Tag: <span>Jerrod Vance</span>

Massillon vs. McK - Throwback (Large) History

1986: Massillon 6, Canton McKinley 23

Tigers come up ‘half empty’
Massillon rules early but’ Bulldogs shift gears late

Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ They could have opened a Burger King in McKinley territory at halftime. The Massillon Tigers were having it their way.

But the second half was one big McDLT ‑McKinley’s defense led to touchdowns.

In the end, the McKinley players were saying, “Hot Dog!” and hoping for extra mustard in the playoffs. The Tigers were left holding an empty bun.

Program Cover

A 6‑0 Tiger lead at halftime dissolved into a 23‑6 McKinley win Saturday before 18,091 fans in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

In the history of the series that started in 1894, there may never have been two halves so distinctly different.

So what happened?

“It wasn’t a matter of making a lot of changes,” McKinley head coach Thom McDaniels said. “Basically, we just played better football.”

Maybe there were a few changes.

“In the first half, they were basically trying to power us out of there,” said Massillon senior Lance Hostetler, who played linebacker for the first time since junior high because Jerrod Vance was out with a knee injury.

“In the second half, they were giving our linebackers fake keys, trying to mess us up.”

Something clicked.

Game Action vs. Canton McKinley 1986

A McKinley offense that was stuffed by the Tigers for zilch in the first half had to be photographed with a zoom lens in the second.

In that first half, the Bulldogs gained 28 yards. On the first offensive series of the second half, McKinley gained 40 yards in its first six plays.

That drive ended when C.J. Harris recovered a fumble for the Tigers. But the mood had changed.

It might have changed back had the Tigers moved after recovering the fumble. Mike Harris rushed for three yards, then Mike Norris bulled ahead for seven. But Jerome Myricks was stopped for losses on consecutive plays, and it was third and 15 from the Massillon 41.

Game Action vs. Canton McKinley 1986

Then came a pivotal play now hidden deep in the game films. Quarterback John Miller dropped back to pass. Under heavy pressure, he dumped a short pass toward the fullback Norris. First glance suggested ‑ and films confirmed ‑ that Norris was knocked away from the ball by an overeager defender who was guilty of pass ‘interference.

The pass fell incomplete (Norris would have had to run a long way for a first down, incidentally). No flag was thrown.

Instead of 15 yards and a Massillon first down on the McKinley 44, the Bulldogs got the ball back on a punt.

“That was a key point in the game,” Massillon head coach John Maronto said.

Nobody will ever know how things would have gone had the interference call been made. What is known is that McKinley played its best football of the season in the time that was left.

Game Action vs. Canton McKinley 1986

Ken Hawkins’ punt sailed to the McKinley 22. Junior tailback Jeff Richardson gained 11 yards on first down. On second down, he took a handoff, made a slight cut to a big hole on the left side of the line, shook loose from a diving Bart Letcavits 10 yards downfield and sprinted away from the pack for a 67‑yard touchdown run.

“We emphasized all week that we needed to stop Richardson from making the big play,” John Maronto said.

Talking about it is one thing. Doing it has been another, and not just for the Tigers. Richardson’s 141 yards in 19 carries Saturday gave him 960 yards on the season.

Richardson, a 5‑10, 183‑pounder, only needs a sliver of daylight. His presence left the Tigers in a jam, since their chemistry was thrown off by late‑season knee injuries to linebacker Jerrod Vance and defensive back Steve Siegenthaler.

Maronto emphatically didn’t want anybody knocking his team’s defensive effort.

“Lance Hostetler stepped in and looked like he’d been playing linebacker all his life,” Maronto said. “And it wasn’t like we were playing chopped liver. We were playing the best team in Ohio.”

Richardson’s long run and Mark Smith’s PAT kick still left the Tigers with just a 7‑6 deficit with 3:04 left in the third quarter.

Game Action vs. Canton McKinley 1986

But moments later, Tiger back Mike Harris ‑ another tough‑luck senior whose season was marred by a knee injury ‑ was stripped of the ball. McKinley’s Dave Kiesling recovered the fumble at the 14. Four plays later, Richardson scored easily from a yard out.

Even at that, the Tigers weren’t in bad shape. Smith missed the PAT kick, and McKinley’s lead was 13‑6 with one quarter and 44 seconds left to play.

But the Tigers needed to get back some of the offensive punch they had shown in pounding out a 134‑28 lead in first‑half yardage.

Smith’s kickoff left the Tigers with good field position at their own 41, but they stalled in three plays and had to punt.

McKinley took over on its own 28 and put the game away with an 11‑play 72‑yard scoring drive. The touchdown came on third and nine from the 12. Smith, the quarterback, rolled right off a good play‑action fake and found tight end Dan Grimsley wide open in the end zone.

Smith’s kick made it 20‑6 with 4:48 left.

Sophomore nose guard Lamuel Flowers set up a 35‑yard field goal by Smith with a subsequent interception.

All the suspense and much of the crowd was gone at that point.

The first half had been so different.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff and started at their own 34. On second and seven, junior quarterback John Miller hooked up with senior split end Shannon Dryden on an 11‑yard completion. That seemed to ignite the offense, which then went on to complete an 11‑play, 66‑yard march that wound up on the McKinley 11 when Miller hit the tight end Hawkins on a nine‑yard completion.

That made it fourth and almost three. Maronto elected to send freshman Lee Hurst on for a 28‑yard field goal try. Hurst connected and it was 3‑0 with 4:44 left in the first quarter.

Midway through the drive, Maronto called timeout after Miller scrambled to recover a mishandled snap, then took a blow to the head. Miller was clearly shaken up, and staggered as Maronto yelled to officials that a penalty should have been called.

But Miller kept playing, and moments later threw a pass which Letcavits turned into a 10‑yard reception.

The Massillon crowd got very loud after Norris boomed the ensuing kickoff to the back stripe of the end zone for a touchback. An incomplete pass, a run for no gain by Richardson, a nine‑yard completion and a punt gave Massillon the ball back on its own 32.

The next three series ended in punts, two of which were snapped over the punters’ heads. But both booters recovered and got off kicks that saved disaster for their teams.

McKinley punter Pat Lyons had to chase 10 yards after the ball snapped over his head. But he managed to kick it away to the Massillon 23 midway through the second quarter.

From there, the Tigers drove 77 yards in 10 plays, with Harris setting the tone on a nine‑yard gain. A 17‑yard pass from Miller to Myricks and a 12‑yard run by Miller put the ball on the 17 on first down. But Norris was stopped for no gain, and two passes fell incomplete. The call went again to Hurst. The freshman sent a picturesque boot into a slight breeze that sailed far over the uprights for a 33‑yard field goal.

It gave the Tigers a 6‑0 lead with 2:32 left in the half.

But the second half was another story.

It ended with McKinley’s record at 9‑1, good for first place in Region 2 of Division I. The Tigers came in at 7‑3.

The loss saddened the Tigers. But Hostetler, a three‑year starter and captain, advised his teammates to leave on an upbeat note.

“It’s been a great time for me at Massillon,” he said. “No other team plays under these great conditions. I have the greatest coaches in the world. They really helped prepare me for college. And the greatest teammates in the world.”


First downs rushing 6 8
First downs passing 4 3
First downs by penalty 1 0
Totals first downs 11 11
Yards gained rushing 112 205
Yards lost rushing 20 14
Net yards rushing 92 191
Net yards passing 59 57
Total yards gained 151 248
Passes attempted 18 10
Passes completed 8 6
Passes int. by 0 1
Times kicked off 3 5
Kickoff average 56.3 48.4
Kickoff return yards 87 27
Punts 4 4
Punting average 33.0 42.3
Punt return yards 7 0
Punts blocked by 0 0
Fumbles 2 1
Fumbles lost 1 1
Penalties 0 3
Yards penalized 0 25
Touchdowns rushing 0 2
Touchdowns passing 0 1
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Number of plays 52 46
Time of possession 26:37 21:23
Attendance 18,091

MCKINLEY 0 0 13 10 23
MASSILLON 3 3 0 0 6

MAS ‑ Lee Hurst 28 FG
MAS ‑ Hurst 33 FG
McK ‑ Jeff Richardson 67 run (Mark Smith kick)
McK ‑Richardson 1 run (kick failed)
McK ‑ Dan Grimsley 4 pass from Smith (Smith kick)
McK ‑ Smith 35 FG
Individual statistics
Massillon: Norris, 12‑39; Miller 9‑27; Harris 8‑26; Myriscks, 3‑0.
McKinley: Richardson, 19‑141; Kendall 5‑12; Copenny, 1‑6; Gordon, 2‑ 15; Flowers 2‑15.

Massillon: Miller, 8‑17‑0, 59 yards; White, 0‑1‑1.
McKinley: Smith, 6‑10‑0, 57 yards.

Massillon: Myricks, 2 24; Letcavits, 1‑11; Dryden, 1‑9; Hawkins, 1‑8; Wilson, 3‑7.
McKinley: Richardson, 2‑20; Grimsley, 2‑13; Kendall, 1‑10; Smith, 1‑14.

Rivalry grand,
no matter what the score reads

Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ You could have won $20 million in the Lotto and not been able to buy a better autumn afternoon for Saturday’s Massillon‑McKinley football game.

The lovely leaves and the Indian summer breeze would have made Scrooge himself a cheery gent. The housewife sick to death of her old man’s sports would have gazed with childish wonder at the sight of the orange sea of spectators rolling against a red sea of the same.

One‑hundred yards of lime‑striped sod and 200 helmeted teen‑agers were washed with a delightful noise that made it all a merry mix, indeed, when Mark Smith of McKinley kicked off to Jerome Myricks of Massillon at a couple of minutes past 2.

Maybe there have been other opening scenes at other Massillon-McKinley games that were as wonderful. If so, they were merely as perfect.

The ending of the 92nd Massillon‑Canton battle was far from a perfect story for the hamlet of Massillon. The final score was McKinley 23, Tigers 6.

But the moral of the story, though stinging with the hurt of defeat to the arch‑rival, was that Massillon people still so desperately want a great team to cheer for.

They had their moments Saturday.

The Tigers charged out of their corner at the opening bell and won the early rounds in a one‑sided mugging.

In one half, junior quarterback John Miller threw twice as many passes as he had thrown in a typical game the previous nine weeks.

In that same half, the lumberjacks on the Massillon line muscled out places for fullback Mike Norris to punch out the yards.

The Massillon defense, despite missing a linebacker who is a candidate for Stark County player of the year, coldcocked the offense of their backyard rivals.

Freshman kicker Lee Hurst delivered like a grizzled veteran.

As the bands marched, Massillon stats man Tom Persell played a tune on his computer, and what came out was 134 yards for the home team, and just 28 yards ‑ and no first downs ‑ for the Canton club.

But the score was only 6‑0, Massillon, and you didn’t need a computer to know the game would be won in the second half.

McKinley won it in a hurry.

Flash: A 67‑yard sprint over the left side by Bulldog tailback Jeff Richardson.

Flash: A Massillon fumble seconds later, in the badlands, and a 14‑yard McKinley mini‑march for a second touchdown.

The second McKinley score, a one‑yard run by Richardson with 44 seconds left in the third quarter, was followed by Mark Smith’s missed PAT kick.

That kept the score at 13‑6. But the Tigers never threatened again. McKinley scored 10 points in the final five minutes, and Canton had a third straight win over Massillon for the first time since 1934, Paul Brown’s third year as the Tigers’ head coach.

The game, witnessed by 18,091 in the stadium named after Brown, closed McKinley’s deficit in the series to 50‑37‑5.

It also closed the Tigers’ season with a second consecutive 7‑3 record.

McKinley is 9‑1 and headed for a Division I playoff game. The Bulldogs will face 9‑1 Groveport Madison at 8 p.m. Saturday in Fawcett Stadium.

Among the many constants in the Massillon‑McKinley game seems to be the fact a Grimsley is always playing for McKinley. This year’s Grimsley, junior tight end Dan, says beating the Tigers reinforces the Bulldogs’ confidence.

“We went a little bit dead in our only loss (against Youngstown South),” said Grimsley, whose brother John plays for the Houston Oilers. “It was the middle of the season and we’d just won some big games. But we’re back up now. There’s no doubt in my mind we can win it all.”

Thirty‑three seniors on the Massillon team were in a different mood. Their time as Tiger players had run out.

“You can’t say too much,” Norris said as he walked away in street clothes. “We knew we could have beat ’em. We were playing our game for a while. But it got away.”

“There’s not much to say,” echoed senior co‑captain Bart Letcavits, who spent part of the season sick in the hospital but returned for Saturday’s game. “They’ve been a comeback team all year. They outplayed us in the second half. They deserved to win.”

“We played as hard as we could,” said senior co‑captain Lance Hostetler. “Nobody let up. Ever.”

John Maronto, the Tigers’ second‑year head coach, said Hostetler was right about the effort.

“I’m proud of our football team,” Maronto said. “We were almost able to come up with the victory. But it was not to be.”

Thom McDaniels is in his fifth year as the “tough‑act‑to‑follow” successor of Terry Forbes, the head coach of McKinley’s only playoff championship winner, the 1981 team. McDaniels praised his troops for having the guts to win another game with a comeback. The he praised the Tigers.

“They’re as good and as tough and as well coached ‑ and you can put that all in capital letters ‑ as any team we’ve played,” McDaniels said.

And you can put this in bold face:

No matter who wins, this is still America’s grandest high school football game.

Will Maronto come back?

We move now, to Lesson No. 2 in the Professor Commings School of Rumorintology.

Please sit erect in your chairs. Volunteers to dust the erasers will be taken later.

Lesson No. 1, on which the papers are being graded, was presented last week.

We learned then that the volume of a rumor often is not in direct proportion to the truth contained therein.

It was noted that a particular rumor ‑ “Bob Commings has forfeited his claim to the title The Bald Eagle, and resigned as GlenOak High’s football coach” was all over town and half way to Hawaii.

It was further noted that Commings emphatically stated he has not resigned.

Commings, as it happens, is believed to be the father of “rumorintology,” apparently having coined the word last month.

The subject of Lesson No., 2 is another football coach, John Maronto.

The fates of Commings and Maronto are indirectly intertwined, insofar as the former was a head football coach in Massillon, and the latter is.

Today’s theme actually is a question. How many people must wish a rumor to come true before it becomes a fact?

We have no answers. We can only offer present facts.

Fact is, Coach Maronto is not the most popular man in Massillon today.

His team went 7‑3, and we needn’t get into a long discussion of what that means in Tigertown. The team lost to the arch‑rival the other day. You know them. And, his offense was judged too conservative for the tastes of many of the paying customers.

It didn’t help that a loss to Commings’ GlenOak team was among the three losses, either.

People are talking. You know how it is.

They’re talking a lot about THE rumor.

“Did’ja hear? Maronto’s going to Michigan to be with Bo!”

Yes, that’s the big one. It’s all over town, and halfway to Hong Kong.

Refer, now, to lesson No. 1.

The volume of a rumor may not be in direct proportion to any truth therein.

“I’ve just never thought there were any two ways about it,” Maronto said this morning. “We’re already getting ready for next season. We’ll be in the weight room today. We have a team meeting schedule. We’re preparing for next season and beginning to take care of the seniors’ needs.”

Maronto has heard the rumors. He says he shrugs them off.

”I’ve never put any thought processes into rumors,” he said. “My energy is going into preparing for next season.”

Maronto, who has completed two years in the stormy wake of Mike Currence’s ouster, sounds optimistic.

“I really believe we’ll be back,” he said. “I believe we learned some great lessons. The younger players coming in may not be able to exceed the ability of this year’s seniors, but I believe they’ll have smoother roads ahead.

“It’ll be important to make the pieces fit in to form a chemistry. It’ll be real interesting to watch. I know everybody coming in is 100 percent completely aware of what our system is all about, what needs to be done to be a Massillon Tiger. There’ll be a lot of continuity.”

Sounds like John Maronto plans to fulfill the third year of his contract.

If he does, let’s give him some room.

Another buyout is the last thing the town needs now.

If he wants to stay, let him work in peace. Disagree all you want I think the coach needs to loosen up his offense, too.

But be aware he works as hard as anybody in Ohio to make his team win. Be aware he’s good with kids.

If it’s time for him to go after the contract runs out, so be it.
And think about next week’s Lesson No. 3. Beating a rumor turns it ugly.

Jerrod Vance
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1986: Massillon 22, Cleveland St. Joseph 17

Tigers win … let the ‘war’ begin

Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ The private war is over.

Let the war the world watches begin.

The smallest and quietest home crowd of the Tigers’ season ‑ 7,425 ‑ watched their boys silence Cleveland St. Joseph 22‑17 Friday night.

It didn’t titillate those in the elevated chairs. But it was a beauty at (black) eye level.

“Without a doubt, it was the hardest‑hitting game of the year,” said Ken Hawkins, a Massillon senior who had a big hand (and foot) in the victory.

Hawkins looked weary. He said he felt like he looked.

“GlenOak can say they beat us. Fitch can say they beat us. But neither of them can say they hit us like St. Joe,” he said.

Program Cover

The crowd will be bigger and noisier next time. Canton McKinley is due to show up at 2 p.m. next Saturday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“McKinley is next and all, but it’ll take a few days to get over this one,” said Hawkins.

McKinley has to worry about a Hawkins tonight. The Bulldogs face Austintown‑Fitch at 7:45 p.m. in Fawcett Stadium. Fitch’s tailback, Leo Hawkins, scored the two touchdowns that did in the Tigers 14‑10 in a mudbath four games ago.

A star the Bulldogs won’t have to worry about is Jerrod Vance, the Tigers’ standout senior linebacker, who suffered a knee injury in the fourth quarter Friday and is out for the season.

That took some of the joy out of the victory. But it was still a win as big as the season is long.

“We played with composure and showed the kind of team we are,” said Tiger head coach John Maronto. “It was a real important game, because it came right before the biggest one, which now is staring us right in the face.”

The win kept the Tigers in the playoff race with a 7‑2 record and packed drama in the injunction decision due the day before the Massillon‑McKinley game from Judge Sheila Farmer. St. Joseph is 4‑3.

The verdict on Vance is a tough one. The 6‑foot‑2, 232‑pound senior, rated as one of the state’s top college prospects, was to be examined today to determine whether his knee injury will require surgery.

Massillon trainer Pat Trainor said it already is known Vance will not play in the McKinley game. His injury occurred, as many knee injuries do, when his foot was planted and a player collided with him. It came on the first play of the fourth quarter. The biggest drama Friday came with hundreds of folks in the parking lot thinking the game was in the bag.

Massillon led 22‑10 as the clock wound toward the 1: 00 mark of the fourth quarter. On fourth down from the Tiger 29, punt snapper Todd Perdue hiked the ball over Hawkins’ head. The ball squirted toward the goal line. St. Joseph senior Bob Shaffner beat Hawkins to the ball and smothered it for a touchdown.

Perdue to Hawkins had been a reliable snap combo all season. And long before that.

“We’ve been together since ninth grade,” Hawkins said. “That’s the first time something like that happened.”

Tom Beckwith’s PAT kick made it 22‑17 with 58 seconds left.

Obviously, the onside kick was next. And it was scary. Beckwith’s squibber took a crazy bounce over the Tigers’ front wall and squirted toward the St. Joseph bench, with everyone in hot pursuit. St. Joseph’s Sherman Dean came the closest to getting the ball, but he knocked it out of bounds near the Massillon 40.

Then … confusion.

St. Joseph coach Bill Gutbrod thought his team would get another crack at the onside kick.

“I thought the rule was changed to make it an automatic penalty when the ball went out of bounds,” he said.

But referee Ron Giacomo whipped out his rule book and showed Gutbrod that there had been no such rule change. The receiving team gets the option to take the ball or make the penalized team kick over. So the Tigers took over where the ball went out of bounds. Quarterback John Miller fell on the ball three times, and the game was over.

“They’re an awful good club,” Gutbrod said of the Tigers, then mentioning the other two clubs to which his team has lost. “Lakewood St. Edward… Cardinal Mooney. There couldn’t be more than a 6‑point difference between Massillon and those two clubs.”

The stats sheet showed little difference between the Tigers and the Vikings. Both teams had 13 first downs. The Tigers trailed 204‑196 in total yardage.

Both teams completed four passes. The leading rusher for the Tigers ‑ bulldozer Mike Norris gained 88 yards in 18 carries. The top rusher for the Vikings ‑ waterbug Desmond Howard ‑ picked up 87 yards in 22 carries.

“Howard’s longest run was 10 yardsm abd that was a big factor,” Maronto said. “This is the only game I know of where he hasn’t broken a long one. He reminds me a lot of McKinley’s runner, Jeff Richardson.”

Both coaches spent much of the night trying not to remind one another of what they had seen on the game films.

St. Joseph lives by the wishbone attack, but the Vikings often lined up in the “bone” and broke out of it before the center snap.

And the Tigers, who typically pass times a game, crossed up the Vikings by throwing on the game’s first play from scrimmage.

The play ‑ a quick pass from quarterback John Miller to split end Jerome Myricks ‑ netted 11 yards just seconds after Myricks streaked 41 yards with the opening kickoff. That set the tone for a scoring drive of nine plays and 54 yards, capped by Miller’s 11‑yard rollout run through a huge hole on the right side.

The drive was kept alive when Maronto elected to go for it on fourth‑and‑12 from the 34. After a timeout, Miller drilled a 14‑yard completion to Myricks for a first down.

Massillon led 7‑0 following Lee Hurst’s PAT kick.

The Tiger defense stuffed St. Joseph on its first possession, but Myricks mishandled the ensuing punt and the Vikings’ Dale Kitchen recovered his fumble at the Massillon 32. That led to Beckwith’s 26‑yard field goal, which made it 7‑3 at the 1:17 mark of the first quarter.

Hawkins’ foot rose to the fore midway through the second quarter. On fourth‑and‑six from the St. Joseph 37, Hawkins lofted a towering punt that hit on the 17 and bounded to the 1 where it was downed.

On the next play, St. Joseph quarterback Dale Pratt mishandled the snap and dove on the ball in the end zone for a safety.

In addition to falling behind 9‑3 With 6:36 left in the first half, St. Joseph had to give the ball back to the Tigers on a free kick. The Vikings elected to punt, and got off a boot fielded by Matt Swank, who took off toward the right sideline. However, the whistle had blown – St. Joseph had lined up offsides.

The Vikings made the mistake of punting to Swank again. This time, he made exactly the same cut toward the right sideline, broke into the clear, and wasn’t caught until he had brought the ball 46 yards to the 10.

On third-and-five, Miller lofted a pass that would have split the uprights had the 6‑foot‑8 Hawkins not leaped to pick it out of the air in the back of the end zone for a Tiger touchdown.

The Tigers went for two, but fullback Vern Riley’s run was stopped short. Massillon settled for a 15‑3 lead at the 4:58 mark of the second quarter, and that stood up as the halftime score.

“Coach Maronto told us at halftime that it wasn’t time to celebrate, that they probably would come back and hit us with their best shot of the game,” Norris said. “He was right.”

Little Howard raced 42 yards with the second‑half kickoff, setting up a 53‑yard scoring drive. Key plays were an 11‑yard scramble by Pratt on fourth‑and‑six and a 17‑yard pass from Pratt to halfback Jerry Carlock to the 3. One play later, Howard scooted into the end zone. Beckwith’s PAT boot made it 15‑10 with 7:33 left in the third quarter.

The ”composure” of which Maronto spoke then surfaced for the Tigers.

Massillon got back the momentum with an impressive 62‑yard scoring drive after the ensuing kickoff.

The march was built on the blocking of the offensive line ‑ Lance Hostetler, Tony Lambert, John Woodlock, John Schilling, Todd Feemster, Sean Murphy and Hawkins ‑ and the powerful runs of Norris.

The 5‑10, 212‑pound fullback picked up 40 yards in five carries. Miller finished the job with a 10‑yard rollout run to the 1, followed by his own sneak for a touchdown. Hurst’s kick made it 22‑10 with 3:12 left in the third quarter.

The rest of the game was uneventful until the final minute, when St. Joseph scored on the snap over Hawkins’ head.

Norris said St. Joseph gave the Tigers a little pep talk as the teams shook hands after the game.

“They told us to get McKinley for them,” he said.

As if the Tigers needed to be reminded.


First downs rushing 8 9
First downs passing 4 2
First downs by penalty 1 2
Totals first downs 13 13
Yards gained rushing 162 179
Yards lost rushing 7 19
Net yards rushing 155 160
Net yards passing 41 44
Total yards gained 196 204
Passes attempted 6 10
Passes completed 4 4
Passes int. by 0 0
Times kicked off 4 4
Kickoff average 50.3 40.8
Kickoff return yards 134 84
Punts 3 4
Punting average 46.3 34.5
Punt return yards 19 5
Fumbles 2 0
Fumbles lost 2 0
Penalties 5 7
Yards penalized 55 40
Number of plays 44 56
Time of possession 22:17 25:43
Attendance 7,425

St. JOSEPH 3 0 7 7 17
MASSILLON 7 8 7 0 22

MAS ‑ Miller 11 run (Hurst kick) ST. JOE ‑ Beckwith 27 FG
MAS ‑ Safety, St. Joseph quarterback Pratt falls on ball in end zone
MAS ‑ Miller 5 run (run failed)
ST. JOE ‑ Howard 3 run (Beckwith kick)
MAS ‑ Miller 1 run (Hurst kick)
MAS ‑ Shaffner recovers fumble in end zone (Beckwith kick)

Jerrod Vance
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1986: Massillon 24, Warren Harding 7

Happy to leave ‘Jinx Town’ with win
Tigers stave off tie in late going, tack on two TDs

Independent Sports Editor

WARREN ‑ Jinx? Of course there’s a jinx.

How else do you explain the fact Warren Harding’s No. 13 ‑ Steve Baugh ‑ caught two straight passes for 13 yards last night?

How else do you figure Warren had managed a 4‑4‑2 record against the mighty Massillon Tigers at Mollenkopf Stadium over the last two decades?

Program Cover

But nobody ever said the twilight zone never gets a helping hand from the conscious world.

And Massillon Tiger football coach John Maronto thinks he saw that happen in his team’s scarier‑than‑it‑sounds 24‑7 win Friday night.

“When you asked me yesterday if I believed there’s a jinx, I mentioned many of the kids on our team weren’t born yet when the ‘jinx’ started, Maronto said. “Well, I have to admit, I’ve never experienced anything like what happened tonight.”

He was talking not about ghosts, goblins or witches, but zebras.

“I could take a swipe at one of the officials … and it would be a real incriminating shot,” Maronto said. “But I won’t, because I’m just happy to come out of here with a win. Much of what we were trying to do was destroyed by penalties and fumbles. And I must give Warren credit because their kids played inspired football, as all of our opponents do against Massillon.

“But our kids overcame some of the toughest odds I’ve ever seen.”

Maronto thought it was very odd the way the particular official spotted the ball, and that it was odd the Tigers were hit with a flagrant conduct penalty after Massillon linebacker Jerrod Vance got jumped with a late hit, was punched in the face.
For the record, the Tigers were flagged nine times for a season-high 115 yards to Warren’s six times for 50 yards.

But in the end, Massillon’s fine tackle, Lance Hostetler, said he had enjoyed a night of good, clean fun.

“Their players had a lot of class,” Hostetler said. “One time, one of their guys accidentally poked me in the eye, and he said he was sorry.”

Tiger linebacker Todd Perdue agreed.

“This was one of the few games where the opponent was helping you up after you got knocked down,” he said.

Harding came out throwing Mollenkopf Cocktails.

It was bombs away as the Panthers threw their accustomed running game in the Mahoning River and threw passes everyplace else.

It helped lead to a shell‑shocking fourth quarter that began with Harding lining up for a field goal that would have caught the Tigers in a 10‑10 tie. But the snap was mishandled (it looked like Matt Swank would have blocked the kick anyway). Then the Tigers exploded for two touchdowns in the final 60 seconds to complete the win before 6,500 spectators.

“We knew Massillon had seen us run the ball effectively when they scouted us,” Harding head coach Frank Thomas said. “We thought our best chance of doing something was through the air.”

Sophomore quarterback Clayton Waite made that game plan look good by throwing passes more accurate than a state trooper’s radar gun. He was on the mark more than his 14 completions in 32 attempts indicate, and finished with 162 yards.

The game was closer than many expected, even though the teams’ records were not far apart ‑ the Tigers entered with a 5‑2 mark, compared to Harding’s 4‑3.

But Perdue wasn’t upset that the Tigers had to sweat out the win.

“I like these kind of games,” he said. “It’s fun to be in a close one like that, and do what it takes to win.

“I thought we played well on defense, especially when you look at how well their guy was throwing the ball.”

It was no surprise that the Tigers were running the ball. They might have emerged saying they ran it exceptionally well, except three lost fumbles cut off drives.

Still, they gained 195 rushing yards at 4.5 a pop, while quarterback John Miller threw just two passes, completing one for 13 yards.

It was a surprise, though, that Mike Norris, the starting fullback all year, opened at tailback, while Vernon Riley, who disappeared after rushing for 138 yards in the third quarter against Cincinnati Mount Healthy Sept. 12, reappeared as the starting fullback.

Norris rambled 102 yards in 20 carries and two touchdowns. Riley amassed 65 yards in 11 totes.

In yet another surprise, Norris – No. 34 in your program ‑ came out wearing No. 4.

The second time the Tigers had the ball ‑ Norris came out smokin’, blasting through big holes for gains of 13 and 17 yards during a touchdown drive that covered 63 yards in 10 plays. On third and goal from the six, Norris swept right and sprinted into the corner of the end zone. The first of Lee Hurst’s three accurate PAT kicks made it 7‑0 with 2:17 left in the first quarter.

Norris’ kickoff sailed into the end zone, setting up Warren at the 20. A chop‑blocking penalty and two running plays that lost yardage buried the Panthers at their own 6 on fourth down.

A good Warren punt forced the Tigers to start their next drive behind midfield. Riley, a 5‑11, 206‑pound junior, blasted 33 yards on a straight dive play. That put the ball on the 13, but the Tigers wound up settling for a 27‑yard field goal by Hurst and a 10‑0 lead with 9:31 left in the second quarter.

On its next possession, Warren dumped the run and turned loose Waite, who completed passes of 18, 13 and 13 yards on a drive that led to first down at the Massillon 10. But on fourth and six, Brian Teeple, Steve Siegenthaler and Perdue tackled Mark Perez three yards short of the first down.

The Tigers took over and couldn’t move, but Ken Hawkins got off a spectacular, 64‑yard punt that rolled dead on the 10.

The half ran out with the score still at 10‑0.

That also happened to be the halftime score in the Tigers’ other road game, which slipped away into a 14‑10 loss at Austintown‑Fitch two weeks earlier.

It didn’t look like the Tigers would have to worry about a relapse when Miller flicked a shovel pass to Riley, taking a page out of the Warren playbook which featured several similar short passes Friday night. Riley exploded down the right sideline and was brought down inches short of the goal line for an apparent 50‑yard gain. But the ball was brought back on a clipping penalty, and Hawkins eventually got off another booming punt that traveled 51 yards into the end zone for a touchback.

From there, Waite used four different receivers to pass the Panthers upfield. The big plays were 16, 13, 15 and 16 yards. On third and one from the four, Waite found Avery Patterson over the middle for a touchdown. Irl Berrisford, not your typical placekicker at 5‑10, 253, drilled the extra point to make Warren’s deficit 10‑7 with 3:40 left in the third quarter.

Three plays after the Tigers got the ball back on a kickoff, Norris fumbled and Patterson recovered on the Warren 47. A roughing‑the‑passer call, a nine‑yard run by Perez and a pass interference flag advanced the ball to the 14.

But the Panthers were stuck there on fourth down on the final play of the fourth quarter. They marched to the other end, then Berrisford lined up for a 31‑yard attempt that would tie the game.

“I was thinking one of our fast guys would be able to get in and block the kick,” Hawkins said. “And it was iffy on whether he would make it. He didn’t really look like a placekicker.”

But the snap was mishandled, the Tigers swarmed around the ball, and took over at the 13 with the lead intact.

Two plays later, Miller threw a 50‑yard bomb toward Jerome Myricks that was picked off by Patterson.

Waite quickly completed passes of 12 and 11 yards, moving the Panthers to the Massillon 42. But a first-down bullet pass by Waite bounced out of the hands of Baugh and was picked out of the air by Perdue.

Miller made a 22‑yard run to midfield but fumbled five plays later, giving Warren the ball at, the Massillon 29.

Two plays after that, Massillon’s Mike Wilson stole a Waite pass and raced 35 yards to the Warren 31. The Tigers drove inside the 10 but on third and eight, Riley fumbled and Warren’s Michael Hall recovered at the 5 with 3:22 left.

The Tiger defense swarmed all over Waite and created a fourth and 11 at the 4.

Thomas’ options at this point were to punt and preserve the respectable score or go for it on the off chance the Panthers might make a first drive then stage a miracle drive.

“The coaching staff owed it to the players to give them a chance to win,” Thomas said. “They played too hard. So we went for it.”

Waite’s pass went through Reggie Scrivens’ hands and the Tigers took over on the 4, scoring in two plays on Norris’ two‑yard plunge with 59 seconds left.

One play after the ensuing kickoff, Vance intercepted a Waite pass over the middle and returned it 24 yards for a score with 25 seconds left.

Warren gained just 30 yards on the ground in 18 carries. Marko Miller, a highly touted 215‑pound junior who rushed for nearly 150 yards two weeks ago, had a grand total of minus‑one yards last night.

Next up for the Tigers is Cleveland St. Joseph, Friday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.


First downs rushing 10 1
First downs passing 0 10
First downs by penalty 1 3
Totals first downs 12 14
Yards gained rushing 217 45
Yards lost rushing 22 15
Net yards rushing 195 30
Net yards passing 24 168
Total yards gained 219 198
Passes attempted 1 14
Passes completed 2 32
Passes int. by 3 1
Times kicked off 5 2
Kickoff average 52.0 54.5
Kickoff return yards 29 58
Punts 3 3
Punting average 50.4 34.0
Punt return yards 17 0
Fumbles 5 0
Fumbles lost 3 0­
Penalties 9 6
Yards penalized 115 50
Number of plays 46 50
Time of possession 26:26 21:34
Attendance 6,500

WARREN 0 0 7 0 7
MASSILLON 7 3 0 14 24

MAS ‑ Norris 6 run (Hurst kick)
MAS ‑ FG Hurst 27
WAR ‑ Patterson 4 pass from Waite (Berresford kick)
MAS ‑ Norris 2 run (Hurst kick)
MAS ‑ Vance 24 interception return (Hurst kick)

Jerrod Vance
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1986: Massillon 27, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 0

Tiger mentor: ‘We really needed this’

Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ They were the Fighting Irish all right, this good Akron St. Vincent‑St. Mary High football team.

Trouble was, they were a light heavyweight stepping into the heavyweight division. And their opponent was a fighting tiger hopping mad over a fistful of Fitch absorbed one Friday earlier.

The result was a 27‑0 Massillon Tiger victory before 8,149 fans, leaving both teams with 5‑2 records.

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“We really needed this … the players and the coaching staff,” said John Maronto, who had just been through the toughest days of his 15 months as head coach of the Tigers. “We said very little all week. We said it was time to take a gut check and see what comes out.”

What came out was junior quarterback John Miller’s best game, another big‑play touchdown for Jerome Myricks and another shutout for the defense ‑ all five Massillon wins have been blankings.

“I thought we played hard this week and last week,” said Massillon senior Mike Wilson. “Maybe we got more physical this week.”

Wilson got pretty smart, too. Late in the game, he told defensive coordinator Brandon Oliver he wanted to shift to the wide side of the field because he had a feeling the Irish might throw that way.

The result was a 57‑yard interception return for a TD during which the speedy Wilson said his only thought was, “Nobody’s gonna catch me.”

That and Lee Hurst’s third PAT kick of the night cemented the final score with 45 seconds left in the game.

The Tigers didn’t severely whip the Irish on the stats sheet (they led 201‑146 in total yards). They simply did the right things at the right time.

In the St. Vincent‑St. Mary locker room, talk centered around the game’s “extra‑curricular” matters, including Tiger linebacker Jerrod Vance’s helmet, on which was plastered a likeness of Irish head coach John Cistone, for whom Vance played before transferring to Massillon in 1984.

“This was a different sort of Massillon team than any I’ve seen,” said Cistone, in his 30th year as St. Vincent‑St. Mary’s mentor. “There were more cheap shots than I’ve seen before. But I don’t know. They were the same guys we played last year, when there were no problems. Maybe it was a result of them coming off what had to be a very tough loss.
“Maybe we got more physical this week” ‑ Mike Wilson

“You’ve gotta say they have a good football team. They’ve got size and speed … all the tools to win. They don’t need that other stuff.”

Nothing changed the way Cistone feels about playing in Massillon, where he is winless in seven tries.

“We like playing here,” Cistone said. “We’ll be back next year.”

While awaiting next year, the Irish will finish out 1986 against foes who will put them in the Division III playoffs, if somehow they can go 3‑0. The lineup is Youngstown Cardinal Mooney, Youngstown Ursuline and Walsh Jesuit.

If the Tigers’ court date Wednesday goes favorably, and they get an injunction putting them back in the Division I playoff race, they probably would qualify by beating their remaining three foes. Warren Harding, Cleveland St. Joseph and McKinley have a combined 15‑4 record.

Harding, which will host the Tigers next at 7:45 p.m. next Friday, whipped Niles McKinley 14‑0 last night to improve to 4‑3.

The drama in last night’s game was curtailed after the Tigers took a 14‑0 lead early in the second quarter.

Vance, the senior inside linebacker, set up the first touchdown when he intercepted junior quarterback Mark Lenz’s first pass of the game and made a short return to the Irish 33‑yard line.

Mike Harris, waging a difficult battle to come back from knee surgery, started at tailback but it was junior tailback Jerome Myricks who got the Tigers rolling when he hit a hole on the left side of the line for a nine‑yard gain to the 17. A nine-yard run by senior fullback Mike Norris put the ball on the 7, from where Myricks again went over the left side and easily into the end zone. Hurst’s PAT kick made it 7‑0 at the 5:13 mark of the first quarter.

A strong kickoff by Norris resulted in a touchback and bad field position for the Irish, who were stuffed in three plays and had to punt.

The Tigers then marched 54 yards for a score on a drive that included a tricky double‑pitch on which Miller handed off to Myricks, with Myricks pitching back to Miller. The quarterback sprinted around the right side for an 11‑yard gain.

Moments later, on fourth and one from the 27, the Tigers surprised the Irish ‑ and their fans ‑ when Miller dropped back quickly and fired a 12‑yard strike to tight end Kenny Hawkins.

The play drew a loud ovation from the Massillon fans on the “roof side.”

“I knew the pass would be open,” Miller said with a smile afterward. “It was just a matter of getting the ball to Kenny.”

Maronto said the Tigers have not gone to the 6‑foot‑8 tight end much largely because of the way defenses are playing him.

“But we thought this play would be open,” the coach said.

A seven‑yard run by Harris put the ball at the 5, from where Miller rolled right and found a wide‑open Wilson for a touchdown in the right corner of the end zone. Hurst’s kick made it 14‑0 with 11:14 left in the first half.

Though the Irish never came close to scoring in the first half, Lenz scrambled effectively during one possession, completing three passes and running for 15 yards on another play.

“We had some trouble containing the quarterback in the first half,” Miller said. “Then when we contained him in the second half, it made things better for us.”

Neither side threatened in the third quarter, but a spectacular punt by Hawkins buried the Irish on their own 8 at the end of the period. The Irish punted from near there to midfield, and on third‑and‑six, Miller dropped back again. When Myricks wasn’t playing tailback, he was often in at split end, as he was this time, breaking open near the left sideline. He took a strike from Miller, broke cleanly through two defenders and said see ya’ later en route to a 40‑yard touchdown. Hurst’s kick missed, but it was still 20‑0 with 10:04 left in the game.

“I’m getting more confidence,” said Myricks, who now has scored on three longs plays this year. “I’m starting to feel like I can go the distance on any play.”

Myricks, incidentally, was one of the replacements at split end for Bart Letcavits, the senior co-captain who saw scant action last week against Fitch, and did not play at all last night due to illness.

Miller wound up with six completions in nine attempts for 105 yards, by far his biggest passing night of the year. Myricks caught three passes for 83 yards.

“I’m starting to feel real confident now,” Miller said. “We have some tough customers coming up, but we want to play well and have a good season.”

First downs rushing 4 5
First downs passing 4 4
First downs by penalty 1 2
Totals first downs 9 11
Yards gained rushing 110 108
Yards lost rushing 14 23
Net yards rushing 96 85
Net yards passing 105 61
Total yards gained 101 146
Passes attempted 9 16
Passes completed 6 5
Passes int. by 2 0
Times kicked off 5 1
Kickoff average 55.8 31.0
Kickoff return yards 11 37
Punts 3 4
Punting average 37.3 27.8
Punt return yards 6 ‑9
Fumbles 3 2
Fumbles lost 2 1
Penalties 8 6
Yards penalized 83 57
Number of plays 43 53
Time of possession 21:34 26:26
Attendance 8,149

ST. V‑ST. M 0 0 0 0 0
MASSILLON 7 7 0 13 27

MAS ‑ Myricks 7 run (Hurst kick)
MAS ‑ Wilson 6 pass from Miller (Hurst kick)
MAS ‑ Myricks 40 pass from Miller (kick failed)
MAS ‑ Wilson 57 interception return (Hurst kick)

Jerrod Vance
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1986: Massillon 10, Austintown Fitch 14

Mud, guts and defeat at Fitch
Tigers fall 14‑10 on touchdown with six seconds left in‑game

Independent Sports Editor

AUSTINTOWN ‑ One minute the Massillon Tigers were singin’ in the rain. The next minute this game was mud.

Now there were seven minutes left, and the Tigers had the ball with a 10‑0 lead. Now it was fourth‑and‑goal from the 2‑inch line, and Leo Hawkins was diving into the end zone with six seconds left to give Austintown‑Fitch a 14‑10 high school football victory Friday night before 5,000 waterlogged fans.

It ended so quickly. And it hurt so bad.

It left the Massillon camp in shock.

Hoagy Pfisterer, the senior linebacker, slumped on a bench, helmet off. His face was a mask of mud from a field spoiled by a vicious rain that lasted through the first half.

Andre Horner, the senior nose guard, clutched his helmet and slammed it three times to the squishy turf. He spun around deliriously. He could not accept what had just happened.

What happened was the greatest win in Fitch football history, all things considered. And one of the bitterest Massillon defeats.

“Everybody played all out,” said Jerrod Vance, the senior linebacker, after it had all sunk in. “It just didn’t work out. It was a tough one to lose.”

The loss sank the Tigers to 4‑2, their record a year ago after Fitch’s 21‑19 victory in Massillon. Fitch climbed to 6‑0 and chanted, “Mooney, Mooney, Mooney” ‑ next week’s opponent ‑ in the locker room.

Smiling widely in that room was David Hartman, a backup center for Earle Bruce’s Massillon Tigers in 1964. He lives in Austintown now, and coaches the Fitch team.

“It was a big thing to beat them down there last year,” Hartman said, standing amid a mud‑slimed celebration that may not get cleaned up by Thanksgiving. “But this may have been more special. Nobody up here thought we could win. And sure, it means something to me personally, because of where I’m from.”

It was a tough loss for John Maronto, the Massillon coach whose Michigan offense hasn’t had numerous Tiger fans warming up to it. But he believes in it steadfastly. And he believed it would win his team this game.

“The kids played their guts out, what else can you say?” the second year Massillon mentor said.

Anticipating reactions to the conservative game plan the Tigers used on offense after getting the 10‑0 lead, Maronto said, “When you have bad weather, and you’re backed up into the field position we had, you’ve got to play it the way we played it. Unfortunately, they were able to take advantage of some things.”

It was the Tigers who seized the advantages in the first half.

On the first play of Massillon’s second offensive series, center Todd Feemster, guard John Woodlock and tackle Lance Hostetler parted the brown sea on the right side of the line for tailback Jerome Myricks, who stormed out of the I, hit the big hole, and simply outran the safety for a 61‑yard touchdown run in a pouring rain. Lee Hurst’s kick made it 7‑0 with 6:34 left in the first quarter.

Later, several Fitch players would say they thought the Falcons moved the ball well in the first half, that it was only “a matter of time.” Such was not the case. The Tiger defense stuffed the Falcons in the first two quarters, holding them to 41 total yards in the half.

Massillon, meanwhile, amassed 146 first‑half yards, 39 of them on a double‑reverse gallop by wingback ‑Mike Wilson. That led to a fourth‑and‑one from the 10 with 43 seconds left in the half.

Maronto called a timeout and sent in the field goal unit. Fitch called its own timeout, but freshman Lee Hurst stayed calm and kicked a 27‑yard field goal straight down the middle.

That gave the Tigers a 10‑0 halftime lead.

The rain, utterly miserable at times and omnipresent in the first, quit while the Tiger Swing “Band was on the field at intermission.

“That may have worked to our advantage,” Hartman said.

That was not apparent in the third quarter, when both teams stuck to the ground and neither budged much.

The same pattern held into the middle of the fourth quarter. But things changed when a Tiger fumble gave Fitch the ball near midfield and kept the Falcons from spending the rest of the night in bad field position.

Although Fitch failed to advance on that possession, the Tigers got the ball back in poor field position after a punt, and couldn’t move themselves. Now they had to punt.

Hartman huddled with his special team.

“We told our guys to go for the return,” he said. “We’d been going for the block all night, and it hadn’t keen working.”

Ken Hawkins’ 35‑yard punt sailed to Hawkins, a 189‑pound senior who leads the Steel Valley Conference in rushing. The return strategy worked. He followed a wall of blockers for a 25‑yard return that took the ball to the Massillon 33‑yard line.

On the next play, Hawkins slipped out of the backfield and capitalized on an old football dictum ‑ on a wet field, the receiver has a greater advantage, because he knows where he’s going and the defender doesn’t.

The problem with the dictum is the quarterback is at a disadvantage. A muddy football is the proverbial greased pig. But senior quarterback Eric Luckage managed to get off a pass that landed softly in Hawkins’ hands as he broke across the 15. His trip into the end zone was uncontested. Chris Berni’s PAT kick was good, making it 10‑7 with 5:41 left.

It was hard to get a grip on the ball,” Luckage said. “But I got it away, and Leo made a super catch.”

The Tigers were still in control when they started from their own 25 after taking the kickoff. One first down would wipe out enough of the clock to kill Fitch, considering field conditions.

On second and nine, Mike Norris went off right tackle for no gain. On third and nine, Myricks tried right end. Again no gain.

With 3:20 left, Ken Hawkins had to punt. Leo Hawkins made a short return to midfield.

On second and eight, Hartman sent in the same play that resulted in the touchdown pass. Hawkins was open again, this time catching Luckage’s pass for a gain to the 30. Tiger linebacker Todd Perdue came in a half‑second late on a backup hit. The game films should show that Perdue was a bit late. Under the circumstances, the late‑hit call against him, and subsequent 15‑yard penalty seemed too harsh.

Now it was first‑and‑10 from the 15 with 2:20 left.

Hawkins battered the ball to the goal fine in four carries and went around the left side for a score with six seconds left. Berni’s kick made it 14‑10. The Fitch players mobbed each other, rolling happily in the slop.

The ensuing kickoff was a squib job. Vance picked it up, but there was nowhere to run, and no one to lateral to. He was bowled over on the Massillon 40 after the clock had already hit 0:00.

While the Tigers ruled the first half statistics, Fitch dominated in the second half, leading 104‑41 in yards amassed in the third and fourth quarters.

Hawkins finished with 60 yards in 19 carries. Myricks was the game’s rushing leader with 90 yards in 12 attempts. Norris added 51 yards in 13 carries.

“They were a very good team,” concluded Hartman. “But tonight , we were better.”


First downs rushing 4 4
First downs passing 0 2
First downs by penalty 0 1
Totals first downs 4 7
Yards gained rushing 194 98
Yards lost rushing 70 80
Net yards rushing 187 90
Net yards passing 0 55
Total yards gained 187 145
Passes attempted 1 6
Passes completed 0 3
Passes int. by 0 0
Yardage on pass int. 0 0
Times kicked off 0 0
Punts 7 8
Punting average 33.4 31.9
Punt return yards 0 26
Punts blocked by 0 0
Fumbles 4 0
Fumbles lost 1 0
Penalties 4 3
Yards penalized 30 14
Time of possession 19.39 28,21
Attendance 5,000

FITCH 0 0 0 14 14
MASSILLON 7 3 0 0 16

MASS ‑ Myricks 61 run (Hurst kick)
MASS ‑ Hurst 27 field goal
FITCH ‑ Hawkins 33 pass from Luckage (Berni kick)
FITCH ‑ Hawkins 1 run (Beni kick)

Jerrod Vance
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1986: Massillon 56, Barberton 0

A blowout … a washout
Tigers’ 56‑0 win called early in fourth quarter

Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ Gotta hand it to ya’, Koontzie. That was better than Art Modell’s postgame fireworks stuff.

Hey, this one was during the game, such as it was, a 56‑0 Massillon Tiger tirade against Barberton that was mercifully waved off Friday after three quarters and some small change and a lot of Bart Letcavits.

“Weatherman Mark Koontz,” P.A. announcer Walt Bronczek was saying along about the time a wind that would have seared the bloomers off Auntie Em kicked up, “tells us dangerous lightning and heavy rains are heading this way from the north.”

Program Cover

At that point midway through the third quarter, most folks among a crowd of 8,621 in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium did a fly pattern to the parking lot. The crowd included weather sleuth Koontz, a ’65 Washington High grad and currently Dick Goddard’s No. 1 caddy at Channel 8, up north.

The rains and the lightning came, as predicted, but long after Barberton’s chances had vamoosed.

It was 42‑0 at halftime, and even though Barberton claims the nickname Magics, Houdini himself wouldn’t have had a prayer in the second half. As lightning cracked and rain poured crazily down, referee Dick Szink called head coaches John Maronto of Massillon and Jack Foltz of Barberton to midfield, where all parties agreed to call it a night with 10: 08 left in the fourth quarter.

“It was a good decision,” said Foltz, whose team was outgained 339‑10 in total yardage, numbers you wouldn’t have expected in a battle of teams that entered with 3‑1 records.

“We‑weren’t doing anything, and we weren’t about to put the ball up. It was over. We just crapped down our legs.”

As for Maronto, it was a night for singin’ in the rain. Well, humming, maybe.

“We can’t spend too much time praising ourselves,” the Tiger tutor said, “We play at Fitch next week, and they’re a very tough team.

“We only got to play three quarters tonight, and really, who would have expected this? Never in a million years…”

Well, never in a few years, anyway. The Tigers have a history of burying Barberton (43‑0 in 1982, 46‑0 in 1971, 90‑0 in 1959). But the Magics often play Massillon tough (they beat the Tigers 26‑24 in 1981 and 9‑7 in 1977) and the Tigers were coming off a wrenching 9‑7 loss to GlenOak.

As it worked out, the orange and black washed that loss right out of their hair.

The game was called shortly after Shannon Dryden plowed into the end zone from three yards out to make it 53‑0 at the 10:43 mark of the fourth quarter, amid thundershowers.

“We like the rain,” Dryden said. “It was kinda fun playing in that. Something new.”

Letcavits had his fun in the first half.

Early in the first quarter, he ran a “waggle pattern” right past speedy cornerback Jim Ferguson. Junior quarterback John Miller delivered a strike to a wide‑open Letcavits in the right corner of the end zone for a 33‑yard touchdown play.

That capped the game’s opening series, in which the Tigers got Barberton “thinking run” with seven straight rushes.

Moments later, Letcavits hustled under a short punt at the 40 and returned it 23 yards to the Barberton 17. That set up a 4‑yard touchdown run by tailback Jerome Myricks, who finished the half ‑ and the game ‑ with 87 yards in 11 carries and two touchdowns.

The sky was dry, but the floodgates were open ‑ the Tigers went on to outgain the Magics 243 to minus‑two in first‑half yardage.

The next touchdown was set up by Myricks’ 44‑yard run around the right side. That put the ball on the 7, from where Myricks took it over the left side on the next play for a TD. The PAT kick sailed wide and it was 20‑0 with 8:26 left in the half.

The Magics stalled on three plays and were hit with a safety when the long snap sailed high over punter Brian James’ head, and he had to smother the ball in the end zone. It was 22‑0 at the 6:22 mark.

Barberton then punted to Letcavits, who made a nice return to midfield. A rushing play netted nothing, then Miller uncorked another bomb to Letcavits, who had streaked open over the middle. The pass looked too long, but the 5‑11 senior made a spectacular fingertip catch while doing a belly‑smacker at the 1. Letcavits drew a spontaneous standing ovation as he left the field. Miller scored on a quarterback sneak on the next play and Lee Hurst’s kick made it 29‑0 at the 5:13 mark.

It took the Tigers 28 seconds to score again … when senior cornerback Matt Swank bolted in front of Barberton tight end Dan Cuckler, stole sophomore quarterback, Butch Momilov’s short pass and raced 48 yards down easy street for a TD. Hurst’s kick made it 36‑0.

Barberton went nowhere again and had to punt. It appeared the half would run out with no more damage to the Magics when Miller was under a heavy rush with time running out in the half. However, he scrambled out of trouble and took off over the middle … but lost the ball at the 23‑yard line. Letcavits was in the neighborhood, picked up the pigskin and raced in for another TD that beat the halftime gun by 13 seconds.

It wasn’t the first big night for a Letcavits in Tiger Stadium. Bart’s father, Jim, a veteran Tiger coach, was an All‑Ohio end at Massillon in 1953.

But what a night.

“It doesn’t hit me that heavy right now,” Letcavits said. “Really, it just seemed like another game. The main thing is that the team came out and executed the plays on offense and defense.”

It was a big night for Swank, too.

“I came here from GlenOak after my sophomore year, and it crushed me ‑ it crushed everybody on the team ‑ to lose to GlenOak last week,” Swank said. “This was a great way to come back. Our defense came in and right off the bat we intimidated them. Early in the game, after some of our plays were working pretty well, you could tell by looking in their eyes that they didn’t want to play us any more.”

Dryden said the Tigers quit thinking about GlenOak early in the week.

“When we came back to practice Monday everybody was quiet in the locker room,” Dryden said. “Coach Maronto came in and told us we just had to drop our feelings about GlenOak and get on with things. He was right. We’d put so much effort into this season that there was no point in letting one loss bother us any more.”

In‑the end, the Tigers led 339-10 in total yardage. Barberton had the ball for only 14 minutes, 31 seconds. Other than a first half series that followed a Barberton fumble recovery near midfield, the Magics never got the ball past their own 26‑yard line.

The Tigers so completely dominated the game that it’s hard to imagine what the 90‑0 contest in 1959 must have been like.

But one thing bothered Maronto. The Tigers fumbled five times, losing the ball once, all before it rained.

“There’s no excuse for that,” Maronto said. “If we fumble it five times against Fitch, we’ll get our butts blown out.

“We just need to perform with consistency no matter who our opponent is. Our opponent should be ‘X.’ Our job is to execute our plays. We’ve done that four weeks out of five.”

As top individual statistics, nine different Tigers carried the ball. Fullback Mike Norris traveled 75 yards in nine carries and scored a third‑quarter touchdown. Miller picked up 40 yards in four totes.

Miller completed three passes in five attempts for 91 yards. Senior Ken Hawkins, a 6‑8 tight end, got his first catch of the season. Backup quarterback Erik White started the second half. He tried only one pass, though.

Ferguson, Barberton’s speedy running back, gained 20 yards in 13 carries. Momchilov completed two of 15 passes for three yards. Plays that lost yardage were the reason the Magics wound up with just to total yards.


First downs rushing 9 2
First downs passing 3 0
First downs by penalty 2 0
Totals first downs 14 2
Yards gained rushing 256 36
Yards lost rushing 8 29
Net yards rushing 248 7
Net yards passing 91 3
Total yards gained 339 10
Passes attempted 6 17
Passes completed 3 2
Passes int. by 1 0
Times kicked off 8 1
Pickoff average 44.0 46.0
Kickoff return yards 39 70
Punts 1 6
Punting average 39.0 32.8
Punt return yards 31 0
Fumbles 5 1
Fumbles lost 1 0
Penalties 3 4
Yards penalized 35 41
Number of plays 45 34
Time of possession 33:29 14:31
Attendance 8,621

BARBERTON 0 0 0 0 0
MASSILLON 14 28 7 7 56

MASS ‑ Letcavits 33 pass from Miller (Hurst kick)
MASS ‑ Myricks 4 run (Hurst kick)
MASS ‑ Myricks 7 run (kick failed)
MASS ‑ SAFETY, punt snap sailed into end zone
MASS ‑ Swank 48 interception return (Hurst kick)
MASS ‑ Letcavits 23 advance of fumble recovery (kick failed)
MASS ‑ Norris 50 run (Hurst kick)
MASS ‑ Dryden 3 run (Hurst kick)

Jerrod Vance
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1986: Massillon 7, Canton Glenoak 9

‘Bobby C’ makes history
Tigers nipped 9‑7 by revamped GlenOak gridders

Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ Darn it, that “Bobby C” always did know how to win a game in Tiger Stadium.

Darned if he didn’t win another one last night. And darned if he didn’t have old friends wearing orange jackets coming up one by one to slap him on the back. Even though that back is now covered with green. Even though this win nudged the foundation of the grand old ball yard just a bit.

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Commings shrugged after his GlenOak team beat the Massillon Tigers 9‑7 behind a long scoring drive and a blocked punt for a safety in the first quarter.

“Just another big win,” he said.

But his wry smile said it was more.

Massillon’s high school football team has been taking on Stark County opponents since 1894, and only two of them ‑ McKinley and Alliance had ever managed to beat the Tigers.

Now there are three. And GlenOak is the first one to come from the Federal League, which has been taking swings at the Tigers since 1978, and hadn’t connected until “Bobby C” showed up on a warm September Friday.

Commings, of course, used to stick around after the games. He amassed a coaching record of 43‑6‑2 with the Tigers from 1969‑73, before going to Iowa for a tough major college run that knocked him back to the high school ranks, with GlenOak.

“It’s a thrill when kids play with great courage in a community I dearly love,” Commings said after handing the Tigers their first loss in four games before a crowd of 12,780.

It was a clean win, nothing tricky ‑ witness GlenOak’s 245‑121 advantage in total yards and 12‑4 edge in first downs.

“All the credit goes to GlenOak and to Bob Commings,” Massillon head coach John Maronto said. “They blitzed us early and took it to us.

“We were ripe … a ripe tomato that became rotten.”

Commings knows about those tomatoes. His team sprouted an overgrown preseason reputation and promptly got blown out of the garden by McKinley and North Canton. But the Eagles made some key changes and planted Akron East 40‑3 last week.

There was a new attitude.

“We were getting all the preseason hype and it went to our heads,” said Mike Patt, probably GlenOak’s best lineman. “We finally realized we had to work for anything we got.”

The Eagles played a Massillon theme song, “Eye of the Tiger,” all week in practice.

“We got down to business,” said fullback‑linebacker John McLendon. “And we kept reminding ourselves the Massillon players are good, but they don’t dress in a phone booth.”

McLendon, whose father dressed in the Tiger locker room when he went to high school, was one of the changes. He moved from wingback, where he wasn’t getting loose on the option, to fullback, where he could use his speed and athletic skill to apply direct delivery. The other change was switching Otis Williams, a bigger man than McLendon at 210 pounds, from fullback to tailback.

The combination got a trial run against Akron East and ran like crazy against the Tigers.

McLendon gained 88 yards in 18 carries and was a nuisance all night on defense. Williams rushed for 92 yards on 18 carries.

Both were slowed as the game wore on. But they were deadly on the pivotal opening series.

GlenOak’s Matt McElroy returned the opening kickoff to the 24. Williams ran for six yards, McLendon cut loose for 13 on a misdirection play, then Williams ran for six. McLendon, a 6‑foot, 180‑pound senior, then got the ball on the next five plays, moving the ball from midfield to the Tiger 23‑yard line. Then Williams ran 15 yards for a first and goal.

But on third‑and‑goal from the 8, Williams was stuffed at the 6 and Commings sent in the field goal unit.

The holder was Rob Rastetter, a linebacker who opened the season as GlenOak’s starting quarterback but was beaten out by Jerry Chaney. Rastetter had to uncoil from his kneel to handle a bad snap and had no time to make the spot for placekicker Scott Glosser. In the face of a heavy rush, he flicked a pass to tight end Mike Mottice, who had broken wide open in the right corner of the end zone.

Glosser’s PAT kick made it 7‑0 with 5:00 left in the opening frame.

The Tigers started from their own 19 after the ensuing kickoff but moved only a yard in three plays. GlenOak played for the punt block and it worked. Three Eagles were breathing in Kenny Hawkins’ face as he tried to boot the ball, and one of them, McLendon, got both mitts squarely on the pigskin. The ball caromed 15 yards all the way out of the end zone for a safety, and GlenOak lead swelled to 9‑0 just 1:57 after its initial score.

It stayed that way until a booming Hawkins punt to the GlenOak 9‑yard line on the second play of the fourth quarter ignited the Tigers’ scoring sequence.

GlenOak’s first play was a botched handoff to McLendon that squirted to the 14. Senior linebacker Bob Foster pounced on the ball and the Tigers took over.

As Massillon’s fans rose in their biggest outburst of the night, the fired‑up Tigers opened holes for fullback Mike Norris, who battered three yards then seven yards to the 4. A penalty took the ball to the 2, from where Norris spun around the right side and dove into the end zone.

Lee Hurst’s extra‑point boot made it 9‑7 with 11:30 left in the game.

The Tigers needed a defensive stand. Instead, GlenOak mounted a ball‑control drive. The Eagles traveled from their own 20 to the Tigers’ 30 where it was fourth‑and‑one.

There was still time for a Tiger rally, with five minutes left, but GlenOak was going for the first down and Massillon needed a big play … and got one. A pitch to McLendon was stuffed by three Tigers a half-foot short of the first down and the Tigers took over.

Massillon came very close to winning the game when, on fourth and three with 2:45 left, quarterback John Miller hit tailback Jerome Myricks with a little swing pass that Myricks turned upfield and almost into the clear. The only thing that kept Myricks out of the end zone was a saving bump by McLendon, who nudged Myricks out of bounds near midfield.

On the next play, Miller was sacked for a six‑yard loss by Patt. That was followed by two more incompletions and a sack on fourth‑and‑long by Scott Garcia. The ball went over to GlenOak with 2:21 left and the Tigers called their last timeout.

The Tigers regained possession with 15 seconds left, on their own 40. The game ended on an interception by McElroy at the 20‑yard line.

“We came back in the second half but we did not make the plays we needed to get a victory,” Maronto said. “GlenOak moved the ball on us right away in the first half, but we expected to have problems with them early.

“Our intensity was all right, we just didn’t make the plays. There are no excuses. We got what we deserved.”

The Tigers failed to get a first down on their only three possessions of the first half, when they ran just nine plays to GlenOak’s 33.

Massillon’s first scoring threat followed the second‑half kickoff. A 38‑yard bomb from Miller to split end Bart Letcavits advanced the ball to the GlenOak 31, but on fourth-and‑nine, the Tigers went for it and came up short when McLendon chased Miller into a scramble resulting in a four‑yard loss.

Norris was the Tigers’ top ball carrier with 11 carries for 36 yards. Myricks, a big‑play threat in recent weeks, carried six times, but his total was minus‑one.

The Tigers had tried a total of 12 passes through three games before Friday, but this time Miller went to the airways 15 times, completing five for 90 yards. All but one of the passes came in the second half.

The Tigers will try to rebound next Friday against Barberton, also 3‑1 following a 14‑10 upset loss to Ravenna last night. A week later, the Tiger…


First downs rushing 1 11
First downs passing 3 1
First downs by penalty 0 0
Totals first downs 4 12
Yards gained rushing 46 228
Yards lost rushing 15 15
Net yards rushing 31 213
Net yards passing 90 32
Total yards gained 121 245
Passes attempted 15 7
Passes completed 5 2
Passes int. by 0 2
Punts 5 3
Punting average 30.2 28.0
Punt return yards 18 0
Punts blocked by 0 1
Fumbles 1 2
Fumbles lost 0 1
Penalties 5 6
Yards penalized 35 39
Number of plays 21 41
Time of possession 16:49 31:11
Attendance 12,780

GlenOAK 9 0 0 0 9
MASSILLON 0 0 7 0 7

GLEN ‑ Mottice 5 pass from Rastetter (Glosser kick)
GLEN ‑ Safety, blocked punt bounced out of the end zone
MASS ‑ Norris 2 run (Hurst kick)

Jerrod Vance1986: Massillon 
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1986: Massillon 55, Cincinnati Mt. Healthy 0

Long night for Owls.
Tigers draw lofty praise after 55‑0 larrupin’

Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ If you ask the Cincinnati Mount Healthy football players what they think of the “M&M Boys,” Mantle and Maris wouldn’t even cross their minds.

They’d think you were talking about Massillon and Moeller.

They scrimmage Moeller every year. And they got a long look at Massillon last night.

As it turned out, the local half of the “M&M Boys” played long ball, wearing out Mount Healthy 55‑0 before a crowd of 8,497 in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

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“I’ve been a football coach for 21 years, and that Massillon team I just saw is the best team I’ve ever coached against,” said Mount Healthy mentor Bill Fridman.

The Tigers simply knocked the cover off Fridman’s ball players.

“John (Maronto, the Massillon coach) started to apologize about the score,” Fridman said. “But I told him they shouldn’t apologize. It could have been 100 to nothing.”

Mount Healthy is not to be confused with Moeller. The Fighting Owls are fighting for their lives, having lost 23 players to academic problems and other starters to injury, including a nose guard who discovered a detached retina this week.

But it wasn’t as if the Tigers didn’t earn that big score.

“In my opinion, most of our better ball players are still on the team,” said Mount Healthy wingback‑defensive end Charles Davenport. We were trying as hard as we could. They just turned out to be, the best team I’ve ever seen … better than Moeller, no question.”

Fridman went along with that.

Game action vs. Cincinnati Mt. Healthy 1986

“They were better than the great Moeller teams I’ve seen,” he said. “They just have everything. I’ve seen teams that were big but not aggressive. I’ve seen teams that would knock the crap out of you but weren’t that big. But I’ve never seen a team that combined aggressiveness and size the way this Massillon team did.”

Yes, the Tigers were purring. After struggling to beat Akron Buchtel 7‑0, then improving in a 21‑0 victory over Akron Garfield, they let it all hang out against the Owls.

Fridman was asked if the Tigers have a weakness.

“Yeah,” he said, his mouth curling into a smile. “They don’t have enough seats in their stadium.”

Maronto said he didn’t know what to make of routing a team that previously lost 14‑0 to Fairfield and 28‑0 to Cincinnati LaSalle.

Game action vs. Cincinnati Mt. Healthy 1986

“It’s flattering to hear what Bill said, and it’s true that our players are to be complimented for doing an excellent job of executing,” he said. “But as far as getting prepared for GlenOak (next Friday’s opponent), I don’t know how much this game will benefit us.”

GlenOak got a much‑needed ego boost last night in a 40‑3 shellacking of Akron East. That took some of the tarnish off the Golden Eagles’ image, which suffered in shutout losses to McKinley and North Canton.

So, Bob Commings’ return to Massillon is looking more attractive.

Commings comes up even without the GlenOak factor. Commings’1971 Massillon team was the last Tiger contingent to open the season with three shutouts.

The last Massillon team to blank four foes to start a season was Paul Brown’s, in 1940.

Post Game action vs. Cincinnati Mt. Healthy 1986

But Friday was a night for the offense, starting from the game’s first play from scrimmage, on which fullback Mike Norris popped through a big center‑guard hole on the right side and roared 61 yards for a touchdown.

“They bottled up our cornerbacks, and the next thing I know, there’s this truck heading for the end zone,” Fridman said.

That triggered a night of big‑play touchdowns.

There was a 63‑yard pass from junior quarterback John Miller to Jerome Myricks, a 50‑yard run by Miller himself and a 45‑yard blast by Vernon Riley, who had been mentioned as the possible fullback starter instead of Norris.

Myricks wound up with two other TDs on short runs to ice a night on which he carried nine times for 59 yards.

Riley also scored on a short touchdown run as part of a 13‑carry, 137-yard rushing explosion.

Norris wound up with just two carries for 62 yards.

You got the feeling this wasn’t ‘going to be a game early on.

Two plays after Norris scored, Tiger defender Mike Wilson, who later scored a TD on offense, recovered a fumble that led to a short, easy scoring drive. Myricks’ 1‑yard plunge and Lee Hurst’s PAT boot made it 14‑0 with 7:57 left in the first quarter.

The Tigers established a pattern of scoring within seconds of getting their hands on the ball.

On the first play following an Owl punt, Miller unloaded his scoring bomb to Myricks. The pass erased any doubt about the strength of his arm. The kid has a gun. The play was a straight fly pattern to Myricks, and Miller’s pass looked like something Dwight Gooden might throw. It traveled 60 yards in the air and got to Myricks in a hurry at the 8‑yard line, from where he eased into the end zone.

On the first play after the next Owl punt, Miller kept the ball on an option run. He broke through a big hole over the right side but got into heavy traffic around the 20. How he got through it, only the game films know, but he wound up in the end zone on a see‑it‑to‑believe‑it run.

“I get excited about John Miller,” Maronto has been saying.

The fans are starting to catch on, even though the Tigers still are passing at the rate of one a quarter ‑ Miller and Erik White combined to complete two of four passes for 72 yards, bringing the number of aerials that have been thrown this fall to an even dozen.

Miller’s run made it 28‑0 with 9:56 left in the first half.

The Tigers got their scoring out of the way when Riley went in from a yard out with 40 seconds left in the third quarter.

Maronto said he’s concerned that the first‑stringers didn’t get enough work to keep them sharp for upcoming games against rugged foes like GlenOak, Austintown‑ Fitch and Cleveland St. Joseph.

“But there’s another side to that,” he said. “We got to play a lot of people tonight, and the players who came in were very aggressive and did a great job. The fact so many people got to play means a lot to our team.”

The Tiger offense wound up generating 415 yards. Mount Healthy racked up 141.

The Owls were hoping their slippery little option quarterback, Deon Smith, could keep them in the game. The Tigers’ defensive surge was so fierce that Smith never had a chance.

That’s the way it can go when you’re “pitching” against the “M&M Boys.”


First downs rushing 15 3
First downs passing 1 6
First downs by penalty 0 4
Totals first downs 16 13
Yards gained rushing 352 72
Yards lost rushing 9 40
Net yards rushing 343 32
Net yards passing 72 109
Total yards gained 415 141
Passes attempted 4 21
Passes completed 2 8
Passes int. by 1 0
Times kicked off 9 1
Kickoff average 50.6 31.0
Kickoff return yards 10 101
Punts 2 7
Punting average 47.5 31.3
Punt return yards 50 0
Fumbles 1 2
Fumbles lost 0 1
Penalties 8 8
Yards penalized 75 58
Number of plays 39 51
Time of possession 20:10 27:50
Attendance 8,497

Mt. HEALTHY 0 0 0 0 0
MASSILLON 20 22 13 0 55

MAS ‑ Norris 61 run (Hurst kick)
MAS ‑ Myricks 3 run (Hurst kick)
MAS ‑ Myricks 63 pass from Miller (kick failed)
MAS ‑ Miller 50 run (Wilson pass from Hurst)
MAS ‑ Wilson 3 run (Hurst kick)
MAS ‑ Myricks 5 run (Hurst kick)
MAS ‑ Riley 45 run (Hurst kick)
MAS ‑ Riley 1 run (kick failed)

Jerrod Vance
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1986: Massillon 21, Akron Garfield 0

Tigers rout Rams 21‑0

Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ The Tigers won a triangular last night.

Their foes were Akron Garfield and Popular Opinion.

They battered the Rams 21‑0. And they routed the rumors.

“We shut down a lot of rumors tonight,” said Bart Letcavits, one of five Tiger football captains. “We showed we can pass. We showed we can move the ball. We showed we can put points on the board.”

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Three completions in five attempts won’t start any talk about “Air Maronto.” And 21 points are hardly unusual for the home team in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

But the 34‑yard gainer to Letcavits that set up Massillon’s second touchdown was a rifle shot that showed junior quarterback John Miller just might have a gun.

And the 21 points weren’t scored on any Tom, Dick or Harry. Try Bill. Bill McGee’s Garfield team had won in its last three trips to P.B.’s Big House.

“We enjoyed what we’ve had here,” McGee said afterward. “Tonight, it was pretty clear cut. We got beat by a better team.”

Of John Maronto’s even dozen games as head coach of the fabled orange and black, this was clearly his brightest hour.

“The good news is, we’re just starting to get better,” Maronto said.

“We showed we’re capable of being very good in all facets of the game. We were able to play the type of football Massillon must play to beat a great team.”

In the end, it was Massillon’s night in every way.

But the Tigers had to get past a scary beginning.

On its first possession, Garfield made it look easy as in marching the ball to the 1‑yard line.

Massillon nose guard Andre Horner, who went on to play an outstanding game, was on the sidelines at the time.

“I said a little prayer…’God, pull us through this,’ “Homer said.

On second down, junior running back Harold Mitchell was separated from the ball and Massillon linebacker Kevin Spicer recovered at the 3.

Four plays later came one of the more spectacular runs of Massillon’s last 10 years. On third‑and‑four from the 21, junior running back Jerome Myricks took the pigskin over the right side of the Tiger line.

“I saw a lot of defenders, so I just cut it back the other way,” Myricks said.

Guard Tony Lambert threw a good block that helped Myricks get to the outside. Then he showed his back to the Rams. He had one man to beat, returning starter Frank Washington, a cornerback, who had a clean angle to make a tackle at about the 20. But Myricks’ speed and a block by Miller opened the gates to the end zone.

The crowd of 10,320 roared. Myricks had scored on a 79‑yard run. Lee Hurst’s PAT kick made it 7‑0 with 1:54 left in the first quarter.

What had seemed to be a certain 7‑0 Garfield lead instead went the opposite way.

“Even though Myricks ran the ball only once (for 12 yards in a 7‑0 win over Akron Buchtel) last week, we knew he was quite a threat,” McGee said. “We scouted him in scrimmages. You can tell just by the way he runs pass patterns what kind of skills he has.”

Myricks wound up with five carries for 96 yards. In two games, he has gained 108 yards in six totes. That’s an average of 18 yards a carry. That’s not bad.

“We weren’t just an offense with Mike Norris,” Maronto said.

Just so. The quarterback Miller also made five carries, picking up 57 yards. The fullback Norris, who rushed for 130 of Massillon’s 178 yards last week, gained 64 yards in
20 trips.

“Mike Wilson (held to two yards in four carries) is a great asset to our offense, too,” Maronto said. “If they gets revved up, we’ll have all the tools.”

Miller wound up completing three of his five passes for 44 yards. They were his first completions of the year.

Many of the Tigers’ fans came to the ball park itching to see a more wide open offense than the one that hadn’t scored on Buchtel until the fourth quarter.

The first completion of the year was a 5‑yard strike to Letcavits with 3:17 left in the first half. Many of the fans on the roof side rose in a standing ovation.

Asked to assess the passing game, Maronto said, “John Miller needs more opportunities, and he’ll get there as the season goes along.

“We’ll concentrate on building a strong running game, but we have good receivers and we can pass the ball.

“We shouldn’t forget that the Buchtel team we beat last week was a very good, a very fast, team. The football we’ve played the last two weeks might not be what some people consider good football. But it’s good football.”

It took good football to contain Garfield’s resourceful junior quarterback, Todd Johnson. And that’s what the Tigers got in limiting Garfield to 176 yards. Fifty‑five of those yards came on the final series of the game, a play‑for‑pride drive on which the Rams drove to the 15 before the Tigers sealed their second straight shutout.

The Tigers wound up with 263 yards on the night.

“Massillon is basically just a big, strong, good team,” said McGee, whose team was bothered by losing three fumbles, just as it was plagued by losing four fumbles in a 20‑0 loss to Lakewood St. Edward a week earlier.

Myricks’ touchdown held up for a 7‑0 halftime lead.

Garfield received the second‑half kickoff and started out in a pro set instead of its usual T‑formation ‑ a come‑from‑behind strategy.

Halfback Brent Williams burst through the line on the first play from scrimmage and was on his way to a 12‑yard gain when the ball was jarred loose and squirted wildly upfield. Tiger tackle C.J. Harris won the race and recovered at the Garfield 40‑yard line.

The Tigers’ first play of the second half became the long pass to Letcavits.

“I was in motion from the left side and Mark Kester ran a post pattern to the middle,” said Letcavits. “That attracted a crowd to him and left me pretty wide open. I don’t really remember what happened after that, except that it was exciting to catch the ball.”

The next play was a trap up the middle. The offensive line of center Todd Feemster, tackles Hostetler ‑ and John Schilling and guards Lambert and John Woodlock did its thing. Norris waltzed through a hole up the middle from six yards out. The PAT kick sailed wide right and the Tigers led 13‑0 with 50 seconds left in the third quarter.

That pretty much wiped out memories of 1985, when the Tigers led 6‑0 at halftime but went on to lose 14‑6.

The ghost of ’85 was totally blown away by an 86‑yard drive ending midway through the fourth quarter.

The big play was a “naked bootleg” in which the Tigers faked a run to the left side and sent Miller around the right side for a 39‑yard gain.

Norris eventually scored on a 3‑yard run, then tacked on a two‑point conversion.

Garfield’s only scoring threats were on the Rams’ first and last possessions.

The only statistic in which Garfield held a clear edge was time of possession. It was 25:10 for the Rams and 22:50 for the Tigers.

None of that kept the Tigers from having a hot time in the old town last night.

First downs rushing 6 6
First downs passing 1 3
First downs by penalty 0 0
Totals first downs 7 9
Yards gained rushing 228 142
Yards lost rushing 9 27
Net yards rushing 219 115
Net yards passing 44 61
Total yards gained 263 176
Passes attempted 5 7
Passes completed 3 4
Passes int. by 0 0
Times kicked off 4 1
Kickoff average 46.8 45.0
Kickoff return yards 13 36
Punts 6 5
Punting average 34.3 37.6
Punt return yards 12 00
Fumbles 0 3
Fumbles lost 0 3
Penalties 5 1
Yards penalized 58 5
Number of plays 38 44
Time of possession 22:50 25:10
Attendance 10,320

GARFIELD 0 0 0 0 0
MASSILLON 7 0 6 8 21

Mas ‑ Myricks 79 run (Hurst kick)
Mas ‑ Norris 6 run (kick failed)
Mas ‑ Norris 3 run (Norris run)

Jerrod Vance
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1986: Massillon 7, Akron Buchtel 0

Tiger defense ‘de‑masks’ Buchtel ‘7‑0
Massillon stops Griffin option attack

Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ The Akron Garfield ‑ oops, make that Buchtel Griffins were “de‑masked” by the Massillon Tigers Friday night.

But for a while the Buchtel boys played a swell game of charades before bowing to the Tigers 7‑0 in the season football opener for both teams. A crowd of 10,128 ‑ possibly the biggest in Ohio ‑ watched in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“They didn’t run their offense. They ran Garfield’s offense,” said John Maronto, who is now 2‑0 in season openers as Washington High’s pigskin pilot.

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It wasn’t a bad idea. Garfield’s option attack, loaded with potentially confusing counter plays, caused enough trouble to spell defeat for Maronto’s 1985 Tigers.

And Buchtel’s impersonation was starting to look like the real thing when, on their second possession, the Griffins drove 55 yards in eight rushing plays to the Tigers’ 3‑yard line.

That threat ended when Massillon senior Matt Swank shot in from the left side to block Marvin Bright’s 21‑yard field goal attempt.

Stopping that drive opened the door for Massillon’s “bowling ball” to strike.

Mike Norris, a wide‑body of a fullback at 5‑10, 212, gave the Tigers 124 rushing yards in 30 carries and smashed through the line for the yards that set up the game’s only score.

Junior quarterback John Miller sneaked in from a yard out with 8:40 left in the game, and freshman place‑kicker Lee Hurst nailed the PAT kick that cemented the final score at 7‑0.

The game‑winning drive began after a Buchtel punt plopped dead at the Tiger 6‑yard line early in the third quarter. Massillon marched 94 yards in 18 plays (all runs), gobbling up 9:06 of the game clock.

Norris got 10 of the carries for 38 yards during the drive.

“I could feel them (the Griffin defenders) starting to slack off later in the game,” said Norris, whose running mate was Mike Wilson in the absence of injured returning starter Mike Harris. “They started missing a few assignments, letting things open up a little.

There was no doubt in my mind we were gonna win. They were gettin’ tired and it was just a matter of time.”

You’d get tired, too, if a 240‑pound muscleman was beating up on you all night. That was Buchtel’s plight when the Massillon offensive line, anchored by senior captain Lance Hostetler (6‑4, 240) started puttin’ on the hits.

“The line blocked real well, no question about that,” Norris said. “I think I owe them a pop, or something.”

A win is a win is a win, but this win wasn’t an overwhelming one for a Tiger team ranked eighth in the nation in the USA Today that hit the streets several hours before the game.

The Tiger defense was solid in the end, limiting a Buchtel team that is no patsy to 136 total yards. But the Massillon offense piled up just 178 yards.

Maronto sees a need for improvement before next week’s game, against the real thing, Akron Garfield.

“We beat a good team with a lot of talent, but Garfield is at least two touchdowns better,” the Tiger coach said.

Friday night, Buchtel was the better team for a half. The Griffins outgained the Tigers 112 yards to 55 over the first two quarters.

“The offense sputtered at first,” Maronto said. “We tried to be diversified too soon.”

After a while, Maronto said the players started talking about “just running the ball, and that’s what we did.

“We have a lot of confidence in areas of our team that didn’t look that good on the field today,” Maronto said. “But I’ll tell you one thing, I like the character of this team. That was a great scoring drive. And the defense played extremely well in the second half.”

Tim Flossie, starting his fifth year at Buchtel, was proud of his team’s outing.

“We had a chance to score 10 points and came out with nothing. Massillon had one drive and cashed in, and that was the story,” Flossie said. “We should have won, but they’re a good team. Physically, they hurt us. They’re a strong team.

“We had a hard time handling that No. 34 (Norris). And if they get their other horse (Harris, who is due to return in two weeks) with him, they’ll be hard to handle.”

If this game had been a food, it’s name would have been ground chuck. Of the Tigers’ 53 plays, three became pass attempts ‑ with no completions. Of Buchtel’s 36 plays, six were passes ‑ there was one completion for six yards and one interception which Tiger linebacker Jerrod Vance returned 33 yards.

Buchtel’s wishbone got rolling just after the Griffins took the opening kickoff. Junior running back Marcus Jennings gained 13 yards on a counter, and another junior back, Tim Andrews, bit off 16 yards on the next play.

The Griffins made it to the Massillon 39 before stalling, but the Tigers’ first possession started on their own 6 after a punt.

On second‑and‑11 from the 15, things got hairy. Miller lost the handle on the ball and it squirted toward the goal line. Norris won a chase for the ball and fell on it inside the 1. On the next play, Norris’ 11‑yard run gave Ken Hawkins plenty of room to punt.

Hawkins got off a line drive that turned into a 46‑yard boot, but Buchtel launched another drive. An 11‑yard run by quarterback Ron Shannon, a move‑in who supplanted a QB who had started since his freshman year, put the ball at the Tiger 11 on first down. Then Andrews ran another counter play that put the pigskin at the 3.

But the Tigers held Buchtel to minus‑one yard on the next two plays, forcing a field goal attempt. Swank sprinted in from the outside and made a clean block with his hands to keep the Griffins off the board.

The moment he made the block, Swank sprang to his feet, clapped his hands and tackled place‑kicker Bright at the 20 on the second play of the second quarter.

The Tigers made their first strong move on offense, driving to the Buchtel 35. But on fourth‑and‑eight, a Norris run was stopped for a yard gain, and Buchtel took over.

Flossie referred to “10 points” he thought his team should have scored. The first three became the blocked field goal. The other seven were lost one play after Norris was stopped for that yard gain.

On first down, Buchtel went to the bomb, and it was open, but sophomore Lester Carney couldn’t hold onto the ball as it hit him in the hands while he was in full stride, five yards ahead of two Tiger defenders.

Five plays later, Shannon tried another pass, but this time Vance picked it off and returned it to the Buchtel 32‑yard line. A facemask call gave the Tigers a first down on the 12‑yard line.

But as it turned out, Buchtel wasn’t the only team to misfire on a scoring chance. The Tigers got backed up to the 21 and lost the ball on a fourth‑and‑long incompletion on the next‑to‑last play of the first half.

The Tigers took the second‑half kickoff but were forced to punt. Buchtel got good field position at its own 41 and moved to the Tiger 44 before Massillon linebacker Hoagy Pfisterer served up a big play, sacking Shannon for a 10‑yard loss that led to a punt.

The punt pinned the Tigers deep in their own territory, at the 6, but they blasted their way up field on the runs by Norris, with help from rushers Wilson, Miller and Vernon Riley.

The offensive line of Hostetler, guards Tony Lambert and John Woodlock, tackle John Schilling and center Todd Feemster ‑ averaging around 250 pounds ‑ began working well together, the gains during the drive were as follows: 4, 6, 6, 3, 12, 3, 0, 5, 6, 7, 0 (third quarter ends), 6, 5, 7, 3, 6, 1, 1.

Neither team kept the ball longer than a few plays the rest of the way.

In one tense moment for the Tigers, Shannon threw another bomb on which a Massillon defender brushed against the intended receiver on a play that had the Buchtel bench screaming for an interference call. But back judge Henry Armsted, who worked in the Rose Bowl in January, opted not to pull his yellow flag.

On fourth‑and‑one from the Buchtel 44, Tigers Jerry Gruno, Vance and Pfisterer swarmed over Jennings and the ball went over to Massillon on downs.

The next two plays resulted in turnovers. Norris fumbled the ball away to the Griffins on the first one.

The second one was spectacular. The Buchtel quarterback delivered a short pass over the middle on a naked screen that was caught by Andrews, who absorbed a nuclear hit from Perdue that popped the ball loose and sent it more than five yards to where Tiger linebacker Bob Foster picked it out of the air with two minutes left in the game.

Buchtel regained possession with two seconds left but failed to get off a play.

The speedy Andrews finished with 63 yards in 11 carries, while Jennings got loose for 45 yards in six totes. For the Tigers, Wilson gained 26 yards in seven carries, while Jerome Myricks gained 12 yards on his only rushing attempt.


First downs rushing 10 8
First downs passing 0 0
First downs by penalty 3 0
Totals first downs 13 8
Yards gained rushing 201 151
Yards lost rushing 23 15
Net yards rushing 178 136
Net yards passing 0 4
Total yards gained 178 140
Passes attempted 3 6
Passes completed 0 1
Passes int. by 1 0
Yardage on pass int. 33 00
Times kicked off 2 1
Kickoff average 47.0 46.0
Kickoff return yards 0 20
Punts 3 3
Punting average 24.3 30.0
Pont return yards 0 0
Punts blocked by 0 0
Fumbles 3 1
Fumbles lost 1 1
Penalties 6 5
Yards penalized 40 37
Touchdowns rushing 1 0
Number of plays 53 37
Time of possession 29.26 18.34
Attendance 10,128

BUCHTEL 0 0 0 0 0
MASSILLON 0 0 0 7 7

MASS ‑ Miller 1 run (Hurst kick)

Extra muscle a big hit
with Tiger LB Perdue

Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON – Forty pounds later, Todd Perdue is impressed.

The Massillon Tigers’ senior linebacker is a believer in what an off-season conditioning program can mean now that he’s been through another season opener, in this case a 7-0 Massillon win over Akron Buchtel last night.

“That hit was the difference between a 220-pound hit and a 180-pound hit,” Perdue said.

It cam in the fourth quarter at a time Buchtel was trying to make a last-ditch drive to overhaul the Tigers’ 7-0 lead. Buchtel quarterback Ron Shannon delivered a short strike over the middle to Tim Andrews. A split second after Andrews began running with the catch, Perdue ran into him like a ton of bricks.

The ball literally was blasted loose, traveling more than five yards to where Perdue’s teammate Bob Foster picked it out of the cool air.

Perdue played inside linebacker at about 180 pounds in 1985. This year, his 6‑1 frame is packed with 220 pounds of muscle.

Perdue and other Massillon players obviously appreciate the strength they added in the weight room. A regular scene last night had Tiger players embracing Tiger strength coach Steve Studer on the sidelines after a good play.

The Tigers looked stronger as Friday’s game progressed. In the first half, they had been outgained 112 yards to 55. In the second half, they limited Buchtel to 39 yards.

“We were shaky at first, but C.J. Harris, Jerry Gruno and James Bullock (the defensive front wall) started closing things down, and that made it easier for me and Jerrod (Vance, the other inside linebacker).

“If we’d played the whole game like we played the second half, well … I think you’ll see us get better each week,” Perdue said.

John Miller, the junior who got his first varsity start at quarterback, said he agrees.

“We’ll get better,” the 6‑1, 191‑pounder said.

Asked if he had opening‑game jitters, Miller nodded his head in the affirmative.

Asked if he had fun, Miller said, “I loved it. The jitters are gone. Now let’s play some more ball.”

Miller said his thoughts were positive even when things weren’t going well for the Tigers.

“In the second half we just came out and got it done,” he said. “I knew we’d get it in there.”

Mike Norris, the senior fullback who gained 124 yards in 30 carries, said others on the team felt the same way.

“There was no doubt in my mind that we were‑gonna win,” he said.

Jerrod Vance