Tag: <span>George Whitfield</span>

Massillon vs. McK - Throwback (Large) History

1995: Massillon 21, Canton McKinley 24

Tigers never Gave up

In a season filled with ‘nail-biters, Tiger claws wear thin vs. McKinley

Independent Sports Editor

Once again, the Tigers made Massillon proud.

Trailing the favored McKin­ley Bulldogs 24‑7, late in the third quarter, Massillon clawed its way back into the ballgame and, was on the verge of pulling the upset.

Program Cover

But the storybook finish never materialized. A Tiger tur­nover at the Pups five‑yard line with less than a minute to play ensured a 24‑21 McKinley victory this afternoon at Faw­cett Stadium.

Tigers head coach Jack Rose struggled to find the right wordsafter the game. However, his pride in the comeback his team staged was evident.

“They’ve done that all year,” Rose said, “I’m very proud of them.”

McKinley coach Thom McDaniels tipped his hat to the Tigers amidst a sea of red-and-black.

Good football teams fight back and that’s a good football team over there,” he said.

“They certainly never quit. It was a great game, I don’t think anyone left here disappointed with the show we gave them, although I’m sure the Massillon people were disappointed with the loss.”

Both teams displayed early jitters. The Tigers were intercepted on their first possession after crossing midfield. The Bulldogs penetrated inside the 30 and promptly fumbled it back.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley

Ater that turnover, the Ti­gers went three and out and punted it back to McKinley, which took over at its 28. On first down, Bulldogs tailback Adrian Brown got the‑ball on a toss sweep around left end. He broke one tackle as he turned the corner and another at the Massillon 33, before being pul­led down as he hit the goal line for a 72‑yard touchdown.

Ray Currie nailed the extra point and the Pups led 7‑0 at 6:20 of the first quarter.

Brown fumbled on McKin­ley’s next possession late in the first quarter to set the Tigers up with first and 10 at the Bull­dogs’ 20 yard line. Two Lavell Weaver runs and a George Whitfield‑to‑Brett Wiles pass­ set up first and goal at the nine.

Two plays later, Whitfield hit Randy Weiford at the four. On the next play, Weaver spun into the end zone on fourth‑and‑goal from the one. Josh Hose hit the PAT to tie, it at 7‑7 with 10:47 until halftime.

It wouldn’t stay that way long. McKinley moved from its 16 to the 28 after the ensuing kickoff. On second and nine at that point, Brown again got the ball on the sweep around left end and again dashed 72 yards to paydirt. The senior tailback broke a tackle at the Massillon 35 and cut back to the middle of the field to outrace the defen­sive pursuit.

Currie’s kick made it 14‑7 with 8:17 until halftime.

“We had it defended,” Rose said of Brown’s two long TDs on his signature play. “We just didn’t tackle. Adrian is a strong runner, a physical player. He has the ability to break tackles. But I didn’t think he’d break two long ones on us like that.”

Massillon marched with the ensuing kickoff from its 20 to the McKinley 41. But a dropped pass and a sack of Whitfield forced the Tigers to punt it away from the 50.

Neither team was able to do much until McKinley took over with 1:33 left in the half I at its
own 14. A Rick Roloff‑to‑Ken Peterson pass play, a roughing the passer penalty, and a Roloff‑to‑Brown aerial moved the ball to the Massillon 30. Roloff went to Brown again three plays later and he caught a pass tipped by Massillon de­fensive back Eric Lightfoot. Brown rambled to the Tiger 17.

Three plays later, Currie attempted a 33‑yard field goal that was good with six seconds on the clock, to make it 17‑7 at halftime.

“The last drive of the half was a key one for them,” Rose said. .”We had them pinned way back there. They come out of there and take it the length of the field to get a field goal and now it’s 17‑7 at halftime. That hurt.”

McKinley took the second half kickoff and – aided by a fumbled punt – penetrated to the Massillon 31 before missing a long field goal.

The Tigers shot themselves in the foot again, losing a fum­ble on their first play to give McKinley the ball at the 27. Two snaps later, Brown found a huge seam over right guard and ran through a tackler at the five for his third touchdown of the afternoon. Currie’s kick at the 4:42 mark of the third period made it 24‑7.

Some fans began walking to the exits at that point, but the Tiger were undaunted.

They moved from their 15 to the McKinley 17, where it appeared they were stalled on a fourth and five. But Whitfield found Brett Wiles wide open over the middle and the senior tight end carried it into the end zone to make it 24‑13 with just over a minute left in the third period.
The Tigers forced McKinley to punt, but turned it back over on an interception at the Mas­sillon 37. Once again the de­fense rose, stopping the Pups on three plays to force a punt that rolled out of bounds at the Tigers’ 17.

On second down, Whitfield connected with Devin Williams to the 32. Two plays later, the senior QB hooked up with Nate Wonsick to the 45. Two comple­tions to Brian Baer moved the football to the McKinley 23.

Whitfield then picked up 11 yards on an option keeper around left end. On the next play, Whitfield rolled right and found Vinny Turner wide open at the seven and Turner trotted into the end zone with 3:28 to play.

Whitfield zeroed in on Weiford on a crossing pattern for the two‑point conversion and suddenly it was a nail‑biter at 24‑21.

The Massillon defense again stuffed McKinley on its next possession and the Bulldogs punted after three snaps. Mas­sillon took over at the Bulldogs 42 and Whitfield’s 22‑yard gain on the bootleg around left end got the ball to the 20 with 1:40 to play.

Two plays later, Whitfield meshed with Williams at the 8, where he was hit hard first from the front by Rashan Hall and then from the rear by Shauntel Lodge, forcing a fumble. Demarlo Rozier recovered for the Bulldogs and the celebration began.

McDaniels asserted the Bull­dogs were not in a prevent de­fense on Massillon’s final two drives.

“No, but we were changing defenses on practically every play,” McDaniels said . “But it wasn’t necessarily a prevent. We were looking for them to throw the ball, but we weren’t in a prevent.

”I was concerned about George Whitfield having a career day and I think he did. He had a great game. I talked with him afterward and he can be proud of the way he played.”

Rose said the game got away from the Tigers in the first half.

“We wound up too much in the first half,” he said. “We had a lot of missed assign­ments. We didn’t, tackle well and (Brown) broke those two long ones on us. In the second half we played a lot better. We got settled down.

“Vinny went down with an ankle injury early and we kind of got knocked out of whack. We regrouped and made a couple of plays there.”

George Whitfield
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1995: Massillon 28, Akron St. Vincent St. Mary 21

Tigers preserve playoff hopes

Top St. V ‑St. M. in OT as Bulldogs loom next

Independent Sports Editor

The Massillon Tigers came out of the locker room for Fri­day’s game against Akron St. Vincent‑St. Mary’s wearing their all orange uniforms in keeping with the Halloween season.

Little did the Tigers know the game would nearly turn into a nightmare before the Fighting Irish finally succumbed 28‑21 in two overtimes in front of 7,930 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Sta­dium.

Program Cover

The victory boosts the Tigers to 7‑2 on the season and coupled with Glen0ak’s ’28‑0 upset loss to Jackson, boosts Massillon’s chances to reach the playoffs with a victory over Canton McKinley next Saturday at Fawcett Stadium.

The Bulldogs were the last thing on the minds of the Tigers when St. Vincent‑St. Mary took a 21‑14 lead on the first series of overtime. The Irish handed the ball to tailback Andre Knott four consecutive times and the compactly built senior covered the 20 yards to paydirt on second and goal from the S. Scott Brown’s conversion kick put the visitors up by 7.

Massillon looked to be in trou­ble with fourth‑and‑four from the 14 on its first possession of 0T. But George Whitfield Jr. ran the bootleg keeper and worked his way to the 8 for a first down.

With the Irish defense keying on Tigers tailback Vinny Tur­ner as it had all night long, full­back Lavell Weaver found a gaping hole over left guard on third‑and‑goal from the 3 for the equalizer. Jose Hose’s PAT forced a second overtime.

Massillon got the ball first in the second extra period. Fullback Nate Wonsick found a cav­ity over right guard and bulled his way to the Irish 5 on first down. Turner went over right guard for the go‑ahead TD on the next snap and Hose made it 28‑21 with the kick.

St. Vincent‑St. Mary got a first down on its possession, but on second down Knott was strip­ped of the football by Tigers de­fensive lineman James Smith and Eric Lightfoot fell on the pigskin to preserve Massillon’s dream of a third straight post­season playoff berth.

“We really got some big plays from some people in overtime,” said a visibly relieved Rose. “On that fourth down play when George made the first down, that’s the ballgame right there. ­Then we hit that good trap play there with Wonsick and he real­ly snapped it up in there.”

While the end result was posi­tive, it was a halting perform­ance for much of the night by the Tigers against a Division III team that came into the contest with an unspectacular 4‑4 slate.

The Irish stuffed Massillon’s rushing game in the first half. In fact, the Tigers did not get a first down on the ground in the first 24 minutes of play.

“They were doing the very same thing that Barberton did against us,” Rose said. “They put eight men in the box and stopped everything inside.

“They didn’t ask us for any game films this week, so I’m sure Barberton gave them their film on us.”

Massillon got the running game untracked somewhat af­ter the band show, but it was the aerial game that helped pre­vent disaster. Whitfield hit on 9 of 14 passes for 98 yards and one interception. Most of the throws went to the tight end and full­back. Brett Wiles caught four for 31 yards. Wonsick snagged two for 27 yards.

“We tried to get to the peri­meter all night,” Rose said. “We threw the ball out there and we ran the stretch play out there.

”Our timing just wasn’t sharp. We didn’t have a real good week of practice because of the illnesses.”

The flu bug sapped, 19 players from practice on Tuesday and was a problem throughout the week.

While Massillon’s running game was being stacked up by the Irish, the green and gold were moving the ball on the ground with some degree of effectiveness. Knott rushed the ball 36 times for 158 yards (4.4 yards per carry)‑ He was com­plemented by fullback Tony Short (7 carries for 39 yards), quarterback Brian Butash (12 for 32) and tailback Tomny Skipper (6 for 27).

As a team, St. Vincent‑St. Mary’s outrushed Massillon 277‑138.

“Obviously, we didn’t stop their run,” Rose agreed. ”They had a lot of second‑and‑shorts consistently throughout the game. That enabled them to run their whole offense against us.

“When they come to play, they’re good. When they don’t come to play, they’re not very good. They didn’t have a tur­nover until the end of the game. That’s the thing that amazed me about them because they’ve been turning it over a lot this season.”

Other than Knott’s game ­ending fumble, St. Vincent‑St. Mary’s did not have a turnover. However, the Fighting Irish failed to negate Massillon’s punt block scheme early in the fourth quarter after a penalty pushed the visitors back to their 7.

Weaver came in from the right side of the Massillon line and got a hand on the kick which was downed at the 11-yard line. On the very first snap after the block, Turner went over left guard and tackle and scored to knot the game at 14‑14 with 10:40 to play in regulation.

“We went after that one and it was a huge turnaround for us,” Rose said. “We really needed that right there. Lavell came up big on that play.”

Massillon opened the scoring by marching 71 yards in 11 plays, keyed by Whitfield’s pas­sing. The senior signal caller hit Wonsick for 24 yards, Devin Williams for 21 yards and Wiles for 10 yards to get the ball to the Irish 3. Three snaps later, Tur­ner scored from a yard out at 4:03 of the first quarter. Hose’s kick made it 7‑0.

After a St. Vincent‑St. Mary’s punt rolled dead at the Massil­lon 8, the Irish caught a break by recovering a fumble at the 13. Knott scored five plays later and the kick tied it at 7‑7 with 6:56 left in the first half.

The Irish came up with an in­terception at their 26 to quell Massillon’s first drive of the second half, and marched 74 yards in 12 plays for the go ­ahead TD. Knott swept un­touched around his right end from six yards out and Brown’s kick made it 14‑7 with 4:09 to play in the third.

Weaver’s blocked punt led to the tying score for Massillon, setting up the thrilling overtime finish.

“The thing that bothers me is we weren’t real crisp tonight,” Rose said. ”That’s dis­appointing.

“Last week we executed a lot better. It’s just a tough week to get a team ready to play. We came through it.”

St. V‑St. M 21
First downs rushing 6 18
First downs passing 6 0
First downs penalty 1 0
Total first downs 13 18
Net yards rushing 138 277
Net yards passing 98 3
Total yards gained 236 280
Passes attempted 14 5
Passes completed 9 1
Passes intercepted 1 0
Times kicked off 3 3
Kickoff average 47.7 47.3
Kickoff return yards 36 23
Punts 4 5
Punting average 32.5 28.6
Punt return yards 0 0
Fumbles 1 3
Fumbles lost 1 1
Penalties 1 3
Yards penalized 5 22
Number of plays 51 71
Time of possession 20:19 27:41
Attendance 7,930

St. V‑St. M 0 7 7 0 7 0 21
MASSILLON 7 0 0 7 7 7 28


First Quarter
Mass ‑ Turner 1 run (Hose kick)

Second Quarter
St. V ‑ Knott 2 run (Brown kick)

Third Quarter
St. V ‑ Knott 6 run (Brown kick)

Fourth Quarter
Mass ‑ Turner 11 run (Hose kick)

First Overtime
St. V ‑ Knott 5 run (Brown kick)
Mass ‑ Weaver 3 run (Hose kick)

Second Overtime
Mass ‑ Turner 5 run (Hose kick)


Turner 30‑130, 3 TDs;
Wonsick 1‑15;
Weaver 1‑3, 1 TD.
St Vincent‑St. Mary
Knott 36‑158, 3 TDs,
Short 7‑39,
Butash 12‑32,
Skipper 6‑27,
Brewer 3‑20.

Whittield 9‑14‑98‑1.
St Vincent‑St. Mary
Butash 1‑3‑3.

Wiles 4‑31,
Wonsick 2‑27,
Baer 2‑19,
Williams 1‑21.
St. Vincent‑St Mary
Pierce 1‑3.

George Whitfield

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1995: Massillon 51, Northpark ON Canada 7

North Park goes south’  Tigers 6‑2; Irish up next

Independent Sports Editor

Vinny Turner got his 1,000 yard season.

Eddie Evans and George Whitfield Jr. got to rest their aching ankles.

Ben Hymes got to show the coaching staff there won’t be a dropoff at quarterback if Whitfield should go down with injury.

And the Massillon Tigers kept their playoff hopes alive.

Program Cover

Those are just a few of the positives to come of Massillon’s 51-7 conquest of the feisty but outclassed North Park Trojans, in front of 7,041 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Saturday.

The outcome was never really in doubt after the Tigers took the opening kickoff and marched 65 yards in 10 plays to the visitor’s end zone. Turner rushed eight times for 45 on the drive, including the final five over right guard an tackle to paydirt.

Josh Hose’s point after kick made it 7-0 Tigers at the 7:08 mark of the first quarter.

North Park drove from its 29 to the Massillon 41 on its first possession, but was force to punt. Whitfield and Nate Wonsick hooked up for a 28-yard gain on a simple pass in the flats on first down. Then Turner found two gaping holes off the left side of the Tiger line to cover the final 35 yards and record his second touchdown of the evening.

Hose’s placement made it 14-0.

North Park fumbled away the football on the second snap of its next possession and Lavell Weaver fell on it at the Trojans 22. Weaver was rewarded for his hustle when Whitfield handed him the football on first down. He followed the left side of the line into the end zone with :06 to play in the first quarter.

Again Hose’s kick was true and rout was on at 21-0.

North Park went three-and-out and Rose sent in Hymes to play quarterback. On second down, the junior found Dusty Limback on a simple slant pattern near the Trojan’ 35. Limbach on a simple slant pattern near the Trojans’ 35. Limbach caught the pass in stride, found a seam and sprinted into the end zone for a 47-yard touchdown.

Before the half ended, Milo McGuire tackled North Park quarterback Jeff Lowe in the end zone for a safety. Ehjah Blake rang up a 13-yard TD run around left end, and Raphel Bradley scored from five yards out on a drive keyed by Hymes 30-yard sprint around right end on the option.

It was 44-0 at the intermission.

”I thought the offense ex­ecuted really well,” observed Tigers boss Jack Rose. “We didn’t know what to expect from (North Park). Everything they did was contrary to what they had shown before.

“Bell did a real nice job. He, executed the offense well. That was a nice slant pass to Dusty for the touchdown and he got to the perimeter well on the op­tion. That worked because Ben made it look like he was going to dish it off. I thought he showed some pretty good saavy out there.”

That is not to say, however, that there is any doubt as to who the starting quarterback is in Massillon.

“George is still number one,” Ross confirmed. “But I feel better after watching Ben under fire.”

Rose had praise for the work of Paul Snyder, filling in for Evans at center, and for his entire stable of tailbacks, including senior Torrey Smith, who scored after breaking several tackles on a 28 yard run with 4:39 left in the third quarter. Matt Stanley’s PAT was Massillon’s 51st and final point of the evening.

On the ensuing kickoff, North Park’s Mark Wayda, a 5-foot 8-inch, 165 pound junior fielded the ball at his 9-yard line. He found a gap to his left, got to the sideline and went the distance to avert the shutout.

“They were a lot better than the team that came down here two seasons ago,” Rose said, before turning his attention to Friday’s invasion by Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s.

“They are a lot like Garfield. They are very physical up front on both the offensive and defensive lines. They are very strong up front and they may even be a little bigger than we are on the lines. They have a couple of quick backs and you can have a tough time finding them in the midst of those big linemen. Then, all of a sudden they pop out of there.”

St. V-St. M’s featured runner is 1,000 –yard gainer Andre Knott.

Making the Fighting Irish even more formidable is the fact the traditional season ender with McKinley is next week, presenting the temptation of looking ahead.

“We certainly can’t afford to do that.” Rose asserted. “This is a very dangerous team coming in here Friday. We have got to focus on them.”

Rose says Evans should be ready this Friday, as will wide receiver Devin Williams and defensive lineman James Smith. Both starters sat out Saturday’s tilt with the lingering effects of the flu bug.

First downs rushing 16 7
First downs passing 2 3
First downs penalty 1 0
Total first downs 19 10
Net yards rushing 305 132
Net yards passing 77 58
Total yards gained 382 190
Passes attempted 7 12
Passes completed 3 6
Passes int 0 1
Times kicked off 8 2
Kickoff average 46.6 32.5
Kickoff return yards 10 135
Punts 3 3
Punting average 24.3 30.0
Punt return yards 28 0
Fumbles 0 6
Fumbles lost 0 2
Penalties 2 8
Yards penalized 20 48
Number of plays 42 54
Time of possession 19:52 28:08

NORTH PARK 0 0 7 0 7
MASSILLON 21 23 7 0 51

First Quarter
M ‑ Turner 5 run (Hose kick)
M ‑ Turner 15 run (Hose kick)
M ‑ Weaver 22 run (Hose kick)

Second Quarter
M ‑ Limbach 46 pass from Hymes (Hose kick)
M ‑ Safety, McGuire tackles QB in end zone
M ‑ Bradley 4 run (Stanley kick)
M ‑ Blake 13 run (Hose kick)

Third Quarter
M ‑ Smith 29 run (Stanley kick)
N ‑ Wayda 91 kickoff return (Wayda kick)


Turner 10‑85, 2 TD.
Smith 3-39, 1 TD;
Bradley 2‑47, 1 TD;
Blake 3‑32, 1 TD;
Hymes 1‑30;
Weaver 1‑22, 1 TD;
Morgan 3‑17;
Wonsick 3‑15.
North Park
Wayda 22‑118, 1 TD;
Vermeire 10‑42.

Whitfield 1‑3‑24, 0 TD 0 ints;
Hymes 2‑3‑53, 1 TD, 0 ints;
Danzy 0‑1.
North Park
Lowe 6‑10‑58. 1 ints;
Petersen 0, 2.

Limbach 1‑46, 1 TD;
Wonsick 1‑24.
North Park
Stronks 4‑43;
Wayda 2-15

George Whitfield

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1995: Massillon 7, Miami, FL Southridge 20

Massillon, McKinley Suffer similar fates

Southridge shuts down Tiger attack

Assistant Sports Editor

Stunned silence lingered in the Massillon locker room following the Tigers’ loss Saturday ­night.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Tigers were waiting for a break to open the door to victory – as has happened time and time again for Massillon.

Program Cover

This time, the Tigers didn’t get to finish the script. Miami (Fla.) Southridge dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s in the second half and left Paul Brown Tiger stadium with a 20‑7 win.

Southridge refused to open the door for Massillon to win and ground out a 15‑play drive for the go‑ahead score. Miami halfback Jameel Cook ended the seven‑minute drive when he went untouched into the end zone to put Southridge up 13-7. I think our kids were waiting for something to happen because that is what we’ve done all year,” Massillon head coach Jack Rose said. “But, again, we can’t rely on that to win games.

We lost the game for two reasons: No. 1 (quarterback George) Whitfield wasn’t 100 percent and we couldn’t get him on the perimeter; No. 2, they were much quicker than we were.”

Whitfield played with a badly sprained right ankle. “If he’s, not ready to go next week, we’ll throw someone else in there.”

It didn’t take long for someone to ask Rose what was inevitably on his mind… A Massillon player asked, “Can we still make the playoffs, coach?”

“I don’t know … we have to win all our games … We just have to win,” was the reply.

The loss to Miami may have eliminated the Tigers from post season play. If Massillon is to sneak in, it will have to beat McKinley to end the season and get a lot of help from its opponents for compute points.

For the first time this year Massillon will have somewhat of a break. North Park, Ontario, will travel in for Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. game. Massillon played the Trojans two years ago and smacked them around 61-3.

Line. Southridge gained 22-yards on its first three plays – all off tackle plays – to get inside the 30. However, the Tiger defense pushed Miami back five yards on third and fourth downs and the Tigers took over.

The first of two crucial turnovers would bite Massillon on its first drive.

The Tigers drove to the Southridge 36, but a fumbled snap allowed Miami defensive end Reggie Brown to recover.

The Massillon defense however adjusted to Miami’s speed and shut out the Spartans in the first half.

“I was very pleased with the way our defense played.” Rose said. “One of our problems was we weren’t able to simulate their speed in practice so we were getting a crash course on the field.

I thought our defense got faster as the game went. I didn’t think we were that fast. Once again, they played another ex­ceptional game. We just can’t keep asking. them to be on the field like that.”

Massillon may have had its finest drive on the season the second time it took the ball over.

It was a 15‑play.drive. that started on the Tigers 26‑yard line and it took 7:44 off the clock. Massillon converted three third ­down plays for first downs and one second­-and‑15 when Whitfield threw a strike to tight end Brett Wiles with Miami linebacker James Sutton in his chest.

“I think this was the most consistent we played for four quarters,” Rose said. “They were a very good team.”

On that drive, senior tailback Vinny Tur­ner gained 49 of his 129 yards. It was capped when Whitfield rolled left and found Turner wide open in the flat for the score. Josh Hose’s point after boot gave Massillon a 7‑0 lead, and that’s how the first half ended.

At halftime, though, the Miami brain trust made two key adjustments. The Ti­gers were blitzing often in the first half to try to prevent the Spartans from running outside.

“We have some of the best coaches, around. I’d put them up against anybody,” Miami head coach Mark Guandolo said. “We figured we had to get the ball outside on sweeps and options. The sweeps worked.”

On Southridge’s second play in the second half, quarterback Faraz Ali faked a sweep and handed the ball off to fullback Danny Frith. Frith broke through a hole and didn’t stop until he was at the Massillon 11 for a 49‑yard gain.

‘It took the Spartans six plays to break into the end zone from 11 yards out. Cook bolted in from a yard out.

After that, it was apparent what Miami’s second adjustment was.

“We knew they were going to stick with Turner.” Guandolo said. “The kid is a good. running back. We put eight men on the line of scrimmage, sometimes 10 and. he still gained yards. If they were going to beat us they were going to have to throw the. ball.”

Miami tacked on a cheap touchdown with eight seconds left in the game. Southridge’s Edwin Greene picked off a Whitfield pass and returned it 12 yards for a score.

The Massillon offense was stalled most of the second‑half because of that adjustment. Turner carried 33 times, but was held to less than four yards a carry.

Luther Emery, whose picture was on the cover of Saturday’s game program, was honored before the game for his many con­tribution to Tiger football. Emery, former sports editor and editor of The Independent, covered the‑team for more than 40 years, including the glory years of his friend, the late Paul Brown. From helping start the Tiger Booster Club to steering state and national media focus on the Tigers; Emery has been a key builder of the Tiger tradition.

George Whitfield

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1995: Massillon 22, Barberton 20

Massillon snatches’ victory from defeat

Repository sports writer

AKRON ‑ As time ticked down to a few precious seconds, the Massillon Tigers slowly turned sure defeat into an amazing victory.

The Tigers trailed by two touchdowns midway through the fourth quarter, but came back to stun the Barberton Magics 22‑20 Saturday night at the Rubber Bowl.

A 1‑yard touchdown plunge by quarterback George Whitfield with 17 seconds left capped a game Barberton firmly had tucked away before Massillon came back to steal a win. The Tigers scored 16 unanswered points in the final 6:24.

“We were very lucky to win,” Massillon head coach Jack Rose said. “But I have to give my kids credit. They never gave up in the fourth quarter. They played their hearts out and found a way to win it.”

Massillon tailback Vinny Turner. who suffered a pulled hamstring in last week’s game against Austintown Fitch, did not start. But with the game, and possibly the season, on the line the Tigers had no choice but to put their top offensive threat in the backfield.

A 2‑yard touchdown run by Turner and the two‑point conversion cut Barberton’s lead to 20‑14 with five minutes left.

Turner, who finished with 46 yards on 11 carries, caught an 11‑yard pass from Whitfield on the game‑winning drive. From the Barberton 3‑yard line, he grinded out two yards on two carries before Whitfield scored the winning touchdown with the Tigers out of timeouts.

“My hamstring is hurting, but I had to go in there,” said Turner. “And we made the big plays. That’s all we had to do.”

The difference in the game came prior to the final Massillon drive when Barberton punter Chad Whipkey ran out of the end zone for a safety after the snap sailed over his head.

“I felt we could win regardless of the safety, but that*s the breaks,” Whitfield said. “You have to have breaks like that. They had one in the first half. This was ours.”

Barberton’s break came just before halftime.

Rohn Noirot, who kicked a 31‑yard field goal midway through the second quarter, lined up to attempt a 20‑yarder with 20 seconds left.

But holder Jay Winker, a backup quarterback, took the snap and threw a shovel pass to fullback David Holderbaum as he raced into the end zone. Noirot’s extra point increased the Magics’ lead to 17‑6 at halftime.

The Tigers had only 61 yards of total offense in the first half. They also turned the ball over three times.

Massillon’s first turnover gave the Magics a 7‑0 lead. The Tigers fumbled a Barberton punt deep in their own territory and Danny Villers fell on the ball in the end zone after a wild scramble.

A 33‑yard touchdown run by Whitfield sliced Barberton’s lead to 7‑6. It remained 7‑6 after Tiger place‑kicker Josh Hose missed the extra point.

Massillon’s mistakes continued. The Tigers handed the Magics a first down when they lined up offside on fourth‑and-one from the Barberton 25‑yard line. The Magics then drove 61 yards in 12 plays and used Noirot’s 31‑yand field goal to extend their lead to 10‑6. Barberton kept the drive alive by converting on fourth‑and-inches from midfield.

Massillon’s next two possessions ended with turnovers. Whitfield was intercepted both times. Winkler returned the second one 43 yards to the Tiger 11‑yard line.

That set the Magics’ final touchdown in the first half ‑ the shovel pass from Winkler to Holderbaum.

Massillon 6 0 0 16 22
Barberton 7 10 0 3 20

B ‑ Villers recovered fumble in the end zone (Noirot kick)
M ‑ Whitfield 33 run (kick failed)
B ‑ FG Noirot 31
B – Holderbaum 3 pass from Winker (Noirot kick)
B – FG Noirot 35
M ‑ Turner 2 run (Wiles pass from Whitfield)
M ‑ Safety, Whipkey ran out of the end zone
M ‑ Whitfield 1 run (kick failed)

Records: Massillon 5‑1; Barberton 3‑3

George Whitfield

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1995: Massillon 21, Austintown Fitch 14

Tigers overcome injuries, Fitch

Independent Sports Editor

Call it a character builder.

The Massillon Tigers, severely handicapped by the loss to injury of their leading rusher and leading receiver, dug deep and came out with a 21-14 victory over an inspired Austintown Fitch crew in front of 10,922 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Friday.

Massillon (4‑1 ) had to do it without Vinny Turner, who suffered a pulled hamstring in the final seconds of the first half that prevented him from going 78-yards for a touchdown, and Vaughn Mohler, who may be done for the season with a torn lateral cruciate ligament.

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Clinging to a 14‑7 lead, Massillon began the second half by marching 67 yards in 15 plays. The sustained drive ate 7:17 off the game clock and was capped by George Whitfield’s one‑yard quarterback sneak into the end zone. Josh Hose added the conversion kick and the Tigers had the game under control at 21‑7.

Whitfield ran the football six times on the drive for 32 yards and hit Dustin Limbach for seven yards and a first down.

Raphel Bradley (6‑2, 215­-pounds) started the second half in Turner’s place and came up big for the Tigers. The junior tailback rushed six time for 22 yards on the march and icked up a pair of first downs.

”That was a critical drive there,” Rose agreed. “We had to go with Raphel and he did a good job for us. He carried it well for us and blocked well.

”That drive took eight mi­nutes off the clock. You do that and you’re going to be hard to beat.”

Fitch head coach Jack Kenney admitted he was feeling good about his teams chances after learning Turner was through for the night.

“We said we’re going to come out and we’re going to stuff them right now and we didn’t and they go in and score,” Ken­ney said. “That was a defining moment in this ball game.

“When Turner Went down I was prepared for them to go into more of a passing game. But they just come up with somebody else. They have a lot of great athletes around here.”

Fitch came right back after Massillon went up by 14 and moved the ball from its 25 to the Tiger 23, where the Falcons had first‑and‑10. But Jared Stefanko stuffed quarterback Jeff Lawrence on an option keeper for a two‑yard loss, and two plays la­ter Henry McElroy batted down a pass in the end zone to quell the visitors’ threat.

The gang from Austintown wasn’t through, though. After a pass interference call on Massillon, Lawrence hit David Yargo between the numbers at the Tiger 30. The ball bounced off Yargo’s pads and was grabbed in midair by Fitch’s Chayne Mitchell who sprinted into the end zone for an “immaculate reception” touchdown that covered 53 yards.

Chris Calcagni tacked on the PAT and it was a 21‑14 game with just under six minutes to play.

After the ensuing kickoff, the Tiger’s went three‑and‑out and punted. Fitch took over at its 37 with 3:24 to play. The Falcons managed a pair of first downs and penetrated to the Massillon 40. On first down at that point, Eric Lightfoot sacked Lawr­ence for a six‑yard loss. Two plays later, with Paul Salvino pressuring Lawrence, Stefanko intercepted the Fitch quarter­back at the 30‑yard line to secure the victory.

“Jared had a great drop and read the quarterback real well,” Rose said. “That was a great play at a very important time.”

Whitfield had a fine all ­around game for the Tigers, rushing for 59 yards in 15 totes. He hit on 7‑of‑15 passes for another 59 yards and 1 touchdown. But it was the senior’s execution of the option that left Rose smiling.

“That’s going to help us down the road.” Rose said. George was hitting option alley and took it right in there. He doesn’t need to pitch it a lot be­cause they’re going to try to take away the pitch man and make him run it. He is a big, strong back and he call take it up in there. He is a strong runner and he just needs to assert himself out there.”

Kenney, too, was impressed with Whitfield’s contributions.

“He gives Massillon a very, very balanced, nice attack,” Kenney said. ”That makes it difficult because we couldn’t gang up on anything.

“Their coaches were right in tune. Whatever we’d give, they’d take. They’re well prepared, as you’d expect from a class outfit like this. It was their balanced attack that kept us off guard.”

Massillon opened the scoring by moving the ball 42 yards in nine plays after Fitch went three-and –out on its first possession.

Turner, who finished with 123 yards on 10 carries, had the big play with a 14‑yard burst off right guard that took the ball to the 11. Two plays later, Whitfield rolled left and found tight end Chris Martin for a nine yard TD at the 6:00 mark of the first period.

Fitch counterpunched with a textbook, 14-play, 77-yard drive, that ate up nearly seven minutes. Chris Hunter scored standing up from a yard away with just over a minute gone in the second period. Calcagni’s kick made it a 7-7 contest.

After an exchange of punts, Massillon moved from its 39 to the Fitch 22 where it faced second‑and‑seven. Whitfield dropped back to pass and I threw what appeared to be a sure interception to Lawrence. But the pass went through the Falcon DB’s hands and was caught by Devin Williams at the three yard line.

On the next snap, Turner went in over right guard and tackle. Hose’s conversion boot made it 14-7 with 3:00 to go in the half.

“I think that was the real heartbreaker,” lamented Ken­ney. “If we go in at 7-7, we’d certainly have had a lot more confidence for the second half.”

Actually, Fitch dodged another bullet a couple of mi­nutes later when Turner pulled up lame on what looked to be a sure TD jaunt.

”Oh, yeah, he’s gone for a touchdown,” Rose said. ”We have it walled off and Vinny’s going down the sidelines for an 80‑yard run.

“But Raphel is going to do a good job for us. He is a strong back with great speed. he will break a tackle, get into the secondary and he will be gone.”

But Rose wasn’t all smiles afterward. In addition to the injuries to Turner and Mohler, he was upset with his team’s inability to keep the yellow flags in the officials’ pockets.

“We had six penalties tonight for 73 yards and they played error free ball evidently,” Rose said. “ We’re got to learn to not make those mistakes. We were in a mode where we could’ve got another touchdown drive going.

First downs rushing 10 8
First downs passing 5 4
First downs penalty 0 3
Total first downs 15 15
Net yards rushing 245 109
Net yards passing 59 108
Total yards gained 304 217
Passes attempted 15 14
Passes completed 7 5
Passes int. 1 1
Times kicked off 4 3
Kickoff average 52.0 52.7
Kickoff return yards 68 76
Punts 3 2
Punting average 37.7 25.5
Punt return yards 0 0
Fumbles 0 1
Fumbles lost 0 1
Penalties 6 0
Yards penalized 73 0
Number of plays 53 51
Time of possession 26:01 21:59
Attendance 10,922

FITCH 0 7 0 7 14
MASSILLON 7 7 7 0 21


First Quarter
M ‑ Martin 9 pass from Whitfield (Hose kick)

Second Quarter
F ‑ Hunter 1 run (Calcagni kick)
M ‑ Turner 3 run (Hose kick)

Third Quarter
M ‑ Whitfield 1 run (Hose kick)

Fourth Quarter
F ‑ Mitcliell 53 pass from Lawrence (Calcagni kick)


Turner 10‑123, 1 TD;
Whitfield 15‑59, 1 TD;
Bradley 7‑32
Wonsick 6‑31
Hunter 14‑54, 1 TD;
London 6‑27;
Lawrence 12‑19;
Mullennex 3‑6;
Toth 1‑3.

Whitfield 7‑15‑1, 59 yards 1 TD.
Lawrence, 5‑14‑1, 108 yards 1 TD.

Williams 2‑29;
Wiles 2‑9;
Martin 1‑9, 1 TD;
Limbach 1‑7;
Mohler 1‑5.
London 2‑40;
Chine 2‑15;
Mitchell 1‑53, 1 TD

George Whitfield

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1995: Massillon 20, Mansfield Senior 21

This time the mistakes are fatal

Fumbles, penalties key in Tigers’ loss to Mansfield

Assistant Sports Editor

In the first three weeks, the Massillon Tigers won games by keeping their fans on the edge of their seats.

Friday night at Arlin Field, the Mansfield Tygers kicked Massillon off the throne and slapped the Tigers with a shot of Skin Bracer across the cheek.

Mansfield, a team averaging more than 100 yards a game in penalties, Was flagged just three times and didn’t turn the ball over to hand Massillon its first loss of the season, 21‑20, in front of about 9,100 fans.

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“If this isn’t a wakeup call,” Massillon head coach Jack Rose said, ”I don’t know what it’s going to take. We told these guys before the game if we play­ed like we have been and let a team like that stay around, they’re going to gain confi­dence.

“For us, we’ve got to lick our wounds and we don’t have much time to do that. From me on down, everybody in this prog­ram is going to be held account­able for this.

“We’re going to find people who want to be in there. We didn’t coach them hard enough and they didn’t play hard enough. But we’ll bounce back.”

The win set off a wild celebra­tion on the grass at Arlin. The last time the Tygers beat Mas­sillon was in 1956, 14‑6. The Mansfield newspaper put the story on its front page.

“This is the biggest win in 40 years around here,” Mansfield fullback‑linebacker Marshall Levins said. “This is my senior year and I’ve played Massillon four times now. A win over them is the ultimate way to go out.

The two teams traded scores in the first half and went into intermission tied at 14.

Even after making its first blunder on a turnover in the third quarter, Massillon had a chance to win the game late in the fourth quarter.

With 7:49 left in the game, the Tigers started what would be their final legitimate chance to score. Beginning from the Mas­sillon 40‑yard line, Whitfield and Turner drove the Tigers to the Mansfield 9 with under 5 mi­nutes to play.

On third‑and‑one, Turner powered his way for three yards to set the Tigers up with first‑and-­goal.

On the next play, Whitfield took the snap and fullback Nate Wonsick collided with him. The ball popped loose and Mansfield recovered.

“I don’t think George had a good handle on the ball when he took it out from under center,” said Rose, who added, “I’m real disappointed with our turnov­ers and penalties.

“Heck, Mansfield came into the game averaging 100 yards in penalties and turning the ball over a lot, and we’re the ones who had trouble with that.”

On Massillon’s second play from scrimmage in the second half, the Tigers fumbled the ball and Mansfield’s Lacario Tufts covered the ball at the Massil­lon 42.

However, the Massillon de­fense forced Mansfield to punt after three plays. On the second play of the second drive, Whit­field found Vaughn Mohler ­breaking open at midfield. Whitfield laced the needle and hit Mohler in stride for an 80­ yard touchdown pass.

As Mohler raced into the end zone, he raised his hands in the air. An official threw a ques­tionable flag, and conveniently called Mohler, who did not point at a Mansfield defender, for taunting.

The score counted, but the Ti­gers had to attempt the conver­sion from the 18‑yard line. A pass play failed.

Rose didn’t really want to comment on the play but offered, “That really takes the play out of your hands.”

The score gave Massillon a short‑lived 20‑14 lead.

On the Tygers’ ensuing drive, quarterback Jeff Soliday hit Levins on a screen pass. The 6­foot‑3, 230‑pounder rumbled 50 yards down the left sideline for the TD. Nick Shasky’s kick gave the Tygers a 21‑20 lead.

Then Massillon turned into Mansfield of the first three weeks.

On a third‑and‑two play from the Massillon 23, Whitfield ran around the left side on a keeper. He ran over a Mansfield defender for the first down, but an illegal procedure penalty nulli­fied the play and the Tigers ‑ eventually punted.

Late in the third quarter Mas­sillon shot itself in the foot again.

The drive started at Massil­lon’s 17. The Tigers went to a tight end screen, and Whitfield hit Chris Martin for a 15‑yard gain. Two plays later, Whitfield connected with Devin Williams on a fade route. The ball was placed so only Williams could catch it as Mansfield’s Michael Jackson provided step‑for‑step coverage.

Four plays later, Turner broke loose and got inside the Mansfield 5 yard line. Once again, though, the play was brought back because of an illegal procedure call. Instead of having the ball at the 3, Mas­sillon had it at the 18.

On fourth down, Levins blitzed Whitfield but couldn’t bring him down. Whitfield’s valiant pass, however, fell in­complete in the back of the end zone.

“I’m not upset with the way George played tonight,” said Rose, who noted the senior com­pleted 10 of 18 passes for 204 yards.

Mansfield made it clear from the get-go it was a better than its 1-2 record indicated.

The Tygers took the opening drive 75 yards and scored with 6:31 left in the first quarter when Soliday, hit as he released the ball by Eric Lightfoot, found Levins for an 8‑yard score.

Realizing it was in a game, Massillon took its first posses­sion 61 yards and scored in seven plays. Turner carried the ball on five of those plays and accounted, for 52 yards, includ­ing a 7‑yard touchdown run, which came after he ran over a Mansfield defender at the 1-­yard line.

Massillon ate up 5:02 on its final score of the first half, and again Turner did most of the work. Of the Tigers’ 11 plays, Turner carried eight times ‑ including the final six plays.

Turner, who gained 102 of his 164 yards in the first half, cap­ped the drive when he waltzed into the end zone untouched from 7 yards out. Josh Hose’s point‑after kick tied the game at 14 with 4:55 to play in the first half.

If there’s a bright spot in the dark cloud over the Tigers, it was Whitfield’s effort. Rose wanted a more balanced attack, and Whitfield came through with 204 yards passing.

Massillon outgained Mansfield 368‑249. However, the Ti­gers have given away the ball eight times and taken it away just three times this season.

“We’re going to find out what kind of team we are,” Rose said. “We’ll find out what we’re made of this week.”

M Man
First downs rushing 8 8
First downs passing 7 4
First downs penalty 0 1
Total first downs 15 13
Net yards rushing 164 152
Net yards passing 204 97
Total yards gained 368 249
Passes attempted 18 14
Passes completed 10 7
Passes int 0 0
Fumbles 3 2
Fumbles lost 2 0
Penalties 5 3
Yards penalized 45 15

MANSFIELD 7 7 7 0 21
MASSILLON 7 7 6 0 20

First Quarter
Man – Levins 6 pass from Soliday (Shasky kick)
M ‑ Turner 7 run (Hose kick)

Second Quarter
Man ‑ Soliday 1 run (Shasky kick)
M ‑ Turner 2 run (Hose kick)

Third Quarter
M ‑ Mohler 80 pass from Whitfield (pass failed)
Man ‑ Levins 49 pass from Soliday (Shasky kick)


Turner 26‑141 2 TDs
Rife 21‑86

Whitfield 10‑18‑0, 197, 1 TD.
Soliday 7‑14‑0, 97, 2 TDs.

Williams 3‑51;
Mohler 1-80, 1 TD.
Rife 4‑22

George Whitfield

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1995: Massillon 21, Akron Garfield 14

Rams make Tigers sweat

Independent Sports Editor

It sure seemed like the Mas­sillon Tigers were on a roll when they carried a 21‑6 lead over the Akron Garfield Rams into the halftime locker room, Friday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

But the Tigers stumbled and bumbled their way through the second half, before regrouping to hold off the Rams 21‑14 in front of 10,872 fans. The victory boosts Massillon to 3‑0, while their counterparts from the Rubber City fell to an uncharac­teristic 0‑3.

In a subdued Tiger locker room after the game, head coach Jack Rose admitted the signs were there the orange-­and‑black might be in for a struggle.

“We didn’t practice very well all week,” Rose reported. “We just weren’t real crisp like we were the week before.

“We focused on Moeller real well. I didn’t see that same look this week. Anytime you have a ‘big win like (Moeller), that’s going to be the drawback. Plus the short week,. But (Garfield) is going to win some games. They’re a pretty good team.”

Garfield fumbled the game’s opening kickoff and it seemed the Tigers were in business at the visitors’ 35 yard line. But Massillon was unable to move the football and turned it over on downs at the 26.

Bill McGee’s Rams mounted one of their patented, clock ­eating, run‑dominated drives. They converted four third downs, the biggest coming at the Massillon 15 when a face mask penalty moved the ball to the 2‑yard line. Junior fullback Anthony Blackwell hit the mid­dle of the line on first‑and‑goal and burst into the end zone to give the Akron crew a 6‑0 lead at the 1:41 mark of the first quarter.

The 15‑play, 74‑yard march consumed 8:04 and it seemed the Tigers’ worst fears were being realized.

After the ensuing kickoff, Massillon took over at its 33. Quarterback George Whitfield Jr. picked up the host’s first first down of the evening on a two‑yard quarterback sneak on the first play of the second period.

After Vinny Turner picked up 12 yards up the middle, Whit­field bootlegged left and found a wide open Vaughn Mohler along the left sideline at the 10‑yard line. Mohler hauled in the foot­ball and coasted into the end zone. Josh Hose’s PAT made it 7‑6 Massillon at the 10:20 mark of the second quarter.

Garfield cranked up its full house T‑formation offense once again, moving from the Ram 31 to the Tigers’ 30. But the Massillon defense pushed Garfield back nine yards on three plays, forcing the punt which traveled out of bounds at the Tiger 17.

On first‑and‑10, Whitfield handed the ball to Turner, who found a seam off right tackle and was off to the races. He didn’t stop until 83 yards later, leaving several Garfield defenders in his jet stream. Hose was true on the conversion kick and Massillon suddenly had an 8 point lead at 14‑6 with 5:42 left in the half.

Garfield got poor field posi­tion after Matt Stanley boomed the kickoff. The Rams, starting at their 19, went three‑and‑out and set up to punt at their 25. But Massillon’s Bill Condon broke through and spiked the kick. It rolled toward the Garfield goal­line and after a mad scramble the Tigers’ Lance Grimsley fell on the football in the end zone for a touchdown.

Hose made it three‑for‑three and Massillon seemed to have it all their way at 21‑6 with 2:40 until the band show.

“It’s a crime to lose it on the kicking game,” lamented McGee. “But that’s what happened. We allowed them to block a punt. Those are always bad things. I don’t ever remember winning a football game in which we had a punt b1ocked. We haven’t had many blocked over the years. Maybe two or three. It’s something that’s not a good sign. It’s a momentum thing. We score first and we come in at halftime down 21‑6.”

Massillon fumbled away the second half kickoff and that was pretty much the way the third and fourth quarters would go for the Tigers.

Massillon held after the fum­ble, forcing Garfield to turn it over on downs at the 21. But the Tigers, after a couple of first downs, failed on a fourth‑and-­one at the Ram 39.

Garfield quarterback Phil Mitchell hit tight end Erick Hawkins for 33 yards on the second snap of the next series and the Rams were in business at the Tiger 25. Another face­mask penalty against the locals helped move the ball to the 8­-yard line. Three snaps later, Blackwell found the end zone from two‑yards out. The junior also hit paydirt for the two‑point conversion and it was a 21‑14 game with just over one period left to play.

After a Massillon punt, Gar­field got one final chance, tak­ing over at its 22 at the 1:55 mark. The Rams hit on four passes, but Lavell Weaver’s sack of Mitchell eftded the game.

First downs rushing 7 12
First downs passing 4 3
First downs penalty 1 0
Total first downs 12 15
Net yards rushing 190 169
Net yards passing 98 79
Total yards gained 286 248
Passes attempted 12 10
Passes completed 6 6
Passes int. 0 0
Times kicked off 4 3
Kickoff average 41.0 47.0
Kickoff return yards 69 29
Punts 2 4
Punting average 36.0 19.8
Punt return yards 12 8
Fumbles 2 1
Fumbles lost 2 1
Penalties 7 6
Yards penalized 41 47
Number of plays 39 59
Time of possession 16:24 31:36
Attendance 10,872

GARFIELD 6 0 8 0 14
MASSILLON 0 21 0 0 21


First Quarter
G ‑ Blackwell 2 run (run failed)

Second Quarter
M ‑ Mohler 44 pass from Whitfield (Hose kick)
M ‑ Turner 83 run (Hose kick)
M ‑ Grimsley recovered blocked punt in end zone (Hose kick)

Third Quarter
G ‑ Blackwell 2 run (Blackwell run)


Turner 16‑157, 1 TD;
Whitfield 5‑24;
Weaver 3‑4;
Wonsick 1‑4;
Blake 1‑1.
Miller 11‑67;
Owens 12‑50;
Blackwell 12‑39, 2 TDs;
McNeil 6‑18;
Weaver 1‑4.

Whitfield 6‑12‑0, 1 TD,
Mitchell 6‑10‑0.

Mohler 2‑49, 1 TD;
Williams 2‑18,
Turner 1‑17,
Wonsick 1‑12.
Gibson 3-38.
Hawkins 1-31,
Hawkins 1-31,
Owens 1-6,
Miller 1-4.

George Whitfield

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1995: Massillon 21, Cincinnati Moeller 18

No ‘Mo’ jinx; Tigers trip Moeller

Independent Sports Editor

Jack Rose has removed other monkey from the back of the Massillon Tigers.

A year ago, the Tigers traveled to Austintown and defeated the Fitch Falcons at Fitch for the first time in Mas­sillon football history.

Program Cover

Then, in November, Rose had the weight of the world lifted from his shoulders by notching its first win over storied rival Canton McKinley.

On Saturday, the Tigers did what no Massillon team had ever done before by dealing Cincinnati Moeller a 21‑18 defeat in front of 15,394 frenzied fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

But an exhausted Rose didn’t want to talk about jinxes or hexes after the Moeller victory.

“All we’re going to do now is worry about Garfield,” Rose said of this Friday’s opponent. “They’re an awfully good foot­ball team, so we’ve got to get our feet back on the ground and get ready for them.”

Tiger tailback Vinny Turner who rushed for 196 yards and all three Massillon touchdowns in just 25 carries, shared some of his coach’s sentiments.

“This is a big monkey off our backs,” Turner said. “This win helps us out a lot. It shows us where we’re at.

“Now we’ve got to get ready for Garfield. We’ve got to get our minds on Garfield.”

Turner was absolutely magnificent against Moeller. He accounted for more than 75 per­cent of the Tigers’ total offen­sive yardage.

Moeller let field position slip away early when a punt retur­ner failed to field a kick midway through the first quarter. It rol­led dead at the Crusaders’ 15. Three plays later the visitors punted and the Tigers were in business at the Moeller 42‑yard line.

On third and six from the 38, Turner took the ball on a draw play, broke a tackle on the left side of his line and went the dis­tance. Josh Hose’s PAT made it 7‑0 Massillon with 2:42 left in the first quarter.

Moeller’s special teams bet­rayed the Crusaders again as the Tigers’ Nate Wonsick fell on a fumbled punt at the visitors’ 29‑yard line with 6:43 1eft in the first half.

Turner was open deep down the left sideline on first down, but the pass was overthrown. The senior came right back on second down, breaking four tackles on a draw play for a 14­yard pickup to the Moeller 15.

Five plays later, Turner fol­lowed Tim Mendenhall, Ben Mast and Randy Weiford over the right side and into the end zone from a yard out. Hose’s conversion made it 14‑0 with 3:43 left in the half.

“Special team mistakes hurt us and then we couldn’t stop them when we had to stop them,” lamented head coach Steve Klonne.

“We got quick scores both times they made mistakes on special teams,” Rose agreed. “Good teams get a turnover and convert it into points. We did that well tonight.”

A disputed field goal ‑ after it appeared time had run out in the first half ‑ made it a 14‑3 game. Moeller came out of the locker room after halftime, stopped the Tigers’ initial second‑half drive, and then marched 80 yards in 11 plays. Quarterback Pat McLaughlin ran the option keeper around left end for the touchdown with 3:32 remaining in the third quarter. He hit Ted Fitz for the two‑point conversion and sud­denly Mo was back in it at 14‑11.

That’s when Turner and the Tigers turned it up a notch.

Taking over at the Massillon 34 after the kickoff, Turner bul­led for 10 yards off right guard and tackle on first down. On the next snap he burst off left guard, shedding several tack­lers at the line, and sprinted 40 yards to the Moeller 16.

One play later, Turner got the ball on a delayed handoff, found ­a seam in the middle of the line, then broke tackles at the 5‑ and 3‑yard lines before crossing the goal line. Hose’s boot made it 21‑11 Massillon with 1:33 left in the third period.

But Turner was nearly the goat, fumbling the ball away at the Moeller 44 after a nifty 19-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.

Six plays later, the Crusaders scored on Jim Higgins dive from three yards out. The kick by Jim Siciliano made it 21‑18, with 3: 00 to play.

It appeared Moeller would get another shot at it when the Tigers failed to complete a third‑and‑six pass play at their own 28. But a roughing the pas­ser penalty on the Crusaders – a call Klonne did not dispute – gave Massillon’s offense new life and the hosts ran out the clock.

“I felt it would have been a great injustice if they would’ve won the game on that fumble,” Rose said. “When he fumbled it there at the end, Vinny felt terrible.

“But he is only going to get better. He is a tailback who can break tackles and we haven’t had one of those around here in a while.

“My heart just about stopped when I lost that fumble,” Tur­ner said. “I’m glad the defense did what it did when it had to.”

Although Moeller had more total yards than the Tigers (281-­268), Klonne had praise for the Massillon defense.

“I thought they played very well, very sound,” he said. “They didn’t beat themselves by giving up the big play. They made us earn everything and they stopped our rushing game pretty good tonight.”

Massillon averaged 6.7 yards per running play to Moeller’s 4.2.

Our defensive front seven played a lot tougher and stron­ger this week,” Rose said. “We start eight underclassmen on defense and I thought they did a pretty good job against a really sophisticated offense.

“I’d like to see our under­neath coverage get better. On the plus side, I was happy to see our defensive line flash their hands and bat down some pas­ses out there.”

First downs rushing 12 8
First downs passing 2 9
First downs penalty 1 0
Total first downs 15 17
Net yards rushing 222 146
Net yards passing 46 135
Total yards gained 268 281
Passes attempted 9 18
Passes completed 4 14
Passes int. 0 0
Times kicked off 4 3
Kickoff average 36.0 46.3
Kickoff return yards 38 28
Punts 3 4
Punting average 40.3 34.2
Punt return yards 5 0
Fumbles 2 1
Fumbles lost 1 1
Penalties 1 4
Yards penalized 1 31
Number of plays 42 54
Time of possession 20:08 27:57
Attendance 15,394

MOELLER 0 3 8 7 18
MASSILLON 7 7 7 0 21

George Whitfield

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1995: Massillon 26, Youngstown Rayen 21

Tigers slink away with 26-21 win

Assistant Sports Editor

Walking off the turf at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Friday night, Youngstown Rayen coach Pete Lymber found a good luck charm.

It probably fell out of Jack Rose’s pocket. The Massillon head coach had luck on his side … more than ever.

Program Cover

Lymber, following his team’s last‑minute 26‑21 loss to the Ti­gers, picked up a dime. His team, tears streaming down their faces, walked past him.

“Hey, it’s my lucky dime,” Lymber said as he smiled at his shiney 10‑cent treasure. “I could have used this before the game.”

Friday night, though, luck wasn’t on Rayen’s side. Luck sided with Massillon and the 10,307 fans who attended what was supposed to be an easy win, for the locals.

Instead, the Tigers escaped what might have been the big­gest upset in the state.

“We feel very, very fortunate to get out of here with a win,” Rose said. “We told the kids be­fore we went out, ‘If you let a team like that stay in the game, they’re going to get more confi­dence as the game goes on.”

All the confidence in the world was taken out of Rayen’s sails by the time they boarded the bus to go back home. It took Massillon less than two minutes to deflate the high‑flying Divi­sion III team.

“I’ve been counting down the days until this game. The weight of the world is off my shoulders,” Lymber said “Back home, all the papers said we were going to get killed. They didn’t know why we were even playing the game. They found out tonight.”

With Massillon’s offense sputtering in the second quarter and most of the second half, Young­stown took a 21‑20 lead as the third quarter expired. Fullback David Morgan took a trap play 33 yards into the end zone and Dajaun Dukes’ point‑after gave Rayen the lead.

Stunned silence fell over the stadium.

Massillon tailback Vinny Tur­ner, who gained 120 yards in the first half alone, was on the sideline with an ankle injury. Until the Tigers’ last drive, the offense didn’t register a first down and only ran 12 plays and punted four times in the second half.

“When Vinny’s not in there … I’m not going to lie, the offense is different,” said Massillon senior quarterback George Whitfield. “When he was out, it was like we were lethargic on offense.

“He came back in and the line seemed to block a little harder and as a group, we gained more confidence. Everyone in the backfield looks to Vinny and he came through tonight.”

Turner didn’t do everything by himself, though. Along with Whitfield, the two seniors mak­ing their first offensive starts pardoned everyone in the sta­dium. Until the last drive, Mas­sillon was headed to the electric chair ‑ shocked by Rayen’s fourth‑quarter lead.

With three minutes left in the game, the Tigers began their final drive at their own 36‑yard line. And it started the same way much of the second half went.

Whitfield rolled left to pass and was quickly sacked for a 7-­yard loss.

On second down, Whitfield saw a wide open Brett Wiles breaking across the middle of the field. The gap closed quickly and Rayen’s Demetrius Jones nearly ended Massillon’s hopes. However, he dropped the sure interception.

“I wanted a second chance to prove myself and prove we could win this game,” Whitfield said. “We started to believe in ourselves again.”

Turner gimped off the side­lines and into Massillon’s hud­dle. Rose found his good luck charm.

Whitfield hit Vaughan Mohler for a 19‑yard pass to midfield. The next play, he rifled the ball to Henry McElroy. McElroy gained 14 yards on the short hitch route.

Then he hit a wide open Mohler at the Rayen 20. Mohler caught the ball near the left sideline and cut back to the mid­dle to Youngstown’s 5‑yard line.

“I was very disappointed in the fact that we didn’t show any emotion on offense,” Rose said. “I was pleased, though, with the poise George showed on the last drive.

“We have a kid making his first start at quarterback and we even had a sack to start the drive. He hung in there and ev­erything came together.”

Fittingly, Rose called Tur­ner’s number for the first time in the final drive. The 5‑foot‑10, 210‑pounder ran over Rayen’s smallish defensive line and into the end zone.

“I don’t know what happened to the offense tonight,” Turner said. “We’re capable of playing with me, or without me. I know I wanted the ball and I know we all wanted to win.”

Massillon flexed its muscles on the opening kickoff and jumped out to a quick 14‑0 lead, which was probably its first mistake.

We tookour first drive of the year right down and scored,” Rose said. “Before you know it, it’s 14‑0 and our defense hasn’t been on the field yet.

“Hell, our kids were looking at that and probably thinking ‘This is going to be too easy.”‘

Turner carried the ball on all but two of the Tigers’ 8‑play scoring drive to start the game. Out of Massillon’s full house goal‑line offense, Turner fol­lowed backs Nate Wonsick and Lavell Weaver into the end zone with 7:34 left in the first quarter.

Before fans could settle into their seats and finish a gulp of popcorn, Rayen turned the ball over on the ensuing kickoff. Junior Tony Danzy knocked the ball loose from Youngstown’s Squire Cross and Bill Condon recovered for Massillon at the Raven 24.

After an illegal procedure penalty on the Tigers, Whitfield attempted his first pass and completed it to Doug Steiner for a 12‑yard gain. Four plays later ­Turner tip‑toed into the end zone behind a key block by cen­ter Ed Evans. Josh Hose’s second point after made it 14‑0 with 4:39 left in the first quarter.

Rayen made the game more than interesting, though ‘

Youngstown’s Robert Johnson took Hose’s kick at the Rayen 4‑yard line. He pro­ceeded to keep running – 96 yards ‑ to the end zone for Rayen’s first score. Dajuan Dukes’ left‑footed PAT made it 14‑7.

And then Rayen made it even more interesting.

Massillon’s third possession started and ended quickly. Whitfield’s second pass was a bullet intended for Steiner near the left sideline. However, out­side linebacker R’Lay Wilker­son batted the ball with his left hand and managed to hang onto it for an interception.

Rayen got away from giving the ball to Johnson, clearly the fastest player on the field. In­stead, Youngstown attempted two wobbly passes and punted.

The Tigers’ offense decided to take the rest of the first quarter and half of the second quarter off. Turner went down with an ankle injury, but returned just before the end of the half.

Four plays after the mighty tailback went out, Whitfield hit Steiner with a strike near the left sideline again. However, the ball went through Steiner’s hands and to Rayen defensive back Demetrius Jones.

The Massillon defense hung tough. Rayen faced a third‑and-­four from the Tigers’ 31 yard line. Wilkerson, who doubles as Rayen quarterback, reversed his roll out and found Massillon outside linebacker Lavell Weaver in his face for a 15‑yard loss.

Turner returned to the offense with 5:05 left in the first half and coerced Massillon’s offense back to work.

Turner carried five times for 38 yards to get Massillon inside the Rayen 10. Elijah Blake wa­tered Massillon’s thirsty offense when he weaved his way to the end zone to give the Ti­gers a 20‑14 lead before half­time. Hose’s PAT was blocked.

Rayen was more than content with the score and ran the final two minutes off the clock.

“I’m disappointed that we weren’t emotionally into the game,” Rose said. “That cost us tonight. There are a few things we can take away from here and build on.

“We found out we’re not a very good team right now. That last drive is something that we can build on. We have a week to get ready and correct some mistakes to play Moeller. We better be ready to play that game.”

That’s right, Lymber pock­eted the dime and took it back to Youngstown.

First downs rushing 12 13
First downs passing 4 0
First downs penalty 0 0
Total first downs 16 13
Net yards rushing 190 164
Net yards passing 91 15
Total yards gained 281 179
Passes attempted 12 12
Passes completed 5 3
Passes int. 2 0
Times kicked off 5 4
Kickoff average 37.2 43.8
Kickoff return yards 64 105
Punts 4 4
Punting average 33.8 25.3
Punt return yards 0 20
Fumbles 1 1
Fumbles lost 1 1
Penalties 5 8
Yards penalized 39 36
Number of plays 50 53
Time of possession 24:41 23:19
Attendance 10,307

RAYEN 7 7 7 0 21
MASSILLON 14 6 0 6 26


First Quarter
M ‑ Turner 7 run (Williams kick)
M ‑ Turner 2 run (Williams kick)
R ‑ Johnson 96 kickoff return (Dukes kick)

Second Quarter
R ‑ Morgan 1 run (Dukes kick)
M ‑ Blake 7 run (kick failed)

Third Quarter
R ‑ Morgan 33 run (Dukes kick)

Fourth Quarter
M ‑ Turner 5 run (run failed)


Turner 24‑145, 3 TDs;
Blake 7‑40, 1 TD;
McGuire 1‑6 Wonsick 3‑7;
Morgan 14‑94, 2 TDs;
Johnson 17‑61;
Abrams 4‑17;
Jones 2‑15.

Whitfield 5‑12‑2. 91 yards,
Wilkerson 3‑12‑0. 15 yards.

Mohler 2‑52,
Steiner 2-25,
McElroy 1‑14,
Jones 2‑9,
Cross 1‑6

George Whitfield