Tag: <span>Paul Brown Tiger Stadium</span>

History

2004: Massillon 7, Canton McKinley 20

Tigers put up a fight but can’t stop MCK

By JOE SHAHEEN
Joe.Shaheen @ IndeOnline.com

The record books will show the Massillon Tigers lost to the McKinley Bulldogs 20‑7 in the 112th Massillon‑Canton game on a sun drenched, wind‑swept Saturday afternoon at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium to complete their second consecutive 4‑6 campaign.

Program Cover

Still, Tiger coach Rick Shepas believes the season ended on a positive note with the way his team battled Warren Harding into double overtime in Week Nine and came within a couple of poor decisions in the passing game of topping playoff‑bound McKinley on Saturday.

“The last three or four weeks of practice have been great,” Shepas said. “The attitude of our kids has been great. The way they’ve responded. The way they’ve worked. They’ve come out with focus. They’ve had fun. Within the locker room those things are all good.

“Many positive lessons were learned. I don’t second guess anything we’ve done as a coaching staff throughout the year. Our goal is to do everything we possible can do for our kids. And that’s where you leave it.”

Mistakes, as has been the case all season, kept Massillon from pulling the upset. Two interceptions by the Bulldogs in the end zone were too much for the Tigers to overcome.

“Our guys played hard,” said Shepas, who then addressed the Tigers’ 2004 schedule. “I think there’s something to be said for keeping our guys in a good frame of mind and preparing them with losing a few tough games.

“There’s no moral victories in playing well against the good teams and not winning.”

The Tigers’ lone score came with 10:08 to play in the game when senior running back Caleb White, who had become something of a forgotten man in Massillon’s running back rotation, dashed around right end for 77 yards and a touchdown.

Shepas spoke emotionally about the play afterward. “This thing is all about lessons that we learn,” he said. “It’s about something that takes place in a football locker room between players and coaches. When you talk about victories and lessons learned, you talk about Caleb White’s run. That for me was the story of this McKinley game.

“It comes down to the lesson that both Caleb White and I learned throughout the course of this season. And that run that he had … I’ll tell you what, it was great. It speaks of some strengths and I’m glad that happened for him today.”

McKinley marched 71 yards in 11 plays the first time it touched the football. Ryan Brinson carried the ball on seven of those snaps, finally punching it in from a yard out. Beach Campbell’s point after made it 7‑0 Pups at 4:16 of the first quarter.

The wind played havoc with a McKinley punt the second time the Pups had the ball, giving Massillon possession at the Bulldog 37. But the Tiger offense couldn’t convert a first down and McKinley took over at its own 32.

On first down Mike Shaffer handed off to Brinson, who broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage, burst into the clear and didn’t stop until he found the end zone 68 yards later. The point after failed but the Bulldogs were up 13-0 at 8:57 of the second quarter.

Massillon’s next two possessions ended in punts but the Tigers got something going just before halftime with Shawn Weisend taking over for an injured Quentin Paulik at quarterback. He completed three straight passes to Eric Smith and a McKinley personal foul moved the ball to the Pups’ 24. After a screen pass to Ramon Kelly picked up two yards, the Tigers tried a little razzle dazzle in the form of a flanker pass. But the throw into a crowd in the end zone was picked off by Brinson.

“We felt it was a good down and distance for a play like that,” Shepas said of the second‑and‑8 call. “We were in a time out. We called two plays in the time out. And we said ‘If it isn’t there, don’t force it.’

“If we would have executed it would have been a great call. If he’d have just thrown it away it wouldn’t have been a significant play. That’s the sad thing. That’s the lesson some of our guys have to learn. That’s the way it goes.”

McKinley put together a nine‑play, 80‑yard drive to open the second half with Brinson doing the honors from two yards out to make it 20‑0 with most of the third quarter remaining.

After an exchange of punts, Massillon took over at midfield with 3:34 left in the third quarter. Weisend hit Brett Huffman over the middle for 36 yards to the McKinley 17, then took a hard hit in picking up eight more to the 9 on a bootleg keeper.

McKinley cornerback Kellen Showes intercepted a pass on the next snap and the Tiger threat was quelled.

“Shawn took that hit on the run and he was fuzzy,” Shepas said. “We didn’t know that on that play.”

Massillon would finally get on the scoreboard on White’s long run but the Tigers simply could not sustain anything offensively the entire game.

“Our defensive staff had a great game plan,” said McKinley coach Brian Cross. “People don’t talk about our defense enough. We held these guys to seven points. We only gave up one long touchdown run, that was the only long touchdown run we’ve given up this season. I’m extremely happy with the way our defense played.

We were stunned a little bit that they scored. Still, at 20‑7, we felt pretty good. We knew we had to still move the football, and that’s something we didn’t do well in the second half. The reason we didn’t do it is because they were giving us a nine‑man front and making us throw the football. We tried to throw the football, and we had people open, we just didn’t complete them.”

“It’s about something that takes place in a locker room between players and coaches. When you talk about victories and lessons learned, you talk about Caleb White’s run. That for me was the story of this McKinley game.”
Rick Shepas,
Massillon coach

McKinley 20
Massillon 7

McKinley 07 06 07 00 20
Massillon 00 00 00 07 07

SCORING

McK ‑ Ryan Brinson 1 run (Zach Campbell kick)
McK ‑ Brinson 68 run (Kick failed)
McK ‑ Brinson 2 run (Campbell kick)
M ‑Caleb White 77 run (Steve Schott kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing

Massillon: Caleb White 2‑81 1 TD;
Ramon Kelly 9‑41;
Jermaine Moncrief 6‑13;
Lanale Robinson 3‑6;
Robert Morris 2‑4;
Quentin Paulik 3‑4.

McKinley: Ryan Brinson 34‑203 3 TDs;
Theo Goodright 6‑58;
Mike Shaffer 3‑6;
Mark Jackson 3‑4;
Mike Kirksey 1‑2.

Passing

Massillon: Shawn Welsend 6‑10‑69 1 INT,
Quentin Paulik 3‑6‑11;
Troy Ellis 0‑1‑0 1 INT;
Wayne Gates 0‑1‑0.

McKinley: Mike Shaffer 1‑7‑8;
Ryan Brinson 0‑1‑0 1 INT.

Receiving

Massillon: Eric Smith 3‑26;
Robert Morris 2‑6;
Brett Huffman 1‑37;
Kurt Jarvis 1‑5;
Wayne Gates 1‑5; Ramon Kelly 1‑2.

McKinley: Mark Jackson 1‑8.l

GAME STATS


Kurt Jarvis

History

2002: Massillon 34, Canton McKinley 17

Tigers overwhelm Bulldogs
Massillon secures its fourth straight post‑season berth

By JOE SHAHEEN
Independent Sports Editor

The Massillon Tigers paved their way into the playoffs by steam rolling archrival Canton McKinley in the second half for a 34‑17 victory in front of 16,162 fans on a cool, gray autumn Saturday afternoon at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

It was Massillon’s fifth consecutive victory over McKinley in the teams’ 110th meeting all‑time.

Program Cover

The Tigers, who improve to 8‑2 and will play at North Canton in a regional quarterfinal game next Saturday, were prohibitive favorites against McKinley, which falls to 3‑7. But the Bulldogs struck first for a 6‑0 lead and it took a Max Shafer 21‑yard field goal to give Massillon a 17‑14 lead at halftime.

The second half was a different story as the Massillon defense shut down McKinley running back Ryan Brinson, who had rushed for 123 yards in the first half, and the Tiger offense went almost exclusively to the ground game to overpower the Bulldogs.

“McKinley has done such a great job over the five years I’ve been here,” Tiger coach Rick Shepas said after getting an ice‑water drenching from his players at game’s end. “We needed everything in our play book to go against this McKinley team. Spider Miller does an outstanding job of coaching. Their kids played very hard. Brinson is a great back and I think Mike Shaffer is going to be a great quarterback as well.

0ur kids have been fighting all year long and they’ve been in big games and have come up short. But I’ll tell you what, I think our coaches have done a great job and I’m very proud of the way our kids have responded. We get a chance to play another week and who knows what can happen after that.”

McKinley sideline boss Spider Miller, who held his team together through an injury‑riddled and emotionally tumultuous season, had the Bulldogs primed to pull the upset.

“Our kids have never quit,” Miller said. “They played with great pride and character, but we just ran into a great football team. “Massillon has a lot of talent. We hung in there for awhile.”

The teams exchanged punts to open the second half with the Tigers taking over at their 43. That’s when Shepas opted to line up in the I‑formation and power the football at McKinley.

Massillon ran the football on seven consecutive plays, with senior Ricky Johnson getting six of those handoffs. Johnson, who would finish the game with 188 yards rushing to top the 1,000‑yard plateau for the season, capped the march with a nine‑yard gallop around right end. He extended the football over the goal line as he was being tackled.

“We felt like we could go up there and just power football right up the middle,” said Tiger senior tackle J.P. Simon “We felt like we were the more physical team, the more conditioned team. We felt like we could have success that way and that’s just what we did.”

Shafer added the point after and Massillon was up 24‑14 at 3:26 of the third quarter.
A long Brinson kick return gave McKinley good field position but Tiger cornerback Jamaal Ballard outfought Bulldog wideout Tyrone Gillespie on a deep pass to quell Canton’s momentum.

Massillon was then forced to punt and McKinley capitalized with Matt Campbell’s 31‑yard field goal to cut the Tiger lead to just 24‑17 at 10:55 of the fourth quarter.

But on the ensuing kickoff, Billy Relford returned the ball 61 yards to the McKinley 27.
“I felt like it was time,” said Relford. “I told coach to let me get the ball. I told the guys, ‘You set the wedge and I’m going to run this ball.’ They set the wedge and I just followed my blocks and just took off.”
Six plays later, Shafer kicked his second field goal of the game ‑ this one from 30 yards out ‑ and Massillon was up 27‑17 with 7:41 to play.

Eeriely, Massillon led Warren Harding 27‑17 with 7:29 to play one week ago but didn’t close. “Absolutely we talked about that and we worked on it all week,” Shepas acknowledged. “We were able to respond today.” The response came in the form of Ballard’s second interception of the afternoon, just three plays after the ensuing Tiger kickoff.

“Every game I always come out with the idea I’m going to shut down my side of the field,” Ballard said. “With them throwing to my side every time this afternoon, I proved that. He kept throwing it and I kept taking the ball from them.” “Jamaal Ballard needed to have a game like this,” added Shepas. “I’ll tell you what, he played great today and he has played great for two years here. He is an outstanding player.”

The Tigers tacked on their final score with a seven‑play, 45‑yard drive capped by a seven‑yard Johnson touchdown run over left tackle. Shafer added his fourth extra point of the afternoon to go with the two field goals.

“Max is definitely our Special Teams Player of the Game after a situation where last week he didn’t realize how important he was to our football team,” Shepas said. “I think he learned last week and I think he knows for sure now.

It’s awesome,” Shafer said. “It feels great because I wasn’t in last week and everything so I worked twice as hard this week to come back to where I was before.”

The smell of upset was in the air early on. McKinley jumped out when senior linebacker Josh Grimsley blocked a Massillon punt and senior Dorian Chenault covered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. Relford blocked the extra point attempt and McKinley was up 6‑0 with 7:09 of the first quarter.

The Tigers came right back to score on their next possession. Beginning on the Massillon 29, the Tigers went to Johnson on four consecutive plays and he advanced it to the McKinley 47. Then, out of the wing‑T, Steve Hymes picked up seven yards on a keeper play to the 40. On first down Hymes ‑ ran the option to perfection, pitching to Johnson when the defense committed to him. Johnson went untouched down the right sideline 40 yards to the end zone. Shafer’s point after was on target and Massillon was up 7‑6 with 4:47 showing on the first quarter clock.

It appeared Massillon was about to blow the game open when it scored the very next time it touched the ball. Matt Martin handed the ball to James Helscel on an end around, but Helscel pulled up and threw a strike down the right sideline to Devin Jordan for a 45‑yard gain to the Bulldog 15. After a holding penalty on Massillon, Martin connected with Jordan at the 10 and the senior wideout carried it into the end zone. Shafer’s kick made it 14‑6 Massillon with :20 left in the opening period.

Brinson tuned the momentum back in McKinley’s favor after the teams exchanged punts.

On a first down play from the Bulldog 25, the sophomore running back went around right end, somehow eluded a pack of Tiger tacklers at the line of scrimmage, then bolted 75 yards to pay dirt. Shaffer hooked up with Chris Jeter for a two‑point conversion and it was a 14‑14 contest at 11:34 of the second quarter. That’s the way it stayed until the waning moments of the first half.

Beginning on their own 47, the Tigers got in position for a field goal when Martin found Relford wide open along the left sideline for a 47‑yard gain. Three plays later, Shafer was true on a 21‑yard field goal to set the stage for the second half, and the Tigers drive to their fourth straight playoff berth.

Massillon 34
McKinley 17
M MC
First downs rushing 13 4
First downs passing 4 3
First downs by penalty 0 1
TOTAL first downs 17 8
Net yards rushing 248 150
Net yards passing 130 59
TOTAL yards 378 209
Passes attempted 13 26
Passes completed 5 14
Passes intercepted 0 2
Punts 7 6
Punting average 32.1 27.2
Fumbles/Lost 1/0 0/0
Penalties 9 2
Yards penalized 72 21
Massillon 14 03 07 10 34
McKinley 06 08 00 03 17

SCORING

MCK ‑ Grimsley 10 blocked punt return (kick failed)
M ‑ Johnson 40 run (Shafer kick)
M ‑ Martin 34 pass to Jordan (Shafer kick)
MCK ‑ Brinson 75 run (Shaffer to Jeter)
M ‑ Shafer 21 field goal
M ‑ Johnson 9 run (Shafer kick)
MCK ‑ Campbell 31 field goal
M ‑ Shafer 30 field goal
M ‑ Johnson 7 run (Shafer kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Massillon rushing: Johnson 31‑188, Woods 9‑37.
McKinley rushing: Brinson 17‑152.

Massillon passing: Martin 4‑12‑86 1 TD.
McKinley passing: Shaffer 5‑21‑59 4 INT.

Massillon receiving: Jordan 2‑78, Relford 1‑48, Johnson 1‑5.
McKinley receiving: Gillespie 2‑44.

Shawn Crable
History

2001: Massillon 31, Marion Harding 0

Tigers secure first playoff win since 1994
Ground game, defense key 31‑0 rout of Marion Harding

If you prick us, do we not bleed?
if you tickle us, do we not laugh?
if you poison us, do we not die? and if
you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
– William Shakespeare

By JOE SHAHEEN
Independent Sports Editor

Massillon had to wait a year to get its revenge but it tasted mighty sweet as the Tigers brushed off 15 penalties to eliminate the Marion Harding Presidents from post‑season play with a convincing 31‑0 decision in front of 9,106 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in a Division I Region 2 quarterfinal game, Saturday.

It was a payback time for the Tigers, who lost a controversial 17‑13 first round playoff decision to Marion Harding a year ago in a game that also saw 15 penalties called on Massillon, including a holding flag that nullified what would have been the game‑winning touchdown run by quarterback Justin Zwick in the final minute of play.

While revenge was not a topic of public discussion the week preceding the game, the Tigers admitted afterward that last year’s disappointing playoff ouster was in the back of their minds in the days leading up to the game.

“We got some revenge tonight,” Zwick admitted. “We talked about it as a team this week and it helped us focus on what we needed to do.”

Zwick threw for two touchdowns but it was his contributions to the running game that helped put Marion Harding away. The 6‑foot‑5, 221‑pound senior rushed six times for 68 yards as Massillon amassed 415 yards of total offense against a Presidents team that prides itself on a rock‑ribbed defense.

“That was Justin’s best game of the year,” said Tiger coach Rick Shepas, who got his first playoff victory in three tries at Massillon. “He called 90 percent of the game tonight, checking off at the line of scrimmage.”

It was a study, in balanced offense as the Tigers rushed for 243 yards and passed for 172 yards, keeping Marion’s defense off balance all night long. Robert Oliver led the ground game with 100 yards on 14 carries.

It was also the Tiger defense’s finest hour. Free safety Markeys Scott had two interceptions ‑ including a perfectly timed pick deep in Massillon territory on Marion’s first possession of the night ‑ and outside linebacker Andy Alleman played like a man possessed as Marion quarterback Adam Huddle was forced into four turnovers.

“As a defense, we felt as if we didn’t play very well the last two weeks and we wanted to come out and make up for it tonight,” Alleman said. “We didn’t feel like we did a good job stopping the run against McKinley or even the week before (against Dayton Chaminade.) Tonight we really got after them as a team.”

“We talked about a shutout this week,” admitted junior linebacker Shawn Crable. “We just came out with more intensity and did what the coaches told us to do. It sure came at the right time.”

Massillon enjoyed a 10‑0 lead at halftime thanks to a David Abdul 27‑yard field goal and a perfectly executed inside screen pass to Oliver.

Ricky Johnson attacked the middle of the Marion defense and wasn’t brought down until he’d gained 20 yards to the Presidents’ 25. From there, Zwick again called his own number and after a fine cutback at the 20 ‑ carried the ball to the Marion 8‑yard line.

Johnson finished off the drive by sweeping around left end for the touchdown at 9:39 of the third quarter. Abdul’s kick made it 17‑0 Massillon and Marion Harding was in deep trouble.

Dan Speicher’s second sack of the game on Huddle midway through the fourth quarter set up Massillon’s third touchdown. On the next play, Huddle’s option pitch was bobbled and fell to the turf. Crable shoved Huddle away from the football and Jesse Liston recovered for the Tigers at the Massillon 33.

The Tigers went to the ground game. Three straight handoffs to Oliver netted a total of 33 yards. Then Johnson carried twice in a row for 13 more to give Massillon a second‑and‑two at Marion’s 17. Zwick dropped back and threw across the field to Marquis Johnson at the 10. The senior wideout juked left and cut right, finding the end zone at 4:43 of the fourth quarter. Abdul’s kick made it a 24‑0 Massillon lead.

The icing on the cake was Cody Smith’s interception and 31 yards runback of a Huddle aerial to close the scoring at 4:18 of the fourth.

In the locker room after the game Shepas decried the spate of penalty flags which accounted for 143 yards in the wrong direction. He noted the primary flag thrower was the same official responsible for many of the holding penalties on Massillon in last year’s playoff debacle.

But even those bad feelings couldn’t put a damper on Massillon’s first playoff win since 1994.

Marion Harding came out and successfully attacked the Massillon defense on the first possession of the game.

Beginning at the 20 after Abdul’s kickoff reached the end zone for a touchback, Presidents’ quarterback Adam Huddle hit split end Zack pattern for 14 yards. Three plays later, Huddle hooked up with Dominic Ross for eight more to the 47.

The drive appeared to have bogged down on the Massillon 41 where the Presidents faced fourth‑and‑seven. However, punter David Meginness caught the defense napping and ran around left end for 18 yards and a first down at the Tiger 22.

That’s when Scott stopped the drive and killed Marion’s momentum with a well timed interception at the 11‑yard line. Scott returned the pickoff to the 17 for Massillon’s first possession of the game at 7:34 of the first period.

Zwick picked up a first down on a keeper around right end that netted 12 yards to the 38. Two snaps later he hit Stephon Ashcraft for 10 yards and a first down at the Marion 49.

The Tigers picked up another first down but the drive stalled after a false start and three incomplete passes. David Abdul’s 59‑yard field goal attempt was blocked.

Marion gained a first down on its ensuing possession but was forced to punt and the Tigers began their second drive of the game at their own 18.

A holding penalty on Massillon set up a second‑and‑25 but Zwick lobbed a pass to Ashcraft along the left sideline for a first down at the 42.

Zwick gained seven yards and a first down on an option keeper around right end and a personal foul call against Marion moved the ball to the Presidents’ 27.

Marquis Williams turned a short Zwick pass into an 18 yard gain. On the next snap, Joe Jovingo caught what appeared to be a nine‑yard touchdown pass but an illegal shift call against MassilIon negated the score.

The Tigers moved to the five but a clipping penalty stalled the drive. Abdul salvaged three points with a 25‑yard field goal at 6:41 of the second quarter and Massillon led, 3‑0.

Alleman’s pass rush forced Huddle into a third down incompletion on Marion’s ensuing possession and the Presidents were forced to punt after just three snaps.

Massillon took over at its 15 but Oliver picked up 14 yards around left end on first down to improve the Tigers’ field position. One play later, David Hill went over left guard for eight yards and a first down at the Massillon 43.

Zwick then found Oliver for seven yards and a first down at the Marion 45. Two plays later, on third‑and‑two, Johnson went around right end for seven yards and another first down at the 29.

The march appeared in trouble after a false start and two incomplete passes that set up third‑and‑15 at the Marion 34-yard line. Zwick dropped back to pass, invited in the rush, then lobbed a perfect screen pass to Oliver.

The senior running back caught the ball at the 30 along the right hash mark and waited for his blocking to develop, finally cutting to the middle of the field at the 25, then sprinting virtually untouched to the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown pass and run.

Abdul’s point after was true and the Tigers carried a 10‑0 lead into the locker room at halftime.

MASSILLON 31
MARION HARDING 0
M H
First downs rushing 14 7
First downs passing 8 3
First downs by penalty 1 3
TOTAL first downs 23 13
Net yards rushing 243 69
Net yards passing 172 63
TOTAL yards 415 132
Passes attempted 29 20
Passes completed 13 10
Passes intercepted 1 3
Punts 0 3
Punting average 0 37.7
Fumbles/Lost 0/0 1/1
Penalties 15 5
Yards penalized 143 38

MASSILLON 0 10 7 14 31
HARDING 0 0 0 0 0

SCORING
M ‑ Abdul 29 field goal
M ‑ Oliver 34 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Johnson 8 run (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Williams 17 pass from Zwick (Abdul kick)
M ‑ Smith 31 pass interception return (Abdul kick)

MEN INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
Massillon rushing: Oliver 14‑100, Zwick 6‑68, Johnson 7‑56, Hill 6‑26.
Harding rushing: Troutman 22‑63.

Massillon passing: Zwick 13‑29‑172 2 TDs, 1 INT.
Harding passing: Huddle 10‑20‑63 3 INT.s

Massillon receiving: Oliver 5‑69, Williams 3‑45, Ashcroft 2‑36, Jordan 2‑13, Johnson 1‑9.
Harding receiving: Reidenbaugh 6‑58.


Justin Zwick

History

2000: Massillon 13, Canton McKinley 9

ON TO THE PLAYOFFS
Tigers overcome mistakes, McKinley in 13‑9 win
James runs over, around, through Bulldogs

By JOE SHAHEEN
Independent Sports Editor

It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t especially impressive, but the Massillon Tigers came up big in the fourth quarter to post an uneven 13‑9 victory over the McKinley Bulldogs in front of a capacity crowd of 17,957 Saturday afternoon at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Program Cover

The Tigers trailed their arch‑rivals 9‑7 with 10:45 to play when they began the game‑winning march at their own 9‑yard line. With everyone in the crowd looking for the vaunted Massillon passing game to come into play, head coach Rick Shepas instead turned to 1,000‑yard rusher Perry James, and the senior responded in a big way.

Massillon’s resulting 11‑play scoring drive included no fewer than nine running plays, including a 38‑yard burst by James that moved the football from the Massillon 37 to the McKinley 25.

James put the football in the end zone on a sweep around the right side of the Massillon offensive line, which did its job so well that the Tiger running back was never touched on the play.

Massillon’s pass for the two‑point conversion failed, but the Tigers were up by four points with just 5:43 to play.

After the ensuing kickoff, a sack of McKinley quarterback Ben Palumbo by Tiger defensive end Brian Leonard doomed the drive, and the Bulldogs were forced to punt the ball away. Canton would get the pigskin back deep in its own territory with less than 30 seconds to play, only to see a Justin Princehorn interception seal their fate.

The victory gives the Tigers an 8‑2 regular season slate and improves Rick Shepas’ three‑year record at Massillon to 22‑9. Up next is a home playoff game Saturday against 8‑2 Marion Harding.

The Tigers first touchdown Saturday came on Robert Oliver’s eight‑yard run that capped off a nine‑play, 56‑yard drive at 8:29 of the second quarter. David Abdul’s kick made it 7‑0.

A McKinley 23‑yard field goal in the final minute of the first half made it 7‑3 and the Bulldogs took a 9‑7 lead on Chad Anderson’s one‑yard vault into the end zone at 10:50 of the fourth quarter.

The Pups then kicked off to Massillon and the Tigers had to begin their march at their own 9.

That only prolonged the agony for McKinley as the orange‑and‑black rang the victory bell in the 107th all-time meeting between the Ohio high school football powers.

Sideline moods
told game story

By MIKE KEATING
Independent Sports Writer

With 10:50 left to go in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game between the Massillon Tigers and McKinley Bulldogs, a sense of urgency rippled along the Massillon sidelines.

The Tigers had just fallen two points behind on a one‑yard dive into the end zone by McKinley fullback Chad Anderson.

“Let’s go, right now,” Massillon head coach Rick Shepas said to his offensive unit. “We have to pick it up.”

The Massillon offensive line, which had been neutralized by the smaller McKinley defensive front, received a tongue‑lashing from tackles coach Frank Page.

“You guys have to come off the ball better,” he said, while looking at each member of the interior line in the eye. “You have to move.”

The Tigers listened and responded, driving 91 yards in 11 plays for the game‑winning touchdown. Perry James’ 12‑ yard touchdown run with 5:43 to go reclaimed the lead for Massillon, which overcame three turnovers and 60 yards in penalties to finish 8‑2 in the regular season and earn its second straight playoff berth.

When James crossed the goal‑line at the northeast corner of the field, the Massillon players erupted with jubilation.

“Way to block, baby,” sophomore linebacker Shawn Crable yelled to senior center Kreg Rotthoff, who had just trotted off the field with the rest of the offensive unit.

“This is our game, now,” added offensive tackle Jamarr Moore, who hobbled over to talk with sophomore tackle Reggie McCullough.”

The jubilation was tempered a bit, however, as McKinley prepared to receive the ensuing kickoff.

There was still plenty of time for the Bulldogs to rally.

Nobody knew that better than senior defensive lineman Mike Burchell, who paced the sidelines between the 40 and 50, reminding his defensive teammates to maintain their concentration.

“This game isn’t over yet,” he screamed. “We still have to stop them.”

Just in case Burchell’s words weren’t heeded, defensive tackles coach Gary Wells issued one simple message to the defense as McKinley began the possession on its own 13.

“Hold them to three‑and‑out,” Wells said.

The Massillon defense responded, forcing McKinley to punt from its own end zone as the clock wound down under 4:00.

The Tigers regained possession at their 33 with 3:47 showing. Sensing victory, several Massillon players on the sidelines enthusiastically supported the offense.

“Let’s go, ‘O’! Let’s go, ‘0’” they shouted. “Let’s move the ball!”

Once again, Massillon responded. Six running plays and a personal foul penalty flagged on McKinley helped the Tigers move the ball from their 33 to the McKinley 25.

While the Bulldogs stopped the Tigers on a fourth down running play, they had only 30 seconds to move 75 yards for the game‑winning touchdown.

Massillon defensive coordinator Chris DiLoretto strode confidently along the sidelines, but said nothing.

He was content to watch the defense try to make a play to cement the victory.

With fans for both teams roaring, the Massillon defense made the big play.

Anderson’s option pass was picked off by linebacker Justin Princehorn near midfield, setting off a wild celebration along the Massillon sidelines.

“Now,” smiled sophomore offensive tackle P.J. Simon. “It’s over.”

In the first half, the mood on the Massillon sideline was businesslike.

When one Massillon receiver failed to catch a long pass in the waning seconds of the first quarter, Shepas waited for the player to come off the field, then calmly said a few words to him.

“That was a catchable ball,” Shepas said. “Just relax.”

The game was scoreless for most of the first half. The Massillon sideline was relatively quiet, observing the action, waiting for the “Air Raid” offense to sustain a drive.

Massillon did, moving 55 yards on eight plays. Quarterback Justin Zwick’s 14‑yard scramble to the McKinley 8 was greeted with thunderous applause from his teammates on the sidelines.

“It’s gonna happen,” Crable said.

The “it” ‑ an anticipated Massillon touchdown ‑ came two plays later on an eight-yard run by Robert Oliver at the 8:29 mark of the second quarter, a score that broke a scoreless tie.

“Great job, offense,” Shepas said calmly.

Shepas was anything but calm, however, on‑the second of two pass interference penalties that moved the ball to the Massillon 16 during a drive that began at the McKinley 12. He pointed a finger at the side judge and gave him an earful of opinion on the call.

McKinley went on to score on a 29‑yard field goal by Matt Prendes, and seemed energized by that three pointer.

The Bulldogs refused to go away the rest of the game. As the third quarter was winding down and McKinley driving for its first and only touchdown, the Massillon sideline grew quiet.

Strength and conditioning coach Steve Studer noticed the silence. It irritated Studer, an All‑Ohio center for the Tigers in 1970. He understood what the McKinley rivalry meant.

“You guys are dead on this sideline,” he yelled to the players. “Let’s show some life. Let’s make something happen.”

In the fourth quarter, the Tigers made things happen on both sides of the football. When the clock hit three zeroes in the fourth quarter, Studer smiled as he listened to the Massillon players whoop it up, celebrating a hard‑fought victory.

Kreg Rotthoff

History

1998: Massillon 20, Canton McKinley 42

Tigers aren’t satisfied, but have no option

By TODD PORTER
Repository sports writer

MASSILLON ‑ If you want to know how far the football program in Tigertown has to go, look no more than Saturday’s 42‑20 loss to McKinley.

Program Cover

No, not the score. In fact, the game was closer ‑much closer ‑ than it indicates. The Tigers out-gained the Bulldogs in every significant statistical category except points.

However, look at the attitude.

Since when did a 22‑point loss to McKinley become a moral victory in Massillon?

“We’re not going to take this laying down,” Massil­lon head coach Rick Shepas said. “It has taken McKinley a long time to get to where they’re at. It’s going to take us a long time to get to where we want to go. We’re not satisfied.”

Besides Shepas, the general consensus is Massillon played its best game of the season Saturday afternoon in front of 19,848. The Tigers still lost, but they gained some legitimacy, and probably sent a chill down Bulldog fans’ spines.

Massillon has come together to form ‑ of all things ‑ a team. The Tigers showed signs of that in the eighth week against Cincinnati Moeller, It was a game, like Saturday, that the Tigers lost in the sec­ond half. McKinley outscored Massillon 23‑3 in the second half.

This week, several Massillon players shaved their heads to capture the look of their clean‑shaven head coach. It was a good‑natured gesture.

It still took eight weeks for that bond to form. It took eight weeks for the players to believe in the system Shepas is running.

“I think it could have happened earlier in a lot of other places,” Shepas said. “But because there are so many people talking to our kids and in their ears, it takes longer for that bond to form.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1998

“I know our kids believe in the system here. With an off season that we didn’t have here last year … I wondered about that. (Former McKinley head coach) Thom McDaniels resigned early, so McKinley got an early hire.”

Shepas was not hired in Massillon until May 4. He was one of the last high school coaches hired in the state. He pressed together a coaching staff in a month. Consequently, Massillon needed the first half of the season to evaluate talent and see which players fit where.

Case in point is the quarterback position. Junior Dave Irwin spent more time leading the junior var­sity team than he did the varsity team this year. Yet, it was Irwin who had the most success. Saturday, he completed 65 percent of his passes and threw for 133 yards.
He may have broken a bone in his arm and was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter. “I thought Dave played a helluva game,” Shepas said.

Nevertheless, Saturday’s loss was a morale victory for Massillon.

This is a team that finishes with a 4‑6 record. It is the Tigers’ worst record since 1931 and first losing season since 1966 (4‑5).

“That doesn’t bother me at all … not at all,” Shep­as said of the losing season and being one of just three Massillon head coaches with a record below .500 since 1931. “High school football isn’t always about winning and losing.

“We’ve had to take a lot of stands here I don’t par­ticularly appreciate. But they were the stands that are going to make us a better team down the road.”

If there is one good thing about this season for Shepas, it is the fact he saw a lot of players perform . Massillon may have the largest crop of returning let­termen next season.

“I want to make this clear to our people,” Shepas said. “It’s going to take a lot of time to go in the direction we want to go in. A lot of time.”

McKinley 12 7 8 15 42
Massillon 7 10 3 0 20

McK – Doss 3 run (kick failed)
Mass – Irwin 2 run (Marshall kick)
McK – Doss 2 run (Pass failed)
Mass – FG Marshall 23
McK ‑ Doss 32 run (Armatas kick)
Mass – Miller 2 run (Marshall kick)
Mass – FG Marshall 20
McK – Doss 73 run (Friedman pass from McDanields)
McK ‑ Doss 1 run (McDaniels run)
McK ‑ Chavers recovery of blocked punt (Armatas kick)

MASS McK
First downs 22 11
Rushes‑yards 47‑229 29‑205
Passing 188 116
Comp‑Att‑Int 20‑31‑0 5‑12-0
Return Yards 91 6
Punts Avg. 3‑22.7 4‑36.3
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 7‑61 4‑30
Total play 80 41
Time of Possession 31:21 16:39

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING
Massillon:
Cleveland 22‑121,
Irwin 8‑36,
Lynn 6-34,
Wagner 1-1,
Miller 8-36,
Fichter 2-1.
McKinley:
Quincy 8‑45,
Doss 14-155,
Lucius 3-7,
McDaniels 4-(-2).

PASSING
Massillon:
Irwin 15‑23‑133-0‑0,
Fichter 5-8-55-0-0.
McKinley:
McDaniels 5-12-116-0-0.

RECEIVING
Massillon:
Lynn 7-66,
Radich 1-8,
Dorsey 5-50,
Price 4-49,
Allman 1-2,
Cleveland 2-13.
McKinley:
Friedman 1-28,
Hooks 3-65,
Lucius 1-23.

Pups finish off Tigers
wait till next year
Tigers seek respect;

By TODD PORTER
Repository sports writer

MASSILLON ‑ With a 4‑5 record, there was not much the Massillon Tigers could have gained by winning Saturday’s game against McKinley at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Pride and a..500 record.

More importantly, respect was on the line.

That was one thing first‑year Tiger head coach Rick Shepas wanted for his program. It looked as if Massillon was going to get it when the Tigers took a 20‑19 lead with 3:20 to play in the third quarter.

However, breakdowns and costly penalties on both sides of the football erased any hopes of a Massillon upset. McKinley won the 105th game, 42‑20.

The final margin came when the Pups blocked a punt and fell on the ball in the end zone in the game’s final seconds.

When asked if the Tigers had earned respect, McKinley head coach Kerry Hodakievic said, “They played. well in the first half, anyway. We played our kind of football in the second half and we played well then.”

But no respect.

“We’re not going to get any respect until we win this game,” Massillon head coach Rick Shepas said. “What their coach says doesn’t matter. I’m not going to get caught up in saying things just because my town wants to hear them.”

The Tigers played their best game to date. They had a solid game plan and exposed many of the Bulldogs’ weaknesses. In fact, Massillon probably worried the Pups and scared their fans.

Massillon outgained McKinley 417‑321. It was the first time all season the Tigers gained more than 400 yards in total offense. They held the ball for 31:21, while McKinley had it for just 16:39. They doubled McKinley in first downs (22-11) and con­verted two field goal attempts.

The killer for the Tigers?

Penalties … again.

Massillon was penalized seven times for 61 yards, and most of them could not have come at worse times.

For example, a difference-­maker in the game came when Massillon quarterback Dave Irwin threw a strike to Joe Price. Irwin faked a reverse handoff to running back Marc Cleveland and Price left a McKinley defender wondering where he went. Price was wide open and Irwin delivered the ball for what appeared to be a 76‑yard touchdown.

Massillon was called for hold­ing, and Irwin may not have been able to throw the pass if not for the hold.

“I think we blow it open right there if we hit on that play,” Shepas said. “That was a big play. I really think the game is blown open.”

But it wasn’t. The Tigers con­tinued on the drive and place ­kicker Brett Marshall was able to muster a field goal. But the Pups still led 12‑10.

Believe it or not, the Tigers committed a bigger penalty. With the score 27-20, the Massillon defense looked at if it were going to force McKinley to punt after just three plays.

On third‑and‑8 from the McKinley 32, Bulldog quarterback Ben McDaniels overthrew his receiver. It should have been fourth down. But a Massillon player pummeled McDaniel well after the play and McKin­ley had a first down. The Pups went on to score and take a 35-20 lead.

“I didn’t get to see the play, but I’m sure it was the right call,” Shepas said. “The officials called a great game in a big game like this.”

Shepas was left to ponder what might have been.

“There was no pressure on us,” he said. “We had nothing to lose before today.”

The Massillon program may have gained some legitimacy for the first time all year. Maybe the Tigers made believers out of some.

The one thing they still lack is respect.

“We’re not going to take this laying down,” Shepas said.

They still have a lot left to gain.


Marc Cleveland

History

1996: Massillon 0, Canton McKinley 21

Tigers have to be resilient this week
Can’t dwell defeat; Brunswick looms

By Joe Shaheen
Independent Sports Editor

The McKinley Bulldogs played their best game of the 1996 regular season when it counted most in the annual Week Ten confrontation with the Massillon Tigers.

The result was a 21-0 white washing of the Tigers and a berth in the playoffs against Grove City on Saturday at Mansfield’s Arlin Stadium.

The Tigers played arguably their worst game of the ’96 regular season against the Pups.

Program Cover

Now it is up to Jack Rose and the Tigers to prove they can get up off the deck an prepare for the Brunswick High Blue Devils, who will provide the opposition in Massillon’s playoff opener this Saturday at the Rubber Bowl.

McKinley’s victory over Massillon, though not dominating was complete. The Bulldogs had the advantage in all three phases of the game, offense, defense and special teams.

The Bulldogs offense put together only one sustained scoring march all afternoon, but it came at the onset of the second half and virtually sealed the Tigers doom by expanding the deficit from 13 points to 21.

The 12 play, 84 yard drive, consumed just over seven minutes off the game clock and featured an effective play action short passing game by sophomore quarterback Ben McDaniels and was capped by Jamar Martin’s four yard touchdown run.

McKinley’s third quarter scoring drive served two purposes, it left just over one quarter of play for the Tigers to close the three touchdown deficit and it was an effective counter point to Massillon’s initial second half drive, which lasted three play and failed to produce a first down.

Massillon’s offense was bottled up for 18 minutes, as much by its own mistakes as the terrible field position forced upon it all afternoon long. The Tigers generated 110 yards of total offense, barely more than half of the Bulldogs modest total 206 yards.

The Bulldogs defense negated the Tigers massive offensive line and thus their vaunted running attack most of the day. Massillon receivers dropped at least five catchable balls and the Tigers forgot about tight end Chris Martin after he caught two passes in the first series of the game.

Although McKinley missed three field goals, the Bulldogs placement specialists boomed four kickoffs for an average of just under 58 yards per kick. The deep well placed kicks limited Massillon to an average of 10 yards per return.

The Bulldogs special teams also produced a big play on the opening kickoff when Trevor Vaught tore off a 30 yard return to midfield. While McKinley did not score on that possession, it seemed to rock the Tigers back on their heels and set the tone for the rest of the afternoon.

What will stand out in most fans minds was the two McKinley interceptions that set the Bulldogs offense up with first and goal inside the Tigers 5 yard line twice in the first half. Those picks led to a pare of short touchdown runs by De’Andrae Jeter.

What they may forget is McKinley’s late first half drive which nearly produce another TD (it could’ve been a lot worse) and the game long effectiveness of Ben McDaniels, who completed 9 of 13 passes (69 percent) for 143 yards against an accomplished Tiger secondary which picked off a dozen aerials this season.

If there is one comforting development for the Tiger fan who crave a state champtionship and some revenge over McKinley, it is recent history.

Twice since the playoffs were instituted in 1980, Massillon and McKinley have met in the playoffs. Both times the team that prevailed during the regular season was defeated in the playoffs.

The Tigers are hoping they will get a chance to make history repeat itself.

MCKINLEY………….. 21
MASSILLON…………… 0

M Mck
First downs rushing 3 3
First downs passing 5 6
First downs penalty 0 0
Total first downs 8 9
Net yards rushing 95 75
Net yards passing 68 143
Total yards gained 110 206
Passes attempted 20 13
Passes completed 6 9
Passes int 2 0
Times kicked off 1 4
Kickoff average 40 57.8
Kickoff return yards 42 30
Punts 6 4
Punting average 33.2 33.3
Punt return yards -3 3
Fumbles 0 1
Fumbles lost 0 1
Penalties 4 2
Yards penalized 23 30
Number of plays 54 52
Time of possession 24:01 23:59

MCKINLEY 0 13 8 0 21
MASSILLON 0 0 0 0 0

SCORING SUMMARY
Second Quarter
Mck Jeter 1 run (Curry kick)
Mck Jeter 2 run(kick failed)

Third Quarter
Mck Martin 4 run (McDaniels pass to Gambler)

FINAL STATISTICS

Rushing:
Massillon – Stefanko 4-18, Morgan 12-44, Hymes 12-(-37), Hodgson 1-2, Blake 5-16
McKinley – Rozier 7-9, Jeter 6-19 2 TDs, Nash 1-1, Martin 5-7 1 TD, Bradley 6-9, McDaniels 3-(-7), Doss 6-24, Curry 1-(-2)

Passing:
Massillon – Hymes 6-19-68 0 TD 2 ints, Lightfoot 0-1-0 0TD 0 ints,
McKinley – McDaniels 9-13-143 0 TD 0 ints

Receiving:
Massillon – Martin 3-28, Blake 2-23, Hodgson 1-17
McKinley – Gamble 1-26, Fox 2-19, Curry 3-79, Frazier 1-10, Nash 1-7, Bradley 1-2


Paul Salvino

History

1994: Massillon 42, Canton McKinley 41

Game of the century
MASSILLON WINS 42-41 SHOOTOUT

By J0E SHAHEEN
Independent Sports Editor

It was a fitting 100th game be­tween the Massillon Tigers and McKinley Bulldogs at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium this after­noon.

The storied rivalry went into overtime before the Tigers nailed down a heart‑stopping 42‑41 victory.

Massillon finishes the regular season with a 9‑1 record, while McKinley falls to 8‑2.

Both teams will qualify for the Division I playoffs. Pairings will be announced Sunday and the two schools will probably not meet in the first round next weekend.

Today’s game was one in which neither team seemed capable of stopping the other’s offense. In fact, the 83 total points scored is an all‑time re­cord in the series that began in 1894.

McKinley forced overtime when it scored on a seven‑yard Josh McDaniels to Shakeer Abdullah pass with less than two minutes to play. McDa­niels’ extra‑point kick made it a 35‑35 contest.

Pre-game vs. Canton McKinley 100th game

After a low snap foiled McDa­niels’ 50‑yard field goal attempt as time expired, the teams headed to overtime.

Massillon won the toss and de­ferred, giving the Bulldogs the first chance in overtime.

Adrian Brown secured a first down just inside the 10 on the first snap of OT. Four plays la­ter, on fourth and goal from the one‑yard line, fullback Kinta Mitchell went in standing up to make it 41‑35. McDaniels quick­ly changed shoes for what was another in what had been a string of routine conversion kicks all afternoon. But he sliced the kick to the right, mis­sing it.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 100th Game

crowd, which numbered 19,125, seemed to sense this was the opening the Tigers needed.

On second down, quarterback Willie Spencer Jr. ran the op­tion around his right end. He appeared to have made up his mind to keep the football and was being dragged down at the 15 when he pitched to split end Victor Redrick, who was trail­ing the play. Redrick took the ball in stride and sprinted down the sideline and into the end zone to knot the game at 41‑41.

Then, with all the pressure of the rivalry’s 99 previous games riding on his shoulders, Nick Pribich calmly split the uprights with his conversion kick and the Tigers went wild.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 100th Game

On the sidelines, McKinley’s Josh McDaniels kneeled with his head bowed in defeat, being consoled by his father, Pups head coach Thom McDaniels.

Spencer and Tigers assistant coach Steve Studer sprinted to the East stands and began ring­ing a victory bell.

The contest was highlighted by both teams’ refusal to quit – like two great heavyweights, exchanging knockdown pun­ches and getting up for more.

McKinley opened the scoring with 11:30 to play in the second quarter. Mitchell capped a six­ play, 80‑yard drive with a seven‑yard TD run up the mid­dle to make it 7‑0 Pups.

Massillon counter‑punched with a 12‑play, 80‑yard march. Spencer kept the football on the option and cut off his right tack­le for a three‑yard touchdown to tie the game at 7‑7 with 6:20 un­til halftime.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 100th Game

The Tigers got a break when McKinley fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Steve Griffith reco­vered at the Bulldogs’ 25. It took seven plays, but Leon Ashcraft ran through a big hole over left guard and into the end zone to make it 14‑7 with 2:18 left in the first half.

The Bulldogs executed the two‑minute drill to perfection, moving 65 yards in 10 plays with Mitchell doing the honors from the one‑yard line with just 18 seconds remaining until the band show. McDaniels’ PAT made it 14‑14 at the half.

The quick‑strike Tiger offense untied the score less than 40 seconds into the third quarter. On the second snap of the half, Ashcraft took a hand­off, pitched it back to Spencer, who lofted a bomb to Redrick, The senior sprinter ran under the pass at the 23, broke a diving tackle, then cruised in to the end zone to make it a 21‑14 Massillon advantage.

Once again the Bulldogs answered, moving 82 yards in just eight plays. Adrian Brown ran the ball on the final four snaps of the march, bucking into the end zone from the 2 to tie it 21‑21 with 8:08 left in the third.

But Massillon would not be discouraged.

The Tigers, with Spencer often changing plays at the line of scrimmage, moved 68 yards in seven plays to regain the lead. Spencer hit Vaughn Mohler, who scooped the ball off the turf in the end zone for a seven‑yard TD catch, making it 28‑21 Tigers.

McKinley then mounted the longest drive of the game, going 80 yards in 15 plays. Mitchell again found the end zone from a yard away and it was 28‑28 with 8:13 left in regulation.

Back came the Tigers with another 80‑yard drive.

Ashcraft, who rushed for 109 yards on the afternoon, scored on a draw play from 20 yards out with four minutes left to make it Massillon 35, McKinley 28.

By this time, everyone in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium realized they were witnessing a classic game. Nobody believed the Bulldogs were done, and they were not.

McDaniels marshalled another drive, this one covering 68 yards in seven plays. The senior signal‑caller hit Abdul­lah in the left side of the end zone after a brilliant play fake. The seven‑yard TD toss accounted for the end‑of-­regulation score of 35‑35.

Then came overtime, a mis­sed extra point and the Tigers pulse‑stopping victory.

MASSILLON 42
MCKINLEY 41
M McK
First downs rushing 14 15
First downs passing 3 8
First downs penalty 1 2
Total first downs 18 25
Net yards rushing 245 233
Net yards passing 103 148
Total yards gained 348 381
Passes attempted 13 20
Passes completed 6 14
Passes int. 0 1
Times kicked Off 6 6
Kickoff average 42.3 55.1
Kickoff return yards 65 52
Punts 2 1
Punting average 26.5 35.0
Punt return yards -4 0
Fumbles 0 4
Fumbles lost 0 1
Penalties 4 5
Yards penalized 47 25
umber of plays 51 65
Time Of Possession 23:23 24:37
Attendance 19,125

MCKINLEY 00 14 07 14 06 41
MASSILLON 00 14 14 07 07 42

Fleaflicker is big play for Tigers

By JOE SHAHEEN
Independent sports editor

In a football game like to­day’s contest between the Mas­sillon Tigers and McKinley Bulldogs, selecting one big play is all but impossible.

But the most memorable for many was the Tigers’ flea flick­er that went for a 62‑yard touch­down at the onset of the third quarter.

In addition to the significance on the scoreboard ‑ the bomb gave the Tigers a 21‑14 lead ‑ the play showed Jack Rose was going to attack the Bulldogs in the second half.

Rose sent a message to his players, to the fans and – most importantly – to the Bulldogs. He let them know Massillon was going to go out and get the victory the old-fashioned way – earn it.

With the game tied at 14, Massillon accepted the second half kickoff, and Nate Lewis returned the ball to the 29, for 19 yards.

On first down, Willie Spencer rolled left and hit Devon Wil­liams for eight yards.

On second‑and‑two, Spencer handed the ball to Ashcraft on what appeared to be a simple dive play into the middle of the line. But Ashcraft took just one step, turned and pitched the ball back to Spencer. He looked long and there was Victor Redrick in full stride on a post pattern.

The pass was there, Redrick made the catch and 25 yards la­ter, the Tigers had assumed a 21‑14 lead.

In doing so, they set the tone for the second half, one of the best shootouts in the history of high school football.


Leon Ashcraft

History

1992: Massillon 6, Canton McKinley 14

Once-in-a-career play twice in one day

McKinley nips Tigers, misses playoffs

By STEVE DOERSCHUK
Independent Sports Editor

McKinley’s 14-6 win over Massillon Saturday was a football student’s football game.

Last year’s was all day at Cedar Point on the tallest coaster ’til you’re dizzy, Tigers 42-13.

This time it was a lot of Woody vs. Bo, rock ribbed running, smashing hits, tight all the way, every decision might mean the game.

Program Cover

McKinley won it, really, on the double screen pass that sprang Che Bryant for a 57-yard touchdown.

Thom McDaniels has been McKinley’s head coach since 1982. How many times has he used the double screen pass? “Twice,” he said after the game witnessed by 17,863 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. “Once to day when it went for a short gain. Once today when it went for a touchdown.”

Massillon led 3-0 at halftime on a 22-yard Jason Brown field goal. McKinley had a third-and-two on the first possession of the second half when McDaniels sent in the double screen. “We thought Massillon would have the regular screen pass pretty well defended,” McDaniels said. “We thought it would help to add a wrinkle.”

The wrinkle was to let the Tigers through to charge quarterback Joe Pukansky. Fullback Tremaine McElroy would be available as the dump-off man on the right side of the field. Tailback Che Bryant would be ready on the other side.

“I was just hoping we could get a first down out of it,” Pukansky said. “They bit on the fake (to McElroy). It was open to Che’s side.”

It was wide open. Bryant caught the ball around the line of scrimmage, the McKinley 43, ran ahead down the left sideline for 10 yards, spotted a gaping hole, cut across the grain, and used what he says is 4.5 speed in the 40 to race untouched into the right corner of the south end zone.

“Joe Gallo (the center) threw a real good block,” Bryant said. “Alfonso (Ash, the flanker) threw another one.” Two Tigers were on the ground when Bryant made his cut.

“We knew McKinley was a good screen pas­sing team,” Rose said. “I was disappointed with our defense on that play. We lost our pursuit angles.”

Sophomore Josh McDaniels, the coach’s son, booted the point-after to give McKinley a 7-3 lead with 9:55 left in the third quarter.

The Tigers relied on 5-foot-5 senior fullback Eugene Copeland to respond immediately. Copeland, whose best game of the season yielded 85 yards in 14 carries, ran 17 yards on a trap to the McKinley 40.

A 25-yard sideline pass from, Mike Danzy to Alonzo Simpson, both juniors, got the Tigers close. The possession boiled down to fourth-and goal from the 5.

Rose said he thought about going for the touch­down. But it was so early. He sent in Brown and got a 24-yard field goal. It was 7-6, McKinley, with 5:17 left in the third quarter.

Partly since backfield starters Bryant (6-3, 178, Jr.) and McElroy (6-2, 195, Sr.) double, as standouts on defense, McDaniels likes to give them a breather for one or two series each game., The backups are sturdy and quick, just like the starters. Fullback Jeremy Kirkpatrick (6-1, 207, Sr.) and tailback Denell Harris (6-1, 195, Jr.) ran McKinley into scoring position early in the fourth quarter.

However, Bryant was re-inserted on fourth-and-one from the Tiger 21-yard line.

Both teams used defensive shifts and blitzes, successfully. This time, Massillon safety Eric Woods inched up to the line before the snap, then shot the gap. Woods smashed Bryant to the turf, for a two-yard loss. The Tigers got the ball back with 10:24 left in the game. McKinley’s lead remained one lonely point.

The Bulldog defense forced a punt, then the Tigers got McKinley in a fourth-and-one from just short of midfield with four minutes left. The Bulldogs acted as though they were going for a first down. Pukansky barked but the Tigers didn’t bite. McKinley cal­led time out and lined up for a punt.

Rose disdained one’ risk having to drive 80 or 90 yards with time running out – in favor of another. “We went for the block,” he said. “Even if we didn’t get the block, we’d have a good chance of forcing a bad punt.”

Woods, who earlier had distracted Josh McDaniels into missing a 23-yard field goal attempt with a strong rush, was one of the shock troops assigned to go after the punt of junior Rob Pukansky, the quarterback’s first cousin, and possibly McKinley’s starting QB next year.

The Tigers got a bad punt out of it. It went off the side of my foot,” Rob Pukansky said.
But Pukansky and Woods both wound up writhing in pain of the field, the aftermath of what became a roughing-the-­kicker penalty.

I felt the rush coming,” Pukansky said. “When that happens, I just try to get the ball out of there, not worry about booming it or making it look pretty. I got hit right here (he pointed to his stomach).” Woods and Rob Pukansky both were helped from the field.

McKinley kept the ball, then drove. Harris, the backup tail­back, wound up crashing up the middle for 16 yards and a touch­down on a fourth-and-one play. Josh McDaniels’ kick created the 14-6 final score with 50 seconds left.

McKinley improved to 9-1 but was denied a playoff bid. The Bulldogs needed to finish in the top four in Region 3, Division I. They came in seventh.

McKinley played the same strong schedule as usual but missed the tournament because four opponents they beat did not fare as well as usual: GlenOak (3-7), Warren (5-5), Boardman (4-6) and Massillon (5-5).

Copeland, with his 85 yards, and Bryant, with 92 yards in 18 carries to go along with the touchdown reception, were Saturday’s leading offensive players.

Each team wound up throw­ing only nine passes. The Tigers came through an entire quarter without going to the airways.

On its first possession, Mas­sillon ran four plays and elected to punt on fourth-and-a-foot from its own 36. McKinley then punched the ball past midfield on an all­ running segment before a post pattern from Joe Pukansky to Ash netted 27 yards to the 8. Ti­ger defensive backs Dan Hackenbracht and Chad Buckland thwarted a third-down try for a touchdown pass, after which Josh McDaniels couldn’t con­nect on a 23-yard field goal attempt.

The Tigers’ first pass – on their first play of the second quarter – was a 19-yard Danzy­to-Simpson strike. That trig­gered a 50-yard drive from the Tiger 45 to the Bulldog 5, featur­ing a 22-yard run on a third-and-­12 quarterback draw by Danzy. Brown’s 22-yard field goal came on fourth-and-goal from the 5 and gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead with 6:13 left in the first half.
McKinley wound up with a 327-173 lead in net offensive yards, a statistic belying the closeness of the game. Take away McKinley’s yardage on the double screen and the yar­dage the Pups gained after the roughing-the-kicker call, and McKinley’s edge was a modest 217-173.

The Tigers still lead the all-time series, 53-40-5.

MAS McK
First downs rushing 6 15
First downs passing 3 2
First downs by penalty 0 1
Totals first downs 9 18
Yards gained rushing 138 237
Yards lost rushing 15 6
Net yards rushing 123 231
Net yards passing 50 96
Total yards gained 173 327
Passes attempted 9 8
Passes completed 3 5
Interceptions 1 0
Times kicked off 3 3
Kickoff average 42.3 38.4
Punts 4 2
Kickoff return yards 22 11
Punting average 36.5 28.0
Punt return yards 1 0
Fumbles 0 0
Fumbles lost 0 0
Penalties 2 4
Yards penalized 21 20
Number of plays 40 60
Time of possession 18:43 29:17
Attendance 17,863

McKinley 0 0 7 7 14
Massillon 0 3 3 0 6

MAS – FG Brown 22
McK – Bryant 57 pass from Pukansy (McDaniels kick)
MAS – FG Brown 24
McK – Harris 16 run (McDaniels kick)

Individual statistics

Rushing
(Massillon) Copeland 14-85, Stinson 8-7, Danzy 7-31.
(McK) Bryant 18-92, McElroy 11-34, Pukansky 7-22, Harris 9-52, Kirkpatrick 5-32.

Passing
(Massillon) Danzy 3-9-1 50.
(McK) Pukansky 5-9-0 96.

Receiving

(Massillon) Simpson 2-44, Stinson 1-6.

(McK) Bryant 2-60, Ash 2-27, McElroy 1-9.

Dan Hackenbracht

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1988: Massillon 10, Canton McKinley 7

Massillon tops McKinley in OT

By CHRIS TOMASSON
Repository sports writer

MASSILLON ‑ It looked like plain old mud wrestling, but Mas­sillon defensive tackle Bob Dun­widdie said it had a name.

“It’s called our sci‑fi stomp,” he said after the Tigers’ dramatic 10‑7 overtime high school football victory over McKinley Saturday before 17,000 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Program Cover

After McKinley’s Akram Alzught missed a 38‑yard field goal on the last play of the game, Mas­sillon’s players sprinted to the 50­-yard line and began rolling around in the mud. They got up for a little dancing, and then it was back down in the muck for more celebrating.

But even the guy who has to wash the jerseys had to be smiling. The victory snapped a four‑game losing streak for the Tigers against McKinley, and some say it could even make the difference Tuesday when Massillon voters decide whether they want a new high school.

“I won a state championship (at Galion in 1985), but this is bigger, “ said Massillon coach Lee Owens. “This community has been down, and we needed it. This is just an unbelievable win.”

The deciding points came on a 23‑yard field goal by junior Lee Hurst on Massillon’s first series of overtime. It was Hurst’s first field goal of the season.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1988

As if the way he won it wasn’t spectacular enough, Hurst almost won the game in more dramatic fashion. With 2:07 left in regula­tion, his 47‑yard field goal attempt was wide right by about two feet.

“That was frustrating because I thought I had it, and it just went, wide,” said Hurst, who pounded the turf in agony after the kick. “But I was able to get it out of mind quickly.

McKinley (6‑4) won the overtime toss, and e!ected to let the Tigers (7‑3) have the first possession. Beginning at the McKinley 20, Massillon got one first down, but the drive stalled at the 7, and Hurst booted the go‑ahead field goal.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1988

In the first half, a driving rain and severe winds hampered the kicking game. But, fortunately for Hurst, there was no rain and little wind when the game was on the line.

On the second play of McKinley’s overtime possession, Bulldogs quarterback Ryan Henry threw the ball into the end zone to a wide‑open Alfred Hill, but the ball slipped through Hill’s hands.

“When I saw him wide open, my heart missed one full beat,” Owens said. “When I saw we were still alive, I said to myself, ‘Thank God, we finally got a break this season.”

Two plays later, Alzught squibb­ed his field‑goal attempt to the left, and pandemonium erupted.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1988

While it was one of the most dramatic endings in the 94‑year­ old rivalry (Massillon leads the series 51‑38‑5), much of the game matched every cliche uttered by the two coaches all week. It was hard‑hitting and intense. Nobody literally left their heart on the field, but some players came very close.

Both touchdowns were scored in the second quarter. With 7:40 left in the half, McKinley halfback Derrick Gordon, who gained 77 yards on 22 carries, scored on a one‑yard run, and Alzught added the extra point.

With 2:09 left before intermis­sion, Jamie Slutz hit Doug Harig with a seven‑yard TD toss, and Hurst kicked the extra point. Slutz is the Tigers’ backup quarterback, but he was in the game thanks to the latest surprise from Owens.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1988

While the chains were being moved for a first down, Owens sneaked Slutz into the game as a running back. Before McKinley had a chance to react, quarterback Hurst had handed the ball off to Slutz, who flipped the ball to a wide‑open Harig.

“Coach put that in a couple of weeks ago, but we didn’t want to use it until then,” Slutz said. “We were saving it for McKinley.”

“I recognized it right away, and I was yelling to the players,” said McKinley coach Thom McDaniels. “But it’s hard when you’re 30 yards away and 17,000 people are screaming.

The story in the second half was defense. When McKinley got down to the Massillon 9 late in the third quarter linebacker David Lewell smashed Lamuel Flowers for a one‑yard loss on fourth‑and‑1.

Led by the running of Jason Staf­ford, who gained 123 yards on 21 carries, Massillon twice advanced inside the McKinley 40‑yard line. But twice McKinley’s defense forced fumbles.

By the fourth quarter, the Tigers’ defense was frustrating McKinley to such a degree that McDaniels felt he needed to take a huge gamble.

With 5:53 left and the Bulldogs facing fourth‑and‑2 at the 50, McKinley tried a fake punt. The ball was snapped to up‑back Darnell Clark, but he was stopped a half‑yard short of the first down.

McDaniels said he thought it was a “win or lose” gamble, but it was neither after Hurst’s 47‑yarder just missed on Massillon’s ensuing possession.

Tiger back: Defense

‘main factor’

Key plays in overtime hidden
factors in victory vs. McKinley

MASSILLON 10
McKINLEY 7
MAS MCK
Total first downs 13 11
Rushing attempts 42 43
Net yards rushing 197 138
Net yards passing 38 119
Total yards gained 235 257
Passes attempted 13 19
Passes completed 4 8
Passes Int. by 0 1
Punts 5 4
Punting average 33.0 32.8
Fumbles 3 2
Fumbles lost 1 2
Penalties 1 3
Yards penalized 10 19
Attendance 17,750

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing
(Mas) Stafford 21‑123, Dixon 6­-48, Hurst 10‑9, Dunwiddle 4‑18
(McK) Gordon 22‑77, Flowers 11‑42, Henry 2‑15, White 4‑7.

Passing
(Mas) Hurst 3‑12‑131, Stutz 1‑1‑0 7.
(McK) Henry 8‑19‑0, 119.

Receiving
(Mas) Stafford 2‑24, D. Harig 1‑7, Spencer 1‑7.
(McK) Flowers 3‑27, Hunter 3-52, Hedrick 1-15, White 1-13.

McKINLEY 0 7 0 0 0 7
MASSILLON 0 7 0 0 3 10

McK ‑ Gordon 1 run (Alzught kick)
Mas ‑ D. Harig 7 pass from Slutz (Hurst Kick)
Mas – FG Hurst 23

Key plays in overtime hidden
factors in victory vs. McKinley

By STEVE DOERSCHUK
Independent Sports Editor

If they had a draft of Stark Coun­ty’s high school football players Jason Stafford might be the first pick in the whole thing.

Stafford did his usual thing Satur­day, rushing for 123 yards in the Massillon Tigers’ 10‑7 overtime vic­tory over the McKinley Bulldogs.

Yet, Stafford’s view of the glo­rious day was that, if there was a draft of high school players and he was picking, he’d say, “I’ll start with defense … and I’ll take those Massillon guys.”

“The defense played great Stafford said in a mud‑caked locker room after the Tigers sealed a 7‑3 season and froze McKinley’s final ’88 mark at 6‑4.

“The defense,” Stafford said, “was the main factor in the game.”

Sure, it was Lee Hurst’s clutch 23‑yard overtime field goal that put the Tigers ahead 10‑7. And it was a missed 38‑yard field goal by McKin­ley’s Akram Alzught that ended the game.

But it was the defense that kept McKinley from winning the game in regulation.

And it was the defense that made it so Alzught’s final field goal attempt was 38 yards ‑ a mile by high school standards, especially on the muddy field the Paul Brown Tiger Stadium gridiron became as a result of Friday/Saturday cloud­bursts.

“We came together when we had to come together,” said nose guard Steve Harlan, who played despite a torn shoulder. “They broke through a couple of times, but we sucked it up.”

Late in the third quarter, with McKinley driving toward what could have been a killing touch­down, the Bulldogs elected to go for a first down on fourth‑and‑one from the Tiger 10. Bulldog fullback Lamuel Flowers had been playing with fire all day, and the give went to him. Tiger linebacker David Led­well also went to him, smashing Flowers into a standup position, The Tiger line drove him backward and Massillon got the ball on downs.

“They tried to run off tackle and we stuffed it,” said Tiger end Steve Snodgrass, who was in on the play.

Now the game was in overtime. Both teams got a chance to line up at the 20 and try to score.

The Tigers, losing the coin toss and having to go first, rammed in­side the 10 before settling for Hurst’s field goal.

Hurst’s heart leaped when the snap was slightly off line, but Todd Porter managed to make a clean spot.

“I have to do it,” is what Hurst ,said he was thinking. He did, with his first field goal of the season.

Now McKinley had a chance to counter, getting the ball on first down at the 20.

Chad Buckland and Jason Rel­ford slammed tailback Derrick Gordon for a yard loss. Then came the play that made 17,750 hearts jump. McKinley quarterback Ryan Henry rolled right and looked to the end zone. At the last minute he un­leashed a bullet toward tight end Alfred Hill, wide open in the end zone. Hill didn’t get in front of the ball and it zipped by his fingers.

Most fans were locked in on the wide‑open Hill. Many missed the fact Henry was pummeled by Tiger tackle Trace Liggett as he threw. Without Liggett’s rush, Henry would have been able to case the ball to Hill. Instead, he had to fire a rocket shot that was ever so slightly off line. With the ball as slippery as it was, ever so slightly can be ever so much.

The Tigers survived. On the next play, senior defensive back Mike Pritchard made a superb play in knifing in front of Gordon and knocking away what could have been a critical completion at the 7.

Now McKinley had to try a long field goal. The attempt did not come close, being kicked on a low line far short of the uprights. The Massillon part of the crowd ‑ which was the vast majority ‑ erupted while the ball was in the air.

McKinley’s four‑game winning streak against Massillon was over. The Tigers had won.

The game was played on a roller coaster, both in terms of the action and the weather.

Rain that started during the pre­vious night and gained momentum as the game approached left the field soaked. The contest started in a drizzle, but, in the second quarter, that turned to one of the heaviest downpours the series has seen.

First‑year head coach Lee Owens has brought a lot of good things to Tigertown. One, of them nobody knew about was PAM.

Tiger equipment manager Keith Herring said PAM ‑ a slick veget­able spray ‑ was used liberally on the bottoms of the Tigers’ spikes.

“It really helped keep the mud off our shoes,” said running back Lamont Dixon.

The Tigers mounted an outstand­ing ground attack late in the first half and through most of the second half.

The rain subsided by the third quarter and the sun actually broke through the clouds early in the fourth.

It was McKinley breaking through first on the scoreboard. The Bull­dogs won the battle of field position early and, on their third possession, had to drive only 37 yards following a punt for a touchdown.

Henry’s fourth‑and‑three bootleg run worked to perfection and gave McKinley first and goal at the 8. On fourth down at the 1, McKinley cal­led time out, then sent Gordon, who finished with 77 yards in 22 carries, over the left side for a touchdown. Alzught’s kick made it 7‑0 with 7:40 left in the first half.

A deflected pass and interception gave McKinley the ball back mo­ments later, but the Pups lost a promising series when Tiger line­backer Tom Mattox pounced on a Flowers fumble at the Massillon 35. From there, Stafford and junior run­ning back Lamont Dixon followed the Tiger line down the field.

Stafford gained 8 yards and Dixon stormed for 10. An 8‑yard bootleg run by Hurst put the ball on the McKinley 37, then Hurst connected with Stafford on a wide‑open screen pass for 30 yards to the 7.

Owens then sent in one of the sec­ret plays the Tigers were saving for the McKinley game. Jamie Slutz, a senior who has performed well all year in the role of backup quarter­back/trick play artist, sprinted into the game and lined up at “A‑back,” which usually is Dixon’s position.

“We’ve practiced that for three weeks,” Slutz said. “We were sav­ing it for this game.”

McKinley’s defense didn’t have a chance to react to Bulldog coaches screaming from the sidelines. Slutz took a handoff from Hurst, backed up a step, and spotted junior Doug Harig breaking free in the end zone. Slutz gently lofted a perfect pass over the only McKinley defender in the neighborhood and Harig made an over‑the‑shoulder catch. Hurst’s kick made it 7‑7 with 2:07 left in the half.

Momentum had shifted.

“It was a 949 special,” Harig said. “The ball looked like a pea when it was coming to me. But I figured I’d better catch it, or just keeping run­ning to the locker room.”

McKinley controlled much of the first half, but the Tigers dominated the second half after McKinley’s big third‑quarter drive was stopped at the 10.

A 19‑yard scramble by Hurst got Massillon out of the hole, and a 31­-yard sideline scamper by Stafford put the Tigers in scoring position at the McKinley 34. Dixon made a nice run to the 22 but fumbled and the Bulldogs took over.

The Massillon defense forced a three‑and‑out series and the Tigers drove again, this time to the McKin­ley 38 before Hurst and Stafford mis­sed a handoff and the Bulldogs reco­vered at the 41 midway through the fourth quarter.

McKinley gambled on fourth down on its resulting possession, when a run on a faked punt was stop­ped near midfield.

Hurst wound up trying a 47‑yard field goal with 2:07 left.

When it was over, Jeff Harig, Doug’s brother, wore a huge grin that shone through a face hidden by mud.

“They had a lot of people going both ways, and maybe we were a little fresher at the end,” said Jeff, who was on the field as a blocker, as was Doug, in the double tight end set the Tigers used to run the ball into position for Hurst in overtime.

“We won. That’s all that mat­ters.

McKinley streak goes ‘poof’

Tiger tight end Harig says he was helped by
a cream puff

By MIKE KEATING
Independent Correspondent

Doug Harig enjoyed a post‑game hotdog moments after the Massil­lon Tigers devoured some ‘Dogs on the football field Saturday.

The tight end offered some food for thought on the significance of the Tigers’ 10‑7 overtime victory over arch‑rival Canton McKinley.

“We finally got our pride back,” said, Harig. “This win offsets our three losses.”

Sure, the setbacks to Austintown ­Fitch, Akron St. Vincent‑St. Mary and Warren Harding hurt. The last ­second defeats at Fitch and at War­ren were especially heartbreaking. But a fifth consecutive loss to McKinley undoubtedly would have exceeded all those combined.

Backyard bragging rights were at stake Saturday afternoon and there hasn’t been anything for Ti­ger fans to hoot and holler about in this rivalry since the days of Chris Spielman, Brian Dewitz, Tom Gru­no, Craig Johnson and Company.

Lee Owens understood. The first ­year Massillon head coach was ex­tremely emotional after his team’s seventh and unquestionably most important victory of the season.

“This town has been hungry the last four years and this win was for the entire Massillon community,” he said.

No added incentive was needed for Massillon. But Harig said he had a personal one after a surprise package was delivered to his home earlier in the week.

“There was a cream puff in it with a note,” he explained. The note read: Dear Jeff, you’re the only cream puff bigger than this. Feed it to your brother too.

“We didn’t eat it. We don’t know who sent it, but whoever did, thank you. It fired us up.”

Jeff Harig, the senior tight end, was held without a pass reception Saturday. But he concluded the year with 26 catches for 259 yards, and three touchdowns – hardly cream puff kind of numbers.

His younger brother snagged a Jamie Slutz toss as easily as catch­ing a cream puff in the second quar­ter. The seven‑yard touchdown catch whetted the Tigers’ appetite that set up the dramatic win.

Jeff finished his high school career at Massillon on a winning note. Doug, a 6‑1, 173‑pound junior, can’t wait for 1989.

“This win will carry over to next year and we need some momentum because we play Moeller and Mid­dletown early,” he said .

Starting free safety Joe Pierce had a touchdown‑saving tackle in the fourth quarter. The 6‑0, 161­pound junior echoed Harig’s senti­ments.

“This is a big win for the juniors and will make it easier to work har­der (in preparation) for next sea­son,” said Pierce.

Of course, the victory also meant a lot to the seniors. It was their last McKinley game. Defensive tackle Trace Liggett couldn’t have asked for anything more.

“I don’t think I’ll ever play in as big a game, unless it’s the Super Bowl,” said Liggett, who is re­garded as a major college prospect. “It was a great win and a great way to end the season.”

Last May 13, Owens was hired as the new football coach. Liggett attended the press conference where Owens was introduced. He was impressed with the youthful coach then and even more so after playing for him.

“He is an inspiration to us. He is a good teacher and made practice fun. The players wanted to work hard for him,” said Liggett.

“This win is a big springboard to next year,” said Owens. “I feel that we would have had to start all over (with the program) if we had lost.”

As it worked out, cream puffs ‑and victory ‑ never tasted better.

Expectations fulfilled

Hurst’s winning field goal puts
finishing touch on Tigers’ year

By CHRIS TOMASSON
Repository sports writer

MASSILLON ‑ When your quar­terback’s passing percentage is better than your kicker’s extra ­point percentage, it usually means you’ve either got a great quarter­back or a lousy kicker.

That is, except in Massillon. Tigers’ coach Lee Owens says he has a great quarterback and a great kicker.

Lee Hurst handles both jobs for the Tigers. He’s done an excellent job at quarterback all season. As far as his kicking performance is concerned, until Saturday, the less said about it the better.

But in Massillon’s 10‑7 overtime victory over McKinley at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Hurst showed that Owens knows what he’s talking about.

Hurst, who had made only 11‑of-­21 previous extra points and had not made a field goal all season. made his only extra‑point attempt and he kicked a 23‑yard field goal in overtime that gave the Tigers the win.

“I never lost confidence in Lee,” Owens said. “He’s been taking a lot of heat all season, but he did the job.”

Hurst’s most impressive kick was actually one that he missed. With 2:09 left in the game, Massil­lon faced fourth‑and‑13 from the McKinley 30. A field goal from there would have to travel 47 yards, one yard shorter than the Massillon record.

“I asked Lee if he could make a field goal from the distance, and he said, ‘I can make it,” Owens said. “He almost did.”

Hurst’s kick had plenty of distance, but it was wide right by about two feet.

After the game, while being hugged by most of the population of Massillon, Hurst dedicated the vic­tory to the Tigers’ seniors.

“I’m only a junior, so next year will be my year, ” Hurst said. “But this year belongs to our seniors.”

The seniors are the players who have suffered the most at the hands of McKinley. The Bulldogs had defeated the Tigers four straight times, the most con­secutive victories for a McKinley team since the early 1900s.

“This game meant everything to our season,” said senior running back Jason Stafford, who rushed for 123 yards on 21 carries. “I didn’t care if we started out the’ season 0‑9 as long as we beat McKinley.”

“This is just a great feeling,” said senior defensive tackle Trace Liggett, who spearheaded a Mas­sillon defense that held the Bulldogs to 117 yards and no points in the second half and overtime. “I can’t even describe how I feel right now, To beat McKinley is what it’s all about.”

Interestingly, in 1983, the last time Massillon beat McKinley, Tigers’ defensive tackle Bob Dunwiddie was pulling for the Bulldogs.

“Sure, I was cheering for McKinley,” Dunwiddie said. “I lived in Canton and attended Souers Junior High through the seventh grade, Then in the eighth grade I moved to Massillon and became Tiger.”

Owens said beating the Bulldogs meant everything to the Tigers’ season.

“If we had lost it would have been just like starting over,” Owens said. “But winning means that we’ve achieved the type of season we wanted. It’s rubber ­stamped the season. And it’s also a building block for next year.”

The Tigers finished the year 7‑3, one game better than last season. Massillon lost its three games by a combined margin of nine points.

T.R. Rivera
History

1986: Massillon 6, Canton McKinley 23

Tigers come up ‘half empty’
Massillon rules early but’ Bulldogs shift gears late

By STEVE DOERSCHUK
Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ They could have opened a Burger King in McKinley territory at halftime. The Massillon Tigers were having it their way.

But the second half was one big McDLT ‑McKinley’s defense led to touchdowns.

In the end, the McKinley players were saying, “Hot Dog!” and hoping for extra mustard in the playoffs. The Tigers were left holding an empty bun.

Program Cover

A 6‑0 Tiger lead at halftime dissolved into a 23‑6 McKinley win Saturday before 18,091 fans in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

In the history of the series that started in 1894, there may never have been two halves so distinctly different.

So what happened?

“It wasn’t a matter of making a lot of changes,” McKinley head coach Thom McDaniels said. “Basically, we just played better football.”

Maybe there were a few changes.

“In the first half, they were basically trying to power us out of there,” said Massillon senior Lance Hostetler, who played linebacker for the first time since junior high because Jerrod Vance was out with a knee injury.

“In the second half, they were giving our linebackers fake keys, trying to mess us up.”

Something clicked.

Game Action vs. Canton McKinley 1986

A McKinley offense that was stuffed by the Tigers for zilch in the first half had to be photographed with a zoom lens in the second.

In that first half, the Bulldogs gained 28 yards. On the first offensive series of the second half, McKinley gained 40 yards in its first six plays.

That drive ended when C.J. Harris recovered a fumble for the Tigers. But the mood had changed.

It might have changed back had the Tigers moved after recovering the fumble. Mike Harris rushed for three yards, then Mike Norris bulled ahead for seven. But Jerome Myricks was stopped for losses on consecutive plays, and it was third and 15 from the Massillon 41.

Game Action vs. Canton McKinley 1986

Then came a pivotal play now hidden deep in the game films. Quarterback John Miller dropped back to pass. Under heavy pressure, he dumped a short pass toward the fullback Norris. First glance suggested ‑ and films confirmed ‑ that Norris was knocked away from the ball by an overeager defender who was guilty of pass ‘interference.

The pass fell incomplete (Norris would have had to run a long way for a first down, incidentally). No flag was thrown.

Instead of 15 yards and a Massillon first down on the McKinley 44, the Bulldogs got the ball back on a punt.

“That was a key point in the game,” Massillon head coach John Maronto said.

Nobody will ever know how things would have gone had the interference call been made. What is known is that McKinley played its best football of the season in the time that was left.

Game Action vs. Canton McKinley 1986

Ken Hawkins’ punt sailed to the McKinley 22. Junior tailback Jeff Richardson gained 11 yards on first down. On second down, he took a handoff, made a slight cut to a big hole on the left side of the line, shook loose from a diving Bart Letcavits 10 yards downfield and sprinted away from the pack for a 67‑yard touchdown run.

“We emphasized all week that we needed to stop Richardson from making the big play,” John Maronto said.

Talking about it is one thing. Doing it has been another, and not just for the Tigers. Richardson’s 141 yards in 19 carries Saturday gave him 960 yards on the season.

Richardson, a 5‑10, 183‑pounder, only needs a sliver of daylight. His presence left the Tigers in a jam, since their chemistry was thrown off by late‑season knee injuries to linebacker Jerrod Vance and defensive back Steve Siegenthaler.

Maronto emphatically didn’t want anybody knocking his team’s defensive effort.

“Lance Hostetler stepped in and looked like he’d been playing linebacker all his life,” Maronto said. “And it wasn’t like we were playing chopped liver. We were playing the best team in Ohio.”

Richardson’s long run and Mark Smith’s PAT kick still left the Tigers with just a 7‑6 deficit with 3:04 left in the third quarter.

Game Action vs. Canton McKinley 1986

But moments later, Tiger back Mike Harris ‑ another tough‑luck senior whose season was marred by a knee injury ‑ was stripped of the ball. McKinley’s Dave Kiesling recovered the fumble at the 14. Four plays later, Richardson scored easily from a yard out.

Even at that, the Tigers weren’t in bad shape. Smith missed the PAT kick, and McKinley’s lead was 13‑6 with one quarter and 44 seconds left to play.

But the Tigers needed to get back some of the offensive punch they had shown in pounding out a 134‑28 lead in first‑half yardage.

Smith’s kickoff left the Tigers with good field position at their own 41, but they stalled in three plays and had to punt.

McKinley took over on its own 28 and put the game away with an 11‑play 72‑yard scoring drive. The touchdown came on third and nine from the 12. Smith, the quarterback, rolled right off a good play‑action fake and found tight end Dan Grimsley wide open in the end zone.

Smith’s kick made it 20‑6 with 4:48 left.

Sophomore nose guard Lamuel Flowers set up a 35‑yard field goal by Smith with a subsequent interception.

All the suspense and much of the crowd was gone at that point.

The first half had been so different.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff and started at their own 34. On second and seven, junior quarterback John Miller hooked up with senior split end Shannon Dryden on an 11‑yard completion. That seemed to ignite the offense, which then went on to complete an 11‑play, 66‑yard march that wound up on the McKinley 11 when Miller hit the tight end Hawkins on a nine‑yard completion.

That made it fourth and almost three. Maronto elected to send freshman Lee Hurst on for a 28‑yard field goal try. Hurst connected and it was 3‑0 with 4:44 left in the first quarter.

Midway through the drive, Maronto called timeout after Miller scrambled to recover a mishandled snap, then took a blow to the head. Miller was clearly shaken up, and staggered as Maronto yelled to officials that a penalty should have been called.

But Miller kept playing, and moments later threw a pass which Letcavits turned into a 10‑yard reception.

The Massillon crowd got very loud after Norris boomed the ensuing kickoff to the back stripe of the end zone for a touchback. An incomplete pass, a run for no gain by Richardson, a nine‑yard completion and a punt gave Massillon the ball back on its own 32.

The next three series ended in punts, two of which were snapped over the punters’ heads. But both booters recovered and got off kicks that saved disaster for their teams.

McKinley punter Pat Lyons had to chase 10 yards after the ball snapped over his head. But he managed to kick it away to the Massillon 23 midway through the second quarter.

From there, the Tigers drove 77 yards in 10 plays, with Harris setting the tone on a nine‑yard gain. A 17‑yard pass from Miller to Myricks and a 12‑yard run by Miller put the ball on the 17 on first down. But Norris was stopped for no gain, and two passes fell incomplete. The call went again to Hurst. The freshman sent a picturesque boot into a slight breeze that sailed far over the uprights for a 33‑yard field goal.

It gave the Tigers a 6‑0 lead with 2:32 left in the half.

But the second half was another story.

It ended with McKinley’s record at 9‑1, good for first place in Region 2 of Division I. The Tigers came in at 7‑3.

The loss saddened the Tigers. But Hostetler, a three‑year starter and captain, advised his teammates to leave on an upbeat note.

“It’s been a great time for me at Massillon,” he said. “No other team plays under these great conditions. I have the greatest coaches in the world. They really helped prepare me for college. And the greatest teammates in the world.”

MCKINLEY 23
MASSILLON 7

M McK
First downs rushing 6 8
First downs passing 4 3
First downs by penalty 1 0
Totals first downs 11 11
Yards gained rushing 112 205
Yards lost rushing 20 14
Net yards rushing 92 191
Net yards passing 59 57
Total yards gained 151 248
Passes attempted 18 10
Passes completed 8 6
Passes int. by 0 1
Times kicked off 3 5
Kickoff average 56.3 48.4
Kickoff return yards 87 27
Punts 4 4
Punting average 33.0 42.3
Punt return yards 7 0
Punts blocked by 0 0
Fumbles 2 1
Fumbles lost 1 1
Penalties 0 3
Yards penalized 0 25
Touchdowns rushing 0 2
Touchdowns passing 0 1
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Number of plays 52 46
Time of possession 26:37 21:23
Attendance 18,091

MCKINLEY 0 0 13 10 23
MASSILLON 3 3 0 0 6

MAS ‑ Lee Hurst 28 FG
MAS ‑ Hurst 33 FG
McK ‑ Jeff Richardson 67 run (Mark Smith kick)
McK ‑Richardson 1 run (kick failed)
McK ‑ Dan Grimsley 4 pass from Smith (Smith kick)
McK ‑ Smith 35 FG
*****
Individual statistics
RUSHING
Massillon: Norris, 12‑39; Miller 9‑27; Harris 8‑26; Myriscks, 3‑0.
McKinley: Richardson, 19‑141; Kendall 5‑12; Copenny, 1‑6; Gordon, 2‑ 15; Flowers 2‑15.

PASSING
Massillon: Miller, 8‑17‑0, 59 yards; White, 0‑1‑1.
McKinley: Smith, 6‑10‑0, 57 yards.

RECEIVING
Massillon: Myricks, 2 24; Letcavits, 1‑11; Dryden, 1‑9; Hawkins, 1‑8; Wilson, 3‑7.
McKinley: Richardson, 2‑20; Grimsley, 2‑13; Kendall, 1‑10; Smith, 1‑14.

Rivalry grand,
no matter what the score reads

By STEVE DOERSCHUK
Independent Sports Editor

MASSILLON ‑ You could have won $20 million in the Lotto and not been able to buy a better autumn afternoon for Saturday’s Massillon‑McKinley football game.

The lovely leaves and the Indian summer breeze would have made Scrooge himself a cheery gent. The housewife sick to death of her old man’s sports would have gazed with childish wonder at the sight of the orange sea of spectators rolling against a red sea of the same.

One‑hundred yards of lime‑striped sod and 200 helmeted teen‑agers were washed with a delightful noise that made it all a merry mix, indeed, when Mark Smith of McKinley kicked off to Jerome Myricks of Massillon at a couple of minutes past 2.

Maybe there have been other opening scenes at other Massillon-McKinley games that were as wonderful. If so, they were merely as perfect.

The ending of the 92nd Massillon‑Canton battle was far from a perfect story for the hamlet of Massillon. The final score was McKinley 23, Tigers 6.

But the moral of the story, though stinging with the hurt of defeat to the arch‑rival, was that Massillon people still so desperately want a great team to cheer for.

They had their moments Saturday.

The Tigers charged out of their corner at the opening bell and won the early rounds in a one‑sided mugging.

In one half, junior quarterback John Miller threw twice as many passes as he had thrown in a typical game the previous nine weeks.

In that same half, the lumberjacks on the Massillon line muscled out places for fullback Mike Norris to punch out the yards.

The Massillon defense, despite missing a linebacker who is a candidate for Stark County player of the year, coldcocked the offense of their backyard rivals.

Freshman kicker Lee Hurst delivered like a grizzled veteran.

As the bands marched, Massillon stats man Tom Persell played a tune on his computer, and what came out was 134 yards for the home team, and just 28 yards ‑ and no first downs ‑ for the Canton club.

But the score was only 6‑0, Massillon, and you didn’t need a computer to know the game would be won in the second half.

McKinley won it in a hurry.

Flash: A 67‑yard sprint over the left side by Bulldog tailback Jeff Richardson.

Flash: A Massillon fumble seconds later, in the badlands, and a 14‑yard McKinley mini‑march for a second touchdown.

The second McKinley score, a one‑yard run by Richardson with 44 seconds left in the third quarter, was followed by Mark Smith’s missed PAT kick.

That kept the score at 13‑6. But the Tigers never threatened again. McKinley scored 10 points in the final five minutes, and Canton had a third straight win over Massillon for the first time since 1934, Paul Brown’s third year as the Tigers’ head coach.

The game, witnessed by 18,091 in the stadium named after Brown, closed McKinley’s deficit in the series to 50‑37‑5.

It also closed the Tigers’ season with a second consecutive 7‑3 record.

McKinley is 9‑1 and headed for a Division I playoff game. The Bulldogs will face 9‑1 Groveport Madison at 8 p.m. Saturday in Fawcett Stadium.

Among the many constants in the Massillon‑McKinley game seems to be the fact a Grimsley is always playing for McKinley. This year’s Grimsley, junior tight end Dan, says beating the Tigers reinforces the Bulldogs’ confidence.

“We went a little bit dead in our only loss (against Youngstown South),” said Grimsley, whose brother John plays for the Houston Oilers. “It was the middle of the season and we’d just won some big games. But we’re back up now. There’s no doubt in my mind we can win it all.”

Thirty‑three seniors on the Massillon team were in a different mood. Their time as Tiger players had run out.

“You can’t say too much,” Norris said as he walked away in street clothes. “We knew we could have beat ’em. We were playing our game for a while. But it got away.”

“There’s not much to say,” echoed senior co‑captain Bart Letcavits, who spent part of the season sick in the hospital but returned for Saturday’s game. “They’ve been a comeback team all year. They outplayed us in the second half. They deserved to win.”

“We played as hard as we could,” said senior co‑captain Lance Hostetler. “Nobody let up. Ever.”

John Maronto, the Tigers’ second‑year head coach, said Hostetler was right about the effort.

“I’m proud of our football team,” Maronto said. “We were almost able to come up with the victory. But it was not to be.”

Thom McDaniels is in his fifth year as the “tough‑act‑to‑follow” successor of Terry Forbes, the head coach of McKinley’s only playoff championship winner, the 1981 team. McDaniels praised his troops for having the guts to win another game with a comeback. The he praised the Tigers.

“They’re as good and as tough and as well coached ‑ and you can put that all in capital letters ‑ as any team we’ve played,” McDaniels said.

And you can put this in bold face:

No matter who wins, this is still America’s grandest high school football game.

Will Maronto come back?

We move now, to Lesson No. 2 in the Professor Commings School of Rumorintology.

Please sit erect in your chairs. Volunteers to dust the erasers will be taken later.

Lesson No. 1, on which the papers are being graded, was presented last week.

We learned then that the volume of a rumor often is not in direct proportion to the truth contained therein.

It was noted that a particular rumor ‑ “Bob Commings has forfeited his claim to the title The Bald Eagle, and resigned as GlenOak High’s football coach” was all over town and half way to Hawaii.

It was further noted that Commings emphatically stated he has not resigned.

Commings, as it happens, is believed to be the father of “rumorintology,” apparently having coined the word last month.

The subject of Lesson No., 2 is another football coach, John Maronto.

The fates of Commings and Maronto are indirectly intertwined, insofar as the former was a head football coach in Massillon, and the latter is.

Today’s theme actually is a question. How many people must wish a rumor to come true before it becomes a fact?

We have no answers. We can only offer present facts.

Fact is, Coach Maronto is not the most popular man in Massillon today.

His team went 7‑3, and we needn’t get into a long discussion of what that means in Tigertown. The team lost to the arch‑rival the other day. You know them. And, his offense was judged too conservative for the tastes of many of the paying customers.

It didn’t help that a loss to Commings’ GlenOak team was among the three losses, either.

People are talking. You know how it is.

They’re talking a lot about THE rumor.

“Did’ja hear? Maronto’s going to Michigan to be with Bo!”

Yes, that’s the big one. It’s all over town, and halfway to Hong Kong.

Refer, now, to lesson No. 1.

The volume of a rumor may not be in direct proportion to any truth therein.

“I’ve just never thought there were any two ways about it,” Maronto said this morning. “We’re already getting ready for next season. We’ll be in the weight room today. We have a team meeting schedule. We’re preparing for next season and beginning to take care of the seniors’ needs.”

Maronto has heard the rumors. He says he shrugs them off.

”I’ve never put any thought processes into rumors,” he said. “My energy is going into preparing for next season.”

Maronto, who has completed two years in the stormy wake of Mike Currence’s ouster, sounds optimistic.

“I really believe we’ll be back,” he said. “I believe we learned some great lessons. The younger players coming in may not be able to exceed the ability of this year’s seniors, but I believe they’ll have smoother roads ahead.

“It’ll be important to make the pieces fit in to form a chemistry. It’ll be real interesting to watch. I know everybody coming in is 100 percent completely aware of what our system is all about, what needs to be done to be a Massillon Tiger. There’ll be a lot of continuity.”

Sounds like John Maronto plans to fulfill the third year of his contract.

If he does, let’s give him some room.

Another buyout is the last thing the town needs now.

If he wants to stay, let him work in peace. Disagree all you want I think the coach needs to loosen up his offense, too.

But be aware he works as hard as anybody in Ohio to make his team win. Be aware he’s good with kids.

If it’s time for him to go after the contract runs out, so be it.
And think about next week’s Lesson No. 3. Beating a rumor turns it ugly.

Jerrod Vance