Tag: <span>Jeff Boerner</span>


1982: Massillon 14, Cincinnati Moeller 35

Tigers fall in state final 35‑14
Moeller had ‘too many horses’

Independent Sports Editor

COLUMBUS ‑ The place was the state capital, the date Nov. 27, 1982.

But for the Tiger head coach Mike Currence it might as well have been medieval Mongolia. Why? Because he must have felt like a villager seeing the rising cloud of dust marking the approach of Attila the Hun, with his only viable option left to mutter “there’s too many horses” and go down fighting as best as possible.

Saturday, Attila the Hun was Francisco Hiawatha and the rest of the Moeller Crusaders the Mongol Horde. Moeller captured the Division I state championship with a 35‑14 win, overcoming a fine first‑half effort by the Tigers, giving the Crusaders their sixth state title in the past eight years and 95th win in the last 97 games.

The Tigers’ first loss of the year made them settle for the title of “Ohio Public School Champs.” Sunday’s horrendous weather caused a postponement of the team’s “Recognition Day,” but festivities are reslated for tonight beginning at 7:30 in the school auditorium. The team, band and cheerleaders will all be honored, plus officers for next year will be introduced to the throng.

The weather for Saturday’s game was near perfect. It was a bit chilly but bright sunshine made conditions as conducive as possible for the contest, especially considering the sleet, snow and rain of Friday and Sunday.

Massillon received the opening kickoff, but on the second play from scrimmage, Tim Sampsel absorbed a hit which caused the ball to fly straight up in the air, where Moeller linebacker Shane Bullough pounced on the loose orb at the Tiger 38.

The Tigers sacked Moeller quarterback John Shaffer on the first play, but then D’Juan Francisco and brother Hiawatha took over, grinding out big chunks of yardage, particularly with end sweeps.

The first score came when D’Juan, the sophomore sibling, scored from four yards out with 7:26 remaining in the opening quarter. Rob Heintzman’s soccer‑style conversion kick was good.

The Tigers came right back to fill their thousands of fans with hope. Junior quarterback Brian DeWitz rolled out on a second‑and‑two play and found wide receiver Gary Conley open over the middle. Conley, the senior speedster, caught the ball on the dead run and ran unmolested into the end zone. Bronc Pfisterer added the conversion kick to tie the score with 3:13 left in the period.

It remained tied until the second quarter. Moeller had advanced to its own 42 on a 19‑yard pass from Shaffer to Steve Williford, then went the remaining 58 yards as Hiawatha broke up the middle and used his unbelievable speed to outrun the entire defense into the endzone. The kick was good with 8:19 left in the half.

The next time the Moe‑Men had the ball, they marched 70 yards for a score. The tally came with 4:03 left in the half as Scott Mahan took a 28‑yard pass into the endzone after evading a tackle at the point of the catch. The kick was again good for a 21‑7 lead.

But the Tigers still weren’t deflated. They used most of the remainder of the half, 15 plays to be exact, to march 80 yards for a touchdown.

There were three key plays in the drive. The first was a diving sideline catch by receiver Jim Geiser to give the Tigers’ possession on the Moeller 39 good for 18 yards. it appeared that Geiser had neither foot in bounds for the catch, but the Tigers’ weren’t about to quibble.

But it looked like the break would go for naught when Massillon was faced with a third and 16 with just 45 seconds until intermission. But DeWitz evaded a strong rush and scrambled 20 yards for a first down to the Moeller eight. On the next play, DeWitz led Geiser with a perfect pass to the right corner of the end zone, and Pfisterer’s kick made it 21‑14 at halftime.

Moeller received the second half kick and began another drive, but on a fourth‑and‑one most of the Tiger front line stacked up Hiawatha to give the Tigers the ball back on their own 35.

The Tigers started a drive of their own, but junior defensive back Byron Larkin ended the threat with an interception on the Crusader 30. This time the Crusaders used the running of fullback Dave Springmeier and the passing of Shaffer to move 70 yards for the score. The capper came on a 10‑yard run by Springmerier, followed by the kick. The play took 11 plays and ended with 3:53 left in the quarter.

The ball control antics of the Crusaders wore the Tigers down eventually. Moeller’s final score came in the fourth quarter on an 87‑yard drive in eight plays, including runs of 16 and 27 yards by brother D’Juan. The final 18‑yards came on a pass from Shaffer to Williford, followed by the kick, with 3:23 remaining on the clock, but no hope was left in the hearts of Tiger fans, who started to empty the stands and prepare for the long journey back to Tiger Town and cries of “wait till next year.”

Offensively, the Tigers’ offensive total of 282 yards compared favorably to how they performed against both Sandusky and Berea ‑ when they had the ball to work with a lot more.

But defensive was another story. Moeller racked up 479 yards of offense, including 326 on the ground and 153 more though the air on a nine‑of‑14 performance by Shaffer.

The problem was, the Francisco brothers were all they were cracked up to be, plus the others were better than feared. Hiawatha amassed 151 yards and D’Juan 123 more, while Springmeier was more than effective with 77 yards in 10 bolts. Williford was a killer on pass receiving with five glue‑handed grabs for 57 yards.

After falling behind early, the Tigers went almost exclusively to the pass in hopes of scoring quickly. The Tigers carried only 20 times for 79 yards, led by DeWitz’ 31 yards in eight carries and Chris Spielman’s 28 yards in five attempts. Passing, DeWitz hit on 13 of 31 for 200 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, while Spielman was one of two in the passing department. Spielman also had five catches for 60 yards, while Conley grabbed four for 78 yards and Geiser three for 47 yards.

First‑year coach Steve Klonne praised his senior dominated team, noting that they deserved “their day in the sun” after losing 13‑0 to McKinley in last year’s title clash while basically a junior‑oriented squad.

As for Currence, he concluded, “We played better than we did in 1980 against them down at Dayton. I just wish we could have won it all, but the great thing about sports is, there’s always next year.”
Tiger gridstick
M 0
First downs rushing 3 14
First downs passing 8 7
First downs by penalty 1 0
Totals first down 12 21
Yards gained rushing 91 362
Yards lost rushing 12 36
Net yards rushing 79 326
Net yards passing 203 153
Total yards gained 282 479
Passes attempted 33 14
Passes completed 14 9
Passes int. by 0 2
Yardage on pass int. 0 0
Times kicked off 3 6
Kickoff average 41.0 51.3
Kickoff return yards 91 10
Punts 4 3
Punting average 36.0 44.7
Punt return yards -3 20
Punts blocked by 0 0
Fumbles 5 1
Fumbles lost 1 0
Penalties 6 7
Yards penalized 30 75
Touchdowns rushing 0 3
Touchdowns passing 2 2
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Number of plays 54 64
Time of possession 20:34 27:26
Attendance 42,000 (est)

MOELLER 7 14 7 7 35
MASSILLON 7 7 0 0 14

Moe ‑ D. Francisco 3 run (Heintzman kick)
Mas ‑ Conley 58 pass from DeWitz (Pfisterer kick)
Moe ‑ H. Francisco 58 run (Heintzman kick)
Moe ‑ Mahan 29 pass from Shaffer (Heintzman kick)
Mas ‑ Geiser 8 pass from DeWitz (Pfisterer kick)
Moe ‑ Springmeier 11 run (Heintzman kick)
Moe ‑ Williford 18 pass from Shaffer (Heintzman kick)

Title hopes die hard in Columbus
Tigers, fans gave it their all
Independent Staff Writer
COLUMBUS ‑ There’s a savage splendor about the Ohio State Stadium, which boldly thrusts its massive ramparts into the heavens.

On the floor of this storied arena, American gladiators have battled with all their strength and wit for the rush of glory that comes with conquest; and for that screaming, cheering worship from the spectators.

Every schoolboy in Buckeyeland who puts on the pads dreams of playing in that landmark along the Olentangy. The best, on rare occasions, get their chance.

That’s how it was Saturday, with some 42,000 spectators there. But they were more than just spectators. They were part of the battle, so intimately attached to the struggle that they were one with the young warriors below.

The Tigers of Massillon and the Crusaders of Cincinnati Moeller were locked in battle, and the energy created in the stands was so powerful it had a life of its own. It swept down from the maelstrom of its birth to join the struggle, growing as it rolled down through row after row, wave after wave of explosive emotion.

The emotion which erupted Saturday had been building for a long time, especially for the Massillon faithful. Many things contributed: years of watching the state championship elude the Tigers, usually to turn up in Cincinnati; two previous losses to Moeller; and the final insult of watching Massillon’s arch‑rival, McKinley, knocking off Moeller first and for the state crown to boot.

When the Tigers drilled Berea in the semifinals, the fuse was lit. And the site change to Ohio Stadium seemed to add even more fuel to the Tiger’ fans’ fire.

One man, at least, didn’t like the change. We would fill Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati he said. But as big as OSU stadium is, even 30,000 fans would be “lost” in the bowels of that concrete‑and steel canyon.

But 42,000 showed up and they were far from lost. The crowd was something to behold. The size, the colors, the noise, the energy … To step back and take a hefty drink of the surroundings made you tremble with excitement.

The OSU officials were shaken, too. obviously, such a following for a high school game was not considered. Only the main gate was open for admission of those with tickets and for ticket sales. When it was undeniable that one gate couldn’t handle the crowd, others were opened.

Still, however, some fans didn’t get inside until the first period of battle was well under way. And it wasn’t because the fans were late. Not for this game. Oh no! Not for this game.

In the first half, the hopes of the Massillon fans blossomed and withered time and again. From a seven‑yard gain by the Tigers on the first play to a fumble recovered by Moeller on the second play, ecstasy and misery traded shots within the hearts of the legions from Tigertown. Moeller turned that fumble recovery into a score, but the Tigers came back and tied it with a lightning bolt strike when Brian DeWitz passed the Gary Conley.

Boom‑Boom. Two touchdowns behind, time running out in the half and 80 yards away. But they did it, pushed the ball down the length of the field for another score. The reaction of the fans was awesome. They knew the Tigers had the stuff to win.

“Hey, Moeller’s tough, but we’re still in the game. We can do it!” one man said to no one and everyone within hearing distance at halftime. His sentiments belonged to the thousands in black and orange.

Perhaps the most powerful outburst of emotion ‑ even bigger than Moeller’s final victory cheer, came early in the third quarter. The mighty Crusaders were stopped on a fourth‑and‑one Hiawatha Francisco, that cross between a tank and a gazelle, was stopped cold.

But, victory was not to belong to Massillon on this day. It turned very cold towards the end; bitterly cold, it seemed. And the temperatures made the burden of losing harder to bear; Moeller dominated the second half. There was still hope until late in the fourth quarter, until Moeller built a three touchdown lead. The outcome could not be denied after that touchdown, and the Massillon loyalists had to endure.

The disappointment was uncontrollable for many, fans and players alike. For they all had given it everything they had.

It was a day for heroes, and though Moeller left no doubt who the champion was on Saturday, every Massillon fan knew this small town had just as many heroes on the field as Mighty Mo.

And as the final minutes ticked away, many a perplexed Tiger fan had to resist the urge to sneak up behind a Moeller player and lift up his jersey. What was really under those blue‑and‑gold shirts: muscle and bone or armor plate and high‑impact plastic?

As one dismayed Tiger fan put it, “They ain’t human.”

Jeff Boerner

1982: Massillon 31, Berea 0

Berea bombed; Moeller last step

Independent Sports Editor

AKRON ‑ Was Massillon head coach Mike Currence kidding?

After Saturday’s 31‑0 thrashing of Berea, Currence commented, “We were lucky tonight. We got some big breaks.”

The only response to that comes from “The Sports Writer’s Bedside Companion of Cliches and Alliteration” ‑ a good team makes its own breaks. Perhaps in this case, a great team made them.

Berea entered the game having allowed only 36 points in 11 contests. The Tigers almost matched that in a single night; no other team had ever even scored twice on the Braves.

The Braves were allowing barely 100 yards a game defensively. On the Tigers’ second possession, they marched 99 yards Braves for the first score of the game, eating up almost eight minutes of the clock.

Berea was expected to struggle offensively; a shutout certainly concedes the point. With star running back Rod Witlow hobbled, the Braves’ running game was nonexistent. Passing wasn’t much better, as Berea quarterback Bill Davis completed only eight of 30 attempts as the Tigers’ hard‑hitting and strong rush resulted in a flurry of hurried passes and some ill‑timed drops.

A crowd of 15,250 showed up at the Akron Rubber Bowl. Conditions were less than perfect; an intermittent drizzle fell from the heavens while a steady wind made the temperature seem colder than it was.

The Tigers received the opening boot but had to punt. So did Berea, with quarterback Davis’ kick downed at the Tiger one‑yardline.

Led by the big, bad boomers known as the Massillon front line, the running combination of junior Chris Spielman and senior Jim Bushe ground out steady chunks of yardage.

It took the Tigers’ 12 plays to move the length of the field.

The only pass was a 22‑yarder from quarterback Brian DeWitz to Spielman to end the first quarter. The score came on a three‑yard linebuck by Spielman with 8:44 remaining in the half. Bronc Pfisterer added the conversion kick.

Berea was forced to punt again, and this time the Tigers moved 60 yards to score in eight plays. The capper came on a first‑and‑23 play following a holding penalty. DeWitz stepped back and unleashed a perfect strike to senior receiver Gary Conley, who enjoyed his greatest night as a Tiger. The perfectly‑executed 28‑yard scoring play ended with the Tigers leading 14‑0.

With 1:42 left in the half, Conley’s receiving and defensive backfield cohort, senior Jim Geiser, intercepted a halfback option pass and returned it deep into Berea territory at the 21.

With 13 seconds remaining in the half, DeWitz fired over the middle to Conley, who put on the best open‑field running exhibition of the year in sidestepping defenders en route to a 13‑yard touchdown. Pfisterer’s kick made it 21‑0 at halftime.

Berea received the second half kickoff, but Tiger linebacker George Ziegler got the ball right back with an interception, returning the ball to the Berea 31.

The Tigers’ advanced to the Berea six, but played it safe and relied on the steady foot of Pfisterer for a field goal. The 23-yarder made it 24-0 with 6:23 left in the third period.

The only downer of the night came on the Tigers’ next possession when DeWitz took a vicious blindside hit and fell unconscious to the ground. Serious injury was feared, but he left the field under his own power and later returned for a punt. Brad Offenbecher and Pfisterer split quarterback duties the rest of the way.

Whether the injury caused a lapse of concentration or not, the Tigers lost a quick seven on the very next play. Spielman took a pitchout and launched a wobbly‑but‑on‑target strike to a wide‑open Geiser, who lost control of the ball. It was a rare miss for Geiser, noted for his glue hands.

The Tigers’ final score came with 3:52 remaining in the game. Conley capped his sensational night with an interception and 37‑yard return for a touchdown. Pfisterer’s kick climaxed the 31‑0 barrage.

The Tigers, still perfect at 12‑0, dominated most statistical categories. Massillon led in total yardage 245‑116 and in time of possession, 28:03 to 19:57.

Individually, Spielman carried 16 times for 56 yards, while Bushe carried 11 times for 49 yards. Jeff Boerner carried twice for 18 yards in a good late showing, plus lost a big‑gainer to a penalty flag.

DeWitz finished with a stellar night, completing nine of 14 passes for 112 yards, including two TDs and no pickoffs. Conley caught four passes for 72 yards while Geiser caught three for 31 yards.

“Jubilant” would be the proper word to describe the post‑game lockerroom.

Two‑way lineman Tim Sweterlitsch summed up everybody’s feelings.

“You bet I’m excited about playing Moeller. That’s what we’ve been working all year for.”

The hard work has paid off.

Massillon romps
into state finals
By Milan Zban
Beacon Journal staff writer
It didn’t take Massillon long Saturday night at the Rubber Bowl to soil Berea High’s reputation as a defensive giant.

The Tigers scored three times in the second quarter en route to a 31‑0 victory in the semifinals of the state Division I playoffs before 15,520. The victory advances Massillon to Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. championship game against Cincinnati Moeller at Ohio Stadium.

Berea came into Saturday’s game with an unblemished 11‑0 record and a defensive yield of little more than three points per outing.

But Massillon drove the ball 99 yards on its second possession with tailback Chris Spielman going the final 3 yards for the game’s first score. Bronc Pfisterer kicked the first of three conversions to give the Tigers a 7‑0 lead.

Then wide receiver Gary Conley and quarterback Brian DeWitz took over.

DeWitz and Conley collaborated for touchdown passes of 38 and 13 yards before the half to put the Tigers on top 21‑0.

After Pfisterer booted a 23‑yard field goal in the third quarter, Conley scored again, this time intercepting a Bill Davis pass and returning it 37 yards for his third score of the night.

CONLEY, who had never scored three times in a single game before, credited DeWitz with throwing perfect passes for his two scoring receptions.

“He just laid the ball up there. All I had to do was run under it,” Conley said.

Conley did a bit of fancy shimmying on his second TD, eluding two Berea tacklers just outside the goal line before he stepped across.

Of his interception, Conley said: “I was playing the outside and he (Davis) just hung the ball out there. I got a couple of nice blocks and took it in.

“This is one heck of a team,” Conley said, “we can hurt you running or passing.”

DEWITZ, who took a solid hit by Berea tackle Ted Thompson in the second half, said he hit his head on the AstroTurf on the play and was dazed for awhile. But the game already was in Massillon’s pocket.

“I was trying to set up and got blind‑sided,” DeWitz said. “But I’ll be all right for the finals.”

DeWitz, who wears No. 13, was asked if he was superstitious.

“No, I’m not. My brother Brent wore No. 12 and I wanted the same number, but it wasn’t available, so I went one number higher.”

DeWitz’ passing numbers included 9‑for‑14 for 117 yards without an interception. He also punted three times for a 42.7 yard average.

Conley bad four receptions for 73 yards.

MASSILLON coach Mike Currence, whose Tigers are 12‑0, said the 99‑yard drive was the pivotal point in the game.

“It was a long time for their defense to be on the field,” he said. “You have to remember we got a couple of breaks on that drive. You have to have a couple of breaks to win in a game like this.”

The big break was a facemask call against the Braves after Spielman had dashed 6 yards to the Braves’ 49. DeWitz then completed a 22‑yard pass to Spielman to the Berea 25 and six plays later the Tigers had their first score.

“You have to have the big play,” Currence repeated, “and it was Conley who got it for us.

“Usually we don’t throw long because the longer the pass the lower the percentage it be completed,” he said.

“Now, we can talk about Moeller,” said Currence, who had been asked about the perennial state title contenders week in and week out.

“I don’t think anybody can hit as hard as Berea, but I think Moeller is much quicker than Berea. We’re going to have to play a super game and get some breaks.

“Right now, we’re hot. I just hope we can stay that way.”

BEREA coach Tom Madzy said he had no regrets. His team had had a fine season.

“If anything, that second touchdown (Conley’s 38‑yard reception) is what really hurt us. Our defense won us a lot of games this year, but they were on the field for an awfully long time tonight and so we came out on the short end of the score.”

Berea also was hurt by the inability of speedster Rod Whitlow to go at full speed. An ankle injury sustained several weeks ago sidelined him. He played only sparingly and finally, in the last quarter, limped off the field.

Spielman was the game’s top rusher with 61 yards in 17 attempts. Jim Bushe added 47 yards in 11 carries.

For Berea, Mike Kostyack gained 25 yards in eight tries.


MASSILLON 0 21 3 7 31
BEREA 0 0 0 0 0

MASSILLON ‑ Spielman 3 run (Pfisterer kick)
MASSILLON ‑ Conley 38 pass from DeWitz (Pfisterer kick)
MASSILLON ‑ Conley 13 pass from DeWitz (Pfisterer kick)
MASSILLON – Pfisterer 23 FG
MASSILLON – Conley 37 run with pass interception (Pfisterer kick)

Mass Berea
First Downs 16 7
Yards Rushing 126 45
Yards Passing 121 73

Tigers bomb Berea
on way to finals

Jeff Boerner

1982: Massillon 29, Sandusky 7

Massillon runs over Sandusky 29‑7
Spielman, Bushe are two tough Tigers

Repository Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ Paul Revere would have hung only one lantern in the old North Church.

“One if by land,” would have been the signal. But here Saturday night, it was two by land, as Chris Spielman and Jim Bushe romped through, over and around the Sandusky Blue Streaks, leading the Mas­sillon Tigers to a 29‑7 victory in an OHSAA Division I playoff game.

The crowd of 14,949 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium watched the two tough Tigers each run for more than 100 yards in registering the 11th Massillon win in as many games and advance to next Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. semifinals.

The OHSAA officially will make the pairings and sites known tonight, but it would appear Massillon will travel to Akron’s 38,000‑seat Rubber Bowl to meet unbeaten Berea (11‑0), a 7 – 0 winner over Men­tor Saturday night.

It was the first loss for Sandusky, which had shut down the running games of its 10 regular season foes.

The Blue Streaks, who had limited opponents to a mere 68 yards a game on the ground, found the relentless Massillon offensive line too much to handle as the Tigers roiled up 260 yards running the ball.

Spielman, the 6‑foot‑2, 206‑pound junior, ran 25 times for 127 yards and Bushe, a 6‑1, 185‑pound senior, toted 19 times for 118 yards.

“We took a physical beating in the game,” said Sandusky coach Jim Colwell. “We knew his (Massillon coach Mike Currence) game plan would be to run the ball at our smaller defense. But we couldn’t stop it.

“We had hoped to get a couple of quick scores, and make them have to play catchup, but they just ran it down our throat,” said Colwell.

Both Colwell and Currence said the blocked field goal with the game tied at 7 in the second period was the turning point of the game.

“Yes, that gave us a big lift,” said Currence. “We knew the defense had to come up with a big play somewhere. They (the Blue Streaks) had been moving the ball on us.”

Sandusky had moved the ball to the Massillon 8, and faced a fourth-and‑five situation, when Alan Antel came on to attempt the 24‑yard field goal, less to five minutes into the second period.

Massillon’s Charles Calhoun leaped high behind the defensive line and got a hand on the kick, which trickled harmlessly into the end zone.

The play fired the Tigers, who marched 80 yards in 13 plays … seven carries by Bushe and six by Spielman … to score the go‑ahead TD 46 seconds before the band show. Bushe banged it in from the 3.

Massillon dominated the second half controlling the ball for all but 5:02 of the 24 minutes of playing time. The Blue Streaks not only failed to get a first down in the second half, they had a minus‑24 yards total offense in the third and fourth periods, and in one series, lost 18 yards in three plays, culminating in a safety when Massillon’s Derrick Johnson lowered the boom on quarterback Bret Ninke in the end zone.

The latecomers weren’t even in their seats when Massillon drew first blood.

Sandusky’s Richard Twine returned the opening kickoff 13 yards to the 24, but on the first play from scrimmage, the Tiger defense separated him from the ball and linebacker George Ziegler pounced on it at the 18.

Spielman slammed for 10 and a down, then ripped off the 8 yard TD jaunt as the game was only 97 seconds old.

The Blue Streaks came right back with a mighty march, which included three straight clutch conversions two on third down and one on fourth‑and‑three.

With a first down at the Massillon 28, the Blue Streaks started what appeared to be a reverse, but halfback Dave Turner stopped, and fired a halfback pass to a wide open Randy Moore at the goal line. The conversion tied the score at 7 with 5:07 left in the first period.
Massillon-Sandusky game summary
Sandusky 7 0 0 0 7
Massillon 7 7 7 8 29

Mas ‑ Spielman 8 run (Pfisterer kick)
San ‑ Moore 28 pass from Turner (Antel kick)
Mas ‑ Bushe 3 run (Pfisterer kick)
Mas ‑ Safety Johnson tackled Ninke in end zone
Mas ‑ Spielman 1 run (kick failed)
Att ‑14,949.
Mass Sand
First downs rushing 15 5
First down passing 2 3
Total first downs 17 8
Rushes-yards 54‑260 24‑32
Passing-yards 49 69
Return yards 54 43
Passes 2‑5‑0 5‑12‑1
Punts 2‑41.5 2‑32
Fumbles‑lost 2‑0 2‑3
Penalties‑yards 2‑30 0‑0
Time of Possession 29:24 18:36
Massillon, Spielman 25‑127, Bushe 19‑118, Sampsel 4‑16.
Sandusky, Twine 10‑22, Steele 7‑26.

Massillon, DeWitz 2‑5‑0‑1‑49,
Sandusky, Ninke 4‑11‑1‑0‑41, Turner 1‑1‑0‑1‑28.
Missed field goal ‑ Sandusky, Antel 24.

Massillon turned the ball over on downs at the Sandusky 31 with 2:16 left in the opening canto, and Sandusky began its drive that ended in the blocked kick with 7:22 left in the half.

There were no penalties and no punts in the first two periods, but each team had to punt the first time they had possession in the third quarter.

Massillon’s junior quarterback Brian DeWitz came up with his first completion of the game midway in the third period, hitting a 31‑yarder to end Jim Geiser at the Sandusky 21.

Seven rushes later, five by Spielman and two by Bushe, the Tigers were in the end zone again. Spielman blasted the final yard.

Massillon continued to march, and turned the ball over on downs at the Sandusky 18, 2 1/2 minutes into the fourth period, but three plays later came the safety. Included in the minus march was a five‑yard sack by Massillon’s Sam Clark.

After the free kick, Massillon was forced to punt, but Willie Clark fumbled the return and the Tigers’ Mark Smith gobbled up the loose ball at the Massillon 41, from where the Tigers roared 59 yards in eight plays, the score coming on a 19‑yard pass from DeWitz to Gary Conley, with 1:55 left in the game.

On the first play after the kickoff, Geiser, who doubles as a weak safety in addition to his split end duties, intercepted Ninke, and Massillon ran out the clock.

Sandusky had only 101 yards in total offense, 69 of it passing on five completions in 12 attempts. DeWitz completed 2 of 5 for 49 yards.

Antel’s conversion kick made it 7‑7 with 5:07 left in the first quarter.

CURRENCE said neither he nor his team was expecting such a play. “They were running so well at the time that I don’t think anyone expected them to throw.”

The Blue Streaks threatened to go ahead by moving from their own 31 to the Massillon 8 with 7:22 left in the ball, but the Tigers forced a fourth and five situation and Colwell elected to try a field goal.

That’s when Spielman came over the top to block it and give Massillon the needed momentum.

The Tigers took over at their own 20 following Spielman’s defensive gem and with fullback (rest of article not available)

Spielman’s blocked kick
sparks Massillon victory
By Milan Zban
Beacon Journal staff writer
Chris Spielman had more numbers than the Ohio Lottery.

The Massillon tailback‑linebacker rushed for 116 yards in 23 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns Saturday night as the Tigers downed Sandusky 29‑7 in the quarterfinals of the state Division I playoffs before 14,949 at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

But Spielman’s most important statistic was his block of an attempted field goal try of 24 yards by previously unbeaten Sandusky which would have given the Blue Streaks a 10‑7 lead.

Spielman came crashing over the top of the line to get a hand on Alan Antel’s attempt from the 14‑yard line.

Massillon took over at its own 20, marched 80 yards in 13 plays for a 14‑7 advantage and never looked back.

THE WIN allowed Massillon to advance to the semifinals where they will meet Berea, a winner over Mentor in another Division I quarterfinal. The site reportedly will be the Rubber Bowl Saturday night.

Both coaches, Mike Currence of Massillon and Jim Colwell of Sandusky, called Spielman’s blocked field goal pivotal.

“Had we been able to grab the lead, Massillon would have been forced to play catch‑up and that was our only hope,” said Colwell. “Ironically, that was the first blocked kick we’ve had all season.”

Currence, who saw his Tigers jump to a 7‑0 first‑quarter lead after recovering a fumble on Sandusky’s first possession and converting it into a 7‑yard scoring sprint by Spielman, lauded his offensive unit.

After Spielman’s first touchdown, coming just three plays after linebacker George Ziegler recovered Richard Twine’s fumble, Sandusky marched 72 yards to tie the game by using a bit of razzle dazzle.

Quarterback Bret Ninke, who kept the drive alive by optioning for key yardage on a fourth and two situation, handed off to wing back David Turner on an apparent end sweep. But Turner stopped and threw a pass downfield to wide receiver Randy Moore who was wide open at the Massillon 6. He turned and stepped into the end zone for the touchdown.

Jim Bushe and Spielman each carrying 6 times for 40 yards, they broke the tie with 46 seconds left in the half as Bushe cracked into the end zone from 3 yards out. Bronc Pfisterer’s conversion kick was good and Massillon led 11‑7 at intermission.

MASSILLON padded its lead when Spielman added his second touchdown on a 1‑yard run following a drive of 50 yards.

The big play in the march was a 30‑yard pass from Brian DeWitz to Jim Geiser which carried to the Sandusky 20. The score came with 1:32 left in the third period, but more was on the way.

With 7:14 remaining in the game, Ninke was nailed in his own end zone for a safety by Massillon end Derrick Johnson.

DeWitz later passed 19 yards to Gary Conley for the Tigers’ final score with 1:55 remaining. The Tigers drove the ball 60 yards to score after Mark Smith recovered another fumble by Twine.

Bushe was the game’s lop ground gainer with 117 yards in 18 attempts. Massillon’s defense surrendered only 22 yards in 10 carries by Twine and 26 yards in 7 attempts by Tracy Steele.

Massillon advances
Tigers run over Sandusky
Beadle blocks big boost
for Tiger backs
Assistant Sports Editor
MASSILLON ‑ Ty Beadle thinks Jim Bushe and Chris Spielman are merely the two best high school running backs in Ohio.

Now, Beadle may be a tad prejudiced.

He blocks for them, you see.

Beadle did his usual good job of blocking Saturday. Spielman and Bushe did their usual good job of running.

And there was the usual result: a runaway victory for the Massillon Tigers. The victim, by a 29‑7 score – the Tigers’ seventh blowout in their last eight games ‑ was unbeaten Sandusky.

This time it was a game of more than usual importance. It is the time of the season when a loss means the end of the season. It was a quarterfinal playoff victory in the Ohio Division I playoffs.

“Blocking Sandusky,” Beadle said afterward, “was harder than usual, but not as hard as against McKinley (the team the Tigers tamed 7‑0 a week earlier to qualify for the playoff).”

Massillon, 11‑0, advances to a semifinal game against Berea, also 11‑0, next Saturday night in Akron’s Rubber Bowl.

The Tigers almost made it look easy against Sandusky (10‑1), unleashing a rushing attack that netted 118 yards in 19 carries for Bushe and 127 yards in 25 totes for Spielman.

When one runs behind Beadle, a 6‑foot‑2, 265‑pound senior tackle (not to mention an outstanding supporting cast of offensive linemen), sometimes it is easy.

Beadle’s attitude about doing the blue‑collar work for the Tiger backs: “My pleasure.”

“They’re the best backs in Ohio,” he said.

What makes Spielman effective?

“He hits somebody,” Beadle said. “He rolls ’em over.”

And Bushe?

“Speed … he dodges people. He fakes ’em out,” Beadle appraised.

Beadle gave the Massillon fans among a throng of 14,949 a scare when he limped off the field in the fourth quarter. He said there is nothing to worry about, diagnosing his ailment as “just a charlie,” of the horse variety.

Sandusky made a game of it for one half. The Blue Streaks counteracted Massillon’s beefeater ground game with some French pastry, scoring on a 28‑yard flea flicker to tie it at 7‑7 in the first quarter.

The Blue Streaks threatened to take a lead in the second quarter, using burner Richard Twine and bulldozer Tracy Steele to rush into field goal position, only to watch a 24‑yard attempt get blocked by another Massillon offensive lineman, Charles Calhoun.

The coaches cited the block as the turning point.

It may not have been. Sandusky showed no evidence all night of being able to arrest the Tiger ground patrol.

By the third quarter, after Massillon had pushed its lead to 21‑0 and stalled the Sandusky offense, the only burning issue was whether Bushe or Spielman would be the first to reach 100 yards.

Bushe, a 6‑3, 185‑pound senior, said the Tigers agreed at halftime it was time to get going.

“We knew that offensively and defensively we had to pull together and go out and beat ’em like the Tigers beat everybody,” said Bushe, who scored the second‑quarter touchdown that put Massillon ahead to stay.

Spielman, who also did a bang‑up job at linebacker, said he wouldn’t have worried had Sandusky converted the field goal for a 10-7 lead.

“If they would’ve gone ahead, it wouldn’t have been for long,” the 6‑2, 206‑pound junior said. “We made some adjustments at halftime, kept them from spreading out our defense and shut them down. And we kept running our offense.”

Sandusky came to town with two running backs, Richard Twine and Willie Clark, said to go from zero to 60 faster than a Ferrari.

A night of running into Massillon’s trucks negated their skills. Twine gained 24 yards in 10 carries, Clark minus‑two yards in two trips. Steele, a 225‑pound fullback, rushed for 26 yards in seven carries.

The Sandusky passing game was effective for a time ‑ it produced 69 yards ‑ but it, too, died in the second half.

Somebody asked Spielman if the Massillon defense took it personally when the Blue Streaks scored.

“Yeah,” he grinned. “We go for a shutout every game. We’re the Massillon Tigers. We just stayed with our defense, went out there to stick ’em.”

One of Massillon’s big sticks was a relatively small defensive end, 185‑pound senior Derrick Johnson, who played one of his best games, at one point tackling Sandusky quarterback Bret Ninke in the end zone for a fourth‑period safety.

“As the season goes on, we get more and more psyched,” Johnson said. “Our sheer desire to win pulled us through.”
TIGER TALES: Tiger quarterback Brian DeWitz had three season lows Saturday: attempts (five), completions (two) and yards (49).

“We didn’t have to pass,” Massillon coach Mike Currence said. “We wanted to keep the ball away from Sandusky, because they could get the big play at any time, And we were having a lot of success keeping it on the ground.”

Sandusky coach Jim Colwell lamented the blocked field goal.

“After that, they took over and ran the ball right down our throats, and scored. That gave them a big lift,” he said.

“I’m not sure we were back far enough on the field goal. One of our players came out after the block and said he thought the holder was only back about 5 yards instead of our normal 7.

The last thing Sandusky wanted was to fumble away its first possession. but that’s just what happened, and the Tigers turned the miscue into two Spielman runs for 18 yards and a touchdown.

“Our kids showed a lot of courage to come back with a touchdown drive,” Colwell said.

Of the flea‑flicker pass play, Colwell said, “We ran that same play last week against Fremont, and we had the guy open, but our receiver dropped the ball.”

Dave Turner, who threw the TD off a reverse, was the first‑team quarterback two years ago as a sophomore when Bret Ninke was out with a knee injury all season.

Colwell tried several lineup changes to stop Tiger runners.

“We were trying to get someone in there who wouldn’t get blown five yards down field on every play … we didn’t find anyone.

Jeff Boerner
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1982: Massillon 37, Mansfield Senior 14

Tigers breeze past Mansfield 37‑14
Preliminaries’ over as Massillon coasts 37‑14

Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ “Everything up to this point has just been a preliminary drill for next week,” said Massillon head coach Mike Currence. “Next week’s Massillon McKinley game is … well, it’s the season.”

Not only the season, but the final roadblock to a perfect 10‑0 regular slate and a sure trip to the post‑season playoffs.

Friday night’s game against Mansfield Senior at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium indeed amounted to a drill, and for the invading Mansfield Senior Tygers, a drilling.

Program Cover

The final 37‑14 score was hardly indicative of the one‑sided nature of the contest. As the visiting scribe from Mansfield pointed out, the Tygers may have had a 6‑2 record, but their victims had amassed only 10 wins among them going into Friday night.

It was obvious within seconds that this wasn’t going to be a repeat of 1949, when Mansfield, coached by 1945 wartime Tiger coach Augie Morningstar, defeated mighty Massillon 16‑12. (Making Morningstar the only former Tiger coach to ever defeat his old team.)

Massillon recovered an opening on‑side kick attempt on its own 30 after it squibbed through the first two lines of the Massillon specialty unit.

On the first play, Chris Spielman broke off a 15‑yard run through the right side of the Mansfield fine. On the second play, Jim Bushe went through the left side and raced 55 yards for a touchdown, with 11:18 still showing on the clock. Bronc Pfisterer who enjoyed a big night of his own ‑ added the extra point and, the rout was on.

Mansfield promptly used the famous “Cha‑Cha Offense” ‑ one, two, three, kick ‑ and this time the Tigers used the airwaves to score, moving 67 yards in five plays.

Quarterback Brian DeWitz started the drive with passes of 25 and 12 yards to fullback Tom Gruno. On the following play, Gary Conley turned the defensive back around in the end zone but couldn’t contain the ball. But after a short running play, DeWitz tossed a short pass over the middle to Bushe, who glided through the defense for a 25‑yard score. After the kick, Massillon led 14‑0 with 7:37 remaining in the quarter.

After forcing another Mansfield punt, the Tigers tried to be charitable as Spielman failed to see a teammates’ fair catch signal and fumbled the kick away. But Mansfield tried to pass on first down, only to have it picked off by Tommy Manion and returned to the Massillon 35.

The Tigers scored in four plays this time. A 24‑yard pass from DeWitz to Conley set up the ball at the six, with Spielman breaking through the line for the score on the next play. Pfisterer’s kick again split the uprights, and Massillon led 21‑0 in the first quarter.

It stayed that way until early in the second quarter ‑ a point of time which also marked the first trickle of a never‑ending flow of Tiger reserves for the remainder of the game.

Senior Jeff Boerner set up the next Tiger tally with a 30 yard run on the first play of the second quarter, and finished the drive with an eight‑yard burst up the middle with 9:50 left in the half.

The Tigers’ next possession saw Brad Offenbecher at the controls. Massillon started on its own 25‑yardline and marched all the way to Mansfield’s two before settling on a 20‑yard Pfisterer field goal, making the score 31‑0.

Pfisterer’s kick set a Tiger record for field goals in a season, four. The previous mark was three held by five former Tigers, including Tim Manion last year.

The half ended with a Spielman interception which he almost returned for a touchdown.

At halftime, the Tigers held a 341‑54 advantage in total yards, including 102 yards in the air, all in the first quarter and the reserves had already played half a period!
Tygers learn ‘y’ Tigers 9‑0
Mansfield was able to rack up some yardage in the second half as the Tiger youngsters gained valuable experience for the future. The visitors scored on their first possession of the quarter as a 43‑yard run by Pete Webb set up a 10‑yard scoring run by Bobby Taylor, with quarterback Craig Leedham’s kick good.

But the Tigers came right back again with Pfisterer, a junior, at the controls, and he provided one of the night’s most spectacular moments.

After a flurry of penalty flags, the Tigers found themselves in a third‑and‑30 situation on the Mansfield 36. Hopeless? Not for Massillon!

Pfisterer hit Boerner with a screen pass, and the fleet running back raced through the defense for the final Tiger touchdown with 10:38 left in the game.

It was a big night for Boerner, who led Tiger rushers with 97 yards in 10 carries, plus made the big touchdown catch.

“That was the most playing time I’ve gotten yet,” he said afterwards. “The running play that I had success running was the counter‑6 and counter‑7 play; it seemed to work every time. It all boiled down to our line just blowing out their line.” (But give Boerner an inch of daylight, and he has the raw speed to cover quite a distance quickly, which he proved more than once Friday.)

In the end, Massillon outgained Mansfield 477‑221 in total yardage. Boerner’s rushing totals were tops, but Bushe and Spielman both helped their averages, as Bushe ran three times for 68 yards and Spielman toted the leather four times for 46 yards. Junior Mark Smith added 65 yards in seven carries. Vernon Hairston led Mansfield with 64 yards in 16 carries.

DeWitz was five‑of‑seven passing for 102 yards, giving him 68 completions on the ‘Year, just one short of fifth place on the all‑time Tiger single‑season completion list behind Chris’ older brother, Rick Spielman. The receiving was spread out as Tom Grotto caught two passes for 44 yards, and seven other receivers caught one each.

“Mansfield’s not quite as tough as some of our other foes, but they put up a good fight,” said a generous Currence afterwards.

“Massillon’s just a first class outfit, what can you say?” said second‑year Mansfield coach Harold Dean. “They’re just a good, good team. About the best you can say for us is that we didn’t quit the second half; we kept plugging away.”

Needless to say, next Saturday’s contest will have a bit more intensity than Friday’s “controlled scrimmage”.

M 0
First downs rushing 13 9
First downs passing 7 2
First downs by penalty 0 1
Totals first downs 20 12
Yards gained rushing 314 204
Yards lost rushing 10 13
Net yards rushing 304 191
Net yard. Passing 173 30
Total yards gained 477 221
Passes attempted 13 11
Passes completed 8 4
Passes int. by 2 0
Yardage on pass int. 49 0
Time. kicked if 7 3
Kickoff average 49.4 33.7
Kickoff return yards 25 137
Punts 1 6
Punting average 30.0 27.3
Pont return yard 28 0
Punts blocked by 0 0
Fumble 3 4
Fumbles lost 1 0
Penalties 6 3
Yards penalized 80 15
Touchdowns rushing 3 1
Touchdowns passing 2 1
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Number of plays 52 45
Time of possession 23:32 24:28
Attendance 8,454

Massillon 21 10 0 6 37
Mansfield 0 0 7 7 14

M ‑ Bushe 55‑yard on (Pfisterer kick)
M ‑ Bushe 25‑yard pass from DeWitz (Fosterer kick)
M ‑ Spielman 6‑yard ran (Pfisterer kick)
M ‑ Boerner 8‑yard ran (Pfisterer kick)
M ‑ Pfisterer 20‑yard field goal
Mn ‑ Taylor 10‑yard run (Leedom kick)
M ‑ Boerner 35‑yard pass from Pfisterer (kick failed)
Me ‑ Webb 25‑yard pass from Leedom (Leedom kick)

Jeff Boerner
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1982: Massillon 42, Canton Glenoak 14

Tigers near‑perfect in routing Eagles
‘Flawless’ team effort, adds” to ‘Nick’s Night’ as Tigers roll 42‑14

Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ Halftime activities had ended, and Massillon Tiger offensive coordinator Nick Vrotsos was returning to his familiar perch in the upper loge of the pressbox.

A ladder separates the two decks; and for Vrotsos, each week’s climb is a happy reminder of the ladder of success he has climbed in Massillon in his unparalleled 25 years as a Tiger assistant.

Friday night was a bit different.

“This is my night, fellas, my night!” beamed a jubilant Vrotsos to his admirers in the pressbox. And indeed it was.

Program Cover

Not only had Vrotsos been presented with a surprise 25‑year plaque from the Tiger Booster Club in pre‑game ceremonies, (along with the original picture which appeared on Friday’s Tiger program), but his offensive charges had built an overwhelming 21‑0 lead at halftime in the “Computer Bowl” contest against GlenOak.

When it was all over, the first‑ever meeting between the two schools ended in a one‑sided 42‑14 Tiger win, assuring the Tigers of moving ahead of at least GlenOak when next week’s regional rankings are released.

“We were practically flawless tonight!” beamed Vrotsos after the game.

True, and from their first play from scrimmage, no less!

GlenOak received the opening kickoff, moving the ball two yards, on the ground in three plays, typical of the night’s efforts against the Tiger starters. A punt gave the Tigers possession on their own 36.

Tiger quarterback Brian DeWitz took center Rick Hamit’s snap, faked a handoff, rolled out left and unleashed a long pass to Gary Conley, who caught the ball on the run and ran the final 30 yards untouched. Bronc Pfisterer, becoming ‘Mr. Automatic’ on extra points, kicked his first of seven conversions and the Tigers led 7‑0 with 9:31 left in the opening period.

“I was surprised the coach (Mike Currence) went for the long one on the first play,” said DeWitz, fast moving up the ranks of all‑time Massillon throwing leaders. “But as soon as I threw it, I knew it was in there.”

“Loved it … loved it,” cooed the cool Conley afterwards. “The defensive back took the initial run fake and I just snuck around behind him, Brian fired a beauty and the result was a quick six.”

“That was Nick’s call to go right at them,” said Currence in praise of Vrotsos.

Vrotsos admitted that ‘unofficial’ coach Sonny Spielman, now the assistant principal at Longfellow Junior High, planted the idea in his head, adding, “It was a good call, that play’s been open for us most of the year.

GlenOak never recovered from the opening shockwave. On their next possession it was three downs and punt, then the Tigers came right back with a time‑consuming, 12‑play touchdown drive.

The drive was consummated entirely on the ground except for a screen pass to junior Chris Spielman on the second play good for 16 yards. Constant success was found on the “student body” right and left plays ‑ end sweeps.

“They jammed up everybody in the middle, practically giving us the outside,” said Vrotsos. ” And we’ll take what they give us.”

Spielman took final honors with a two yard sweep. The Tigers led 14-0 with 1:05 remaining in the initial quarter.

Massillon scored once in the second quarter ‑ another time‑consuming, 88‑yard drive. Spielman capped it with a seven yard sweep with 58 seconds remaining in the half for a 21‑0 lead.
Tigers show their best
At halftime, despite an almost even time of possession. Massillon led in total yardage 248‑26! GlenOak managed only one first down, midway through the second period.

By the third quarter, the Golden Eagles were “Bushed.” Massillon took the kickoff and marched 70 yards in six plays ‑ the first two plays runs of 29 and 17 yards by senior Jim Bushe, who capped the drive with a one‑yard scoot with 8:56 left in the third quarter.

Bushe was the Tigers’ leading rusher on the night, toting the leather 13 times for 142 yards.

“Give the line credit,” said Bushe. “I swear our guards are almost as quick as me, and they were just burying the Eagles tonight.”

A few more Eagle feathers were ruffled when pass coverage broke down with 29 seconds left in the quarter. A wide‑open Jim Geiser hauled down another DeWitz bomb for a 66‑yard score.

Down 35‑0, the Golden Eagles finally started moving the hall in the final period against the Tiger backups. Following a play in which GlenOak running back Greg Wagner suffered an ankle injury, quarterback Monty Crowl hit senior receiver Rob Wright with a 52‑yard touchdown toss. Wright was a bright spot for GlenOak, adding two interceptions for a fine night’s work.

Crowl, a speedy senior southpaw noted primarily as a fine runner and ballhandler, had his throwing arm kept under wraps in the first half, but found good success in the late going.

On the Eagles next possession, he completed four passes, including a nine‑yard scoring toss to senior Jimmie Burks, as GlenOak went 66 yard in eight plays for a late tally. Crowl ended the game nine‑of‑17 for 158 yards passing.

But the Tiger reserves had a bit of firepower left in them, too. Following an unsuccessful onside kick attempt, senior quarterback Brad Offenbecher led the Tigers 53 yards, hitting junior Richard Crenshaw with a 16‑yard scoring pass with 29 seconds left for the final 42‑14 margin.

Offenbecher played his best hall of the year in the game. On the scoring drive, the brother of Ohio State’s Brent Offenbecher connected on two‑of‑four passes and scrambled nine yards on another play.

The surprisingly‑easy win gave the Tigers an unblemished 8‑0 mark on the year going into next week’s game with Mansfield ‑ a game sandwiched between the GlenOak and McKinley epics where the players must work extra hard to avoid a letdown.

For GlenOak, the loss snapped a six game winning streak, the first since an opening night 14‑0 loss at the hands of McKinley.

It also spoiled the homecoming of former Tiger coach Bob Cummings, who had hoped for a better effort but admitted, “Massillon took dead aim on us and beat us to a pulp.”

Currence felt compassion for his illustrious predecessor, but summed up the situation pragmatically:

“Better him than me.”

Massillon mauls GlenOak 42‑ 14
Assistant Sports Editor
MASSILLON ‑ The year was 1980. It was a snowy, cold November Sunday in Cincinnati. It was the day Massillon’s Tigers played Moeller High for the Ohio High School Division I football championship.

The day came to mind Friday night after the Tigers shot down ClenOak’s Golden Eagles 42‑14 before, 16,490 fans in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Moeller was awesome in ’80, but Massillon was a good team, and folks were eager to see if the Tigers could make a game of it.

They didn’t.

Friday, GlenOak wore the shoes that had been on Massillon’s feet in 1980. The Golden Eagles were the good team challenging the powerhouse.

This one wasn’t a game, either.

The Tigers started with a bang, scoring on a 65‑yard Brian DeWitz‑to‑Gary Conley pass on their first play from scrimmage, and poured it on until the first team sat down with a 35‑0 lead on the board after three quarters.

Massillon improved to 8‑0, halting a six‑game GlenOak winning streak and leaving the Eagles with a 6‑2 record.

“Ain’t no stoppin’ us now,” said Conley, a speedy senior split end. “We’ll take ’em one at a time until we get to the 13th game.”

No. 13, if it comes to that, would be for the state title ‑ perhaps against Moeller.

“We’re state bound … if we can keep our heads on straight,” said running back Jim Bushe, who used blockbuster blocking by the offensive line and his own speed and shiftiness to amass 142 yards in only 13 rushes.

Bushe says he wants to play football in the Big Ten Conference some day. Heck, he could have played in the Big Ten Friday.

Massillon dominated almost every phase of the game, but the running attack was the real crusher.

Bushe saw to it that it was over early, gaining huge chunks of yardage on runs to the outside.

The Tigers had the ball four times in the first half and scored three touchdowns. An interception by Rob Wright, one of GlenOak’s few bright spots, snuffed out the other drive.

Senior guard Charles Calhoun explained why the Tigers ran wild on the outside.

“We outweighed their defensive line by about 30 pounds a man,” said Calhoun, a 240‑pound senior. “They were submarining us, dying in the hole to try to stuff the middle. So we just went to the outside. Then they stopped submarining us, and we hit them with some counter plays that worked pretty well.”

The Tigers led 478 yards to 241 yards in total offense, but even that whopping margin was deceiving. Through three quarters, the Tigers led 390‑73 in total offense.

After that, Massillon brought in its second string, against which the Eagles scored both of their touchdowns.

Massillon coach Mike Currence said the Tigers had been worried.

“Maybe we were so fired up because we scared,” he said. “On film, GlenOak’s offense executed almost everything perfectly.”

But the Tigers did what no other team has done ‑ shut down GlenOak’s running game.

“People were saying GlenOak has the best offensive line in Stark County,” Massillon defensive coordinator Jim Letcavits said. “Our people shut them down. It was the best tackling we’ve had.”

The last thing GlenOak wanted to happen was one of the first things that happened ‑ the big play, early.

GlenOak took the opening kickoff, ran three plays, then punted to the Massillon 35.

Nick Vrotsos, Massillon’s offensive coordinator, sent in “14 waggle.” It had almost brought a touchdown on Massillon’s first play of the season, against another Federal League team, Perry.

“It calls for me to take my man deep over the middle,” Conley said. “It looked like the defensive back started to go for the run fake. I got open, and Brian threw me a perfect pass.”

Conley caught the ball on the GlenOak 25 and outraced GlenOak’s Fermin Olivera to the end zone at 9:31 of the opening quarter.

Three GlenOak plays and a punt later, the Tigers launched a 12‑play, 63‑yard touchdown drive. Bushe and halfback Chris Spielman did most of the damage on the ground, with Spielman going the final two yards at 1:05 of the first period.

GlenOak had a chance to get back in the game when Wright’s interception gave the Eagles the ball on their own 49 early in the second quarter. The Eagles drove to the Massillon 39, getting their only first down of the first half, before having to punt.

Then Massillon put the game away with a 78‑yard touchdown drive that again featured Bushe and Spielman. Spielman dove into the end zone on a seven‑yard run 58 seconds before the band show.

The rout was on when the Tigers took the second‑half kickoff and drove 70 yards for a score, with Bushe rushing for all but three of them and scoring on a one‑yard blast.

Later in the third quarter, DeWitz and split end Jim Geiser hooked up on a 66‑yard touchdown pass.

DeWitz completed five of eight passes for 168 yards. His touchdown pass to Geiser flushed him over 1,000 yards for the season. He now has completed 63 of 107 tosses for 1,055 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Massillon romps 42‑14
The Eagles made it 35-7 on a 59‑yard scoring pass from quarterback Monte Crowl to split end Wright at 8:14 of the fourth quarter. Crowl later found Jimmie Burks on a nine yard scoring pass.

The Tigers led 22‑9 in first downs and 268‑91 in rushing yards. Star tailback Greg Wagner of GlenOak was held to 21 yards in nine carries before leaving the game with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. The extent of the injury was unknown.

Next Friday, Massillon hosts Mansfield Senior and GlenOak hosts Louisville.

GlenOak 0 0 0 14 14
Massillon 14 7 14 7 42

Mass ‑ Conley 65 Pass from DeWitz (Pfisterer kick)
Mass – Spielman 2 run (Pfisterer kick)
Mass – Spielman 7 run (Pfisterer kick)
Mass – Bushe 1 run (Pfisterer kick)
Mass – Geiser 66 pass from DeWitz (Pfisterer kick)
Glen – Wright 59 pass from Crowl (Olivera kick)
Glen – Burks 9 pass from Crowl (Olivera kick)
Mass – Crenshaw 16 pass from Offenbecher (Pfisterer kick)
Att – 16,490

Jeff Boerner
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1982: Massillon 28, Sharon, PA 7

Tigers roll to 7th straight win 28‑7

Assistant Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ Let’s get the vital statistics out of the way, because The Play is going to take some explaining.

Washington High’s Tigers handed Sharon, Pa. its first high school football defeat of 1982 Friday, 28‑7, before 9,847 in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

The Tigers outgained Sharon 371‑137 in total yards and ran their record to 7‑0 in a tuneup for next Friday’s showdown against GlenOak (6‑1).

There. Now, The Play.

Second quarter, Sharon’s ball on its own 44, Massillon leading 7‑0.

Program Cover

Sharon punter Dan Wallace boots a screwball that bounces in front of Massillon return man Chris Spielman.

Spielman positions himself to where he thinks the ball will bounce to him, but it takes a high hop, glances off his right hand, and squibs toward the Tiger goal line.

Sharon’s Robert Dawson tears past Spielman, short hops the ball at the 5, plants his left foot at the 3, his right foot at the 1, and zips into the end zone.

The arms of the back judge shoot skyward. Touchdown!

Spielman dropped to all fours in agony.

But wait. Another official, realizing the punting team can’t advance a fumble by the receiving team, points to the 1, as if to say Sharon should get the hall there.

Then confusion hits. All six officials huddle.

Then, to the astonishment of the Sharon bench, the ball is marched to the 20, where it is Massillon’s ball.

The ruling: the Sharon player did not have control until he was in the end zone. Spielman’s miscue is ruled a muff.

It was a correct call as interpreted by the officials.

But a slow‑motion videotape played in the Massillon coaches’ room afterward clearly showed Dawson had possession before he entered the end zone.

Sharon should have had the ball on the 1, from where it could have scored and tied the game.

It was a bang‑bang play, a tough call for the officals to make.

It was a tough call for Sharon to swallow.

“I had a good grip on the ball at the 3,” Dawson said. “I couldn’t believe what happened after that.”

What turned into a boring second half might have had punch. But Sharon coach Jim Wildman refused to use The Play as an alibi.

“Let’s not make that the major issue,” he said. “They were a better football team. They’re a powerhouse. I hear Mike Currence (Massillon’s coach) has taken some abuse here the last couple of years. Maybe the people here should be thankful for what they have.”

Massillon struck quickly after The Play, driving 80 yards for a touchdown, forcing Sharon to punt, then driving 49 yards for another TD.

The home‑town Tigers (Sharon’s nickname also is Tigers) led 21‑0 at the intermission and never were threatened in the second half.

“We wore them down,” Currence said, “I thought we played pretty well.”

The Tigers are Gerry Cooney with a right hand. They can knock you out with the run. The can turn out your lights with the pass.

At halftime, the Tigers had 105 yards on the ground (58 by Spielman) and 104 in the air (by quarterback Brian DeWitz).

Sharon was beffudled by the rushing of Spielman, and halfback Jim Bushe and fullback Tim Sampsel. It was bewildered by the receiving contingent of Jim Geiser, Gary Conley and John Pierce.

Spielman bulled seven yards up middle the middle for Massillon’s first touchdown, at 1:00 of the first quarter, to cap a 44‑yard drive.

The Tigers tallied again at 6:28 of the second period, with Spielman bulling in from three yards out.

DeWitz hit Geiser with a 10‑yard bullet in the end zone 45 seconds before the band show.

The Tigers scored on a 44‑yard drive midway through the third period, with Sampsel bulldozing two yards for the score.

Sharon, 6‑0, scored a meaningless touchdown with a minute left in the game. Sharon, which revolves around shifty quarterback Teryl Clifford, rushed for 114 yards.

And now, what of GlenOak?

“A computer playoff spot is on the line,” Currence said “It’ll be for all the marbles.”

Sharon 0 0 0 7 7
Massillon 7 14 7 7 28

Mas ‑ Spielman 7 run (Pfisterer kick)
Mas ‑ Spielman 3 run (Phisterer kick)
Mas ‑ Geiser 10 Pass from DeWitz (Pfisterer kick)
Mas ‑ Sampsel 2 run (Pfisterer kick)
Shar ‑ Sormaz 25 pass from Micchia (Albright kick)
A ‑ 9,847

Massillon wears down
game but outmanned
Sharon gridders 28-7
Independent Sports Editor
MASSILLON ‑ According to the oddsmakers, the Massillon Tigers were 22 point favorites over the visitors from Sharon, Pa., Friday night.

Those foolish enough to bet money on football games and wise enough to know that Massillon would coast to victory would have lost their investment, as the locals won by only 21 points, 28‑7, before a Homecoming crowd of 9,847 fans.

But a victory of any sort was welcome news to Massillon equipment manager Rick Smer. Like many souls in the world of athletics, Smer is prone to certain superstitions, and Friday’s game had him leery.

Massillon was wearing its orange jerseys and black pants, a combination that had netted the Tigers a 2‑7 mark over the past six seasons! To make matters worse, not only was Sharon undefeated entering the contest, but the last time the Tigers wore Friday’s combination, the opponent, Parma Padua, wore Sharon’s white and orange‑style attire ‑ and won!

“The coach (Mike Currence) told me not to mention it around the players, but I tell you, it had me worried!,” said Smer.

In the end, Smer’s would have been better off contemplating whether mankind exists within in a universe or a multiverse, or whether or not “Gilligan’s Island” made significant contributions to 20th century culture, but he certainly didn’t have to worry about the Massillon football team.

Sharon coach Jim Wildman pointed to Massillon’s depth and diversity of offense as the keys to the game. Sharon had nine two‑way players in the lineup, and Massillon used this to its advantage, utilizing a constant stream of motion plays and sprintouts on offense, a game plan that kept the Sharon defense on the run all night ‑ until it ran out of gas.

The locals, now 7‑0, had built a 28‑0 lead early in the third quarter when the first unit departed from the game. Sharon scored late in the game against the Tiger reserves on a freak (but spectacular) play where the quarterback escaped a fierce rush to click on a 25‑yard scoring pass.

Massillon ate up 231 yards on the ground to 95 for the opponent from Pennsylvania. Massillon also led in the air 140‑42, for a resounding 371‑137 advantage in total yards.

Whatever chance the invaders had evaporated with a questionable call early in the second period.

Massillon was leading 7‑0 after Chris Spielman had plowed in from seven yards out to cap a 44‑yard drive with a minute remaining in the opening period. The key play was a 19‑yard pass from junior quarterback Brian DeWitz to senior receiver Jim Geiser which set up a first‑and‑goal at the seven. Bronc Pfisterer’s kick made it 7‑0.

Sharon came back with a short drive, but stalled and punted from the Massillon 44. The short boot took a high bounce in front of Spielman, the deep safety on the play, who reached up to grab it only to have it glance off the tip of his right index finger.
Tigers topple Tigers
to remain unbeaten
Sharon’s Robert Dawson seemed to catch the ball on a short hop and carry it into the endzone from the Massillon three. Two of the officials signaled touchdown, then a long conference ensued.

Since you can’t advance a fumble in high school football, it was assumed in the pressbox that Sharon would get possession on the Massillon three, but after the officials discussed the issue, it was finally awarded to the locals on the 20‑yardline!

The official ruling was that the punt resulted in a ‘muff’, different from a fumble in that there was never any possession to begin with. But it was further ruled that the momentum of the punt carried the ball into the endzone ‑ not Dawson’s flying feet and thus the ball was never possessed by Sharon, either, and thus Massillon’s possession following the ‘touchback.’

Slow motion films of the play viewed after the game seemed to clearly indicate that Dawson had the ball tucked away and took two full steps into the endzone, but the judgment call on the part of the officials ruled otherwise.

“I knew we shouldn’t get the touchdown on the play, but I thought it should have been our ball on the three,” said a surprisingly‑calm Wildman afterwards. “If we wanted to have a chance to win, we needed a big break early. That was our opportunity, but we didn’t get it.

“Then again, we didn’t take advantage of our other opportunities ‑ Massillon fumbled five times, and we didn’t recover one of them. You can’t pull off an upset going zero‑for‑five on fumble recoveries.”

After seeing films of the ‘muff’ play, Currence smiled the smile of a man who knows the Lord has blessed him and said, “That was a judgment call and a real close one to have to make. We had the advantage of seeing it three times in slow‑motion here; they (the officials) didn’t.

“Besides, a mistake like that might have given us the impetus to do better,” he added.

Massillon offensive coordinator Nick Vrotsos agreed with that.

“Yea, I wish we could have just let them have the ball and score down there, and then gone on and whipped them like we would have anyway. That way we could have avoided all this,” said the veteran coach, who was treated to a verbal lambasting by a Sharon sportswriter at halftime ‑ for politely answering the sportswriter’s question about the tainted play.!

Spielman had the best idea.

“I just should have let the ball go,” he admitted.

At any rate, instead of being three yards away from a possible game‑tying score, Sharon was on defense, and seemingly too dazed to play it. Massillon quickly marched 80 yards in six plays as Spielman scored again, this time from three yards out. Pfisterer’s kick was good. A 25‑yard run by Jim Bushe, with a 15‑yard face mask penalty tacked on, got the Tigers off to a fine start on the drive.

Massillon scored once more before intermission. This time a 49‑yard drive ended with DeWitz hitting Geiser with a 10‑yard bullet and the score.

The locals final touchdown came on the second possession of the second half. A 43‑yard drive following a short drive ended with Tim Sampsel crashing over from the two. Pfisterer kicked his fourth straight extra point, and the reserves took over. (Highlighted by a 39‑yard run by Jeff Boerner and a 31‑yard run Tom Gruno on the final possession of the evening.)

Sharon’s TD came with 2:24 left in the game. Reserve quarterback Joe Micchia scrambled out of a crisis and hit a sophomore with the unlikely name of Neboisa Sormaz with a 25‑yard scoring play. (Another Sharon player was named Chooky LaCamera ‑ a 5‑foot‑4, 104‑pound junior linebacker.)

“Sharon was a good football team,” praised Currence. “They have three or four Division I‑potential athletes, and they were one of the more physical clubs we’ve played recently. In the end, we were just able to wear them down.”

Wildman returned to Pennsylvania with no regrets, either.

“Tonight hopefully will be a steppingstone for our team. We were beaten on the scoreboard, but we weren’t embarrassed.

“In the end, Massillon executed and we didn’t. That was the ballgame. I was just proud to have came here and played; Massillon can certainly play with anybody in Pennsylvania.”

Now, it’s on to next week and the “Computer Bowl,” where Massillon hosts Glenoak and former head coach Bob Commings.

GlenOak, big winners over Canton South Friday, and undefeated since an opening loss to McKinley, is second in the Ohio computer poll for the region, with Massillon third. (Sandusky holds onto the top spot, but probably not for long.)

At any rate , it should be fun.

M 0
First downs rushing 9 5
First downs passing 9 2
First downs by penalty 1 2
Totals first downs 19 9
Yards gained rushing 245 114
Yards lost rushing 14 19
Net Yards rushing 231 95
Net yards passing 140 42
Total yards gained 371 137
Passes attempted 20 15
Passes completed 11 2
Passes int. by 2 0
Yardage on pass int. 5 0
Times kicked off 6 2
Kickoff average 36.7 42.5
Kickoff return yards 18 57
Punts 4 6
Punting average 38.5 30.3
Punt return yards 12 10
Punts blocked by 0 0
Fumbles 5 2
Fumbles lost 0 1
Penalties 6 3
Yards penalized 50 30
Touchdowns rushing 3 0
Touchdowns passing 1 1
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Number of plays 57 46
Time of possession 26:50 21:10
Attendance 9,847

Sharon 0 0 0 7 7
Massillon 7 14 7 0 28

M ‑ Spielman 7‑yard run. (Pfisterer kick.)
M ‑ Spielman 3‑yard ran (Pfisterer kick.)
M ‑ Geiser 10‑yard pass from DeWitz (Pfisterer kick).
M ‑ Sampsel 2‑yard run (Pfisterer luck).
S ‑ Sormaz 25‑ yard pass from Micchia (Albright kick)

Sharon falls at Massillon
disputed call aids Ohioans
Sports Editor
MASSILLON, Ohio ‑ Sharon High football coach Jim Wildman knew his Tigers would need some breaks if they were to have a chance against powerful Massillon Friday night. And Sharon did get an early break.

A broken back.

While Sharon lost 28‑7, it would be unfair to say that one call by a referee can cost a team a ballgame. But that one call certainly went a long way toward determining the outcome.

That call that broke the Tiger’s back came like this:

Sharon was trailing 7‑0 after the first quarter and was forced to punt from midfield. The punt was a low kick that bounced a few times, then hit Massillon’s Chris Spielman. The ball bounced free and into the arms of Sharon’s Robert Dawson who tucked it in at the 4‑yard line and carried it into the endzone. Two referees signaled touchdown and 6 points went up on the scoreboard.

Then the referees huddled. Then they moved the ball to the 20‑yard line and signaled Massillon’s ball negating the touchdown. Then the name Wild‑man fit perfectly for Sharon’s coach.

But despite argument from Wildman, the call stood and Massillon had the ball and Sharon had nothing.

Massillon took advantage of Sharon’s confusion and moved downfield in only a few big plays to score. For all purposes, the game was over.

“Maybe we were still scratching our heads about the call,” Wildman said about the defensive breakdown, But he had plenty to say about the referee’s decision:

“Everybody knew he (Dawson) had the ball going into the endzone. But then they said he didn’t have possession of the ball. Actually it should have been our ball where he picked it up, because you can’t advance a muff (touched kick). It should have been our ball on the 3 or 4‑yard line.

“But they were a better team than us tonight. They’ve got some fine athletes. But I said all week that if we had a chance, we would heed a’ break. That was our break and we needed it.”

Other breaks didn’t go Sharon’s way either.

Sharon started the opening drive of the ballgame at the 23 and moved to a first down at the 40. On a third down play from the 45, quarterback Teryl Austin appeared headed for a first down on a run when the ball flipped out of his hands and into the arms of Massillon lineman Derrick Johnson. Johnson ran the ball to the Sharon 34. But a short time later the defense held after a sack by Tom Crawford and Massillon missed on a 35‑yard field goal attempt.

But after a Sharon punt, Massillon rolled to a score. The home team drove 56 yards in seven plays, with 215‑pound halfback Spielman going the final seven yards to paydirt. Bronc Pfisterer kicked his first of four extra points.
Early in, the second period came the controversial call that gave Massillon the ball at its 20. It took only seven plays and a three‑yard Spielman run for Massillon to go up 14-0, with 6:28 remaining in the half.

A third touchdown came with 48 seconds remaining in the period. Massillon quarterback Brian DeWitz moved his Tigers 51 yards in eight plays, including five pass completions. His fifth was a 10‑yarder to Jim Geiser for a touchdown.

In the third period, Massillon scored for a final time with 5:59 remaining on a two‑yard run by Tim Sampsel, ending a 43‑yard drive.

A deep Sharon drive was halted midway through the fourth quarter on an interception at the one‑yard line. But a short time later, with the Sharon substitutes in the game, the local Tigers got on the board.

Scrambling Sharon sophomore quarterback Joe Micchia eluded, several would‑be‑tacklers on a fourth down play and hit fellow sophomore Neboisa Sormaz on a 25‑yard touchdown pass. Mike Albright kicked the point after.

While Wildman was somewhat disappointed that his chances for an unbeaten season went down the drain, he was, grateful for the chance to play at Massillon, one of the hotbeds of football in the United States.

“It was a real honor to play here. I’m not satisfied in the sense that we lost. But I’m proud of our performance and our kids. No one embarrasses us. We moved the ball and the kids didn’t quit. They continued to play with emotion.

“That call hurt us. It turned things a round. But I’m proud that we didn’t get blown out. At halftime we decided that 21 points was enough, and the kids responded.

“It’s a feather in our caps. We went for it. An undefeated season would have been nice. But we set our goal to win the Keystone championship. If we get that goal, and pick up some experience and some other positive things along the way, all the better. Now we’ve got to go back and get ready to reach that goal.”

SIDELINE NOTES ‑ ‑‑ It was agreed by almost everyone (even Massillon scouts) in the press box that Sharon was robbed on the referees call. And after the game, Dawson agreed, “I had the ball on the 3‑yard line’ definitely, I had a good grip on it. They signaled touchdown. I couldn’t believe it when the referees changed the call.” Neither could anyone else…The loss dropped Sharon to 6‑1 on the season, with two league games to go against Reynolds and Grove City … Massillon fumbled four times in the game, but recovered them all … The Shenango Valley had a great representation at the game, filling much of the visitors’ section. The total attendance was more than 10,000…Just to attend a ballgame in Paul Brown Stadium is quite an experience. Everything about the operation is first class and the game has a college atmosphere … Massillon is 7‑0 on the season and ranked second In Ohio behind Cincinnati Moeller.

Score by Qts: 1 2 3 4 Total
SHARON 0 0 0 7 7
MASSILLON 7 14 7 0 28

TDs: Spielman (M) 2; Geiser (M), Sampsel (M), Sormaz (S)
PATs: Pfisterer (M), 4; Albright (S), 1

9 First downs 18
118 Rushing yards 234
47 Passing yards 139
15‑2‑2 Att‑comp‑int 20‑11‑0
2‑13 Sacks‑yards lost 1‑8
152 Total yards 365
2‑1 Fumbles-lost 4‑0
3‑31 Penalties‑yards 6‑50

Jeff Boerner
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1982: Massillon 43, Barberton 0

‘Not so sharp’ Tigers grind out 265 yards rushing in 43‑0 rout

Independent Sports Editor

So how good are the Massillon Tigers?

“We really weren’t very sharp tonight,” said Tiger head coach Mike Currence. “We were sharp last week against Newark, and its hard to be real sharp two weeks in a row.”

“Even the crowd was flat,” chipped in grizzled offensive coordinator Nick Vrotsos. “The fans didn’t get aroused until that bad penalty call late in the third quarter, and then they went flat again.”

The final score? The Tigers 43, Barberton 0, the proverbial “sweet revenge” for last years 26‑24 upset at the hands of the Magics.

Program Cover

The game itself wasn’t very exciting – the Tigers dominated from start to literally the finish. From a reporter’s standpoint, the highlight came afterwards in the Barberton lockerroom, when an ‘upset’ Magic head coach Rudy Sharkey seemed convinced that the Tigers had tried to run up the score. (The Tigers did score on the final play of the game, a seven‑yard sweep by junior Kirk Ivan.)

“No, this loss didn’t hurt,” he fumed. “Some other year, Currence will get his. If the guy needs points that bad, fine. Like I said, another year, and that’s all I have to say.”

But you can’t really blame the guy for being grumpy ‑ he entered this season with a .718 winning percentage in 10 years at the helm of the Magics, and this year’s 1‑5 start is bound to be a blow to even the strongest ego.

But Currence disavowed running up the score. In fact, it was only earlier this week that he told a luncheon audience that he always tried to refrain from doing so; it only hurt the opponent’s confidence for future games, valuable for computer points, plus aroused the victims for the next rematch.

(A final memory of the Barberton lockerroom: Sharkey’s devastated troops gathered around him; the coach bellowing the answers to reporters’ questions. “There’ll be another year, ” Sharkey grits his teeth. “RIGHT, TEAM?” “RIGHT COACH, ” scream the players back.)

“In the first place, the players called that final timeout late in the game, not me. Two, as far as I’m concerned, we tried to run out the clock. We ran the exact same sweep four times in a row, and they didn’t defend against it right once, which isn’t our fault. In fact, I was surprised that they stayed in the exact same defense all night; I don’t think they shut down one of our sweeps the entire game,” Currence said.

There was a final mitigating factor to the late score, incidentally. The player who scored on the jaunt, Ivan, just happened to be celebrating his birthday ‑ and as his teammates knew, what better time to score your first touchdown as a Tiger!

Neither team scored on its first possession. But the Tigers kept Barberton backed up in the shadow of its goal on their second possession, forcing the first of many short punts which kept the Tigers in great field position the entire night.

The Tigers began possession on the Magic 25 and scored in five plays. Bushe, who led Tiger rushers with 97 yards in 13 carries, had gallops of nine and 10 yards en route to the end zone. He then plunged over from the one with 4:40 left in the quarter, followed by a Bronc Pfisterer conversion kick.

Massillon didn’t score again until 3:51 remained in the half. Another short punt after being penned deep gave the Tigers possession on the Barberton 39. The first play from scrimmage saw quarterback Brian DeWitz hit receiver Jim Geiser with a 21‑yard pass to the 18. Four plays later Chris Spielman pounded over from the one, with the kick no good.
Tigers see five backs tally
The ensuing kick went into the end zone and on the first play from scrimmage, junior Ken Rector’s pass was picked off by Marcell Stephens, giving the Tigers possession at the Magic 41.

This time it took the Tigers six plays to score. Fullback Tim Sampsel did final honors on a one‑yard plunge with 1:02 remaining, following a nine‑yard scramble by DeWitz. Pfisterer’s kick was good for a 20‑0 halftime lead.

The Tigers made it 26‑0 with their second possession after intermission. A 73‑yard drive began when DeWitz underthrew a wide‑open Geiser, who retreated for the ball for a 38‑yard gain, with a late hit moving the ball down to the Magic 20. Six plays later, DeWitz, dropping straight back for one of the few times all evening, found Bushe wide open over the middle for a nine-yard scoring pass. The kick failed, but the Tigers led 26‑0 with 4:57 left in the third period.

Massillon went on to score 17 points in the final period ‑ all following the contest’s most controversial moment.

Typically, Barberton was forced to punt, and the short boot sailed towards the Tigers’ Stephens, who plainly signaled for a fair coach. The Barberton defender ran right through the signal and smashed into Stephens while the ball was still in the air, an obvious infraction. But the official call was a fumble, with Barberton recovering the ball! The home crowd let out a long chorus of boos, followed by Massillon’s defense regaining the ball 22 yards the other direction following a 10‑yard sack on fourth down registered by middle guard John Franke!

The Tigers didn’t score with that possession, but the next time they touched the ball it was at Barberton’s 30, following, you guessed it, another short, wobbly punt out of the end zone!

It took the Tigers three plays to score this time, with fullback Tom Gruno rambling in from ten yards out with 8:33 left in the game, followed by a successful boot.

Barberton tried again, but its next effort resulted in a Bill Davis interception, and the Tigers had the ball on the Magics’ 30. This time the Tigers settled for a 27‑yard field goal off the foot of Pfisterer for a 36‑zip lead with 3:35 left.

But the Tigers weren’t through yet. This time Mike Galant picked off a pass, the Tigers fourth theft of the evening, setting up Ivan’s final score as the Tiger reserves pushed the Magics all over the field.

The key to the game was reflected in the final rushing totals ‑ the Tigers racked up 265 yards on the ground, Barberton a mere 54.

After the game, all the Tiger running backs pointed to the dominance of the Tiger offensive line, consisting of the likes of Ty Beadle, Darrell Strickling, Tim Sweterlistch, Charles Calhoun, Rick Hamit, and others.

“They just kept opening hole after hole,” said Bushe, the Tigers’ game rushing leader. “If anyone should get the credit tonight, it’s those guys.”

Now, it’s on to next week, when the 6‑0 Tigers will take on the invaders from Pennsylvania, a team from Sharon shameless enough to bill themselves as the Tigers!

M 0
First downs rushing 16 3
First downs passing 3 4
First downs by penalty 1 3
Totals first downs 20 10
Yards gained rushing 270 76
Yards lost rushing 5 22
Net yards rushing 265 54
Net yards passing 78 59
Total yards gained 343 113
Passes attempted 10 22
Passes completed 4 9
Passes int. by 4 1
Yardage on pass int. 36 0
Times kicked 7 1
Kickoff average 53.1 34.2
Kickoff return yards 0 74
Punts 2 6
Punting average 35.0 25.0
Punt return yards 3 0
Punts blocked by 0 0
Fumbles 2 1
Fumbles lost 2 0
Penalties 3 4
Yards penalized 45 51
Touchdowns rushing 5 0
Touchdowns passing 1 0
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Number of plays 55 51
Time of Possession 23:26 24:34
Attendance 9,096

Massillon 7 13 6 17 43
Barberton 0 0 0 0 0

M ‑ Bushe 1‑yard run. (Pfisterer kick).

Jeff Boerner
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1982: Massillon 49, Newark 7

Tigers roll to fifth win, 49‑7 over Newark
‘Laugher’ belies players concern for Hendershot

Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ The most advanced computer in the world would be hard pressed to match the efficiency of the Massillon Tigers Friday night.

The state’s No. 2 ranked Class AAA team ran roughshod over the visiting Newark Wildcats in a 49‑6 ‘laugher,’ but there was little joy in the Tiger lockerroom before the contest.

“We wanted to dedicate this game to Scott Hendershot,” said Tiger junior Chris Spielman afterwards. “This one was for him.”

The Tigers’ 55, a junior backup lineman, was not on the sidelines for Friday’s game. He was home with his family, his stomach in knots, awaiting news on his 7‑year‑old sister, Dawn Marie, last seen leaving school Wednesday afternoon.

“Scott was right where he should have been tonight,” said Massillon head coach Mike Currence. “The team prayed for the little girl’s safe return before and after the game. It was certainly something that was on our minds; we were all ready to play tonight.”

Program Cover

Newark tried to be fancy from the start, as the opening kick was promptly caught and passed across the field to a player stationed on the sidelines, who promptly fumbled the ball out of bounds, a harbinger of things to come for the Wildcats.

Newark mounted one of its best drives on its opening possession, though, advancing to the Tiger 48 before being forced to punt.

The Tigers began on their own 28, marching the remaining 72 yards in just six plays. Jim Bushe, returning to action after a hip pointer cost him most of two games, announced himself healthy by rambling 16 yards on the first play. Three plays later, fullback Tim Sampsel found a big hole and rambled 29 yards to the Newark eight, his longest gain of the year. A play later, Spielman broke through for a seven‑yard touchdown run, followed by the first of seven straight Bronc Pfisterer conversion kicks.

Seconds later, Spielman stepped in front of a Terry Balding pass, recording his second interception of the year; the third was to follow. Less than three minutes after the first Tiger score, Spielman rambled 12 yards for the second.

Newark again was forced to punt, and after a jitterbug return by Gary Conley, the Tigers marched 66 yards in seven plays. After his punt return, Conley kept the ball rolling by grabbing a 30‑yard pass by junior quarterback Brian DeWitz down to Newark’s 36. Bushe capped the drive with a three‑yard run with 10:38 remaining in the half.

“Our offense was better tonight because Jim was back with his running and blocking,” said Currence. “He looked very strong.”

“My hip didn’t bother me at all,” said the senior speedster afterwards. “I was just too happy to be back on the playing field to worry about pain.”

The Tigers actually had to punt the next time they gained possession, a high, spiraling 41‑yarder by DeWitz, the baby‑faced bomber with the leg of steel. But Newark certainly couldn’t do anything with the ball, except fumble it away on an option play with the Tigers’ Bob Robinson hopping on the loose orb after a 12‑yard loss on the Wildcat eight.

Three plays later, Tiger senior Tom Gruno bulled it over from two yards out. The half ended with the Tigers up 28-0. It was almost 35‑0 ‑ on the Tigers final possession before halftime, Conley found himself unbelievably open behind the Newark secondary but DeWitz’s pass just eluded his fingertips.

Massillon received the second half kick, with Tom Manion almost breaking it for a long‑gainer before being hauled down at the Tiger 34. Three plays later, DeWitz arched a bomb over a leaping defender and into Conley’s hands for a 55‑yard score. Action for Tiger offensive regulars was over for the night.
Tigers roar to fifth straight win.
The quarter ended with the Tigers leading 35‑0. Spielman’s diving, fingertip interception which stopped a Newark drive at Massillon’s 21 highlighted the remainder of the period. After the theft, the Tigers’ regular defense followed the offense to the sidelines as the Tiger backups saw their most extensive playing time of the year.

Early in the fourth quarter, a 38‑yard run by Tom Gruno ‑ his longest jaunt of the season ‑ put the ball on Newark’s 15. Senior Mark Smith went the final eight yards with 9:57 left in the game.

The Tigers’ seventh TD of the night came after a Mike Gallant interception at the Newark 26 which he returned to the 19. With 7:35 remaining in the game, junior Brian Spicer smashed over the line from four yards out to cap a short, four‑play drive.

Newark finally scored with 4:54 remaining. A 73‑yard drive was finalized by a 14‑yard run by Newark’s Tim Dierks. Finishing what they had begun, the Wildcats’ kick was off the mark.

Newark fell to 2‑3 with the loss. About the only consolation coach Bill Biggers could find is that his team didn’t lose the game in the waning seconds like the previous two weeks.

“That was the worst I’ve ever been beaten in 11 years of head coaching,” said Biggers. “We were embarrassed here tonight, but that’s not to take anything away from the Tigers; they’re a fine, fine team.

“In the end, it wasn’t our mental errors or the crowd that beat us; the Tigers just blew us out plain and simple. They’re the best team I’ve ran across, both offensively and defensively, in a long time.”

Now the 5‑0 Tigers must prepare, for Barberton on Friday night. The Magics haven’t shown much in the way of wizard‑like powers so far this year, but the Tigers can hardly afford to be overconfident after last year’s shocking loss to the tradition‑bound school.

“It’s Up To You in ’82” is the official slogan for this year’s squad, but Spielman always ends his post‑game quotes with a slogan that’s just as good: “Tonight’s over and done. It’s next week’s game that matters now.”

First downs rushing 12 8
First downs passing 4 3
First downs by penalty 0 2
Totals first downs 16 13
Yards gained rushing 249 73
Yards lost rushing 13 44
Net yards rushing 249 73
Net yards passing 119 73
Total yards gained 368 146
Passes attempted 16 23
Passes completed 8 6
Passes int. by 3 0
Yardage on pass int. 11 0
Times kicked off 8 2
Kickoff average 55.4 30.0
Kickoff return yards 23 85
Punts 3 7
Punting average 45.0 35.6
Punt return yards 38 0
Punts blocked by 0 0
Fumbles 2 2
Fumbles lost 0 1
Penalties 4 0
Yards penalized 40 0
Touchdowns rushing 6 1
Touchdowns passing 1 0
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Number of plays 53 58
Time of possession 24:22 23:18
Attendance 9,414

Newark 0 0 0 6 6
Massillon 14 14 7 14 49

M ‑ Spielman 7‑yard run. (Pfisterer kick).
M ‑ Spielman 12‑yard run. (Pfisterer kick).
M ‑ Bushe 3 yard run, (Pfisterer kick.)
M ‑ Gruno 2‑yard ran. (Pfisterer kick,)
M – Conley 55 yard pass from DeWitz. (Pfisterer kick.)
M ‑ Smith 8‑yard run. (Pfisterer kick.)
M ‑ Spicer 4‑yard run. (Pfisterer kick.)
N ‑ Dierks 12‑yard run, (kick failed).

Jeff Boerner
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1982: Massillon 7, Akron Central Hower 3

Tigers nip Central‑Hower 7‑3
Emotions run high after Tiger defense rises to new heights

Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ An emotional win does different things to different people.

Friday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, the locals remained unbeaten by downing a stubborn Akron Central‑Hower squad 7‑3. A big factor in the contest was senior defensive end Derrick Johnson, who twice broke through the offensive line to record sacks late in the game while the visitors attempted a final surge towards the Tiger goal.

Afterwards, friends surrounded his locker, squeezing the big senior with bearhugs of joy. But Johnson was too emotionally spent to laugh or talk or celebrate. All Johnson could do was sit and cry tears of joy.

Program Cover

There may not have been a lot of scoring in the contest, but the 8,114 fans who sat through four quarters of a chilly autumn rain didn’t feel cheated, and certainly didn’t exit until the final gun assured Massillon of victory.

The rain certainly had an effect on the game, but it certainly wasn’t the deciding factor.

“Basically, we lost to a very good team tonight,” said Ram coach Tim Flossie, whose squad drops to 1‑2 on the year after going 10‑1 last season. “I thought both teams did an excellent job under the conditions; had the weather been ideal it just would have meant both teams would have been a bit more effective offensively,” insinuating that the Tigers would have won no matter what was failing out of the sky.

“We threw the ball well tonight, but the rain caused us to drop some passes we may have caught,” said Tiger head coach Mike Currence. “Of course, the wet field caused our running backs to lose their footing several times, too.

“But in the end, everyone did their job tonight. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t have won.”

It was a battle of the trenches from the beginning. The Tigers took the opening kick but had to punt. The Rams then used up most of the first quarter with a 14‑play drive that went 46 yards before the Tigers stopped Eric Mosley inches short of a first down on the Massillon 34‑yardline on a fourth down option pitchout from the quarterback. Earlier, the Rams had proved their intentions of gaining victory at all cost by going for the first down on a fourth‑and‑one situation on their own 34 and making it.

The Tigers then reciprocated with a drive to the C‑H 33 that ended when Brian DeWitz endzone bomb was intercepted by the Rams Paul Miller. But the Rams’ gave the ball back moments later when the Rams’ wishbone offense stumbled at an inopportune moment ‑ an option pitch was fumbled and recovered by Tiger linebacker Chris Spielman after an eight‑yard loss on the Ram 29.

Massillon capitalized on the break with the only touchdown of the night. The seven-play drive saw Spielman tote the final 14 yards on three consecutive carries, the capper a six‑yard run with 6:04 remaining in the half. Bronc Phsiterer’s kick was good for a 7‑0 lead.

it appeared that the Tigers might score again before the half. A beautiful coffin corner punt by DeWitz bounded out of bounds at C‑H’s 2, where they were stymied and had to punt ‑ a short boot that the Tigers took over on the Ram 26 with about two minutes remaining.

The Tigers soon found just three yards short of paydirt with 51 seconds remaining. But two cracks into the line failed, and on fourth down, an incompletion gave the ball back to C‑H.

Most of the fans were wondering why the Tigers didn’t stop the clock and try the field goal ‑ what they didn’t know is that the Tigers were out of time outs, their final clock‑stopper having been used without official notification to the pressbox or stands.
Tigers stay perfect!
“I used the last time out to attempt to save time for us,” explained Currence. “I thought for sure that we’d be able to punch it in in one or two cracks, and I was stunned when we didn’t; we had been blowing them out at the line. But one thing they did was move 205‑pound Troy Rackley over from defensive end to tackle when we weren’t expecting it, and he really plugged the hole.”

The Rams actually switched a lot of personnel around for the game, including switching 220‑pound Destin Scott to the middle guard spot, when the Tigers were expecting a 160‑pounder there!

“We had been preparing for this game for two weeks,” admitted Flossie. “The defensive switches worked well for us; I was especially pleased with the play of our interior linebackers.”

The second half was more great defense on both sides. The Rams almost broke the opening kickoff, returning it to the C‑H 42, and proceeded to drive to the Tiger eight, where it was second‑and‑seven.

But Ram quarterback Ray Jackson was hit for a two‑yard loss on the next play, followed by a great defensive play by the Tigers’ Marcell Stephens, the 160‑lb. defensive back, who stopped an endzone pass with a great hit.

“The play was a tight end out cut, and I was back‑peddling on the coverage,” said Stephens. “The footing was terrible and I lost my balance momentarily, but I caught the ball out of the corner of my eye and regained my balance to stick him good just as the ball arrived.”

The Rams then had to settle for a 26‑yard field goal by Kelly Clark with 5:58 left in the third quarter, cutting the Tiger lead to 7‑3. The scoreboard never changed again.

The Rams threatened again when Miller grabbed his second interception and returned it to the Tiger 18.

“The receiver broke the pattern; it was supposed to be a curl and he decided to change it. If the quarterback had been able to read the move it might have gone for a long‑gainer, but it was too late and only the defensive back ended up where the receiver was supposed to be.”

But the defense stiffened, regaining possession on the 18 when a pass was overthrown into the endzone. The Tigers then moved 67 yards themselves before losing the ball on downs at the Ram 18. A key play in the clock‑eating march was a 41‑yard pass play from DeWitz to senior receiver Jim Geiser on a third‑and‑12 situation.

“I told the coach I could beat the guy deep, and he, ‘let’s take the risk, “‘ reported Geiser, the team’s leading receiver on the year.

“That was a great catch,” added Flossie. “Our guy was right there, but it was just a great catch.”

After the Tigers’ drive ended, the Rams had two more chances to score. The first possession ended in a punt after a clipping call and a sack by the Tigers’ Junior Neff forced the boot.

Central‑Hower’s final chance saw Johnson’s fierce rush put the final icing on what was hardly a piece of cake.

Statistically, Massillon outgained C‑H 230‑119, including a 126‑0 advantage in the air. DeWitz completed 9‑of‑19 tosses on the night, with Spielman catching four passes for 26 yards and Geiser three passes for 63 yards. Spielman led the Tiger ground attack with 20 totes for 95 yards.

“Massillon jut didn’t make mistakes, they’re a helluva team,” concluded Flosie, who might have been beaten but left Massillon with the respect of all who watched his team.

M 0
First downs rushing 8 8
First downs passing 5 0
First downs by penalty 0 1
Totals first downs 13 9
Yards gained rushing 131 156
Yards lost rushing 27 37
Net yards rushing 104 119
Net yards passing 126 0
Total yards gained 230 119
Passes attempted 19 4
Passes completed 9 0
Passes int. by 0 2
Yardage on pass int. 0 17
Times kicked off 2 2
Kickoff average 55.0 54.0
Kickoff return yards 22 32
Punts 2 3
Putting average 32.5 26.0
Punt return yards 18 0
Punts blocked by 0 0
Fumbles 1 2
Fumbles lost 0 1
Penalties 3 2
Yards penalized 35 25
Touchdowns rushing 1 0
Touchdowns passing 0 0
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Number of plays 57 51
Time of possession 25:14 22:42
Attendance 8,114

Cen‑Hower 0 0 3 0 3
Massillon 0 7 0 0 7

M ‑ Spielman 6‑yard ran. (Phisterer kick)
CH ‑ Clark 26‑yard field goal.

Jeff Boerner
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1982: Massillon 36, Warren Harding 6

Tigers whip Warren Harding 36‑6
Offense awesome as Tigers trample hapless Harding

Independent Sports Editor

WARREN ‑ The door to the Warren Harding coaches’ office had been closed for a long time. Reporters stood outside wondering if they should dare enter.

“I wouldn’t walk in unless it’s very important, ” said a middle‑aged lady wearing a Panther jacket.

Most of the media walked away, cause they knew that Harding head coach Frank Thomas, a former Massillon defensive coordinator, had called Friday’s game “a big one for our team, our season, our program and myself.”

Program Cover

So, nothing could be important enough to bother Thomas after his team had been humiliated 36‑6 by the Massillon Tigers. The score was misleading; the Tigers led 33‑0 at halftime, and seemingly could have won 100‑0 if they desired; instead, Massillon coach Mike Currence was content to use the second half as a long workout for the reserves.

The Tigers would have registered their first shutout of the year if Harding’s all purpose senior Greg Bumbu hadn’t picked up a meaningless fumble in the fourth quarter and raced 60 yards for the final score of the game.

Needless to say, Currence was impressed by the offensive explosion which set the Panthers into early comatose shock.

“I’ve shed many a tear in this lockerroom; this was certainly a welcome victory.

But did he expect the overwhelming proportions of the landslide?

“You always hope for a game like this, but it was one of those nights when everything clicked, even the halfback option,” he stated. “But I was especially pleased by the way we capitalized on our opportunities. That’s the sign of a champion, and hopefully a sign that we’ve come of age. But as good as we were tonight, we have to start all over again next week against Central Hower.”

The first half was a sight to behold. It was the biggest mismatch since Chuck Wepner stepped into the ring against Mohammed Ali.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff and marched 72 yards in eight plays. The first two plays saw Tiger tailback Chris Spielman run off gains of 14 and 35 yards, immediately panicking a defense whose previous two game defensive totals had been halved in Massillon’s first two plays from scrimmage!

The drive ended at the 8:32 mark when junior quarterback Brian DeWitz hit senior receiver Jim Geiser with an 8‑yard scoring pass, with Bronc Phisterer’s conversion kick good.

In was three plays and punt for Harding, and the Tigers revved up again. Started successfully on the ground, the Tigers caught the Panthers napping as DeWitz hit receiver Gary Conley with a 44‑yard bomb to the Panther one. Sampsel then smashed over for the score, with the ensuing kick no good.

Harding started to mount a drive when senior co‑captain Greg Bumbu caught a 41‑yard pass from quarterback Tom Butler for good position at the Tiger 37, but then Tyrone Nelson fumbled and the Tigers’ Speilman recovered.

The Tigers had to actually punt the ball once before getting it back and scoring again with 9:20 remaining in the half. With a drive starting on their own 37, it ended shortly later with a 25‑yard pass from DeWitz to Conley. The conversion failed, but the Tigers led 19‑0.

Again the Panthers were stopped without a first down. This time the Tigers marched 40 yards in five plays, with Spielman taking scoring honors with a 17‑yard run. The kick was good and the margin had jumped to 26‑0 with 5:50 remaining in the half.

The snake‑bitten Panthers connected on another bomb to the Tiger 40, but then the quarterback promptly fumbled twice on the same play with the Tigers recovering on the Harding 45.

The Tigers then reached into the magician’s bag of tricks and connected on a halfback option play from Spielman to Geiser which almost hit paydirt. Tiger fullback Tom Gruno shortly thereafter plunged, over, the kick was good and the Tigers led 36‑0.
Tigers now 3‑0 and a power
Warren promptly fumbled the ensuing kickoff back to the Tigers, but the visitors graciously allowed the clock to expire without further bombardment.

The game was over at halftime for all intents and purposes. Second half scoring consisted of a 25‑yard field goal by Pfisterer and Harding’s fumble return off a quarterback sack.

The halftime stats were incredible. At that point, the Tigers led in total yardage 279‑65, despite only holding the ball for two more minutes. In the final totals, the Tigers outgained the Punters 406‑96, gaining 231 yards rushing and 175 through the air. Harding’s success came through the air; the Panthers ‑ were negative‑10 rushing on the night.

Spielman led Tiger rushers with none carries yards, while Jim Bushe carried 11 times for 78 yards. DeWitz wasn’t needed much but he was an effective four‑of-seven for 88 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, the talented junior has yet to have anything but a fine game. Conley led the team in receptions with four four yards; Conley and John Pierce hauled down three passes each.

All in all it was a great night for the Tigers who rose to 3 and did nothing to jeopardize their computer or UPI rankings. Harding fell to 2‑1 with the loss and must attempt to pick up the pieces.

Was there anything at all about the game which wasn’t fine from the Tigers’ standout?

“We, we looked flat in pre‑game drills,” chuckled Currence who hopes he’s on the road to something special here in 1982.

First downs rushing 14 1
First downs passing 5 5
First downs by penalty 0 1
Totals first downs 19 7
Yards gained rushing 252 37
Yards lost rushing 21 47
Net yards rushing 231 -10
Net yards passing 175 106
Total yards gained 406 96
Passes attempted 13 16
Passes completed 7 9
Passes int. by 0 0
Yardage on pass int.
Times kicked off 7 2
Kickoff average 53.7 29.5
Kickoff return yards 19 109
Punts 3 6
Punting average 34.5 30.6
Punt return yards 16 0
Punts blocked by 0 0
Fumbles 2 4
Fumbles lost 1 3
Penalties 5 2
Yards penalized 45 17
Touchdowns rushing 3 0
Touchdowns passing 2 0
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 1
Number of plays 55 42
Time of possession 25:36 22:24

Massillon 13 20 0 3 36
W. Harding 0 0 0 6 6

M ‑ Geiser 6‑yard pass from DeWits. (Phisterer kick.)
M ‑ Sampsel 1‑yard run. (Kick failed.)
M ‑ Conley 25‑yard pass from DeWits. (Run failed.)
M ‑ Spielman 17‑yard run. (Phisterer kick.)
M ‑ Gruno 1‑yard run. (Phisterer kick.)
M ‑ Phisterer 25‑yard field goal.
W ‑ Bumbu 60‑yard ran with a fumble recovery. (Pass failed.)

Jeff Boerner