Playoff‑bound Tigers pound Pups 24‑0 Defense awesome in 4th straight win over McKinley
By ROLLIE DREUSSI Independent Sports Editor
There used to be a sign in the Massillon weight room that read: “Offense wins games, defense wins championships.”
On the strength of an overpowering performance in their 24‑0 win over Canton McKinley Saturday afternoon, the Massillon Tiger football team will get its first chance to prove that theory since 1972.
For the team and their “Tiger Bag” waving fans are headed for the Class AAA computer playoffs. They will play Parma Padua Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in a semifinal game in the Akron Rubber Bowl.
The Tiger defense’ was awesome against the Bulldogs, registering nine sacks for 78 yards in losses. Six of the sacks came in the first half as the Tigers shocked the Pups by rolling up three touchdowns for a 21‑0 halftime lead.
Quarterback Bill Scott accounted for the first two scores, throwing nine yards to Marty Guzzetta for the first touchdown, then hooking up with Greg Evans oil a 54‑yard bomb.
Evans’ score, which came on a third‑and‑six play, dazed the Bulldogs, but it was linebacker Tim Reese’s interception on the Pups’ next possession that broke their backs.
On a second‑and‑10 from his own 46, Bulldog quarterback Dave Seaman threw over the middle for Ron Rankin, but Reese stepped in and picked the pass off at his own 43 and returned it 30 yards to the Bulldog 27.
After an incomplete pass, fullback Sam McDew gained 26 yards in three rushes and halfback Bill Beitel scored from a yard out on the next play.
Jeff Fry’s third straight extra point kick made it. 21‑0 with 1:30 left in the half. The only other scoring was a 26‑yard field goal by Fry in the fourth quarter.
“It was a great, great victory to a great great year,” Tiger coach Mike Currence said afterwards. We hope we can just keep on going ‑ and win two more.”
Two more wins, of course, would bring the Ohio prep football championship back to Massillon for the first time since 1970 ‑ and it would be the first for the Tigers since the computer playoff system was installed.
The Tigers are now 10‑0 – their first perfect season since 1972 ‑ and have claim to the final All‑American Conference football championship (the league is now disbanded).
The Tigers have now either won outright or shared the AAC title four straight years ‑ all under Currence, who has now beaten the Bulldogs four straight.
And the key to this one, he said, was the defense.
“The defense gave us the field position,” he said, referring to the nine sacks and three interceptions (Jamie Schlegel and Len Robinson also picked off passes).
Currence said the sacks were a combination of a fierce pass rush and great coverage by the Tiger secondary.
Seaman tried to pass 11 times in the first half,, and six times the Tiger “Sack Cats” threw him for losses.
Currence also credited his offense, of course.
“That was a great catch by Guzzetta and a great pass by Scott,” Currence said of the Tigers’ first touchdown. “And Evans catch was a big play, it really hurt them.
“But it was the interception by Reese that broke their backs.”
Currence said he was still nervous with a 21‑0 lead especially when Phil Giavasis blocked a Mike Hodgson punt. late in the third quarter and Mitchell Kelly recovered the ball at the Massillon 11 yard line.
However, tackle Dave Geschwind threw Brantly Kelly for a one‑yard loss on the first play, and two plays later Geschwind Tom Mummertz and Bryant Lemon sacked Rick Worstell for a 12‑yard loss. An incomplete pass in the end zone on fourth down gave the Tigers the ball at their own 19.
When the Pups got the ball back, Jamie Schlegel intercepted a Worstell pass at the Bulldog 27 and returned it to the two yard line. Four plays later, at 7:52 of the fourth quarter, Fry booted his 26‑yard field goal.
“After the field goal I relaxed,” Currence said.
“The difference was the big play,” he explained. “When you get the big play, you’ve got them. The kids were looking for them, and they made them.
“This game will be like a springboard for us,” he added, referring to the playoffs. “We have momentum now.”
The Tigers’ first score came on their second possession. Massillon took over at the Bulldog 35 following a 17‑yard McKinley punt.
Seven plays later, Scott lofted the ball over the middle and over an unaware Sid Lewis to Guzzetta who made a diving catch in the end zone. Fry’s kick made it 7‑0 with 1:45 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers took over at 6:55 of the second quarter at their own 42 following a Bulldog punt.
On third‑and‑six from the 46, Scott threw long for Evans. A Bulldog defender leaped in an attempt to make an interception, but he missed the ball and Evans caught it at the 18 yard line. He scampered the rest of the way for the score with 5:17 left in the half.
Reese’s interception then set up Beitel’s one‑yard touchdown run just. before the half, and Schlegel’s interception set up the field goal by Fry in the fourth quarter which capped the scoring.
Now it’s on to the Rubber Bowl and, hopefully, a state championship. BEAT PADUA!
FINAL STATISTICS MASS OPNT First downs: Rushing 7 1 Passing 5 2 Penalty 0 0 Total 12 3 Yds gain rush 155 53 Yds lost rush 28 82 Net yds rush 127 29 Net yds pass 143 58 Total yds gain 270 29 Pass attempted 15 10 Pass completed 7 3 Pass int by 3 2 Pass int yds 63 2 Kickoffs 5 1 Kickoff ave 48.8 48.0 Kickoff ret yds 20 96 Punts 3 6 Punt ave 38.7 35.2 Punt ret yds 21 22 Punts blocked 1 0 Fumbles 1 1 Fumbles lost 1 0 Penalties 3 3 Yds penalized 3.5 20 TDs rushing 1 0 TDs passing 2 0 TDs by int 0 0 Other TDs 0 0 No. of plays 56 38 Time of poss 26: 27 21:33 Attendance 21,000
MASSILLON 7 14 0 3 24 McKINLEY 0 0 0 0 0
Mass ‑ Marty Guzzetta 9 pass from Bill Scott (Jeff Fry kick) Mass ‑ Greg Evans 54 pass, from Scott (Fry kick) Mass ‑ Bill Beitel 1 run (Fry kick) Mass ‑ Fry 26 FG
The 82nd victory in the football coaching career of the Massillon Tigers’ Michael L. Currence had to be one of his sweetest, for it carried him and his 1979 Tigers to a record, an All‑American Conference title and a shot at the state championship.
Saturday’s foe was Canton McKinley, who went into the game with a good 7‑1‑1 record and were primed for another of the upsets that have marked 84‑year Tiger‑Bulldog rivalry. Coach John Brideweser of McKinley had lost all three of his previous ‑meetings with Currence’s Tigers.
But the Tigers, too, were ready. Currence had polled them on stage at a bonfire rally Friday night, asking each what he planned to do to the Bulldogs Saturday afternoon. And they did it all.
Now, for the second time since computers got into the act, the, Tigers have a crack at a state title. They will play Parma Padua (9‑1) in the Akron Rubber Bowl Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and the winner will advance to the state finals the following Saturday at the Rubber Bowl.
I Tiger quarterback Bill Scott, speaking of Padua and Cincinnati Moeller, the team he expects to face in the championship, said: “I think we can do it. We’ve got a whole town behind us.”
That the Tigers have. Let’s show them this week how much we are behind them. BEAT PADUA!
Massillon Does It Again!
…And so another Massillon-McKinley rival match is in the record books, and Massillon continues to dominate the action.
The Tigers’ 24‑0 whitewashing of the Bulldogs last weekend made it four straight over the Pups. Over the past three years, Massillon has outscored McKinley, 58‑10, including two shutouts in the last three years, both at Fawcett Stadium. Their latest triumph upped the overall series mark to a commanding 47‑32‑5 lead.
Is the rivalry becoming too one sided’?
“No way,” said Massillon Coach Mike Currence. “Massillon and Canton will always play this game. They’ve been playing it now for 84 years, and they’re going to continue playing it long after John and I (McKinley Coach John Brideweser) are gone.”
I don’t think anyone would question that. I can’t imagine November without a Massillon‑McKinley game, but there’s no question that the Tigers are becoming a more dominant force in this classic.
There are several theories as to why that’s the case. The first one is that the entire town is behind Massillon, whereas Canton doesn’t totally back McKinley.
A second theory is that the Tigers are just getting better material out of their feeder schools than the Bulldogs are, and the third theory states that many of Massillon’s players have played together longer than McKinley’s have because most of them attended the same grade schools and junior highs. Massillon is less diversified than Canton, and this might be a possible explanation contributing to Massillon’s dominance.
Personally, I support the ‘town theory.’ The fact that Massillon has its entire town behind the Tigers is a mighty big boost in a game of this magnitude.
Sure, the Tigers were gunning for the playoffs and trying to keep a perfect mark intact, but they also defeated McKinley the last three years when they weren’t headed for the playoffs.
McKinley will always have a great challenge lying ahead of them in this game, because let’s face it: Not everyone who lives in Canton is a ‘live or die’ McKinley Bulldog fan.’
It was a case of deja vu, as Offenbecher threw for two. Massillon won again, of course. The ’10‑run rule’ was not in force!
MASSILLON ‑ The Lord giveth. The Massillon Tigers taketh away!
Massillon High quarterback Brent Offenbecher turned the 83rd high school football classic against McKinley Senior High into an aerial circus in the final six minutes of the game to wipe out a 10‑0 deficit and give the Tigers a 13‑10 victory before 21,592 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Offenbecher, the 6‑foot‑1, 175‑pound senior who last year passed for two TDs and ran for another in the Tigers 21‑0 win in Canton, gave the McKinley followers an unwanted rerun.
Only this year it was in more heartbreaking.
McKinley had nearly blown the Tigers off the field in the first half. But in the end, the Bulldogs just blew the game in the waning minutes.
Not only Offenbecher’s passes helped beat the Bulldogs. It was the McKinley passes which really put the Pups down the tubes, the last two of which were intercepted by the Tigers.
So for one more year, the McKinley fans went home mumbling. Not since 1968 have the Pups won here in the Tigers’ lair, and the Massillon win was its third straight over the Bulldogs and its seventh in the last nine games.
But there was no clock malfunction this year. The timepiece ticked to perfection. The officiating was adequate, and no flag felled the visitors. So for the vanquished, only one villain remained ‑ the coach.
The second‑guessers were out in force for McKinley’s Coach John Brideweser’s decision to throw the ball on first‑and‑15 from the Pups’ own 22 with 5:20 left in the game and the Bulldogs leading 10‑6.
“We had to maintain ball control,” said Brideweser in answer to the inevitable question. Tigers dump Bulldogs “We had to get the first down, and, after we drew the motion penalty and had a first‑and‑15, I thought we needed to hit the pass.”
McKinley’s Dave Seaman, the junior quarterback who stepped in at mid‑season, saw his aerial tipped by Tiger tackle Harry Foster and grabbed off by junior linebacker Tim Reese in a diving catch just before the ball hit the ground at the McKinley 31.
Offenbecher then threw three straight quick lookin Passes, a 14‑yarder to Curtis Strawder, a 10‑yarder to Martin Guszetta and then the winning TD of 7 yards again to Strawder, the amazing pass‑eating machine who finished a two‑year career with a record 68 catches for 1,072 yards. Saturday he caught eight for 92 and both TDs.
It was not a bad call,” said Massillon coach Mike Currence of Bridey’s first‑down pass.
“They needed the yardage and the first down, and‑they might not have been able to get it running,” he said.
But the Pups took their 10‑point lead mostly by ripping through the Massillon defensive line on the ground.
In the first half McKinley gained 71 yards in 27 rushes, while holding the Tigers to a net yards rushing of “minus‑11.”
But despite the running of the Pups, they had to get a big break to get in the end gone.
Massillon’s leading rusher this season, Jeff Beitel, fumbled on the first play after a Todd Maragas punt, and McKinley’s Tony Floyd covered at the Tiger 16.
Six running plays later Brantley Kelly crashed in from the 2‑yard‑line and John Grimsley kicked the conversion to put the Pups on top 7‑0 with less than four minutes left In the half.
McKinley moved the ball 55 yards in 11 plays to get Grimsley’s 22‑yard field goal with 9:29 left in the game. That drive was keyed by Seaman’s 28‑yard pass to Doyle Lewis.
Lewis, whose catch came on his only offensive play of the game, was made at the seven between two Massillon defenders. He just out‑jumped them. But a motion penalty put the Pups back at the 19, and three runs got but seven yards, and they settled for the three.
Sam Hill’s 35‑yard return of the ensuing kickoff put the ball at the Tigers’ 43, from where Offenbecher directed his team to the end zone in seven plays, hitting Strawder an the 12‑yard TD. It was his fifth completion in that drive.
After Massillon’s go‑ahead TD, Seaman unloaded from his 29 and a broken pass pattern by his receiver allowed Darren Longshore to intercept at the 43 with 3:25 remaining. Longshore fell catching the ball, and then leaped up and ran off the field holding the bail high. The result was a brief bench‑clearing brawl, but the police, sheriff’s deputies and coaches restored order rather quickly, and Massillon resumed running out the clock.
Offenbecher’s final pass of the day, a 14‑yard completion to Strawder, naturally, came on third‑and‑10 with 1:28 left and sent the McKinley fans scurrying to the parking lot.
Offenbecher completed 9 of 9 for 95 yards in the fourth quarter, giving him 17 of 20 for, the day for 177 yards. He finally has completed his career at Massillon, with more than a mile‑and‑a‑half in yards passing, and virtually all the passing records in the Tigers school record book.
Massillon finished with an 9-0-1 overall record and won the All‑American Conference with a 4‑0‑1 mark. McKinley finished 7‑2 overall and 4‑1 in the AAC.
Tiger, Bulldog Lineups TIGERS Offense QUARTERBACK: 14 Brent Offenbecher (Sr., 6‑1. 175); FULLBACK: 43 Tom Gehring (Sr., 5‑10, 171), 16 Wally Neff (Jr., 5-8, 172), 49 Sam Hill (Jr., 5‑6, 160); HALFBACKS: 45 Jeff Beitel (Sr., 5‑7, 158), 22 Bill Beitel (Jr., 5‑7, 148); ENDS: 42 Curtis Strawder (Sr., 5‑10, 153), 13 Ron Wright (Sr., 5‑9, 173), 25 Marty Guzzetta (Jr., 5‑9. 160); TACKLES: 67 Doug Wood (Sr., 6‑2, 191); 76 Mark Kircher (Jr., 6‑1, 212); GUARDS: 69 Jim Horton (Sr., 6‑0, 177), 79 Eric Barnard (Sr., 6‑2, 215), 65 Larry Massie (Jr., 5‑7, 195); CENTER: 51 Scott Kasunick (Sr., 5‑9, 181).
Defense ENDS: 81 Bruce Solinger (Sr., 6‑0, 175), 88 Wilson (Sr., 6‑0, 182); TACKLES: 72 Harry Foster (Sr., 6‑2, 232), 71 Jeff Pedro (Sr., 6‑3, 204); MIDDLE GUARD: 55 Bob Simpson (Jr., 5‑11, 190); LINEBACKERS: 28 Dick Cleveland (Sr., 5-11, 188), 38 Kevin Harris (Sr., 5‑10, 182). 59 Tim Reese (Jr.. 5‑9, 163); MONSTER BACK: 11 Darren Longshore (Sr., 6‑1, 175); SAFETY: 21 Jamie Schlegel (Jr., 5‑11, 160); HALFBACKS: 34 Jeff David (Sr., 5‑9, 188), 12 Dan Venables (Sr., 5‑10, 160). KICKERS: 13 Wright (punts, extra points), 86 Mike Hodgson, 79 Barnard (kickoff).
BULLDOGS Offense QUARTERBACK: 12 Dave Seaman (Jr., 165); FULLBACK: 34 Charles Taylor (Sr., 190), 31 David Faur (So., 167), 30 Michael Lynch (So., 157); HALFBACKS: 42 Doyle Lewis (Sr., 180), 33 Robin Kindell (Jr., 150), 32 Lucius Rowser (Sr., 180), 40 Brantley Kelly (Jr., 160), 11 Todd Maragas (Sr ., 184); ENDS: 82 ‑Jeff Thompson (Sr., 168), 84 Ron Rankin (Jr., 170); TACKLES: 73 Steve Stranan (Sr., 215), 50 Brian Blosser (Sr., 205); GUARDS: 64 Milton Young (Sr., 197), 67 Scott Dean (Sr., 170), 65 Cyle Cole (Sr., 185); CENTER: 51 Eric Kempthorn (Sr., 180).
Defense ENDS: 34 Taylor, 86 Bo Zeren (Sr., 180), 80Mitchell Kelly (Jr., 170), 81 Phil Glavasis (Jr., 165); TACKLES: 75 Tony Floyd (Jr., 205), 73 Strahan, 83 Troy Sanders (So., 195), 85 Joe Sanders (Sr., 185); MIDDLE GUARD: 32 Rowser; LINEBACKERS: 64 Young, 67 Dean, 65 Cole; MONSTER BACK: 22 Andy Kneffler (Sr., 160); SAFETY: 42 Lewis; HALFBACKS: 21 ‑ Mark Green (Sr., 155), 20 Kelly Mullane (Jr., 160), 33 Kindell.
The Washington High School football team was the toast of the city today for its fourth quarter conquest of arch rival Canton McKinley Saturday afternoon in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
Trailing 10‑0 in the fourth period, the Massillon Tiger team lived up to tradition Saturday afternoon by staging a comeback to score 13 points and win the game 13‑10. In so doing it learned one of the great lessons of life – never give up.
Many a football team would have quit after McKinley, leading 7‑0 going into the last period, put three more points on the board – but not the Tigers. That’s when they became aroused and, at the urging of Massillon fans, scored two touchdowns in the final minutes to complete the regular season undefeated for the first time since 1972. A tie with Warren spoiled an otherwise perfect mark.
It was the Tigers’ determination to succeed that saw them through, and we give them great credit for never having given up in their efforts to win the game. In sports they call that “desire,” and the Massillon boys certainly had it Saturday afternoon; otherwise they would have been on the losing end of the score.
Their late rally was typical of fourth period comebacks against McKinley a number of times in past years. Remembrances of these historical games kept most ‑fans in their seats hoping that what appeared to be the impossible would become possible.
In victory we cannot help but feel some compassion for the vanquished. They were a dejected group of McKinley players who came off the field, their hopes crushed after having had victory almost within grasp. They played hard and, even though defeated, can hold their heads high for their efforts.
As a result of the victory the Tigers are champions of the All-American Conference, and we congratulate them and Coach Mike Currence and his assistant coaches for winning the title.
The Massillon Tigers may not be going to the state football playoffs, but they’re number one in the hearts and minds of all their fans.
The Tigers simply tore apart the playoff-bound Canton McKinley Bulldogs by a 21-0 score before 20,339 snow capped fans Saturday afternoon on a muddy, waterlogged Fawcett Stadium field.
A NEAR blizzard in the second-quarter threatened to turn the game into a “Snow Bowl,” but a flurry of passes from Tiger quarterback Brent Offenbecher and complete domination by the Massillon offensive and defensive lines simply turned it into a rout.
Offenbecher scored the Tigers first TD on the first play of the second quarter when he bootlegged 11 yards around right end and literally dove over a Bulldog defender at the goal line, falling into the end zone.
He then hit Curtis Strawder with a 50-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter and hooked up with Greg Carpenter for a 48-yard TD toss early in the fourth quarter.
Offenbecher finished the day with 7 of 9 passing for 162 yards on a field that no one thought he would be able to pass on. He ends the year with 1,369 yards passing on 84 of 146 passes, all Tiger records.
“Bridey (McKinley head coach John Brideweser) forgets he has to run in the mud when he lets the field get wet.” Tiger head coach Mike Currence chided in the jubilant Massillon lockerroom after the game.
HE WAS referring of course to the fact that Brideweser had declined to put the tarp on the field after the Tiger Booster Club brought it over Thursday.
“The big thing,” Currence said on a serious note, “was that we were able to throw in the mud and that we controlled the line of scrimmage. They weren’t able to run in the mud and they couldn’t throw either.
“Our lines were super,” he continued. “We beat them on the line. Their backs ran hard but they had nowhere to go.”
Brideweser’s explanation was simpler.
“We just got our ass kicked,” he said. “They’re a good football team. They’re as good as anybody in the state. How they lost two games I’ll never know.”
BRIDEWESER said his players never thought about the computer poll even after Barberton eliminated itself completely by losing to Cuyahoga Falls Friday night, assuring the Bulldogs of a berth even if they lost to Massillon.
He did agree that the loss to the Tigers would make it tough for his team Friday night at 7:30 when the Bulldogs play Cleveland St. Joseph in the Class AAA semifinal game in the Akron Rubber Bowl.
The 21-0 score Saturday wasn’t indicative of the game the Tigers played. It could have been worse. Massillon completely outplayed the Bulldogs in every facet of the game, not even allowing a first down until 6:51 was left in the game, and not many McKinley fans left in the stands.
All the Tiger fans were there though. Glued to their seats – when they weren’t standing to cheer – by a performance many just hadn’t expected to see. Sure, they new the Tigers could win, but few expected such a performance.
The condition of the field before the game was so bad that you had to wonder if the Tigers’ run and shoot offense might not turn into a slip and slide. It looked like a defensive battle might be waged.
“AT THE beginning,” Offenbecher said, we came in and saw the field and thought there was no way we could pass. Then we got out there, and it was bad, but it wasn’t real bad.”
Offenbecher showed the Tigers weren’t afraid to pass when he threw twice in the first series. One was complete to Mark Pringle for the Tigers first first down of the game and the other fell incomplete. The first drive, which included a 13-yard bootleg by Offenbecher and some good running and blocking by his teammates, ended when Mark Westover’s 34-yard field goal attempt was wide left.
The Tiger defense forced the Bulldogs to punt and Mike Hickey returned the ball five yards to midfield with 5:38 to go in the first quarter.
After one first down, the Tigers faced a third and six at McKinley’s 39 yard line. Offenbecher found Pringle open for 11 yards and a first down.
The Tigers then stuck to the ground and an eight-yard run by Carpenter gave them a first down at McKinley’s five. He then lost six yards on the last play of the first quarter, and the Tigers faced a second and goal from the 11.
Offenbecher took to the air again, this time by running 11 yards around right end and diving over a Bulldog defender into the end zone. Westover’s kick was no good and the Tigers look a 6-0 lead.
Following another Bulldog punt, Massillon took over on its own 43. Offenbecher fooled everybody, including his coach, when be took the ball and ran 24 yards around a wide-open left end.
That gave Massillon a first down at the McKinley 33. The Tigers drove to the eight when Offenbecher was hit and fumbled the ball attempting to pass on third down. McKinley recovered and ran out the clock, trailed only 6-0 at the half.
The Tigers kicked off to open the second half and like clockwork, the Bulldogs punted four plays later.
The Tigers took over at their own 40 and after four running plays and an offside penalty, faced a third and 11 at midfield.
OFFENBECHER dropped back to pass and spotted Strawder cutting across the middle at about the 25. He threw him the ball and the junior sprinted to the zone untouched, after his defender fell down.
Offenbecher then rolled right and hit Pringle with a two-point conversion pass to make it 14-0 Tigers.
Following several punts by each team, the Tigers took over at the McKinley 49 early in the fourth quarter.
Following a holding penalty against the Tigers, a run for no gain and a 19-yard pass to Mike Grove, the Tigers faced a third and nine at the Bulldog 48.
Offenbecher dropped back to pass again and hit Carpenter on the left sideline at about the 25. The senior wingback then broke down the sideline and didn’t stop until he crossed the goal line. Westover’s kick was good and the Tigers had a 21-0 lead with 8:34 left in the game. Many McKinley fans headed for the exits.
IT WASN’T until 6:51 left that Rick Asberry broke off a 14-yard run for the Pups’ initial first down. They made three more in the drive, but Kevin Gowins kept them out of the end zone when he picked off a Mike Brown aerial inside the Massillon 10.
The Bulldogs, who lost 7 3 to Massillon last year, have yet to score a touchdown against Currence.
The statistics bear out the fact that it was a super team effort by the Tigers. They gained 162 yards passing and 115 rushing while allowing the Bulldogs 81 rushing (51 of which came in their last drive) and six passing.
M C First downs rushing 8 4 First downs passing 5 0 Total first downs 13 4 Yds. gained rushing 160 101 Yds. lost rushing 45 20 Net yds. gained rushing 115 81 Net yds. gained passing 162 6 Total yds. Gained 277 87 Passes attempted 9 5 Passes completed 7 1 Passes intercepted by 1 0 Times kicked off 4 1 Kickoff average (yards) 54 5 47 0 Kickoff returns (yards) 17 68 Times punted 2 7 Punt average (yards) 39.0 23.4 Punt returns (yards) 11 1 Fumbles 1 1 Lost Fumbled ball 1 0 Penalties 3 0 Yds. Penalized 25 0 TD’s rushing 1 0 TD’s passing 2 0 Total number of plays 52 47 Total time of possession 25:51 22:09
MASSILLON 0 6 8 7 21 McKINLEY 0 0 0 0 0
MASS – Brent Offenbecher 11 run (kick failed); MASS – Curtis Strawder 50 pass from Offenbecher (Mark Pringle pass from Offenbecher); MASS – Greg Carpenter 48 pass from Offenbecher (Mark Westover kick).
CANTON – You’ll never convince Massillon football Coach Mike Currence or his quarterback Brent Offenbecher that foul weather is a passer’s worst enemy.
Offenbecher warmed up by throwing bullets through a snow storm before unloading two “bombs” of 48 and 51 yards as Massillon upset the state’s No. 2 – ranked and previously unbeaten Canton McKinley Bulldogs 21-0 at Fawcett Stadium Saturday.
“McKinley has five starters back from its defensive team of last year,” Mike Currence said. “The Bulldogs beat the Tigers 21-15.”
So Currence isn’t taking the Bulldogs lightly despite their 4-5 record compared to the Orange and Black’s 7-2 and seven straight wins. The two Stark County teams will clash in the 81st renewal rivalry Saturday at 2 p.m. at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
CURRENCE discussed the upcoming game Monday at noon at the Tiger Touchdown Club’s weekly luncheon which was held at the Massillon Club. During the session TD club members named Jay Harper Hardnose of the Week for his play in last Friday’s contest at Warren.
“McKinley shut out Warren, a good offensive club 6-0 last Friday,” Currence said. “They scored 15 points against us.”
The five McKinley defensive returnees are middle guard Gerald Jackson, monster back Cliff Frazier, halfbacks Melvin Weatherspoon and Ray Ellis and linebacker Mike Beadle.
An injury will probably prevent Beadle from playing, however. Jackson is a two-way player, having replaced the injured Ken Hall at fullback.
Currence will have to deal with two McKinley quarterbacks who will give the Bulldogs different looks, depending on who is playing.
“MIKE BROWN is a real scrambler,” Currence said. “Kent McClellend started at Lehman last year. Brown seems to have taken over.”
Currence said Hall could cause trouble and that McKinley head Coach John Brideweser likes to get the ball to Weatherspoon or Ellis offensively, even designing an end around play where Weatherspoon passes to Ellis.
“These guys are the type who could play four quarter and come back and play in another game,” Currence said.
Currence thinks the outcome of the game will be decided on breaks and if the Tigers get the right one, they’ll win.
“We have to get a hold mentally,” Currence said. “That’s something we didn’t do last week.”
CLUB PRESIDENT Gene Boerner presented Currence with a “Beat McKinley” tie from his sophomore players. Marilyn Wright painted the design.
“The people of Massillon are glad we have Mike Currence as our head coach,” Boerner said. “We will see you next week when we’re 8-0 (eight wins after losses in the opening games).”
Boerner introduced the 1977 club president, John Muhlbach, Jr., saying, “He did a fantastic job. He’s been one of the best we’ve had.”
John introduced Dennis Gibson, the booster’s vice-president and next year’s boss.
The club will present its Hardnose Award for the season at its luncheon next Monday noon.
CURRENCE CONCLUDED by saying he had picked up a $5 bill from the ground outside the stadium after the defeat to Gahanna Lincoln. “I told my coaches then we’re going all the way.”
Booster club rally gets spirit rolling
“Beat the Bulldogs” mania got under way Monday night in the Washington High School auditorium as the Tiger Booster Club had its weekly session three days early.
Not only was the booster session ahead of time this week but the combined rally and meeting got under way 10 minutes early. One reporter had to jump onto a table and sit there to keep from being trampled by the Tiger Swing Pep Band charging down the school’s front corridor and into the auditorium.
THE BAND, led by head majorette Paula Bender and four fellow majorettes, mounted the stage to “Tiger Rag” and “Carry on” and serenaded the estimated 250 people present with several numbers. The majorettes twirled and danced.
Then came the Tiger cheerleaders, led by Captain Christy Frederick and Co-Captain Kathy Walterhouse, some drills to the band music and some cheers. But the real fun didn’t start until Captain Currence appeared on the scene and led the fans in some split cheers such as “Orange and Black” and “Tig-ers.”
(Currence was “Pokey” Converse, dressed in orange hat, black mask, Captain Currence Fan Club T-Shirt and orange cape. Booster officials are afraid he may meet his match in Friday’s “Beat McKinley” rally slated for 2 p.m. in the high school auditorium when he meets “The Fonze.”)
Tiger Booster Club President John Muhlbach, Jr., introduced Tiger skipper Mike Currence and the fans came from their seats as if shot from catapult to cheer him.
“The pep band and cheerleaders did a nice job,” Currence said. “I hope we can carry this on through the week. We’ve been waiting all season for this.”
THEN THE TIGER crew of Wilbur Arnold, Dave James and Don McFarren brought in Obie VII, the live mascot and Currence asked Obie what he plans to do with the Bulldog come Saturday afternoon. There was a slight growl and then the band struck up the fight songs again and marched out of the auditorium.
Currence showed films of last week’s 14-0 win over Alliance, hurrying over the first half films as quickly as possible. All the scoring came in the third quarter.
He reported fullback Jerry Shafrath practiced today (Monday) for the first time after being stricken last week with a kidney infection. Randy Laase is also expected to be ready for fulltime duty, coming back from a pancreas bruise.
Currence reported All-American Conference Commissioned Gaylord ‘Hap” Lillick, former Tiger grid aide, has ruled the Obiemen must wear white uniforms this week. They have worn black togs since starting their seven-game win streak.
Conference rules stipulate the home team must wear white unless the visiting team agrees otherwise.
Captain Currence wasn’t the only one Monday night wearing one of his fan club’s T-shirts. Muhlbach had one on and his two daughters wore special Tiger skin outfits made by their mother Bobbie.
The Booster Club has made arrangements with ex-president Junir Studer to put Beat McKinley letters on white or orange T-shirts for fans. The shirts should be taken to his sign shop at 323 3rd Street N.W. tonight. A small fee will be charged.
CHUCK ‘n’ SPORTS McKinley game can be different this time
By CHUCK HESS, JR. Independent Sports Editor
A dejected figure slumped against the brick wall leading to the visitor’s dressing room at Canton Fawcett Stadium.
“Scoop,” Mike Ramsey said quietly to this reporter who was hurrying to a post-game interview with Chuck Shuff, “It’s going to be different next year.”
THE TIGERS had just lost to Canton McKinley 21-15 in 1975 and Ramsey, now a Washington High School senior grid co-captain, along with many others, was not in a happy mood.
The season had ended 6-3-1 after most folks had figured the Tigers would be better than that because they had a host of returnees. I’ve know Mike since his Little League days when he was a pitcher and I was an umpire. He’s not the effervescent type of player but the quiet, determined type. When Mike sets his mind to something, it gets done.
This year Mike and his fellow co-captains – Anthony Grizzard, John Hauser and Mike Lauber – have guided their team to seven straight wins after two opening losses. Thus far is has been difference under Mike Currence than it was in 1975.
Saturday is the time the Tigers can cap everything with a victory over Canton McKinley. But they must not take the Bulldogs lightly. They have had problems putting things together in this year of consolidation, but their offense has been tough, allowing 87 points (fifth best in the All-American Conference). The Tigers have given up 48 points (second to Steubenville’s 38).
WHAT THE Obiemen have to fear is that the McKinley offense will come together Saturday. The Bulldogs have rolled for 136 points, (third best in the league), while the Tigers have collected 114 (fifth best). The WHS team must get on the board early – something it has not done often this year.
Would you believe that if the Tigers win they’ll make the Canton Repository’s preseason prediction almost perfect? Bob Stewart’s staff called the Tigers an 8-2 team. They were figuring one of those losses to Canton McKinley, whose record was 10-0.
Massillon still has an outside chance to win the Class AAA Region 3 computer poll and make the playoffs. To do this the Tigers must win and hope certain other teams win and other teams lose. A Jackson Memorial victory over North Canton Hoover would help.
If the Tigers win the 81st renewal Saturday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, it will be No. 44 in the series. McKinley has won 32 times. Five games have ended in ties. The Tigers have scored 1,016 points and the Bulldogs 849.
There have been other times when the Tigers have come into the McKinley game, riding a win streak – but not an unblemished record – and have won. The list is as fellows: 7-6 win in 1917 to complete four-game streak for 7-2 record; 21-0 win in 1919 to complete four-game streak for 8-1 record; 9-0 win 1923 to complete six-game streak for 8-2 record; 6-0 win in 1924 to complete six-game streak for 8-1 record; 19-6 win in 1937 to complete three-game streak for 8-1-1 record; 32-0 win in 1941 to complete four-game streak for 9-0-1 record; 21-12 win in 1948 to complete five-game streak for 9-1 record; 40-0 win in 1951 to complete three-game streak for 9-1 record; 26-6 win 1954 to complete seven-game streak for 9-1 record; 25-7 win in 1957 to complete four-game streak for 8-1 record; 38-16 win in 1958 to complete three-game streak for 8-1-1 record; 22-6 win in 1963 to complete eight-game streak for 9-1 record; 20-13 win in 1967 to complete three-game streak for 9-1 record.
Weather, Defense Desire are keys
By CHUCK HESS, JR. Independent Sports Editor
Weather, defense and desire will be deciding factors in Saturday’s 81st renewal of the Massillon-Canton football series, according to Massillon head Coach Mike Currence.
The Tigers and Canton McKinley Bulldogs will lock horns Saturday at 2 p.m. at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. The Orange and Black have won the All-American Conference title with a 4-0 mark and one to go. McKinley needs to up its 1-3 mark and hope for a Warren Harding (1-3) loss Friday night at Warren against Niles McKinley (2-1) in order to get out of the cellar.
ALLIANCE (1-3) will be at Steubenville (2-1) Friday night. The Big Red needs a victory and a Niles loss to claim second place.
“Weather and defense always concerns us,” Currence said. “The weather can affect the offensive play. We hope it’s nice and dry so we can utilize our quickness. They’re quick too but when you get on a bad field, both teams will probably equalize their speed.”
Massillon uses the run and shoot offense, while McKinley utilized the wing-T. Both teams use angle-5 defenses which have been extremely stingy.
“I don’t’ think it will be that wet,” Currence said. “We might get a little snow and that shouldn’t hinder our offense too much. If we have to tighten down a little bit, we can do it and probably run as good as they have out of the “T”.
The Tigers have run the “robust T” successfully and won last week’s game at Alliance 14-0 with it, utilizing the running of left halfback Jay Harper.
“WE DROVE down the field twice and scored and McKinley was unable to do that,” Currence said.
One of the concerns for the Tiger skipper this week has been the condition of fullback Jerry Shafrath. He missed last Friday’s game with a kidney infection but has practiced this week and will be used when needed in the straight-T.
“He has looked good and has really been enthused,” Currence said.
Currence said all the Tigers should be in good shape physically and mentally.
“We have had the best practices we have had this season,” Currence, who, together with the Tiger Booster Club, has reminded the Obiemen about their 21-15 loss to the Pups at Fawcett Stadium in Canton in 1975.
“THE KIDS told me we didn’t have real good practices after losing to Alliance last year,” Currence reported. “We have cut down practices this week because the weather was cold early in the week and we have wanted them to get the boys off the field by dark (5:30 p.m.).” Currence said that the Tiger and Bulldog defenses are about equal on personnel.
“McKinley probably has one of the best secondary’s in the league,” Currence stated. “We’ll outweigh them on the line. Both teams are quick in the secondary, but with Ray Ellis and Mel Weatherspoon back there they are bigger in that department.”
The Tiger boss thinks the Bulldog secondary has been the key to their success.
“If you look at the team, it’s the guys in the secondary who come up and stick you,” Currence said. “They don’t blitz but they react so well that the secondary is on a ball carrier if he breaks through the line.”
CURRENCE also thinks the McKinley “force unit” (down linemen and linebackers) are very agile.
Talking about the Bulldog offense, Currence said, “They like to use the power pitch inside and outside end. They will probably try to get us to split out so they can open up the middle.”
Because the Bulldogs have had some injuries this season, Currence is not sure who will be the starting fullback. Ken Hall was sidelined for the season, Mike Beadle came on and was hurt and then head Coach John Brideweser used Mark Stevenson and the Bulldogs shifted more to a passing game.
Gerald Jackson is sure to hit the middle because he is a strong runner. Ellis and Stevenson will have the outside assignments.
“Their end-around play is a good one but they also like the screens, draws, delays and boot passes,” Currence explained. “They like to lead with their guards.”
CURRENCE figures Mike Brown will be the starting quarterback rather than Kent McClelland. Both are juniors and Brown has come on strong of late.
“McClelland made an excellent run against Steubenville on which his best two or three guys and Steubenville has a good secondary,” Currence said. “Weatherspoon started at quarterback but is now the Bulldogs’ split end and runs the end-around play. McClelland would be in there if Bridey decides on a passing series.”
How big a part will spirit and desire play in the game? “That will be the whole game,” Currence said. “It’s our turn to win. Bridey’s not supposed to win in even years.
20,000 expected at game today
By CHUCK HESS, JR. Independent Sports Editor
Spirit was at a height not seen here for several years as the Tigers met the Bulldogs this afternoon in the 81st renewal of the high school grid classic.
Some 20,000 were expected at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
AN AFTERNOON rally at Washington High School Friday, the annual parade through downtown Massillon and the bonfire rally at Agathon Field helped to rev up the spirit.
Onlookers said the spirit among fans and team members reminded them of that before the 1970 game, also played here, which the Tigers won 28-0 at the stadium.
With Jackson Memorial’s 20-16 win Friday night over previously unbeaten North Canton Hoover, ranked No. 1 in the Ohio High School Class AAA computer ratings, to undergrid their optimism, the Tiger faithful were expected to cheer ever louder at today’s 2 p.m. kickoff.
If the Tigers get their eighth straight victory it is still possible for them to win a place in the playoffs which will start next Friday in Dayton against defending champion Cincinnati Moeller. But for that to happen, Youngstown Chaney has to beat or tie unbeaten Youngstown Cardinal Mooney in a game this afternoon in Youngstown.
Friday’s festivities started with the rally in the Washington High School gymnasium. There was no organized cheering, but that was the beauty of the thing. The cheering came spontaneously.
THE TIGER Swing Band was there and the cheerleaders and the Tiger Booster Club put on a skit in which Captain Currence (“Pokey Converse”) met “The Fonze” (Mike Mauger).
Confetti and bathroom tissue rained down on the gymnasium floor. There was so much confetti flying that Tiger football players standing along the gym’s brick wall looked as if they were prematurely gray.
Pep signs urging the Tigers to victory were everywhere.
Those at the rally received the words to a Tiger Booster Club parody of “Happy Days Are Here Again” and sang the song, making the rally sound like the 1932 Democratic National Convention.
Aerial bombs, ordinarily set off on the morning of the Massillon-McKinley game, began to shatter the silence Friday afternoon.
THE TIGER Sideliners hosted the team Friday for dinner at the Massillon Holiday Inn. That meal is ordinarily the final one of the season but, should the team make the playoffs, there will be two more. The parade Friday night featured about 100 motorized units, including floats, decorated cars, trucks and dune buggies. A color guard from VFW Post 3124 and American Legion Post 221 headed the entourage.
Then came the Tiger Swing Band followed by cars containing Mayor Mark Ross, Safety-Service Director Blasé Sparma, Washington High School Homecoming Queen Chris Zurcher and her court, Tiger cheerleaders, reserve cheerleaders, coaches, players, trainers and managers.
A special entrant was the Tiger Kazoo Band led by Drum Major Phil Bucci and “majorettes” Dick and Terry Snyder, Richard Reichel, Steve Studer, Joe Matie, Mauger and LeRoy Schumacher.
The parade proceeded to Agathon Field with plenty of fans trailing along behind. There the band and cheerleaders held forth and the team and coaches were placed on a flatbed trailer for all to see.
HEAD COACH Mike Currence said, “I can see now the agony you have been in since losing to McKinley last year. I think Saturday will be our time to win.”
Co-Captains Mike Ramsey, Anthony Grizzard, Mark Lauber and John Hauser assured fans of the same thing.
Second half difference in Tigers’ 7-3 win
By CHUCK HESS, JR. Independent Sports Editor
Second half . . .
. . . A pair of words which will remain forever entrenched in the memories of the Tiger faithful who followed the 1976 Washington High School football team.
FIVE TIMES during the season, which was completed last Saturday afternoon, the Massillon gridders came from behind or from a tie at halftime to win. Three of those times came in the final games of the season as the Orange and Black kept alive a win streak which ran to eight games.
The Obiemen’s latest turn-around palpitator came last Saturday before 19,528 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium and brought the Tigers a 7-3 All-American Conference victory over arch-rival Canton McKinley.
In a twist of irony, the Bulldogs’ defeat was aided by a misfire on a play which had garnered them a lot of yardage during the afternoon. Tiger tackle Tony Matie recovered a fumble off a pitchout intended to start a sweep. The Orange and Black took control on the McKinley 15 and scored four plays later.
On second down from the three, Mike Grove took a pitchout from quarterback Bret Traylor and raced into the end zone unmolested as fullback Jerry Shafrath faked through the middle. The play had been sent to head Coach Mike Currence by the men in the rooftop scout box.
While the Tigers had the ball they survived a delay penalty and picked up a pass interference call on McKinley safety Melvin Weatherspoon on the two when he banged into end Bob Grizzard. The call so infuriated Bulldog head Coach John Brideweser and an assistant that both were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and the ball ended on the four from where Jerry Shafrath took it to the three to set up the score.
THE BULLDOGS came right back on the kickoff and drove to the Massillon 30 where the Tiger defense held McKinley three yards short on a fourth down run. The Obiemen were penalized for a personal four after the ball had been blown dead. Then Traylor fell on the ball on the next two plays.
Traylor brought to an end a contest which saw a quicker, stronger Bulldog team control all the statistics but kickoff averages, kickoff returns and punt averages. The Pups kept the Tigers bottled up in their own territory all afternoon.
Only in the third period did the Tigers move the ball onto McKinley grounds. On that occasion halfback Jay Harper fumbled at the McKinley 37 and linebacker Ken Bailey recovered.
Also in that period Weatherspoon intercepted a Tiger aerial at the Bulldog 20 and halfback Ray Ellis picked off another at the 25. A 15-yard holding penalty also helped to stall Massillon.
But defense had been the Tigers’ suit all season. They had shutouts in three of their previous four games. They had allowed two touchdowns only against Warren and last Saturday they bared their Tiger claw again.
FOUR TIMES in the first half the Bulldogs knocked on the door. Three times they were repulsed. The only other drive came after the Tigers’ fourth period touchdown.
McKinley’s second drive began after a bad fourth down snap. Tiger guard John Hauser picked up the ball and ran to the 25 where he was tackled and the Bulldogs got the ball.
What might have been a late second period drive into Massillon territory was stalled on fourth and one at the Bulldogs’ 46 when the Pups were called for delay and had to punt instead of being able to call timeout and set up strategy to get a first down. Brideweser stormed onto the field at this point, too.
On two of the first half drives the Obiemen got some temporary help from holding penalties but tackle Jesse Toles and linebacker Kurt Walterhouse stopped one invasion at the Massillon four, Walterhouse and tackle Bob Dennison put the brakes to another at the 38 and halfback Bill Henderson intercepted a pass at the 20 to stop the final drive.
The Tigers thought they had stopped earlier the drive on which Henderson intercepted the pass but Walterhouse’s fumble recovery was nullified because the ball had been blown dead.
THE BULLDOGS’ lone score came on a 27-yard field goal by Kelly Darnley with 9:44 left in the first quarter. The tally came off a 21-yard runback of the opening kickoff by Mark Stevenson and a 52-yard run on a pitchout by Ellis off an unbalanced line and the wingback set to the right, which completely surprised the WHSers.
Tiger linebacker Anthony Grizzard knocked Ellis out of bounds at the Massillon 17 to save a touchdown. On McKinley’s next drive Mike Brown ran the kickoff back 50 yards before Van Jones brought him down at the Massillon 25.
“There’s no doubt they outplayed us but they were sitting on three points and hoping it would last,” Tiger head Coach Mike Currence said, “but I knew it wouldn’t.”
Currence paid tribute to the McKinley secondary of Ellis, Weatherspoon and Cliff Frazier as the best he’s seen.
“We didn’t win it impressively, but I don’t really care,” said Currence. “The only thing I do care about is that these seniors proved they were a bunch of winners when everybody said they were a bunch of losers.”
CURRENCE PAID tribute to punter Mark Westover who got off a key 59-yard kick which was downed at the McKinley 10 in the fourth period. The skipper also lauded the work of his coaching staff.
He thought the Tigers’ emotions were too high.
“They were making mistakes where McKinley wasn’t,” Currence said. “McKinley came to play. Our kids came to win.”
Bulldog Coach John Brideweser was bitterly disappointed.
“With no disrespect to the Massillon football team or to Mike Currence, that’s one victory you don’t deserve,” Brideweser said. “I’ve been coaching for 20 years and I’ve never complained. We did get handled. That’s the first time I’ve said that and I’m ashamed. We got handled in more ways than one.”
MASSILLON FINISHED the season undefeated in the All-American Conference at 5-0 with the league title and 8-2 overall. McKinley ended 1-4 in the league and 4-6 overall.
Niles McKinley and Steubenville ended tied for second with 3-1-1 records. Alliance, Warren Harding and Canton McKinley followed with 1-4 records.
SCORING SUMMARY McK – Kelly Darnley, 27 field goal; M – Mike Grove, 3 run (Hardwick kick).
OFFICIALS Referee – Chuck Lorenz. Umpire – Brenton Kirk. Linesman – Jack Prettyman. Field Judge – Nick Costello. Back Judge – Wilson Murray.
ATTENDANCE – 19,528.
GRIDSTICK Mass. McK. First downs rushing 4 8 First downs passing 0 2 First downs penalties 1 0 Total first downs 5 10 Yards gained rushing 102 212 Yards lost rushing 21 16 Net yards gained rushing 81 196 Net yards gained passing 23 34 Total yards gained 104 230 Passes completed 3-9 5-12 Passes intercepted by 1 2 Yardage on passes intercepted 0 3 Kickoff average (yards) 2-52 2-51 Kickoff returns (yards) 61 39 Punt average (yards) 5-37 5-30 Punt returns (yards) 2 67 Had punts blocked 0 0 Lost fumbled ball 1-1 2-3 Yards penalized 5-55 7-66 Touchdowns rushing 1 0 Total number of plays 45 62 Total time of possession 20:23 27:37
INDIVIDUAL SUMMARYS McKinley Ellis 4 58 0 58
Massillon Cleveland 11 42 0 42
Tonight is last Booster session
The final session of the Tiger Booster Club for this season will be held tonight at 8 in the Washington High School auditorium. Films of last Saturday’s 7-3 win over Canton McKinley will be shown.
Tonight will be the final chance for fans to take pictures of Obie VII, the live Tiger cub, for the mascot will depart for other quarters Tuesday, according to Booster President John Muhlbach, Jr. Pictures may be taken on the auditorium stage either before or after the meeting.
It was a rude way to treat a visitor, Massillon got mugged in Canton Saturday.
The visiting Massillon Tigers had to believe they were in “fun city” and the McKinley Bulldogs stole everything but the orange-and-black sox.
The Bulldog bandits, better known as the McKinley defense, picked off four Massillon passes and pounced on three fumbles to slap the Tigers wit a 21-15 defeat.
There were 20,435 witnesses to the “crime” at Fawcett Stadium as the weatherman misplaced his calendar and provided a beautiful September day on Nov. 8.
It was the 80th game in the scholastic football classic that dates back to 1894. McKinley now has won 32, Massillon 43 and five were ties.
The victory concludes the season with McKinley winning its ninth straight to finish 9-1. Massillon is 6-3-1.
The win also gave the Bulldogs an unbeaten 5-0 mark and undisputed championship of the All-American Conference. Massillon finishe4d 3-2 in the conference in a second-place tie with Warren Harding.
Bill Poulos and Eric Llewellyn were the heroes for the Bulldogs.
Poulos, who has played in the shadow of the Pups fine quarterback Roch Hontas, turned in a magnificent performance as he intercepted two Massillon aerials in the first half to set up two McKinley touchdowns.
Massillon Coach Chuck Shuff called Poulos’ second interception the key to the game.
“It allowed them (the Bulldogs) to get that second score just before the half and I think that made a great deal of difference in the game,” Shuff said.
Llewellyn pounced on two Massillon fumbles in the second half, but he made the big play in the fourth period when he intercepted another errant aerial and returned it 25 yards to the Tigers’ 12-yard line to set up the winning and final McKinley TD.
“It was a great effort by our kids,” said a jubilant McKinley Coach John Brideweser. “The defense was great, just super. You can’t ask any more of those guys.”
“All year our kids have been doing things they really shouldn’t be able to do and they do it on sheer determination and guts,” Brideweser praised.
Four minutes into the game Poulos stung the Tigers the first time quarterback Todd keller put the ball in the air.
The 5-foot-9, 195 pound senior cornerback stepped in front of the Tiger receiver at the 50, grabbed the pass and raced all the way to the Massillon 16. From there Hontas got four yards on a rollout after scrambling back to the 40 and after fullback Ken Hall was stopped for no gain, an offside penalty against the Tigers put the ball on the 7.
Hontas pitched left to swift Tom Grafton who sped into the end zone behind the blocking of Larry DuBose and Elmer Jackson.
A McKinley fumble gave Massillon the ball at midfield 35 seconds before the end of the half.
Keller was sacked by McKinley’s Tim Moore and also was called for intentionally grounding the ball, to put the ball at the Tigers’ 34.
Poulos then pulled his second theft of the Keller pass, returning it from the 44 to the 27. Hontas completed a 15-yarder to Mel Weatherspoon, who got out-of-bounds at the 12.
Then Hontas fired into the end zone where Massillon defensive back Anthony Grizzard tipped the ball, but McKinley’s Ray Ellis snared it for the TD just six ticks of the clock before halftime.
The third quarter was less than three minutes old when another McKinley fumble (the Bulldogs lost three of four) gave Massillon the ball at its own 40, where the Tigers mounted their only drive of the game.
Massillon went 60 yards in 15 plays, with fullback Bill Harmon running 12 times for 47 of the yards, including the five-yard TD plunge. His brother, Keith kicked the point and the Tigers trailed only 13-7.
McKinley deep back Fred Haywood, a 6-2 senior, came up with a defensive gem saving a Tiger TD early in the fourth period when he batted down a halfback pass from Bill Harmon and intended for Bill Bammerlin who had beaten the Bulldogs’ secondary.
On the next play, middle guard Gerald Jackson belted Keller loose from the ball and Llewellyn covered his second fumble. But the Pups had to punt it away, with Poulos kicked it to the Tigers’ 23.
After Harmon got a yard, Keller put it in the air again and disaster struck. Llewellyn picked it off at the 35 and raced to the 12. Mike Beadle then got six on his lone carry of the day and Grafton swept to the one. Hontas then used the silent count quarterback sneak to ice the game with 6:50 left on the clock.
Massillon put the fans on their feet for the final time two plays later when Tom Grizzard found a hole in the left side of the McKinley line, cut back using the umpire for a key block and raced 75 yards for the final Massillon score. Bill Harmon’s run cut the margin to 21-15, the final score, with 5:37 left.
The Pups put together a time-consuming march from their own 47 to the Tiger’s 23, before losing the ball on downs with 1:32 remaining.
Keller threw two incompletions and Haywood picked off the fourth interception of the day and ran it back to the Tiger’s 16, where Hontas fell down twice to run out the clock and give Canton McKinley fans peace and tranquility for another 364 days.
TIGERS Offense Ends – Bill Bammerlin (6-2, 167, Sr.); Mark Matie (6-0, 225, Sr.). Tackles – Mike Lauber (5-11, 207, Sr.); Sylverster Drobney (6-1, 216, Sr.). Guards – Todd Schumacher (5-11, 200, Sr.) Carl Christoff (5-8, 172, Sr.). Center – Dan Nagle (5-11, 232, Sr.). Quarterback – Todd Keller (6-1, 185, Sr.). Halfbacks – Tom Grizzard (6-0, 185, Sr.) Keith Harmon (6-2, 195, Sr.). Fullback – Bill Harmon (6-1, 237, Sr.)
Defense Ends – K. Harmon; Drobney. Tackles – Steve Easter (6-1, 203, Sr.); Matie. Middle guard – Jess Toles (5-10, 192, Jr.). Linebackers – Anthony Grizzard /(5-10, 163, Jr.); T. Grizzard). Secondary – Glenn Arner (6-1, 173, Sr.); Don Stewart (5-11, 151, Sr.); Willey Conley (5-11, 173, Sr.); Harold Dorsey (5-11, 188, Sr.).
GRIDSTICK Mass. McK. First downs-rushing 8 4 First downs-passing 1 5 First downs-penalties 2 2 Total first downs 11 11 Yards gained rushing 222 121 Yards lost rushing 18 24 Net yards gained rushing 204 97 Net yards gained passing 17 82 Total yards gained 221 179 Passes completed 1-10 7-12 Yardage on passes intercepted 0 4-100 Kickoff average (yards) 3-44.3 4-54.7 Kickoff returns (yards) 51 0 Punt average (yards) 4-40.0 6-39.0 Punt returns (yards) 11 4 Had punts blocked 0 0 Lost fumbled ball 3-3 3-4 Yards penalized 8-56 6-60 Touchdowns rushing 2 2 Touchdowns passing 0 1 Total number of plays 55 53 Total time of possession 27:05 20:15
City getting steamed up for big grid game
By CHUCK HESS, JR. Independent Sports Editor
The victory bell was ringing, Washington High hallways were decorated with pep signs, a car parade wound its way up Oak Ave SE past Washington High. You could tell it was Thursday – two days before the season ending football game with arch-rival Canton McKinley.
The schools are closed today because of a county-wide teachers’ in-service training day.
IN HIS OFFICE, Tiger Athletic Director and Head Coach Chuck Shuff concentrated on plans for Saturday’s contest which is to start at 2 p.m. at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium before a sellout crowd of 22,000. Standing room only tickets will go on sale at 1 p.m. at the stadium’s Blake Ave. gate.
Fans were advised to use car pools and get to the stadium early because parking spaces will not be as plentiful this year. This is because of construction work on the McKinley High School, slated to open for the 1976-77 school year.
“McKinley will be the most well-balanced team offensively we will have faced,” Shuff said. “Roch Hontas is the hub of the Bulldogs’ offense. The way he goes is the way McKinley’s offense will go.”
Hontas is the All-American Conference’s leading passer. Split end Mel Weatherspoon and wingback Ray Ellis, his favorite targets are among the league’s leading receivers.
The Bulldogs, on the strength of Hontas’ arm and aided by the quick threats of tailback Tom Grafton (9.7 clocking in the 100) and halfback Ken Hall, will be out to get revenge for a last-second 20-15 loss pinned on them by the Orange and Black in 1974 at Tiger Stadium. A win will give McKinley a 5-0 record, the AAC title and an outside chance of getting into the state’s Class AAA playoffs.
THE BULLDGOS, who would end the season 9-1, if they win, (they lost their opener), were knocked out of the playoff picture by the Tigers last year. The Orange and Black (6-2-1, 3-1) are in second place in the AAC and would like to spoil the Pups’ chances again and tie for the league title.
McKinley is in second place in the Region 3 computer poll. Massillon is in fifth.
“We have to put pressure on Hontas Saturday,” Shuff said. “We can’t let him have a lot of time to throw.”
Hontas, who passed for one touchdown and kicked a 25-yard field goal in the 1974 game, has picked apart teams which have given him too much time to set up. He throws a lot of bootleg passes.
The Bulldogs use Hontas’ passing to help maintain control of the ball with short passes,” Shuff said. “He has the choice of running or passing on the bootleg. He’ll throw on any down and he will throw the bomb.”
Shuff expects the Bulldogs to use a six-man line against the Tigers in order to hobble Tiger fullback Bill Harmon, the AAC leading ground gainer and second leading scorer.
“They’ve been running it quite a bit this year,” the skipper said. “If we feel we can pass to break it up, we will pass.”
SHUFF REPORTED that practices have been spirited this week. The team knows it has a job to do, the students are ready and both groups hope all fans will show their support tonight and Saturday. Because one of the biggest crowds ever turned out for last year’s parade and rally and because they gave their loud support at the game, the Tigers sprang an upset on the Bulldogs.
“Desire is always a big part of this game and it will be again Saturday,” said Shuff, who will be in his second game as the Tiger chief.
Both teams will be in top shape. Senior defensive end Jeff Lab is expected to see some action. He has been sidelined a good part of the season with an injury.
One change in the Tigers’ starting defensive lineup will see senior Steve Easter at left tackle.
The Tigers and their coaches will be feted one last time tonight by the Tiger sideliners. Dinner will start at 5:45 p.m. at the Massillon American Legion Post 221.
Then it will be on to the “Beat McKinley” downtown parade and bonfire rally at Agathon Field. Starting time for the parade will be 7 p.m.
The team will have a pancake and steak breakfast at 9:30 a.m., Saturday at the high school. Then they’ll walk to St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church and the traditional service conducted by the Rev. Wayne E. Yeager, the church’s pastor.
After that buses will take them to Fawcett Stadium.
Large crowd cheers Tigers in parade, bonfire rally
By CHUCK HESS, JR.
Many Massillonians took one last fling Friday night in getting their Tigers ready for today’s 80th renewal of the famed Massillon-Canton McKinley grid classic. The game will be played before a sellout crowd of 22,000 at 2 p.m., at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium.
One of the largest crowds ever to witness a pre-game parade and rally turned out for the pep events.
The traditional “Beat McKinley” parade started at Washington High School and wound its way through downtown streets to Agathon Field, where a bonfire rally was held. Leading the parade was the Tiger Swing Band.
COACHES, school officials and Tiger Booster Club officials spoke to the fans, all assuring them that the Orange and Black would not disappoint their faithful today.
For the team and their coaches, the night’s festivities began at the home of American Legion Post 221, where the Tiger Sideliners held the final meal of the season with the team. Then came the parade and rally.
The team and coaches ate a pancake and steak breakfast this morning at the high school. They then proceeded to St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church for the traditional pre-game service.
McKinley tops Massillon by 6
By Hymie Williams Plain Dealer Bureau
CANTON – Alert defensive plays that turned Massillon miscues into dividends propelled the Canton McKinley Bulldogs to a 21-15 victory Saturday at Fawcett Stadium before 20,435 in the 80th renewal of the nation’s best known scholastic football rivalry.
Four interceptions and three fumble recoveries by the Bulldogs helped them to their ninth straight victory after an opening game setback to Youngstown Cardinal Mooney. The triumph also handed them the championship of the All-American Conference. Massillon finished the season with a 6-3-1 mark and leads in the series with McKinley, 43-22-5.
Massillon trailed, 13-0, at the half but tallied in the third period to cut the margin to 13-7. McKinley snapped back when linebacker Eric Llewellyn, the defensive star for the Canton team, intercepted a Tiger aerial on the 12 in the fourth period. Three plays later, McKinley had another touchdown which proved enough. Llewellyn had two fumble recoveries, one interception and was the leading tackler.
McKinley was led on offense by Roch Hontas, senior quarterback who started the game for the second straight year. He hit on seven of 12 attempts for 82 yards. One of the passes went for a touchdown. Hontas also scored the final McKinley touchdown on a one-yard sneak.
Big Billy Harmon, the 237-pound Massillon fullback, was stymied in the first half with only 25 yards but he wound up with 94 yards and scored Massillon’s first touchdown.
The first touchdown for the Bulldogs, which came at 6:48 of the opening quarter, was set up by corner Bill Poulos, who intercepted and ran to the Tiger 16. Hontas made it to the 12 before 190-pound linebacker Tommy Grafton zipped around left end for the score. Hontas kicked the extra point.
Midway in the second quarter, Massillon had driven to the McKinley 30 but fumbled and Llewellyn hopped on the bouncing ball.
It appeared the half might end without further scoring when Massillon recovered a McKinley fumble late in the stanza. But Poulos was Johnny-on-the-spot again on the 23.
Hontas hit Melvin Weatherspoon on the 12. On the next play, Hontas rifled a pass towards wingback Ray Ellis in the end zone.
Two Tiger defenders took turns at swatting at the ball but the ball oozed into the waiting arms of Ellis, who did a happy dance in the end zone after the catch. Hontas’ attempt for the extra point was wide to the left.
Massillon was inspired for the second half. The Tigers recovered a McKinley miscue and with Bill Harmon carrying the mail in 12 of 14 plays the Tigers covered 60 yards for the score. Keith Harmon, Billy’s 205-pound brother, kicked the extra point.
Massillon appeared headed goal-wards again soon after but Llewellyn discovered a Tiger fumble on the 42 and captured it. McKinley could make no headway and was forced to kick.
Quarterback Todd Keller of Massillon, who had a disturbing afternoon, attempted a pass which was intercepted by Llewellyn on the Tiger 12. In three plays, McKinley was across the goal line on Hontas’ one yard sneak. Grafton ran over for the extra points.
Massillon didn’t quit. The Tigers roared back as tailback Tommy Grizzard ran 75 yards in a scintillating dash down the field. Bill Harmon bulled over for the extra points.
Massillon had a final chance with the ball with 90 seconds to play but Weatherspoon intercepted a Keller pass to extinguish the Tigers hopes. McKinley ran out the clock and walked off the field with its sweetest victory of the season.
’75 puzzling season for Tiger grid team
By CHUCK HESS, JR. Independent Sports Editor
What’s the answer?
Two days after the season closing 80th renewal of the Massillon-Canton McKinley gridiron classic the Tigertown faithful are still asking that question. What made a season which appeared to have so much promise never live up to its rave notices?
How can a team be so snake bitten in one afternoon before 20,435 fans at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium that is has four passes intercepted, setting up all of Canton McKinle4y’s touchdowns in its 21-15 win? How can a team be so unlucky that it also has three fumbles recovered by the opposition, each killing promising drives?
HOW CAN “Tiger Luck” desert the Orange and Black as disastrously that what Washington High defensive coordinator Joe Siesel called a “super defensive effort” might as well not have been. The Tigers held a well-balanced McKinley offense to 179 total yards. Eighty-two of those yards came in the air, compared to Massillon’s 17.
The Bulldogs felt the pain Tiger defenders dished out, to the tune of losing three of their four fumbles. McKinley assistant coach Bill Michaels, a former aide, described the situation well.
“You should have seen us at halftime,” he said. “We left it all out there on the field.”
Hashing and rehashing the 1975 season may help to make the 10 long months until the 1976 season opens pass faster for the Tiger faithful. There are many factors to consider. Even Tiger Coach Chuck Shuff isn’t sure of all the answers.
“I don’t know what the problem was in the first half,” Shuff said. “If you could be too ready for a game, maybe that was the case. I know our kids were ready. We showed it the second half. We just made mistakes you can’t go with.
“IT WAS a physical game. I can’t be prouder of our kids. We hit them. We didn’t receive any hitting. We made very few adjustments at halftime. We just reassured the boys of the things we had to get done and they came out and did it. Joe Siesel and the defensive staff did a whale of a job. The defensive kids played great football. They kept coming back and making the plays.” But a team can stand only so much pressure.
McKinley halfback Bill Poulos started the heart breaking afternoon for Tiger quarterback Todd Keller by picking off a pass on the Bulldog 38 and running back to the WHS 16 where Keller knocked him out of bounds. Two plays later tailback Tom Grafton skirted end from the seven – after a Massillon encroachment penalty – with 6:48 left in the first quarter. Roch Hontas kicked the conversion and the 7-0 lead gave the Bulldogs the momentum early.
Poulos picked off another pass on the Massillon 42 late in the second quarter and ran to the Tigers’ 27. Hontas threw consecutive passes to Mel Weatherspoon and wingback Ray Ellis – who had the help of Willie Conley’s deflection to aid his catch – but Hontas’ kick was wide left to keep the score at 13-0 with six seconds left in the half.
The third steal was by linebacker Eric Llewellyn who returned from the Massillon 35 to the Tigers’ 12 in the last quarter. Three plays later Hontas sneaked over from the half-yard line – with 6:50 left in the game – after a Massillon personal foul penalty. Grafton raced outside end for the conversion.
LLEWELLYN ALSO recovered a pair of Tiger fumbles inside McKinley territory to put the brakes on the Orange and Black.
The Tigers scored in the third quarter on a 59-yard, 15-play drive after halfback Don Stewart had recovered a McKinley fumble on the Bulldogs’ 41. Fullback Bill Harmon carried on 13 of the plays and over guard from the five for the score with 1:40 left. Brother Keith kicked the conversion.
Harmon ended with 94 yards to 25 attempts and 1,278 yards for the season to make him the second all-time leading rusher in the All-American Conference.
The Obiemen’s other score came on a 75-yard draw play in the fourth quarter. After a 15-yard punt runback by Pete Killins, tailback Tommy Grizzard, obviously tired from playing an outstanding game at linebacker, made the run with 5:37 left on the clock. Bill took a pitch off tackle for the conversion.
“Our kids played with pain all season,” McKinley Coach John Brideweser said. “Roch Hontas had a broken hand twice and never said a thing. Ray Ellis had a broken thumb. Cliff Frazier had a sprained shoulder and re-injured it when he hit Harmon.
Shuff plans to stay as coach
Tiger head football Coach Chuck Shuff cast aside today, weekend rumors which had him tendering his resignation as coach.
“I have a three-yard contract and for all loyal Tiger Boosters, I’m saying I plan to stay,” Shuff said.
Shuff has one year to go on a three-yard contract. He came to Massillon in 1974 from Fremont. His two-year record is 12-7-1.
Tiger Boosters postpone meeting until Tuesday
The final Tiger Booster Club session of 1975 will be delayed one day due to a meeting of All-American Conference coaches which will find the mentors selecting this year’s all-league team.
The booster will meet Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the Washington High School auditorium. Films of the McKinley game will be shown and head Coach Chuck Shuff will answer questions on the game.
Distance no deterrent to fans of Pups, Tigers
By DAVE KAMINSKI
One’s first indication that the Massillon vs. McKinley football game is not just another high school contest might have come by walking to Fawcett Stadium Saturday afternoon.
There are not many games that will draw so many out-of-state license plates, as seen on cars parked around Fawcett Saturday. Distance is no deterrent to some fans of the annual clash.
It certainly wasn’t for Tom Beadle of Tamp, Fl. Tom was on hand in the crowd of 20,435 to see his brother Mile play defense for the Bulldogs and to run once out of the McKinley backfield for 6 yards.
Helium balloons were big for both sides. The Massillon fans had a few hundred black and orange orbs contained in giant plastic bags on the sidelines, waiting to be released when the Tigers took to the field.
It looked like Massillon’s helium show would outdo host McKinley’s. But, as the Bulldogs emerged from their locker room, the roof suddenly came off a replica of McKinley high positioned on a trailer on the field and from out of the school came McKinley’s spheres of black and red.
Like a flock of birds, the balloons from both cheering sections rose and floated out of the stadium to signal the start of the contest.
Meanwhile, Obie, Massillon’s Tiger mascot, was inspecting the Massillon sideline, stopping to lick the hands of friendly fans while tethered on the leash of his trainer.
He playfully pawed and nuzzled the orange-clad faithful, but one has to wonder if Obie is trained to see the color red in a different light.
A psychological war took place between the opposing teams before the real battle began. McKinley took to the field and assumed more than its half of the 100 yards to perform warm-up exercises. To counter, this, the Tigers, grouped in the end zone suddenly jumped into a sprint across field, stopping just short of colliding with the first row of Bulldogs.
Fans, sporting orange or red, depending on their persuasion, participated in their own kind of mayhem in the seats.
But soon the contest began and the festival trappings of the game took a back seat to the action.
In total net rushing, Massillon out-legged McKinley 189-93.
Leading in the individual-offense figures were a couple of runners for the losing Massillon Tigers. Tailback Tom Grizzard totaled 90 yards in 5 carries, including a 75-yard scamper in the fourth quarter for Massillon’s second touchdown. Fullback Bill Harmon carried 24 times for 87 yards.
McKinley’s leading rusher was halfback Tom Grafton, who managed 50 net yards on 15 totes. Backfield mate Ken Hall rushed for 35 yards in 7 tries.
Roch Hontas’ passing was much the story of McKinley’s offensive success. Hontas hit on 7 of 13 aerials for 83-yards and a touchdown. In comparison, Tiger signal caller Todd Keller netted only 17 yards on one completed pass. He tried 10 and had 4 intercepted.
McKinley lost 3 of its 4 fumbles, while the Tigers gave up all 3 of their bobbles. In first downs, the Pups led 13-11. Bill Poulos averaged 36.8 yards per attempt on 5 punts for McKinley. Tiger punter Keith Harmon booted 4 times and averaged 38 yards per shot.
McKinley lost 67 yards on 6 penalties, while the Tigers had 60 markers stepped off against them in 8 incidents.
TIGERS STUN BULLDOGS 20-15 Final-Seconds Aerial Blasts Rally by Pups
By BOB STEWART Repository Sports Editor
MASSILLON – At a few moments past the hour of four o’clock Saturday afternoon, an inflated brown leather ellipsoid floated downward from the sky.
It nestled in the arms of a young man by the name of Edward Bell, an 18-year old who is enrolled at Washington High School here and who just happened to be jogging about in an area of real estate known as Tiger Stadium.
His specific location was a plot known as “The End zone” – an appropriate name, for his simple act of catching the ball “ended” many things. 79th IN CLASSIC SERIES It was the end of the scoring in this 79th scholastic football classic which has pitted the young warriors of Canton McKinley and Massillon Washington high schools since 1894 (flu scratched a game during World War I), put the 79th episode into the books reading Massillon 20, McKinley 15.
It ended the Canton McKinley undefeated record this season at nine, blasting hopes for the first 10-0 season since 1956.
It ended the McKinley Bulldogs’ dreams of a berth in the Ohio High School Athletic Association championship playoffs. New Philadelphia High will represent Region 3. COMEBACK FAILS It ended the dramatic and brilliant McKinley comeback, which saw the Pups’ Roch Hontas kick a 25-yard field goal for a 15-14 lead only 73 seconds before the game clock was due to run out.
It also will mean the end, no doubt, of McKinley’s No. 1 ranking in the wire service polls. The Pups were attempting to win the mythical wire service title for the first time since 1955 and 1956, when they won back-to-back championships with 20 straight wins over two seasons.
Bell was catching the beautiful, crisp, clear, sunny afternoon’s second TD pass thrown by teammate and quarterback Greg Wood, a youngster much maligned but now vindicated. TIGERS SMELL UPSET Wood hit halfback Mark Streeter with a 24-yard scoring strike when the game was but nine-and-one-half minutes old, and the Tigertowners smelled an upset.
Massillon’s first score was no fluke, as the Tigers drove the ball 71 yards in 12 plays after stopping McKinley on fourth down and a foot.
The Bulldogs’ Mike Kolbs pounced on a Massillon fumble on the third play of the game, but McKinley couldn’t cash in.
Trailing 7-0 McKinley got on three yards on three plays after the kickoff and Hontas punted to the Tigers’ 36, from where Wood engineered his second scoring drive. WHIPPING BOY NO MORE Wood, who was one of the whipping boys for the boo-birds and boosters when Massillon lost three of its first four games this season, again whipped his team down the field and in a dozen plays had used up three minutes, 50 seconds of playing time, covered 63 yards and put another seven points on the board.
Wood himself did the honors, diving the final two yards over the right side.
Hontas got the Pups moving, finally, as he began hitting his aerials. PUPS SCORE ON PASS The Pups scored on a 36-yard pass from Hontas to end Ruben Floyd. But when Jonathan Moore, McKinley’s leading rusher and scorer, failed to make the three yards for the two-point conversion, the Pups were a long eight points behind.
The drive was 77 yards in 13 plays, but was kept alive by a major Massillon mistake, a roughing-the-kicker penalty on a fourth-and-14 Hontas punt at the Bulldogs 19.
Massillon with 237-pound fullback Bill Harmon and slippery scatback Tom Grizzard (both juniors) roaring through massive holes opened by a rejuvenated Tiger offensive forward wall, mounted yet another threat.
The Tigers tidal wave trundled down the turf to the McKinley 28 before ebbing. From there, Dave Dowd, who kicked the two PATs, missed a field goal try from the 35.
But the short chip shot hit like a nine iron on the five yard line and McKinley was 95 yards away from the equalizer and the fourth quarter was two plays old.
Hontas retreated into his own end zone and flipped a screen pass to wingback Bob Armstrong, who got out to the 13, and the McKinley march was on.
Massillon linebacker Dennis Bricker made what looked like a drive-stopping tackle on a screen to Floyd at the Bulldogs own 21, setting up a fourth-and-two situation. BULLDOGS MARCH 95 But faint heart never won a football game and Moore got eight on a sweep and the march continued for 95 yards in 18 plays, capped by fullback Bob Lombardi’s three-foot blast to pay dirt with 3:37 left in the game.
Hontas’ pass to Lombardi was incomplete and the Tigers still prevailed by a pair, 14-12.
The ensuing on-side kickoff bounced into a mass of Massillon and Canton players and McKinley’s Eric Llewellyn came up with the football and the Pups were born again.
Hontas quickly completed a pair of passes to Tom Grafton and Ray Ellis and Lombardi got nine yards in three tries to set the state for what the Canton backers would love to have settled for.
With Bill Poulos holding, Hontas kicked a 25-yarder right through the middle of the uprights, putting three points on the McKinley side and joy in the hearts of Canton fans.
The clock read 1:13.
Then came the dirge, tolled by the “Bell”.
Wood threw the ball three times and Bell caught all three on down-and-out patterns for 12, 9 and 12-yard gains.
He missed one and then got sacked and the ball was at the McKinley 34 with 13 seconds remaining.
Bell lined up on the right side, blew downfield and started another cut to the outside, but then suddenly flew for the goal.
He was all alone past the goal line when Wood’s toss settled into his arms. The clock showed there were six seconds remaining.
It was Massillon’s 43rd win in the long series against 31 losses. There have been five ties.
It put Warren and McKinley in a tie for the All-American Conference title for the second year in a row. Last year, the two shared it with Massillon also.
The victory gave Massillon a 6-4 season record and today in Tigertown nobody even remembers those four losses that happened such a “long time ago sometime this season.”
Massillon 7 7 0 6 20 McKinley 0 0 6 9 15
SCORING SUMMARY Mass. – tb Mark Streeter, 24 pass from qb Greg Wood (g Dave Dowd kick). Mass. – Wood, 2 run (Dowd kick). Mck. – e Ruben Flloyd 36 pass from qb Roch Hontas (run failed). Mck. – fb Bob Lombardi, 1 run (pass failed). Mck. – Hontas, 25 FG. Mass. – se Eddie Bell, 34 pass from Wood (pass failed).
Tigers Score On Desperation Pass Massillon Stuns McKinley
By LARRY BRECKENRIDGE Beacon Journal Staff Writer
MASSILLON – “If I live to be a 100,” said one veteran sportswriter, “I’ll never see a football game as exciting as that one.”
The gentleman was referring to Saturday’s clash between Massillon and Canton McKinley in which the Tigers scored on a 34-yard touchdown pass with only five seconds remaining to shock the previously undefeated Bulldogs 20-15 before 21,754 at Tiger Stadium.
Massillon ends 6-4 and McKinley 9-1.
The victory was especially disappointing to McKinley because it probably cost the Bulldogs a spot in the Class AAA computer playoffs.
The Bulldogs held a 14-point lead over New Philadelphia in Region 3 of the latest computer poll but the Quakers beat previously undefeated Dover Friday night which should give them enough points to overtake McKinley.
The two players mainly responsible for the Tigers’ victory were quarterback Greg Wood and split end Eddie Bell.
It appeared McKinley had won the game with 1:13 left when the Bulldogs Roch Hontas kicked a 25-yard field goal to put McKinley ahead 15-14.
But following the ensuing kickoff which Massillon returned to its own 35-yard line, Wood and Bell teamed up for three straight pass completions to move the ball to the McKinley 31.
Wood was then dropped for a three-yard loss but on the next play Bell slipped behind the McKinley secondary and Wood lofted a perfect pass which Bell gathered in over his shoulder in the corner of the end zone.
“EDDIE ran a beautiful patter,” Wood said. “I just laid the ball up there. I knew he was going to catch it as soon as I threw it.”
“I heard the McKinley coaches yelling to watch for the deep pass,” Bell explained. “But the McKinley players must not have heard them. That was probably the biggest catch I’ll ever make.” Late Score Keys Massillon Massillon coach Chuck Shuff said, “I couldn’t believe it when I saw Bell in the open.” And neither could McKinley’s John Brideweser.
“We were in a prevent defense,” he explained. “And the one thing that is NOT supposed to happen is a deep pass. But those things happen.”
The Tiger defense shut out McKinley’s high scoring offense for the first 24 minutes in limiting the Bulldogs to only four first downs and 84 yards.
Massillon’s ball-control offense, on the other hand, was equally impressive as it scored 14 points in the first half and rolled up 12 first downs and 203 yards.
Massillon, which did not punt once, took a 7-0 lead with 2:35 remaining in the first quarter when Wood hit Mark Streeter with a 24-yard touchdown pass and David Dowd kicked the first of two conversions. The drive covered 71 yards in 12 plays and took almost six minutes.
FOLLOWING a McKinley punt, Massillon drove 67 yards in 11 yards to increase the margin to 14-0 with 9:59 left in the half. Wood got the touchdown on a fourth-and-goal situation from the two.
The Bulldogs pulled to within 14-6 following the second half kickoff by driving 70 yards in 12 plays. The touchdown came on a 36-yard pass from Hontas to Ruben Floyd. The conversion failed when tailback Jonathan Moore was stopped short of the goal. After stopping a Massillon drive at the Bulldog 13, McKinley fullback Bob Lombardi scored on a one-yard run with 3:53 remaining to cap a 95 yard, 17-play drive. A pass for the conversion failed and Massillon led 14-12.
McKinley followed with an onside kick and the Bulldogs Eric Llewellyn recovered tat the Massillon 46. Eight plays later Hontas kicked the apparent winning field goal.
MASSILLON 7 7 0 6 20 McKINLEY 0 0 6 9 15
MASSILLON – Streeter, 24 pass from Wood (Dowd kick). MASSILLON – Wood, 2 run (Dowd kick). McKINLEY – Floyd 36 pass from Hontas (run failed). McKINLEY – Lombardi, 1 run (pass failed). McKINLEY – Hontas 25 FG. MASSILLON – Bell, 34 pass from Wood (pass failed).
Shuff Officially Accepted in Tigers’ Lair
By MIKE ZEMELKA Repository Sportswriter
MASSILLON – This proclaimed scholastic football capital of the United States has added another full-blooded Tiger to its lair.
“I’m a Tiger now!” exclaimed a shell-shocked Chuck Shuff when the first-season Massillon Washington coach finally wormed his way into his office – some 30 minutes after his Tigers (6-4), unbelievable 20-15 conquest of arch-rival Canton McKinley (9-1) before a Tiger Stadium throng of 21,754 football fanatics Saturday afternoon.
The storybook finish is unparalleled .
“I JUST COULDN’T believe it when I saw Eddie Bell in the open,” Shuff said of the 34-yard pass the 5-foot-10, 154-pound senior split end caught (in the end zone) from classmate Greg Wood. It came as the Tigers merely were driving for field position to give placekicker Dave Dowd a shot at a field goal attempt.
“I don’t think we could call for another ounce of energy out of any of our boys,” Shuff said of the physically drained coaches and players.
“We stopped their running game as far as the big play and that type of defensive effort took a lot of noise,” he said.
The McKinley loss assured Behling’s 9-0-1 Quakers a berth vs. Upper Arlington in this week-end’s Ohio Class AAA playoff semifinals.
“I thought it was all over,” Behling said of the Hontas field goal, “but that’s the Tiger spirit.”
“Never any worry,” former Massillon and Kent State University coach Leo Strang told Shuff, but it was Strang who appeared worried at half time. He’s the guy who had his fingers crossed as he wandered through the stands to say hello to his Tigertown friends. – : – “IT’S THE GREATEST victory I’ve ever been in,” shouted long-time Tiger aide Nick Vrotsos before he and his fellow coaches took what each proclaimed as “the best one (shower) I’ve ever had” when the players escorted their coaches to the drink.
“Hey guys, we don’t have to walk the alleys. We can walk the streets,” Vrotsos shouted to his fellow coaches from the showers.
One-time McKinley standout L.C. Young, the Massillon superintendent of schools, embraced Shuff and said, “Just keep it going.”
“Something good had to happen,” Young said. “We lost the levy (Tuesday) and these boys and coaches just went through hell.” – : – AMONG THOSE who probably were in the rocker room were two former Massillon players – Phil Garcia and Nick Pribich – who Friday sent Behling and the Quakers a telegram and assured them: “If you beat Dover (New Philly did, 7-0), we’ll do our part tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon and come Monday you’ll be No. 1.”
AND that’s the main reason Behling left the office he once worked in proud as a peacock – and with the Massillon-Upper Arlington game film in his grasp.
It’s ironic how this series has been a thorn in the side of what is supposed to be the favored team.
However, the intense rivalry is what makes this classic so great. It was only 12 months ago the Bulldogs knocked the Tigers out of a play-off berth.
21,754 Fans Jam Tigers’ Lair For Thrilling Clash of Old Foes
By FREDERICK J. BALL Repository Staff Writer
MASSILLON – There are rumors the world does not revolve around the annual McKinley-Massillon football game.
That may be true, but you’ll never convince thousands of rabid fans on both sides of the traditional rivalry.
And they were out in force Saturday – 21,754 strong – at Tiger Stadium to watch the Massillon Tigers smash their way past McKinley’s Bulldogs to rack up a final-seconds 20-15 victory. Like a Movie Thriller The final Massillon touchdowns – with six seconds showing on the clock – looked like the plot clincher in an old 1940s college football movie.
In fact, the entire game had a certain “scripted” appearance to it.
Weather was perfect for the big climax to both schools’ schedules, with bright sun and temperatures in the low 60s to warm spectators, but just enough breeze to keep players from becoming uncomfortable.
Near Massillon’s city limits, incoming Canton fans traveling bumper-to-bumper found crepe-paper-covered cars along the roadway, their sides and trunks plastered with giant “Beat McKinley” signs.
Such vehicles were greeted by jeers and groans from west-bound autos displaying a different kind of sign – “Beat Massillon.”
Approaching the stadium the noise was the first thing that hit arrivals.
A calliope, blended with honking horns and clanging cowbells, provided an overlying pattern of high-pitched accents, while shouts, cheers and jabber of the crowd produced a back ground buzz that increased in intensity as people filled the stadium.
There were shouts of players – clear and strong during warm-up exercises but lower and harsher as they began to pound each other during the game. Above all was the blare of the loudspeaker. Hot Dogs and Pizza There was plenty to keep the other senses busy, too.
The air was filled with the smell of popcorn, hot dogs and pizza. You could smell the aroma of recently rain-moistened earth, too, and there was just a hint of smoke.
The eyes, too, were attracted to splashes of color that dotted the stands, with oranges and reds of the two schools livened by the bright November sun.
There was food and drink to appease taste buds, as well, and as for touch – well, who says the field is the only place at a football game where there is contact?
Saturday, Massillon and McKinley fans were squeezed into Tiger Stadium like a Size-12 foot in a Size-10 shoe. Activity at the concession booths under the grandstand at halftime was really something else, too.
You’d think someone over 6 foot tall who weighs in at 210 pounds could hold his own against a bunch of 10-year-olds at the hot dog stand, wouldnt you?
Well, forget it. Those kids squirm and push their way to the front of the line like first-string fullbacks running through a second-string defensive line. Game Takes Over But once the game got underway, no one paid much attention to anything but what was happening on the gridiron.
Less than a minute into the second quarter, with The Tigers only one touchdown ahead, Paul Akers of 425 15th Street NW, president of the McKinley Alumni Booster Club, still was confident.
With the Bulldogs putting on a defensive stand at their own four-yard line, Akers said, “I know the Pups are going to come through for us.”
“C’mon, Bulldogs! You can hold’em!” he shouted, jumping to his feet. The McKinley defensive unit held. It was fourth down and four yards for a touchdown. The Dream Dies “We’re going to show Massillon who’s NO. 1. I tell you, we’re going to come back,” Akers declared.
He jumped up again as play resumed and a Massillon ball carrier rammed his way across the goal line. A shout died on Aker’s lips and he stood with his arms at his side, a dejected expression on his face.
A few yards away, Phyllis Kobie of 2855 Thackeray Drive NW, Massillon, was every bit as excited as Akers was upset.
“I think it’s just fantastic! Massillon’s going to win this game!” she shouted over the blare of the nearby McKinley band.
This is one of the bluest Mondays in Tiger gridiron history.
Item: Cardinal Mooney High School, from Tiger head coach Bob Commings’ home town of Youngstown, will be in the state playoff at Cincinnati Friday instead of Washington High School.
Item: Last Saturday, Canton McKinley’s Bulldogs, under the direction of John Brideweser—with Bill Michaels as an assistant coach—handed Commings the worst shellacking of his four-year career here manhandling the Tigers 21-0 before 20,148 chilled fans at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium. Both Brideweser and Michaels are former Commings aides.
Item: It was the first time McKinley had shut out the Tigers since a 14-0 affair at Fawcett Stadium in 1947.
Item: The Tiger loss forced the first triple tie for a championship in the 10-year history of the All-American Conference (AAC). Massillon, McKinley and Warren Harding are the kingpins, each with 4-1 records.
Brideweser came to the aid of his former boss.
“I’ve gone through this three times in a row,” Bridey said. “You have one tremendous coach and group of boys over there. Tell those clowns to say off his back.”
HE WAS reminding the Tiger faithful that Commings had guided the Orange and Black to an 8-1-1 record after a miserable start and an unbelievable series of injuries. He was reminding Massillonians that Tiger teams have a habit of picking up the pieces and coming back to greatness.
Statistics tell the story. The Bulldogs rolled up 280 yards to the Tigers’ 79 and 18 first downs to the Tigers’ five, capitalizing on nine third-down and two fourth-down situations. The Bulldog defense, which both coaches said was changed very little for this game, held the Orange and Black to no rushing yards in the first half.
McKinley junior tailback Jonathon Moore, the AAC’s overall rushing leader, netted 78 yards in 24 arrives on the outside. McKinley Senior fullback John Thompson netted 72 in 14 attempts on the inside.
Line blocking by the Pups was superb, especially from center McKinley Smith and guards Herb Greene and Charles Cochran who opened gaping holes.
The Bulldogs had the ball for 69 plays to the Tigers’ 40 with elapsed time being 31:13 to 15:47. The Orange and Black never had a chance to get its offense into high gear.
McKinley was stopped at the Massillon seven in the first quarter when one Tiger end, Rusty Venables, jarred the ball loose from quarterback Garland Burns and another end, Vince DiLoreto recovered. Playing with a broken wrist, DiLoreto grabbed the pigskin, but couldn’t right himself, stumbled to the 27 and fell with a wide-open field ahead of him.
The Tiger defense dug into stop the Pups at the Massillon 34, 33 and 22-yard lines in the third-quarter. The clock ran out in the fourth quarter with the Bulldogs on the Tiger two.
THE BONE rattling Bulldog defense, led by its powerfully charging line of Lee Geiselman, Jerry Debos, Gordon Cook and company, allowed the Tigers out of their own territory only in the second stanza. But on that occasion Geiselman tossed quarterback Greg Wood for a 12-yard loss to the McKinley 45, forcing a punt.
In the third quarter, Cornerback Tim Cook threw Tiger wingback Mark Streeter for a safety with 6:88 remaining, after halfback Fred George had downed a Burns’ punt on the Massillon one.
“They were some football team,” Commings said of McKinley. “Their physical strength, our poor field position and their good field position were the stories. We could never call the game we wanted to call. That’s what football is all about. Make the other guy do something they don’t want to do. They did it to us and we couldn’t do it to them.”
After the Bulldogs had been turned back on the game’s first series, they forced the Tigers to kick and marched 70 yards in 14 plays with Thompson skirting left end of fourth down from one yard out for the score. An 18-yard pass from Rock Hontas to Gordon Cook startled the drive, which ended with 11:58 remaining in the second quarter.
The conversion came on Ken Bush’s kick.
THE BULLDOGS came back 52 yards in nine plays, after forcing a Tiger punt at the end of the next series, and scored with 4:04 left. Thompson ploughed through the center on third down from the two. Dave Pfeiffer knocked down a pass to end Reuben Floyd on the conversion attempt.
The final TD came on a 51-yard, 11-play fourth quarter drive. Halfback Jap Jeter took a pitchout and charged over left tackle on third down with 6:14 reminding in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Tim Gutshall and cornerback Terry Henderson kept Jeter from crossing the goal line for two more points.
“I don’t know what happened,” Brideweser said, when reflecting further on his victory. “All I know it was a total team effort. The kids played as well as they could. I knew they were up and wanted to play. We thought if we could control the ball we could control the game.”
The Bulldogs came back from last week’s 19-7 loss at Warren to make it an 8-2 season.
M McK First downs rush
First downs pass
First downs penal
Tot. first downs
Yds gained rush
Yds lost rushing
Net yds gained rush.
Net yds gained pass.
Tot yds gained
Passes inter by
Yd on passes inter
Kickoff ave (yds)
Kickoff returns (yds)
Punt ave (yds)
Punt returns (yds)
Had punts blocked
Tot no of plays
Ends—Huffman, T. Gutshall, Matie DiLoreto, Venables.
Tackles—Csonka, Lee. Rich, Chapman
Guards—Schumacher, Fenton, Graber, A. Lemon, White
Halfbacks—Danzy, Streeter, Henderson, Herring, D. Gutshall, Mayor, Pifer, Lentz, Dailey, Pfeiffer, T. Lemon.
Ends—Bush, Floyd, Hill, G. Cook, Pringle.
Tackles—Dubose, Geiselman, Obrovac, Jenkins.
Centers—Smith, Weber, Terrell
Halfbacks—Moore, Jeter, Lewis Bernardo, Taylor, T. Cook, George, Weatherspoon.
McKinley 0 13 2 6 21
McK—John Thompson 1 run (Ken Bush kick); McK Thompson 4 run (pass failed); Mck—Tom Cook tackled Mark Streeter for safety: McK—Jeter 5 run (run failed).
Referee—Chuck Lorenz; Umpire—Bobbie Brown; Head linesman—Herb Nissbaum; Field Judge—Nick Costello; Back judge—Steve Nagy Jr.
MASSILLON – Washington High School Tigers used the cool head and hot arm of quarterback Kevin Westover to turn back a fierce band of Canton McKinley Bulldogs 12-3 here Saturday afternoon in the state’s most celebrated scholastic grid rivalry.
The 77th classic was viewed by 22,371 at Tiger Stadium here, the third largest crowd ever in the “House That Paul Brown Built.”
The victory gave Massillon: ITS 499th TRIUMPH in the school’s long and fabled history. ITS 42nd WIN of the Canton series, against 30 losses and five ties in the dispute that dates to 1894. ITS 6th CHAMPIONSHIP in the 10 years of the prestigious All-American Conference one of the best schoolboy loops in the nation and certainly the toughest in the state. ITS 17th UNDEFEATED and untied team as it closed the regular season with a 10- mark. ITS 22nd MYTHICAL STATE championship team since 1930 when state titles were recognized officially. ITS FIRST Class AAA Region 3 title and a berth in the first Ohio High School Athletic Association state championship playoffs.
The Tigers wrapped up state titles in both wire service polls, although the final results won’t be announced until later this week. 13th Title in AP Poll The Associated Press poll of sportswriters and broadcasters will be released Tuesday and it will mark the 13th AP state title for Massillon since the poll was originated in 1947.
United Press International’s poll of Coaches has been won by Massillon five times.
The official computerized rating will be announced today, but there is no way Massillon will be anywhere but on top of this region’s “AAA” rankings.
The Tigers will play in the semifinals at Ohio State University Saturday at 11 a.m., probably against Cincinnati Princeton. The title game is Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in Akron’s Rubber Bowl. Defeats Piling Up For the McKinley fans, the loss was another in a series – defeats which are coming with uncomfortable regularity. It marked the 13th time in the past 16 games Massillon has prevailed.
The game can be analyzed with a look at what happened on third downs.
In 11 third-down situations, McKinley got the first down only three times.
Massillon, however, converted seven times on 13 third-down plays. Two of them were game breakers. McKinley Scores First McKinley got on the board first, at 3:27 of the first period when Ken Bush booted a 23-yard field goal.
The kick had all the classic style of a Hoyt Wilhelm knuckleball and just got through the lower right corner of the uprights. But it was good and it marked the first time this season Massillon was behind in a football game.
McKinley had taken the opening kickoff and with fullback Chuck Gelal as the main, almost only, runner (he carried the first six plays and on eight of the first nine) moved to the Massillon 26 before the teams traded interceptions.
Pup Pass Intercepted
Massillon’s Danny Gutshall picked off Garland Burns’ first aerial, one of three Pup passes grabbed by the Tiger secondary. But two plays later, McKinley’s John Thompson returned the favor on Westover’s first throw, to set up the only McKinley score.
Led by junior tackle Lee Geiselman and guard Mike Carbone, who went after Massillon runners like hungry lions after unarmed Christians, McKinley’s defense by and large, bottled up the Tiger running game. But Westover’s arm proved too accurate.
The lighting struck five minutes into the second period.
Faced with a third-and-eight on their own 38, the Tigers went for broke…and rolled a “7”. Bomb Is Unloaded Westover, with two days and 20 minutes to look around behind the fantastic pass protection blocking of the offensive line, unloaded the bomb to end Greg Sullivan.
McKinley’s defensive back Jon Barnett was playing intercept and got burned as Westover’s wing was true and Sullivan didn’t even break stride as he took the ball over his shoulder at the 30 and cruised to the goal line to complete the 64-yard TD play.
Sullivan does more than catch, though. Two minutes before the half, Sullivan and guard Larry Mayles blasted the key blocks for halfback Tom Hannon, who scampered 25 yards on a sweep in a third-and-two situation to put the ball on the McKinley 31, setting up the other Tiger TD. Hits on Two More After Westover hit a couple of 12-yard passes, one each to Chuck Danzy and Terry Edwards and Hannon bulled seven yards to the one, the strawberry-blond quarterback with the bushy mustache to match sneaked into the end zone behind center Todd Cocklin and guard Percy Keller. It was 51 seconds before the band show.
Hannon’s attempted runs for both of the PAT’s were stopped by the Bulldogs.
The victory ran Massillon in victory streak to 12, the last loss coming 8-7 to Warren last season. Since McKinley beat them 14-7 in the last game of the 1969 season, the Tigers have won 28 of their last 30 games, the Warren loss and a 7-6 defeat at the hands of Niles the only blots.
For McKinley, it marked the first time the Bulldogs have failed to score a touchdown in 20 games, since Massillon shut out McKinley 28-0 in 1970.
There’s something new for the Tigers They’ll meet Princeton in playoffs via 12-3 victory over Bulldogs
By CHUCK HESS, JR. Independent Sports Editor
“There is nothing new under the sun,” according to Ecclesiastes, but there sure is for the Massillon Tigers!
They’ve never been in playoffs for the state football championship before, but they’ll be there Saturday at 11 a.m. at Ohio stadium in Columbus as the Ohio High School Athletic association (OHSAA) holds its first such affair.
Opposite the 10-0 Tigers, who will be trying for the school’s 500th win, will be 9-0-1 Cincinnati Princeton. The Vikings, who battled Upper Arlington to a scoreless tie the week after the Tigers beat the Golden Bears 14-0, seldom throw in their attack, preferring the power sweeps and off tackles because Coach Pat Mancuso is an avid disciple of Ohio State’s Woody Hayes. * * * THE BIG team from Cincinnati works from the power-I, led by tailback Bill Gales, one of the best 100 backs in the nation, as named in a pre-season selection by a national sports magazine.
Warren Western Reserve (10-0) and Toledo Scott (8-0-1) will vie in the second game of Saturday’s semifinal computer selected Class AAA doubleheader. Game time will be 2 p.m. Dr. Harold A. Meyer, OHSAA commissioner, Sunday dispelled rumors that the title game, slated for Akron’s Rubber Bowl Saturday, Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m., would be moved to Kent State university because of the “sea of mud” reported there.
The Tigers got into the playoffs by completing a 10-0 season last Saturday with another of their so-familiar solid team efforts which gave them a 12-3 victory over ferocious arch-rival Canton McKinley before 22,371 at Tiger stadium. It was the second largest crowd over there and third largest in the McKinley rivalry.
McKinley failed to score a TD in a game for the first time since the Tigers held them scoreless in 1970.
Their sixth All-American conference title in 10 years, sure-to-come mythical championships from both wire polls – the 13th by the Associated Press – their 25th state title in all and their 19th undefeated season is not what fans are talking about today.
It’s the playoffs.
TIGER COACH Bob Commings spent Sunday morning with his coaches reviewing the McKinley game film, went to Columbus in the afternoon for playoff instructions and returned Sunday night for another film session with his coaches – this one with Princeton films exchanged Sunday.
Princeton had scouted the Tigers in last Saturday’s game with McKinley but Commings has not scouted Princeton.
Playing on the synthetic turf at Ohio State will be “no factor whatsoever,” according to Commings. “We will not practice on Bladwin-Wallace college’s synthetic turf as some people had thought.”
Commings said the OHSAA has bought “the best shoes money can buy” for use Saturday for what Dr. Meyer has termed a “shoe bank” also for use in future games. All teams will see the shoes and the turf for the first time this weekend.
One of the key factors in the Tigers’ winning their 42nd game over the Bulldogs 30 losses and five ties, including 13 of the last 15, was the aerial show put on by quarterback Kevin Westover, split end Greg Sullivan and right halfback Terry Edwards when the Massillon ground game was put to a stop by McKinley’s great defense led by tackle Lee Geiselman and middle guard Mike Carbone.
Ironically, it was the skyways which weren’t good to the Tigers early in the season, but they began to brighten during the last three games. Last Saturday, Westover passed to Sullivan for a touchdown and hit Sullivan, fullback Charles Danzy and Edwards – again playing with a lot of pain from a leg injury – with key possession passes, helping the Tigers to convert seven of 13 third down situations while the Bulldogs could do it only three of 11 times.
THE TIGERS went into the second quarter finding themselves behind for the first time this season after a 35-yard McKinley drive off the opening kickoff and traded pass interceptions by the Tigers’ Tim Gutshall and the Bulldogs’ John Thompson which left the ball on the Massillon 13. Three plays later Ken Bush booted one that just went over from 23 yards out with 3:27 left on the clock.
The Tigers went 78 yards in six second quarter plays following a punt, with the big play being Westover’s aerial, thrown with a couple of Bulldogs close on his heels, which soared 34 yards from third down on the Tigers’ 36. Sullivan outran a McKinley defender at the Bulldogs’ 30, grabbed the pigskin and went in for the TD with 6:51 left.
“That was the most important pass of my life,” Westover said. “I had the option of running or throwing deep. I saw Greg had him beaten and I threw it deep.”
“I just outran my guy,” Sullivan grinned. “It was a great pass and that had to be the most important catch I’ve ever made.” * * * THE TIGERS held for one series – even though roughing the kicked – and moved 77 yards for their second score in 12 plays with Westover throwing 11 and 12-yard passes to Edwards and combining with Danzy on a 12-yard screen before sneaking one yard for the other score with 51 seconds left in the second stanza.
A 25-yard power-pitch sweep by left half Tom Hannon and a seven-yard sweep up the center were also key yardage grabbers, with the latter putting the ball in position for Westover’s TD. Commings played it smart here by not relying on a lot of ball handling on the scoring play.
Hannon was short on both conversion plays but had another sparkling day running, picking up 97 net yards in 28 carries. He came up 30 yards short of the all-time one-season conference rushing record of 1,266 yards, but ended his regular season performance with one that won’t be forgotten.
The second half was all defense with each team getting out of its own territory only twice. Westover threw 35 yards to Sullivan who added three more to set up a first down on the Bulldogs’ 27 late in the third quarter, but missed by inches on fourth down at the 28 just after the start of the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs had missed by about the same margin at the Tigers’ 31 on the series before the Obiemen’s jaunt which had started when Westover’s sneak on fourth down on the Massillon 40 was also agonizingly short. * * * THE ORANGE and Black held again in the goodbye frame when Tim and Dan Gutshall and Dari Edwards smothered Will Grimsley on fourth down at the Bulldogs’ 45 in the fourth, but got nowhere offensively.
The Pups made one last try, with the help of an interference penalty and 19-yard pass from Grimsley to Tom Carver for a first down on the Massillon 38. However, free safety Hannon intercepted the next try on the 20.
McKinley Couldn’t Get the Inches Ho-Hum, It’s the 17th Perfect Slate Ever for Massillon Gang Tigers Eye Initial Shot At Real Title
By BOB STEWART Repository Sports Editor
MASSILLON – The winning locker room is the only place to be.
You don’t have to watch what you say, everyone is happy, smiling and willing to talk.
Such as it was under the stands on the north end of the west side of Tiger Stadium here Saturday.
But he revelry was not raucous in the den of the Tigers, who had just downed archrival, Canton McKinley Bulldogs, by 12-3 to wrap up another (ho-hum) unbeaten season – the 17th in the school’s history.
The gladness was there and the super smiles.
But the air was one of the yeoman, the journeyman, the craftsman – who knows his work well, to the point of artistry – and who has just completed what he was assigned to do.
It was like – “was there every any doubt!”
Perhaps, it’s that this year is unique. It’s the first season there will be a “real” Ohio High School football champion crowned.
The first year of the playoffs set up by the OHSAA will see Massillon representing Region 3 (the northeast) in the Class AAA semifinals next week at Ohio State.
The players, coaches and fans know that this was not the climax this season as it has been 76 times in the past.
There are two more games to go before the Tigers, who claim more mythical state titles (22) than anyone else in Buckeyeland, are to be able to stand up and say, “We’re the real champs.” – : – For Massillon Coach Bob Commings it was euphoric enthusiasm coupled with a certain sense of relief.
The coaches who won’t say it and the fans who will say it are of the opinion that Canton McKinley is the second best team in the state and was the only real threat to the Tiger title aspirations. – : – “Kevin Westover was magnificent,” bubbled Commings.
“His passing was great. Greg Sullivan’s catching was great. The backs ran hard. The defense was superb. And our coach called a great game,” he quipped.
Turing to the serious side, Commings said he was hard pressed to talk about McKinley because he didn’t want to sound insincere.
“It’s really got to sound like all the clichés, but McKinley has a fine football team. I really mean it.”
“Those Bulldogs were tough and they came to play and they hit. They gave it to us for 48 minutes and they have nothing to hang their heads about and I’m as sincere as I can be,” the Bengal boss said, adding it was the toughest McKinley team he’s faced in four years in Tigertown. – : – “I’m really proud of our kids. It’s the first time we were ever behind and nobody was pushing any buttons.”
“Yes, we knew Westover was a fine passer and he showed it today. We knew we had him when it counted and he really came through in the clutch.”
“I can’t say who all did great jobs, but I know Westover and Sullivan and Tommy Hannon really gave it all they had.” – : – “And how about those Gutshall kids. They really played a game in the secondary,” Commings said.
Commings referred to Danny Gutshall, who intercepted McKinley’s first pass and Tim Gutshall, who intercepted another, almost stole two others and broke up a couple more.
Commings also went on to praise the fourth quarter punting by Westover and Todd Cocklin, the junior center.
“Man, on those punts they knew that everybody was coming and Cocklin really fired that ball back there right on the money.”
Regarding punts, of which Massillon didn’t have any until four minutes into the third period, Commings said it was the first “shaky” punt (for 17 yards) that led him to the decision to go for the first down in a crucial third period situation, which could have turned the game around.
The Tigers had it fourth-and-one on their own 40 and decided to try Westover on a sneak for the first. He missed by inches and it gave McKinley new life with great position and 4y minutes left in the third period.
But the Bulldogs tried the same thing four plays later and Chuck Gelal missed his fourth-down plunge by inches, also, on the Massillon 31.
It was three minutes into the final canto when McKinley got the ball back on the Massillon 28.
Brideweser went the first three quarters with junior quarterback Garland Burns and at the onset of the fourth, he put in senior Will Grimsley.
The Burns-running vs. Grimsley-passing argument has split the McKinley followers all season long. – : – Asked if he instituted adjustments at halftime, Commings smiled and said, “We didn’t change anything, I just yelled a lot.”
Commings said McKinley made some adjustments in its defense for this game “that just shut off completely our sweeps…in fact it about ruined our running game. They did a fine job.”
“We didn’t change anything, no defensive switches, no new plays. We didn’t work on stopping any particular part of their game, we just tried to work on stopping everything,” he said. – : – Perhaps no one is more happy, not so much at the outcome of the game, but simply that it’s over, as Sharon Commings, Bob’s lovely and charming wife (sometimes mistaken for his daughter).
Sharon came in the coach’s office and received a well planted kiss and a long, long embrace.
“She’s the one who’s got the ulcer,” said Bob of his wife, who grinned with tears streaming down her face.
“Yes, I’m really glad it’s over, I’m the pessimist in the family, I wasn’t sure we could do it.”
“Yes, the pressure is unbelievable, it’s just tremendous. I’m, glad it’s over,” Sharon said.
Bob must’ve neglected to mention four years ago that coaching at Massillon just isn’t quite like coaching at Struthers…or anywhere else on earth, either!
Hannon, Westover key Tiger Attack
By ART SCHROCK Repository Sportswriter
MASSILLON – The Massillon Tigers’ defense was terrific as usual, but the 12-3 winners also attained their edge on the scoreboard with offensive performances from Kevin Westover and Tom Hannon, the All-American Conference leaders in passing and ground gaining.
Westover, the individual singled out for a job well done by McKinley Bulldog Coach John Brideweser, was sharp, completing six of nine passes for 153 big yards.
The rangy Tiger quarterback picked up 102 yards on two passes to end Greg Sullivan. The first, a 64-yard play, put Massillon head to stay and Kevin was 4-for-5 in the deciding second quarter.
Hannon, although scoreless for the second time in three games, was the cog in Massillon’s ball-control game with his hip-shaking runs. – : – HE TOTED the ball 28 times for a net 97 yards, pushing his season total to 1,236 yards in 231 carries for an average of 5.3 yards per attempt.
The All-American Conference record in rushing is 1,266 by Rick Gales of Niles McKinley in 1969. Willie Spencer of the Tigers totaled 1,251 yards last year.
Westover overshadowed Garland Burns and Willard Grimsley of McKinley, who combined for 6 of 16 passes for 53 yards.
Grimsley, the Bulldogs’ senior signal caller, entered the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter and took to the air. He was 4-for-11, but his final heave was intercepted by Hannon. – : – THE BULLDOGS had three passes intercepted to Massillon’s one.
Massillon led in net yards rushing 140-50. Thirty-seven of McKinley’s ground yards came in the first quarter when fullback Chuck Gelal notched 36 in 11 tries.
Gelal led the Bulldogs’ rushers with a net 50 yards in 17 rushes. Among the other top McKinley runners, Dan Contrucci had only five yards in four carries, Eric Escola was a minus-six yards in two tries and John Barnett failed to gain in his lone tote.
Massillon commanded first downs 12-7. The Tigers were ahead in first downs rushing 7-3 and first downs through the air, McKinley notched a first down on a penalty. – : – THE WINNERS were ahead in total yardage 293-103 and offensive plays 62-50. They led with three penalties for 35 yards to McKinley’s one infraction for five yards.
Neither team lost possession of the ball on a fumble although the Bulldogs fumbled twice and the Tigers once.
McKinley’s John Barnett was superior in the punting department, averaging 37 yards for four boots to an average of 26 yards for three Westover kicks. The Bulldogs averaged 57 yards for their two kickoffs and Massillon averaged 43.3 yards for three kickoffs.
Massillon’s tough defense allowed only one touchdown in the final five games of the regular season and that was a third-quarter score in 34-8 conquest of Alliance. The Tigers have given up only 29 points all year.
Statistics Mass. McK. First downs-rushing 7 3 First downs-passing 5 3 First downs-penalties 0 1 Total first downs 12 7 Yards gained rushing 157 68 Yards lost rushing 17 18 Net yards gained rushing 140 50 Net yards gained passing 153 53 Total yards gained 293 103 Passes attempted 9 16 Passes completed 6 6 Passes intercepted by 3 1 Yardage on passes intercepted 27 2 Times kicked off 3 2 Kickoff average (yards) 43.3 57.0 Kickoff returns (yards) 17 52 Times punted 3 4 Punt average (yards) 26.0 37.0 Punt returns (yards) 2 14 Had punts blocked 0 0 Fumbles 1 2 Lost fumbled ball 0 0 Penalties 3 1 Yards penalized 35 5 Total number of plays 62 50
AAC Standings FINAL League All-Games Team W L Pts. Op. W L Pts. Op. x-Massillon 5 0 81 17 10 0 180 29 McKinley 4 1 104 51 8 2 238 74 Niles 3 2 91 75 8 2 255 106 Steubenville 2 3 51 75 7 3 193 120 Warren Harding 1 4 50 59 5 5 239 98 Alliance 0 5 57 157 2 8 119 234
TIGERS BLAST BULLDOGS 29-6 Nifty Line Play Is Victory Key In 76th Game
By BOB STEWART Repository Sports Editor
The Massillon Tigers came to town Saturday and in two hours at Fawcett Stadium showed the more than 21,000 fans a football aggregation that belies its 8-2 season record.
In a scholastic grid contest unquestionably decided in that 11-inch space known as the line-of-scrimmage the Tigers turned in a 29-6 triumph over the upset-minded but undermanned McKinley Bulldogs.
Massillon finished the season in third place in the All-American Conference with a 3-2 mark. However, the Tigers were but two slender points away from an undefeated season and possibly state recognition.
The pair of one-point losses, to Warren and Niles, made the difference between the Tigers being in contention for the state title, or also-rans in the state and conference.
McKinley concluded its season with a 7-2-1 mark, losing to Warren and tying Niles. The Bulldogs finished fourth in the six-team conference with a 2-2-1 effort. Tigers Dominate Series 41 to 30 The victory by Massillon ups its lead in the 76-game rivalry to 41-30, with five games ending in ties. The Tigers have won 12 of the last 15 contests.
Massillon’s Willie Spencer ran for two Tiger TDs and defensive end Derry Edwards had a day he’ll not soon forget as he intercepted two McKinley passes and ran both back for touchdowns, one 76 yards and the other 58.
But in spite of the fact Spencer’s 12 points gave him the Stark County scoring title for 1971 and he gained 142 yards in 33 carries Saturday to reign as the star runner, the glory for the Tigers belonged to the offensive and defensive linemen.
It was center Steve Studer, guards Scott Graber, Randy Heck and Bruce Christoff, tackles Glenn Weirich and Andre Heath and ends Bob Stephan and Mike McGuire who made the Massillon offense go with their devastating blocking.
In the defensive line, some of the names were the same. Stephan, a great one at 6-3 and 207 pounds, Weirich, the alert Edwards, Studer, end Todd Cocklin and middle guard Larry McLenndon, who doubles as the “other” runner in the Tiger backfield and added 64 yards in 12 rushes to the Massillon cause.
The defensive line put tremendous pressure on McKinley quarterback Jimmy Vance, causing a total of four interceptions. On Edwards’ first TD theft, the pass was deflected by the on-rushing Tiger defensive line.
And the Tigers blocked McKinley’s extra-point kick attempt.
The offensive line, anchored by center Studer in the middle and Stephan on the right side, ripped the Bulldogs defense to allow the backs to pile up 288 yards rushing.
So overwhelming was the Tiger line in the first quarter that Massillon controlled the ball for 23 plays to McKinley’s three. The Pups gained a yard on each of three running plays in that stanza.
Pups’ Big Pain Is Tigers’ Offensive Line Commings Calls It ‘Sweet’
By ART SCHROCK
The sunshine on the leaves of the trees around Fawcett Stadium made the normal yellow color appear a Massillon orange.
Yes, it was a Saturday afternoon for the Massillon Tigers – a game which Massillon Coach Bob Commings termed “a sweet one.”
“Anytime you beat McKinley, it is a great win,” said Commings, dripping wet after being tossed in the shower. *** THE TIGERS gave McKinley’s Bulldogs a steady diet of backs Willie Spencer and Larry “Pookie” McLenndon, with emphasis on the former and the result was a 29-6 triumph.
Spencer, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior tailback, ran with reckless abandon as he led the Tigers. In the big fourth quarter, he couldn’t be stopped on short-yardage situations.
After the Bulldogs closed the deficit to 13-6 with 33 seconds left in the third stanza, Commings called on Spencer to get the first downs when two and three yards were needed. Spencer never failed once on the drive which led to a big touchdown with 5:34 left. *** “WE TOOK IT, to them,” said Commings. “We ran basic football. There was nothing nifty about it, McLenndon and Spencer ran hard. It was just great they way they ran.”
Commings said the shift of Spencer from end on offense to running back this season, “was the move of the year.”
“McKinley hung in there,” said the Massillon mentor.
“The realization of those two one-point losses (to Niles 7-6 and Warren 8-7) sets in. But people now know this is one of the best teams they’ve seen around here.”
“We received an excellent job from the defensive secondary. Hannon (Tom), Thompson (Art); Nussbaumer (Hank) and Jackson (James) all were great. Bill Wonsick came in and did a helluva job.”
Wonsick was a replacement for Jackson, who limped off the field at the start of the fourth quarter. *** COMMINGS also lauded the right guard, Scott Graber, who was the only Tiger on the injured list before the game.
“Scott played the whole game on offense and he hadn’t played one minute in practice all week.” *** “IT’S EVEN bigger than last year because this is my last year. I messed up my knee a little,” said McLenndon, who gained the game’s initial first down with second effort.
Asked if he saved anything for the game with McKinley, Spencer smiled and said: “Everything I had, I saved. I hit my head on a piece of steel out of bounds, but I’m okay now.”
After being injured slightly in the third quarter, Willie jumped up and immediately went back into the game.
Dave Gable, the Tigers’ offensive tackle coach, called the team’s line play the best of the year.
“We deserved a good game. Two penalties cost us. One cost us a touchdown,” said Gable.
QUARTERBACK Scott Dingler, a senior who will go to college but one who hadn’t had a college offer when he was interviewed, added: “We buried them once we started moving.”
“I didn’t call the plays. Most of them come from the bench. Some come from up in the press box. Our defense did the great job they have done all year. It is the biggest thrill of my life,” said the signal caller.
“We knew it,” remarked Commings when asked if he was aware of the pass-catching ability of McKinley’s Artis Zachary, “but we couldn’t do anything about it.”
NICK VROTSOS, the Massillon assistant coach, was on the field end of the phone to the Tiger aides in the press box. He thought for a moment prior to the start of the game that there was a bad connection and of course, he was concerned about some “bugging”.
One fan yelled at Commings, “Why did you take the penalty?” after the Bulldogs scored their lone touchdown on a third-and-seven situation.
The Bulldogs would have had possession with fourth-and-one on the Tigers’ two if the Tigers had not taken the penalty for illegal procedure.
STATISTICS MASS. McK. Total First Downs 22 12 First Downs Rushing 20 4 First Downs Passing 2 8 First Downs Penalty 0 0 Total Offensive Plays 71 45 Net Yards Rushing 288 93 Net Yards Passing 21 162 Mis. Yardage (net) (1-23) 15 Total Offensive Yardage 286 270 Ave. Yds. Per Play (net) 4.0 6.0 Passes Comp.-Att. 4-7 10-20 Passes Had Intercepted 1 4 Net Gain Per Pass 3.0 8.1 Punts 1-29 2-71 Punts Return –Yds. 1-11 0-0 Kickoff Returns-Yds. 2-52 5-79 Interception Returns-Yds. 4-149 1-0 Fumbles-Fumbles Lost 3-1 1-0 Penalties-Yards 5-50 2-10
A relic stands as a tribute to the dedication and determination of a group of young men in whom Coach Bob Commings has placed faith since the spring of 1969.
Of course, the relic is the “Victory Bell” – a treasured locomotive bell which goes to the winner of the Massillon-Canton McKinley football game. * * * COMMINGS HAS insisted this year’s edition of the Tigers – his second – are “quality kids”.
They proved beyond a doubt last Saturday before 22,500 rain soaked football buffs at Tiger stadium they are deserving of Ohio’s No. 1 ranking in the wire services’ Class AAA poll.
It is just a matter of hours before they learn if Saturday’s efforts were enough to maintain the top ranking.
Saturday’s 28-0 conquest of the Bulldogs climaxed a comeback which Commings began here in 1969 with a 7-2-1 club – a team from which many of this year’s Tigers remembered the heart-breaking 14-7 loss to McKinley.
Perfect is perhaps the best adjective to describe the Tigers’ play Saturday – and all season long as the ’70 Washington high gridders provided Massillon football buffs with their 16th unbeaten and untied team – the first since 1965. McKinley ended 8-1-1.
It was almost unbelievable of the Orange and Black’s ability to execute to perfection in the mud and bone-chilling rain Saturday. * * * RIB-ROCKING defensive play resulted in the recovery of two Bulldog bobbles and the theft of a McKinley aerial.
Massillon’s defensive unit allowed the Cantonians but a single stick-mover in the first half and just nine for the game.
Because of the efforts of the defensive unit – better known as the “Attack Pack” – McKinley was forced to the air 14 times. On the other hand, Massillon passed just twice.
Massillon gained 258 yards rushing. Tailback Mike Mauger climaxed a brilliant s eason – his last – with 137 yards in 27 tries. He scored on a pair of four-yard runs and added a bonus run.
Senior Denny Franklin, the all-around quarterback, romped 37 yards for the Tigers’ third six-pointer with the help of a perfect fake by Mauger and a key block by backup tight end Mike McGuire, a junior. Mauger drove into the line over left tackle. The Pups bought the fake and Franklin sailed around left end as McGuire had cut down the last Bulldog who had the only chance to stop the elusive signal-caller. * * * MASSILLON GOT the game’s first break when Larry Harper, the senior wingback established a Massillon-McKinley game record with a 94-yard return of the opening kickoff. Mark McDew set the old standard when he raced 91 yards with the second half kickoff to help the Tigers to a 20-15 win in 1967 – the last time Massillon beat the Bulldogs until Saturday.
Willie Spencer, also playing his last game as a Tiger, climaxed the defense’s outstanding play when he picked off a Jimmy Vance pass and raced 42 yards to the four. His theft set up Mauger’s second TD with 0:18 left.
Mauger now ranks as the third best all-time Massillon scorer, surpassing the 1937 output of 137 points by halfback-fullback Bob Glass.
Saturday’s two six-pointers and the conversion run after Harper’s TD give Mauger 152 points
for the season. His 23 TDs for 1970 ranks second on the all-time Tigers’ list behind Edwin (Dutch) Hill, who tallied 34 TDs in 1922. He now rates as the top scorer of the “Modern Tiger era” – three points better than the 1934 total posted by Heine Krier.
Execution by the line freed Mauger, Franklin, Harper and fullback Cardinal consistently.
Once, however, the Bulldogs did dig in and prohibit the Tigers from scoring. This happened after WHS owned a 16-0 lead. * * * MASSILLON HAD moved 66 yards and tried twice to punch the leather over from inside the one. The second attempt was a crack at right tackle by Mauger. He was stopped 0:40 before the bands took the field.
Junior middle guard Larry McLenndon looked like a fifth back in the Bulldogs’ lineup as he continuously was applying pressure.
He forced junior fullback Artis Zachary to fumble once and Cardinal fell on the leather at the Tigers’ 20 to set up the first WHS sustained drive, which extended into the second stanza.
Mauger ended the maneuver when he slashed over right tackle with 9:31 showing.
Key plays in the drive were a 10-yard counter over left tackle by Harper on a third and eight call, a 13-yard pass over the middle to end Steve Luke to the McKinley 36 on a third and 15 try and an 11-yard burst up the middle by Mauger on fourth and two to the visitors’ 25. * * * CARDINAL’S recovery of Zachary’s fumble halted McKinley’s most serious threat of the game. The threat covered 34 yards and began when Vance intercepted Franklin’s first pass attempt, which had glanced off Harper’s out-stretched hands.
Massillon drove 73 yards in nine plays to make it 22-0. The TD came 9:08 before the bell was tugged through the mud from the McKinley bench. The maneuver began when Vance twice overshot targets in an attempt to pick up 12 yards the Bulldogs needed for a first down.
Mauger carried six times for 26 yards and Harper aided with a nine-yard dart around left end. Franklin accounted for the remainder, with the TD coming on his fancy footwork. The call came on a fourth and two situation. Franklin hit Spencer for the PATs, but the Tigers were penalized for illegal procedure. Harper was stopped at the three when he tried to run it in from the eight.
McKINLEY 0 0 0 0 0 MASSILLON 8 8 0 12 28
SCORING SUMMARY M – Harper, 94 return of opening kickoff (Mauger run); Mauger, 4 run (Harper run); Franklin, 37 run (run failed after penalty nullified pass to Harper); Mauger, 4 run (pass failed).
THE GRIDSTICK M C First downs, rushing 16 6 First downs, passing 0 1 First downs, penalties 1 2 Total first downs 17 9 Yards gained rushing 270 91 Yards lost rushing 12 16 Net gain rushing 258 75 Net gain passing 13 40 Total yards 271 115 Passes attempted 2 14 Passes completed 1 5 Passes intercepted by 1 1 Yardage on passes intercepted 42 5 Times kicked off 5 1 Kickoff average, yards 40.0 54.0 Kickoff returns, yards 94 40 Times punted 1 3 Punt average, yards 34.0 33.3 Punt returns, yards 6 0 Had punts blocked 0 0 Fumbles 0 2 Lost fumbled ball 0 2 Penalties 10 2 Yards penalized 96 20 Touchdowns rushing 3 0 Touchdowns passing 0 0 Touchdowns by interception 0 0 Miscellaneous 1 0 Total plays 56
OFFICIALS Referee – Ted Humphrey. Field Judge – Hugh Davis. Head Linesman – Stanley Evaans. Umpire – Robert Brown. Back Judge – Robert Reidenbach.
TD on Starting Kickoff Spurs Win Over Pups
By ROBERT S. STEWART Repository Sports Editor
MASSILLON – The mighty Massillon Tigers took the field in the rain and mud of Tiger Stadium here Saturday and accomplished just what they set out to do – polish off Canton McKinley’s football team and wrap up another state championship.
The Tigers exploded with a spectacular 93-yard run by fleet halfback Larry Harper to get the 75th annual schoolboy classic under way.
Then Massillon methodically ground out a 28-0 victory over the stubborn Bulldogs from McKinley.
Harper’s dash put the Tigers on top with only 14 seconds gone in the game. Not all of the 22,500 fans who watched the game were even in their seats yet. It looked like the rout many had predicted. Virtually Clinches Title for Tigers But McKinley and the mud combined to hold the score to a respectable 16-0 margin at the start of the final quarter.
The win virtually clinches the state title for Massillon, its first in five years and 12th since the inception of the Associated Press poll in 1947.
Although the formality of the final voting must be awaited, certainly the Tigers will remain the No. 1 team in the state, a spot they held for all but one week this season.
It will be interesting to see where McKinley finishes. The Bulldogs have trailed Massillon and second-ranked Upper Arlington (27-6 winner over Marietta, Friday) as the third-rated team the last few weeks.
McKinley finished its season with eight wins, a 7-7 tie with Niles and the loss to Massillon.
It was the 16th time Massillon has been undefeated and untied in the school’s history.
The 1970 edition of the Tigers moves into the eighth spot on the all-time list of high scoring Massillon teams with 412 points. Defensively, this year’s team is tied for 12th with 29 points allowed. McKinley was the Tigers’ sixth shutout victim.
First year coach John Brideweser of McKinley was disappointed, but not disheartened. The Bulldogs were not hanging crepe in their dressing room. No one left with his head down.
Brideweser, who had been an assistant at Massillon last year, said he felt his kids did a great job Saturday and all year long. The McKinley well-wishers praised the team and noted the 8-1-1 record was much better than expected.
Massillon Wraps Up State Grid Crown 28-0 Commings Crew ‘Fanstatic’
That old railroad bell still is ringing today in Tigertown after the top-rated Massillon Tigers whitewashed the McKinley Bulldogs 28-0 Saturday afternoon and won back the bell after two years of absence from Washington high School.
Carl “Ducky” Schroeder, Tiger tackle coach who has been at Massillon for more than 20 years, summed it up perfectly amidst the delirious post-game celebration in the locker room.
“WE CAME ALL the way back and then some,” said Schroeder, who has helped coach 12 state championship teams in his Massillon tenure and probably will have another Tuesday when the final Associated Press poll is released.
“The kids were just fantastic,” praised Massillon Coach Bob comings as he stood in his dripping wet clothes, fresh from a victory shower.
“We came back the last two years and we’re gonna dominate the state of Ohio again,” said Commings.
“I think we are here for two reasons,” said Commings. “First, I was fortunate to hire the coaches I did and second the kids deserved it because nobody has outworked us this year.”
“WE HAVE QUALITY kids at Massillon High. That’s what we preached two years ago when we first came here. We told them we had to have quality players and we have them now!”
“I think it’s really good because we won. We’re in northeastern Ohio and that’s where the state championship belongs. It’s a matter of pride for the All-American Conference.” Tigers Were ‘Fantastic’ “It’s inconceivable to me how any kids could have worked any harder than we did. There was not one dummy on the field all season. We worked on people.”
“The people in this town have been great to me personally, last year too. If anyone deserves the state title they do. The booster club president (Wilbur Arnold, Jr.) even took two vacations to see that everything came off okay.”
“We played 96 minutes (two games, McKinley and Warren) in the mud this year,” continued the former Mahoning County detective, “and we didn’t have one fumble. That’s a tribute to our coaches since we didn’t have any blows in those games.”
McKINLEY played their game and didn’t make any changes. We played our game and didn’t change.”
“We ran the ball well and our defense looked strong despite the condition of the field.”
“Willie Spencer (two-way end) played a heckuva game today. They all did.”
“Justice was done this year,” Commings concluded.
EMOTION RAN through the Tiger locker room after the game. Players were chanting, “We’re No. 1, We’re No. 1,” from their perches atop the lockers and nearly everywhere else. It was like putting three cans of sardines into one can.
The victory bell seldom stopped ringing.
Tiger assistant coach Nick Vrotsos said, “We’ll have a winner! We won’t have to walk in the alleys this year.” The former Tiger cage mentor looked like a proud poppa as he passed out victory cigars to fellow coaches and friends.
Tiger aide Dale Walterhouse said, “We’re claiming the best linebackers in the state. Steve Luke and Tom Cardinal can move and hit. McKinley has been claiming to have the best linebackers in the state. I guess we proved it today.”
“Luke and Cardinal have been leaders on and off the field. They’re hitters on the field and gentlemen off the field,” said Walterhouse about the Tiger co-captains.
McKinley 28-0 Loser
‘Perfect’ Ending For Massillon
By JOHN SEABURN
MASSILLON – The Massillon Tigers gave the Bulldogs of Canton McKinley a good bit more than they bargained for when the teams clashed before 22,500 here in rain-drenched Tiger Stadium Saturday.
When wingback Larry Harper returned the opening kickoff 93 yards to score, the state’s No. 1 ranked Class AAA team was off to a 28-0 victory in the final game of the year for both teams.
Massillon, relying on the charges of tailback Mike Mauger and the fine leadership of quarterback Dennis Franklin and able to move over a slippery turf while the visiting Bulldogs could not.
The Tigers moved to their 10th victory of the season without defeat, wrested the All-American Conference title from defending champion McKinley, ended the Bulldogs two-year domination of the traditional rivalry and rounded the series off to 40 Massillon wins, 30 triumphs for McKinley (8-1-1) and five ties in the 75th game between the two schools.
Mauger, a 6-1, 200-pound senior, set a school rushing yardage record for its “modern era” (since 1932) by carrying 27 times to gain 137 yards.
He scored twice on runs of four yards, the first time in the second period to help the Tigers to a 16-0 halftime lead and the second time when the Orange and Black seized an opportunity to score in the final 18 seconds of play.