Tag: <span>Jared Stefanko</span>


1997: Massillon 14, Canton McKinley 27


Tigers make it a game, but McKinley prevails

Tigers throw scare into dogs with second-half turnaround

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.

Program Cover

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.

Game Action vs. Canton McKinley 1997

“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.

Game Action vs. Canton McKinley 1997

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

Massillon 0 7 0 7 14
McKinley 14 13 0 0 27

Massillon rushing:
Morgan 5‑0
Hodgson 18‑109
Danzy 8‑26
Spicer 1-11
McKinley rushing:
Rozier 23‑141
McDaniels 4‑12
Robinson 2 6
Doss 3‑3
Bradley 8‑21
Massillon passing:
Danzy 15‑31 151 yards 1 TD,
McKinley Passing:
McDanels 13‑23 134 yards

Massillon receiving:
Morgan 4‑34
Venables 1‑4
Cocklin 2‑19
Hodgson 3‑25
Clifford 4‑64
Buckush 1‑5
McKinley receiving:
Curry 6‑83
Rozier 3‑25
Wilcox 1‑22
Bradley 1‑3
Robinson 1‑(2)
Lucrus 1 3

Jared Stefanko

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1997: Massillon 10, Akron St. Vincent St. Mary 3

Tigers win isn’t pretty

Independent Sports Editor

If the Massillon Tigers were trying to keep the McKinley Bulldogs in the dark for next week’s annual season‑ending showdown, they did a good job of it with a lackluster 10‑3 victory over Akron St. Vincent‑St. Mary, in a light drizzle Friday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Program Cover

The Tigers, coming off last week’s disappointment at Cincinnati Moeller, struggled all night long and trailed 3-0 at halftime. They lost three of four fumbles and had seven penalties for 55 yards, negating 336 yards of total offense.

“As good as we played last week offensively, we played just that poorly tonight,” said Tigers coach Jack Rose. “I was concerned about a letdown from last week. It’s a tough week to coach here, with McKinley up next. And St. Vincent‑St. Mary seems to always give us fits.”

Part of the reason for the Tigers troubles was a fired up Fighting Irish team that was playing for its playoff life. The St. V defense was stout all night long and the offense kept Massillon off balance enough to hold a nearly four minute time of possession advantage the first half.

“Our kids are tough kids,” said Irish first year coach Jim Meyer. “They work hard and they’re in great shape.

“But the better team won. We couldn’t make big plays when we needed it. Massillon is a great team. Give them credit.”

The Tigers, 7‑2 on the season, won it with a 10-play march on the opening possession of the second half. Christian Morgan carried the ball on five of those snaps, ripping off a 17 yard gain over left tackle that moved the ball to the Irish 12 yard line. Two plays later, junior Marc Cleveland took an option pitch from quarterback Tip Danzy and outsprinted the visitors’ defense to the right corner of the end zone for the only touch of the game.

Josh Hose drilled the point after conversion kick and Massillon led for the first time 7‑3 at 7:34 of the third period.

Actually, the Tigers most impressive drive of the night was on its final possession and began at the 7:12 mark of the fourth period at the Massillon 12.

On the fourth play of the march, Massillon faced a third down and 11 situation at its own 22, too deep in Tiger territory to pass the football. So Danzy gave, the ball to, Morgan who willed his way to a 15‑yard gain, a first down and across the 1,000‑yard season rushing barrier.

The senior tailback came out of the game at that point, having aggravated a hip pointer he suffered last week.

“Christian made some runs tonight where he didn’t have any help at all,” observed Rose. “On the one he got injured, I think he ran through their whole team. it was a terrific effort. He picked it up as the game went on. I think both of our backs did.”

Morgan admitted the 1,000-yard plateau has special meaning, especially the second time around.

“I think a lot of people thought I wasn’t going to get it this year, so I had to prove them wrong,” Morgan said.

Meyer also took time to tip his hat to Morgan, who carried the ball 30 times for 167 yards.

“We thought the guy who did a good job was the tailback,” Meyer said. “He was awesome.”

After Morgan left the game, Danzy hooked up with tight end Seth Venables (4 receptions, 54 yards) for a 20 yard gain to the St. V 43.

“When the running game is going that well, you key on it and something else comes open,” observed Meyer. “In this case it was their tight end.”

Two plays later, Dave Hodgson tore off a 20 yard gain on a draw play, then added 15 more on the very next snap to set up Massillon with first and goal from the 5‑yard line.

But the Irish defense stiffened, and three plays later, Hose kicked a field goal to close the scoring with 1:23 left to play.

St. V had one more shot, but the Tigers defense pressured quarterback Ross Marconi all over the field and the possession went nowhere.

In fact, Josh Hill was in the Irish backfield throughout the contest, making Marconi’s night very unpleasant.

“I like going after the quarterback,” Hill said. “That’s the best part about playing outside linebacker, going after the quarterback. So I had a lot of fun tonight.”

“He’s a great player,” Rose said of Hill. “He’s played that way all year. He’s a great pass rusher and his speed lets him run down plays from behind.”

Hill then turned his attention toward next week’s showdown with McKinley.

“We’re ready for them,” Hill said. “They rained on our parade last year so it’s our turn this time.”

Morgan agreed. “We just got to pull it together for this final week,” he said.

ST. V‑St. M 3
First downs rushing 14 1
First downs passing 5 4
First downs by penalty 0 1
TOTAL first downs 19 6
Net yards rushing 264 13
Net yards passing 68 103
TOTAL yards 332 116
Passes attempted 10 23
Passes completed 5 9
Passes intercepted 0 0
Punts 3 8
Punting average 40.3 27.6
Fumbles/Lost 4/3 1/0
Penalties 7 3
Yards penalized 55 15

MASSILLON 0 0 7 3 10
ST. V‑ST. M 3 0 0 0 3

S ‑ Williamson 23 field goal
M ‑ Cleveland 8 run (Hose kick)
M ‑ Hose 24 field goal


Massillon rushing:
Morgan 30‑167,
Hodgson 12‑70,
Danzy 10‑14,
Cleveland 1‑8,
Miller 3‑5.
St. V rushing:
Skipper 12‑39

Massillon passing:
Danzy 5‑10‑68
St, V passing:
Marconi 9‑23‑103

Massillon receiving:
Venables 4‑54
St. V receiving:
Irvin 4‑43,
Alvarado 1‑26,
Ja. Walter 1‑14,
Hlivko 1‑8,
Skipper 1‑5,
Jo. Walter 1-7

Jared Stefanko

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1997: Massillon 24, Cincinnati Moeller 28

Tigers falter in 4th

Independent Sports Editor

Afterward, Moeller coach Steve Klonne talked like some who had dodged a bullet, while Massillon’s Jack Rose had the look of someone who’d stopped one.

Moeller had just rallied from a seemingly insurmountable 24-­7 fourth quarter Massillon lead to hand the Tigers a devastating 28‑24 set back at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Saturday. The Crusaders lingered on the field for a half hour following the game, reveling in their victory.

The Tigers sat stunned in their locker room, physically and emotionally spent from the drastic turn of events that saw them on the verge of upsetting the state’s No. 3 ranked Divi­sion 1 squad only to see the game and a strong shot at the playoffs slip away.

The turning point, in Klonne’s eyes, came when his offense went to a three wide receiver, set and spread out the Massillon defense.

“We’re down 24‑7 and things aren’t looking very good,” Klonne said. “We got in trips and the two‑minute offense right away. The game came down to trips and our running backs running the football a little bit. We were fortunate to complete some passes and get into the end zone.”

From Rose’s perspective, the Tigers lost the game much ear­lier, when they failed to capital­ize on scoring opportunities in the first three quarters.

“We had our chances to blow the game wide open,” he said. “But those dropped balls … .”

“When you play a team like that you don’t feel comfortable with a 17‑point lead even in the fourth quarter because they have the ability to make the big play. The difference in the game was … except for one pass play where we make the big play, they have two or three plays that they make big plays out of and we didn’t.”

Massillon trailed 7‑6 at half­time, thanks to a 21‑yard Ryan Cooper to Casey Clark pass early in the second quarter. The Tigers came within a missed extra point of tying the score when Christian Morgan capped off a five‑play, 80‑yard drive by sweeping right into the end zone from three yards out with eight minutes until the band show. Two 25‑yard Tip Danzy to Dave Hodgson pass plays set up the score.

But the Tigers could have owned a one or two touchdown advantage at that point, if not for eight penalties (five for ille­gal procedure) and a couple dropped passes deep in Moeller territory.

“At halftime, I told the guys ‘Catch the hall. Just catch the football,”‘ Rose said. “We had played good defense except for the one pass play they popped on us.

Massillon owned the third quarter, as Morgan steamed 80 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage after taking a pitch from Danzy around his left end. Danzy scored the two‑point conversion and the Tigers led 14‑7 before the fans had settled back into their seats.

The Tigers marched 80 yards in 11 plays on their second pos­session of the half, keyed by two long Hodgson runs on draw plays. Danzy put the fin­ishing touches on the drive when he lofted a perfectly thrown 28‑yard pass into the right corner of the end zone that Tyrie Clifford snagged for a touchdown with 1:38 left in the third period. Hose hit the PAT and it was 21‑7 Tigers.

Hose extended the lead to 24-­7 when he split the uprights with a 36‑yard field goal at 9:11 of the fourth quarter, but the lead began to crumble on Moeller’s next possession.

After Hose’s deep kickoff pinned the Crusaders at their 6‑yard line, the hosts went to a three wide receiver set. Moeller gained a first down on a Cooper scramble to the 23. From there, the senior quarter­back hit 210‑pound tailback Grant Crosthwaite with a swing pass on the right sideline and he did the rest, breaking two tackles and sprinting 77 yards to paydirt.

Tom Pucke’s conversion kick made it 24‑14 at 8:30 of the fourth.

“They had the long end of the field,” Rose observed. “They throw it to their back and we have him pinned on the side­line. But our DB doesn’t follow through with the tackle and knock him out of bounds. He bumps him. You can’t do stuff like that against a team like Moeller. It will get you beat every time.”

Moeller got the ball back with 5:32 to play after a Massil­lon punt rolled dead at the 3. But Cooper hit Brad Murphy for 57‑yards on the second play of the series then found Clark for 13 more on the next snap to move the hall to the Tiger 27-­yard line. Six plays later, Crosthwaite found a gaping hole over right guard and scored from three yards out to make it a 24‑21 game at the 3:21 mark.

Then came the back breaker as Pucke executed the onside kick to perfection with the Cru­saders recovering the ball at the Massillon 30. Four running plays later, Chris Wiet­marschen went in from the 5 and the Tigers were history.

“Our kids were spent on defense,” Rose said. “We don’t have a lot of depth and we were rushing Cooper and chasing him around all night.

“We left our defense on the field the fourth quarter.”

Klonne tipped his hat to the Massillon defense afterward.

“We could not run the ball at all against Massillon,” he said. “Their front is physical and fast. They play some great defense.

“Our guys are cardiac arrest every week. But somehow they find a way to win.”

Mo Ma
First downs rushing 9 9
First downs passing 9 6
First downs by penalty 0 1
TOTAL first downs 18 16
Net yards rushing 141 193
Net yards passing 291 150
TOTAL yards 432 343
Passes attempted 17 24
Passes completed 12 8
Passes intercepted 0 0
Punts 4 5
Punting average 39.8 36.6
Fumbles/Lost 2/2 3/1
Penalties 2 11
Yards penalized 22 73

MOELLER 0 7 0 21 28
MASSILLON 0 6 15 3 24


Mo ‑ Clark 21 pass from Cooper (Pucke kick)
Ma ‑ Morgan 3 run (Kick failed)
Ma ‑ Morgan 80 run (Danzy run)
Ma ‑ Clifford 28 pass from Danzy (Hose kick)
Ma ‑ Hose 36 field goal
Mo ‑ Crosthwaite 77 Pass from Cooper (Pucke kick)
Mo ‑ Crosthwaite 2 run (Pucke kick)
Mo ‑ Wietmarschen 4 run (Pucke kick)


Massillon rushing:
Hodgson 16‑121,
Mor­gan 6‑118,
Danzy 6‑4.
Moeller rushing:
Crosthwaite 15‑71,
Cooper 22‑78,
Wietmarschen 6‑20.

Massillon passing:
Danzy 8‑24‑150 1TD
Moeller passing:
Cooper 12‑17‑291 2 TDs.

Massillon receiving:
Clifford 3‑55,
Hodgson 2-49,
James 2‑36,
Venables 1‑10.
Moeller receiving:
Murphy 4‑119,
Crosth­waite 3‑93,
Clark 3‑38,
Brandt 1‑29,
Ryan 1‑

Moeller storms back
to beat Massillon 28-24

Crusaders score
three touchdowns
in final 8:30

Enquirer contributor

Moeller scored three touch­downs in the final 8:30 to come from behind and score a 28‑24 victory over Massillon Saturday night at Nippert Stadium.

Moeller’s winning touchdown was set up by an onside kick with 3:29 left in the game that the Crusaders’ Matt Edwards recovered at the Massillon 30. Five rushing plays later, Chris Wietmar­schen scored on a five‑yard run to give Moeller its first lead since halftime.

Massillon had one final chance beginning at its own 34 with 1:23 left in the game. The Tigers faced a fourth‑and‑15 at their own 29, but a sack by Moeller’s Joe Schulte ended the threat.

Moeller had cut the lead to 24‑20 when Grant Crosthwaite scored on a 77‑yard pass reception with 8:30 to play, then followed with a two‑yard run with 3:29 left.

A crowd announced at 5,074 watched as two of the state’s greatest traditions met in game filled with playoff implications. Moeller (7‑1) came into the game ranked No. 3 in Ohio Division 1, while Massillon (6‑2) was ranked No. 16.

After Moeller held a 7‑6 half­time lead, Massillon stunned Moel­ler on the opening play of the second half. Tailback Christian Morgan, who had been held to 13 yards on seven carries in the first half, took a pitch left, cut back into the middle and went 80 yards for a go‑ahead score. Quarterback Tip Danzy’s two‑point run put Massil­lon ahead 14‑7.

Massillon put Moeller in a two‑touchdown hole late in the third quarter after a long Moeller drive resulted in a missed field goal. Starting at its own 20, Massillon took 11 plays to move downfield.

The touchdown came on fourth­-and‑14 from the Moeller 29. A Moeller blitzer came through clean on Danzy, but just before he made the hit, Danzy launched a high‑arc­ing pass towards the corner of the end zone. Massillon’s fastest play­er, wideout Tyrie Clifford, ran un­der the ball and made the catch, putting Massillon ahead, 21‑7.

After Moeller turned the ball over on downs in its own half of the field early in the fourth quarter, Massillon added to its lead, moving to a 24‑7 edge on Josh Hose’s 36‑yard field goal.

Moeller finally got back on the scoreboard when quarterback Ryan Cooper found Crosthwaite on a dump pass on the sideline and Crosthwaite danced around a pair of defenders, then went 77 yards for a TD. That cut the Massillon lead to 24‑14 with 8:30 to play.

Both teams turned to the air to find offense – and points – in the first half.

Moeller struck first at the 9:46 mark of the second quarter, when Cooper hit receiver Casey Clark on a short curl‑in pattern and Clark weaved through traffic into the end zone for a 21‑yard TD that put Moeller up 7‑0.

Moeller had only eight yards offense prior to the drive. The drive’s key play was Moeller’s first completed pass of the night, a 48‑yarder from Cooper to Brad Murphy to the Massillon 33‑yard line.

Massillon 0 6 15 3 24
Moeller 7 0 0 21 21

Moe ‑ Clark 21 pass from Cooper (Pucke kick)
Mas ‑ Morgan 3 run (Kick wide)
Mas ‑ Morgan 80 run (Danzy run)
Mas ‑ Clifford 29 pass from Danzy (Hose kick)
Mas ‑ Hose 36 FG
Moe ‑ Crosthwaite 17 pass from Cooper (Pucke kick)
Moe ‑ Crosthwaite 77 run (Pucke kick)
Moe ‑ Wietmarschen 5 run (Pucke kick)

Records Mas 6-2, Moe 7-1

Jared Stefanko

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1997: Massillon 41, Canton Central Catholic 6

Tigers unveil aerial attack

Independent Sports Editor

The Massillon Tigers accom­plished three things with Satur­day’s 41‑6 dismantling of the Central Catholic Crusaders in front 11,350 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Program Cover

First, they improved to 6‑1 on the season, leaving the door open for their fourth post‑season playoff berth in the last five campaigns.

Second, Massillon won its 700th game in the storied histo­ry of America’s most famous high school football program.

Third, by flashing an effec­tive passing game to go along with their already established running attack, the Tigers gave Cincinnati Moeller something else to think about as they pre­pare for a showdown of Ohio gridiron giants this coming Sat­uday at Nippert Stadium in the Queen City.

Massillon generated 365 yards of total offense against Central Catholic, 130 of that through the air. Starting quarterback Tip Danzy completed 10 of 17 aerials for 120 yards and a touchdown as the Tigers had their first proficient pass­ing game of the 1997 campaign. Another TD pass was dropped in the end zone.

“They threw it better than we’ve seen them throw it all year,” said Crusaders head coach Lowell Klinefelter.

Danzy deferred the praise for his big night to his receivers and the Massillon coaching staff.

“Coach told us we were going to throw the ball,” Danzy said afterward. “They called the pass plays, I did my best to go Out and execute them and the receivers did a good job of catching the ball tonight.”

“We threw ball better tonight,” understated Tigers coach Jack Rose. “We’re trying to loosen up the defense. We wanted to throw a couple deep balls on them early. We wanted to hit them and more important to get them back off the line of scrimmage.”

Rose indicated a couple of the pass plays were ad libbed.

“We threw to a couple guys because they were uncovered,” he revealed. “We tell the quar­terback anytime he sees guys uncovered to get the ball out to them and let them do what they can.”

Of course, the Massillon run­ning attack was not ignored. The Tigers put up 235 net yards rushing, led by Christian Mor­gan’s 141 yards in 17 carries.

The senior tailback, who has rushed for 781 yards this sea­son, set the tone for the game with a 66‑yard touchdown run off an option pitch around left end on the hosts’ first play from scrimmage. Josh Hose’s con­version kick made it 7‑0 at the 10:43 mark of the first period.

“That play kind of took the wind out of our sails early,” Klinefelter said.

Actually, Central regrouped pretty well from the Tigers early strike, marching from its 34 to the Massillon 6 on 10 plays. But Josh Kreider killed the drive and dashed the Cru­saders hopes for an upset with an interception in the end zone at 6:25 of the first quarter.

Massillon got another big play early in the second quar­ter, this time from its special teams when Jamie Allman blocked a Central Catholic punt and recovered the ball at the Crusaders’ 25 yard line.

Mike James made a leaping catch of a Danzy pop pass over the middle for a first down at the Central 14. But the drive stalled and Hose ‑ after two consecutive false start flags ‑ boomed a 37‑yard field goal to make it a 10‑0 game at 8:01 of the second quarter.

Central couldn’t get anything going on its next possession and punted the ball away, the Tigers taking over at midfield. On the fifth snap of the drive, Danzy kept the football on the option around the right side and found a seam in the Cru­saders defense. He finally stopped running when he hit pay dirt 28‑yards later. Hose was true with the PAT and Mas­sillon led 17‑0 with 4:22 to go in the half.

“I prefer to run the ball and the cutback is my favorite move,” Danzy said. “There was nobody back there but the safety so I took the opportunity to get into the end zone.”

“Tip’s getting better,” Rose said. “And our offensive line is maturing and that’s giving him sonic opportunities to make some plays.”

Massillon polished up the passing game on its next pos­session, which began near mid­field. On a fourth-and six, Danzy rolled right and hit Clint Dean along the right sideline for 12 yards and a first down. On the next play, Danzy bootlegged left and hooked up with tight end Seth Venables for 13 more yards to the Central 18.

The senior signal caller com­pleted his next two throws, but penalties set up a first and goal from the Central 21. Danzy again ran the bootleg, this time to the right, and found Dave Hodgson at the 4. The senior fullback did the rest, running over a Central defender at the 1 for the touchdown. Hose’s kick made it 24‑0 Massillon with 1:20 to play in the first half.

Central Catholic came right back, just as Walsh Jesuit did the previous week, scoring a touchdown through the air in the waning seconds of the half. Mike Bajornas, who displayed a deft touch most of the evening when he had time to throw, found Jerrit Marsh at the goal line. Marsh came down with the ball amidst three Tiger defenders for the score and it was 24‑6 at the break.

Danzy scored again on a three‑yard run that capped an 8‑play, 62‑yard drive on Massillon’s first possession of the sec­ond half, effectively putting the game away at 31‑6 midway through the third quarter.

Hose’s 27‑yard field goal at 5:02 of the third and Ron Lynn’s 16‑yard interception return for a TD with just over three min­utes to play closed the scoring.

Rose was encouraged by the Tigers lack of turnovers (one interception, no lost fumbles), but was not pleased with his charges’ nine penalties for 80 yards. Two Massillon TD’s were negated by penalty flags.

“We have to play error free to beat Moeller,” Rose said. “We can’t have penalties like we did tonight. We’re taking care of the ball better now. We’re starting to demonstrate we can hold on to it. What worries me is the penalties are hurting us on big plays. This offense has big play potential but we can’t miss big plays due to penalties. It flattens us out.”

Jared Stefanko

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1997: Massillon 27, Walsh Jesuit 14

Tigers hit Walsh early and often

Independent Sports Editor

At 4‑1, the Massillon Tigers weren’t generating much respect around the state, mostly because the combined record of the four teams they conquered was 5‑15.

Program Cover

That all changed in front of 11,023 fans on an ideal Friday night for football at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium as the Tigers swarmed over the Walsh Jesuit Warriors, handing Ohio’s No. 8 ranked Division III team a 27-­14 setback.

Actually, it could’ve been a much larger margin of victory, but the Tigers seemed to go into hibernation after building a four‑touchdown first half advantage, leaving head coach Jack Rose a little glum after the final gun.

“I’m just disappointed that when we got up 27 we just did­n’t finish it off,” Rose said. “The last half of the second quarter was really disappointing. We got the ball with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half and there was no sense of urgency on the part of our offense. It’s like they were content. That’s what I told them at halftime. I was upset about it. They played like the game was over. We’ve got to be better than that,”

Walsh Jesuit, which falls to 4­2, came out with the intention of taking control of the game early. Veteran head coach Gerry Rardin indicated before the game that was a key for his team to post its first ever regu­lar season win at P.B. But reali­ty was 180 degrees in the oppo­site direction.

Those guys came after it on offense and their defense came after it to,” Rardin said, “They came out tonight on offense and they attacked. Their offensive line was impressive. All their running backs were impressive.”

Part of the reason for the Tigers passionate first half plav may have been a little pre‑kick­off gamesmanship on the part of Walsh Jesuitr.

“We came out, the kickoff was ready and (Walsh Jesuit) made us wait another five minutes or so,” said cornerback B.J. Burick. “That added some wood there, too. We were all pumped.

We were ready. We were men­tally prepared for this game the best we have been this year. This is the real Tigers. That wasn’t the real Tigers against Lima Senior.”

The real Tigers forced Walsh to punt after three snaps follow­ing the opening kickoff, and Josh Kreider’s 10‑yard return set the home team up with good field position at their 42.

Quarterback Tip Danzy gained 13 yards on a bootleg run around left end on first down. Three plays later, on fourth‑and‑1 from the Warriors’ 36, fullback David Hodgson got a nice hole on a trap play and rumbled 24 yards to the 12. Two snaps later from the 3, Hodgson went into the line and emerged in the end zone to cap the seven ­play, 58‑yard drive. Josh Hose nailed the extra point and Massillon led 7‑0 at 7:11 of the first period.

The Tigers defense repeated their opening series perfor­mance as Chris Smith sacked Walsh quarterback Dan Larlham on third down to force another three‑and‑out. It was an especially gratifying play for Smith, who has been idle since the Week Three victory over Garfield with an ankle sprain.

“It really felt good,” Smith said. “I’m still a little out of shape. But I figured I’d go out there and have some fun and get in on a few plays.

“We thought about it before the game. The coaches had a long talk with us before the game about being intense and having fun. And we just com­bined the two. Everything fit.”

Everything fit on Massillon’s second possession of the evening as well.

After Danzy picked up a first down at the Walsh 35 on a sneak, he hit Clint Dean on pop pass for seven yards. Then Hodgson picked up nine yards and Morgan added seven more to the Warriors’ 12. After anoth­er Danzy sneak, Hodgson got the ball on two consecutive snaps, bursting into the, end zone from the three on a hard driving run at 1:21 of the first quarter.

Hose’s conversion kick made it 14‑0 Massillon and the Warriors were reeling.

Finally, on their third possession, the visitors picked up their first first down of the evening as time expired at the end of the first quarter. But just four snaps later, Larlham fum­bled the ball and Massillon senior linebacker Brad Dean recovered at the Walsh 41.

It didn’t take the Tigers long to capitalize. On the very first play after the turnover, Danzy pitched the ball to Morgan on the option and the 6‑foot‑4 tail­back cut up the right hash marks. He was hit by two Warriors at the 25, but shed both and galloped the rest of the way to paydirt as Massillon took a 20‑0 lead at 10:04 of the second quarter.

Then it was the Massillon defense’s turn to have some fun. Senior outside linebacker Josh Hill, who had recovered an earlier fumble only to lose it back to Walsh on the run back, got another shot. Junior nose guard Chris Turner sacked Larlham forcing a fumble at the Walsh 25, and Hill scooped up the loose ball. He didn’t quit running until he pierced the end zone for the second Tiger TD in less than a minute. Hose’s PAT made it 27‑0 with 9:18 until the band show.

Walsh Jesuit finally got on the scoreboard on a three‑play drive that began at its 36 with less than a minute remaining in the first half. Larlham hit Dan Basch along the left sideline for a 28-yard gainer to the Tigers 27. On the very next snap, the junior QB again found Basch, this time in the right corner of the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point made it 27‑7 with four seconds left on the second quarter clock.

“It seemed like we had it all to‑ether the first two quarters, except for that last drive when they threw the ball on us and scored a touchdown,” noted Rose. “We were playing pretty good. I don’t know if we relaxed when we got up four touch­downs on them. You can’t do that on a team like that. Hopefully we learned from that.”

Massillon took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched from its 32 to the Warriors’ 33, but the eight‑play drive stalled and Walsh Jesuit took over. With Larlham effec­tively running the football around the flanks and a wide receiver screen to Matt Powers mixed in, Walsh moved the ball to the Tigers 4.

Tom Lopienski, the Warriors fullback who is headed to Notre Dame, got a pitch from Larham, fumbled it into the end zone where Powers fell on the football for a Walsh touch­down. The PAT made it 27‑14 at 3:11 of the third and the natives were beginning to get a bit rest­less.

The Tigers moved to midfield on the ensuing possession but were forced to punt. However, junior outside backer Jason Bradley intercepted Larlham on Walsh’s next possession to effectively quell any momen­tum the Warriors had at that point.

The Massillon defense forced Walsh to punt once again and Smith recovered a Warrior fum­ble to wrap up the win, the Tigers’ fifth in six tries.

“Anytime you beat these peo­ple it’s good,” Rose said, “because it’s a well coached team, they’re going to have a good game plan and they have the kids who can execute it.”

First downs rushing 16 4
First downs passing 0 8
First downs by penalty 1 1
TOTAL first downs 17 13
Net yards rushing 288 68
Net yards passing 6 166
TOTAL yards 294 234
Passes attempted 4 18
Passes completed 1 11
Passes intercepted 0 1
Punts 4 4
Punting average 28 40
Fumbles/Lost 3/1 5/4
Penalties 6 3
Yards penalized 69 22

MASSILLON 14 13 0 0 27
WALSH 0 7 7 0 14

M ‑ Hodgson 3 run. Hose kick.
M ‑ Hodgson 3 run. Hose kick.
M – Morgan 41 run. Kick failed.
M – Hill fumble recovery. Hose kick.
W ‑ Basch 27 pass from Larlham. Ducharme kick.
W ‑ Power fumble recovery. Ducharme kick.


Massillon rushing:
Morgan 23‑146,
Hodgson 15‑96,
Danzy 15‑44.
Walsh rushing:
Larlham 19‑55,
Lopienski 9­15.

Massillon Passing:
Danzy 1‑4‑6.
Walsh Passing: Larlham 11‑18‑166 ITD. I INT.

Massillon receiving:
Dean 1-6.
Walsh receiving:
Powers 4‑68,
Basch 3‑72.

Jared Stefanko

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1997: Massillon 34, Austintown Fitch 6

Tigers run over, around Fitch

Hodgson’s 3 touchdowns do the trick

Independent Sports Editor

The Massillon Tigers sent a message to the five teams that await them the second half of the 1997 high school football season.

Program Cover

Key on tailback Christian Morgan and Massillon is going to serve up mega‑doses of full­back Dave Hodgson until the defense changes its game plan.

Hodgson, a 5‑10, 205‑pound senior, rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns in 15 carries to lift the Tigers past Austintown Fitch 34‑6 in front of 7,862 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Friday. For good measure, he added a third TD on a 15‑yard pass from Tip Danzy.

It wasn’t as if Morgan was a non‑factor. The 6‑4, 215‑pound senior toted the football 30 times for 151 yards and a touch­down as Massillon’s offensive front was in control of the line of scrimmage practically all night long.

But Hodgson was clearly the spark for Massillon, which fin­ishes the first half of the campaign at 4‑1.

“Massillon’s known for running the tailback,” Hodgson said. “I just want to put our opponents on notice that both of our backs can run the ball. That should take some pressure off Christian. We spread it out a lit­tle bit, the coaches did a great job of picking the right plays and our line did a great job of blocking.”

“It’s like pick your poison,” said Tigers boss Jack Rose. “You want to defend the flanks, we’ll just rip the fullback up in there. If you want to close down in there and stop the fullback, we’ll come out around the cor­ner with it and pitch it.

“Our line is doing a good job of getting on people who can run and we just run around guys who can’t. As long as we continue to do that we have a chance to move the ball.”

Move the ball the Tigers did racking up 422 yards of total offense ‑ including 382 yards on the ground. Massillon averaged over six yards per rushing play and converted 5 of 11 third downs into first downs.

For the first time since their opener against Cardoza, the Tigers won the time of possession battle, 25:23 to 22:37.

But the turnover monster continues to rear its ugly head. Massillon had three first half giveaways or it would have held a much more substantial lead at halftime than the 7‑6 tally on the scoreboard. Overall, Massillon fumbled the ball seven times, losing three. The Tigers also had a pass intercepted.

“The way the game started it looked like it was going to be one thing after another,” Rose said. “Three turnovers in the first half, two touchdowns called back on penalties. It’s frustrating really.”

“The nature of this offense is we’re going to put the ball on the ground. It’s going to hap­pen. When you start tossing that thing around out there with people flying around, its going to happen. What bothers me is the unforced fumbles. It appears sometimes it’s a con­centration thing. That’s some­thing that has to be change the second half of the season or we’re going to give our defense a hole they can’t get out of.”

The Tigers did just that on the opening kickoff, fumbling the football away at the 1‑yard line, The Massillon defense bowed its neck, stopping Fitch cold on three straight snaps, before quarterback Michael Reynolds swept around right end for the touchdown at 9:58 of the first period. A running play out of PAT formation failed and the Falcons led 6‑0.

The Tigers moved from their 39 to the Fitch 30 on their first possession, but failed to con­vert a fourth and four and turned the ball back over to the visitors.

The Falcons got one first down but punted the ball away and Massillon began its initial scoring drive from its 30. On second down, Hodgson picked up 16 yards to midfield on a counter play out of the offset I.

Morgan added 11 more to the Fitch 35 on a pitch around right end and Hodgson found a hole over right guard for 13 yards down to the 24. Two snaps later, Hodgson hammered into the line, popped out to the left side­line and raced 15 yards to the end zone. Josh Hose’s kick made it 7‑6 Massillon at 3:02 of the first.

“We put a counter in this week because the coaches said we couldn’t run the trap from the I‑set,” Hodgson revealed. “Running off the guard and up the middle worked best.”

“The line deserves a lot of credit. They’re doing a great job of coming off the ball and moving the front.”

Fitch took the second half kickoff, but turned the ball over when Josh Kreider tipped a Reynolds pass and Corey Ball came up with the interception at the Falcons 40.

On second down, Morgan took an pitch from Danzy on an option play around right end, exploded through a seam creat­ed by a fine block by Hodgson and motored 37 yards for the touchdown. The conversion kick failed and the Tigers led 13-6 at 9:45 of the third quarter.

Massillon fumbled the ball way on its second possession of the second half, but marched 77 yards in 11 plays the next time it had the football. The drive was keyed by Danzy’s 17-­yard completion to Hodgson and Hodgson’s 36‑yard burst off right guard that moved the ball to the Fitch 16.

Three plays later, Danzy ­again found Hodgson in the right flat. The burly fullback looked to be stopped at the 3, but clawed his way into the end zone. Hose’s kick made it 20‑6 Massillon at 6:02 of the fourth.

“We ran the boot pass a lot today,” Hodgson said. “We weren’t running it at the begin­ning of the year. But I got on the coaches to run it. As junior var­sity players last year, Tip and I were successful running that.”

Hodgson made it 27‑6 with a 23‑yard touchdown, run over right guard and tackle, capping off an eight‑play, 42‑yard drive with 2:19 left to play.

Junior quarterback Tom Fichter’s 33-yard scoring scam­per with 37 seconds left to play put the finishing touches on the Falcons.

As impressive as the Massillon offense was, the defense again was in command. It yielded just five first downs and 75 total yards of offense. The Tigers held Fitch to an average of less than one yard per rushing play.

“I think it was our best game of the season defensively,” said cornerback Jamie Allman “We played as a team. No matter what happened on the other side of the ball, we kept our
heads in it.

“We’re getting a lot better. Mentally, it’s a big thing. When we get our heads in the game, we’re pretty good. When the mental part comes, the physical part comes with it.”

“The first four weeks we have physically handled every­body,” said Fitch coach Brian Fedyski. “Today, Massillon came ready to play and they handled us up front. Credit to Massillon’s staff and team.”

First downs rushing 18 2
First downs passing 2 3
First downs penalty 3 0
TOTAL First downs 23 5
Net yards rushing 382 28
Net yards passing 40 47
TOTAL yards 422 75
Passes attempted 8 14
Passes completed 3 5
Passes intercepted 1 3
Punts 2 5
Punting average 28 36.8
Fumbles/Lost 7/3 1/1
Penalties 10 11
Yards penalized 136 93

MASSILLON 7 0 6 21 34
FITCH 6 0 0 0 6

F ‑ Reynolds 2 run (Run failed)
M ‑ Hodgson 15 run (Hose kick)
M ‑ Morgan 36 run (Kick failed)
M ‑ Hodgson 16 pass from Danzy (Hose kick)
M ‑ Hodgson 23 run (Hose kick)
M ‑ Fichter 33 run (Hose kick)

Massillon rushing:
Hodgson 15‑153,
Morgan 30‑151,
Danzy 10‑38.
Fitch rushing:
Wilson 13‑36,
Reynolds 14­-16.

Massillon passing:
Danzy 3‑8‑40 1 TD, 1 INT.
Fitch passing:
Reynolds 4‑12‑36, 2 INTs.

Massillon receiving:
Hodgson 2‑34, Kreider 1_15~
Fitch receiving:
Jarvis 2‑18,
Wellington 2-18,
McDougal 1-11.

Jared Stefanko

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1997: Massillon 42, Mansfield Senior 0

Massillon puts it all together

Independent Sports Editor

The Massillon Tigers started off Friday night’s game against the visiting Mansfield Tygers as if it was going to be a repeat of last week’s turnover marred­ performance against Akron Garefield.

Program Cover

Massillon lost a fumble on its first possession, threw an interception the second time it had the football, and you could almost hear the crowd saying, “Here we go again.”

But the Tigers ‑ feeding off the emotion of a big hit and fumble recovery by injured co-captain Jared Stefanko ‑ scored twice in the second quarter and put the game away with a three­ touchdown barrage in the third period in securing a 42‑0 victo­ry at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“We needed this,” said a relieved Tigers coach Jack Rose. “The way it started out I didn’t know if it was going to be our best performance of the season. We made those turnovers at the beginning of the first half and you can’t do that if you expect to win.”

Massillon got its offense on track early in the second quarter following a 16‑yard punt return by Josh Kreider that set the Tigers up with a first down at midfield. Tailback Christian Morgan, running with more authority than at anytime during the season, gained 15 yards around left end on first down. One play later, the senior took a pitch from Tip Danzy and gained eight around right end.

After Seth Stefanko fell on a Tigers fumble, Kreider got the football on a flanker reverse and picked up 14 yards around right end to the Mansfield 9. Dave Hodgson bulled through the middle of the Tygers line for the touchdown on the next snap. Josh Hose hit the PAT and Massillon led 7‑0 at 8:36 of the second quarter.

“We’ve been practicing that play for a while,” Kreider said. “The line blocked well and did a good job and when that hap­pens, we’re going to have a successful play.”

Kreider forced a Mansfield fumble on the Tygers ensuing possession and Jamie Allman recovered at the visitors’ 35 to give Massillon the short field once again.

After a holding penalty against the hosts, Morgan ‑ who finished with 179 yards rushing in 18 carries ‑ picked up 15 yards around left end. Three plays later, Tip Danzy kept the ball and swept around right end for 11 yards to the Mansfield 9. Morgan found paydirt on the next play, getting a huge hole over his left guard.

Hose’s conversion made it 14-­0 at 5:59 of the first half.

“Our offensive line is step­ping up its game,” remarked Danzy. “They’ve been working hard the past couple weeks and the coaches have been getting on them, so they’ve got to do their thing.”

“As long as I pitch the ball to Christian, I know he’s going to get his yards.”

Mansfield came out with renewed vigor in the second half, moving from its 23 to the Massillon 30 on just four plays. But on second and 10, Mansfield quarterback Jeremee Butts was pressured by Massillon’s Chris Turner and threw an interception to safety Bud Kraft at the 19‑yard line.

Three plays later, on third and one from the 28, Hodgson ran the trap up the middle and exploded into the clear. A Mansfield defensive back tried to steal the ball away at the 35, but Hodgson stiff‑armed him away and galloped the rest of the way, into the end zone for a show‑stopping 72‑yard touch­down.

Hose’s conversion kick at 9:23 of the third period made it 21‑0 Massillon.

Rose called that series of plays the game’s turning point.

“The way things have been this year, yeah, I had some anx­iety when Mansfield got those big plays at the beginning of the second half,” he said. “But were turned the turnover into a touchdown, and instead of it being possibly 14‑7, now they’re down 21‑0. That’s a 14‑point swing and I think it took them out of their game plan.”

The Massillon defense forced Mansfield into a three‑and‑out on its next possession, and the Tigers took over at midfield fol­lowing a 12‑yard punt return by Kreider. On second and six from the Mansfield 48, Morgan found a gaping hole over left tackle and sprinted 32 yards to the Tygers’ 16.

Danzy picked up 11 yards around right end on second down and scored a touchdown two plays later on a sneak from the 1. Hose made it 28‑0 at 5:09 of the third.

After another Mansfield series went nowhere, the Tigers mounted their third scoring drive of the third period.

It began with a 12‑yard B.J. Burick keeper around right end that moved the ball from the Massillon 23 to the 35. Three plays later, Morgan took a pitch around right end and raced 53 yards untouched for the score. Hose’s kick at 3:12 made it 35‑0 Massillon.

“We made two adjustments at halftime with the blocking on the two plays we broke for touchdowns,” Rose reported “We were getting out on the perimeter with the ball a little more tonight and they gave us a couple things inside on certain sets that we took advantage of. Our fullback broke the play up the middle there. Establishing him in there helped.”

“I think in the first half we came out a little rusty, worried about turnovers and all of that,” Danzy said. “The second half we came out and came together. We played hard and just turned it around.”

While the Massillon offense came up with the spectacular plays, the defense set it up by limiting Mansfield to just over 100 yards total offense in the second half.

“We’ve been expecting this kind of game defensively for three or four weeks,” Kreider noted. “We finally accom­plished what we’ve been work­ing for. We got some guys back and it seemed like we were real­ly clicking out there tonight.”

One of the returnees was Jared Stefanko, who didn’t play in the second half because of some soreness in his injured right knee.

“He’ll be back,” Rose said. “He just had a little slippage in there and it got sore on him. They told him that would hap­pen from time to time.

“But Jared made a couple of good plays in there. He’s really an impact player. He’s really something else. It’s just a shame (the torn knee ligament) happened to him. He’s a terrific player.”

Marc Cleveland closed the scoring with a 13‑yard touch­down run that included second and third effort.

So, have the Tigers turned the corner?

“Time will tell,” Kreider said. “We have to come out and prac­tice hard every week. We have to play as a team and prepare to win.”

“I think next week you’re going to see a better Massillon team than you have up to this point this season,” Danzy promised.

As for Rose, well, he sees something in this year’s Tigers that reminds him of a past Massillon squad.

“This team reminds me a lot of the 1994 team,” he said. “I think it’s a team that will con­tinue to get better each week.”

Ma Mn
First downs rushing 21 4
First downs passing 0 7
First downs by penalty 2 0
TOTAL first downs 23 11
Net yards rushing 440 133
Net yards passing 5 142
TOTAL yards 445 254
Passes attempted 6 20
Passes completed 1 10
Passes intercepted 2 1
Punts 3 6
Punting average 28 38.2
Fumbles/Lost 2/1 4/3
Penalties 4 10
Yards penalized 24 85

MASSILLON 0 14 21 7 42
MANSFIELD 0 0 0 0 0

MASS ‑ Hodgson 9 run (Hose kick)
MASS ‑ Morgan 9 run (Hose kick)
MASS ‑ Hodgson 72 run (Hose kick)
MASS ‑ Danzy 1 run (Hose kick)
MASS ‑ Morgan 53 run (Hose kick)
MASS ‑ Cleveland 13 run (kick good)


Massillon rushing:
Morgan 18‑79‑2,
Hodgson 15‑142‑2,
Danzy 4‑24‑1,
Cleveland 6‑51‑1,
Burrick 6‑17,
Kreider 1‑14.
Mansfield rushing:
Butts 10‑43,
Burdette 6‑31,
Lloyd 8‑26.

Massillon passing:
Danzy 0‑3 1 int.;
Burrick 1‑3‑5, 1 int.
Mansfield passing:
Butts 10‑20‑50‑1.

Massillon receiving:
Venables 1‑5.
Mansfield receiving:
Luttrell 3‑64,
Lloyo 3‑29.
Bradley 2‑16,
Jones 1‑18,
Davis 1‑15.

Jared Stefanko

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1997: Massillon 20, Akron Garfield 14

Tigers victorious on final drive

Morgan’s TD clinches it

Independent Sports Writer

There were shouts filled with anxiety, shouts emitting from the stands that showed something wasn’t right.

Program Cover

For 48 minutes, 9,000 Massillon fans, all clad in their orange and black, watched as the improbable almost took place Friday night in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

But the improbable didn’t happen.

The Tigers wouldn’t let it happen. Christian Morgan, playing with a broken bone in his right hand and wearing a cast, wouldn’t let it happen.

They were pushed to the limit by a Garfield team, just one week after falling to the defending Division I state champion Lima Senior Spartans.

But Morgan, shaking off two straight fumbles on the Tigers’ first two possessions, took a handoff from quarterback Tip Danzy, who was starting for the flu stricken B.J. Burick, and trotted one yard for the game­ winning touchdown with just 1:32 left.

After last week,” said Massillon head coach Jack Rose, “I was going to take any­thing ‑ 7‑6 would have been fine with me.”

After junior Jamie Allman dove to intercept the sailing sideline pass of Garfield quar­terback Mitchell Moss with 25 seconds left to play, the Tigers (2‑1) could finally rest. They defeated the Golden Rams and veteran head coach Bill McGee, 20‑14.

The 73‑yard game‑winning drive, which took nearly three minutes off the clock, lasted seven plays. Morgan carried the ball all seven times, three off pitches from Danzy. Overall, the 6‑foot‑3, 221‑pound tailback carried the ball 19 times for 83 yards.

The Golden Rams (0‑3), with their full house backfield, uti­lized the running game against the Tigers. When you don’t have a lot of players, you have to shorten the game, McGee said. And that’s what his team did, keeping possession of the football for 31 minutes. They ran 38 times, amassing 295 yards on the ground. They passed just 10 times.

“It was a patented Garfield game plan,” Rose said. “Hold onto the ball, drive it and keep our defense on the field.

“The question was if we were going to hold onto the thing (Massillon had three fumbles, one interception).”

On fourth and inches with 8:39 left in the first quarter, the Rams struck first. Bill Ross (12 carries, 70 yards) took the handoff from Moss and took off through the Massillon defense on a 45‑yard run. With a last effort to stop Ross, Massillon’s Josh Wood dove to bring the runner clown but came up short.

“We needed something good to happen early in light of last week,” Rose said. “That didn’t happen.”

Then Morgan, who broke a bone in his right hand in the Tigers’ opening win over Cardoza High (Washington D.C.), fumbled after taking a pitch from Danzy. On the sec­ond Tigers’ possession, Morgan couldn’t hang onto another pitch.

After the game, the senior admitted the cast has been bothersome to him. He is forced to shift the ball to his left hand upon grabbing it.

“My impression was that we would come in and jump on them from the start,” Morgan said. “I had a few problems with the pitch.”

But Garfield could not take advantage of the two turnovers, missing a 37‑yard field goal and punting on fourth down from the Massillon 49.

Junior Julian Miller got the Tigers on the board on a 9‑yard run with 7:36 left in the second quarter. The score came after the Rams’ Chris Guthrie fum­bled and Allman recovered. At halftime, Massillon and Garfield were tied, 7‑7.

“We came (into the locker room), and everyone was yelling at each other, trying to figure things out,” Danzy said. “We were kind of new to this.”

Rico Person gave the Tigers their first lead (14‑7) with 7:42 left in the third quarter when he recovered a loose ball in the end zone. Moss had to retreat to snag a snap over his head. But he couldn’t grab the bouncing ball as he slipped on the turf. Person came out of a pile with ‘ his hands up and boost of momentum.

But the Rams weren’t fin­ished. On third‑and‑two, Garfield’s playmaker, running back Dale Knox (14 carries, 116 yards), took a handoff up the middle and disappeared amid a swarm of linemen. He reemerged and took off on an 80‑yard sprint, outrunning Allman for the score with 4:08 left in the game.

That left it to Morgan, who scored four touchdowns in a 36-­6 win over Garfield last season, and the Tigers’ offense to pro­vide the dramatics and a much ­needed win.

“Coach (Eric) Schumacher pulled me and Christian aside,” Danzy explained, “and let us know that we were the mar­quee guys everyone would be looking at on the last drive. Christian had a couple of nice runs, and we had the game won.

First downs rushing 12 11
First downs passing 2 1
First downs by penalty 1 2
TOTAL first downs 15 14
Net yards rushing 237 248
Net yards passing 45 34
TOTAL yards 282 282
Passes attempted 7 10
Passes completed 4 4
Passes intercepted 1 1
Punts 3 2
Punting average 37.3 47.5
Fumbles/Lost 4/3 6/2
Penalties 4 9
Yards penalized 28 83

MASSILLON 0 7 7 6 20
GARFIELD 7 0 0 7 14

G ‑ Ross 46 run (McDonald kick)
M ‑ Miller 9 run (Hose kick)
M ‑ Person fumble recovery in end zone (Hose kick)
G ‑ Knox 81 run (McDonald kick)
M ‑ Morgan 1 run (Hose kick)


Massillon rushing:
Morgan 19‑83,
Danzy 10‑101,
Hodgson 8‑44,
Miller 1‑9.
Garfield rushing:
Knox 14‑116,
Ross 12‑70,
Moss 15‑8.

Massillon passing:
Danzy 4‑7‑45 1 INT.
Garfield passing:
Moss 4‑10‑34 1 INT.

Massillon receiving:
Clifford 1‑14,
Venables 1‑14,
Morgan 1‑11,
James 1‑6.
Garfield receiving:
Parnell 2‑22,
Ward 1‑14.

Attendance: 9,363.

Jared Stefanko

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1997: Massillon 7, Lima Senior 25

Tigers fall on own
swords vs Spartans

Independent Sports Editor

If Jack Rose has any trouble selling his Massillon charges on their playoff potential in the wake of Saturday’s 25‑7 setback at Lima Senior, he need only point toward the Tigers’ tormentors.

The very same Lima Senior Spartans who left Paul Brown­ Tiger Stadium one year ago on the short end of a 28-14 final, went on to win 12 straight football games and the Division I state championship.

But the Tigers first defeat of the 1997 season‑was no acci­dent. Lima Senior controlled the game in the trenches, espe­cially during the second half when it denied Massillon a first down until being flagged for running into the punter with 3:05 left in the game.

We got to do a better job at the line of scrimmage,’ Rose said afterward. “We’ve got to block a hell of lot better than we did tonight. We, demonstrated the ability to do that in the scrimmages.

“They didn’t break any big plays on us. They were just methodical and consumed the clock. They’d get three or four yards a clip and get out on the option occasionally. They kept our offense off the field, and when we did get there we had a lot of three-and-outs.

Lima played with more discipline than in its penalty-marred opening game loss to Toledo St. Francis in which it committed 12 infractions. Perhaps more important, the Spartans also displayed playoff level intensity for 48 minutes and they used Tiger spirit as motivation.

“Massillon totally disrespect­ed us,” said All‑Ohio defensive back Joe Sellers, who shadowed Tigers tailback Christian Mor­gan all night long. “They came here with their signs along I‑75 and that “Welcome to Paul Brown Stadium’ stuff. They gave is no respect.’

“They were very emotional,” concurred Rose. “They played an emotional pitch. They’ve been sitting on this one for a year. We were the only ones to hang a loss on them, so I.m sure they thought about this game.”

Massillon hurt itself with nine penalties for 111 yards, includ­ing back to back 15‑yard per­sonal fouls on Lima’s scoring drive, one for celebrating a tackle and the other for grabbing the face mask.

Sellers punched in the first score from a yard out at 2:21 of ­the second period to make it 6—0. but the fireworks were just beginning.

After a muffed kickoff, the ­Tigers attempted a short pass to the left flat on second‑and‑7 at their own 19-yard line. Lima defensive lineman JaJuan Godsey made a leaping interception at the 14 and rambled untouched into the Massillon end zone.

Massillon was intercepted at midfield on its ensuing possession, and Lima’s Quentin Manley ran the ball back to the Tigers’ 4-yard line with 21 still left in the half. The Massillon defense came up with a big play as Josh Krieder scopped up a Lima fumble at the 8 to quell the threat.

It appeared Massillon may have a shot at getting back into the game when Tyrie Clifford returned the second half kickoff from his 14 to the Lima Senior 47. But the Tigers offense went three and out leading to a botched punt which set the Spartans up with good field position for their next scoring drive.

“We’re down 12‑0 and we haven’t played worth a lick,” recalled Rose, “.so we get our adjustments in at halftime, get some good field position, then we run an off tackle play and lose two yards and it just crushed our momentum.

“The problem we have up front is we just aren’t very big and we got overpowered in some places, at a few positions. We didn’t sustain blocks. We didn’t get on them and stay on them.”

Lima’s third scoring drive was a 12-play march that covered 53 yards and consumed 4:14 off the game clock. Sellers ­scored from two yards away, but the key to the drive came at the Massillon 12 when Lima fumbled, recovered and picked up seven yards in the process.

One of the Tigers few bright spots cam late in the third quarter when Krieder returned 59 yards for a touchdown. The senior’s heroics came after the Lima punter was flushed by a good rush and got off a line drive kick.

But Massillon again was its own worst enemy, following. the TD by kicking off out of hounds, giving Lima the ball at the 35 yard line. The Spartans put the game away on that possession, taking 11 plays to score on an 18-yard pass from Fred Collins to Nathan Collins on a fourth‑and‑seven play. Once again the hosts got a boost from a Tiger 15‑yard facemask penalty.

Among the more damning statistics for Massillon offense; Four first downs, 1.7 yards per running play, 38 total yards of offense, 0-6 third down conversions.

First downs rushing 11 1
First downs passing 3 1
First downs by penalty 5 2
TOTAL first downs 10 4
Net yards rushing 151 31
Net yards passing 56 7
TOTAL yards 209 38
Passes attempted 7 10
Passes completed 6 2
Passes Intercepted 2 0
Punts 2 3
Punting average 34.5 41.7
Fumbles/Lost 5/2 O/0
Penalties 4 9
Yards penalized 31 111

LIMA SR. 00 12 06 07 25
WASSILLON 00 00 07 00 07


L – Sellers 1 run (Kick failed)
L – Godsey 11 pass interception return (Kick failed)
L – Sellers 2 run (Kick failed)
M – Krieder 59 punt return (Hose kick)
L – Nathan Collins 17 pass from Fred Collins (Oheney kick)


Massillon rushing:
Morgan, 13‑31,
Hodgson 1-0,
Burick 2‑13,
Danzy 2-(minus)13
Lima rushing:
Nigh 19‑77,
Sellers 16-44,
F. Collins l1‑33.

Massillon passing:
Burick 1‑4‑4 2 INT;
Danzy 1‑5‑3
Lima passing:
Collins 6‑7‑58 l TD

Massillon receiving:
Dean 1‑4,
Hodgson 1‑3,
Lima receiving:
Lepley 2-15,
N. Collins 1-17, l TD,
Sellers 1‑12,
Cannon 1-11.

Jared Stefanko

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1997: Massillon 72, Washington D.C. Cordozo 6

Tigers barely break a sweat

Independent Sports Editor

If ever there was a case for the mercy rule in football, it was the Massillon Tigers’ 72‑6 demolition of the Washington D.C. Cardoza High Clerks in front of approximately 11,000 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Friday.

Program Cover

The Tigers jumped out to a 33‑0 lead after the first quarter and were cruising 53‑0 at half­time with junior varsity players on the field the majority of the second quarter.

Cardoza did not cross the midfield stripe until the 7:10 mark of the fourth quarter.

“I don’t enjoy games like this,” admitted Tigers mentor Jack Rose. “But coming off those scrimmages we had, this was just what we needed.”

Massillon scrimmaged Pennsylvania grid powers Penn Hills and Upper St. Clair, and Pickerington this month, result­ing in injuries to several key players including quarterback Tip Danzy, wide receiver Tyrie Clifford and linebacker Jared Stefanko. The latter was a potentially season‑ending knee injury and with defending state champion Lima Senior up next, the Tigers could ill afford a bruising opener.

“I didn’t blow any smoke at our players this week,” Rose said. “I told them we should win this game easily. We warned them that not playing hard is the easiest way to get injured. Fortunately, the kids listen and we played hard for four quarters.”

It was so bad the Cardoza coaching staff asked for six minute quarters (instead of the regulation 12) in the second half. The Tigers, planning to play junior varsity players the third quarter and sophomores the fourth quarter, settled on eight minute periods.

“Actually, I was rooting for them to get first downs in the second half,” Rose said.

“We came off the ball real well and did a good Job with our the bounce play and the zone play. We didn’t run the option as well as I thought we would. Our quarterbacks were ducking up in there when they should have been kicking it out.”

The Tigers marched 61 yards in five plays following the open­ing kickoff. Tailback Christian Morgan gained 29 yards off right tackle on the first play from scrimmage and added 18 more off left tackle on the game’s second snap. But a penalty and two negative ­yardage plays set up a third and 20 situation at the Cardoza 25. Quarterback B. J. Burick pitched to Morgan on the option play around left end and the 6­foot‑4, 210‑pound senior cut off a sensation block by wide receiver Clint Dean and scam­pered untouched into the Clerks’ end zone.

Josh, Hose boomed the point after kick, nearly hitting the scoreboard, to give the Tigers a 7‑0 lead at the 10:10 mark of the first period.

Cardoza fumbled the ball away on its first snap and Tigers cornerback Jamie Allman fell on the loose pigskin at the visitors’ 34. On first down, Burick found fullback Dave Hodgson in the left flat and the senior carried the ball to the 12. On the very next snap, Hodgson, filling in for Stefanko, found a hole over left guard, spun off two tacklers and bulled his way into the end zone.

Again Hose converted and it was 14‑0 with just under nine minutes to play in the opening stanza.

Cardoza got off one snap before turning the ball back over to Massillon. On first and 10 from the 24, following a pass interference on the hosts, Massillon linebacker Brad Dean picked off a Cardoza pass at the 34 and returned it 13 yards to the 21. Burick hit Clint Dean on a quick slant pass for 19 yards and Morgan scored over right tackle on the next snap to put the Tigers up 20‑0 at 7:21 of the first.

Following a Cardoza punt, Tip Danzy took over at quarterback and on fourth and 8 from the visitors’ 44 found wide receiver Andy Cocklin wide open along the left sideline. Cocklin snared the ball at the 20 and sprinted untouched into the end zone for a 27‑0 Massillon lead.

Cardoza fumbled the ball away on the first snap of its next series, as the center snapped the ball over the head of the quarterback who was in a shotgun formation. Chris Turner recovered for Massillon at the 15. Two plays later, Danzy pitched to fullback Rico Person on an option around right end and the senior covered the eight yards to the end zone for the touch. The kick failed but it was 33‑0 with 1:37 to play in the First.

“Rico has good hands and he showed he has good speed on that play,” Rose noted.

On Massillon’s next posses­sion, Burick lofted a pass down the left hash mark that Clifford ran under for a 56 yard gain. Two plays later, Morgan crashed into the end zone from two yards out and it was 40‑0 at the 9:20 mark of the second quarter.

Clifford’s speed earned Rose’s praise. “He gives us a lot more speed at wide out and that’s going to make a difference in the offense this season,” Rose said.

Josh Kreider’s 39 yard punt return set up the Tigers’ next TD, a 9‑yard burst up the mid­dle, by junior Julian Miller.

First downs rushing 8 2
First downs passing 4 5
First downs by penalty 0 1
TOTAL first downs 12 8
Net yards rushing 163 31
Net yards passing 158 104
TOTAL yards 321 135
Passes attempted 6 18
Passes completed 5 11
Passes intercepted 0 3
Punts 0 3
Punting average 0 28.3
Fumbles/Lost 2/0 5/3
Penalties 7 5
Yards penalized 67 25

MASSILLON 33 20 19 00 72
CORDOZO 00 00 06 00 06


M ‑ Morgan 25 run (Hose kick)
M ‑ Hodgson 12 run (Hose kick)
M ‑ Morgan 2 run (kick failed)
M ‑ Cocklin 44 pass from Danzy (Hose kick)
M ‑ Person 21 run (kick failed)
M ‑ Morgan 2 run (Hose kick)
M ‑ Miller 9 run (pass failed)
M ‑ Lynn 41 pass interception return (Hose kick)
M ‑ Cleveland 84 kickoff return (kick failed)
M ‑ Lynch 17 run (kick good)
M ‑ Buckosh tumble recovery (kick failed)
C ‑ 2 run by unknown (run failed)


Massillon rushing:
Morgan 10‑70, 3 TDS;
Lynch 2‑22, 1 TD;
Wagner 2‑19;
Hodgson 1‑12, 1 TD;
Miller 1‑9, 1 TD;
Person 1‑8, 1 TD.
Cordozo rushing:
Belle 10-22.

Massillon passing:
Burick 3‑3‑103;
Danzy 2‑2‑55, 1 TD;
Fichter 0‑1.
Cordozo passing:
Crockett 11‑18‑104‑3

Massillon receiving:
Clifford 1‑56;
Cocklin 1‑44, 1 TD;
Hodgson 1‑28;
Dean 1‑19;
James 1‑11.
Cordozo receiving:
Johnson 5‑45,
Brooks 1‑21,
Belle 2‑9.

Jared Stefanko