Three Massillon Tigers are to be included in the 2017 induction class into the Stark County High School Football Hall of Fame. The Enshrinee Banquet will be held at Skyland Pines on Friday, July 14, 2017. The Tigers to be honored are Brian Gamble, Devin Jordan and Jack Rose.
Brian Gamble was a hard hitting safety and running back for the Tigers from 2004 to 2006. The 2006 Tiger co-captain was named first team all Ohio at safety in that year. He was named The Bob Commings Hardnose award winner his senior season. Defensively he he made a career total of 184 tackles, 21 for loss, 7 interceptions and had 16 pass break ups. Offensively he rushed for 2,487 career yards, 26 TDs, and caught 56 passes for 991 yards and 8 more TDs. After his Tiger career he played a couple years at Illinois where he caught a touchdown pass against the Ohio State Buckeyes. He then transferred to Ashland University where he was named 1st team all American safety for former Tiger coach Lee Owens.
Devin Jordan starred at wide receiver for the Tigers in 2001 and 2002 and was named 1st team All-Ohio both years. In 2001 he caught 101 passes for 1,504 yards and scored 18 TDs, which remains a Stark County Record for Yards, Receptions and TD’s in a single season. In 2002 his senior season he recorded 59 catches for 893 yards and 12 more touchdowns. After his Tiger career he received a scholarship to play for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Unfortunately his playing career was cut short by injury, but he became a graduate assistant coach for three years to start his coaching career. He has since returned to Stark County and has been an assistant coach (Wide Receivers) at Walsh University for the past five years.
Jack Rose enjoyed a long and successful head coaching career in Stark County. Jack was the 23rd Head Coach for the Massillon Tigers, coaching from 1992 to 1997 after being the defensive coordinator the previous season. He starred at wide receiver for Central Catholic and later at Southwestern Oklahoma State. He coached the 1984 St. Thomas Aquinas to the Division IV state championship and was an assistant coach at Kent State before coming to Massillon. Rose guided Aquinas, Massillon and GlenOak each to the playoffs, compiling a record of 132-83-1, including a 9-7 mark in the postseason. Rose’s coaching record at Massillon was 48-17 with a winning percentage of .738. His signature victory came in the historic 100th game vs. Canton McKinley where the Tigers prevailed 42-41 in overtime. Jack twice lead the Tigers to 10 win seasons.
Please join us in congratulating these three Tiger greats. Go Tigers! #TIG
TIGERS IN THE STARK COUNTY FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME 2002 Paul Brown, Massillon coach Bob Commings, Massillon coach, GlenOak coach Jim Houston, Massillon player Chris Spielman, Massillon player Harry Stuhldreher, Massillon player 2003 Tommy James, Massillon player 2004 2005 Chuck Mather, Massillon coach John McVay, Massillon player, Central coach Jim Reichenbach, Massillon player, GlenOak and Tuslaw Coach 2006 Jim Letcavits, Massillon player, Massillon coach John Muhlbach, Massillon player, Oakwood coach 2007 Homer Floyd, Massillon player Dennis Franklin, Massillon player 2008 Lin Houston, Massillon player 2009 Horace Gillom, Massillon player Hase McKey, Massillon player 2010 Steve Luke, Massillon player 2011 Tommy Hannon, Massillon player Joe Sparma, Massillon player 2012 2013 Travis McGuire, Massillon player Justin Zwick, Massillon player Ray Getz, Massillon player 2014 2015 Jerrod Vance, Massillon player Bob Vogel, Massillon player 2016 Shawn Crable
Tigers throw scare into dogs with second-half turnaround
By JOE SHAHEEN Independent Sports Editor
It started as if a rout was the order of the day. It ended with the Massillon Tigers giving the McKinley Bulldogs a bit of a scare before succumbing 27‑14 in the 104th meeting between the two Ohio high school football giants in front of a full house at Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium in Canton this afternoon.
The Tigers went one‑two-three punt on each of their first three possessions, while McKinley put together scoring drives of 4, 11 and 11 plays to jump to a 21‑0 lead early in the second quarter. At that point, the Bulldogs seemed very deserving of their No. 1 rating in USA Today’s national high school rankings.
But a funny thing happened to the Pups on their way to a blowout. Massillon’s outmanned Tigers, riding the grit and savvy of quarterback Tip Danzy, the hard running of fullback Dave Hodgson and a defense that wouldn’t quit when it was down, made it a game and then some.
“The kids came back and we made a few adjustments at halftime,” said Tigers coach Jack Rose. “I told them a lesser team would have thrown in the towel when it was 27‑7 at halftime and get blown out.
“There’s no quit in these young men. They carne out in the second half and played their hearts out.”
McKinley bench boss Thom McDaniels did not want to hear any talk of his team letting down after building a three touchdown lead at the intermission.
“I don’t think we let down,” he said. “I think we got a little sloppy in the second half. I think our execution diminished, but I don’t think there was any kind of a conscious letdown. We just didn’t play as well.
“The team on the other side of the field was good. Again, you have to maintain concentration and try to execute for 48 minutes. We had our lapses primarily with penalties we had some really inopportune penalties.”
The Tigers got excellent field position when Julian Miller returned the opening kickoff to the Tiger 44, but three plays and just two yards later were forced to punt. McKinley took over at its 45 after an 18 yard return by Fred Wilcox.
On third‑and‑six from the 49, Ben McDaniels found Matt Curry on a short slant pattern, and Curry did the rest, sprinting across the grain to the Tiger 26. On the next play, DeMarlo Rozier took a pitch around left end and outran the Massillon defense to the end zone. Phil Armatas’ conversion kick made it 7‑0 McKinley at 9:22 of the first period.
Once again Miller ‑ and a facemask penalty on the Pups ‑ gave the Tigers good field position at their 45. But Massillon could pick up just five yards in three snaps and were forced to punt.
Rozier got the ball on the first four snaps of McKinley’s second possession, as the Bulldogs moved from their 29 to just beyond midfield. Then McDaniels bootlegged left and hit Wilcox for 22 yards to the Tigers 26. Rozier again got the ball on four consecutive snaps, setting up second and goal at the Massillon 8. McDaniels scrambled for five yards to the 3, before Isaiah Robinson found a small hole over right guard and scored the second TD of the game.
Armatas was again true with the PAT and McKinley, led 14‑0 at 2:59 of the first quarter.
McKinley’s third touchdown drive again followed a Massillon punt and began at its 41. A third down roughing the passer penalty gave the march life at the Tigers 40. On third and four from the 34, Rozier ripped off a nine‑yard gain over left guard for a first down at the 25.
McDaniels hooked up with Curry for 11 yards to the 16 and three plays later Rozier burst through a hole over his right guard and into the end zone from seven yards out. Armatas capped off the 11play drive with the PAT at 9:33 of the second quarter to make it 21‑0 and McKinley fans were ready to party.
It looked like they’d get their chance after Massillon again couldn’t move the football and was forced to punt from its 18. But Josh Hill turned the game around by slicing through the McKinley offensive line to nail Richard Bradley for an 11‑yard loss on a sweep play. Josh Kreider forced McKinley to punt by bringing Bradley down in the open field after he snared a McDaniels third‑down pass in the flat.
“What happened defensively is we finally adapted to their speed,” explained Rose. “Initially we were taken aback a little. They have such great speed and it is difficult to simulate that in practice. Once we got in the flow a little bit, we did better.”
Massillon took over at its 27 after McKinley punted. Hodgson got the ball on four straight plays and picked up 25 yards, including 13 on a draw play that moved the ball to the McKinley 48. On third and 10, Danzy dropped back to pass, saw a seam open up in the middle, and took off for an 11-yard gain and a first down.
Then Danzy found Andy Cocklin on the right sideline for 16 yards. A late hit flag on McKinley moved the ball to the 10. After a first down play lost four yards, Danzy again dropped back and again saw the red sea of Bulldogs jerseys part. He never hesitated, sprinting 14 yards to paydirt and Massillon was on the board at 21‑7 with 2:37 left in the half.
The rejuvenated Massillon defense stopped McKinley after a couple first downs and forced the punt. But Massillon couldn’t move the football either and was forced to punt from its 24 with under :30 left in the half.
Les Thompson broke through the Tigers blocking scheme and blocked Luke Shilling’s kick. Robinson scooped up the ball at the 15 and raced to the end zone for the back breaking touchdown. A missed PAT made it 27‑7 at halftime.
“The last thing we wanted was to fall behind by three touchdowns to this team,” Rose said. “I said that earlier in the week.
“The blocked punt really hurt, but we had a couple plays there that if we would have executed them, we wouldn’t be punting. In a big game like this, you have to execute every time and we had a few plays where we didn’t get the job done.”
Massillon stuffed McKinley on the Bulldogs first possession of the second half. The Tigers then moved from their 33 to McKinley’s 30, where they faced a pivotal fourth-and‑one. But the option blew up in their face for a seven yard loss and a scoring opportunity went by the wayside.
McKinley’s next two series’ ended in a punt and a missed field goal, the latter setting the Tigers up at their own 20. After Massillon gained a first down at the 31, Hodgson raced 18 yards on a draw play and a personal foul on McKinley moved the ball into Bulldog territory at the 42. On third and seven from the 39, Danzy rolled left, then scrambled back to the right and finally found Christian Morgan over the middle for a 21‑yard gain to the 18.
Hodgson again made the Pups pay for their over‑pursuit by grinding out 12 yards on the draw to the McKinley 5. One play later, Danzy rolled left and completed a pass to Neil Buckosh in the end zone for the touchdown. Josh Hose was true with the PAT kick and it was McKinley 27, Massillon 14 with 10:37 to play.
The Massillon defense, smelling blood now, again shut down the McKinley attack on three plays to force a punt that Kreider fair caught at the Tiger 34. On third and four from the 40, Danzy and Hodgson executed the shovel pass to perfection to pick up 15 yards to the Bulldogs 45 and the locals were rolling.
Danzy dropped back to throw on second and seven. Tyrie Clifford made a twisting grab of the wounded duck at the McKinley 8 and the Bulldogs faithful were concerned.
But the Tigers failed to execute a handoff following an audible on the next snap and McKinley’s Mike Doss came up with the fumble to quell the threat and effectively secure a perfect 10‑0 regular season for the Pups.
Again the Tigers could have rolled over. There was still nearly seven minutes to play in the contest and the Bulldogs would’ve loved nothing more than to tack on another touchdown, just for celebration purposes.
But the Massillon defense stood tall and gave the offense another shot in the waning moments. Danzy was standing in the pocket still pitching at the final gun, not willing to concede anything, even in defeat.
As the Tigers trudged off the field, there was no griping from the Massillon fans. Just thank‑yous for making a game against the nation’s top ranked high school football team.
“I’ve got to give our fans a lot of credit,” Rose concluded. “They hung in there with us today the entire time. The team appreciated that and I did, too. The fans were a great help in this.”
McKinley 27, Massillon 14 Massilion McKinley First downs rushing 9 9 First downs passing 6 5 First downs by penalty 0 3 total first downs 15 17 rushing yards 146 183 passing Yards 151 134 total offense 297 317 passing attempts 31 23 completions 15 13 touchdown passes 1 0 interceptions 1 0 punts 6 6 punting average 26.3 37.5 fumbles 5 2 fumbles lost 2 0 Penalties 5 8 yards penalized 57 86
When it was all said and done, the Brunswick Blue Devils secured a berth in the Division I regional finals against the McKinley Bulldogs the old fashioned way … they earned it.
The Massillon Tigers, beneficiaries of four Brunswick fumbles, could not convert any of the takeaways into points, and dropped a 7-6 heartbreaker in front of 6,839 at the Akron Rubber Bowl, Saturday.
Massillon’s speed and quickness was negated by the snow covered and slippery Rubber Bowl artificial turf, and Brunswick established an advantage at the line of scrimmage that finally paid off on its final drive of the evening.
“They have some very strong kids,” observed Jack Rose. We had a hard time moving them out of there, When we did, we got some plays run.
“But you only get so many opportunities They had a couple turnovers that gave us great field position. We didn’t capitalize on them. You knew it was going to be a one-touchdown game. We had a chance to get it done.”
Brunswick overcame a size disadvantage on both lines to win the game’s statistical battle out gaining the Tigers 194 to 123.
“I’d like to think we controlled the line of scrimmage,” said Brunswick coach Tom Fasko.
“We did a great job in the second quarter coming off the football and in the fourth quarter as well.”
The Blue Devils employed two tight ends and their attack was at its best when it had to be. The Brunswick defense came ….. takeaway, recovering a Massillon fumble at midfield with 6:43 to play and the Tigers leading 6-0.
Tailback Brian Kolin carried the football on five consecutive plays, including a 14-yard burst up the middle, as Brunswick moved from its 48 to the Massillon 25. Jesse Peticca got the football on the counter trey on two of the next three snaps to set up second-and-six from the 10. Then Kohn took the pitch around left end to the two yard line.
Kolin capped off the drive by going into the middle of the line for the touchdown at 2:31 of the fourth quarter. Nick Gargano’s conversion kick was good and Massillon’s post-season was over.
Easko acknowledged his charges were able to execute on the final game-deciding drive …. field conditions.
“We couldn’t afford a mistake at that point,” he said. “We couldn’t have a penalty. We couldn’t have a turnover. We had to execute flawlessly under these conditions. It was a tribute to our offense. And except for one play, our defense played a great game also.”
“We were pretty confident coming in,” said Kolin, who finished with 73 yards and no fumbles in 18 carries. “We were underdogs for the first time this season and that was motivation.”
On the final drive, Kolin knew he was going to Brunswick’s featured runner after splitting tailback duties with Dave Harris most of the game.
“We marched on them,” Kolin said. “We knew we could. It’s just that the cold and wetness really made the football slippery, so you’re never sure about your traction out there/”
“We knew we had six-and-a-half minutes left and we said, “Hey, this is it. It’s now or never,” said Fasco. “Our kids buckled it up, We had some nice runs and we got some great calls from upstairs.”
Christian Morgan put the Blue Devils in a comeback mode midway through the third period. Brunswick had buried the Tigers deep in their territory with a punt and a clipping penalty. But on first-and-10 from the Massillon 11, quarterback Ben Hymes checked off to toss sweep around right end.
Morgan broke two arm tackles at the line of scrimmage and was off to the races. Eighty nine yards later he crossed the goal line and the Tigers led 6-0.
But other than that play. Massillon was unable to get any thing going on offense. In fact, when Morgan’s 89-yard touchdown jaunt is subtracted, the Tigers had just 44 yards rushing. They also were an abysmal 0-12 on third down conversions and committed six penalties for 45 yards.
Rose was not about to attribute the defeat to the emotional baggage of the McKinley game or the less than ideal field conditions.
“I really thought we had over … had really good practices. Wednesday and Thursday, I really felt good coming into this game except for the fact we had so much flu going through the team that we didn’t have everyone together for practices at one time.
“This is northeast Ohio, It’s going to be 70 degrees one day and like this the next. We didn’t get out on the perimeter with the option. We did run the toss sweep, but we thought we could get to the corner on them. Hey, they played in this, too. They are more of a hammer team than we are, but I’m not going to … .
Massillon had two golden opportunities to convert Brunswick turnovers ito scores. In the first period, the Blue Devils muffed a punt at their 23 and the Tigers recovered. Four plays (including two incompletions and a sack) and minus four-yards later, Massillon turned the ball back to Brunswick on downs.
Brunswick’s second gift to Massillon came with 10:52 to play when B.J. Burick fell on another muffed punt at the Blue Devil’s 22. Hymes gained eight yards on a second down sneak, but the Tigers again failed to get a first down in four snaps.
“We had our chances,” Rose said. “We had our chances …”
BRUNSWICK 7 MASSILLON 6 M Man First downs rushing 2 11 First downs passing 1 0 First downs penalty 0 0 Total first downs 3 11 Net yards rushing 123 194 Net yards passing 10 5 Total yards gained 133 199 Passes attempted 12 5 Passes completed 2 2 Passes int 1 0 Times kicked off 2 2 Kickoff average 31 36.5 Kickoff return yards 14 0 Punts 6 5 Punting average 32.8 30.4 Punt return yards 1 0 Fumbles 3 4 Fumbles lost 1 4 Penalties 6 4 Yards penalized 45 20 Number of plays 44 52 Time of possession 21:53 26:07 Attendance 5,839
Tigers have to be resilient this week Can’t dwell defeat; Brunswick looms
By Joe Shaheen Independent Sports Editor
The McKinley Bulldogs played their best game of the 1996 regular season when it counted most in the annual Week Ten confrontation with the Massillon Tigers.
The result was a 21-0 white washing of the Tigers and a berth in the playoffs against Grove City on Saturday at Mansfield’s Arlin Stadium.
The Tigers played arguably their worst game of the ’96 regular season against the Pups.
Now it is up to Jack Rose and the Tigers to prove they can get up off the deck an prepare for the Brunswick High Blue Devils, who will provide the opposition in Massillon’s playoff opener this Saturday at the Rubber Bowl.
McKinley’s victory over Massillon, though not dominating was complete. The Bulldogs had the advantage in all three phases of the game, offense, defense and special teams.
The Bulldogs offense put together only one sustained scoring march all afternoon, but it came at the onset of the second half and virtually sealed the Tigers doom by expanding the deficit from 13 points to 21.
The 12 play, 84 yard drive, consumed just over seven minutes off the game clock and featured an effective play action short passing game by sophomore quarterback Ben McDaniels and was capped by Jamar Martin’s four yard touchdown run.
McKinley’s third quarter scoring drive served two purposes, it left just over one quarter of play for the Tigers to close the three touchdown deficit and it was an effective counter point to Massillon’s initial second half drive, which lasted three play and failed to produce a first down.
Massillon’s offense was bottled up for 18 minutes, as much by its own mistakes as the terrible field position forced upon it all afternoon long. The Tigers generated 110 yards of total offense, barely more than half of the Bulldogs modest total 206 yards.
The Bulldogs defense negated the Tigers massive offensive line and thus their vaunted running attack most of the day. Massillon receivers dropped at least five catchable balls and the Tigers forgot about tight end Chris Martin after he caught two passes in the first series of the game.
Although McKinley missed three field goals, the Bulldogs placement specialists boomed four kickoffs for an average of just under 58 yards per kick. The deep well placed kicks limited Massillon to an average of 10 yards per return.
The Bulldogs special teams also produced a big play on the opening kickoff when Trevor Vaught tore off a 30 yard return to midfield. While McKinley did not score on that possession, it seemed to rock the Tigers back on their heels and set the tone for the rest of the afternoon.
What will stand out in most fans minds was the two McKinley interceptions that set the Bulldogs offense up with first and goal inside the Tigers 5 yard line twice in the first half. Those picks led to a pare of short touchdown runs by De’Andrae Jeter.
What they may forget is McKinley’s late first half drive which nearly produce another TD (it could’ve been a lot worse) and the game long effectiveness of Ben McDaniels, who completed 9 of 13 passes (69 percent) for 143 yards against an accomplished Tiger secondary which picked off a dozen aerials this season.
If there is one comforting development for the Tiger fan who crave a state champtionship and some revenge over McKinley, it is recent history.
Twice since the playoffs were instituted in 1980, Massillon and McKinley have met in the playoffs. Both times the team that prevailed during the regular season was defeated in the playoffs.
The Tigers are hoping they will get a chance to make history repeat itself.
MCKINLEY………….. 21 MASSILLON…………… 0
M Mck First downs rushing 3 3 First downs passing 5 6 First downs penalty 0 0 Total first downs 8 9 Net yards rushing 95 75 Net yards passing 68 143 Total yards gained 110 206 Passes attempted 20 13 Passes completed 6 9 Passes int 2 0 Times kicked off 1 4 Kickoff average 40 57.8 Kickoff return yards 42 30 Punts 6 4 Punting average 33.2 33.3 Punt return yards -3 3 Fumbles 0 1 Fumbles lost 0 1 Penalties 4 2 Yards penalized 23 30 Number of plays 54 52 Time of possession 24:01 23:59
MCKINLEY 0 13 8 0 21 MASSILLON 0 0 0 0 0
SCORING SUMMARY Second Quarter Mck Jeter 1 run (Curry kick) Mck Jeter 2 run(kick failed)
Third Quarter Mck Martin 4 run (McDaniels pass to Gambler)
All you need to know about the thoroughness of the Massillon Tigers 47-7 thrashing of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary Friday night as the Fighting Irish offense couldn’t advance the football past midfield until the 3:45 mark of the third quarter.
By that point, the Tigers had already built a 35‑0 1ead and were substituting liberally as looked they looked ahead to next week’s annual confrontation with the McKinley Bulldogs, who will play host to St. Thomas Aquinas this evening.
St. Vincent‑St. Mary veteran head coach John Cistone was matter-of-fact about his team’s demise in front of 8,766 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
“Massillon is as good a football team as I’ve seen,” he said. “I’ve seen Ignatius on TV. But we scouted about three Tigers games … better … last year .. the last few years. I think. They’re pretty well balance. They’re real strong on the defensive and offensive lines. They pursue well. They have everything to be a great football team.”
The Tigers came into the ninth week wanting to establish some consistency in their passing game to balance an attack that has leaned heavily on the ground game the past three or four weeks. They accomplished that as starting quarterback Ben Hymes connected on 9 of 12 aerials for 195 yards and two touchdowns.
Hymes, who spent a season at St. Vincent-St. Marry before transferring to Massillon, was pleased with his performance.
“We saw some open guys and we threw it to them,” Hymes said with a broad smile. “Yes, I was glad to get a good game throwing the ball under by belt. We’re starting to get it all together going into the Canton McKinley game. We’re polishing it up.”
Hymes’ best throw of the evening came on the Tigers second possession. The Irish had just been flagged for pass interference on Devin Williams, giving Massillon the ball and a first down at the St. Vincent-St. Mary 38.
The Tigers offensive line gave Hymes airtight protection as he dropped back. Eric Lightfoot had a step on the St. V cornerback and Hymes hit him in perfect stride on the post pattern for the touchdown with 5:05 left in the first quarter. Josh Hose’s conversion kick gave Massillon a 14-0 advantage.
It also gave Hymes and the offense an extra dose of confidence, while forcing the Irish (and McKinley next week) to honor the Tigers passing game.
“We wanted to throw the ball better,” said Jack Rose. “The biggest emphasis this week was getting the passing game going again and throwing the ball where it is supposed to go and we did a good job of that.
“We needed to score some points tonight. We needed to hit some big plays. We needed for the quarterback to have some success. We needed to pass protect well. When Ben sets his feet, he’s pretty good. We were a lot more balanced offensively.”
The statistics bear out Rose’s claim. Massillon rushed for 207 yards and passed for 242 yards.
Brian Baer was Hymes’ favorite target this night, snaring four passes for 33 yards. Williams had three catches for 51 yards and a touchdown on a beautifully executed pump-and-go pattern along the left sideline that covered 19 yards with just over a minute remaining in the first half.
Massillon opened the game by marching 72 yards in 14 plays. Christian Morgan carried on seven of those snaps, crashing into the end zone from four yards out at 6:54 of the first period. Hose converted to make it a 7-0 game.
After the Irish went three-and-out, Hymes hit Lightfoot on the post pattern to make it a 14-0 game.
St. Vincent-St. Mary continued to struggle on its second possession. On second and 15 from its own 12, quarterback Rob Adamson went deep. But Lightfoot made a sensational, leaping interception at the 47. The senior safety was escorted down the left sideline by a cadre of Tiger blockers and dove into the end zone for the touch. Hose again was perfect and Massillon led 21-0 with just over four minutes remaining in the first period.
The Irish got one first down on their next possession but were force to punt from their 38. Massillon took over at its 30 and again began to drive the football. On second and 15 from the 25, Hymes hooked up with Baer for 16 yards over the middle. Two plays later it was Hymes and Williams making the connection for 27 yards to the Irish 23.
Six plays later, Elijah Blake found a hole over right guard and scored from three yards out. Hose’s PAT was true and the Tigers owned a 28-0 advantage with 8:33 left in the half.
Massillon upped its cushion to 35-0 at halftime when Hymes and Williams executed the hitch and go from 19 yards out.
The Tigers scored in the third period when Hymes hit fullback Jared Stefanko with a swing pass along the right sideline. Stefanko turned on the jets and 74 yards later was pulled down at the Irish 1. Morgan slashed into the end zone from there and it was a 41-0 game.
“The number one thing we were worried about was a letdown from the week before and looking ahead to the tenth week,” Rose admitted afterward. “Then you’re worried about injuries from guys not playing hard. It has been very difficult this week in the building because people are talking about the Moeller game and the McKinley game. But the kids were well focused and practiced very well all week long.”
As for Hymes, who admitted satisfaction at beating his old teammates, it’s time to prepare for McKinley.
“My main goal is to settle down until I get to the game.” he said. “If I had my choice. I’d be playing the game this Monday instead of next Saturday. This is going to be a long toward playing them for a long time now.”
MASSILLON 47 ST. VINCENT 7 M V First downs rushing 12 4 First downs passing 7 2 First downs penalty 1 0 Total first downs 20 6 Net yards rushing 207 91 Net yards passing 242 43 Total yards gained 449 144 Passes attempted 14 15 Passes completed 10 4 Passes int. 1 1 Times kicked off 8 2 Kickoff average 42.3 49.5 Kickoff return yards 32 87 Punts 2 8 Punting average 29.5 29.3 Punt return yards ‑7 ‑1 Fumbles 3 6 Fumbles lost 1 1 Penalties 2 6 Yards penalized 15 50 Number of plays 61 41 Time of possession 28:26 19:34 Attendance 8,766
ST. VINCENT 0 0 0 7 7 MASSILLON 21 14 6 6 47
First Quarter MASS – Morgan 4 run (Hose kick) MASS – Lightfoot 38 pass from Hymes (Hose kick) MASS – Lightfoot 47 pass int. return (Hose kick)
Second Quarter MASS – Blake 3 run (Hose kick) MASS – Williams 19 pass from Hymes (Hose kick)
Third Quarter MASS – Morgan 1 run (kick failed) ST V – K Alvarado 2 run (Tricomi kick) MASS – Tony Danzy 47 pass for Tip Danzy (kick failed)
Massillon Morgan 20-98, 2 TDs; Blake 10-42, 1 TD; Tip Danzy 1-20; Hodgson 4-7; Bradley 5-6; Childs 2-6; Autrey 1-6; Hymes 1-4; Stefanko 1-3. St. Vincent K Alvarado 5-56 1 TD; Morgan 8-18; Ake 2-14; Short 5-11.
Passing Massillon Hymes 9-12-195-1 2 TDs St Vincent Adamson 4-14-53-1; Cook 0-1
Receiving Massillon Baer 1-83; Williams 3-52, 1 TD; Stefanko 1-73 Duffy Vance 1-47, 1 TD St. Vincent
The Massillon Tigers marched 68 yards on 10 plays on their first possession of 1996, scoring a touchdown when a Mansfield Madison defender bobbled a sure interception and the ball fell into the hands of Tigers’ wideout Devin Williams.
It was that kind of night for Massillon, which rolled past a veteran Madison squad 33‑6 in front of 12,131 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Friday.
The Tigers unveiled their new dropback passing attack against a Madison defense that had eight returning starters from an 8‑2 1995 campaign. Massillon quarterback Ben Hymes hit on 11 of 16 passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Just as important, the senior was not intercepted all night long and contributed a 30‑yard run to the goal line in his first career start.
But the play that set the tone culminated the initial drive of the season. On second and nine from the Madison 10, Hymes rolled right and threw to Brian Baer in the end zone. Rams safety Kevin Stamper stepped in and appeared to have a drive killing pickoff. However, the ball bounced out of his grasp and into Williams arms for the score.
Josh Hose drilled the conversion kick and Massillon was out 7‑0 at the 7:07 mark of the first quarter.
”We went right into coverage on that play,” pointed out Tigers coach Jack Rose. “Their free safety jumped the play and we didn’t see him. We were fortunate, but Devin Williams has a way of doing things like that, you know. He always finds those tipped balls.”
Hymes made no bones about the fact he was lucky to avoid the interception.
“He was open in the end zone and I threw it a little behind him,” Hymes recalled. “But my guys worked hard and helped me out a little bit.”
Williams admitted he was fortunate to be where the ball bounced.
“I saw it bobbling in his hands,” Williams said. “I was in the right place at the right time and it fell in my hands. Part of that is luck, part of it is instinct and knowing where the ball is going to be at on that play.”
Madison crossed midfield on its initial possession of the evening, but a big hit by Tigers defensive back Henry McElroy on a third down completion stopped the Rams drive.
Madison earned one first down on its next drive but went three and out on the third possession of the evening. At that point the Tigers offense again got untracked. Elijah Blake ground out a first down at the Mansfield 42. Two plays later, with Hymes on the sideline because of an open, scrape, Tip Danzy executed the option keeper around right end. He cut back at the Rams 30 and jitter bugged his way to the 12. A facemask penalty moved the ball to the 8. On second and goal, Hymes found fullback Chris Autrey with a soft toss in the end zone and Massillon led 13‑0 with 3:35 until halftime.
The Tigers defense continued to stifle Madison’s flex bone attack, holding the visitors to three first half first downs and 56 total yards.
“The defense really played well,” Rose said. “We can really snap to the ball this year. We’re a much faster team and that’s going to help us.”
But the Massillon mentor was worried at halftime.
“We’re up 13‑0 at halftime, but we had run 31 plays and only had 13 points to show for it, so I was a little concerned,” Rose said. “I told the offense they weren’t playing a real good tempo. There was no sense of urgency. The defense played with a sense of urgency. But overall, we made plays when we had to.”
If the first touchdown of the night set the tempo, the developments just after the band show sealed the visitors’ fate. On the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, Madison quarterback Justin Larrick lost the handle on the football and Massillon’s Eric Lightfoot recovered at the Rams 19.
A holding penalty on the Tigers first snap moved the ball back to the 31, but Hymes found daylight around left end on the option keeper, before going down at the one. Raphel Bradley bucked in from there and it was 19‑0 with just 29 seconds elapsed in the second half.
Hymes hit a Tiger in the Massillon end zone on the next possession, but was victimized by a drop or the orange and black would’ve broken the game wide open midway through the third.
Madison finally got its offense untracked late in the third quarter, marching 53 yards in eight plays. Larick hit Stamper on a seven‑yard scoring toss with just :41 remaining in the quarter to make it a 19‑6 game after three.
Massillon did not allow its guests to keep the momentum, however. On third and two from the Tigers 47 on the ensuing possession, Bradley found a gap up the middle, hurdled a Madison defender at the Rams 48 and sprinted untouched the rest of the way into the end zone. Hymes ran in the two‑point conversion and Massillon held a commanding 27‑6 lead with just under 11 minutes to play.
The locals closed the scoring when sophomore defensive tackle Gordon Biggums scooped up a Madison fumble and rumbled 51 yards to the Rams 9. Two plays later, Bradley dove into the end zone from a yard out at the 7:39 mark of the fourth.
Madison coach Dana Woodring was matter of fact about the outcome.
“You have an opportunity to stop them down there deep and give your offense a chance to get going on the first drive of the game and they come away with a touchdown,” he said. “Then we didn’t start the second half off very good.
“The Tigers are a very good football team. We’re not going to take that away from them. They were the better team. They did the things they do well. They ran the off tackle very well. They have quick kids at the receiver spot. We had a lot of trouble manning up with them.”
MASSILLON 39 MADISON 6 MASS MAD First downs rushing 9 7 First downs passing 5 5 First downs penalty 0 0 Total first downs 14 12 Net yards rushing 176 139 Net yards passing 102 111 Total yards gained 278 250 Passes attempted 16 21 Passes completed 11 11 Passes int. 0 0 Times kicked off 6 2 Kickoff average 53.7 42.5 Kickoff return yards 26 80 Punts 4 6 Punting average 37.8 32.3 Punt return yards 41 0 Fumbles 4 4 Fumbles lost 1 3 Penalties 4 2 Yards penalized 32 14 Number of plays 56 54 Time of possession 26:06 21:54 Attendance 12,131
MADISON 7 6 6 14 33 MASSILLON 0 0 6 0 6
First Quarter MASS ‑ Williams 9 pass from Hymes (Hose kick)
Second Quarter MASS ‑ Autrey 6 pass from Hymes (kick failed)
Third Quarter MASS ‑ Bradley 1 run (run failed) MAD ‑ Stamper 7 pass from Larrick (run failed)
Fourth Quarter MASS ‑ Blake 52 run (Hymes run) MASS ‑ Bradley 1 run (kick failed)
In a season filled with ‘nail-biters, Tiger claws wear thin vs. McKinley
By JOE SHAHEEN 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.
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.
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.”
Mistakes doom Tigers’ title run Massillon ends with 10-2 slate
By JOE SHAHEEN Independent Sports Editor
The one constant in the Massillon Tigers’ late‑season three game run of excellence was missing in their 27‑20 Division I regional championship loss to the McKinley Bulldogs before a throng of 34,208 at the Akron Rubber Bowl, Saturday night.
The Tigers simply did not play mistake‑free football against their arch‑rivals the way they did in averaging 36 points in defeating St. Vincent-St. Mary’s in Week 9, McKinley in Week 10 and Fremont Ross in the playoff opener.
Massillon’s mistakes weren’t all of the glaring variety, but the Pups ‑ who meet St. Ignatius this Saturday at the Rubber Bowl in the Division I state semifinals ‑ seemed to always capitalize. Among the more costly errors:
The Tigers fumbled away the football at midfield on their first possession and the Bulldogs drove 52 yards for the game’s first touchdown.
The Bulldogs’ second score came on Adrian Brown’s 71-yard burst and included several broken or missed tackles within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage.
McKinley’s third tally appeared to be on a blown coverage assignment in the secondary which resulted in a 47‑yard Josh McDaniels‑to-Mark Thewes TD strike.
Massillon’s second‑to‑last drive included a key illegal proceedure penalty. It ended in a punt with 7:47 to play.
The Tigers’ final ill‑fated series reached the McKinley side of the field when an illegal shift penalty, a delay of game penalty and a dropped pass doomed their comeback.
“You can’t have those kind of things, missed tackles and penalties, against a quality opponent like McKinley,” Tiger mentor Jack Ross said afterward.
“But I wish McKinley all the best. They are a very good football team and they played a great game out there tonight. They will represent the region well.”
Massillon certainly did not self destruct in the 12th week of the season. The Tigers had the Pups holding their collective breaths until the final seconds, ticked off the scoreboard.
The Bulldogs scored first 26‑yard wingback reverse, executed to perfection by Jaiyvonne Richards.
Massillon took the ensuing kickoff and drove 73 yards in just seven plays to knot the score at 7‑7. Willie Spencer Jr. was at his best on the drive, running the option with a magician’s sleight of hand, all the while frustrating the McKinley defense.
On the first snap of their next possession, the Bulldogs regained the lead. Brown got the ball on a draw play and dashed to paydirt, leaving several Tigers in his wake. The conversion kick was wide and the Pups led 13‑7.
It was the type of play, coming right after Massillon scored to even the game, that could’ve broken a lesser team’s spirit. But the Tigers came resolutely back, marching 80 yards in 17 plays. Spencer covered the final seven on an option keeper around his left end. Pribich’s boot gave the locals the lead 14-13 with 6:44 until halftime.
The Bulldogs took the second half kickoff and made a statement, driving 65 yards in nine plays. Kinta Mitchell’s 32‑yard gallop eventually led to his one-yard scoring burst at 7:10 of the third stanza. McKinley failed on a two‑point pass play and it was a 19‑14 game.
Spencer got the TD hat trick as the Tigers regained the lead with an 11‑play, 62‑yard drive. The senior signal caller completed clutch passes to Devon Williams (18 yards), Ryan Shanor (10 yards), and Leon Ashcraft (5 yards), before sweeping in from the 3‑yard line for his third tally of the evening.
After a pass fell incomplete on the try for a two‑point conversion, the Tigers owned a 20‑19 lead at 1:32 of the third period.
But the Bulldogs would land the final punch on this night. It was a roundhouse right in the form of the 47‑yard McDaniels to Thewes pass play. Julius Lancaster took a pitch from McDaniels, then hit the senior QB on a throwback for the two point conversion that made it McKinley 27‑20 with 11:11 to play.
Massillon drove to the McKinley 49, where an illegal procedure penalty changed a second-and‑five play call into second-and‑ten. Ace Gillens sacked Spencer two plays later to force a punt.
Spencer was injured on McKinley’s ensuing series when he brought down Brown on a pitch out around left end. The Bulldogs were forced to punt one play later and the Tigers last chance began at their 9‑yard line.
Ashcraft asserted his championship mettle by getting Massillon out of the hole on a 34‑yard first down burst behind Aric Simpson and Tim Mendenhall. The 5‑foot, 7‑inch, senior tailback finished the night with 131 yards on 21 carries.
With senior Mark Hiegl now at the controls, Jeremy Fraelich gained 11 yards up the middle to the McKinley 46. An illegal shift penalty followed, then a delay of game one play later set up second‑and‑20 at the Massillon 44. Hiegl rolled right and hit a receiver at the McKinley 33, but the ball fell incomplete. Two plays later the Bulldog pass rush forced an incompletion and Massillon’s unlikely run had ended.
“That’s the problem in the playoffs,” Rose concluded, unless you go all the way, you end on a sour note.
“Unfortunately, it had to happen against (McKinley). That certainly doesn’t make it any easier.”
MCKINLEY 27 MASSILLON 20 M MCK First downs rushing 12 9 First downs passing 6 5 First downs penalty 0 0 Total first downs 18 14 Net yards rushing 253 226 Net yards passing 92 120 Total yards gained 345 346 Passes attempted 13 12 Passes completed 7 9 Passes int. 0 0 Kickoff return yards 89 41 Punts 2 2 Punting average 36.5 44.0 Punt return yards 0 0 Fumbles 1 0 Fumbles lost 1 0 Penalties 6 4 Yards penalized 41 35 Number of plays 55 38 Time of possession 27.52 20.08 Attendance 34,208
MASSILLON 7 7 6 0 20 MCKINLEY 13 0 6 8 27
MCK ‑ Richards 26 run (McDaniels kick) M ‑ Spencer 21 run (Pribich kick) MCK ‑ Brown 70 run (kick failed) M ‑ Spencer 6 run (Pribich kick) MCK ‑ Mitchell 1 run (pass failed) M ‑ Spencer 4 run (pass failed) MCK ‑ Thewes 46 pass from McDaniels (McDaniels pass from Lancaster)
It was a fitting 100th game between the Massillon Tigers and McKinley Bulldogs at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium this afternoon.
The storied rivalry went into overtime before the Tigers nailed down a heart‑stopping 42‑41 victory.
Massillon finishes the regular season with a 9‑1 record, while McKinley falls to 8‑2.
Both teams will qualify for the Division I playoffs. Pairings will be announced Sunday and the two schools will probably not meet in the first round next weekend.
Today’s game was one in which neither team seemed capable of stopping the other’s offense. In fact, the 83 total points scored is an all‑time record in the series that began in 1894.
McKinley forced overtime when it scored on a seven‑yard Josh McDaniels to Shakeer Abdullah pass with less than two minutes to play. McDaniels’ extra‑point kick made it a 35‑35 contest.
After a low snap foiled McDaniels’ 50‑yard field goal attempt as time expired, the teams headed to overtime.
Massillon won the toss and deferred, giving the Bulldogs the first chance in overtime.
Adrian Brown secured a first down just inside the 10 on the first snap of OT. Four plays later, on fourth and goal from the one‑yard line, fullback Kinta Mitchell went in standing up to make it 41‑35. McDaniels quickly changed shoes for what was another in what had been a string of routine conversion kicks all afternoon. But he sliced the kick to the right, missing it.
crowd, which numbered 19,125, seemed to sense this was the opening the Tigers needed.
On second down, quarterback Willie Spencer Jr. ran the option around his right end. He appeared to have made up his mind to keep the football and was being dragged down at the 15 when he pitched to split end Victor Redrick, who was trailing the play. Redrick took the ball in stride and sprinted down the sideline and into the end zone to knot the game at 41‑41.
Then, with all the pressure of the rivalry’s 99 previous games riding on his shoulders, Nick Pribich calmly split the uprights with his conversion kick and the Tigers went wild.
On the sidelines, McKinley’s Josh McDaniels kneeled with his head bowed in defeat, being consoled by his father, Pups head coach Thom McDaniels.
Spencer and Tigers assistant coach Steve Studer sprinted to the East stands and began ringing a victory bell.
The contest was highlighted by both teams’ refusal to quit – like two great heavyweights, exchanging knockdown punches and getting up for more.
McKinley opened the scoring with 11:30 to play in the second quarter. Mitchell capped a six play, 80‑yard drive with a seven‑yard TD run up the middle to make it 7‑0 Pups.
Massillon counter‑punched with a 12‑play, 80‑yard march. Spencer kept the football on the option and cut off his right tackle for a three‑yard touchdown to tie the game at 7‑7 with 6:20 until halftime.
The Tigers got a break when McKinley fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Steve Griffith recovered at the Bulldogs’ 25. It took seven plays, but Leon Ashcraft ran through a big hole over left guard and into the end zone to make it 14‑7 with 2:18 left in the first half.
The Bulldogs executed the two‑minute drill to perfection, moving 65 yards in 10 plays with Mitchell doing the honors from the one‑yard line with just 18 seconds remaining until the band show. McDaniels’ PAT made it 14‑14 at the half.
The quick‑strike Tiger offense untied the score less than 40 seconds into the third quarter. On the second snap of the half, Ashcraft took a handoff, pitched it back to Spencer, who lofted a bomb to Redrick, The senior sprinter ran under the pass at the 23, broke a diving tackle, then cruised in to the end zone to make it a 21‑14 Massillon advantage.
Once again the Bulldogs answered, moving 82 yards in just eight plays. Adrian Brown ran the ball on the final four snaps of the march, bucking into the end zone from the 2 to tie it 21‑21 with 8:08 left in the third.
But Massillon would not be discouraged.
The Tigers, with Spencer often changing plays at the line of scrimmage, moved 68 yards in seven plays to regain the lead. Spencer hit Vaughn Mohler, who scooped the ball off the turf in the end zone for a seven‑yard TD catch, making it 28‑21 Tigers.
McKinley then mounted the longest drive of the game, going 80 yards in 15 plays. Mitchell again found the end zone from a yard away and it was 28‑28 with 8:13 left in regulation.
Back came the Tigers with another 80‑yard drive.
Ashcraft, who rushed for 109 yards on the afternoon, scored on a draw play from 20 yards out with four minutes left to make it Massillon 35, McKinley 28.
By this time, everyone in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium realized they were witnessing a classic game. Nobody believed the Bulldogs were done, and they were not.
McDaniels marshalled another drive, this one covering 68 yards in seven plays. The senior signal‑caller hit Abdullah in the left side of the end zone after a brilliant play fake. The seven‑yard TD toss accounted for the end‑of-regulation score of 35‑35.
Then came overtime, a missed extra point and the Tigers pulse‑stopping victory.
MASSILLON 42 MCKINLEY 41 M McK First downs rushing 14 15 First downs passing 3 8 First downs penalty 1 2 Total first downs 18 25 Net yards rushing 245 233 Net yards passing 103 148 Total yards gained 348 381 Passes attempted 13 20 Passes completed 6 14 Passes int. 0 1 Times kicked Off 6 6 Kickoff average 42.3 55.1 Kickoff return yards 65 52 Punts 2 1 Punting average 26.5 35.0 Punt return yards -4 0 Fumbles 0 4 Fumbles lost 0 1 Penalties 4 5 Yards penalized 47 25 umber of plays 51 65 Time Of Possession 23:23 24:37 Attendance 19,125
In a football game like today’s contest between the Massillon Tigers and McKinley Bulldogs, selecting one big play is all but impossible.
But the most memorable for many was the Tigers’ flea flicker that went for a 62‑yard touchdown at the onset of the third quarter.
In addition to the significance on the scoreboard ‑ the bomb gave the Tigers a 21‑14 lead ‑ the play showed Jack Rose was going to attack the Bulldogs in the second half.
Rose sent a message to his players, to the fans and – most importantly – to the Bulldogs. He let them know Massillon was going to go out and get the victory the old-fashioned way – earn it.
With the game tied at 14, Massillon accepted the second half kickoff, and Nate Lewis returned the ball to the 29, for 19 yards.
On first down, Willie Spencer rolled left and hit Devon Williams for eight yards.
On second‑and‑two, Spencer handed the ball to Ashcraft on what appeared to be a simple dive play into the middle of the line. But Ashcraft took just one step, turned and pitched the ball back to Spencer. He looked long and there was Victor Redrick in full stride on a post pattern.
The pass was there, Redrick made the catch and 25 yards later, the Tigers had assumed a 21‑14 lead.
In doing so, they set the tone for the second half, one of the best shootouts in the history of high school football.
McKinley’s 14-6 win over Massillon Saturday was a football student’s football game.
Last year’s was all day at Cedar Point on the tallest coaster ’til you’re dizzy, Tigers 42-13.
This time it was a lot of Woody vs. Bo, rock ribbed running, smashing hits, tight all the way, every decision might mean the game.
McKinley won it, really, on the double screen pass that sprang Che Bryant for a 57-yard touchdown.
Thom McDaniels has been McKinley’s head coach since 1982. How many times has he used the double screen pass? “Twice,” he said after the game witnessed by 17,863 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. “Once to day when it went for a short gain. Once today when it went for a touchdown.”
Massillon led 3-0 at halftime on a 22-yard Jason Brown field goal. McKinley had a third-and-two on the first possession of the second half when McDaniels sent in the double screen. “We thought Massillon would have the regular screen pass pretty well defended,” McDaniels said. “We thought it would help to add a wrinkle.”
The wrinkle was to let the Tigers through to charge quarterback Joe Pukansky. Fullback Tremaine McElroy would be available as the dump-off man on the right side of the field. Tailback Che Bryant would be ready on the other side.
“I was just hoping we could get a first down out of it,” Pukansky said. “They bit on the fake (to McElroy). It was open to Che’s side.”
It was wide open. Bryant caught the ball around the line of scrimmage, the McKinley 43, ran ahead down the left sideline for 10 yards, spotted a gaping hole, cut across the grain, and used what he says is 4.5 speed in the 40 to race untouched into the right corner of the south end zone.
“Joe Gallo (the center) threw a real good block,” Bryant said. “Alfonso (Ash, the flanker) threw another one.” Two Tigers were on the ground when Bryant made his cut.
“We knew McKinley was a good screen passing team,” Rose said. “I was disappointed with our defense on that play. We lost our pursuit angles.”
Sophomore Josh McDaniels, the coach’s son, booted the point-after to give McKinley a 7-3 lead with 9:55 left in the third quarter.
The Tigers relied on 5-foot-5 senior fullback Eugene Copeland to respond immediately. Copeland, whose best game of the season yielded 85 yards in 14 carries, ran 17 yards on a trap to the McKinley 40.
A 25-yard sideline pass from, Mike Danzy to Alonzo Simpson, both juniors, got the Tigers close. The possession boiled down to fourth-and goal from the 5.
Rose said he thought about going for the touchdown. But it was so early. He sent in Brown and got a 24-yard field goal. It was 7-6, McKinley, with 5:17 left in the third quarter.
Partly since backfield starters Bryant (6-3, 178, Jr.) and McElroy (6-2, 195, Sr.) double, as standouts on defense, McDaniels likes to give them a breather for one or two series each game., The backups are sturdy and quick, just like the starters. Fullback Jeremy Kirkpatrick (6-1, 207, Sr.) and tailback Denell Harris (6-1, 195, Jr.) ran McKinley into scoring position early in the fourth quarter.
However, Bryant was re-inserted on fourth-and-one from the Tiger 21-yard line.
Both teams used defensive shifts and blitzes, successfully. This time, Massillon safety Eric Woods inched up to the line before the snap, then shot the gap. Woods smashed Bryant to the turf, for a two-yard loss. The Tigers got the ball back with 10:24 left in the game. McKinley’s lead remained one lonely point.
The Bulldog defense forced a punt, then the Tigers got McKinley in a fourth-and-one from just short of midfield with four minutes left. The Bulldogs acted as though they were going for a first down. Pukansky barked but the Tigers didn’t bite. McKinley called time out and lined up for a punt.
Rose disdained one’ risk having to drive 80 or 90 yards with time running out – in favor of another. “We went for the block,” he said. “Even if we didn’t get the block, we’d have a good chance of forcing a bad punt.”
Woods, who earlier had distracted Josh McDaniels into missing a 23-yard field goal attempt with a strong rush, was one of the shock troops assigned to go after the punt of junior Rob Pukansky, the quarterback’s first cousin, and possibly McKinley’s starting QB next year.
The Tigers got a bad punt out of it. It went off the side of my foot,” Rob Pukansky said. But Pukansky and Woods both wound up writhing in pain of the field, the aftermath of what became a roughing-the-kicker penalty.
I felt the rush coming,” Pukansky said. “When that happens, I just try to get the ball out of there, not worry about booming it or making it look pretty. I got hit right here (he pointed to his stomach).” Woods and Rob Pukansky both were helped from the field.
McKinley kept the ball, then drove. Harris, the backup tailback, wound up crashing up the middle for 16 yards and a touchdown on a fourth-and-one play. Josh McDaniels’ kick created the 14-6 final score with 50 seconds left.
McKinley improved to 9-1 but was denied a playoff bid. The Bulldogs needed to finish in the top four in Region 3, Division I. They came in seventh.
McKinley played the same strong schedule as usual but missed the tournament because four opponents they beat did not fare as well as usual: GlenOak (3-7), Warren (5-5), Boardman (4-6) and Massillon (5-5).
Copeland, with his 85 yards, and Bryant, with 92 yards in 18 carries to go along with the touchdown reception, were Saturday’s leading offensive players.
Each team wound up throwing only nine passes. The Tigers came through an entire quarter without going to the airways.
On its first possession, Massillon ran four plays and elected to punt on fourth-and-a-foot from its own 36. McKinley then punched the ball past midfield on an all running segment before a post pattern from Joe Pukansky to Ash netted 27 yards to the 8. Tiger defensive backs Dan Hackenbracht and Chad Buckland thwarted a third-down try for a touchdown pass, after which Josh McDaniels couldn’t connect on a 23-yard field goal attempt.
The Tigers’ first pass – on their first play of the second quarter – was a 19-yard Danzyto-Simpson strike. That triggered a 50-yard drive from the Tiger 45 to the Bulldog 5, featuring a 22-yard run on a third-and-12 quarterback draw by Danzy. Brown’s 22-yard field goal came on fourth-and-goal from the 5 and gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead with 6:13 left in the first half. McKinley wound up with a 327-173 lead in net offensive yards, a statistic belying the closeness of the game. Take away McKinley’s yardage on the double screen and the yardage the Pups gained after the roughing-the-kicker call, and McKinley’s edge was a modest 217-173.
The Tigers still lead the all-time series, 53-40-5.
MAS McK First downs rushing 6 15 First downs passing 3 2 First downs by penalty 0 1 Totals first downs 9 18 Yards gained rushing 138 237 Yards lost rushing 15 6 Net yards rushing 123 231 Net yards passing 50 96 Total yards gained 173 327 Passes attempted 9 8 Passes completed 3 5 Interceptions 1 0 Times kicked off 3 3 Kickoff average 42.3 38.4 Punts 4 2 Kickoff return yards 22 11 Punting average 36.5 28.0 Punt return yards 1 0 Fumbles 0 0 Fumbles lost 0 0 Penalties 2 4 Yards penalized 21 20 Number of plays 40 60 Time of possession 18:43 29:17 Attendance 17,863
McKinley 0 0 7 7 14 Massillon 0 3 3 0 6
MAS – FG Brown 22 McK – Bryant 57 pass from Pukansy (McDaniels kick) MAS – FG Brown 24 McK – Harris 16 run (McDaniels kick)