Tag: <span>Massillon Perry</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.

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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

1983: Massillon 22, Massillon Perry 8

Tigers rip Perry 22-8

Spielman does it all; Defense does its job

Independent Sportswriter

MASSILLON – With three of the Midwest’s top coaches in the stands, Chris Spielman led the Massillon Tigers to a 22-8 win over Perry in the season opener for both squads.

Ohio State’s Early Bruce, Notre Dame’s Gerry Faust and Indiana’s Sam Wyche were in the crowd at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium as Spielman rushed for 78 yards, caught a pass, threw a touchdown pass, intercepted a pass and ran back a punt 68 yards. He also helped the famed “Tiger Claw” defense keep the Panthers bottled up most of the evening

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“Chris Spielman is the best all-around athlete I’ve ever coached,” declared Tiger coach Mike Currence. “That punt return was worth the price of admission.

“In an opening game, you can expect to make the kind of mistakes we did,” Currence continued. “We need some work with our receivers, but we’ll find out what we can do in the next few weeks.”

Tiger fans and coaches got a scare with 10:45 left in the second quarter when quarterback Brian Dewitz went down with a knee injury after being tackled. However, the injury turned out to be a strain and Currence said the coaching staff decided not to take any chances with the senior signal caller and replaced him with Bronc Pfisterer.

“You can’t be pleased when you lose,” said Perry coach Keith Wakefield. “We came here to win, not to keep it close, like some people think. Our kids hung in there but we missed tackles and didn’t block very well.”

“But we’re going to be a good football team.”

The Tigers took the opening kickoff and marched down to the Perry 29 in seven plays but Pfisterer missed a 47-yard field goal attempt with 8:54 left.

After holding the Panthers on their first possession, the Tigers drove down to the Panther 5, set up a 50-yard pass from Dewitz to split end Paul Briggs. But Spielman fumbled two plays later and Panther linebacker John Hively recovered.

Perry couldn’t get any further than their own 25 and after a punt, the Tigers took over on the Panther 37. On the first play, Craig Johnson swept around left end for the first Tiger TD of the season. Pfisterer booted the extra point.

Perry defensive back Pat McRoberts blunted the next Tiger drive with an interception but the team couldn’t capitalize on their fortune. Spielman ran back Ray Williams’ punt 68 yards down to the Panther 1 but two penalties and an incomplete pass took the Tigers out of a TD.

The Tigers made it 10-0 with 50 seconds left in the second period on a 27-yard field goal by Tim Sampsel which was set up by Spielman’s interception.

On the kickoff, Perry’s John Maciag fumbled and Glen Thomas recovered for Massillon on the Perry 29. Three plays later, Spielman took a pitch from Pfisterer and threw a scoring strike to Bruce Spicer to give the Tigers a 16-0 lead with 22 seconds left.

Spielman scored the Tigers’ final touchdown on a 10-yard run off left tackle, which capped an eight-play, 56-yaard drive. The PAT attempt was blocked.

Perry’s lone score came in the waning minutes of the game when tailback Rod Lemon bulled over from the 1 to avert a shutout. The score came on the fifth play of a 47-yard drive. Quarterback Jamie Howell, who relieved starter Don Decker late in the second quarter, ran around right end for the extra points.

Spielman was the game’s leading rusher with 78 yards on 12 carries. Johnson gained 71 yards on nine carries. Howell scrambled his way for 47 yards in 12 carries while fullback Wally Buzinski tallied 36 yards on 10 rushes.

“Perry is a much improved ball club,” Currence said. “I think everyone knows that. Howell really gave us some trouble.”

Both Massillon and Perry play host to Akron City Series teams next Friday. The Tigers host the Garfield Rams (and Charles Gladman, remember him from last year?) while the Panthers open their home season against the Buchtel Griffins.

Chris Spielman
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.

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“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
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1981: Massillon 33, Massillon Perry 0

Rick Spielman sparks big‑play offense
Tigers’ defense blanks Panthers 33-0

Independent Sports Editor
Tiger coach Mike Currence was counting on his defense to carry the team in the early part of this season.

Friday night it did just that.

What Currence hadn’t counted on was the big‑play capability his offense showed in beating the Perry Panthers 33‑0 before 14,653 fans in the season opener for both teams in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

“The defense saved us tonight,” Currence said. “They kept us in the ball game while we were able to find out something we could do (on offense),” Currence said.

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That something proved to be the screen pass, which the Tigers worked three times in the waning minutes of the first half to set up one touchdown and score another. The two scores came within 1:02 of each other and took the heat out of a fired‑up Panther defense which had stopped the Tigers cold with a pair of goal line stands on Massillon’s first two series, and a key quarterback sack on the third.

The Panthers even had field position at the Massillon 35 with just under six minutes left in the half ‑ and the score tied 0‑0 ‑ when the Tiger defense did its thing.

Linebacker Tim Manion intercepted a third‑down pass by Panther quarterback Rick Catazaro at the 29, and by halftime the Tigers had a 13‑0 lead and the momentum.

Quarterback Rick Spielman, scrambling against a fierce rush by the blitzing Panthers, came up with the big plays and the Tigers turned a close game into their first shutout of the season.

“The first of many, we hope,” Currence noted.

“It seems like people feel they can tee off and blitz us,” Currence said. “It seems to be in their game plans. It almost worked. We were lucky to get seven, and real lucky to get the last touchdown (of the first half). They didn’t blitz so much the second half because we hurt them with the big play,” he noted.

“Ricky (Spielman) came up with some big plays at least a half dozen of them. He’s a scrambler,” Currence added.

He had to be.

“We had the right defense,” Perry coach Joe Demaree said. “We flushed him (Spielman) out a lot of times. That’s what hurt us, the big play. He does a fine job; he’s got a lot of poise. We were doing a good job on defense most of the time but we couldn’t move the football. We couldn’t get field position and that hurt,” he added.

The Tigers’ win was forged in those last crucial minutes of the first half.

Manion’s interception gave the Tigers the ball at their own 34, but they faced a thrid‑and‑13 at the 31. Spielman beat a Panther blitz with a screen pass to fullback Michael Moore in the left flat, and he used a key block by Chuck York to scamper 27 yards for a first down at the Perry 42.

On a third‑and‑five at the 37, Spielman hit halfback Larry Newman for 12 yards and another first down at the 25. He then lofted a rainbow toward the right corner of the end zone and found a pot of gold at the end when wide receiver Jim Geiser made a leaping catch for a touchdown with 2:36 on the clock. Greg Radtka’s kick made it 7‑0.

Manion’s kickoff sailed to the eight yard line, and Spielman’s brother, sophomore Chris, smacked Perry’s Frank Falcone to the turf with a hard tackle at the 15.

Halfback McKinley Lancaster ran for a first down to the 30, but three Catazaro aerials fell incomplete and Massillon took over at its own 45 after a short punt. With 1:15 remaining in the half, Spielman went to work again. He hit Moore with another screen pass to the left for 23 yards and a first down at the Perry 32. Sticking with a good thing, he threw another screen pass ‑ this time to the right side to halfback Larry Newman ‑ and the speedster showed the Panthers some moves as he scampered all the way for the TD with :54 remaining. The kick failed, but the Tigers had a 13‑0 lead as the teams headed for the lockerroom.

The defense took over in the second half – as Chris Spielman and defensive back Mike Geschwind intercepted passes ‑and the first unit didn’t let the Panthers cross midfield.

On offense, Spielman connected with halfback George Roknich on a 33‑yard bomb on a third‑down play for a first down at the Perry 34 midway through the third quarter. He then hit halfback Mike Kozma with a 28‑yarder to the six, and two plays later Roknich ran it in from three yards out. Radtka’s kick was good for a 20‑0 lead.

In the fourth quarter, Chris Spielman’s interception gave the Tigers the ball at the Panther’ 16, and Newman needed only one play ‑ a trap ‑ to find the end zone with 9:52 to play. The kick failed and Massillon led 26‑0. Radtka who is also the backup quarterback, directed the second unit to the final touchdown as halfback Jim Bushe broke through for a six‑yard run with 6:01 remaining. Bushe, who had set up his own TD with a 21‑yard run, kicked the conversion to cap the scoring.

Spielman had the best opening game performance of any quarterback In Tiger history, hitting 12 of 21 passes for 224 yards (unofficially) and two TDs. Moore had two receptions for 51 yards, Newman had two for 44 yards and one of the TD passes and Geiser had two receptions for 36 yards and the other TD toss. Halfback Robert Oliver led the Tiger running attack with 46 yards in eight carries.

Currence had praise for his quarterback, saying: “We were in trouble many, many times tonight and he came through with the big play.”

Currence said his team was improved from the scrimmages, but added: “We’ve got a long way to go.”

As for Perry, he said: “They have some outstanding people, and I think they’ll do well in the Federal League.” The Panthers are the defending league champions.

Demaree admitted that having five players go both ways hurt his team, especially ‑ since Massillon is strictly a two‑platoon outfit.

Tiger defensive coach Jim Letcavits said he was pleased with the work of his defense, and singled out his two linebackers, Manion and Chris Spielman.

“Both of our linebackers played well, and Chris showed up a little better on kickoffs,” he said. Spielman streaked downfield and leveled the Perry return man on the Tigers first four kickoffs.

“I was pleased with our first unit, but I thought the kids that came in on the second unit also did a fine job,” Letcavits added.

First downs rushing 6 2
First downs passing 10 2
First downs by penalty 1 2
Total first downs 17 6
Yards gained rushing 183 91
Yards lost rushing 36 31
Net yards gained rushing 148 60
Net yards gained passing 231 30
Total yards gained 379 90
Passes attempted 24 12
Passes completed 13 2
Passes Intercepted by 3 0
Yardage on passes intercepted 18 0
Times kicked off 6 1
Kickoff average 54.3 52.0
Kickoff return yardage 33 87
Punts 2 8
Punting average 29.0 31.3
Punt return yardage 42 1
Fumbles 1 1
Fumbles lost 0 0
Penalties 7 4
Yards penalized 65 43
Touchdowns rushing 3 0
Touchdowns passing 2 0
Total number of plays 65 41
Total time of possession 27.29 20.31
Attendance 14,653

PERRY 0 0 0 0 0
MASSILLON 0 13 7 13 33

MASS ‑ Jim Geiser 25-yard pass from Rick Spielman (Greg Radtka kick)
MASS ‑ Larry Newman 32‑yard pass from Spielman (kick failed)
MASS ‑ George Roknich 3‑yard run (Radtka kick)
MASS – Newman 16-yard run (kick failed)
MASS – Jim Bushe 6-yard run (Bushe kick)

Spielmans too much for Perry to handle
Independent Sports Editor
The Spielman brothers sure made things tough on the Perry Panthers.

Rick Spielman, the Tigers senior quarterback, didn’t waste any time starting his assault on the Massillon record book. Younger brother Chris, a sophomore linebacker, wasted even less time assaulting Panther ball carriers.

The end result was a 33‑0 Massillon victory before 14,653 fans in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Friday night.

According to records of team statistician Tom Persell, Rick had the best opening game performance of any Tiger quarterback as he completed 12 of 21 passes, for 224 yards and two touchdowns. The yardage is the second best ever compiled by a Tiger quarterback, and the 12 completions is the seventh best performance by a Tiger QB.

Brent Offenbecher holds the yardage record of 231 in a 28‑22 win over Gahanna Lincoln in the second game of the 1977 season. Spielman eclipsed Dave Eberhart’s 1980 performance of 218 yards in the 14‑6 win over Parma Padua last Oct. 24.

“His father’s not a bad coach either,” reminded Tiger head coach Mike Currence after the game. Charles “Sonny” Spielman is the Tigers’ quarterback and wide receiver coach, and is therefore his son’s personal tutor on the finer arts of quarterbacking.

Chris’ performance was perhaps best summed up by Massillon field announcer Walt Bronczek following the Tigers’ fifth kickoff: “This time the tackle was NOT made by Chris Spielman.”

The first four times fellow linebacker Tim Manion boomed a kickoff, Chris streaked downfield and leveled the Panther return man ‑ each time inside the 20-yard line.

He was no slouch on the plays from scrimmage, either, setting up the Tigers fourth touchdown with a pass interception at the Perry 23 which he returned seven yards. He butted helmets with Manion in picking off the pass. Manion also had an interception, as did defensive back Mike Geschwind.

Another player Currence had praise for was senior halfback Larry Newman.

“Larry’s kind of our game breaker. We get him the ball and he scoots,” Currence said.

Newman did some scooting after taking a screen pass from Rick Spielman and showing off some moves on a 32‑yard jaunt for the Tigers’ second TD. Following Chris Spielman’s interception, he broke a trap play for 16 yards and his second touchdown.

“He’s really worked hard, and he deserves all the credit he gets,” Currence said of his 5‑8, 157‑pound speedster.

Paul Brown Tiger Stadium also looked good Friday night. The seats in both the west and east stands are brand new, as are the end zone bleachers. The field is also in the best shape it’s been in years.

Rain just before the start of the game put a damper on the crowd, which was the smallest of the four straight openers Massillon and Perry have played. Friday’s attendance of 14,653 was 1,680 less than last year’s crowd of 16,333. In the initial meeting of the two teams in 1978, 17,930 attended the game, followed by 16,454 in 1979. The Tigers have won all four games: 27‑6 in 1978, 21‑0 in 1979, 30‑13 in 1980 and 33‑0 this time.

Perry has already signed another two‑year agreement with the Tigers, and will open the season in Tiger Stadium in 1982 and 1983. Except for the annual Massillon‑McKinley game, this backyard rivalry has exceeded all others between Stark County schools in both attendance and gate receipts, according Persell.

The Panthers have rebounded well from their opening defeats the past two years, posting 8‑2 marks and winning the Federal League title last season.

Halfback McKinley Lancaster, a returning starter, led the Panthers in rushing Friday night with 48 yards in eight carries, including runs of 15 and 12 yards.

Tim Manion


Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1980: Massillon 30, Massillon Perry 13

Two quick TDs pave way to 30-13 win
Tigers strike early to defeat Panthers

Independent Sports Editor

By the time Greg Grimsley knew what hit him, Mike Jones was beading for the end zone.

And by the time Mike Loretto knew what he had in his hands, the Massillon Tigers were off to the races.

It was another one of those season opening games for the Perry Panthers as the Tigers took advantage of the breaks to score a 30‑13 win before 16,333 fans on a hot and humid night in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Program Cover

Not that the game wasn’t close, mind you, but its pretty hard to battle back when you spot the opposing learn two touchdowns in the first three minutes of the game.

The Panthers – who always come into Tiger Stadium hitting everybody in sight ‑ battled their way back into the game, but the Tigers always came up with the plays they needed to stay ahead.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff, and on the first play faked the hall to Grimsley. The big senior fullback is a transfer from Perry and his former teammates racked him up hard at the line.

But the bail went to Jones on a trap, and one block and a move later he was scampering 64 yards for the first of his two touchdowns. Dave Eberhart’s extra point kick gave Massillon a 7‑0 lead before all the fans were in their seats.

The Panthers kept their cool, however, and started driving from their own 35 after the ensuing kickoff. They churned out a first down before the drive bogged down and they faced a third‑and‑eight on the Massillon 48.

Quarterback Dave Fach lobbed a screen pass into the right flat, but threw it too high, and another Perry transfer ‑ Loretto raced in from his defensive back position, jumped up and tipped the hall away from a crowd of Perry players and found it in his arms when he came down. He raced 48 yards untouched for a touchdown with 9:05 left in the first quarter and the Tigers led 13‑0.

“We worked on that play,” Tiger coach Mike Currence said of Jones’ TD scamper, “We knew they’d be keying on Grimsley, so we faked it to him and went to Jonesy.”

Perry coach Joe Demaree had another explanation.

“We expected them to do exactly what they did. But they knocked down our monster back and our safety fell down (as Jones cut back to the inside after bursting through the line).”

Neither coach could explain Loretto’s interception.

“Those crazy bounces and tips are going in happen, but you don’t expect them back to back,” was all Demaree could say.

While those two plays determined the course of the game, the Panthers took advantage of a Massillon let down in the second quarter to put themselves back in striking distance.

Following a 31‑yard field goal by Eberhart just before the end of the first quarter, the Panthers got their act together.

They opened the second period with a 64‑yard, 11-play drive climaxed by a three‑yard touchdown run by Monty Wise with 6:51 left to go in the half. Ed Bartholomew’s kick made it 16‑7, and it took a third‑down sack by the Tigers on Perry’s next possession to allow the Tigers to hold that lead until halftime.

“We got the two big plays and of course at that point we started falling apart and making mistakes,” Currence said.

“Perry’s come of age,” he said. “They just came down the field and controlled the ball on us in the second quarter. Anybody who play them this year is going have to outscore them,” he added.

Currence was pleased with the win, of course, but be was not too happy with all the mistakes the Tigers made.

Demaree, of course was disappointed, but was proud of the way his charges battled back out of the hole.

“We stayed with our game plan,” he said, noting the Panthers didn’t panic after the two quick scores.

“We were in that game. They have a good football team and so do we. The key is we did not get one break. But don’t take anything away from Massillon. It was just a remarkable game. Both teams were really hitting.

“I felt when we took the ball down the field and scored, we knew what they were doing and did our job.”

Asked if he thought it would have been a different game if his team could have mustered a score in the third period. Demaree said: “There’s no doubt in my mind.”

Neither team scored in the third period as the Tiger defense stopped the Panthers twice, before the offense started a 64-yard, 14‑play drive that carried into the fourth quarter and ended when Jones scampered the last 11 yards for a touchdown ‑ leaping over a Perry player at the seven yard line on his way to the end zone. Eberhart’s kick gave the Tigers a 23‑6 lead.

Perry bounced back by going 70 yards in seven plays and Doug Wagner’s two‑yard run made it 23‑13 with 5:31 to go in the game. A run for the extra points failed, and Demaree saw that as the final turning point.

“Even if we could have got the two points on the extra points run, it would have been a different ball game, because we would have only been a touchdown behind (eight points).”

But linebacker John Mayles stopped McKinley Lancaster with a hard hit, and with 45 seconds left in the game substitute quarterback Rick Spielman hit Jeff Elliott with a 14-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to seal the verdict.

Despite the Tigers’ mistakes ‑ they were penalized nine times for 85 yards ‑ Currence liked what he saw of the team’s running game.

“I thought we could control it on them by running the ball.” he said, and that’s what the tigers did in the second half, They finished with 217 yards on the ground, with Jones leading all rushers with 111 yards on 14 carries. Grimsley added 58 yards on eight carries and junior Robert Oliver had 36 yards on five carries.

Eberhart hit some key passes for the Tigers, and finished with 8 of 10 for 78 yards and one interception.

Perry’s Fach had a rough night, completing 4 of 16 for 34 yards. On the ground, Wagner picked up 42 yards on nine carries, Lancaster had 31 yards on six carries and Wise had 35 yards on seven carries.

Wise had to go both ways (playing halfback on offense and defense) because returning starter Dan Douglas injured his foot at practice Thursday. Wise also had to leave the game with leg cramps.

The Tigers will host Cleveland John F. Kennedy Friday while Perry opens its Federal League campaign the same night in Louisville.

First downs‑rushing 12 7
First downs passing 6 1
First downs penalties 2 2
Total first downs. 20 12
Yards gained rushing 246 133
Yards lost rushing 29 9
Net Yds. gained rushing 217 124
Net yds. gained passing 99 34
Total yards gained 316 158
Passes attempted, 13 16
Passes completed 8 4
Passes intercepted by 1 1
Ydg. on passes intercepted 48 5
Times kicked off 6 3
Kickoff average(ydg.) 43.7 42.3

Kickoff returns (yds.) 55 83
Times punted 2 5
Punt average (yds.) 41.0 36.2
Punt returns (yds.) 0 2.9
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 2 2
Lost fumbled Fall 1 0
Penalties 9 4
Yards penalized 85 60
Touchdowns rushing 2 2
Touchdowns passing 1 0
Touchdowns by interception 1 0
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Total number of Plays 54 46
Total time
of possession 26:01 21:59

PERRY 0 7 0 6 ‑ 13
MASSILLON 16 0 0 14 – 30
(kick fail);
MASS ‑ Eberhart 31 FG hot;
PERRY ‑ Monty Wise 3 run (Ed Bartholomew kick);
MASS ‑ Jones 11 run Everhart kick);
PERRY ‑ Doug Wagner 2 run (run fail);
MASS ‑ Jeff Elliott 14 pass from Rick Spielman (Greg Radtka kick).


Massillon’s Tigers
Devour Panthers by 30-13

MASSILLON ‑ Perry Coach Joe Demaree knew all along that his squad would have to be the ones making the big breaks if the Panthers were to upset Massillon in the annual season opener for both teams Friday night at Paul Brown‑Tiger Stadium.

The only break the Panthers made, however, was in their own backbone as they handed Massillon two long touchdowns in the first three minutes of the game to key a 30‑13 win by the Tigers before a crowd of 16,333.

The Tigers opened the game by exploiting fullback Greg Grimsley, one of two Tiger starters that recently transferred from Perry. Massillon Coach Mike Currence sent Grimsley up the middle on the very first play from scrimmage and the 215‑pounder was rudely met by an angry group of former teammates.

The only problem, for Perry that is, was that senior halfback Mike Jones was the one with the ball. Jones, who gained 257 yards in limited duty last year, hit the outside hole and faked his way past safety Danny Lloyd en route to a 64‑yard touchdown run.

Perry, to its credit, appeared unshaken by its sudden misfortune and quickly drove to midfield after taking the ensuing kickoff.

This time it was another former Perry starter, Mike Loretto, who did the dirty deed on his former mates.

Perry had set up a screen to the weak side with quarterback Dave Fach rolling to his right. When Fach wheeled to throw across field to intended receiver Monty Wise the diminutive passer (5-foot-7, 150 pounds) was fronted by one of the Tigers’ massive linemen.

Fach was forced to float the ball 25 yards and Loretto timed it perfectly as the defensive back stepped in front of Wise and took the interception 48 yards untouched to give Massillon a 13‑0 lead with only 2:55 gone.

“Those two plays really made the game.” commented Currence, whose team returned only one starter (center Doug Eberhart from last year’s 10‑1 squad that qualified for the state playoffs.

“On the first play we knew that Perry was going to be keying on Greg like hell so I called a play that used him as a decoy. Sure enough, they were all over him and Mike Jones was able to break a great run.

“Overall, though, I wasn’t pleased with our performance, especially the numerous mental mistakes we made that were very costly. Heck if you take away the long run and the interception ‑you’ve got a helluva ball game.”

Even with the two big plays going against them, the Panthers were able in threaten Massillon as the Perry defense stiffened and limited the Tigers to 80 yards for the remainder of the first half.

Immediately after a 31-yard field goal by Dave Eberhart with 25 seconds left in the first quarter, Fach led the Panthers on a 64-yard drive that was culminated by a two‑yard run by Wise to cut the margin to 16‑7.

It remained a nine‑point advantage until the Tigers’ all‑senior backfield decided to lock things up in the fourth quarter.

While Grimsley and Jones were hurting the Panthers inside and outside, respectively, on the ground. Dave Eberhart was picking apart an injury riddled secondary to pieces in the air.

Jones, who rushed for a game high 111 yards on 14 attempts, capped a 75- yard drive with an 11‑yard run on counter play with 8:10 left and after the Panthers scored with 5:31 left, Eberhart led a march that clinched the game.

The 6‑foot, 190‑pounder, who hit all seven of his second‑half attempts, completed four straight aerials to key a 59‑yard drive that gave the Tigers a 17-point edge and killed any further comeback hopes entertained by Perry.

“We knew when we came here that we would have to make the big breaks and if you take away those two quick touchdowns you’ve got an entirely difference game,” said a disappointed Demaree, whose Panthers’ seven game winning streak was halted.

“Although they might have felt we would be keying on Grimsley, we weren’t. They have such a well-balanced club to key on any one player would be foolish. We knew that Jones was an awesome runner and that their quarterback was very good.

“Still, I was very pleased with our team in the respect that we didn’t give up. Most teams would have folded after spotting a team like Massillon a two‑touchdown lead.”

Although Massillon was held to 18 total yards in the second quarter, the Tigers outgained Perry 211-120 on the ground and 101‑.34 in the air for the game. Eberhart was the key to the Tigers’ aerial attack as he hit on nine of 11 for 87 yards before being relieved by junior Chuck Spielman on the final two plays of their last drive.

Dave Eberhardt
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1979: Massillon 21, Massillon Perry 0

Tigers capitalize on Panther Miscues
For 21 ‑0 win in season opener

Independent Sports Editor

“You can’t make five mistakes and play Massillon,” Perry coach Joe Demaree said.

“You don’t have to look for any particular mistakes, we made them all tonight,” Massillon coach Mike Currence said.

The end result, however, was a 21‑0 season‑opening win for Currence and his Tigers Friday night before 16,454 fans in Paul Brown Tiger stadium.

Both the Panthers and Tigers had “opening game jitters,” as Currence called them, with Perry turning the ball over six times and Massillon four times.

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The Tigers took two of those turnovers and turned them into touchdowns, helping them record their second straight opening‑game win over the Panthers in as many years.

“We were lucky they made mistakes,” Currence said of the Perry miscues. “We fumbled and we dropped passes. You can’t sustain a drive when you drop passes. How many drives of ours were stopped when the pass was there and we dropped the ball?” Currence asked rhetorically.

“You can’t run my kind of offense and drop passes. We live by the pass, and when we need it on third down, we’ve got to have it. We dropped about six to eight passes that were crucial tonight.”

Outside of that, Currence was pleased with his team’s defensive effort, which forced most of the Perry turnovers.

“I think our defense played exceptionally well tonight, except for the penalties. I wasn’t satisfied with that. We let them sustain drives a couple of times with penalties.”

But Currence was especially displeased with his offense, and he didn’t hide the fact.

“I’m not satisfied with anybody on our offense. Now, I’ve got to give some credit to Perry’s defense. I don’t want to take anything away from those guys, they’ve got a great group of juniors. They’re much better than last year (when Massillon won 27‑6).

“Their offense is better. It may not have looked that way tonight, but they’re very explosive. Our defensive line is just much better than last season. We’re quicker and we get to the ball better. I thought we did a good job of containing (Perry quarterback Dave) Fach,” Currence said.

Demaree was even more upset about his team’s mistakes.

“They’ve got a good ball club,” he said of Massillon. If you fumble once against them you’re going to be in trouble.”

The Panthers fumbled four times and lost all of them and also had two passes intercepted. Massillon fumbled three times, but lost only one, and had three passes intercepted.

“Our defense was on the field the whole night,” Demaree noted. “But our kids stuck in there and hit, they never gave up. Our defense did a good job, but you can’t stay on the field the whole night.

“But you can’t take anything away from Massillon,” he added.

Both teams played well on defense, but the Tigers’ defense gave their offense better field position – something Currence said he hoped it would do ‑ and the Tigers were able to take advantage of it.

The Tigers started the ball rolling ‑ literally ‑ when halfback Bill Burkett fumbled on the third play of the game with Perry’s Don Gregoire recovering.

Perry returned the favor on its first play when Monty Wise fumbled at midfield, with the Tigers’ Dave Geschwind recovering.

The Tigers didn’t muff this opportunity, as they drove 50 yards in six plays with Sam McDew taking it the last three yards for the touchdown with 9:59 left in the first quarter. Jeff Fry booted the extra point for a 7‑0 Tiger lead.

The drive was highlighted by a 36‑yard pass, from quarterback Bill Scott to wide receiver Greg Evans on first down. It gave the Tigers a first down at the Perry 14 yard line.

The two teams exchanged punts, and Perry started a drive at its own 20. They got a first down at the 31, but Greg Grimsley fumbled on the next play and Tiger safety Jamie Schlegel recovered at the Perry 34.

The Tigers drove to the three yard line, and on fourth and one, Demaree sent in big Carl Birone, the Panthers 6‑1, 265‑pound tackle.

The Tigers tried to run over him but he plugged the hole, forcing McDew to go outside where Mike Daniels made a hard hit at the four yard line, stopping the drive.

The Tigers took over at their own 42 following a Perry punt and 10 plays later Bill Beitel ran inside left tackler on a one‑yard touchdown play. Fry converted for a 14‑0 Tiger lead with 7:39 left in the half.

Mistakes highlighted the rest of the second quarter, with Tiger linebacker Kevin McClelland intercepting a Fach pass, Tiger defensive end Tom Mummertz recovering a fumble and Panther defensive back Dan Douglas intercepting a Scott pass.

The Panthers took the second half kickoff and promptly fumbled the ball back to the Tigers on first down, with. Jim Blogna recovering at the Perry 40 yard line.

Scott hit Marty Guzzetta with a 30‑yard pass down the right sideline ‑ with ‑the senior wide receiver making a fine catch.

With a first down at the Perry 10, McDew carried seven yards, Beitel picked up two more and Scott sneaked over from the one with 9:47 remaining in the third period. Fry’s kick was good again and Massillon led 21‑0.

More mistakes followed. Wise intercepted a Scott pass, and following an exchange of punts, the Panthers started a drive at their own 19 yard line.

They kept the ball on the ground, and moved it out to Massillon’s 43 yard line, where the drive stalled. On fourth down, Fach went back to punt, but a high snap from center sailed over his head, and Geschwind tackled him at the Perry 35.

The Tigers gave up the ball on downs, and Perry started another drive at its own 22.

Fach hit Jeff Radsick with a 24‑yard pass, giving the Panthers a first down at their own 46. On second down, Grimsley burst up the middle for 13 yards and another first down.

Perry moved the ball to a first down on the Massillon five when Jim O’Neal swept right end for 10 yards, but they could get no closer to the goal line.

O’Neal was thrown for a two‑yard loss (even though the Tigers only, had 10 players on the field), then Mummertz dropped Fach with an ankle tackle for an eight yard loss back at the 19. On the next play defensive end Mike Hodgson intercepted a Fach pass at the 18 and returned it to the 30.

The Tigers then gave, up the ball when, junior quarterback Dave Eberhart’s pass was in­tercepted by Dan Lloyd. Perry ran several more plays and the game ended.

“We’ve got good kids, tough kids,” Demaree said of his players. “They’re hurting mentally right now. We’re not satisfied, and no loss can ever help you, but we’ll start working real hard on Monday to prepare for Friday (when the Panthers will take on surprising Marlington, winner of its first two games).

“This is a good ball game,” Demarre said of the Tiger‑Panther series, which will run for at least two more years. “It’s good for the community, and I think we represent the Federal League well.”

One bright spot for the Tiger offense was the running of fullback Sam McDew. He gained 88 yards in 16 carries (5.5 average), but he also fumbled the ball once, though teammate Mark Kircher recovered.

“Sam looked better than in the three scrimmages,” Currence observed. McDew dislocated his thumb during the game, but tiger team doctor A.R. Furnas put it back in place for him on the sidelines.

Quarterback Bill Scott completed 9 of 18 passes for 128 yards and two interceptions. Greg Evans caught two passes for 43 yards, Bill Burkett hauled in three for 20 yards, Bill Beitel had two for 14, Marty Guzzetta had one for 30 and Sam McDew had one for 22 yards.

The Tigers, will open their All‑America Conference schedule next Friday when they entertain Alliance (1‑1). Perry opens its Federal League season when it travels to Marlington.


Mass. Opp.
First downs – rushing 10 7
First downs – passing 3 2
First downs – penalties 2 2
Total first downs 15 11
Yards gained rushing 146 135
Yards lost rushing 20 43
Net yards gained rushing 126 92
Net yards gained passing 149 60
Total yards gained 275 152
Passes attempted 25 10
Passes completed 9 3
Passes intercepted by 2 3
Yardage on passes intercepted 12 24
Times kicked off 4 1
Kickoff average (yards) 45.0 43.2
Kickoff returns (yards) 26 64
Times punted 3 4
Punt average (yards) 44.3 34.0
Punt returns (yards) 0 0
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 3 4
Lost fumbled ball 1 4
Penalties 7 3
Yards penalized 75 42
Touchdowns rushing 3 0
Touchdowns passing 0 0
Touchdowns by interception 0 0
Misc. touchdowns 0 0
Total number of plays 65 54
Total time of possession 23.42 24.18
Attendance 16,454

McDew ‑ 88 yards on 16 attempts.

PERRY 0 0 0 0 0
MASSILLON 7 7 7 0 21

M ‑ Sam McDew 3 run (Jeff Fry kick);
M – Bill Beitel 1 run (Fry kick);
M – Bill Scott 1 run (Fry kick).

Marty Guzzetta
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1978: Massillon 27, Massillon Perry 6

Wright keys Tiger win over Panthers
Massillon’s 27-6 victory hard fought

Independent Sports Editor
“Thank God for Ronnie Wright, because tie’s a winner.” sighed Massillon Tiger head coach Mike Currence Friday night.

And thanks to Wright, it was a sigh of relief from Currence, whose Tigers overcame a ragged Perry Panther team to win their first opener in three years, 27‑6.

”Mistakes, mistake, mistakes,” Currence moaned in the lockeroom at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium after the game. “If we would have made any more mistakes it would have been their game.”

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“There isn’t one guy that didn’t make a mistake. We didn’t handle the emotional stress very well. Ronnie just seems to be able to handle the pressure.”

The game was a lot closer than the score indicates – with Perry missing a field goal in the first quarter and fumbling the ball away at the Massillon one‑yard line in the third quarter ‑ and it took a clutch second‑half performance by Wright to keep the Panthers at bay.

The kick failed and the score was 20‑6 at the half.

Perry took the second-half kickoff and drove to Massillon’s one‑yard line where Fink fumbled and Pedro came with his second recovery of the game.

Neither team could get a drive going and the third quarter ended with the score still 20-6.

Just before the end of the third quarter, Wright replaced Offenbecher at quarterback with the Tigers at their own four yard line following a great coffin‑corner kick of 37 yards by Fink).

Bill Beitel gained 11 and five yards, Sam Hill rushed for two and then caught a three‑yard pass from Wright for a first down at Perry’s 25.

Wright drove the team all the way to Perry’s 18 – completing two more passes for 27 yards along the way – before Paul White fumbled the ball and Vasiliades recovered.

But the drive got the Tigers out of a bad hole and kept the persistent Panthers at bay.

Asked why he switched quarterbacks, Currence said: “Brent was hurt all, week, I don’t know if people knew that. He did the best be could do I don’t even know if he could see out there (because of a swollen face).

“But Brent didn’t have the timing. He knew it and I knew it, and I didn’t want to throw anyway. I just wanted to drive it out of there and that’s what we did. Ronnie does a good job on the short pass and his faking and ball handling are excellent.

“It wasn’t Brent’s fault. Besides, we had bad field position all night. But when we had to call on Ronnie he came up with the big play,” Currence explained.

He came up with another big play when the Tigers got the ball back with less than two minutes to go in the game.

Offenbecher came back in at quarterback and hurled a perfect pass to Wright who made a fingertip catch and sprinted to the end zone to complete a 59‑yard scoring play. Wright added the extra point kick and the score ended 27‑6.

Despite the mistakes, it was a good way to start a rivalry (this being the first meeting between the two schools go the gridiron) and the Perry Panthers certainly gave the Tigers all they needed.

First downs – rushing 9 4
First downs – passing 1 7
First downs – penalties 0 1
Total first downs 15 12
Yards gained rushing 292 58
Yard, lost rushing 25 6
Net yards gained rushing 267 52
Net yards gained passing 153 139
Total yards gained 420 191
Passes attempted 15 31
Passes completed 8 15
Passes intercepted by 1 1
Yardage on passes intercepted 11 0
Times kicked off 5 2
Kickoff average (yards) 46.8 50 4
Kickoff returns (yards) 87 103
Times punted 4 6
Punt average (yards) 32.0 34.8
Punt returns (yards) 10 8
Had punts (blocked) 0 0
Fumbles 4 3
Lost fumbled ball 2 2
Penalties 7 10
Yards penalized 65 71
Touchdowns rushing 2 0
Touchdowns passing 2 1
Touchdowns by interception 0 0


QUARTERBACK: 14 Brent Offenbecher (Sr., 6‑1, 175);
FULLBACK: 43 Tom Gehring (Sr., 5‑10, 171);
HALFBACKS: 45 ‑ Jeff Belief (Jr., 5‑7, 158), 22 ‑ Bill Beitel (148);
ENDS: 42 Curtis Strawder (Sr., 5‑10, 153), 13 ‑ Ron Wright (Sr., 5-9. 173), 25 Marty Guzzetta (Jr., 5‑ 9, 160 );
TACKLES: 67 ‑ Doug Wood (Sr, 6‑2, 191), 76 Mark Kircher (Jr., 6-1, 212);
GUARDS: 69 Jim Horton (Sr., 6‑0, 177), 79 Eric Barnard (Sr., 6-2, 215);
CENTER: 51 Scott Kasunick (Sr., 5‑9, 181).

ENDS: 81 Bruce Solinger, (Sr., 6 0, 175), 88 Kent Wilson (Sr., 6-0, 182);
TACKLES: 72 Harry Foster (Sr., 6-2, 232), 71 Jeff Pedro (Sr., 6-3, 204);
MIDDLE GUARD: 55 Bob Simpson (Jr., 5‑11, 190);
LINEBACKERS: 32 Dick Cleveland (Sr., 5‑11, 188), 17 ‑ Kevin Harris (Sr., 5‑10, 182);
MONSTER BACK: 11 Darren Longshore (Sr., 6‑1, 175);
SAFETY: 21 Jamie Schlegel (Jr., 5‑11 160) or 24 Dan DiLoretto (Jr., 5-8, 149);
HALFBACKS: 34 Jeff David (Sr., 5‑9, 188), 12 Dan Venables (Sr., 5‑10 160).
KICKERS: 13 Wright (punts, extra points), 86 Mike Hodgson (Jr., 6-5, 194) kickoffs.

QUARTERBACK: 14 John Vasiliades (Sr., 6-0, 170);
FULLBACK: 32 Greg Grimsley (So, 6‑0, 195);
HALFBACKS: 35 Steve Fink (Sr., 5‑10.171), 23 Ronnie Wilson (Sr., 5‑8, 148);
ENDS: 83 Greg Janowicz (Sr., 6‑1, 188), 15 ‑ Scott Slicker (Sr., 5‑11, 163);
TACKLES: 72 Eric Ferguson (Sr., 6-1, 204), 77 ‑ Doug Lab (Jr., 6‑0 195);
GUARDS: 65 Rick Troxell (Sr., 5-8, 162), 61 Dennis Rollins (Sr., 5‑9, 165);
CENTER: 54 Jerry McCoy (Sr., 6‑1, 218).

ENDS: 86 Mike Daniels (So., 5-10 179), 83 Janowicz;
TACKLES: 77 Lab, 72 Ferguson;
OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS: 14 Vasiliades, 35 Fink;
INSIDE LINEBACKERS: 65 Troxell, 53 Do Gregoire (Jr., 6-1, 167);
SAFETY: 23 Wilson;
HALFBACKS: 15 Slicker, 49 Aubrey Trufont (Sr., 5-7, 148).

SERIES: First meeting.

Federal clubs command respect
By Bob Stewart
Repository Sports Editor
In this, the first full weekend of Ohio high school football, the Federal League lost some battles, but may have wond the war.

To be sure, it was not the best weekend Federal League football teams ever have encountered, with only Jackson and Marlington managing to whip the non‑league competition.

But then Perry dared to enter the Tiger’ lair, and GlenOak made it’s second annual opener at Fawcett.

And therein lies a tale.

The Federal League teams that tweaked the tails of the so‑called mighty Massillon and McKinley aggaggregations got bit, but not fatally.

Perry gave the Tigers a run for their money, and the Pups had to come from behind to put down the Golden Eagle upstarts.

Federal League football must rank with some of the beat played in Ohio, and while the entire loop may not be able to play week in and week out with the likes of a Cincinnati Moeller, well, who can?

The Federal loop has gained respect, and there is no justification for the fans to be maligning the Federal teams on the McKinley and Massillon scheduled.

The Massillon fans have been grumbling since last spring about the Perry and Jackson addition to the Tigers.

But you will see more and more matchups like them. You need only look to the bottom line of the summary, where it reads: Attendance ‑ 17,930. That translates into $$$$.

That’s the most in Tiger Stadium for an opening ball game for many a moon. There is no question it’s a lot more than Dayton Roth or Cleveland East turnover would have put there.

In addition to the clicking of the turnstiles, the Massillons add the McKinleys also will be waiting for the clicking of the computers as the Perrys and the GlenOaks knock off teams the rest of the session.

Of all the teams on Massillon’s schedule this year, Perry had the beat 1977 record, except for McKinley, which want to the state playoffs.

The two top items for high school football teams these days are money and computer points.

Massillon and McKinley are convinced Federal foes can provide both.

But the Federal League also can provide some tough competition, and one of these years it could be a Federal team riding the Massillon or McKinley points into the state playoffs.

Louisville and North Canton have been but a whisker away from the playoffs in the past, and the Federal footballers have served notice that they come to play. If you put them on your schedule, better button up your chin strap.

Curtis Strawder