Tag: <span>Keith Wakefield</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1984: Massillon 10, Massillon Perry 0

Tigers humble Panthers With 10-0 win

Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ Keith Dewitz had a premonition about Friday night’s game.

Thursday afternoon Massillon’s running back coach was shuffling toward the coaches room outside of Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Well, there’s nothing unusual to report about that.

But Dewitz happened to glance down just before entering the door. He bent down and picked up a penny. A lucky penny, as it turned out.

Program Cover

Dewitz still had that penny in his pocket when the Tigers took the field Friday night against Perry before 14,862 frenzied fans.

It’s doubtful that the penny really had anything to do with Massillon’s 10‑0 win over the then once‑beaten Panthers, but why ruin a good story line?

Actually, the Tiger coaches are turning into a superstitious lot these days. Receiver coach Butch Hose believes in his one‑of‑a‑kind “win potion.” Better yet, so do the players.

What did figure in the victory was a tenacious defensive effort by the Tigers. That and an unexpected field goal and a broken play that went for a touchdown.

“The defense really played a great game,” said a pleased Tiger head coach Mike Currence. ”I talked to the coaches before the game and they felt that Perry’s defense wasn’t getting enough credit; that’s what really makes them such a good ballclub.

“Our defense was just better.”

Although the Tigers (6‑3) totaled 253 yards in offense as opposed to Perry’s 148, each inch was hard earned. Nothing came easy in this defensive straggle.

Handed a copy of the game’s final statistics, Currence slapped a finger to the computer print out.

“That’s the story right there,” he said while pointing to Perry’s average gain per rush, which was 3.2 yards.

Entering the game the Panthers generated early 300 yards per game rushing. They left the fray with their lowest total of the year, just 96 yards on 30 carries.

So tenacious was the Tiger defense that it did not permit Perry past midfield until late in the third period. Only once did the Panthers threaten to get on the board, that on a drive inside Massillon’s 10‑yard line.

That threat, aided by a nearly costly face mask penalty, was aborted when the Panthers saw a fourth down pass slip through the fingers of Archie Herring.

As rugged as Massillon’s defense was, so it was too for Perry. The Panthers bent somewhat, but other than a 30‑yard field goal by Todd Manion and a 31‑yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mike Scott to Derrick Newman on a busted play, Perry was equally up to the task.

The Panthers dodged a bullet early in the contest when they muffed a punt return, the Tigers’ Chris Alt recovering the loose ball at the Perry 14 with 2:59 left in the opening period.

Given a golden opportunity, the Tigers let the chance slip away on four incomplete passes. An illegal block on Massillon didn’t help any, and put the offense out of field goal range to boot.

But the Tiger defense set the tone early, holding Perry to just six plays and seven yards in the opening stanza.

Perry picked up its initial first down of the game when Jeff Clark broke several tackles for a 23‑yard gain, but as they did an their first two drives, the Panthers were then forced to punt the ball away.

Massillon drove for a first down at the Panther 34. Three plays later the Tigers were faced with a fourth‑and‑inches at the 24. A quarterback sneak by Scott, though, was stopped short by surging Panther defense.

Three plays later, and the Panthers had to punt the ball back once again.

With just 1:30 remaining in the half, the Tigers mounted a drive behind the passing of Scott. The senior signal‑caller hit three different receivers to give Massillon a first down at the Panther 13.

Scott tried to hit Newman in the end zone, but the ball was batted away. With just 14 seconds left the Tigers lined up for a field goal, but holder Paul Fabianich’s pass attempt fell incomplete.

On the next play the Tigers went for the three‑pointer in earnest, and Manion did not disappoint the home crowd as his 30‑yarder was high and far enough. It was Manion’s first varsity field goal, and only the second one attempted by Massillon this year.

In the first half, the Tigers held Perry to just one first down and only 34 yards in offense. The Panthers ran off just 15 plays, punting four times, and holding the ball for less than 10 minutes.

While Perry’s first three drives of the second half ended with punts, the Tigers put some insurance points on the board on their second possession.

Taking over on their own 31 following Tracy Seery’s sixth punt of the night, the Tigers went 69 yards in five plays to paydirt.

Scott hit Bruce Spicer for five yards. Fullback Duane Crenshaw ran for three yards, and Scott hit Spicer again for nine more yards before Crenshaw took a pitch out and rambled 17 yards to Perry’s 31.

On the next play, Scott fought off a heavy pass rush and found Newman on the right side of the field. The junior halfback then cut against the grain and waved goodbye to Perry’s pursuit. Dan Kozma’s PAT made it a 10‑0 game with 2:40 left in the third period.

The Panthers took the ensuing kickoff and rambled into Tiger territory for the first time when Herring carried for a 5‑yard gain on the last play of the quarter.

Perry, on the first play of the final quarter, lined up in punt formation for the eighth time. This time, though, they tried a bit of trickery as Wally Buzinski took the snap and ran seven yards for a first down. An incomplete pass on fourth‑and‑9, however, stymied the Panthers.

After holding the Tigers, the Panthers received a bit of a scare when they once again fumbled a punt. This time Perry’s Ted White recovered the loose ball, giving the visitors a first down at their 32 with 7:32 still left.

An illegal block on Perry made it first‑and‑28 but the Panthers, behind the arm of quarterback Mike Laubacher, managed the first down on passes of 21 yards to Clark and 11 yards to tight end Chris Strobel.

The Tiger defense dug in once again, but the Panthers converted on fourth‑and‑1 when Laubacher gained 17 yards on a keeper. A face mask penalty helped push the ball to Massillon’s 16.

Staying on the ground, Laubacher gained seven yards and Clark two more before Laubacher was tossed for a two-yard loss by defensive end Chris Slinger. On fourth down, Laubacher’s pass from the 9‑yard line slipped through Herring fingers

The Tigers then controlled the ball for the remainder of the game, although a roughing the punter penalty with 1:09 left secured the win for Massillon.
Spicer moved into second place on the single‑season Tiger record for pass receptions. The senior split end hauled in seven passes and now totals 45, five back of Marty Guzzetta’s record of 50 set back in 1979. Guzzetto’s mark occurred in 11 games.

Spicer now has 55 receptions for his career, third best on the all‑time Tiger chart behind Curtis Strawder (68) an Guzzetta (69).
Tiger middle guard Scott Byelene had some added motivation against Perry. His uncle, Mike, was in attendance. Mike played under Paul Brown at Massillon. He is a retired school teacher now living in Marion, Ind.
Sunday will be “Obie Picture Day” at the stadium from 1 to 3 p.m., rain or since. Come on out and snap some photos with Obie the XV.

Another surprise visitor at the Perry game was a guy who made No. 33 synonymous with Tiger football.That’s right, Massillon’s Chris Spielman sat in on the game.

Spielman, bothered by nagging ankle injuries, did not make Ohio State University’s trip to Wisconsin today. He indicated he is making a slower recovery than he had expected and is not sure when, or if, he will return to action.
Area prep gridsticks

First downs rushing 6 4
First downs passing 6 2
First downs by penalty 2 0
Totals first downs 14 6
Yards gained rushing 80 114
Yards lost rushing 9 18
Net yards rushing 71 96
Net yard passing 182 52
Total yards gained 253 148
Passes attempted 30 16
Passes completed 17 8
Passes int. by 0 0
Yardage on pass int. 0 0
Times kicked off 3 1
Kickoff average 54.0 50.0
Kickoff return yards 13 61
Punts 5 6
Punting average 32.8 30.5
Punt return yards 3 8
Punts blocked by 0 0
Fumbles 0 2
Fumbles lost 0 1
Penalties 9 3
Yards penalized 96 49
Touchdowns rushing 0 0
Touchdowns passing 1 0
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Number of plays 57 46
Time of possession 22:49 25:11
Attendance 14,862

MASSILLON 0 3 7 0 0
PERRY 0 0 0 0 0

Mike Scott
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1982: Massillon 29, Massillon Perry 8

Massillon’s 29‑8 win Currence’s 100th
Tigers take fifth straight from Perry

Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ For Massillon head coach Mike Currence, it was career win No. 100 as a head coach. For Perry coach Keith Wakefield, it was loss No. 1 as head coach of the Perry Panthers. For Tiger junior quarterback Brian DeWitz, starting his first varsity game, it was the fourth best overall passing performance in Tiger history. And for fans of the Massillon‑Perry rivalry, it was the same old thing.

For the fifth consecutive time since the neighboring schools began meeting in 1978, the Tigers pulled off a one sided victory, this year by a 29‑8 count. Massillon has now outscored Perry 140 to 27 in the series, and Wakefield, who came to Perry with a career mark of 43‑20‑4, doesn’t like the connotations.

Program Cover

“It’s plain dumb to play Massillon if we don’t have a program that can allow us to compete on their level,” said the young coach. “Things at Perry must change in that respect, and they will change if I’m going to stay around.”

Wakefield was most displeased by the Tigers’ physical domination of the game.

“We are not a physically strong team; we couldn’t control either line of scrimmage. On defense Massillon sat in a normal defense the whole game, not trying to disguise anything, but we couldn’t block anybody. And on defense, I never saw so many missed tackles. Chris Spielman and Jim Bushe are both great runners, but we helped them be great tonight.

“Right now we are not a very good football team. We are no where near where we need to be. We just don’t have enough fighters yet, but you don’t make fighters overnight. But as for me, I didn’t come here expecting to lose; I expect to win everytime I go out on the field.”

But so do the young and hungry Tigers. Despite the youth and relative inexperience of the team, the team played well on both sides of the scrimmage line. On offense, Massillon’s own penalties proved Perry’s best defense, and on defense, except for one breakdown, the Panthers were unable to mount many serious threats despite a quick sprintout quarterback (junior Jamie Howell) that put added pressure on the Tiger linebackers.

“We played well tonight,” said Currence, “But we still need to get better, and with three tough games in a row against Akron Garfield, Warren Harding and Akron Central‑Hower, it means we have to get better quickly.”

The Tigers biggest bugaboo were penalties. They were hit with eight flags for 80 yards.

“The penalties stopped a couple of our drives,” Currence said. “We knew we could move the ball on Perry because we knew we were physically stronger, but the penalties put us into holes we couldn’t crawl out of at times. But penalties are a part of the game, and hurt you just like any other mistake.”

But most of what the Tigers did just hurt Perry. DeWitz tossed an interception to Perry’s Dave Seifert on the Tigers’ first possession, but after stonewalling Perry twice, the Tigers marched 59 yards in seven plays to hit paydirt for the first time in 1982.

Spielman, the 6‑2, 206‑pound half back‑linebacker, opened the drive with a 15‑yard run. After a sack, DeWitz hit halfback Jim Bushe with a 12‑yard screen pass, and followed with a 12‑yard keeper on third‑and‑short for the first down. Spielman then bulled nine yards to the Perry 19, followed by a scoring jaunt around left end by Bushe, who went into the end zone standing up at the 3:52 mark. The extra point kick failed. Perry followed with a short drive that included the Panthers’ initial first down of the game, but on a third‑and‑four play Spielman stepped in front of a Howell ‑ like DeWitz, starting his first varsity game – pass and returned it 28 yards to the Perry 32.

Nine plays later Spielman flung himself into the end zone for a five‑yard touchdown run with 6:41 remaining in the half, with Bushe’s conversion run attempt stopped just short for a 12‑0 Tiger lead. The key play in the drive was a fourth‑and‑five pass from DeWitz to fullback Tom Groan where the quarterback escaped a heavy rush and spotted the open receiver in a vacant middle zone to keep the drive alive.

Three plays and a punt later, the Tigers got the ball and moved 69 yards in just five plays, including an offensive penalty.

On the first play, DeWitz hit receiver Jim Geiser for a 16‑yard completion. Bushe followed with a fingertip sideline catch and a 21‑yard gain. Next senior Gary Conley grabbed hold of a 24‑yard dart from DeWitz. The icing came when Bushe raced around left end for his second scoring scamper, this one from 13 yards out. Bronc Phisterer kicked the conversion at it was 19‑0 with 4:28 left in the half.

Perry’s moment of glory came with 1:21 remaining until intermission. Howell faded back and found senior receiver Fred Bradford deep over the middle, who scampered the final 35 yards of the 48‑yard scoring play untouched for Perry’s sole tally. Howell then passed to a wide‑open Seifert for the conversion points.

“Our defensive backs just overran the coverage on that one,” said Currence.

The touchdown might have aroused the Panthers for a stalwart second‑half effort, but any intentions they had of coming back oozed out of their hearts when Spielman broke the second half’s opening play from scrimmage 60 yards to the Perry 23, sometimes choosing to juke the would‑be defenders with the slippery moves of a halfback, sometimes running them over like an amok Larry Csonka. Four plays later DeWitz hit senior John Pierce for a nine‑yard scoring strike with 9:30 left in the quarter, with Phisterer’s kick making it 26‑8.

Perry moved the ball 28 yards to the Tiger 30 on its next possession, but lost the ball on downs. The Tigers came back to eat up 16 plays and a lot of the clock, settling for a 25‑yard field goal by Phisterer with three seconds left in the quarter after a DeWitz touchdown pass to Conley had been negated by a penalty.

There was no scoring in the final quarter as the Tiger reserves saw action on both sides of the line. Highlights in the quarter included the Tigers only punt of the night and an interception by Geiser.

The stats were indicative of the final score. The Tigers had 225 yards oil the ground to 120 for Perry, and 220 in the air to 103 for Perm, for a whopping 449‑223 advantage in total yards.

For the Tigers, DeWitz made the Tiger record books in his first try at quarterback by completing 15 of 19 passes for 205 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Bushe had five catches for 77 yards while Geiser had four catches for 50 yards. On the ground, Spielman ran 10 times for 130 yards, Bushe five times for 36 yards and fullback Tim Sampsel five times for 24 yards. For Perry, Howell dominated the offense, completing six of 16 passes and running nine times for 44 yards.

Currence concurred with Wakefield on one point ‑ the panthers will be getting better in the future.

“They’re a young team, and I think you’re going to see rapid improvement out of them. I think the Panthers will be a Federal League contender; we played Hoover in a scrimmage ‑ always a strong Federal squad ‑ and I think the Panthers can hold their own with them and anyone else in the league.”

But the Tigers don’t have a league, unless it’s in a league by themselves, and for them, to quote George Allen, the future is now.

Devin Johnson, a junior defensive back for the Tigers, summed it op best.

When told, “Well, one down and nine to go,” after the game, Johnson shook his head no.

“You’re wrong, it’s one down and 12 to go,” he answered, looking ahead to the computer playoffs, the dream of all men born to be Tigers.

First downs rushing 12 4
First downs passing 7 6
First downs by penalty 0 0
Totals first downs 19 10
Yards gained rushing 246 120
Yards lost rushing 17 0
Net yards rushing 229 120­
Net yards passing 220 103
Total yards gained 449 223
Passes attempted 24 18
Passes completed 16 6
Passes int. by 2 1
Yardage on pass int. 59 29
Time. kicked off 6 2
Kickoff average 43.8 54.5
Kickoff return yards 7 52
Punts 1 4
Punting average 40.0 31.0
Punt return yards 17 24
Punts blocked by 0 0
Fumbles 1 0
Fumble lost 0 0
Penalties 8 2
Yards pertained 80 20
Touchdowns rushing 3 0
Touchdowns passing 1 1
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Number of plays 57 50
Time of possession 23.33 24:27
Attendance 14,141

PERRY 0 8 0 0 8
MASSILLON 6 13 10 0 29

M ‑ Bushe 19‑yard run (kick failed).
M ‑ Spielman 5‑yard run (run failed).
M ‑ Bushe 13‑yard run (Phisterer kick.)
P ‑ Bradford 48‑yard pass from Howell (Demaree pass from Howell).
M ‑ Pierce 9‑yard pass from DeWitz (Phisterer kick.)
M ‑ Plisterer 25‑yard field goal.

Jeff Boerner