Tag: <span>Fred Thomas</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1991: Massillon 35, Alliance 6

Tigers ground Aviators 35‑6

Standing ‘O’ for memory of PB is highlight

Independent Sports Editor

Paul would have been proud.

On a stuffy night dedicated to the late Paul Brown, in front of 11,365 in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, the Washington High football team played inspired, hard‑hitting football in mugging the Alliance Aviators 35‑6.

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Massillon’s powerhouse one-two running punch of Travis McGuire (13 carries for 96 yards) and Falando Ashcraft (16 for 68) each delivered two touchdowns. Defensive coordinator Jack Rose’s tricked‑up (to key on lightning‑legged quarterback Tremayne Banks) 50 defense held Alliance to no first downs in the first quarter and 38 yards in the first half en route to a solid performance.

It was a solid season opener, the kind Paul would have liked.

“Paul Brown was football,” Alliance head coach Fred Thomas said. “Naturally, we didn’t like the outcome, but it was an honor to be here on a night like this.”

Thomas apologized for his team being in the end zone loosening up before the game when an announcement honoring Paul Brown was greeted with a warm, prolonged standing ovation.

“No way we would have been on the field if we’d have known that was coming,” Thomas said. “We meant no disrespect. We would have stayed in the locker room.”

No apology was needed. The Aviators meant no harm and turned in an effort equal to their abilities.

“I’ll say the same thing I said last year when we beat Stow (51‑0) in the opener,” said Massillon head coach Lee Owens. “I said they were a good team that would win some ball games. They won eight. Alliance is a year away from being a real good team. But they’re going to be good this year. They’ll win some games.”

Paul Brown won 79 games over nine years, turning Massillon into the biggest name in high school football. Owens focused on the Hall of Fame coach who died recently during his pre-game team speech.

“The man who wrote the letter to the editor pretty much wrote my pre‑game speech for me,” Owens said. “I made the same points he did.”

The letter to The Independent, penned by Ed Voshall, essentially said the players and the coaches of today are charged with carrying on the traditions launched by Paul Brown in the 1930s.

The player charged with the responsibility of quarterbacking the Tigers on Friday was Nick Mossides, a 6‑foot, I55‑pound senior getting his first varsity start.

Owens kept it a secret all week as to whether Mossides or senior Troy Burick, who started at safety, would be the QB.

“I was told, the team was told, on Monday,” Mossides said. “I was excited about it. I’ve been working hard for a long time to get ready for the chance to do this.”

Mossides’ inexperience showed at times when he was pressured and threw the ball into traffic; however, when he got good protection, which was most of the night, most of his tosses were zipped with preci­sion. He completed 7‑of‑15 pas­ses for 88 yards and one in­terception.

“I think I threw the ball fairly well to (Marc) Stafford, (Geoff) Merchant and (Mark) Haw­kins,” Mossides said. “I’ve got to throw the ball a little better. I missed a couple of throws.”

Mossides said his heart was jumping a bit when he ran out onto the field amid the big crowd, but he felt calm after he took the field. He focused on reading the defense first, then checking to see if a blitz might be on.

“I felt pretty comfortable,” he said.

Stafford, a speedy senior, caught three passes for 51 yards.

“Nick did real well,” Stafford said. “I thought the whole team played well. On offense, the line did an excellent job.

“We made a lot of mistakes, but we played hard as a team. We’ve been working real hard.”

The Tigers built a 35‑0 lead when second‑team running back Dan Seimetz scored on the first play of the fourth quarter and Jason Brown booted his third extra point (he was 3‑for‑4 on the night).

The first‑stringers played briefly in the fourth quarter be­fore the second unit was sum­moned. Alliance’s second‑year starting quarterback Tremayne Banks scored on a 51­yard run with 3:12 left in the game. Dana Wofford blocked the P.A.T. kick attempt to re­move some of the sting.

“I thought our defense did a real good job dealing with their option,” Owens said. “You’ve got to give Jack Rose a lot of credit for coming up with a good plan, and our players for ex­ecuting it.”

The Tigers wound up with a 332‑172 edge in net offensive yards.

“We played pretty well but not as well as we should have,” observed senior defensive end Jason Woullard. “We need to work on our pass coverage … reading keys.”

Woullard said he agreed with coaches’ comments during training camp that tackling needed to get better.

“The hard work paid off, I think,” Woullard said. “We did a better job wrapping up tonight. We worked hard on tackling every day. The first thing we did in practice was the gauntlet drill.”

The Tigers capitalized on two Alliance turnovers to take a 21‑0 lead. But their first touchdown came on a prolonged drive on their first possession after and Alliance punt.

Mossides got things going by completing a third‑and‑16 pass for 17 yards to Stafford. Ashcraft powered in from a yard out at 6:50 of the first quar­ter, Brown made the point‑after kick, and it was 7‑0.

The drive consumed 67 yards and covered nine plays.

There was no further scoring until midway through the third quarter. Alliance running back Gerard Hawkins (who gained 700 yards last season but held to minus‑4 yards Friday) was smashed by Turley, and Burick recovered the subsequent fum­ble at the Alliance 5‑yard line. Ashcraft scored from two yards out two plays later, the point-­after kick was wide, and the Ti­gers led 13‑0 with 6:19 left in the half.

Alliance had the ball near midfield when an option pitch got loose and was recovered by Tiger linebacker Eric Wright. The Tigers punted a few plays later but the fumble established the field position that led to a Tiger TD.

Burick’s 33‑yard punt return gave Massillon possession on the Alliance 22‑yard line. On the next play, the line created a wide avenue on a draw play through which McGuire neatly stepped for a 22‑yard touch­down run. Ashcraft ran for a two‑point conversion and it was 21‑0 with 1:08 left in the half.

The Tigers blew open the game with an impressive scor­ing march on the opening pos­session of the third quarter. It was fourth‑and‑goal from the 4 when the draw play worked again, with McGuire again
doing the scoring honors. Brown’s kick made it 28‑0 with 6:23 left in the third quarter.

The drive consumed 13 plays and covered 62 yards.

Jerry May relieved Mossides at quarterback and conducted a nine‑play, 61‑yard scoring drive capped by Seimetz’s touch­down ‘

“The two turnovers in the first half gave Massillon a short field to work with, and you can’t give a short field to a team as good as Massillon,” Alliance’s Thomas said. “I take nothing away from Massillon. Up front, they hit us really hard. We’re a little banged up. I hope we can bounce back.”

Alliance’s 280‑pound senior tackle Rod Shedrick was motionless on the field for several minutes late in the game.

“He had a twinge in his neck,” Thomas said. “We didn’t want him to move and played it safe.”

Shedrick is apparently OK. He was treated and released at Massillon Community Hospital.

The Tigers will be back home next Friday to take on Walsh Jesuit. Alliance will play its home opener against Jackson, whose last game was a 1990 playoff loss to Massillon.


First downs rushing 13 5
First downs passing 7 2
First downs by penalty 0 0
Totals first downs 20 7
Net yards rushing 229 137
Net yards passing 103 35
Total yards gained 332 172
Passes attempted 17 17
Passes completed 8 4
Passes int. by 0 1
Kickoff average 50.7 27.5
Kickoff return yards 20 120
Punts 3 6
Punting average 34.3 35.7
Punt return yards 41 0
Fumbles 3 3
Fumbles lost 0 3
Penalties 3 3
Time of possession 28:24 19:36

Alliance 0 0 0 0 6
Massillon 7 14 7 7 35

Eric Wright
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1989: Massillon 54, Warren Harding 2

The final chapter: ‘a massacre’
Everything works as Tigers pound shell-shocked Warren 54‑2

Independent Sports Editor

In this, the 50th anniversary of The House that Brown Built, there has been occasion to reflect on many wondrous moments.

One occurred 30 years ago, 17 years before Paul Brown’s name was added to Tiger Stadium.

What, pray tell, did the Tigers’ 90‑0 victory over Barberton the eighth week of the season look like?

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Those too young to remember received some clues Friday night in the eighth week of the 1989 campaign ‑ in graphic display via a 54‑2 victory against shellshocked Warren Harding before 9,125 onlookers.

Had the Tigers been bent on making it 90‑0 (some wondered if they might be in light of a bitter 1988 loss at Warren) they probably could have done it.

As it was, Massillon’s first unit scored the first five times it had the ball. The No. 2 offense scored on its first three possessions. Alas, the No. 3 offense, unlike the third string that beat the bejabbers out of Barberton back when, could not score.

But who’s going to get picky about winning by 52 points in a game that may have clinched a playoff berth?

How bad was it?

In the words of one Warren writer, “It was the Massillon Massacre on Friday the 13th, the final chapter.”

This was, in part, reference to the end of the 68‑year‑old football series between the schools.

Tiger coach Lee Owens called a halt to it after he thought his team was ripped off by officials in a 25‑22 loss at Warren last year. This year’s game was played to honor a previously signed contract.

A decision to consolidate Harding and Western Reserve into one Warren high school next year was made after Owens’ pronouncement.

Any way you slice it, it’s over between Washington and Harding.

Any hard feelings?

Harding head coach Frank Thomas who spent five years in Tigertown as a varsity assistant, gave Owens the brush after Friday ‘s game.

The coach concedes, however, that it will probably take only 120 points to make the playoffs, and that his team is a cinch to surpass that barrier even if it loses to St. Joseph and the following week against McKinley.

The Tigers aren’t looking like or talking like a team that will lose.

“We put it together on offense and defense,” said Hurst, who completed nine of 11 passes for 184 yards and four touchdowns. “We clicked.”

“We’ve come a long way since we lost to Moeller,” said senior linebacker Joe Pierce, who helped the Tigers limit Harding to 8 first‑half yards while the Massillon offense was amassing 308.

“We prepared for their defense as if it was stronger than it really was,” added Rameir Martin, who caught four passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns. “We just took what was there and did what we had to do.”

“They were clogging up the middle and it was pretty easy to get outside,” said sophomore running back Falando Ashcraft, who rushed 13 times for 90 yards while pinchhitting for season team rushing leader Ryan Sparkman. Sparkman was resting a hamstring injury and is expected to play against St. Joseph.

Speaking of injuries, the Tigers didn’t pull one key man in the late going and it cost them. Kick returner Donnie Blake whose 94‑yard return of the third‑quarter kickoff turned around last week’s Indianapolis North Central game, was injured while bringing back a punt in the fourth quarter.

It is feared Blake suffered a leg fracture when he was tackled near the Tiger bench. X‑rays were to have been taken this morning.

“Most of the first‑string players were out at that point because an injury is exactly what you don’t want to happen,” Owens said. “It was a freak thing with Donnie. The Warren player made a real late hit and kind of rolled up his leg. We’re not sure what Donnie’s injury is. It may just be a muscle between his knee and ankle. It may be something more than that.”

Pressed to explain what was said when they crossed paths amid the postgame interteam mingle, Owens said:

“I went to shake Frank’s hand, and he said, ‘No, I don’t want to shake your hand.’ I didn’t realize he felt that way.”

Was Thomas upset because the Tigers “ran up the score?” He shouldn’t have been. The final series of the first half was directed by backup Massillon quarterback Barry Shertzer. Massillon’s firststring offense and first‑string defense each played one series in the third quarter, then called it a night.

Owens said he received word from a messenger that “a Warren athletic official” was upset that the Tigers continued to pass in the second half. The Tigers tried 11 passes in the first half, after which they led 41‑0, and threw seven more in the second half.

“I developed a reputation in some corners in past years for running up some scores,” said Owens. “With our offense, it’s hard to just stop throwing the football. Our intention tonight was certainly not to run up the score. We could have scored a lot more points if that’s what we’d wanted to do.”

Thomas steered clear of controversy.

“Just say they’re a good football team and I wish them luck … congratulations. That’s about all I have to say,” he said as he walked off the field.

The Tigers emerged with a 7‑1 record and their fourth straight victory. The victory, coupled with wins by previously conquered opponents GlenOak, Fitch, St. Vincent‑St. Mary and Indianapolis North Central, left them with approximately 115 computer points, good for the lead in Region 3 of Division I.

“The way we’ll sell next week’s game against Cleveland St. Joseph is that we need it to wrap up a playoff spot,” Owens said.

Also hurting after the game was Tiger defensive starter Mark McGeorge.

Meanwhile, the Tigers not only dominated the game. They practically dominated every play.

Everything seemed to go right. An example was a spectacular 33‑yard TD catch by Desmond Carpenter on a pass from Shertzer eight seconds before halftime.

One of the few things that didn’t go right was a diving try for a 21‑yard yard TD catch by Martin in the third quarter. Martin, who accumulated all of his yardage in the first half, would have broke Curtis Strawder’s single‑game record for receiving yardage by one yard with a catch.

Here’s the blow‑by‑blow description of each possession:

WH ‑ Start on own 24 with opening kick. Three plays, punt.

MAS ‑ Start on own 31, drive 69 yards in four play, including 20 pass to Martin and 36‑yard TD run by Lamonte Dixon on sprint counter draw. P.A.T. kick wide right at 7:54 of first quarter.

Massillon 6, Harding 0

WH ‑ Start on own 12, punt from own 23.

MAS ‑ Start on Harding 46, score on first play on deep pass from Hurst to Martin. Hurst to Doug Harig conversion pass good at 4:22 of first quarter.

Massillon 14, Harding 0

WH ‑ Start on own 23, three plays and punt.

MAS ‑ Start on Harding 48, score in seven plays, including 16‑yard Kevin McCue to Pierce pass on fake punt. Hurst hits Harig for 11‑yard TD. Miller kick good at 1:30 of first quarter.

Tigers 21, Harding 0

WH ‑ Start on own 20. Pierce intercepts Chauncey Coleman pass on first play.

MAS ‑ Start on Harding 32. Score on third play, 26‑yard Hurst‑to‑Martin pass. Kick wide at 10:03 of second quarter.
Tigers 27, Harding 0

WH ‑ Start on own 20. Three plays and punt.

MAS ‑ Start on own 38. Drive 62 yards in six plays for TD, 11‑yard run by Ashcraft. March includes 21‑yard catches by Troy Manion and Martin. Miller kick good at 5:31 of second quarter.

Massillon 34, Harding 0

WH ‑ Start on own 17. Punt from own 16.

MAS ‑ Start on Harding 46. Drive for TD in five plays, capped by 33‑yard Shertzer to Ashcraft play. Ryan John kick good at 0:08 of first half.

Massillon 41, Harding 0

MAS ‑ Start on own 27 with third‑quarter kickoff. Drive 73 yards for TD in 10 plays, capped by 21‑yard Hurst‑to‑Harig TD. Kick wide at 7:40 of third quarter.

Massillon 47, Harding 0

WH ‑ Start on own 20. Mike Martin sack causes fumble recovered by Craig Turkalj

MAS ‑ Start on Harding 12, Ashcraft scores on first play. Miller kick good at 5:46 of third quarter.

Massillon 54, Harding 0

WH ‑ Start on own 27. Three plays and punt.

MAS ‑ Start on own 43. Lose yardage on penalties to 19. Ball snapped over punter’s head and recovered by punter in end zone at 0:28 of third quarter to conclude scoring.

Massillon 54, Harding 2


First downs rushing 7 4
First downs passing 11 0
First downs by penalty 2 0
Totals first downs 20 4
Yards gained rushing 194 74
Yards lost rushing 27 44
Net yards rushing 167 30
Net yards passing 268 0
Total yards gained 435 30
Passes attempted 18 5
Passes completed 14 0
Passes int. by 0 1
Times kicked off 9 1
Kickoff average 56.3 35.0
Kickoff return yards 0 113
Punts 1 8
Punting average 25.0 39.3
Punt return yards 52 0
Fumbles 0 2
Fumbles lost 0 1
Penalties 5 2
Yards penalized 50 10
Number of plays 53 41
Time of possession 23:10 24:50
Attendance 9,125

Individual statistics

(Mas) Ashcraft 13‑90, Dixon 8­-66, Slicker 8‑15, Shertzer 2‑11, Shell 2‑5, Wofford 1‑1.
(WH) Sparks 13‑14, Threats 6‑7, Sweetman 2‑(minus)3, Jordan 2‑8, Bagby 4‑20.

(MAS) Hurst 9‑11‑0 184, McCue 1‑1 ‑0 16, Shertzer 4‑6‑0 67.
(WH) Coleman 0‑5-1 0.

(Mas) Martin 4‑113, Carpenter 2‑40, Pierce 1‑16, Harig 2‑32, Manion 2‑32, Slicker 1‑8, Brown 1‑31.

Harding 0 0 2 0 2
Massillon 14 27 13 0 54

M ‑ Dixon 36 run (kick failed)
M ‑ Martin 46 pass from Hurst (Harig pass from Hurst)
M ‑ Harig 11 pass from Hurst (Miller kick)
M ‑ Martin 26 pass from Hurst (kick failed)
M ‑ Ashcraft 11 run (Miller kick)
M ‑ Carpenter 33 pass from Shertzer (John kick)
M ‑ Harig 21 pass from Hurst (run failed),
M ‑ Ashcraft 12 run (Miller kick)
WH – Safety

Rameir Martin
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1984: Massillon 6, Warren Harding 18

Seven turnovers undo Massillon
Harding stuns Tigers

Independent Sports Editor

WARREN ‑ It was a game of give and take Friday night at Mollenkopf stadium.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, Massillon did most of the giving and Warren Harding the taking.

Seven times the Tigers played the role of gracious guests. Five Massillon passes were intercepted and two fumbles were lost.

The muscle, added up to an 18-6 setback for the Tigers, the first time since 1976 that a Massillon team has lost two games in a row.

It was also the first time since 1977 that Harding came away a victor against the Tigers.

It was a night worth forgetting for Massillon fans as the Tigers fell to 1-2.

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“The turnovers killed us,” said a subdued Tiger Head Coach Mike Currence. “We were searching for something out there and we had to take some chances, and sometimes when you take a chance …

“I don’t know what it is,” he continued. “I was at a dilemma in the third period. I just didn’t know what to do, but we’ve got to find some answers real soon.”

All three Harding (2‑1) scores were the direct result of Tiger breakdowns, one by the defense, another by the punt team and the third by the offense. It was three-ring circus, but only the Panther faithful were entertained.

Harding rolled to an 18‑0 lead bef­ore the Tigers averted being shut out for the first time since a 1979 state playoff loss to Parma Padua (12‑0).

When fullback Derrick Newman capped a 14‑play, 80‑yard drive by scoring from a yard out, the scoreboard showed just 3:54 re­maining in the final period.

By then, though, the damage had run its course. The Tigers self destructed much earlier.

Given good field position at the Harding 38 following a 19‑yard punt, the Tigers turned the ball over on downs when they failed to convert on a fourth and five as quarterback Wes Siegenthaler was stopped a yard short on a keeper.

Harding then rolled up three first downs to the Tiger 35 when quarter­back Harley Kellar was sacked for an eight‑yard loss by middle guard Tom Whitfield.

However, a personal foul was cal­led on the Tigers. So, the Panthers had a second down at Massillon’s 27 rather than at the 43.

On the next play Whitfield stopped fullback Willie Perez for a loss, but the Tiger junior was called for a face mask penalty much to the chagrin of the Massillon coaching staff.

The face mask call was very questionable,” Currence said. “I’ll have to see the films on that one.”

With a first down on the Tiger 14, Perez took the next handoff and scooted to paydirt with 4:04 remain­ing in the opening period.

Two big defensive plays by the Ti­gers, ones that may have put Hard­ing out of scoring position, turned into big Panther plays, And, as they would do later on, the Panthers capi­talized on them.

Harding’s defense then forced a Tiger punt. Scott Byelene’s boot was fielded by Perez at his own 22. He didn’t stop running until he crossed the goal line.

“We just broke down on our coverage,” Currence said. “It was set up and executed well by them.”

Entering the second quarter, the Panthers found themselves atop the scoreboard by a 12‑0 count.

The second 12 minutes was a study in who wanted to keep the ball the longest as their were four turnovers, three coming on consecutive possessions.

Massillon, which started three of its seven first‑half drives well inside Panther territory, could not capital­ize on its opportunities.

The comedy of errors continued into the third period when Siegenthaler was intercepted on the third play following the kickoff by David Arnold, who returned the ball 25 yards to the Tiger six.

From there, Perez notched his third TD of the night on the ensuing play. Less than two minutes into the second half, the Panthers owned a commanding 18‑0 advantage.

Midway through the third period, the Tigers were given a golden opportunity to get back in the game when a Perez fumble was recovered at the Panther 23. Two plays later, though, Massillon turned the ball back over when Kellar came up with the fourth Harding interception at the three.

Turnovers continued to plague the Tigers early in the final period when a Panther punt was bobbled and then recovered by Harding’s Derrick Goliday at the Massillon 28.

The Tiger defense, which yielded just 104 yards, stiffened and a 42 yard field goal try by the Panthers was way short of the intended mark.

Finally, the Tigers hit paydirt when they marched 80 yards in 14 plays. Cornell Jackson gained 35 of the yards on three carries, and Mas­sillon converted three third‑down plays.

But, it was too little too late.
Of the five passes Harding picked off, four came off the arm of Siegenthaler and the other with Mike Scott at the helm. Scott, making his first appearance of the year, entered the game at the 4:42 mark of the second period. Scott, nearly connected with Siegenthaler on a 24‑yard TD pass.
The Tigers came up with a pair of interceptions of their own. The cul­prits were Brian Spicer and Clay Spangler. Harding’s interceptions were turned in by Kellar (2), Reuben Osborne (2) and Arnold.
Massillon used three quarter­backs in an effort to find a spark that world ignite the offense. Siegenthal­er started but was replaced by both Scott and Paul Fabianich at various times.

Warfield has special night;
Thomas gets ‘biggest win’

Independent Spans Editor

WARREN ‑ For all Massillon cared, it might as well have been Gungo Din Night.

As it stood, though, it was Paul Warfield who came back home to the school where he first made his mark as a football player.

Warfield, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was saluted Friday night prior to the Massillon-Warren Harding game at Mollenkopf Stadium.

It was at Harding that Warfield made his name known, rushing for 2,103 yards and catching passes for 356 more yards. He led the Panthers to two wins in three years over Massillon as well from 1957 to 1959.

Warfield, who was a high school All‑American, went on to star at Ohio State University where he became a college All‑American under Woody Hayes.

In pro ball he played for the Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins and the Memphis Southmen of the now defunct World Football League.

Hayes and Warfield’s high school coach, Gene Slaughter, now the head coach at Capital University, were both present at the pre‑game ceremonies.

Warfield was presented with a proclamation by the Warren School Board of Education.
Warren Harding football coach Frank Thomas, who served as a defensive coordinator for the Massillon Tigers for five years before heading off for Niles McKinley and then Harding, was one happy man following his team’s 18‑6 defeat of the Tigers.

“Without a doubt, it’s my biggest win,” Thomas, who is in his third year at the Panther helm, said. “Any win is an important one, especially coming off a loss and playing Massillon.

“When you beat Massillon, it’s like putting a feather in your cap,” he said.

Did the Paul Warfield Night inspire his troops to greater heights?

“It was a combination of things, really,” Thomas said. “We had a big spirit rally at school, Paul talked to the kids before the game and told them to give 110 percent and to believe in your fellow teammate.

“All of that was important, and playing Massillon was equally important.”

The Harding defense came up with seven turnovers, five on interceptions, to snuff out nearly all of Massillon’s drives before they got started.

“We went an awfully lot to man‑to‑man coverage, much more than usual,” Thomas acknowledged. “We went out with the idea that defensively we would come after them and make same things happen. Every time they tried to beat us deep, we intercepted them.

“I felt we set the tone defensively. We did not sit back and wait,”

One of the biggest plays in the game was Willie Perez’s 78‑yard touchdown on a punt return in the first quarter. That TD gave the Panthers a lightning‑quick 12‑0 lead before the Tigers knew what hit them.

“Being up 6‑0 is one thing, but then ‘bam,’ we went up 12‑0 on the punt return,” Thomas said. “It takes a lot of wind out of your sails when something like that happens.

“You know, this is a funny game. Last week we gave up 10 first downs on third‑down and long plays. That was the exact same defensive backfield we had in last week (a 14‑12 loss to Youngstown East).

“Who can figure it out? One week everything works for you, and the next it doesn’t.

Mike Scott