Tag: <span>Mark Fair</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1993: Massillon 42, Grove City 10

Who needs the first half? Tigers use a big second half to send Greyhounds packing

Independent Sports Editor

If this keeps up, Jack Rose is going to petition the Ohio High School Athletic Association to eliminate the first half of all Massillon Tiger football games.

In a virtual replay of last week’s victory over Alliance, the Tigers struggled to a 7‑3 halftime lead before blowing out visiting Grove City in the second half for a 42‑10 victory Friday in front of 13,352 fans on a breezy but otherwise practi­cally perfect night for high school football.

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The Greyhounds dominated the first two periods, getting off 33 plays to the Tigers’ 14 and owning a commanding time of possession advantage, 17:10 to 6:50.

It was all for naught as Willie Spencer Jr. put up the only touchdown of the half by pick­ing off a Chad Henson aerial at the Tiger 13 and racing un­touched 87 yards to paydirt. Randy Endsley made good on the conversion kick and the loc­als led 7‑0 with less than four minutes elapsed in the football game.

Spencer, who waged an in­spiring battle with Mike Danzy for the starting quarterback position, caught the ball in full stride and was never chal­lenged by the visitors.

“We were in man coverage and I saw the quarterback look that way,” Spencer recalled. ”When I saw him pump, I broke to the ball. I just caught it and ran. I was looking back behind me but they weren’t catching up.”

Grove City came right back on its ensuing possession, mar­ching from its own 23 to the Ti­ger 15. On second‑and‑seven, Henson faked a handoff and got a face full of Massillon linebacker Monte Belser for a three yard loss. On the next play, Henson had an open receiver on a quick slant but linebacker Ian McClaskey stretched out and tipped the ball away to save a touchdown.

The Greyhounds kicked a 35-­yard field goal at that point to make it a 7‑3 game with 2:46 to go in the initial stanza, but the visitors’ window of opportunity was beginning to close.

“We had some missed oppor­tunities that would’ve given us momentum,” said Grove City coach Brian Cross. “When you have that many opportunities in the first half and you don’t cash in, you know bad things are going to happen.”

Grove City was to have one more chance to find the end zone in the first 24 minutes of play. Following the Greyhounds’ field goal, the Ti­gers fumbled the ball at their 20 on their first snap of the game.

Grove City quickly marched to the Massillon seven. On third-­and‑six, Belser swooped in from the left side and sacked Henson for an eight‑yard loss. The Greyhounds’ field goal was wide left and another bullet had been dodged as the first quarter ended.

Neither team threatened in the second period and it was 7‑3 at half.

“The big difference this week,” Rose said, “is we didn’t execute offensively in the first half. We had two dropped balls, two turnovers. Our defense did a great job keeping them out of the end zone.

“Monte (Belser) made two big plays down there. He played well. All three of our outside backers did a nice job. Hey, they ran 33 offensive plays against us and had just 88 yards of offense.”

As was the case last week against Alliance, the Tigers came out for the second half and pushed their opponent all over the football field. Danzy drove the team from its 35 (after the Grove City kickoff went out of bounds) to the Greyhound 7. A holding call pushed the ball back to the 24, then Danzy had a perfect pass dropped in the left corner of the end zone, stalling the drive.

B.J. Payne sacked Henson on third down to kill Grove City’s ensuing drive and Massillon took over after the punt at mid­field. On the third play of the series, Danzy rolled left again and laid a perfect pass in the arms of Lonnie Simpson in the end zone for a 37‑yard touchdown strike. Endsley’s kick made it 14‑3 at the 4:58 mark of the third.

“We just kept running that play and they could not stop it,” Simpson said. “I just got open and Mike threw me the ball. Touchdown.

“There was a lot of anxiety. I knew I had to get it one of those times. It was a boot play and I just kept getting behind the de­fensive back. The line blocked and we executed well. You ex­ecute well, you get big plays.”

The Tiger offense wasn’t the only ones executing. B.J. Payne spiked a Henson pass back in his face to stall the ensuing Grove City series and force a punt. The senior defensive tack­le had his second straight big game and was congratulated after the tilt by the Grove City coaching staff.

Massillon put the game away early in the fourth period. Taking over at their own 42 following a punt, the Tigers went to tailback Leon Ashcraft who was finding big chunks of yardage behind the right side of the line. On third‑and‑seven at the Grove City 26, the Tigers went to the power I and were strong right. But Danzy, crossing up the de­fense, found a seam over his left tackle and shot to the one‑yard line.

Ashcraft bulled into the end zone behind Trevor Paisley and Brett Shanor on the next snap to make it 21‑3 and it was all over but the long ride home for Grove City.

Spencer added his second TD moments later when he scooped up a fumble and went 39 yards to the end zone.

A Heath Manson interception at the Grove City 33 set up another scoring drive, capped by Ashcraft from a yard out at the 5:18 mark of the fourth period.

Courtney Herring put the fin­al points up for Massillon with a hard driving 12‑yard run that in­cluded second and third effort. That made it 42‑3.

Grove City scored with 1:23 to play on a Henson‑to‑Steve Trout aerial that covered 23 yards.

Cross had much the same game analysis as did Alliance coach Ron Kuceyeski seven days ago.

“They just came right at us and kind of wore us down in the second half,” he said. “We made a ton of mental mistakes and when things started going bad they just kept on going bad and we did some things that aren’t characteristic of our football team.

“Massillon is a good solid football team and they have a chance to go a long ways. They really come after you.”

“The second half was like last week,” summarized Rose. “We got great field position and we didn’t have to drive that far to score.

“I was disappointed in the offense in the first half. We shot ourselves in the foot. We only ran one offensive play in the first quarter. We can’t afford that next week against Garfield.”

The Tigers did sustain one in­jury that may be serious. Full­back Mike Paul went out early in the second half with an ankle injury. He did not return.

But that could not dampen what was another impressive display of football by the Tigers.

“The kids have worked awful­ly hard,” Rose said. “I’ve coached 24 years and I’ve never been around a team that works as hard as this team. It’s a cre­dit to them and the coaches.”

First downs rushing 12 9
First downs passing 1 3
First downs penalty 0 2
Total first downs 13 14
Net yards rushing 245 103
Net yards passing 37 90
Total yards gained 282 193
Passes attempted 8 18
Passes completed 1 8
Passes int. by 2 1
Times kicked off 7 3
Kickoff average 43.1 28.0
Kickoff return yards 10 31
Punts 2 6
Punting average 37.0 30.0
Punt return yards 24 13
Fumbles 2 2
Fumbles lost 2 2
Penalties 8 4
Yards penalized 82 30
Number of plays 46 58
Time of possession 20:39 27:21
Attendance 13,352

GROVE CITY 07 00 07 28 42
MASSILLON 03 00 00 07 10

M ‑ Spencer 87pass int. return (Endsley kick)
GC ‑ Allmon 35 FG
M ‑ Simpson 37 pass from Danzy (Endsley kick)
M ‑ Ashcraft 1 run (Endsley kick)
M ‑ Spencer 38 fumble rec. return (Endsley kick)
M ‑ Ashcraft 1 run (Pribich kick)
M ‑ Herring 12 run (Pribich kick)
GC ‑ Trout 23 pass from Henson (Allmon kick)

Ashcraft 13‑71,
Paul 7‑59,
Dixon 8‑51,
Danzy 7‑43,
Herring 1‑12,
Lewis 2‑9.
Grove City
Lacy 14‑74,
Hedges 7‑23,
McCoy 6‑18.

Danzy 1‑8‑1 37.
Grove City
Henson 8‑18‑2 90.

Simpson 1‑37.
Grove City
Trout 3‑34,
Berry 2‑44,
Bunsey 1~10,
Freetag 1‑5.

Mark Fair
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1993: Massillon 40, Alliance 6

Tigers ground Aviators in 2nd half

Ashcraft stars with 3 scores

Independent Sports Editor

Jack Rose had a reminder for his Massillon Tigers prior to their 1993 season opener against the Alliance Aviators.

Rose warned his charges that teams coming to Massillon see the Tigers as THE opponent on their schedule and will play their hearts out.

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“But I told our guys if we keep after them, we expect to win,” Rose said. “It may take until the second quarter or the third quarter or the fourth quarter, but we expect to wear them down and win,”

The Aviators proved Rose a profit, fighting to a 6‑6 halftime tie with the Tigers with an in­spired first half of football. But Massillon came out of the lock­er room for the third quarter with a new resolve and roared to a 40‑6 victory that left no doubt among the 10,326 in attendance on a rain‑swept Friday night which team was su­perior.

“We just had to come out and play hard and that’s what we did in the second half,” said Ti­gers quarterback Mike Danzy as he enjoyed a congratulatory embrace from his mother. “The offensive line really came off the ball after halftime. The second half is going to be our half all year.”

“We got pumped up at halftime and we took control,” agreed Tigers offensive tackle Trevor Paisley. “We just went to work and we played with a lot more intensity.

”As soon as we started ham­mering it at them, we could feel them give up.”

There was no surrender in the Aviators in the first 24 minutes of play. The 6‑6 halftime tie was reflective of the game statistics to that point. But Alliance failed to get into the Tiger end zone on its second possession when the Federal League entry had first­-and‑10 at the Massillon 15. Quarterback Joe Brady tried to sweep left end and pitched the ball as the Tiger defense con­verged on him. The problem ‑ for Brady ‑ was the pitch was nowhere near the intended re­ceiver. B.J. Payne pounced on the loose ball for the Tigers and some of the air came out of the Aviators.

“We squandered that scoring opportunity in the first half and you simply can’t get away with that when you play a team like the Massillon Tigers,” ex­plained Alliance coach Ron Kuceyeski.

“Then we just got out muscled in the second half. They just played ‘iso’ football and we couldn’t stop them. But there’s no excuse for the way we played in the second half.”

Rose said Kuceyeski was right on target with his analysis.

“We did use more inside ‘iso’ plays in the second half and then we ran the option off of it,” Rose said.

“But the key to the second half was taking the opening kickoff and scoring and then pinning them deep in their terri­tory and keeping them there. After that, it was a game of field position and we kept it in our favor the rest of the half.”

Actually, the second half, didn’t start all that well for the locals. After Kevin Buckland returned the kickoff to the 33, the Tigers were caught holding on first down to set up a first­and‑22 from their 21.

But senior tailback Ali Dixon got it all back and more on first down, eluding a tackler at the line of scrimmage and squirting 26 yards up the middle to the Aviator 47. Dixon found another hole on the very next play, gain­ing 14 yards to the 39.

One play later, Danzy broke containment around right end, cut back at the 30 and outran the pursuit for a 39‑yard touchdown run to make it a 12‑6 game with less than three minutes elapsed in the second half. Danzy found a hole over left guard for the two‑point conversion and Mas­sillon was on its way with a 14‑6 lead at the 9:38 mark.

“When Danzy broke free for the first score in the second half, we just didn’t respond,” Kuceyeski said. “We knew we had to stop him to win and we just weren’t able to in that situa­tion.”

The Tigers didn’t let their foe off the hook. Randy Endsley boomed the kickoff to the Aviator 10 and the visitors were only able to return it to the 17. B.J. Payne and Tim Menches sacked Brady on second down and Alliance had to punt two plays later.

Massillon smelled blood and proceeded to put the game away. After a holding penalty set them back to the 39, the Ti­ger offensive line again began opening huge cavities in the Alliance defense. Leon Ashcraft gained 13 yards on first down. Mike Paul added nine more on two carries. Then Ashcraft found another hole in the middle, left Alliance’s Der­rick Jones grasping for air at the 5 and skated into the end zone.

The Tigers failed to convert the point after, but held a com­fortable 20‑6 lead with 5:18 to play in the third quarter.

Alliance had better field posi­tion following the ensuing kick off, but a fierce pass rush by Joel Smith on third‑and‑seven forced Brady into an incompletion and the Aviators were forced to punt once again.

Massillon moved the ball to the three‑yard line but couldn’t punch it in and lost possession on downs. Again the defense re­fused to allow the momentum to swing back to the Aviators, forcing the Carnation City crew into another three‑and‑out series of downs.

After an eight‑yard punt re­turn by Buckland, the Tigers had ideal field position at the visitors’ 36. Dixon ripped off 17 yards over left tackle. Then Danzy rolled right and fired a strike to Lonnie Simpson in the right corner of the end zone to put the game out of reach at 33‑6 with 7:46 to play.

“Those three series put us in the driver’s seat,” Rose said. “You could see them get de­flated. With that field position, they just couldn’t run their offense.”

The Tigers put the finishing touches on Alliance after the Aviators turned the ball over on downs at their own 12. Two plays later, Ashcraft found a gap and the end zone with 4:40 to play.

Ashcraft opened the scoring by powering over right tackle from five yards out to make it a 6‑0 game at the 5:32 mark of the first period. The run capped a picture perfect nine‑play, 82­yard march that consumed 4:12.

Alliance counter punched with a 10‑play, 66‑yard scoring drive, capped by Jason Sieg­fried’s 1‑yard burst over right guard that made it a 6‑6 contest at :34 of the opening period.

The Aviators moved the ball to the tune of 172 yards of offense in the first half. But when the final whistle was tooted, Alliance had managed but eight net yards in the second half.

First downs rushing 15 5
First downs passing 6 4
First downs by penalty 2 1
Total first downs 23 10
Net yards rushing 334 72
Net yards passing 103 108
Total yards gained 437 180
Passes attempted 8 15
Passes completed 7 5
Passes intercepted 0 1
Punts 1 6
Punting average 33.0 34.8
Fumbles 1 3
Fumbles lost 0 1
Penalties 7 7
Yards penalized 60 46

Massillon 0 6 14 20 40
Alliance 0 6 0 0 6

M ‑ Ashcraft 5 run (Kick failed.)
A ‑ Siegfried 1 run (Kick failed.)
M ‑ Danzy 37 run (Danzy run.)
M ‑ Ashcraft 23 run (Kick failed.)
M ‑ Simpson 19 pass from Danzy (Run failed.)
M ‑ Dixon 11 run (Endsley kick.)
M ‑ Ashcraft 2 run (Endsley kick.)

Individual statistics

Dixon 12‑94,
Paul 9-­82,
Ashcraft 10‑76,
Danzy 6‑55.
Cameron 6‑41.

Danzy 7‑8‑0 103.
Brady 5‑15‑1 108.

Simpson 5‑86,
Grif­fith 1‑10,
Paul 1-7.
Craig 2‑30,
Cameron 2‑11.

Mark Fair