Tag: <span>John Cistone</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1996: Massillon 47, Akron St. Vincent St. Mary 7

Tigers go to the air for win No. 9

By Joe Shaheen
Independent Sports Editor

All you need to know about the thoroughness of the Massillon Tigers 47-7 thrashing of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary Friday night as the Fighting Irish offense couldn’t advance the football past midfield until the 3:45 mark of the third quarter.

By that point, the Tigers had already built a 35‑0 1ead and were substituting liberally as looked they looked ahead to next week’s annual confrontation with the McKinley Bulldogs, who will play host to St. Thomas Aquinas this evening.

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St. Vincent‑St. Mary veteran head coach John Cistone was matter-of-fact about his team’s demise in front of 8,766 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“Massillon is as good a football team as I’ve seen,” he said. “I’ve seen Ignatius on TV. But we scouted about three Tigers games … better … last year .. the last few years. I think. They’re pretty well balance. They’re real strong on the defensive and offensive lines. They pursue well. They have everything to be a great football team.”

The Tigers came into the ninth week wanting to establish some consistency in their passing game to balance an attack that has leaned heavily on the ground game the past three or four weeks. They accomplished that as starting quarterback Ben Hymes connected on 9 of 12 aerials for 195 yards and two touchdowns.

Hymes, who spent a season at St. Vincent-St. Marry before transferring to Massillon, was pleased with his performance.

“We saw some open guys and we threw it to them,” Hymes said with a broad smile. “Yes, I was glad to get a good game throwing the ball under by belt. We’re starting to get it all together going into the Canton McKinley game. We’re polishing it up.”

Hymes’ best throw of the evening came on the Tigers second possession. The Irish had just been flagged for pass interference on Devin Williams, giving Massillon the ball and a first down at the St. Vincent-St. Mary 38.

The Tigers offensive line gave Hymes airtight protection as he dropped back. Eric Lightfoot had a step on the St. V cornerback and Hymes hit him in perfect stride on the post pattern for the touchdown with 5:05 left in the first quarter. Josh Hose’s conversion kick gave Massillon a 14-0 advantage.

It also gave Hymes and the offense an extra dose of confidence, while forcing the Irish (and McKinley next week) to honor the Tigers passing game.

“We wanted to throw the ball better,” said Jack Rose. “The biggest emphasis this week was getting the passing game going again and throwing the ball where it is supposed to go and we did a good job of that.

“We needed to score some points tonight. We needed to hit some big plays. We needed for the quarterback to have some success. We needed to pass protect well. When Ben sets his feet, he’s pretty good. We were a lot more balanced offensively.”

The statistics bear out Rose’s claim. Massillon rushed for 207 yards and passed for 242 yards.

Brian Baer was Hymes’ favorite target this night, snaring four passes for 33 yards. Williams had three catches for 51 yards and a touchdown on a beautifully executed pump-and-go pattern along the left sideline that covered 19 yards with just over a minute remaining in the first half.

Massillon opened the game by marching 72 yards in 14 plays. Christian Morgan carried on seven of those snaps, crashing into the end zone from four yards out at 6:54 of the first period. Hose converted to make it a 7-0 game.

After the Irish went three-and-out, Hymes hit Lightfoot on the post pattern to make it a 14-0 game.

St. Vincent-St. Mary continued to struggle on its second possession. On second and 15 from its own 12, quarterback Rob Adamson went deep. But Lightfoot made a sensational, leaping interception at the 47. The senior safety was escorted down the left sideline by a cadre of Tiger blockers and dove into the end zone for the touch. Hose again was perfect and Massillon led 21-0 with just over four minutes remaining in the first period.

The Irish got one first down on their next possession but were force to punt from their 38. Massillon took over at its 30 and again began to drive the football. On second and 15 from the 25, Hymes hooked up with Baer for 16 yards over the middle. Two plays later it was Hymes and Williams making the connection for 27 yards to the Irish 23.

Six plays later, Elijah Blake found a hole over right guard and scored from three yards out. Hose’s PAT was true and the Tigers owned a 28-0 advantage with 8:33 left in the half.

Massillon upped its cushion to 35-0 at halftime when Hymes and Williams executed the hitch and go from 19 yards out.

The Tigers scored in the third period when Hymes hit fullback Jared Stefanko with a swing pass along the right sideline. Stefanko turned on the jets and 74 yards later was pulled down at the Irish 1. Morgan slashed into the end zone from there and it was a 41-0 game.

“The number one thing we were worried about was a letdown from the week before and looking ahead to the tenth week,” Rose admitted afterward. “Then you’re worried about injuries from guys not playing hard. It has been very difficult this week in the building because people are talking about the Moeller game and the McKinley game. But the kids were well focused and practiced very well all week long.”

As for Hymes, who admitted satisfaction at beating his old teammates, it’s time to prepare for McKinley.

“My main goal is to settle down until I get to the game.” he said. “If I had my choice. I’d be playing the game this Monday instead of next Saturday. This is going to be a long toward playing them for a long time now.”

First downs rushing 12 4
First downs passing 7 2
First downs penalty 1 0
Total first downs 20 6
Net yards rushing 207 91
Net yards passing 242 43
Total yards gained 449 144
Passes attempted 14 15
Passes completed 10 4
Passes int. 1 1
Times kicked off 8 2
Kickoff average 42.3 49.5
Kickoff return yards 32 87
Punts 2 8
Punting average 29.5 29.3
Punt return yards ‑7 ‑1
Fumbles 3 6
Fumbles lost 1 1
Penalties 2 6
Yards penalized 15 50
Number of plays 61 41
Time of possession 28:26 19:34
Attendance 8,766

ST. VINCENT 0 0 0 7 7
MASSILLON 21 14 6 6 47


First Quarter
MASS – Morgan 4 run (Hose kick)
MASS – Lightfoot 38 pass from Hymes (Hose kick)
MASS – Lightfoot 47 pass int. return (Hose kick)

Second Quarter
MASS – Blake 3 run (Hose kick)
MASS – Williams 19 pass from Hymes (Hose kick)

Third Quarter
MASS – Morgan 1 run (kick failed)
ST V – K Alvarado 2 run (Tricomi kick)
MASS – Tony Danzy 47 pass for Tip Danzy (kick failed)



Morgan 20-98, 2 TDs;
Blake 10-42, 1 TD;
Tip Danzy 1-20;
Hodgson 4-7;
Bradley 5-6;
Childs 2-6;
Autrey 1-6;
Hymes 1-4;
Stefanko 1-3.
St. Vincent
K Alvarado 5-56 1 TD;
Morgan 8-18;
Ake 2-14;
Short 5-11.

Hymes 9-12-195-1 2 TDs
St Vincent
Adamson 4-14-53-1;
Cook 0-1

Baer 1-83;
Williams 3-52, 1 TD;
Stefanko 1-73
Duffy Vance 1-47, 1 TD
St. Vincent

Paul Salvino

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1994: Massillon 31, Akron St. Vincent St. Mary 15

Bombs away!
Tigers go to the air to eliminate Irish
Big plays do in the Irish

Independent Sports Editor

The last time the Irish of Akron St. Vincent‑St. Mary’s vi­sited Massillon for a Week 9 football game, it was more trick than treat for the Tigers as the Summit County entry took home a 28‑25 upset victory back in 1991.

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The Tigers took the field Fri­day night determined to learn from history. Despite the dis­traction of the historic 100th meeting with the McKinley Bulldogs looming just a week away, the orange‑and‑black tended to the task at hand and secured a 31‑15 victory at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Massillon, just a week re­moved from a lethargic first half performance at Alliance, came out with both guns blazing on this night. On their very first snap, the Tigers made a state­ment by going for a long bomb. Willie Spencer Jr.’s pass for De­von Williams barely missed connecting, but it drew an ovation from the partisans and put a smile on Spencer’s face.

Tigers coach Jack Rose noted the St. Vincent‑St. Mary’s de­fense almost dared the offense. to throw deep.

“We figured we were going to have to put it up because they put eight or nine guys up on the line,” Rose said. “We threw the deep ball early to try to get them off of us.”

“We were trying to open the game up because their corners were playing right up on the line,” explained Williams. “We showed them early we could beat them with our quickness.”

The first down misfire did not frustrate the Tigers. On second down, Leon Ashcraft picked up 14 yards on a draw play to the Tiger 27. Spencer ran the boot­leg around left end for 17 more on the next play. Two plays la­ter, Spencer found Vaughn Mohler along the right sidelines for 16 yards to the Irish 22 and the Tigers were cooking.

Spencer executed the option to perfection on the next play, pitching the ball to Ashcraft at the last moment as the pair went around left end. Ashcraft, who finished the night with 138 yards on 17 carries, sailed down the left sideline and into the St. Vincent‑St. Mary’s end zone. Nick Pribich added the conver­sion kick and Massillon led 7‑0 at 6:25 of the first period.

The opening drive was in stark contrast to the way things began for the locals a week ago at Alliance.

“We weren’t very good last week,” noted Rose. “We were flat. Every team hits that. That was our (flat) game last week. But that fiasco helped us focus this week‑”

The Tigers struck like light­ning early in the second quarter after an Irish punt to the Massil­lon 45. On second‑and‑10, Spencer found Ashcraft run­ning free along the left sideline and dropped a perfectly thrown pass in his lap. Ashcraft caught the ball near the Irish 30, cut back to the middle of the field at the 15 and was taken down on a shoestring tackle at the 2‑yard line.

On third‑and‑goal, from the one‑yard line, Spencer followed Eddie Evans and Tim Men­denhall into the end zone for a 13‑0 Tigers advantage.

St. Vincent‑St. Mary’s brought a little lightning of its own and pulled it out on its next possession. On first‑and‑10 from their own 33, quarterback Bob Butash executed the play fake and found Joe Gilbride open on a deep post pattern. Butash hit Gilbride at the Mas­sillon 30 and he was off to the races for a 67‑yard touchdown strike to make it a 13‑7 contest at 8:19 of the second quarter.

The Tigers added a field goal late in the first half, marching from their 10 to the Irish 7. Ashcraft’s 23‑yard run on the first play of the drive and Spencer’s 29‑yard scamper on an option keeper one play later keyed the drive. Pribich drilled a 24‑yard field goal with :19 to play in the half to give Massillon a 16‑7 lead at the break.

The third quarter was un­eventful with the exception of a 49‑yard burst by Ashcraft that moved the ball from the Massil­lon 13 to the Irish 38. That drive stalled on downs at the St, V‑St. M 19.

Early in the fourth quarter, Irish defensive back Tony Pierce intercepted the Tigers near midfield but fumbled the ball back to Massillon.

Two plays later, Spencer found Williams on a deep post pattern and the sophomore would not be caught, notching a 48‑yard touchdown catch and run with 11:05 to play.

Tigers holder Mark Hiegl kept the ball on a fake conver­sion kick, sweeping around right end for the two‑point con­version and a 24‑7 lead.

“That was the big one,” sighed Irish coach John Cistone of the double turnover. “It turned it around. You’re still in the game and you think you’re going to have good field posi­tion, then boom. Then they get the big touchdown. That knocks you down, especially when you’re young. It makes it tough to come back.”

“I was just trying to get a good fake so they would bite on the run,” said Spencer of the touchdown bomb. “I watched Devon all the way. I just threw it up there and I got hit hard. But, the line gave me great pro­tection tonight.”

“Willie took a big hit on that touchdown pass,” observed Rose. “I was really proud of the way he stood in there. He took a hit on his blind side on that play. But he stood in there and stood in there and delivered a beauti­ful ball, You can’t make a much better pass than that. Devon kept running and caught up with it and made the great catch.”

The Tigers, 8‑1 going into next week’s showdown with the Bull­dogs, wrapped it up with a 10‑play, 62-yard drive, capped by Jeremy Fraelich’s six‑yard burst up the middle and into the end zone. Pribich’s boot made it 31‑7.

The Irish scored on an 18‑yard touchdown pass with eight seconds to play, as both teams had their reserves on the field.

First downs rushing 11 9
First downs passing 5 4
First downs penalty 0 0
Total first downs 16 13
Net yards rushing 255 126
Net yards passing 169 116
Total yards gained 424 242
Passes attempted 18 15
Passes completed 7 6
Passes int. 1 0
Times kicked off 6 3
Kickoff average 47.0 37.0
Kickoff return yards 89 100
Punts 2 7
Punting average 33.5 33.0
Punt return yards 1 0
Fumbles 0 2
Fumbles lost 0 1
Penalties 0 3
Yards penalized 0 16
Number of plays 60 47
Time of possession 24:17 23:43

ST. VINCENT 0 7 0 8 15
MASSILLON 7 9 0 15 31


First Quarter.
M ‑ Ashcraft 26 run (Pribich kick)

Second Quarter
M ‑ Spencer 1 run (kick failed)
St. V ‑ Gilbride 67 pass from Butash (Hlivko kick)
M ‑ Pribich 24 FG

Fourth Quarter
M ‑ Williams 58 pass from Spencer (Hiegl run)
M ‑ Fraelich 6 run (Pribich kick)
St. V ‑ Hlivko 18 pass from Whitney (Knott pass from Whitney)


Ashcraft 17‑138;
Spencer 11‑61, 2 TDs;
Lewis 7‑32;
Fraelich 4-­22, 1 TD;
Turner 1‑4;
Hiegl 1 ‑(minus‑2).
St. Vin­cent ‑ Knott 16‑82, Lazar 4‑36, Whitney 3‑21, LaCause 6‑9, Butash 3‑(minus‑22).

Spencer 7‑18‑169‑1, 1 TD.
St. Vincent
Butash 5‑10‑98, 1 TD;
Whit­ney 1‑5, 18, 1 TD.

Ashcraft 3‑78;
Mohler 3‑33;
Williams 1‑58, 1 TD.
St. Vincent
Shenigo 1‑25;
Gilbride 1‑67, 1 TD;
Hlivko 1‑18, 1 TD;
Knott 1‑3;
LaCause 1‑3.

Leon Ashcraft

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1992: Massillon 44, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 0

Tigers win in rout

Tigers roar to emotional win

Players dedicate game to coach’s hospitalized son

Independent Sports Editor

The Massillon Tigers spent the week praying for 2‑year‑old Christopher Rose. On Friday, they played for him. Did they ever play. The Tigers dedicated the game to Christopher, hospital­ized son of head coach Jack Rose. Then they went out and clobbered Akron St. Vincent‑St. Mary 44‑0.

“We played this game for Coach Rose and his son,” said senior tight end Todd Peters. “They were in our hearts the whole game.”

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Rose kept an upbeat attitude during a four‑game losing streak that ended last week with a 38‑0 win over Bloomington South. He has done the same thing while Christopher battles congestive heart failure in Akron Children’s Hospital.

”I didn’t know they had done that (dedicate the game to Christopher) until after the game,” Rose said shortly before leaving Paul Brown Tiger Stadium to be with his wife, Denise and son at the hospital. “I appreciate them and the coaches for all they did;’

Rose said medication seems to have improved Christopher’s condition, which he developed several months after undergoing open‑heart surgery. “It’s been a tough week,” Rose said. “It kind of puts this (football) in perspective.”

It is difficult to explain why the Tigers, 4‑4, could so thoroughly dominate St. Vincent‑St. Mary. The Fighting Irish are 3-5, but they were competitive last week in a 17-0 loss Youngstown Cardinal Mooney, the team that clobbered Canton McKinley early in the season.

“I guess we’re not as good as I thought,” said Irish head coach John Cistone. “Maybe playing Mooney and Massillon back to back was too much . this year, anyway. That’s the worst we’ve played since 1970, when Massillon had that great team.” Cistone was talking about a 68‑7 loss to Bob Commings’ state championship team of 22 years ago. “Massillon,” added Cistone, “has an awful big offensive line. They manhandled us on the inside. And (quarterback Mike) Danzy was too quick to the outside for our ends. “Put that together with all our turnovers (two fumbles, three interceptions) and I guess this is what happens.”

For the second straight week, the Tigers rolled up a 38-0 lead before the fourth quarter then brought in numerous backups. For the second straight week, they fashioned a shutout. “The defense,” noted Rose, “has played well all year.”

One of the senior defenders, nose guard William Shahan, said the players never got down during the losing streak. “Coach Rose told us, ‘Keep chopping wood … keep chopping wood.’ We did, and we’re coming up with a lot of intensity. If we keep playing like this the last two weeks, we should do great.”

Not all of the Tiger starters took a rest because the game was a blowout. Senior safety/running back Dan Haceknbracht suffered a foot injury in the second quarter and finished the game in street clothes. “It’s a sprain,” Hackenbracht said. “I’ll be all right.” Team doctor Robert Erickson said he will examine Hackenbracht this morning. Erickson said the injury is unrelated to the broken ankle that cost Hackenbracht most of his junior year.

Senior Marty Gugov filled in for Hackenbracht and set up two touchdowns, first by causing and recovering a fumble, then by making an interception. “This was a big game for the team,” Gugov said. “It was a real great team effort.”

The Tigers took the opening kickoff and set the tone early. They drove 62 yards in 12 plays, using four ball ‑carriers on a smash‑mouth march. Danzy sneaked in from the 1 for the touchdown, Jason Brown kicked the P.A.T., and it was 7‑0. The drive consumed nearly half the first quarter.

The defense forced St. Vincent to punt after three plays but an effective punt pinned the Tigers at their own 12. If there was a turning point in the game, it may have been a third‑and‑long completion from Danzy to Peters that went for 21 yards. “We sent two guys deep and one guy over the middle,” Peters said. “They can only put so many defenders on so many people. ”

Danzy danced to his right on a bootleg and hit the man who crossed the middle, Peters. It was the key play in a 14‑play, 88‑yard march that included a 22‑yard counter‑gap run by Andre Stinson and a 1‑yard touchdown plunge by Hackenbracht. Brown’s kick made it 14‑0 with 9:42 left in the second quarter. The drive consumed 6:41.

St. Vincent’s next possession ended when Gugov stripped third‑year starting quarterback Josh Zwisler of the ball. Gugov recovered at the Irish 41, setting up a booming 32‑yard field goal by Brown that may have been good from 15 yards deeper. There was 5:30 left in the first half, and Massillon had already dented St. Vincent for as many points as Mooney did in an entire game.

With less than a minute left in the half, linebacker Vic Murray jarred the ball loose from Irish running back Cameron Pooler. Tiger senior Paul Schroeder recovered near midfield.

On third down from the Irish 43, Danzy rolled right and unloaded a bomb to junior Eddie Griffith, who had raced behind a cornerback and a safety. Griffith caught the ball cleanly in the end zone and Brown delivered the kick to make it 24‑0 at the 0:03 mark of the first half.

For the second straight week, Danzy played one series at quarterback in the second half. It was a quick one. Gugov’s interception gave the Tigers the ball in the opening moments of the third quarter. Danzy connected with Peters for a 24‑yard touchdown, and Brown’s kick made it 31‑0 with 10: 37 left in the third quarter.

The backup offensive players maintained the pace. With 7:22 left in the third quarter, junior quarterback Mike Utterback tossed a 14‑yard TD pass to Leon Ashcraft. Brown’s kick made it 38‑0 with 7:22 left in the third quarter.

Ali Dixon scored on a 4‑yard run with 8:56 left in the game to create the 44‑0 final.

Tim Menches’ interception in the end zone preserved the shutout.

The Tigers will take on struggling Youngstown East next Friday before playing host to arch‑rival McKinley. “We’re on a roll , right now,” concluded Peters. “We’ve got to go after it.


M St. V
First down: rushing 18 5
First down passing 7 4
First downs by penalty 1 0
Totals first downs 26 9
Yards gained rushing 284 134
Yards lost rushing 7 17
Net yards rushing 277 117
Met yards passing 145 56
Total yards gained 422 173
Passes attempted 12 11
Passes completed 8 5
Passes int. 0 3
Times kicked off 8 1
Kickoff average 49.3 53.0
Kickoff return yards 30 96
Punts 1 2
Punting average 31.0 33.0
Punt return y yards 0 0
Fumbles 2 4
Fumbles lost 1 2
Penalties 2 6
Yards penalized 15 36
Number of play 65 42
Time of possession 27:39 20:21
Attendance 10,497

St. Vincent 0 0 0 0 0
Massillon 7 17 14 6 44

M ‑ Danzy 1 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ Hackenbracht 1 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ FG Brown 32
M ‑ Griffith 43 pass from Danzy(Brown kick)
M ‑ Peters 24 pass from Danzy (Brown kick)
M ‑ Ashcraft 14 pass from Utterback (Brown kick)
M ‑ Dixon 1 run (kick failed)


(M) Stinson 11‑72, Copeland 10‑54, Danzy 7‑20, Selmetz 1‑6, Hackenbrachl 5‑12. Dixon 6‑26, Ashcraft 4‑7, Arney 5‑61, Riley 2‑26, Hock 1‑3.
(St. V) Pooler 14‑66, Haller 6‑6, Zwisler 3‑(minus)3, James 5‑41, Shenigo, 3‑7.

(M) Danzy 4‑8‑0 94, Utterback 4‑4‑0 51.
(St. V) Zwisler 3‑8‑1 33, Haller 2‑3‑1 23.

(M) Peters 2‑45, Griffith 1‑43, ‑Manson 2‑22, Ashcraft 1,14, Elder 1‑6, Westland 1‑15
(St. V) Pooler 2‑14, Close 1‑19, Frattura 1‑12, Gilbride 1‑11.

Dan Hackenbracht
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1991: Massillon 25, Akron St. Vincent St. Mary 28

Tigers wounded by St. Vincent

Ashcraft, Woullard say they’ll play against Bulldogs

Independent Sports Editor

The recovery will be painful as the Massillon Tigers attempt to restore the glow on their 1991 football season.

As head coach Lee Owens put it, “No matter what you try to say, there’s never anything good about a loss,” including Friday’s 28‑25 setback to Akron St. Vincent‑St. Mary in front of 12,300 on a warm October night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

So it was when the Tigers lost 14‑7 to Cleveland St. Joseph on a frozen night the ninth week of the 1989 season. That year’s team recovered ‑‑ after a grim week of practice for McKinley ‑ to beat the Bulldogs and win two playoff games.

“There’s really no magic ab­out trying to come back,” Owens said. “I’ve had a lot of confidence in this team all sea­son and that’s not going to change now. We’ll just prepare as hard as we can, as always. We’ll make every effort to be as well prepared as we can.”

The Tigers had to adjust Fri­day to two things they hadn’t prepared for ‑ in‑game in­juries to “rob” (read outside backer) defensive end Jason Woulland and fullback Falando Ashcraft,

On the first series of the game, Woullard suffered what was diagnosed as a bruised (not separated, as one fast‑traveling rumor had it) right shoulder. In the third quarter, Ashcraft sus­tained a sprained right knee judged to be less serious than the one that knocked quarter­back Nick Mossides out of the fifth game of the season. Ashcraft’s injury was initially thought to be a sprained ankle; in fact, he was helped off the field after the game with no shoe on his right foot, and his ankle heavily wrapped. After the game, he climbed out of a cold whirlpool bath and de­clared, “I’ll, be all right.”

Woullard, like Ashcraft, said he would be able to play against McKinley.

No one can deny the injuries hurt the Tigers. Ashcraft had rushed for 75 yards at the time of his injury, pushing his season total to 998 (Travis McGuire gave the Tigers 135 rushing yards, lifting his season total to 1,113). Woullard has quietly had a superb season in one of the Tigers’ most demanding defen­sive positions.

On the other hand, no one was denying St. Vincent is an out­standing team. The Fighting Ir­ish, whose 7‑2 record is the same as the Tigers’, clinched a Division III playoff spot and could be back at Tiger Stadium next month playing for a state title.

“St. V played a great game,” Owens said. “They beat us phy­sically and they beat us a couple of times at the skill positions.”

Third‑year starter Chris “Juice” Campbell set a record for most yardage by a wide re­ceiver facing Massillon in catching five passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns. He is simply a magnificent athlete, and he still looked fresh at the end despite playing full‑time on offense and defense, and on kickoff teams.

Irish tailback Larry Hender­son also showed flashes of bril­liance but was generally con­tained (27 on one carry, 31 yards over nine other lugs) before he left the game with a cramped thigh. Henderson’s replace­ment, junior Cameron Puhler, hardly cramped St. V’s style af­ter entering the game in the third quarter. He rushed 13 times for 77 yards. Puhler ‘ whose efforts were key in touch­down drives that reversed what had been a 17‑7 Massillon lead was billed in advance by Irish head coach John Cistone as an outstanding back. So, he was a surprise only to those unfamil­iar with the Irish.

Everything was going the Ti­gers’ way at the start of the third quarter. They emerged from the locker room with a dominating offensive march that expanded a 10‑7 halftime lead to 17‑7. Then they stuffed the first Irish offensive posses­sion of the second half and got the ball back on a punt.

The Tigers drove 65 yards for a touchdown on the opening series of the second half. Ashcraft opened the drive with five smashing carries for 40 yards. It was third down from the 9 when McGuire made one of his most spectacular runs of the season, taking a short pass from Mossides near the line of scrimmage, advancing the ball to the 3 where he was met by a swarm of defenders, then fight­ing and spinning his way through St. V’s Bosco Pearson, Brandon Stancliff, Henderson and Craig Hoffman. All four wound up on the sand turf, with McGuire in the end zone.

Brown’s P.A.T. kick made it 17‑7 with 7:43 left in the third quarter.

The turning point of the game came midway through the third period, on second‑and‑eight from the Massillon 42. Hender­son, playing defensive back, in­tercepted a tipped pass from Nick Mossides and returned it 27 yards to the Massillon 39; Henderson pulled up lame after the run and never returned.

St. Vincent’s next play was a 23‑yard pass to Campbell. The Irish scored on third‑and‑eight when junior quarterback Josh Zwisler hooked up with flanker Bosco Pearson on a 14‑yard scoring pass to the right flat. Ed Jamison’s P.A.T. boot made it 17‑14 with 3:26 left in the third quarter.

The Tigers then started their first series after Ashcraft’s in­jury. They punted after three plays.

Two plays later, Zwisler lob­bed a bomb over the middle, and Campbell ran under it for the catch and a 48‑yard gain to the Tiger 25. Puhler’s running took care of the rest of the 71‑yard drive. A 17‑yard gain put the ball on the 4, and he scored on the next play. Jamison’s kick made it 21‑17, St. V, with 10:44 left in the game.

A squib kick left the Tigers buried on their own 10, and they again had to punt after three plays. The Irish got the ball on the Massillon 42, and scored on a 33‑yard play on which Camp­bell ran under a bomb along the right sideline. Jamison’s kick again was good, and it was 28-­17, St. V, with 6:25 left in the game.

The Tiger offense responded with its most impressive scor­ing possession of the night, 55 yards in six plays, eating up just 1:56.

A 13‑yard run by McGuire, a 15‑yard Mossides pass to Marc Stafford, and a 14‑yard Mos­sides pass to McGuire set up McGuire’s 4‑yard TD run on first‑and‑goal. The Tigers went for two so they could close the gap to a field goal, and suc­ceeded when McGuire hit Greg Paul on an option pass.

It was 28‑23 with 4:29 left in the game.

“I felt real good about our chances if we got the ball back,” Owens said. ‘”The offense showed a lot of deter­mination, on that drive.”

Essentially, the game came down to a third‑and‑eight play with the clock winding toward the 2 1/2‑minute mark. With the ball on the Irish 33, Puhler took the ball on a sprint draw, in the face of a blitz, dodged a tackler, and sprinted up the middle 12 yards for a first down to the 45. Puhler ran 10 yards on the next play, and from there the Irish had no trouble running out the clock.

Massillon had dominated the first half, except for the game’s opening series when Campbell burst over the middle on a third-and‑nine and was wide open when he caught a Zwisler pass in stride en route to a 64‑yard touchdown play.

It was 7‑0 with 61 seconds gone in the game.

The Tigers struck back quick­ly, driving 66 yards in seven plays, ignited by a 14‑yard com­pletion to Terry Holland. On first down from the 9, McGuire broke up the middle, broke two tackles and burst into the end zone. Jason Brown’s booming P.A.T. boot to the top row of the north end zone made it 7‑7 just 1:57 after Campbell’s TD.

Following a missed 45‑yard St. Vincent field goal try, the Ti­gers drove 67 yards before run­ning out of downs at the 13. The Tigers quickly got the ball back on a Henderson fumble and Jonathon Jones’ recovery at the Massillon 40. The Tigers drove 56 yards to the 4 before settling for a 21‑yard field goal by Brown. It was 10‑7 with 8:56 left in the half.

It stayed that way at half­time, at which point St. Vincent led 178‑175 in total offense.

The Irish wound up with a 386­-309 edge in total offense.

The Tigers still have a solid chance to make the playoffs for the third straight year and seventh time overall.

However, Owens said, “The playoffs are the last thing on my mind right now.”

The Tiger locker room was not a happy place. Outside the locker room, a woman walked toward a park­ing lot on the outside of a fence. “Yea, Tigers,” she said. “I still love you.”

St. Vincent head coach John Cistone was happy but not gloating after the game.

First downs rushing 12 7
First downs passing 4 7
First downs by penalty 2 0
Totals first downs 18 14
Yards gained rushing 225 162
Yards lost rushing 6 8
Net yards rushing 219 154
Net yards passing 90 232
Total yards gained 309 386
Passes attempted 15 19
Passes completed 8 9
Passes int. by 0 1
Times kicked off 5 5
Kickoff average 49.2 50.0
Kickoff return yards 108 83
Punts 4 3
Punting average 35.0 36.7
Punt return yards 12 15
Fumbles 0 1
Fumbles lost 0 1
Penalties 1 9
Yards penalized 5 53
Number of plays 59 53
Time of possession 24:24 23:36
Attendance 12,300

St. VINCENT 7 0 7 14 28
MASSILLON 7 3 7 8 25

SV ‑ Campbell 64 pass from Zwisler (Jami­son kick)
M ‑ McGuire 9 run (Brown kick)
M ‑ Brown 21 FG
SV ‑ Pearson 14 pass from Zwisler (Jamison kick)
SV ‑ Puhler 4 run (Jamison kick)
SV ‑ Campbell 33 pass from Zwisler (Jami­son kick)
M ‑ McGuire 3 run (Good pass from McGuire)


(Massillon) McGuire 23‑135, Ashcraft 16‑75, Mossides 1‑0, Seimetz 2‑5, Stafford 1‑4;
(St. Vincent) Henderson 10‑58, Pethel 6‑15, Zwisler 4‑4, Puhler 13‑77.

(Massillon) Mossides 8‑15‑90, 1 TD, 1 int.;
(St. Vincent) Zwisler 9‑19‑232, 3 TDs.

(Massillon) Holland 1‑19, Stafford 2‑41, Ashcraft 1‑4, McGuire 4‑26;
(St. Vincent) Campbell 5‑191, Pethel 1‑3, Frattura 1‑22, Henderson 1‑2, Pearson 1‑14.

Eric Wright
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1989: Massillon 28, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 21

Time stands still as Tigers run by Irish 28-21 in OT

Independent Sports Editor

The clock quit. The Massillon Tigers didn’t

They’ll fix the clock at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Or replace it.

The Tigers don’t need fixed. Their 28-21 overtime victory over Akron
St. Vincent-St. Mary in front of 10,822 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium left them looking like they’d just had an oil change, tune-up and wax job.

And the fans certainly don’t want to replace them. They’re taking a shine to this group that now seems to be streaming toward the playoffs, so far with a 5-1 record.

Program Cover

The clock started acting quirkly in the first half, despite a Thursday visit by a repair crew that spent hours tinkering with it.

They didn’t even bother to turn it on for the second half, when time was kept on the field.

In the end, they didn’t even need stopwatches, because the game went to overtime tied at 21-all.

In overtime, each team gets a turn with the ball 20 yards away from the end zone. The team that scores more points on its possession wins. If neither team outscores the other the first time this is done, they do it again; in fact, high school overtime could go on endlessly in theory, since there are no ties in Ohio high school football.

This brief explanation of overtime is necessary, since the Tigers have played only one other overtime contest, last year’s 10-7 victory over McKinley.

In fact, one Tiger player spent the joyous aftermath yelling “McKinley flashbacks” to teammates.

This one went to overtime only after some scary Fitch flashbacks.

Last year, Austintown-Fitch beat the Tigers 20-19 on a game-ending 43-yard field goal. With 30 seconds left in regulation last night, St. Vincent’s Jerry Arney, who had kicked several extra points to kingdom come, lined up for a 43-yard field goal try aimed at breaking a 21-all tie.

“I didn’t think this kick was going to make it,” Massillon coach Lee Owens said. “Their kicker had struggled with extra points coming into this game. For some reason, he was booming the extra points tonight, but this was a lot longer than an extra point.”

Tiger fans didn’t have to hold their breath for long. Arney’s kick never had a chance. It duck-tailed to the left, crashing into the TV-25 banner on the fence behind the end zone.

So it went to overtime.

Massillon senior Desmond Carpenter, who earlier recovered a teammate’s fumble in the end zone for a touchdown, said he sensed the right stuff among his teammates.

“I saw a lot of pride out there,” he said. “We got down in the second half. We had the lead (21-7) but they caught us. Then it came down to heart and determination.”

And maybe some good play-calling.

The Irish won the overtime-coin flip and elected to give Massillon the ball first.

“That way you get to see what the other team does, and you know exactly what you have to do on your possession,” said Irish coach John Cistone.

Cistone didn’t like what he saw on first down. Massillon quarterback Lee Hurst, who had been effective keeping the ball on bootleg runs through most of the night, made as if he was bootlegging one more time. The ball, meanwhile, had been given to running back Lamonte Dixon, who sprinted left while Hurst disappeared right.

“The bootleg had been working pretty well and they had to pay attention to it,” Owens said.

Dixon, who had carried only 10 times to that point, dashed to the 6 for a 14-yard gain. On first-and-goal, Ryan Sparkman churned to the 4.

“That put them in a position where they had to respect the inside run,” Owens said.

On second down, while the Irish were respecting just that, Hurst was bootlegging again – 4 yards for a touchdown around left end.

Gary Miller’s PAT kick made it 28-21.

The crowd began chanting, “defense!” as loudly as you will hear it at Tiger Stadium. On fourth-and-one from the 11, though, Irish quarterback Phil Lenz penetrated the defense to the 5, and the visitors were back in business.

But not for long. They never penetrated the 5. Lenz lost a half-yard on first down and running back David Vincent was stopped for no gain on second down. On third down, inside linebacker Craig Turkalj shot through a gap to stuff Vincent for a 1½ hard loss.

“For some reason, the Packers-Cowboys championship game from the 1960s popped into my mind,” Turkalj said. “that was the ice bowl game. Those two teams just lined up down by the goal line and went at it.”

“Our goal-line down linemen (Tom Menches, Mark McGeorge, Scott Sirgo and Brent Bach) made it happen. They knocked everybody out of the way and I had a clean shot to the ball carrier.”

McGeorge said it was a matter of “everybody selling out.”

“I was just thinking ‘root hog.’ You crawl through the offensive linemen’s legs and create a big pile.”

It was fourth-and-goal from the seven. It wasn’t over. Cistone called a pass play. Lenz had a man open near the right corner of the end zone.

“They caught us,” Turkalj said. “It was a good call.”

But the pass fell incomplete. The game was over. The Tigers moved to next week’s game against Indianapolis North Central with a 5-1 mark. The Irish went into next week’s game against Youngtown Cardinal Mooney with a 3-2 record.

“With the schedule we play,” Owens said, ‘we’re going to be in some tight games. The great teams and the ones that find a way to win at the end of games like this one.”

“St. Vincent-St. Mary is a great team, too. It’s too bad somebody had to lose.”

Cistone certainly agreed with that. He spent a long time after the game muttering to himself and to other coaches that this one shouldn’t have gotten away.

But in the end he told his team, “You played a helluva game. That’s all I can tell you. I couldn’t ask for any more.”

Hurst figured in three of the Tigers four touchdowns, passing for one and running for two. The senior signal caller passed for 148 yards, giving him 984 on the season. He is on course to challenge the single-season Massillon passing record of 1,604 yards by Brian Dewitz in 1983 – and Dewitz needed 13 games to reach that figure.

Rameir Martin, who caught the touchdown pass on a 10-yard play in the first quarter, had another big night. The 6-foot-4 senior end caught six passes for 54 yards. He has caught 356 yards worth of aerials this year, putting him within striking distance of Marty Guzzetta’s single-season team record of 706 (11 games) set in 1979.


M St. V
First downs rushing 8 8
First downs passing 7 4
First downs by penalty 0 0
Totals first downs 15 12
Yards gained rushing 148 195
Yards lost rushing 18 13
Net yards rushing 130 182
Net yards passing 148 72
Total yards gained 278 254
Passes attempted 28 18
Passes completed 13 8
Passes int. by 2 0
Times kicked off 4 4
Kickoff average 56.3 44.3
Kickoff return yards 36 34
Punts 7 6
Punting average 35.6 41.2
Punt return yards 16 98
Fumbles 2 6
Fumbles lost 1 3
Penalties 2 3
Yards penalized 10 28
Number of plays 63 61
Time of possession 23:23 24:37
Attendance 10,822

Individual Statistics
(M) Dixon 11-39, Hurst 10-31, Sparkman 13-53. Manion 1-7.
(St. V) Carter 6-26, Lenz 10-56, Butash 2-8, Vincent 16-45, Campbell 7-45, Flynn 1-2.

(M) Hurst 13-28-2 148.
(St. V) Lenz 8-18-0 72.

(M) Martin 6-54, Sparkman 4-38, Carpenter 1-11, Harig 1-33, Manion 1-12.
(St. V) Campbell 2-25, Ferrer 2-33, Palko 1-18.

St. Vincent 0 7 7 7 0 21
Massillon 7 6 8 0 7 28

M – Martin 10 pass from Hurst (Miller kick)
St. V – Vincent 1 run (Arney kick)
M – Hurst 14 run (kick failed)
M – Carpenter fumble recovery in end zone (Harig pass from Hurst)
St. V – Campbell 19 pass from Lenz (Arney kick)
St. V – Lenz 8 run (Arney kick)
M – Hurst 4 run (Miller kick)

Tigers’ QB
takes game in own hands

Repository sports writer

MASSILLON – Massillon Washington High School quarterback Lee Hurst couldn’t think of a better person to get the ball on second-and-goal from the 4 in overtime of Friday night’s game against Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary.

Hurst, who was intercepted by Joseph Adolph at the Irish 13 as the Tigers were driving for the winning touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, said he was the man for the job.

Hurst got his opportunity and carried the ball untouched around left end after faking a handoff to the right. Hurst’s TD, which came three plays into the overtime, and Gary Miller’s third PAT of the evening gave the Tigers a 28-21 lead.

Massillon’s defense turned the lead into the Tigers’ fourth victory of the season when it held the Irish on fourth-and-goal at the 7. Massillon is 4-1, while St. Vincent-St. Mary dropped to 3-2.

After gaining 15 yards to the Massillon 5 on three plays in their overtime possession, the Irish were pushed back two yards. On fourth-and-goal, Irish quarterback Phil Lenz’ pass to the goal line was overthrown, sending most of the 10,822 fans in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium into a frenzy.

“We had no doubt we’d stop them,” said Massillon outside linebacker Joe Pierce. “When it gets down to a situation where we have to hold them in OT, we know we can get the job done.”

Hurst certainly got the job done when it counted. After a 14-yard gain by Lamonte Dixon and a two-yard gain by Ryan Sparkman in overtime, Hurst knew it was time for him to win the game.

“That’s the play I was hoping for,” said Hurst, who rushed for 31 yards and completed 13-of-28 pases for 148 yards, one TD and two interceptions. “It had worked a couple times earlier in the game, and I knew me and the line could make it work again.”

Hurst almost didn’t have the opportunity to make up for his two interceptions. With 38 seconds left in regulation, St. Vincent-St. Mary place-kicker Jerry Arney had a chance to win the game with a 48-yard field goal.

His kick was long enough, but wide left.

“We played a heckuva game, but it’s hard to be satisfied with just that,” said St. Vincent-St. Mary head coach John Cistone. “We should have won the game. Arney has the leg to make that field goal.”

Massillon head coach Lee Owens was somewhat concerned with the way the Tigers couldn’t put the Irish away after going on top 21-7 seven plays into the third quarter. He also is a little concerned with the way the Irish’s wishbone backfield effectively ran the counter play on offense while piling up 182 yards rushing.

Owens, however, wasn’t worrying about all that Friday night.

“When it came eight down to winning the ball game, the kids came through,” Owens said. “Lee showed the type of leader he is, and then the defense held on to give us the win. You can’t ask for much more than that.”

Massillon opened the scoring after Eddie Williams recovered one of the three fumbles
St. Vincent-St. Mary lost. The Tigers took the ball from the St. Vincent-St. Mary 32 and drove 10 plays in 6:40.

Hurst, who gained six yards rushing on a fourth-and-5 play during the drive, capped the drive with an 11-yard TD pass to Rameir Martin. The pass was one of six passes Martin caught for 54 yards.

Punt returner Don Blake set up Massillon’s second score by returning a punt seven yards to the Irish 37 with 5:01 left in the first half. Four plays later, Hurst faked a handoff left and went around right end for a 14-yard TD run. Miller missed the PAT, and Massillon led 13-7.

Hurst also had the key plays in the Tigers’ third TD drive. After the second-half kickoff, Hurst led the Tigers down field by completing an eight-yard pass to Martin and a 33-yarder to tight end Doug Harig.

Sparkman, who led the Tigers with 53 yards rushing, carried the ball to the goal line; but was hit and fumbled into the end zone. Desmond Carpenter recovered in the end zone for the Tigers TD.

St. Vincent-St. Mary 0 7 7 7 0 21
Massillon 7 6 8 0 7 28

M – Martin 10 pass from Hurst (Miller kick)
S – Vincent 1 run (Arney kick)
M – Hurst 14 run (Kick failed)
M – Carpenter fumble recovery in end zone
(Harig pass from Hurst)
S – Campbell 19 pass from Lenz (Arney kick)
S – Lenz 8 run (Arney kick)
M – Hurst 4 run (Miller kick)

Rameir Martin
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1985: Massillon 13, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 3

Tigers finish street fight on top 13-3

Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ It was a street fight with white lines instead of double yellow, the Massillon Tigers’ 13‑3 victory over Akron St. Vincent‑St. Mary Friday night.

“If you ever saw a good fighter get up after he was knocked down…” John. Maronto’s clause had punch enough to render a sentence unnecessary.

The Fighting Irish ‑ just the right nickname ‑ were knocked down all right 2‑4 coming in.

The game, which left the Tigers at 6‑2 going out, left no hearts stopped. The non-allure of a team with a losing record produced a season‑low crowd of 9,243.

Program Cover

But inside the binoculars, and down at ringside, there was plenty of Ali‑Frazier in this.

“There was some serious hitting,” said Tiger linebacker Jerrod Vance, who was doing his slugging for the Irish a year ago, then decided to transfer to Massillon.

“I don’t think they were as good as some of the other teams we’ve played. But they were more pumped up. Part of it was because of me, I guess.

“I was getting weird feelings from those guys, with all the hitting and all the talk down there. But that’s the way it had to be.”

In the end, the Tiger, took the best punch the Irish could muster, and knocked them out before it could go the distance.

“In the end, you could tell they were getting up slow,” Vance said.

The Tigers must make their celebration fast. They now must prepare for an invasion by the 6‑2 Perry Panthers, who are stinging from an overtime loss to Midpark.

Massillon heroes abounded Friday. The defense, wearing down the Irish by keeping fresh linemen in the game, had its knees buckled but punched mightily off the ropes.

The special teams were just that.

The offense did just enough, and The Union, alias the offensive line, got a chance to fine tune its touchdown dance.

The Tigers have been living on the edge ever since losing to Austintown‑Fitch three Fridays ago. One more loss and they’re out of the playoff off race, and you know what that’s like around here.

The edge is where they were living in the fourth quarter Friday.

They were nursing a 6‑3 lead based on Mike Norris’ 26‑yard touchdown run, but the Irish were driving near midfield.

On second and eight from the 48, eight fullback Ken Wayman dropped a pitch, and the ball bounced the funny way footballs do, out of his line of flight and into the arms of streaking Tiger linebacker Todd Perdue.

The Tigers got the ball on the Irish 41. On fourth and goal from the 1, Cornell Jackson plowed over the left side, putting six points on the board and the game out of reach with 4:18 left. Norris’ PAT cemented the final score.

The win wasn’t as easy as a shallow view might have foreseen ‑ the Irish were 2‑4, weren’t they.

But outlasting a team that beat Akron Garfield and should have defeated Cincinnati Moeller means never having to say you’re sorry.

“I want to tell yon something,” said Maronto, the Tigers’ head coach, “I’m proud of this team. We’ve been through three tough game in succession, There comes a time when you’re not as concerned with how big you win as with showing the determination to get the job done … and we got it done.”

An early knockout looked like a good possibility when Wes Siegenthaler returned the opening kickoff 41 yards to the Tigers’ 49‑yard line.

A six‑yard sideline completion from Paul Fabianich to Siegenthaler on the left, a 16‑yard sideline completion to Siegenthaler on the right and a three‑yard ran by Derick Newman put the ball on the 26.

On second and seven, Norris lined up in a one‑back set and ran on a trap play into the right side of the line, which became a Union Gap. Norris ran downfield five yards then cut to the right sidelines, outrunning two Irish defenders on his 26‑yard TD bolt.

“Joe Luckring, Tony Lambert and Lance Hostetler (Union members) drew their guys off the line real well, and I did my best to try to get to the end zone,” Norris said.

Norris changed shoes but missed the PAT kick, and the Tigers led 6‑0 just one minute and 18 seconds into the game.

Little was seen of the Tigers’ offense the rest of the half.

St. Vincent‑St. Mary drove to the Massillon 25 and stalled when safety Bart Letcavits knocked away a would‑be TD pass on fourth down.

On their next possession, the Irish plowed to the Massillon 31 but were stymied by Hoagy Pfisterer’s diving interception.

The next time they had the ball the Irish made it to the Tiger 37 before a Mike Wilson hit forced fourth‑and‑long and a punt.

The punt, which died at the 3, enabled the Irish to break the ice. The Tigers wound up punting from deep in their own territory, giving St. Vincent field position that led to a 28‑yard field goal by Vince Lobelle with 2:41 left in the half.

With two minutes left in the half, Ken Hawkins nailed a 47‑yard punt that landed at the 3, but the Irish made a first down and survived the half without further damage.

The Tiger Swing Band had the field as long as the Tiger offense. At the intermission, the Irish led 169‑91 in offensive yardage and 15:15 to 8:45 in time of possession.

The defenses controlled the third quarter, in which the offenses mustered 82 yards.

A key play was mad by Tiger nose guard C.J. Harris, who stuffed quarterback Rick Davis for no gain on fourth and one at the Tiger 40 with 1:45 left in the third quarter.

The Irish made their last run at a win early in the fourth quarter.

Taking over on a punt on their own 20, they pushed to near midfield on a facemask penalty.

Perdue made his big fumble recovery two plays later.

Now the Tigers had a chance to put the game away.

They did, behind three big plays. On fourth and two from the 34, Cornell Jackson dropped a pitch but picked it up on the bounce and ran seven yards for a first down.

But Jackson then lost three yards, and it was second and 13.

“They were playing their corners tight, and their linebackers were playing the sweep,” Maronto said.

“He sent Letcavits outside the cornerbacks, down the left sideline. Letcavits cut back toward the hashmarks as he reached the 15 and was open as he gathered in a nicely thrown Fabianich pass for a 27‑yard gain to the eight.

Jackson’ a fourth‑down TD run was the big play that iced the game.

Injuries shaded the look of both teams. The Tigers’ were without defensive tackle Duane Crenshaw for the first time this season, one factor in St. Vincent’s gaining 203 rushing yards, at 4.5 a carry.

The Irish didn’t have Carl McDougal, an outstanding back nursing an ankle injury and made sophomore Rich Sparhawk their workhorse, giving him his first carries of the season … but also his last.

After gaining 62 yards in 11 totes, Sparhawk suffered a broken collarbone near the end of the first half.

With several running backs having fallen victim to injury, the Irish found themselves using Davis, the quarterback, at halfback an several plays.

The Tigers used Siegenthaler at quarterback on several plays for the second straight week, but the Irish handled the switch better than Cleveland St. Joseph had the week before, limiting Siegenthaler to four yards in four rushes and one pass completion, an 11‑yarder to Letcavits.

The Irish passing attack was contained by the Tigers. Davis and Mark Lenz combined for six completions in 19 attempts for 85 yards.

Fabianich completed five of nine tosses far 61 yards.

Norris gained 61 of the Tigers’ 121 rushing yard,, in just six carries.

Jackson, in his second game coming off knee surgery, carried nine times for 42 yards.

Newman was held to 12 yards in 10 carries.

Even though his defense did a decent job of containing them, St. Vincent coach John Cistone cited the Tigers’ offensive backs as the strength of the team.

“Massillon’s a good team, and I thought we did well against ’em,” the 26th‑year Irish boss said. “We played hard. It’s just a matter of us running out of backs we can use.

“And it seems like every time we came down here we have trouble in the first quarter.”

That early trouble set the tone for the game. But after that … hey, it was a streetfight.

Duane Crenshaw
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1984: Massillon 28, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 21

Tigers stun St. Vincent Behind big play attack

Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ There were no smiling Irish eyes in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Friday night.

Oh, there was The Eye of the Tiger. And it was smiling. Boy, was it ever.

That’s because Massillon’s football‑playing Tigers applied a 28‑21 shiner to visiting Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary before 10,342 screaming fans.

“The guy upstairs was sitting on our side of the field,” Massillon head reach Mike Currence told one of his aides after the game.

St. Vincent entered the game with a 6‑1 record. They were second in their region of the computer poll and fourth in the UPI wire‑service poll.

The Irish left with an empty feeling.

Program Cover

“The two quick touchdowns got us. What can you do?” said a beleaguered St. V head coach John Cistone. “It was just one of those things. You have to give them credit for making those big plays. They’re a good football team.”

The entire game’s complexion changed in a matter of 77 seconds. Actually there was a 15‑minute break between the two lightning-quick Tiger scores that altered the outcome.

Holding a 14‑7 lead late in the first half, the Irish (6‑2) looked as if they were going to knot things, Faced with a first‑and‑goal from the Tiger 6, St. V called on halfback Henry Henderson to get them six points.

And six points did go up on the board, but it went up on the Massillon side. Henderson hit the line, fumbled and linebacker Pete Johnson alertly speared the ball in midair and rambled 95 yards to paydirt.

Instead of tieing the game up at halftime, the Irish went into the lockeroom trailing 21-7.

Stunned as they were, the Irish were hardly ready for what transpired shortly after intermission.

Enter Cornell Jackson.

Jackson, who didn’t start the game, took the second handoff of the second half and burst 76 yards to paydirt with just 46 seconds gone in the period. Dan Kozma, putting his best foot forward this season, booted his fourth straight point‑after, and the Tigers owned a surprising 28‑7 advantage.

“For the first time this year, we got some breaks,” Currence said. “This is a nice thing to happen for the team. When you lose three games like we have and then you come up and beat one of the best teams in the area, it’s a big game for the coaching staff and the players.”

Leading by 21 points, the Tigers (5‑3) were given a most definite scare in the second half by the never‑say‑die Irish.

St. V, which won the statistical battle, cut Massillon’s lead in half with 43 seconds left in the third period when Henderson punched it in from five yards out. Ted Fundoukos added the PAT.

The Irish defense stiffened and forced the Tigers to punt for its second time. Taking over at its own 35, St. V went 65 yards in 12 plays with Unaitis sneaking over from a yard out with 6:28 showing.

Needless to say, it was anybody’ game for the taking at this point.

St. V’s Steve Englehardt then intercepted a tipped Mike Scott pass on the first play following the kickoff, giving the Irish the ball at the Tiger 43.

Sensing a fierce comeback, the Irish stormed down to the 12 in five plays for a first down. Fullback Jim Fedrick picked up two yards when Tiger sophomore Lance Hostetler made the biggest play of the game with an 11‑yard sack of Unaitis.

On the next play a Unaitis pass fell incomplete, and on fourth down from the 21 a screen pass netted just five yards. The Tiger Claw had held its own.

But, nearly three minutes still remained. And anything could happen.

Massillon picked up one first down, but eventually had to punt the ball with 1:12 remaining. Tiger punter Scott Byelene, who was shaken up earlier in the period, lofted a kick that went nearly straight up, covering just 13 yards. St. V took over at its own 47.

Two straight Unaitis completions moved the ball to the Tiger 41. On first down the Irish, with no time outs left, went to the air. The pass was completed again, only it went to Massillon’s Jeff Smith at the 10. Victory was saved.

“At the first of the year there was no way we could’ve beaten St. V,” Currence said. “It’s through dedication and hard work that we are where we are. I was real pleased with the emotion of the team right from the beginning. We won it with emotion.”

Massillon opened scoring on its first possession, driving 80 yards in nine plays with Derrick Newman hitting paydirt from four yards out.

Biggest play in the march was a 32‑yard pass from Scott to Wes Siegenthaler on third‑and‑10, catching St. V in a blitz. Irwin Hastings’ downfield block allowed Siegenthaler to gain most of his yardage.

The Irish stormed right back and tied the score when Henderson, who finished with 118 yards on 26 carries, tallied from five yards out.

Scott was intercepted in the end zone on Massillon’s next possession by Greg Littler. Jackson, the game’s leading rusher with 165 yards on 10 carries, was wide open in the end zone, but the ball was under thrown.

Massillon scored the next time it had the ball, marching 62 yards in seven plays with Scott hitting Bruce Spicer from four yards out. A 33‑yard punt return by Siegenthaler helped set things up, and a 25‑yard run by Jackson put the ball at the 3 where the Tigers scored three plays later.

Undaunted by Massillon’s 14-7, the Irish were rolling, moving all the way to a first‑and‑goal at the 6 when Johnson made his big‑play touchdown on the fumble return.

“We had to get on the board before they did,” Cistone, alluded to Jaskson’s long TD run, “If we do it’s 21‑14 and we’re in the ballgame.”

The Irish held a commanding 21‑11 edge in first downs, and an even bigger edge in time of possession, 31:18 to 16:42. St. V also held a slight 332‑265 edge in total yards gained.

Scott finished the night by completing 8‑of‑14 passes for 100 yards. He hit six different receivers with Newman and Spicer both catching two aerials.

Unaitis (his name’s spelled different than Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas) threw for 138 yards on 13‑of‑21.

The game was virtually penalty free as only one flag was thrown, that being a five‑yarder on St. V for a delay.

The Tigers, working on a four game winning streak, will now take on Perry (7‑1), 70‑0 winners over Marlington, next Friday night.


First downs rushing 7 13
First downs passing 4 8
First downs by penalty 0 0
Totals first downs 11 21
Yards gained rushing 192 195
Yards lost rushing 27 11
Net yards rushing 165 184
Net yards passing 100 138
Total yards gained 265 322
Passes attempted 14 21
Passes completed 8 13
Passes int. by 2 1
Times kicked off 5 4
Kickoff average 45.6 53.8
Kickoff return yards 69 92
Punt 3 3
Punting average 28.0 37.3
Punt return yards 41 13
Punts blocked by 0 0
Fumble 0 1
Fumbles lost 0 1
Penalties 0 1
Yards penalized 0 5
Touchdowns rushing 2 3
Touchdowns passing 1 0
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Number of plays 39 67
Time of possession 16:42 31:18
Attendance 10,342

ST. V‑ST. M 7 0 7 7 21
MASSILLON 7 14 7 0 28

M ‑ Derrick Newman 4 run (Dan Kozma kick)
S ‑ Henry Henderson 5 run (Ted Fundoukas kick)
M ‑ Brian Spicer 4 pass from Mike Scott (Kozma kick)
M ‑ Pete Johnson 95 fumble recovery (Kozma kick)
M ‑ Carroll Jackson 75 run (Kozma kick)
S ‑ Henderson 5 ran (Fundoukas kick)
S ‑ Mark Unaitis 1 ran (Fundoukas kick)

Massillon’s long TD plays
Enough to outlast St. V-M

By Roland Queen
Beacon Journal staff writer

For most of this season, Massillon coach Mike Currence has had more reasons to cry than laugh.

It has been an uncharacteristic football season for one of the most successful high school teams in Ohio.

But Currence was sporting his biggest grin of the season Friday night in the Tigers locker room after his team defeated powerful St. Vincent‑St. Mary 28‑21 before a crowd of 10,342 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

For the Tigers (5‑3), it was a night of big plays as the Fighting Irish (6‑2) won the statistical battle but came up short on the scoreboard.

“I’ll tell you,” Currence said, “to lose three ballgames like we did early in the season then come up with a big win like this over one of the best teams in the area is a great feeling.”

The two biggest plays of the game for the Tigers came just before and just after halftime.

With Massillon leading 14-7 late in the second quarter, St. V-M drove 66 yards in seven plays and had a first‑and‑goal on the Massillon 6‑yard line.

On the next play, St. V‑M’s outstanding tailback, Henry Henderson, took a handoff from quarterback Mark Unaitas on a counterplay off tackle. But jut as Henderson got to the line of scrimmage, he was hit by Massillon senior linebacker Pat Spicer. The ball popped straight up, and Tiger linebacker Pete Johnson caught it in the air and raced 95 yards for the touchdown just 31 seconds before halftime.

Instead of a 14‑14 tie at the half, the Tigers were in command 21-7 after Dan Kosma’s second of four extra‑point kicks.

Johnson said be was only thinking of one thing after the big fumble nestled in his arms and an open field loomed ahead of him.

“All I was thinking was touchdown,” said Johnson, a senior. “I could smell the goal line. I had intercepted a pass earlier this year like that and I got caught on the 7‑yard line. This time, I wanted it. I wasn’t about to let that happen again.”

After the Tigers received the second‑half kickoff, it took two plays before senior halfback Cornell Jackson (10 carries, 165 yards) broke through a big hole off tackle and raced 76 yards down the sideline for the eventual game‑winning touchdown with 11:14 left in the period.

“It was a big‑play game,” Currence said. “Both teams moved the ball well in the middle of the field. But when you come right down to it, the big plays won the game for us.”

Holding a 21‑point lead, Currence admitted the Tigers became “too conservative.”

The Fighting Irish then put together a furious comeback that fell just short of being successful.

Behind the passing of Unaitis and the running of Henderson, St. V‑M drove 56 yards in nine plays late in the third period. Key plays in the drive were 13‑yard passes from Unaitis to tight end Steve Englehart and split end Bill Clevenger. Henderson ran the final 5 yards and the conversion by Ted Fundoukos (his second of three) made the score 28‑14 with 43 seconds left in the period.

Everyone in the stadium knew the momentum had shifted to the Irish. The Tigers were forced to punt on their possession following Henderson’s touchdown and St. V‑M had the ball on its 35.

The Irish drove the 65 yards in 12 plays with Unaitis going over from the 1. And St. V‑M had 6:28 left to finish its comeback.

On the first play from scrimmage following the Unaitis’ touchdown, Currence said he decided to forget being conservative and Tiger quarterback Mike Scott dropped to pass.

But Scott’s pass bounced off the hands of split end Wes Siegenthaler and was intercepted by Englehart who returned it 13 yards to the Massillon 43.

As the Tiger fans held their breath, St. V‑M drove to a first‑and‑10 on the Massillon 11 behind runs of 9 and 15 yards by Henderson, who finished the night with 118 yards on 26 carries.

But instead of staying with his premier runner, St. V‑M coach John Cistone said he tried to catch the Tigers off guard with a first‑down pass. Unaitis was sacked for a 10‑yard less. It was the key play of the drive as Massillon held on downs and took possession on its 20 with 2:54 to play.

St. V‑M got the ball back with less than a minute left at the Massillon 47, but Unaitis first‑down down pass from the 41 was intercepted by Jeff Smith with 30 seconds to play.

Mike Scott
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1970: Massillon 68, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 7

Tigers, McKinley remain unbeaten
Second-period spree propels Massillon’s 68-7 rout of St. V.


Exploding for five touchdowns in the second quarter, the Massillon Tigers clobbered Akron St. Vincent 68-7 Friday night before 9,207 fans at Tiger stadium.

“Now we’ll go underground a little bit,” said pleased Tiger boss Bob Commings, indicating that the Tigers will hold some closed practices in preparation of Saturday’s clash with Canton McKinley.
* * *
“I’M GLAD it (the St. Vincent game) is over,” Commings said, “and I’m glad we didn’t get anyone hurt.”

“Our kids have taken every game seriously. This is why we did it (9-0 mark),” he said. “We were tired of hearing about a letdown before McKinley.”

Commings played every boy who dressed Friday, he said and the Tigers gained 437 total yards to 83 for the Irish, who stand 2-7.

Tailback Mike Mauger galloped for 115 yards in 13 carries, which included four touchdown jaunts. Wingback Larry Harper scored three times.

The Tigers were jolted to find themselves down 7-6 at the end of the first quarter and burst loose for scores each time they got the ball in the second period.

The Obiemen used only 23 plays in the first half to register a 42-7 margin – an average of 11.7 yards per play. St. Vincent had the ball for 32 plays.
* * *
JOHN CISTONE, Irish coach complained about the officials’ action on the third play of the second quarter.

Tigers Tom Cardinal had carried on a fourth and three situation and the officials ruled a first down on the Irish 41, after bringing in the chain.

“We stopped them…he (an official) slid the ball up and they made it by inches,” Cistone said.

“We had momentum at the time and were up 7-6,” he added. “I think that was the turning point.”

“I think the officials ruined a good ball game…I won’t say we would have beat them (Massillon). They’re a real fine football team – one of the best – but not 60 points better.

Asked later to comment on the ruling, Commings retorted: “We called it a first down as soon as it hit the ground.”
* * *
THE VICTORY extended the Tigers’ win string to nine games and set the stage for another classic battle of unbeaten and state-ranked Massillon (No. 1) and arch-rival McKinley (No. 3) here next Saturday. The clash will have added spice in that Bulldog Coach John Brideweser was an assistant last year here under Commings. Furthermore, former Tiger star Jim Reichenback is Brideweser’s defensive coordinator.

Friday night’s Tiger stadium turnout brought the total attendance at all Tiger contests this year to 104,842. Season attendance in 1969 (10 games) was 124,807.

Game action began with the Tigers kicking off to the Irish, who were able to move only 17 yards – to their 46 – before punting.

The Tigers started from their own 23 and moved 77 yards in seven plays for their first score. The push was keyed by a 35-yard scamper by Mauger and a rollout for 24 yards by Franklin. Mauger scored from the two with 5:45 left in the first quarter.

Franklin was stopped short of the goal on conversion run.

Kickoff returns were some of the best plays St. Vincent had against the Tigers and the ensuing return went 28 yards from the Irish 18 to the 46.

ON THE second play from scrimmage, tight end Tom Enright got a step on a Tiger defender and gathered in a Tom Flege pass good for 36 yards.

Aided by a Tiger penalty that gave them a first down, the Irish scored in nine plays. Flege passed eight yards over the middle to Enright for the payoff.

Junior halfback Tim Bialy’s kick put Massillon down by one point with 0:50 left in the first quarter. The shock may have been all the Obiemen needed.

Commings’ crew had the ball on its 49 as the busy second quarter started. After Cardinal’s run for a first down – disputed later by Cistone – the Tigers scored in four plays. Wingback Larry Harper carried the final 31 yards untouched, on a reverse. Cardinal ran for the two points.

The Irish were unable to move after the kickoff and punted to Harper. Massillon was spotted clipping and the Tigers had to start from their 20.

Franklin then flipped an aerial which an Irish defender tipped into the hands of Harper. Out running four men, the swift senior made the play cover 80 yards. Franklin kept for the two-pointer and the Tigers were up 22-7.
The Irish began the ensuing series on their 10. On the second play, senior Tiger tackle Roger Groff pounced on a St. V. fumble on the 12.

Cardinal blasted for two yards and then Mauger carried it in. On the conversion try Willie Spencer went high for a pass from Franklin which was ruled complete (sufficient possession) and the Tigers led, 30-7.

TIGER DON PERRY nearly stopped the Irish single-handedly after they received the next kickoff. On the next play from scrimmage he threw quarterback Flege for a 13-yard loss and on the next play he cracked into Bialy for a loss of four more.

With a third down and 27 situation for the Akronites on their own three-yard line, sophomore left half Greg Thurmond got eight yards to the 11. Then Flege’s punt was partially blocked.

Tiger defensive back Art Thompson gathered in the short boot on the Irish 14 and scored. A conversion run failed.

After the Tiger kickoff, St. Vincent failed to move again and punted from about its 13. Harper returned three yards to his own 47.

Because the half was ending, Franklin stayed in the air and scored after five pass plays.

He was aided by a rare double penalty on the Irish for roughing the passer and unsportsmanlike conduct – on the same play.

IN THE series, Franklin’s aerials were caught by Spencer, Harper, Mike McGuire and then Harper again from six yards out for the touchdown. A fling to Spencer for the
two-point try fell incomplete and the Tigers went to their dressing room with a
presto-produced 42-7 lead.

St. Vincent kicked off to start the second half and the Tigers returned to their 27. After three carries netted 12 yards, a personal foul call against St. V moved the ball to the Irish 44. After an incomplete pass, Mauger burst into the open and broke sophomore safetyman Dan Gleespan’s last-ditch tackle to score. A conversion attempt pass failed and Massillon led, 48-7.

The Irish lost two yards in three plays the next time they got the ball and punted to Harper on the Massillon 40. He returned 28 yards, St. Vincent was called for a personal foul and the Tigers had the ball on the Irish 17.

Harper gained 11 on a double reverse, Cardinal lugged twice for three and then Mauger scored from three yards out. Tailback Hank Nussbaumer ran for the points after and the score read 56-7.

After the kickoff, the Akron visitors were able to control the ball for 16 plays and move 60 yards to the Massillon seven. The Tigers helped, committing personal foul, interference and holding infractions.

In the next four plays, however, the Irish lost 19 yards and the Tigers took over on their 26. Scott Dingler was the new quarterback as the third quarter ended.
Aided by 10-yard runs by Perry and Thompson and three Irish penalties, Massillon moved in to score in 10 plays.

Dingler, hiding the ball well on a bootleg, went the final eight yards to make it 62-7. A conversion pass failed.

The Tigers got their final TD, after Bernard Sullivan intercepted a St. Vincent pass on his 40.

In nine plays with an all-substitute unit, the Orange and Black ground it out via the land route. Tim Willoughby went the final two yards. A run for the PAT’s failed, making it

M – Mauger, 2 run (run failed);
SV – Enright, 8 pass from Flege (Bialy kick);
M – Harper, 31 run (Cardinal run); Harper, 80 pass from Franklin (Franklin run);
M – Mauger, 10 run (Spencer, pass from Franklin);
M – Thompson, 14 punt return (run failed);
M – Harper, 6 pass from Franklin )pass failed);
M – Mauger, 44 run (pass failed);
M – Mauger, 3 run (H. Nussbaumer run);
M – Dingler, 8 run (pass failed);
M – Willoughby, 2 run (run failed).

Referee – Jack McLain.
Umpire – Harrold Rolph.
Head Linesman – Tony Pianowski.
Field Judge – Henry Mastrianni.
Back Judge – Octavio Sirgo.

First downs – rushing 20 2
First downs – passing 4 4
First downs – penalties 4 3
Total first downs 28 9
Yards gained rushing 304 60
Yards lost rushing 6 40
Net yards gained rushing 298 20
Net yards gained passing 139 63
Total yards gained 437 83
Passes completed 5-7 5-16
Passes intercepted by 1 0
Yardage on passes intercepted 14 0
Kickoff average yards 11-48.7 2-46.5
Kickoff returns yards 44 182
Punt returns, yards 50 0
Lost fumbled ball 0-1 1-2
Penalties 7 7
Yards penalized 72 66
Touchdowns – rushing 7 0
Touchdowns – passing 2 1
Total number of plays 50 58