillon-Canton McKinley gridiron classic the Tigertown faithful are still asking that question. What made a season which appeared to have so much promise never live up to its rave notices?

How can a team be so snake bitten in one afternoon before 20,435 fans at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium that is has four passes intercepted, setting up all of Canton McKinle4y’s touchdowns in its 21-15 win? How can a team be so unlucky that it also has three fumbles recovered by the opposition, each killing promising drives?

HOW CAN “Tiger Luck” desert the Orange and Black as disastrously that what Washington High defensive coordinator Joe Siesel called a “super defensive effort” might as well not have been. The Tigers held a well-balanced McKinley offense to 179 total yards. Eighty-two of those yards came in the air, compared to Massillon’s 17.

The Bulldogs felt the pain Tiger defenders dished out, to the tune of losing three of their four fumbles. McKinley assistant coach Bill Michaels, a former aide, described the situation well.

“You should have seen us at halftime,” he said. “We left it all out there on the field.”

Hashing and rehashing the 1975 season may help to make the 10 long months until the 1976 season opens pass faster for the Tiger faithful. There are many factors to consider. Even Tiger Coach Chuck Shuff isn’t sure of all the answers.

“I don’t know what the problem was in the first half,” Shuff said. “If you could be too ready for a game, maybe that was the case. I know our kids were ready. We showed it the second half. We just made mistakes you can’t go with.

“IT WAS a physical game. I can’t be prouder of our kids. We hit them. We didn’t receive any hitting. We made very few adjustments at halftime. We just reassured the boys of the things we had to get done and they came out and did it. Joe Siesel and the defensive staff did a whale of a job. The defensive kids played great football. They kept coming back and making the plays.”
But a team can stand only so much pressure.

McKinley halfback Bill Poulos started the heart breaking afternoon for Tiger quarterback Todd Keller by picking off a pass on the Bulldog 38 and running back to the WHS 16 where Keller knocked him out of bounds. Two plays later tailback Tom Grafton skirted end from the seven – after a Massillon encroachment penalty – with 6:48 left in the first quarter. Roch Hontas kicked the conversion and the 7-0 lead gave the Bulldogs the momentum early.

Poulos picked off another pass on the Massillon 42 late in the second quarter and ran to the Tigers’ 27. Hontas threw consecutive passes to Mel Weatherspoon and wingback Ray
Ellis – who had the help of Willie Conley’s deflection to aid his catch – but Hontas’ kick was wide left to keep the score at 13-0 with six seconds left in the half.

The third steal was by linebacker Eric Llewellyn who returned from the Massillon 35 to the Tigers’ 12 in the last quarter. Three plays later Hontas sneaked over from the half-yard line – with 6:50 left in the game – after a Massillon personal foul penalty. Grafton raced outside end for the conversion.

LLEWELLYN ALSO recovered a pair of Tiger fumbles inside McKinley territory to put the brakes on the Orange and Black.

The Tigers scored in the third quarter on a 59-yard, 15-play drive after halfback Don Stewart had recovered a McKinley fumble on the Bulldogs’ 41. Fullback Bill Harmon carried on 13 of the plays and over guard from the five for the score with 1:40 left. Brother Keith kicked the conversion.

Harmon ended with 94 yards to 25 attempts and 1,278 yards for the season to make him the second all-time leading rusher in the All-American Conference.

The Obiemen’s other score came on a 75-yard draw play in the fourth quarter. After a
15-yard punt runback by Pete Killins, tailback Tommy Grizzard, obviously tired from playing an outstanding game at linebacker, made the run with 5:37 left on the clock. Bill took a pitch off tackle for the conversion.

“Our kids played with pain all season,” McKinley Coach John Brideweser said. “Roch Hontas had a broken hand twice and never said a thing. Ray Ellis had a broken thumb. Cliff Frazier had a sprained shoulder and re-injured it when he hit Harmon.

Shuff plans to
stay as coach

Tiger head football Coach Chuck Shuff cast aside today, weekend rumors which had him tendering his resignation as coach.

“I have a three-yard contract and for all loyal Tiger Boosters, I’m saying I plan to stay,” Shuff said.

Shuff has one year to go on a three-yard contract. He came to Massillon in 1974 from Fremont. His two-year record is 12-7-1.

Tiger Boosters
postpone meeting
until Tuesday

The final Tiger Booster Club session of 1975 will be delayed one day due to a meeting of All-American Conference coaches which will find the mentors selecting this year’s all-league team.

The booster will meet Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the Washington High School auditorium. Films of the McKinley game will be shown and head Coach Chuck Shuff will answer questions on the game.

Distance no deterrent
to fans of Pups, Tigers


One’s first indication that the Massillon vs. McKinley football game is not just another high school contest might have come by walking to Fawcett Stadium Saturday afternoon.

There are not many games that will draw so many out-of-state license plates, as seen on cars parked around Fawcett Saturday. Distance is no deterrent to some fans of the annual clash.

It certainly wasn’t for Tom Beadle of Tamp, Fl. Tom was on hand in the crowd of 20,435 to see his brother Mile play defense for the Bulldogs and to run once out of the McKinley backfield for 6 yards.

Helium balloons were big for both sides. The Massillon fans had a few hundred black and orange orbs contained in giant plastic bags on the sidelines, waiting to be released when the Tigers took to the field.

It looked like Massillon’s helium show would outdo host McKinley’s. But, as the Bulldogs emerged from their locker room, the roof suddenly came off a replica of McKinley high positioned on a trailer on the field and from out of the school came McKinley’s spheres of black and red.

Like a flock of birds, the balloons from both cheering sections rose and floated out of the stadium to signal the start of the contest.

Meanwhile, Obie, Massillon’s Tiger mascot, was inspecting the Massillon sideline, stopping to lick the hands of friendly fans while tethered on the leash of his trainer.

He playfully pawed and nuzzled the orange-clad faithful, but one has to wonder if Obie is trained to see the color red in a different light.

A psychological war took place between the opposing teams before the real battle began. McKinley took to the field and assumed more than its half of the 100 yards to perform warm-up exercises. To counter, this, the Tigers, grouped in the end zone suddenly jumped into a sprint across field, stopping just short of colliding with the first row of Bulldogs.

Fans, sporting orange or red, depending on their persuasion, participated in their own kind of mayhem in the seats.

But soon the contest began and the festival trappings of the game took a back seat to the action.

In total net rushing, Massillon out-legged McKinley 189-93.

Leading in the individual-offense figures were a couple of runners for the losing Massillon Tigers. Tailback Tom Grizzard totaled 90 yards in 5 carries, including a 75-yard scamper in the fourth quarter for Massillon’s second touchdown. Fullback Bill Harmon carried 24 times for 87 yards.

McKinley’s leading rusher was halfback Tom Grafton, who managed 50 net yards on 15 totes. Backfield mate Ken Hall rushed for 35 yards in 7 tries.

Roch Hontas’ passing was much the story of McKinley’s offensive success. Hontas hit on 7 of 13 aerials for 83-yards and a touchdown. In comparison, Tiger signal caller Todd Keller netted only 17 yards on one completed pass. He tried 10 and had 4 intercepted.

McKinley lost 3 of its 4 fumbles, while the Tigers gave up all 3 of their bobbles. In first downs, the Pups led 13-11. Bill Poulos averaged 36.8 yards per attempt on 5 punts for McKinley. Tiger punter Keith Harmon booted 4 times and averaged 38 yards per shot.

McKinley lost 67 yards on 6 penalties, while the Tigers had 60 markers stepped off against them in 8 incidents.

Bill Harmon

1973: Massillon 0, Canton McKinley 21

It’s one of Tigers’ bluest Mondays

By Chuck Hess, Independent Sports Editor

This is one of the bluest Mondays in Tiger gridiron history.

Item: Cardinal Mooney High School, from Tiger head coach Bob Commings’ home town of Youngstown, will be in the state playoff at Cincinnati Friday instead of Washington High School.

Item: Last Saturday, Canton McKinley’s Bulldogs, under the direction of John Brideweser—with Bill Michaels as an assistant coach—handed Commings the worst shellacking of his four-year career here manhandling the Tigers 21-0 before 20,148 chilled fans at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium. Both Brideweser and Michaels are former Commings aides.

Item: It was the first time McKinley had shut out the Tigers since a 14-0 affair at Fawcett Stadium in 1947.

Item: The Tiger loss forced the first triple tie for a championship in the 10-year history of the All-American Conference (AAC). Massillon, McKinley and Warren Harding are the kingpins, each with 4-1 records.

Brideweser came to the aid of his former boss.

Program Cover

“I’ve gone through this three times in a row,” Bridey said. “You have one tremendous coach and group of boys over there. Tell those clowns to say off his back.”

HE WAS reminding the Tiger faithful that Commings had guided the Orange and Black to an 8-1-1 record after a miserable start and an unbelievable series of injuries. He was reminding Massillonians that Tiger teams have a habit of picking up the pieces and coming back to greatness.

Statistics tell the story. The Bulldogs rolled up 280 yards to the Tigers’ 79 and 18 first downs to the Tigers’ five, capitalizing on nine third-down and two fourth-down situations. The Bulldog defense, which both coaches said was changed very little for this game, held the Orange and Black to no rushing yards in the first half.

McKinley junior tailback Jonathon Moore, the AAC’s overall rushing leader, netted 78 yards in 24 arrives on the outside. McKinley Senior fullback John Thompson netted 72 in 14 attempts on the inside.

Line blocking by the Pups was superb, especially from center McKinley Smith and guards Herb Greene and Charles Cochran who opened gaping holes.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1973

The Bulldogs had the ball for 69 plays to the Tigers’ 40 with elapsed time being 31:13 to 15:47. The Orange and Black never had a chance to get its offense into high gear.

McKinley was stopped at the Massillon seven in the first quarter when one Tiger end, Rusty Venables, jarred the ball loose from quarterback Garland Burns and another end, Vince DiLoreto recovered. Playing with a broken wrist, DiLoreto grabbed the pigskin, but couldn’t right himself, stumbled to the 27 and fell with a wide-open field ahead of him.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1973

The Tiger defense dug into stop the Pups at the Massillon 34, 33 and 22-yard lines in the third-quarter. The clock ran out in the fourth quarter with the Bulldogs on the Tiger two.

THE BONE rattling Bulldog defense, led by its powerfully charging line of Lee Geiselman, Jerry Debos, Gordon Cook and company, allowed the Tigers out of their own territory only in the second stanza. But on that occasion Geiselman tossed quarterback Greg Wood for a 12-yard loss to the McKinley 45, forcing a punt.

In the third quarter, Cornerback Tim Cook threw Tiger wingback Mark Streeter for a safety with 6:88 remaining, after halfback Fred George had downed a Burns’ punt on the Massillon one.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1973

“They were some football team,” Commings said of McKinley. “Their physical strength, our poor field position and their good field position were the stories. We could never call the game we wanted to call. That’s what football is all about. Make the other guy do something they don’t want to do. They did it to us and we couldn’t do it to them.”

After the Bulldogs had been turned back on the game’s first series, they forced the Tigers to kick and marched 70 yards in 14 plays with Thompson skirting left end of fourth down from one yard out for the score. An 18-yard pass from Rock Hontas to Gordon Cook startled the drive, which ended with 11:58 remaining in the second quarter.

The conversion came on Ken Bush’s kick.

THE BULLDOGS came back 52 yards in nine plays, after forcing a Tiger punt at the end of the next series, and scored with 4:04 left. Thompson ploughed through the center on third down from the two. Dave Pfeiffer knocked down a pass to end Reuben Floyd on the conversion attempt.

The final TD came on a 51-yard, 11-play fourth quarter drive. Halfback Jap Jeter took a pitchout and charged over left tackle on third down with 6:14 reminding in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Tim Gutshall and cornerback Terry Henderson kept Jeter from crossing the goal line for two more points.

“I don’t know what happened,” Brideweser said, when reflecting further on his victory. “All I know it was a total team effort. The kids played as well as they could. I knew they were up and wanted to play. We thought if we could control the ball we could control the game.”

The Bulldogs came back from last week’s 19-7 loss at Warren to make it an 8-2 season.

M       McK
First downs rush



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Ends—Huffman, T. Gutshall, Matie DiLoreto, Venables.

Tackles—Csonka, Lee. Rich, Chapman

Guards—Schumacher, Fenton, Graber, A. Lemon, White

Center—Studer, Nagle.

Quarterback—Wood, Bickford.

Halfbacks—Danzy, Streeter, Henderson, Herring, D. Gutshall, Mayor, Pifer, Lentz, Dailey, Pfeiffer, T. Lemon.

Fullbacks—Harmon, Waldrop.



Ends—Bush, Floyd, Hill, G. Cook, Pringle.

Tackles—Dubose, Geiselman, Obrovac, Jenkins.

Guards—Cochran, Greene.

Centers—Smith, Weber, Terrell

Quarterbacks—Burns, Hontas.

Halfbacks—Moore, Jeter, Lewis Bernardo, Taylor, T. Cook, George, Weatherspoon.

McKinley 0 13 2 6 21

McK—John Thompson 1 run (Ken Bush kick); McK Thompson 4 run (pass failed); Mck—Tom Cook tackled Mark Streeter for safety: McK—Jeter 5 run (run failed).

Referee—Chuck Lorenz; Umpire—Bobbie Brown; Head linesman—Herb Nissbaum; Field Judge—Nick Costello; Back judge—Steve Nagy Jr.

Jeff Huffman

1971: Massillon 29, Canton McKinley 6

Nifty Line Play Is Victory Key In 76th Game

Repository Sports Editor

The Massillon Tigers came to town Saturday and in two hours at Fawcett Stadium showed the more than 21,000 fans a football aggregation that belies its 8-2 season record.

In a scholastic grid contest unquestionably decided in that 11-inch space known as the
line-of-scrimmage the Tigers turned in a 29-6 triumph over the upset-minded but undermanned McKinley Bulldogs.

Program Cover

Massillon finished the season in third place in the All-American Conference with a 3-2 mark. However, the Tigers were but two slender points away from an undefeated season and possibly state recognition.

The pair of one-point losses, to Warren and Niles, made the difference between the Tigers being in contention for the state title, or also-rans in the state and conference.

McKinley concluded its season with a 7-2-1 mark, losing to Warren and tying Niles. The Bulldogs finished fourth in the six-team conference with a 2-2-1 effort.
Tigers Dominate Series 41 to 30
The victory by Massillon ups its lead in the 76-game rivalry to 41-30, with five games ending in ties. The Tigers have won 12 of the last 15 contests.

Massillon’s Willie Spencer ran for two Tiger TDs and defensive end Derry Edwards had a day he’ll not soon forget as he intercepted two McKinley passes and ran both back for touchdowns, one 76 yards and the other 58.

Willie Spencer Sr. leaps for a score vs. Canton McKinley

But in spite of the fact Spencer’s 12 points gave him the Stark County scoring title for 1971 and he gained 142 yards in 33 carries Saturday to reign as the star runner, the glory for the Tigers belonged to the offensive and defensive linemen.

It was center Steve Studer, guards Scott Graber, Randy Heck and Bruce Christoff, tackles Glenn Weirich and Andre Heath and ends Bob Stephan and Mike McGuire who made the Massillon offense go with their devastating blocking.

In the defensive line, some of the names were the same. Stephan, a great one at 6-3 and 207 pounds, Weirich, the alert Edwards, Studer, end Todd Cocklin and middle guard Larry McLenndon, who doubles as the “other” runner in the Tiger backfield and added 64 yards in 12 rushes to the Massillon cause.

The defensive line put tremendous pressure on McKinley quarterback Jimmy Vance, causing a total of four interceptions. On Edwards’ first TD theft, the pass was deflected by the on-rushing Tiger defensive line.

And the Tigers blocked McKinley’s extra-point kick attempt.

The offensive line, anchored by center Studer in the middle and Stephan on the right side, ripped the Bulldogs defense to allow the backs to pile up 288 yards rushing.

So overwhelming was the Tiger line in the first quarter that Massillon controlled the ball for 23 plays to McKinley’s three. The Pups gained a yard on each of three running plays in that stanza.

Pups’ Big Pain Is Tigers’ Offensive Line
Commings Calls It ‘Sweet’


The sunshine on the leaves of the trees around Fawcett Stadium made the normal yellow color appear a Massillon orange.

Yes, it was a Saturday afternoon for the Massillon Tigers – a game which Massillon Coach Bob Commings termed “a sweet one.”

“Anytime you beat McKinley, it is a great win,” said Commings, dripping wet after being tossed in the shower.
THE TIGERS gave McKinley’s Bulldogs a steady diet of backs Willie Spencer and Larry “Pookie” McLenndon, with emphasis on the former and the result was a 29-6 triumph.

Spencer, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior tailback, ran with reckless abandon as he led the Tigers. In the big fourth quarter, he couldn’t be stopped on short-yardage situations.

After the Bulldogs closed the deficit to 13-6 with 33 seconds left in the third stanza, Commings called on Spencer to get the first downs when two and three yards were needed. Spencer never failed once on the drive which led to a big touchdown with 5:34 left.
“WE TOOK IT, to them,” said Commings. “We ran basic football. There was nothing nifty about it, McLenndon and Spencer ran hard. It was just great they way they ran.”

Commings said the shift of Spencer from end on offense to running back this season, “was the move of the year.”

“McKinley hung in there,” said the Massillon mentor.

“The realization of those two one-point losses (to Niles 7-6 and Warren 8-7) sets in. But people now know this is one of the best teams they’ve seen around here.”

“We received an excellent job from the defensive secondary. Hannon (Tom), Thompson (Art); Nussbaumer (Hank) and Jackson (James) all were great. Bill Wonsick came in and did a helluva job.”

Wonsick was a replacement for Jackson, who limped off the field at the start of the fourth quarter.
COMMINGS also lauded the right guard, Scott Graber, who was the only Tiger on the injured list before the game.

“Scott played the whole game on offense and he hadn’t played one minute in practice all week.”
“IT’S EVEN bigger than last year because this is my last year. I messed up my knee a little,” said McLenndon, who gained the game’s initial first down with second effort.

Asked if he saved anything for the game with McKinley, Spencer smiled and said: “Everything I had, I saved. I hit my head on a piece of steel out of bounds, but I’m okay now.”

After being injured slightly in the third quarter, Willie jumped up and immediately went back into the game.

Dave Gable, the Tigers’ offensive tackle coach, called the team’s line play the best of the year.

“We deserved a good game. Two penalties cost us. One cost us a touchdown,” said Gable.

QUARTERBACK Scott Dingler, a senior who will go to college but one who hadn’t had a college offer when he was interviewed, added: “We buried them once we started moving.”

“I didn’t call the plays. Most of them come from the bench. Some come from up in the press box. Our defense did the great job they have done all year. It is the biggest thrill of my life,” said the signal caller.

“We knew it,” remarked Commings when asked if he was aware of the pass-catching ability of McKinley’s Artis Zachary, “but we couldn’t do anything about it.”

NICK VROTSOS, the Massillon assistant coach, was on the field end of the phone to the Tiger aides in the press box. He thought for a moment prior to the start of the game that there was a bad connection and of course, he was concerned about some “bugging”.

One fan yelled at Commings, “Why did you take the penalty?” after the Bulldogs scored their lone touchdown on a third-and-seven situation.

The Bulldogs would have had possession with fourth-and-one on the Tigers’ two if the Tigers had not taken the penalty for illegal procedure.

Total First Downs 22 12
First Downs Rushing 20 4
First Downs Passing 2 8
First Downs Penalty 0 0
Total Offensive Plays 71 45
Net Yards Rushing 288 93
Net Yards Passing 21 162
Mis. Yardage (net) (1-23) 15
Total Offensive Yardage 286 270
Ave. Yds. Per Play (net) 4.0 6.0
Passes Comp.-Att. 4-7 10-20
Passes Had Intercepted 1 4
Net Gain Per Pass 3.0 8.1
Punts 1-29 2-71
Punts Return –Yds. 1-11 0-0
Kickoff Returns-Yds. 2-52 5-79
Interception Returns-Yds. 4-149 1-0
Fumbles-Fumbles Lost 3-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 5-50 2-10

Massillon – Spencer 33-142; McLenndon 12-64; Thompson 8-48.
McKinley – Zachary 12-48; Vance 5-31; DeGraffinreed 5-16.

Massillon – Thompson 2-18; Hannon 2-3.
McKinley – Zachary 6-107; Chambers 1-24; Carver 1-15; Lewis 1-12; DeGraffinreed 1-4.

Massillon – Dingler, 4-7-1, 21 yards.
McKinley – Vance, 10-20-4, 162 yards.

Steve Studer

1969: Massillon 7, Canton McKinley 14

Pride is still the word in Tigertown

Independent Sports Editor.

Pride has been a key word with Bob Commings all season.

Over and over again the Tiger football coach has told his charges that individual pride is what makes a great player. When 11 players have individual pride, a team has pride and becomes great.
* * *
TODAY THE Washington high gridders are a proud team and their pride has swelled into Tigertown pride – a pride that will probably manifest itself in the biggest crowd to ever turn out for the annual football banquet come Nov. 29 at the WHS cafeteria

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The Orange and Black lost the season finale 14-7 to arch-rival Canton McKinley in the 74th renewal of the ancient grid classic before 22,200 fans Saturday afternoon at Fawcett stadium in Canton. They also lost the All-American conference title to the Bulldogs, but the Tigers became great in the eyes of their fans.

It took the Bulldogs 47 minutes and 43 seconds to get their win and a 9-1 record while the WHSers ended 7-2-1, but the Pups knew they were in a game. The Tigers hit hard and ran hard the whole afternoon. They played better football and practically stopped the Bulldogs cold.

But for a senior quarterback named Joe Babics, some finesse at key moments, a couple of penalties and a great break made by the Bulldogs, it might have been a different story.

Bulldog fullback Rocco Rich, tailback Rich Brown and wingback Ed Floyd got almost nowhere. Admittedly Brown, who had been injured a couple of weeks ago, was not in the best of condition, operating on a gimpy ankle.

“We won the real warfare,” a tired Tiger game Co-Captain Darnell Streeter said afterwards. He referred to the statistical column where the Orange and Black amassed 15 first downs to McKinley’s 11 and 255 total yards to the Bulldogs’ 172.
* * *
STREETER PICKED up 72 yards in 16 carries and Autrey 74 in 17.

Both of McKinley’s touchdown drives featured outstanding outside running by Babics, dictated by a great inside Tiger defense. Fifteen-yard face mask penalties and an interception by Rich on the second drive also helped.

Outside of the two TD jaunts and a long pass to the Massillon 30 at the end of the first half,

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McKinley failed to get out of its own territory.
Rich’s pilfer came after the Tigers had forced a punt and had taken over on their 47 with 2:06 left in the game. Quarterback Gary Herring found wingback Larry Harper down the middle on the McKinley 43, but Harper was hit hard, the ball bounced into the air, Rich grabbed it and got back to the Orange and Black’s 47.

Commings could have settled for a tie but to his credit, he went after a win.

Eight plays later sub quarterback Joe Shimek, off play action and a sprint out, tossed to Floyd who made a diving catch for the winning TD with 17 seconds left. Shimek followed with his second conversion boot.

Babics executed two key runs off fake action to turn the end, one on first down from the Tiger 47 to the 41with the face mask penalty added. Then on fourth and one on the 14 he sprinted to the two.
* * *
BABICS WAS injured when thrown out of bounds. Shimek came in, handed off twice into the line and then threw the winning pass.

“The proudest guy around has got to be Mr. Shimek and I can’t blame him,” Bulldog Coach Ron Chismar said. “He was our No. 2 quarterback all year and he had the guts to come in when we needed him. And that was a beautiful catch by Floyd!”

Chismar acknowledged that the Bulldogs had gotten a big break via Rich’s interception.

“It takes breaks to win,” he said. “We gave a few away and got some.”

Shortly before the fateful drive the Tigers had punted on fourth and four from the Bulldog 43.

“It worked out the way we wanted it to,” Commings said. “We got the ball back with two minutes to go.”
* * *
McKINLEY’S OTHER scoring jaunt came after the Tigers’ only TD and featured eight plays and 75 yards after a 20-yard kickoff runback by Tom Clifford.

Another deceptive 11-yard end run by Babics with a face mask penalty thrown in and a
31-yard pass to Mark Brown, which put the ball on the Tiger 16, were the highlights.

Babics carried on three of the next five plays and when the Orange and Black stacked its linebackers behind its tackles and left a gap in the center, Babics rammed through from the three on third down with 8:09 left in the second stanza. Shimek booted the PAT.

The Tigers’ score came off a 42-yard drive and a 13-yard interception runback by Don Lewis. The Commingmen’s effort featured eight plays, an 11-yard run by Streeter, who carried seven times, and a 19-yard pass from Herring to Harper who made a brilliant catch just inside the boundary line for a first down at the nine. Autrey scored over guard on fourth down from the one with 11:52 left in the second stanza. Mike Mauger kicked the conversion.

The Tigers ran out of downs after a 27-yard drive to the 32 in the first quarter – following a 39-yard jaunt to the 38 in the third quarter and lost the ball again on downs after Doug Miller had intercepted a pass near the sideline on the McKinley 21 in the third canto. The Orange and Black moved the ball only four more yards.

They had the ball for 21 plays compared to McKinley’s 8 in the third quarter and for 68 compared to the Pups’ 47 over-all, giving the home-standers a good dose of their own ball control medicine.

“Massillon did a fantastic job of defensing us,” Chismar stated.

“We did a fantastic job of hitting them,” Commings opined. “They’re a great team. They fooled us a couple of times but we controlled the ball on them. I couldn’t ask for any better effort than our boys gave.

Ends – Robinson, Lewis, Byelene, McConnaughead, Maxhimer.
Tackles – Benson, Dorman, Bingle, Celik, Reinerts, Ridgley, Strobel.
Guards, Hout, Midgley, McLin.
Centers – S. Luke, Brand.
Quarterbacks – Streeter, Harper, Mauger, Sheaters, Miller, Ammond.
Fullbacks – Autrey, Cardinal.

Ends – Turner, M. Brown, J. Martin, Clayton, DiMarzio, Birl, Roman.
Tackles – Ford, Obrovac, R. Martin, Gardner.
Guards – Nemeth, Cook, Hayworth.
Centers – Clark, Pimpas.
Quarterbacks – Babics, Shimek, Stranan.
Halfbacks – Walker, Floyd, R. Brown, Clifford.
Fullback – Rich.

Massillon 0 7 0 0 – 7
McKinley 0 7 0 7 – 14

M – FB Mike Autrey, one-yard run, TB Mike Mauger PAT (kick)
McK – QB Joe Babics, throw-run, QB Joe Shimek PAT (kick)
Mck – WB Ed Floyd, throw-pass from Shimek, Shimek PAT (kick)

Referee – John Cseh.
Umpire – Chuck Lorenz.
Head Linesman – Milo Lukity.
Field Judge – Ruggiero.
Back Judge – Tonn.

First downs – rushing 9 5
First downs – passing 5 4
First downs –penalties 1 2
Total first downs 15 11
Yards gained rushing 159 95
Yards lost rushing 12 10
Net yards gained rushing 147 85
Net yards gained passing 108 87
Total yards gained 255 172
Passes completed 9-23 7-12
Yardage on passes intercepted 2-18 1-10
Kickoff average (yards) 2-51.0 4-48.3
Kickoff returns (yards) 0 19
Punt average yards 4-33.5 5-38
Punt returns (yards) 5 7
Had punts blocked 0 0
Lost fumbled ball 1-4 0-2
Yards penalized 6-57 2-10
Touchdowns rushing 1 1
Touchdowns passing 0 1
Total number of plays 68 47

A salute to the Tigers
The scoreboard read Canton McKinley 14, Massillon 7, but the Massillon Washington high school football team stood high in the eyes of Massillon fans.

Entering the Saturday afternoon game played in Canton’s Fawcett stadium an underdog by two touchdowns, the Tigers played admirable football for 48 minutes. They lost the game to Canton but won the admiration of Massillon fans for their spirited play. They won the battle of statistics, first downs, yards gained from passing and rushing, but lost on the scoreboard which showed 17 seconds remaining when Canton scored the winning touchdown.

Seldom has a Massillon team played any better football and still lost the game. We salute Coach Robert Commings, his staff and the Massillon Tigers for a job well done.

We congratulate Canton McKinley. The Bulldogs hung on tenaciously, capitalized on opportunity when victory had all but eluded them and scored their winning points on a truly great catch by halfback Eddie Floyd, thrown by substitute Quarterback Joe Shimek.

The McKinley team, one of the greatest in Bulldog history, should be voted state champion on the basis of its schedule, but will probably finish second to Upper Arlington whose opponents were not of the same caliber as those played by McKinley.

Mike Autry
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1967: Massillon 20, Canton McKinley 15

One Play Away From Perfect Year


“Only one play away from an undefeated season.”

As one looks back today on the 10 games which the Washington high grid team played this year and also contemplates the final Associated Press poll due Tuesday, Tiger Coach Bob Seaman’s words sum it up pretty well.
* * *

EVEN WITH the Tigers’ 20-15 victory over Canton McKinley at rain-pelted Fawcett stadium last Saturday afternoon before a full house of 20,500 to write a 9-1 finish to the 1967 season, it’s not likely to be enough to bring the Bengals a state championship.

Undefeated Upper Arlington (10-0) will probably be the King-pin come Tuesday as the result of that fourth and 7 counter play recalled by Seaman after the victory over McKinley. It was that strategy which led to Arlington’s 7-6 win over the Tigers.

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But “Operation Comeback ‘67” can still be rated a success in the minds of the fans of the Orange and Black. For their team has bounced back from a 4-5-1 season to probably second place in the state and the championship of the All-American Football Conference.

The last win came every way but easy. The Tigers shot out to a 12-0 first period lead but barely got out of the game alive against an outstanding Bulldog eleven coached by Ron Chismar. Only a last-minute pass interception by junior Halfback Bert Dampier staved off disaster.

The Pups had the ball on the Massillon 14-yard line, third and 7 after a 51-yard pass-run play from Quarterback Ted Bowersox, who had previously scored twice, to Wingback Gerald Davidson. His 33-yard run after the catch found him going out of bounds on the 17. Bowersox tried to hit Davidson again in the end zone but Dampier came down with the pigskin for a touchback and Massillon ran out the clock.
* * *

IT WAS THE Bengals defense which did the job as the offense never really got going after the first quarter. One drive in the second quarter got as far as the McKinley 35 but Bowersox intercepted a pass on the 30 to stop the threat.

The Tigers had the ball for 6 series in the second half, not counting the final one when they ran the clock out. The WHS eleven got only one first down and that was via a personal foul penalty.

The Bulldogs outstanding job of pursuing led by Middle Guard Gaylord Sweat, effectively throttled the Seaman-men. Seaman said McKinley did a “good job of getting to the ball.” Chismar said his charges did a “great job. It’s a shame they couldn’t have won.”

The Tigers were paced by a superlative defensive secondary, which allowed the Bulldogs to complete only 6 of 24 passes. Dampier, besides his game saving interception, also aborted a McKinley drive with an interception on his 15 in the third period.

Manson was in the game due to a first quarter ankle injury suffered by Co-Captain and Quarterback Trevor Young. Junior Marc Malinowski was forced to vacate his safety spot to do the signal calling and showed promise for next year. However, Young’s absence affected the offensive timing.
* * *

THE BENGALS’ other co-captain, Linebacker Ron Ertle, was all over the field again. Both ends, Tim Richards, and Russ Fenton, did a good job of containing Bowersox.

Linebacker Hoyt Skelton recovered a fumble on the Bulldog 38 in the third quarter. But the Tigers couldn’t move the ball.

Shortly thereafter, Tom Houser downed a Malinowski punt on the 3 to put McKinley into a

1967 Massillon vs. McKinley

deep hole. On the third down in the ensuing series, Bowersox faded to the end zone from the 5, and hit End Jim Iams in the flat. But “Monster” Larry Shumar, weighing only 152 pounds, decked the 175-pound end for a safety, one of several nifty plays by the diminutive junior during the afternoon.

Junior Tailback Jim Smith led the offense by scoring one of the first period touchdowns and collecting 99 net yards in 18 tries for a season’s total of 1,011. Art Hastings’ 1,274 in 1969 marked the last time a Tiger had over 1,000 yards.

Malinowski got the other welcome frame tally.

But the most spectacular score was Mark McDew’s 90-yard runback of the second half kickoff for the Tigers’ third touchdown behind some fine blocking. Only 10 seconds ticked off the clock. Smith missed on the conversion run.
* * *

SMITH’S SCORE came over left guard on first down from the one with 6:05 left in the first quarter. The 75-yard drive took only 5 plays. Smith set up his own score with a
54-yard blast through the center which put the ball on the one. McKinley Co-Captain Ron Martin made the tackle.

Then came the conversion keeper on which Young got hurt.

McKinley fumbled on its 40 while driving after the kickoff McDew recovered and the Orange and Black had its second TD 6 plays later with 2:40 left. Malinowski ran off left tackle on a keeper on third and 4 from the 10 after bobbling the ball and crossed into pay dirt. Twelve and 14-yard runs by Malinowski and Smith had set up the score.

A pass fell incomplete on the conversion try.

1967 Massillon vs. McKinley

Junior Tackle Jon Brandyberry recovered a fumble on the Tiger 44 and 11 plays later the Pups were on the scoreboard with 4:35 remaining in the second quarter. An 8-yard run by Bowersox, a 10-yarder by Martin and 6 and 9-yard passes for Bowersox to Davidson and Iams set up the 6-pointer, the latter coming on fourth down from the 14 and giving the Bulldogs a first down on the Bengal 5.

Bowersox scored through the center on third down from the one and then kicked the conversion. On the Tigers’ first try after the kickoff, Bowersox recorded his interception on the McKinley 30 to stop a drive highlighted by sophomore Darnell Streeter’s 23-yard kick return and Smith’s 18-yard romp off right tackle.

McKinley’s other score came with 4:45 left in the game. The Bulldogs drove 78-yards following a Tiger punt in the dying seconds of the third quarter. The push took 17 plays.
* * *

THE BIG maneuvers were a 21-yard pass-run combination from Bowersox to Davidson’s 4-yarder which netted a first down on the one by a gnat’s eyelash.

Bowersox scored on the next play through the center and passed to Davidson to make it 20-15.

Ends – Dampier, Houser, Richards, Twiggs.
Tackles – Snowball, Ricker, Laase, Snyder.
Guards – D. Gipp, Ertle, Whitfield, M. Cardinal, Doll, Harig, Russell.
Centers – B. Moore, Skelton.
Quarterbacks – Young, Malinowski, Shumar.
Halfbacks – Smith, McDew, Fenton, Staples, Evans, Hodgson, Manson.
Fullbacks – R. Moore, Streeter.

Ends – Lewis, McDonald, Iams, Dubose, Roman, Gallus, Duckworth.
Tackles – Milan, Mancini, Brandyberry, Hoskins.
Guards – Roose, Sweat, Shimek, Harris, Gibbons.
Centers – Downing, M. Bush.
Quarterback – Bowersox.
Halfbacks – Davidson, LeFlore, Truitt, Rich, Walker, Martin.
Fullbacks – Tibbs, Haines.

Massillon 12 0 8 0 20
McKinley 0 7 0 8 15

Massillon – Smith (one-yard run); Malinowski (10-yard run); McDew (90-yard kickoff return).
McKinley – Bowersox 2 (one-yard runs).

Massillon – Shumar (tackled Iams in end zone).

Extra points: McKinley – Bowersox 3 (kick and run).

Player Att. Net. Ave.
Smith 18 99 5.5
Young 2 3 1.5
McDew 5 17 3.4
Moore 4 14 3.5
Malinowski 14 25 1.8

Player Att. Net. Ave.
Bowersox 14 36 2.6
Martin 9 31 3.4
Tibbs 6 17 2.8

Referee – George Ellis.
Umpire – Chuck Lorenz.
Head Linesman – Jack McLain.
Field Judge – Tom Ascani.

Attendance: 20,500

Mass. McKin.
First downs – rushing 8 8
First downs – passing 0 4
First downs – penalties 1 1
Total first downs 9 13
Yards gained rushing 183 140
Yards lost rushing 25 15
Net yards gained rushing 158 125
Net yards gained passing 6 89
Total yards gained 164 214
Passes completed 1-3 6-24
Passes intercepted by 2 1
Yardage on passes intercepted 15 13
Times kicked off 4 4
Kickoff average (yards) 49.8 43.5
Kickoff returns (yards) 139 81
Punt average 7-35.4 6-39.3
Punt return (yards) 6 6
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 2 3
Lost fumbled ball 1 2
Penalties 5 5
Yards penalized 32 65
Touchdowns rushing 2 2
Touchdowns passing 0 0
Touchdowns by interception 0 0
Miscellaneous 1 0
Total number of plays 53 72

Ron Ertle