Tag: <span>Rameir Martin</span>


1989: Massillon 21, Cleveland St. Ignatius 42

No state title, but what a season!

Independent Sports Editor


“The season has been great,” Massillon co-captain Joe Pierce said a few minutes before midnight Saturday. “It’s been wonderful.”

Pierce was back in the Paul Brown Tiger Stadium locker room after his team had fallen 42‑21 to Cleveland St. Ignatius in the Division I state semifinals before a crowd of 18,206 in the Akron Rubber Bowl.

Every locker was plastered with a copy of the USA Today clipping that hyped Ignatius as the No. 1 high school football team in the land.

“If we had to lose,” Pierce said, “it might as well have been to the No. 1 team in the country.

“We hated to lose. But things just didn’t go our way.”

Robert Erickson, the Tigers’ team doctor had the same idea as Pierce as he watched the end of the game from the sidelines about 90 minutes earlier.

“They had a lot of fun this season,” Erickson said as Ryan Sparkman fought valiantly for an extra three yards, lunging backward with tacklers draped on him, as Ignatius led 42‑15.

“They accomplished a lot. They played hard. Heck, a lot of people said they’d never get past McKinley.”

Saturday’s game was played in bitter cold. The defeat kept the Tigers from reaching their goal of a first state playoff title to go along with 22 Ohio poll championships.

The mood around midnight in Tiger Stadium, however, seemed more warm than bitter.

Players talked quietly. Head coach Lee Owens seemed to take the loss hardest. He seemed lost in thought when a passerby gently clutched his arm.

Owens looked up and managed a smile.

Senior Lou LoCoco stopped to shake the coach’s hand just before leaving the locker room for the last time.

“I enjoyed it,” LoCoco said. “You meant a lot to me.”

When hindsight replaces the abruptness of Saturday’s defeat, it probably will become clearer that the 1989 season meant a lot to Tigertown.

It will be recalled that the learn made the playoffs for the first time since 1982 … that McKinley was defeated soundly … that a 42‑24 victory over Walsh Jesuit grew out of a 24‑6 halftime deficit and was one of the great comebacks in Tiger history.

It will be remembered that only two teams in Massillon history, the 1961 squad that went 11‑0 and the 1982 edition that went 12‑1, won more games than the 1989 crew that finished with a 10‑3 mark.

It will be noted the ’89 team’s two playoff wins were as many as were attained by the 1980 and ’82 teams that made it to the state finals, when only two victories were needed to do so.

It will be said that two of the teams to defeat the ’89 Tigers ‑ Moeller and Ignatius – met for the Division I state championship, and that the other, Cleveland St. Joseph, was a Division II state finalist.

Meanwhile, in the Ignatius camp, there was quiet celebration. The Wildcat starters showered in the Rubber Bowl visitors’ locker room, where there is barely room for a basketball team. The extras jammed an adjoining hallway.

Senior quarterback Joe Pickens is Ignatius’ best known star, but for whatever reason he undressed with the extras.

This kid stands 6 feet 4, weighs 210 pounds, and is going places. He says he has narrowed his college preferences to Ohio State, Illinois, Michigan State, Stanford, West Virginia, Alabama and Boston College.

On his way to the big time, the Tigers gave him a night to remember.

It’s different playing Massillon.” he said. “They have a different kind of crowd … they have a lot of fans. But we looked at it this way: We weren’t playing the Massillon town. We were playing the Massillon team.

“We had a good night. But Massillon is definitely a good team. They have a lot of quickness.”

Another Ignatius player headed for the bright lights, albeit two years from now since be is a junior, is 6‑foot‑5, 255‑pound tackle Trent Zenkewicz.

Zenkewicz said nobody was looking at Saturday’s affair as just another game.

“When we scrimmaged them in the pre‑season, they came out like it was a championship game,” Zenkewicz said.

“We’d won the state championship last year and I guess that fired them up. There was some taunting. It was an unusual scrimmage. We wanted revenge.”

Ignatius jumped to a 13‑0 lead in Saturday’s clash, held on for a 13‑7 halftime edge, their blew it open in the third quarter. Zenkewicz had his revenge.

Owens found it hard to swallow.

“I feel bad,” he said, “as though there’s something more I could have done.”

Some day the loss will melt into the big picture. The coach should feel better when he steps back and takes a look at that.

Title dream ends
Tigers can’t make comeback last after nearly taking halftime lead vs. Ignatius

Independent Sports Editor

AKRON ‑ Team Comeback struck again, but this time the rally came too fast and didn’t last.

The Massillon Tigers punched their way out of a 13‑0 corner Saturday to nearly take a halftime lead on Cleveland St. Ignatius. They got lost in a black hole of a third quarter on whose other side was a 42‑21 defeat in the Division I state football playoff semifinals.

Ignatius, which had never faced Massillon, stretched its winning streak to 28 and headed for a Sunday state championship showdown against Cincinnati Moeller.

The Tigers left the 1980s with a 10‑3 season record and an 81‑27‑1 mark for the decade.

Massillon had a controlling share of Saturday’s crowd ‑ 18,206 in the ice‑cold Rubber Bowl, where snow was caked on the sidelines after a pregame scrape job.

“We’re in it!” a Tiger fan making a coffee run yelled after his team ralled from a 13‑0 deficit to trail 13‑7 at halftime.

And why wouldn’t he think so?

Team Comeback had rebounded from a loss to Moeller with a convincing win over Austintown‑Fitch. It rallied from a stunning loss to Cleveland St. Joseph to dominate McKinley. It came back from the dead of a 24‑6 halftime deficit against Walsh Jesuit to win a playoff opener 42‑24.

As far as the fans were concerned, it was play‑it‑again‑Sam time.

Ryan Sparkman’s one‑yard touchdown run with 2:37 left in the half set up a 13‑7 game. Moments later Tiger end Jeff Perry creamed Ignatius quarterback Joe Pickens and Massillon tackle Scott Sirgo pounced on the resulting fumble near midfield.

Ignatius end Matt Cooney, pesky as a gnat all night, had a bear hug on quarterback Lee Hurst’s legs on fourth and five, but Hurst amazingly flicked a strike to Rameir Martin to keep the drive alive.

When Hurst connected with Martin for 12 yards to the nine with more than 30 seconds left, Team Comeback had its fans humming.

“A great play by their defensive back” is what head coach Lee Owens said kept the Tigers from converting a touchdown pass that could have created a halftime lead.

The Tigers had to hurry their field goal unit in place and the half ended with Gary Miller’s 28‑yard field goal attempt sailing wide right.

“We thought we should have had an extra timeout in there, but they charged us with one we don’t believe we took,” Owens said. “We came out of the huddle on one play and were ready to roll when they charged us with a timeout. They never did explain who asked for the timeout.”

On the opposite sideline, Ignatius head coach Chuck Kyle was smiling.

“They had their chance and they didn’t put it in,” he said.

Owens remembers the second half starting to his liking.

”We kicked the ball exactly where we wanted it,” he said, “Deep in the corner away from No. 48 (Tim Kennedy), who returned one for a touchdown against Euclid last week.”

Nonetheless, deep man Peter Fitzpatrick proceeded to rearrange the game, skirting right around the coverage wall and running 71 yards to the Tiger 24‑yard line.

Five players later, Fitzpatrick followed the block of 6‑foot‑3, 236‑pound tight end John Jaeckin into the end zone on a 10‑yard scoring play. A Pickens‑to‑Jaeckin conversion pass made it 21‑7.

A Tim Ruddy interception and a 48‑yard “junk play” touchdown – Pickens lateraling to split end Pat Friend, and Friend throwing a bomb to a wide‑open Jaeckin made it 28‑7.

A Massillon fumble on its own 24 set up Fitzpatrick’s third touchdown and a 35‑7 Ignatius lead with 11: 12 left in the game.
Still, Team Comeback wouldn’t roll over.

“I had a good feeling after we cut it to 35‑15,” Owens said. “We had more than nine minutes left (after Hurst’s 40‑yard scoring bomb to Doug Harig). And we got the ball right back (on Chad Buckland’s interception).”

Unfortunately, Cooney got in the way on third‑and‑11, intercepting a screen pass and scoring easily on a 21‑yard run to make it 42‑7.

The Tigers drove 93 yards and Sparkman scored his second touchdown with 1:24 left to create the final, score.

The stats were considerably more even than the score.

At halftime, Ignatius led 157‑133 in total offense. The late, long scoring drive gave the Tigers a 354‑272 lead in total offense for the game.

Pickens, a 6‑foot‑4, 210‑pound senior who is expected to make first team All‑Ohio and possibly wrestle this year’s Mr. Football award a way from incumbent Robert Smith of Euclid completed just

First downs rushing 9 7
First downs passing 4 12
First downs penalty 0 1
Total first down 13 20
Net yards rushing 149 122
Net yards passing 123 232
Total net yards 272 354
Passes attempted 15 36
Passes completed 5 17
Passes intercepted 1 5
Fumbles/lost 1‑1 1‑1
Punts 4 3
Punting average 28.8 29.7
Penalties 8 3
Yards penalized 83 31
St. Ignatius 7 6 15 14 42
Massillon 0 7 0 14 21

I ‑ Fitzpatrick 19 run (Hearns kick)
I ‑ Spear 1 run (kick failed)
M ‑ Sparkman 1 run (Miller kick)
I ‑ Pickens 10 run (Pickens pass to Jaeckin)
I ‑ Friend 42 pass to Jaeckin (Hearns kick)
I ‑ Fitzpatrick 2 run (Hearns kick)
M ‑ Hurst 40 pass to Harig (Hurst pass to Carpenter)
I ‑ Cooney 21 Pass interception return (Hearns kick)
M ‑ Sparkman 1 run (pass failed)


Individual Statistics

(I) Fitzpatrick 21‑102, Pickens 6‑33 Kennedy 6‑18, Spear 2‑3.
(M) Sparkman 18-81, Dixon 9‑28, Hurst 4‑13.

(I) Pickens 4‑14 1 81, Friend 1‑1‑0 42.
(M) Hurst 17‑35‑4 232, Manion 0‑1‑1 0.

(I) Jaeckin 4‑86, Ruddy 1‑37.
(M) Martin 6‑86, Sparkman 4‑28, Harig 3‑82, Manion 2-20, Carpenter 1‑9, Dixon 1‑7.

Kickoff returns
(I) Fitzpatrick 1‑71, Kennedy 1‑28,
(M) Blake 5‑72, Ashcraft 2‑28.


four of 14 passes for 81 yards. Hurst, the MVP on the coaches’ all‑county team, completed 17 of 35 passes for 232 yards, but with four interceptions.

“Their quarterback did an outstanding job, considering the pressure we had on him,” said Ignatius’ 6‑foot‑5, 255‑pound junior tackle Trent Zenkewicz.

Fitzpatrick wound up with 102 rushing yards in 21 carries. Sparkman produced 109 yards, 81 on the ground in 18 carries, and 28 more on four receptions.

The Tigers’ Martin and the Wildcats’ Jaeckin each gained 86 yards, Martin on six catches and Jaeckin on four.

Harig caught three passes for 82 yards.

The Tigers tried to compensate for their size disadvantage by mixing up the defense.

“They were bringing people the whole game,” Kyle said. “We stopped their inside blitz then they started coming from the outside.

“They kept shifting their defense back and forth,” said Pickens. “We called a whole lot of audibles.”

Ignatius countered the Tiger blitzes with draw plays that were keys in building the 14‑0 lead.

The Tigers didn’t get untracked on offense until trailing by that margin.

“It took a while to figure out what they were doing,” Owens said. “They had No. 76 (Jenkewicz) going to whatever side Ray (Kovacsiss) was on. They hadn’t done that sort of thing before.”

A 30‑yard pass to Harig loosened up the defense late in the half.

But Ignatius regained control with two touchdowns within the first five minutes of the second half.

Here’s a drive‑by‑drive account of the Massillon‑Cleveland St. Ignatius state semifinal football game Saturday night.


MASSILLON ‑ Start on own 30 after opening kickoff. Ryan Sparkman runs 19 yards on second down. Three more plays gain two yards. Punt.

IGNATIUS ‑ Start on own 26 after 23‑yard punt. Drive 74 yards in 13 plays capped by Peter Fitzpatrick;s 19‑yard touchdown run. Big plays: 12‑yard draw play to Fitzpatrick on third‑and‑10; 12‑yard scramble by quarterback Joe Pickens on second‑and‑eight Graham Hearns’ kick good at 4:41 of first quarter.
Ignatius 7, Massillon 0

MAS ‑ Start on own 27 after kickoff. Three plays. Punt.
IGN ‑ Start on own 44 after 21‑yard punt. Drive 61 yards in six plays capped by Brian Spear’s 1-yard run on first play of second quarter. Big plays: 37‑yard pass completion on second‑and‑15; 15-yard pass to tight end John Jaeckin on second‑and‑10. Hearns’ kick pressured by Don Blake, no good at 11:58 of second period.
Ignatius 13, Massillon 0

MAS ‑ Start on own 31 after kickoff. Three plays gain no yards. Punt.

IGN ‑ Start on own 29 after 40‑yard punt. Three incompletions. Punt.

MAS ‑ Start on own 42. Four plays, including 10‑yard Lee Hurst‑to‑Desmond Carpenter pass, to the Ignatius 35. Tim Ruddy intercepts deep pass for Wildcats on next play

IGN ‑ Start on own 9. Five play to Tiger 22 capped by Kevin McGuesack sack of Pickens forcing punt.

MAS ‑ Start on Ignatius 47 with 4:40 left in half. Third‑and‑11 throw back pass to Harig covers 30 yards to Ignatius 18. Sparkman caps six play, 47‑yard drive with 1‑yard TD plunge. Gary Miller’s kick good at 2:37 of second quarter.
Ignatius 13, Massillon 7

IGN ‑ Start on own 48 after kickof f and late‑hit penalty. Lose ball on Scott Sirgo fumble recovery with 1:50 left in half.

MAS ‑ Start on Ignatius 45. Sparkman gains 13 yards on Hurst pass on first down. Drive inside 10 before half ends on missed 28‑yard field goal.

Halftime: Ignatius 13, Massillon 7


IGN Start on Tiger 24 after Fitzpatrick’s 71‑yard kickoff return. Score in four plays on 10‑yard Pickens run. Pickens passes to Jaeckin for two‑point conversion at 9:10 of third quarter.

Ignatius 21, Massillon 7

MAS ‑ Start on own 29 after kickoff. Lose ball on Ruddy interception on second play.

IGN ‑ Start on own 45. Score on fourth play, 42‑yard pass from split end Pat Friend to Jaeckin. Hearns’ kick good at 7:01 of third quarter.

Ignatius 28, Massillon 7

MAS ‑ Start on own 29 after kickoff. Martin catches 36‑yard pass from Hurst on third‑and‑15. Ruddy intercepts two plays later.

IGN ‑ Start on own 35. Three plays. Punt.

MAS ‑ Start on own 25. Lose ball on fumble on attempted hook‑and‑ladder
ladder play.

IGN ‑ Start on own 24. Score on seventh play, a 2‑yard run by Fitzpatrick. Hearns kick good at 11:12 of fourth quarter.

Ignatius 35, Massillon 7

MAS ‑ Start on own 30 after kickoff. Drive 70 yards in five plays capped by Harig’s 40‑yard TD recep­
tion from Hurst. Key play: 11‑yard reception by Troy Manion followed by late hit penalty. Carpenter catches two‑point conversion pass from Hurst at 9:33 of fourth quarter.

Ignatius 35, Massillon 15

IGN ‑ Start on own 49 after onside kick. Lose ball on Chad Buckland interception.

MAS ‑ Start on own 13. On third‑and‑13 Matt Cooney intercepts screen pass and runs 21 yards for touchdown. Hearns Kick good at 6: 15 of fourth quarter.

Ignatius 42, Massillon 15

MAS ‑ Start on own 7 following kickoff. Drive 93 yards in 15 plays, capped by Sparkman’s 1‑yard TD plunge. Two‑point conversion pass broken up in back of end zone at 1:24 of fourth quarter.

Final: Ignatius 42, Massillon 21

Rameir Martin

1989: Massillon 43, Akron Garfield 7

Two down two to go for Tigers

Independent ‑ Sports Editor

Did Dame Destiny and the Fickle Finger of Fate conspire to stop Lee Hurst and Craig Turkalj Saturday?

There stood Hurst on one side of a water bucket in the Akron Rubber Bowl. There stood Turkalj on the other side. There ticked the clock 0:08 … 0:07 … 0:06 ‑ on a scoreboard that read Massillon 43, Garfield 7.

“Let’s do it,” the two Tigers yelped at 0:01.

And away they ran with their sloshing cargo. But when they got there, the sideline was bare. Their head coach, Lee Owens, had been absorbed by a sea of celebrants.
“Where’d he go?” the quarterback yelled.

“I don’t see him,” the linebacker replied.

They scrapped the mission and joined the fun.

And maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Maybe the cards have it that (attention Coach Owens ‑ do not read this and spoil your surprise) the grand dousing is to take place in Columbus two games down the playoff highway.

As for Owens, he went that‑a‑way ‑ the way that leads to the Division I state semifinals and from there to the state championship.

It’s two playoff wins down and two wins to go for the rampaging Tigers, who came home Saturday night to another frenzied moonlight celebration downtown.

Massillon will oppose defending state champion Cleveland St. Ignatius at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Akron Rubber Bowl.

It won’t be all fun and games.

“This turf is terrible,” said Tiger guard Jim Goff as he walked off the field following Saturday’s Garfield game. “Our sand turf is so much easier on the body. I’m really sore.”

Many Tiger fans thought their team, first in the Region 3 computer rankings at the end of the regular season, should not have had to play against No. 4 Garfield where the Golden Rams saw action in five regular‑season games this year.

But there is a flip side.

The Tigers now have had a game in which to get the hang of the Rubber Bowl (winning by 35 points against a team whose only other loss this season was by 1 point in overtime).

Ignatius has not played at the Rubber Bowl this year.

Still, expect to hear plenty of talk this week painting Ignatius as the favorite. The Wildcats won it all last year, the talk will go, and they have one of the best quarterbacks in the nation in Joe ‑ Ohio State wants him bad – Pickens.

“I hope we do play Ignatius,” Massillon senior Todd Porter said before he knew Ignatius advanced by outlasting Euclid Saturday night. “We beat them in a scrimmage, but people will say it was just a scrimmage. We want to beat them in a game.”

The Tigers’ first opportunity to commence beating on someone other than their own teammates came Aug. 12 in Lakewood, when they beat Ignatius in a practice game.

Three months later, after 12 “count ’em” games, Ignatius owns a 12‑0 record. The Tigers are 10‑2.

In Saturday’s other semifinal battle, Cincinnati Moeller (10‑2) will take on Lima (10‑2) in a 7:30 p.m. clash at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium.

Ask around the Massillon locker room and you’ll find a whole lot of folks who want to face Moeller again ‑ the Tigers lost to the Cincinnati kids 41‑7 Sept. 16.

They may get the chance.

And maybe they’re within striking distance because they had things in the right perspective all along.

This was co‑captain Ryan Sparkman talking shortly after the Tigers beat Ignatius in August:

“It was all right to go up there and practice against the defending state champions, but we still have a long way to go.”

It’s not so long anymore.

Massillon makes Garfield pay dearly for its errors
By Ralph Paulk
Beacon Journal staff writer

The Massillon Tigers stepped boldly into the Garfield Rams’ backyard ‑ the Rubber Bowl ‑ then proceeded to manhandle the Rams.

What was supposed to be a grueling battle of defense quickly developed into a Massillon blowout Saturday night before a crowd of 13,607.

The Tigers, racing off to a 29‑7 halftime advantage, advanced to the state Division I semifinals with a convincing 43‑7 victory.

The Rams got out of the blocks in good shape, scoring on their first possession to take an early 7‑0 lead.

After that the Rams’ faithful sat in stunned silence for 3 1/2 quarters. The Tigers whipped Garfield at every phase of the game.

The Tigers’ defense harassed Rams quarterback Marcus Sims, sacking him five times and intercepting two passes. They also recovered four Garfield fumbles in the second half.

As Massillon continued its onslaught the Rams lost their confidence and poise. They were flagged for three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and a rash of other penalties.

Garfield’s coach, Bill McGee, paced up and down the sideline in search of an answer. All McGee and his Rams could find was misery, misery and more misery.

Massillon’s coach, Lee Owens, adjusted his orange cap occasionally and put his hands in his pockets.

What else could he do? His team’s victory already had been put on ice.

“We just got on a roll and were executing very well,” said Owens. “We felt we had to execute well if were going to win.

“This team was playing with extreme confidence. The kids know they can go all the way (state title game).

“I thought we had to get off to a better start than we did last week. We couldn’t wait until the second half.”

Massillon (10‑2), which overcame a 24‑6 deficit to defeat Walsh 42‑24 in the regional semifinal last week, again rolled out of the gate slowly. This time, however, the Tigers started their scoring flurry late in the first quarter.

Massillon halfback Ryan Sparkman ignited an awesome first‑half scoring explosion with a 44‑yard run to the Rams’ 2. Two plays later, Sparkman bounced off left tackle for a 1‑yard touchdown, making it 7‑6.

Gary Miller’s conversion kick was blocked by Thomas Lewis. It was the only thing the Tigers didn’t execute perfectly.

Quarterback Lee Hurst who threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, ripped apart the Rams’ secondary like a master surgeon.

“We knew there were some things in there defense that we could exploit,” said Hurst, an All‑NEO Inland Region first‑teamer.

Massillon, which made its last appearance in the state ‑ title game in 1982, took a 14‑7 lead with 8:35 left in the second quarter.

Doug Harig, who caught a 45‑yard pass, capped off a 7‑play, 61‑yard scoring drive by catching a 4‑yard touchdown pass from Hurst.

There was still hope for Garfield. That was until Tigers safety Keith Rabbit intercepted a Sims pass at the Garfield 37.

It took the Tigers six plays to get the hall into the end zone. Hurst bootlegged around left end for an 11‑yard touchdown scamper and tossed a 2‑point conversion pass to Rameir Martin to put Massillon ahead 21‑7 with 5:17 left in the second quarter.

The Rams, marched to the Tigers’ 46. But Kevin McCue intercepted another Sims pass at midfield.

Hurst wasted little time in making the Rams pay for their mistake. On first down. he rifled a 50‑yard touchdown strike to Martin with 2:31 left in the first half.

Martin’s touchdown, Owens said, is what really burst the Rams’ bubble.

“The touchdown to Martin probably sealed the game,” Owens said. “We were doing every thing right, and we knew we were in good shape.”

Hurst, catching Garfield’s defense off‑balance, bootlegged left for a 2‑point conversion to give Massillon its 29-7 lead at the half.

“I thought at the half we would play a strong second half”‘ said McGee, whose team lost to Cincinnati Princeton in the 1983 championship game.

“I think once they scored to begin the third quarter, I realized it wouldn’t be our night. It was frustrating for us because it was always something.

The Rams began the second half by fumbling the ball away to Massillon. Again, Hurst rewarded the Tigers’ defense by directing the offense into the end zone.

Hurst threw a 20‑yard touchdown pass to Harig with 6:42 left in the third quarter, giving Massillon a commanding 36-7 lead.

The Tigers got their final points a 3‑yard touchdown run by Lamonte Dixon ‑ which also was set up by a Garfield fumble.

“This doesn’t happen to its very often.” McGee said, “Massillon was very excited about playing.

“We weren’t overwhelmed physically, but I think emotionally we were never in it. It was hard getting our kids’ confidence back.”

Massillon will play Cleveland St. Ignatius in next weekend’s state semifinals.

Individual Statistics
(Mas) Sparkman 10‑70, Ashcraft 10‑34, Dixon 12‑21, Hurst 4‑17, Slicker 2‑5.
(Gar) McGhee 9‑62, Martin 10‑28, Sanky 3‑21, Lewis 1‑9, Sims 7‑(minus 41).

(Mas) Hurst 10‑14‑0 175, Shertzer 1‑1‑0 10.
(Gar) Sims 4‑16‑2 66, Conley 3‑6‑0 36.

(Mas) Martin 4‑77, Harig 3‑68, Manion 2‑21, Carpenter 1‑11, Sparkman 1‑8.
(Gar) Lewis 3‑41, Harrison 2‑42, Martin 1‑14, Keller 1-5.

Kickoff returns
(Mas) Dixon 1-20.
(Gar) Martin 4‑83, Lewis 2‑37, Sankey 1‑19.

Punt returns
(Mas) Blake 1‑17, Manion 1‑0.
(Gar) None.

Massillon 6 23 14 0 43
Garfield 7 0 0 0 7

G – Sims 3 run. Williamson kick
M – Sparkman I run. Kick failed
M ‑ Harig 4 pass from Hurst. Martin Pass from Hurst
M ‑ Hurst 11 run. Miller kick
M ‑ Martin 50 pass from Hurst. Hurst run
M ‑ Harig 20 Pass from Hunt. Miller kick
M ‑ Dixon 3 run. Miller kick


First downs rushing 9 3
First downs Passing 7 5
First downs Penalty 0 4
Total first down 16 12
Net Yards rushing 142 79
Net Yards Passing 185 102
Total net yards 327 181
Passes attempted 15 22
Passes completed 11 7
Passes intercepted 0 2
Fumbles/lost 1‑1 5‑4
Punts 2 3
Punting average 14.5 34.7
Penalties 6 6
Yards penalized 59 47

All‑around dominance
Massillon’s offense, defense click in 43‑7 rout

Repository sports writer

AKRON ‑ If’ you’re a fan of high‑powered offenses, the Massillon Washington High School football team has the fix you’ve been looking for.

That’s not an earth‑shattering statement. Most people know that.

But what’s becoming more evident each week is the Tigers have plenty to offer you fans of defense ‑ quick, hard‑hitting, in‑your‑face defense.

Massillon had both its units working to near perfection Saturday night against Akron Garfield at the Akron Rubber Bowl.

Of course, the results of the Tiger explosion of power wasn’t pretty for Garfield fans, as their Rams lost this Division 1, Region 3 championship game 43‑7 in front of 13,637 fans.

The win raised Massillon’s record to 10‑2 and placed the Tigers in a state semifinal game next weekend. The site, date and opponent will be determined later today. Garfield, meanwhile, ended its season at 9‑2.

“I get the strong feeling these kids want to go all the way,” said Massillon head coach Lee Owens.

“They’re playing with extreme confidence right now. They’re getting better and better each week, which is what you need to do.”

Massillon’s confidence began to soar last week against Walsh Jesuit when the Tigers scored 36 unanswered points to erase a 24‑6 halftime deficit. Massillon’s confidence never wavered Saturday, not even when Rams’ quarterback Marcus Sims capped a 46‑yard seven‑play drive with a four‑yard TD run to put Garfield ahead by a touchdown with 6:58 left in the first quarter.

The Tigers calmly reeled off 29 points before the half was over. Ryan Sparkman scored on a one-yard run, and quarterback Lee Hurst threw TD passes of four yards to tight end Doug Harig and 50 yards to Rameir Martin, and even ran for an 11‑yard score.

Martin’s TD reception came one play after an interception when Hurst layed a beautifully thrown pass on Martin’s fingertips. Gary Miller added the PAT to make it 29‑7 with 2:31 to go in the half.

“The pass to Martin is probably what sealed it,” Owens said “That play just shows how” balanced our offense is.”

“Before that, we were able to score with our running back, our quarterback and our tight end.” Owens added. “You can’t concentrate on any one weapon when you play us.”

Harig will attest to that. After catching just 13 passes all season, he caught three for 68 yards Saturday, including a 20‑yard TD pass in the third that extended Massillon’s lead to 36‑7 and convinced Garfield head coach Bill McGee that, “This maybe wasn’t going to be our night,”

“We can do anything we want to do,” Harig said “You can’t shut down just one guy and expect to beat us.”

Massillon tacked on another TD when Lamonte Dixon scored from three yards out with 29 seconds left in the third.

The Tiger defense didn’t let up in the second half. It added another four takeaways, giving itself six for the game.

“This is the best we’ve played defensively as a team all year,” said Massillon defensive coordinator Dan Boarman. “You have to say everyone played well. The main thing is we needed to control the line of scrimmage, and that’s exactly what we did.”

Massillon’s defense also threw gasoline on Massillon’s red‑hot offense in the first half. Safety Keith Rabbitt set up Massillon’s third score with an interception at the Garfield 37, and linebacker Kevin McCue set up the fourth score by returning an interception 12 yards to the 50.

Rabbitt also set up the first score of the second half when he recovered a fumble at the Garfield 48. Other players to recover fumbles in the second half were Eric Wright, Chad Tharp and David Whitfield.

Massillon out gained Garfield in total offense, 327 yards to 181. Massillon led in rushing, 142‑79, with Sparkman picking up 70 yards on 10 carries.

Hurst again was efficient at throwing the football. He completed 10‑of‑ 14 passes to five different receivers for 175 yards and no interceptions.

Martin led all receivers with four catches for 77 yards. He also caught a two‑point conversion on pass.

Owens tried to sum up just how bad his team beat Garfield, but somehow he didn’t come as close as a sign that was held Up by one of the younger Massillon fans.

The sign read, “Massillon kicks …” Well, uh, you know the rest.

Akron Garfield 7 0 0 0 7
Massillon 6 23 14 0 43

Garf ‑ Sims 3 run (Williamson kick)
Mass ‑ Sparkman 1 run (kick failed) I ‑
Mass ‑ Harig 5 pass from Hurst (Martin pass from Hurst)
Mass ‑ Hurst 11 run (Miller kick)
Mass ‑ Martin 50 pass from Hurst ( Hurst run)
Mass ‑ Harig 20 pass from Hurst (Miller kick)
Mass ‑ Dixon 3 run (Miller kick)

Rameir Martin

1989: Massillon 42, Walsh Jesuit 24

Tigers on prowl for Garfield
Fire‑and‑brimstone talk spurs team’s comeback

Independent Sports Editor

Walsh Jesuit’s Warriors thought they had pulled the plug on the Mas­sillon Tigers’ 1989 season Saturday night.

They didn’t realize Paul Brown Tiger Stadium runs on reserve pow­er when it has to.

“Somehow, we were going to win this game,” Massillon linebacker Craig Turkalj said on the sidelines during the closing seconds of his team’s improbable 42‑24 Division I playoff victory.

Turkalj glanced to the west grandstand, where Massillon’s share of the crowd of 12,500 was in a frenzied commotion.

“The city,” Turkalj said, “de­serves this.”

City boss Frank Cicchinelli was as happy as the next guy who watched the Tigers fall behind 24‑6 at halftime before scoring the game’s next 36 points. The mayor said he pored over historical data supplied by Tiger stats man Rich Cunningham to see if there was ever a Tiger comeback from as many as 18 points down.

“I couldn’t find any,” he said.

Everybody had his own explana­tion for the rally that propelled the Tigers (9‑2) into a Division I quar­ter‑final matchup with Akron Gar­field (9‑1) at 7 p.m. Saturday which strangely enough will be played on Garfield’s home field the Rubber Bowl (the Tigers qualified for the playoffs by finishing first in Region 3; Garfield nabbed the fourth and final qualifying spot).

Equipment manager Keith Her­ring listened in on a halftime speech delivered by assistant coach Gary Wells. Wells unloaded his first fire-­and‑brimstone job since halftime of a regular‑season game against In­dianapolis North Central. In that one, the Tigers trailed 14‑7 at half­time before outscoring the Hoosier­land invaders 30‑0 in the second half.

“Basically, Gary told the guys, ‘You’ve got to live with this the rest of your lives. It’s up to you what you want to do with the rest of the game,” Herring said, “I know it got me off my stool.”

Jim Goff, who played guard on an offensive line helping pave the way for an astonishing 304 rushing yards in the second half, said the Tigers made no ‘X and O’ adjustments at halftime.

“It was just a matter of heart,” he said. “We didn’t want it to be our last game. We were scatterbrained the first half. We pulled it together. And the fans … they were great.”

Senior receiver Rameir Martin put the Tigers ahead to stay with a shake‑and‑bake 20‑yard touchdown pass from Lee Hurst that provided a 28‑24 lead with 11:16 left in the game.

Martin caught five passes for 62 yards and passed Marty Guzzetta as the Tigers’ all‑time single ­season receiving yards leader. Martin now has 718. Guzzetta amas­sed 706 in 1979.

“Execution was the main word,” he said. “We executed in the second half. We had to get our heads on straight.”

Another key was a career game by senior running back Lamonte Dixon, who rushed 10 times for 182 yards ‑ 18.2 yards per carry, which isn’t bad. Massillon put the game out of reach midway through the fourth quarter after Kevin McCue made a crucial interception at the 11 when Walsh was threatening to reverse a 28‑24 deficit. On the first play after the interception, Dixon was apparently caught for a short gain, but wriggled out of the pack and set sail down the right sideline for an 80‑yard gain to the 9. Hurst scored on a bootleg run on the next play.

“Some guys like it hot,” said Massillon assistant coach Nick Vrotsos. “Lamonte is a cold ­weather back.”

Offensive coordinator Tom Stacy and head coach Lee Owens both said they were reminded of their trip to the Division II state cham­pionship when they worked together at Galion in 1985.

“A big key was the fact we play two‑platoon football and they play a lot of guys both ways,” Stacy said.

“I’ve seen it happen time and again,” added Owens. “Teams get worn down in the playoffs. When you have guys playing both ways, the wear down factor is magnified.”

Walsh quarterback Vic Ferguson was both fresh and sharp in the first half. He completed 12 of 21 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns. He was seven of 16 in the second half for 75 yards.

“We played a little less man to man, but there were no major adjustments,” said defensive coor­dinator Dan Boatman, whose pla­toon held Walsh to 105 yards in the second half after the Warriors’ 280 yard first half. “We just played better.”

Head coach Jerry Rardin, who has had Walsh in the playoffs three times in the last five years, thought two turnovers were the keys.

“We would have been in good shape if we hadn’t fumbled on our first drive of the third quarter,” he said.

Top comeback in
Massillon history?

Steve Doerschuk
Independent Sports Editor

This game was special, but then, miracles usually are.

The halftime score Saturday night was Walsh Jesuit 24, Massillon 6.

There were a lot of sad puppies on the Massillon side of Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Several fans even headed for the parking lot.

For them, there was forgiveness ‑ they could watch the amazing story about to unfold later on a TV replay.

For those who stayed, there was a treat they will never forget.

First it was 24‑13. Hope.

Then 24‑21. Expectation.

Then 28‑24. Could it be?

Then 35‑24 … then 42‑24. Celebration.

And throw in astonishment and wild exhilaration for good measure.

And maybe one question: Where do we get tickets for the next playoff game?

In the course of football history, there have been greater comebacks. Even recently.

Two Saturdays ago Ohio State trailed Minnesota (whose uniforms look like Walsh Jesuit’s incidentally) 31‑0 before rallying to win.

Somehow, though, this Massillon comeback seemed even more spectacular. Maybe it was because Walsh looked so unbeatable in the first half when its quarterback, Vic Ferguson, was gunning laser beams for 200 yards.

Maybe it was because the Tigers hadn’t done very well all year against Catholic schools, losing twice and hanging on in overtime in another game.

Maybe it was because Tiger fans have had to swallow so much disappointment in recent years, and this just looked like more of the same.

Part of it, of course, was the fact it’s a slam‑bang affair under any circumstances when a team comes from three touchdowns behind to win.

Afterward, the question came tip: Where did this rank among the great Massillon comebacks.

The answer kept popping up the same ‑ No. 1.

Nick Vrotsos has coached in Massillon since 1958.

“I’ve never seen anything any better than this,” he said. “Of all the high school games I’ve ever seen, this is the greatest.”

Jim Letcavits was an All‑Ohio end at Massillon in 1953 who is in his 22nd year as a Tiger coach.

“This has to rank as the No. 1 comeback,” he said before heading off to the 25th year reunion of the Washington High graduating class of 1954.

Curtis Strawder, another assistant coach, caught some key passes from Brent Offenbecher in 1978, when the Tigers came from a 10‑0 deficit to beat McKinley 13‑10.

“That was a good one, but this one was better,” he said.

Gary Wells was a Massillon senior player in 1960. In his 17th year as a Tiger coach, he delivered a fiery speech others said helped fuel the turnaround.

“This is the greatest comeback there has ever been,” he said.

George Whitfield was in junior high when he watched two of the great Massillon comebacks.

“We trailed McKinley 16‑0 in 1964 and 14‑0 in 1965.” said Whitfield, who was a senior player at Massillon in 1968 and now is an assistant coach. “Both of those comebacks were special because both the Tigers and McKinley came into the game with 9‑0 records both years.

“This comeback was much bigger, though, because of how far we were down.”

One of the 1989 players, senior defensive tackle Scott Sirgo, was asked what was more special. Last week’s win over McKinley or Saturday’s comeback against Walsh.

“The McKinley game, definitely,” he said. “That game is more than 100 years old.”

Another teammate felt otherwise.

“The hoopla and hype with the McKinley game is great,” said defensive back Chad Buckland. “But in the game itself McKinley was behind the whole way. This was a greater win because we came from so far behind.”

Nobody in the orange and black camp disagreed on the bottom line.

It had appeared the season was dead, and it was quite a thing to come out alive and kicking in the race for a state championship.

Here is a drive‑by‑drive account of Saturday’s games:
Walsh ‑ Start on own 20 after opening kickoff. Drive 80 yards in 12 plays. Key play: Personal foul against Tigers turns third‑and‑nine into first down at midfield. Vic Ferguson scores from one yard out. Chuck Wanat kick good at 7:02 of first quarter.
Walsh 7, Tigers 0

Tigers ‑ Start on own 11 after kickoff. Drive to 32. Lose ball on Brian Bruggeman Interception.

Walsh ‑ Start on own 49. Drive to Tiger 3‑yard line in nine plays. Key play: 28‑yard Ferguson‑to‑Bruggeman pass on third‑and‑six. Wanat 20‑yard field goal good at 1:35 of first quarter.
Walsh 10, Tigers 0

Tigers ‑ Start on own 29. Three plays and punt.

Walsh ‑ Start on own 35. Three plays and punt. Don Blake returns punt 64 yards but fumbles on 8‑yard line. Walsh recovers and drives 92 yards in 12 plays. Key play: 35‑yard screen pass to Dave Rottinghaus. Ferguson throws 4‑yard TD pass to Tom Puletti. Wanat kick good at 6:34 of second quarter.
Walsh 17, Tigers 0
Tigers ‑ Blake returns kickoff 48 yards to Walsh 37. Hurst passes 14 yards to Lamonte Dixon, 9 yards to Desmond Carpenter. Hurst scores on 2‑yard bootleg run. P.A.T. kick wide at 4:30 of second quarter.
Walsh 17, Tigers 6
Walsh ‑ Start on own 27. Drive 73 yards In nine plays. Bruggeman wrestles for reception at Tiger 15 and turns Ferguson pass Into 49‑yard touchdown play. Wanat kick good at 1:21 of second quarter.
Walsh 24, Tigers 7
Tigers ‑ Start on own 29 after kickoff. Drive to 44 in six plays. Lose ball on interception as half ends.
Tigers ‑ Start on own 39 after second‑half kickoff. Lose ball on interception on second play.

Walsh ‑ Start on own 46. Lose ball on Joe Pierce interception on second play.

Tigers ‑ Start on own 29. Gain 35 yards on first‑down carry by Sparkman, followed by runs of 15 by Falando Ashcraft and 11 by Dixon. Dixon scores on 1‑yard run. Gary Miller kick good at 9:18 of third quarter.

Rameir Martin

1989: Massillon 24, Canton McKinley 7

Massillon shuts down McKinley 24‑7

Repository sports writer

Most of the pre game know‑it‑alls had Saturday’s 95th McKinley‑Massillon high school football game figured out before the 21,000 fans filed into Fawcett Stadium.

They said McKinley’s ground game was too quick for Massillon’s defense. They also said Massillon’s offense was good, but not good enough to outplay McKinley’s quick defenders.

Boy, were they wrong.

Final score: Massillon 24, McKinley 7.

Program Cover

The victory gives Massillon an 8‑2 record, a 52‑38‑5 advantage in the McKinley‑Massillon series and a berth in the state playoffs for the first time since 1982. Massillon held its top spot in Region 3, while McKinley (7‑3) fell from the fourth and final playoff spot.

The Tigers, by virtue of their top spot in Region 3, most likely will host either Akron Garfield or Walsh Jesuit in Saturday’s opening round of the Division I playoffs. The final computer standings and the opening round pairings will be released by the Ohio High School Athletic Association tonight.

Massillon proved the know‑it‑alls wrong by doing what few thought they could. The Tigers held the Bulldogs to 45 yards rushing and 179 total yards.

The McKinley running game, which has featured 13 backs this season, was field to a 2.3‑yards‑per‑carry average on 20 carries and four first downs. The Bulldogs’ leading ground‑gainer on the season, Darnell Clark, had nine yards on 10 carries.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1989

“This is the best defense we’ve played all season, especially against the run,” said Massillon defensive coordinator Dan Boarman. ‘We didn’t do anything difference as far as design. We just played a lot harder and were able to shut down their running game.”

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Massillon led 14‑0 before McKinley’s offense was brought onto the field.

After kick returner Donnie Blake returned the opening kickoff 39 yards to the McKinley 47, the Tigers drove the rest of the way on seven plays and scored on a six‑yard run by Ryan Sparkman. Gary Miller added the first of three extra‑point kicks to give Massillon a 7‑0 lead with 9:39 left in the first quarter.

Game action vs. Canton McKinley 1989

McKinley’s offense had to stay on the sideline when kick returner Kirk Moore fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Massillon’s David Whitfield recovered at the McKinley 18. The turnover was the first of four for McKinley.

Six plays later, Sparkman followed tackles Torn Menches and Ray Kovacsiss over the right side of the line for a two‑yard TD to put Massillon two TDs ahead with 7:20 left in tire first quarter.

When McKinley finally got the ball, the Bulldogs seemed to abandon the run, calling four straight pass plays and six in their first seven snaps.

“I think our offense took a lot of heat off our defense by scoring those two quick touchdowns,” Boarman said. “I think maybe we changed their game plan somewhat.”

McKinley head coach Thom McDaniels insisted the Bulldogs didn’t stray from their original game plan.

“We planned to come out and throw like we did,” McDaniels said. “(The touchdowns) did not change that. The situation was not out of hand at that point, by any means.”

McKinley climbed back into the game following a 29‑yard punt to the Massillon 49. The Bulldogs, with the help of a pass interference call on third‑and‑10 that put the ball on the Massillon 32, scored with 1:30 left in the quarter.

Three plays after the interference, junior quarterback Ryan Henry (9‑of‑23, 134 yards) fooled the entire Massillon defense into thinking he was going to run after scrambling away from Mike Martin’s rush. Instead, Henry threw a 32‑yard TD pass to Ron Szerokman who was wide open in the end zone.

Massillon, however, put McKinley in a huge hole when quarterback Lee Hurst lofted a perfectly thrown 12‑yard TD pass to senior Rameir Martin with four seconds left in the half. Martin used every inch of his 6‑4 frame as he leaped between two defenders, bobbled the ball and tucked it away before falling just inbounds.

“That probably was the play of the game,” said Massillon head coach Lee Owens. “Rameir is such a talented kid. And Lee is a gutsy kid for tossing the ball in there like he did.”

Hurst became Massillon’s record‑holder in single‑season pass completions and passing yards with a first half that saw him complete 12‑of‑20 passes for 166 yards. With his final statistics reading 12‑of‑ 22 for 166 yards, Hurst finished the regular season with 111 completions in 208 attempts for 1,485 yards and 10 TDs.

Martin caught all nine of his passes in the first half for 110 yards.

With the lead in hand, Massillon turned the ball over to senior running backs Ryan Sparkman and. Lamonte Dixon. The two combined for 117 yards rushing in the second half, and set up a 27‑yard field goal by Miller late in the third quarter.

Sparkman ended with a game high 105 yards on 25 carries.

Overall, Massillon rolled up 335 total yards and 20 first downs. The Tigers’ offense also didn’t turn the ball over.

“It was a case of its playing good defense and errorless football in the first half, and then wearing out McKinley in the second half,” Owens said. “I think it’s safe to say we pretty much controlled the game the entire way.”

Which is something the know‑it‑alls never would have guessed.
Massillon offensive line coach Nick Vrotsos was coaching in his 33rd McKinley‑Massillon game, not his 31st as was reported Thursday.

Overlooked were the 14‑6 victory over McKinley in the 1980 playoffs and the Tigers’ first victory over McKinley in 1963 (the teams played twice that year because McKinley was suspended from play in 1962). Vrotsos is 22‑11 vs. McKinley.

Massillon 14 7 3 0 24
McKinley 7 0 0 0 7

Mass ‑ Sparkman 6 run (G Miller kick)
Mass ‑ Sparkman 2 run (G. Miller kick)
McK ‑ Szerokman 32 as, iron, Her,, (Woj kick)
Mass ‑ Martin 12 pass from Hurst (G. Miller kick)
Mass ‑ FG G. Miller 27

Att – 21.000

Mass Mck
Furs, downs 20 11
Rushes – yards 50-169 20-45
Passing 166 134
Return Yards 35 0
Comp‑Att‑Int 12-23‑0 9-23‑2
Punts 5‑31 6‑37
Fumbles‑Lost 1‑0 3‑2
Penalties‑Yards 3‑31 3‑22
Time of Possession 30:29 17:31

Massilltm: Sparkman 25‑105, Dixon 13‑50, Ashcraft 5‑23 Hurst 7‑(‑9);
McKinley: Irvin 4‑25, Henry 4‑10, Clark 10‑9, Richards 2‑1.

Massillon: Hurst 12‑22‑0 166, Manion 0-1‑0 0;
McKinley: Henry 9-23-2 134.

Massillon: Martin 9‑110, Harig 1‑32, Manion 1‑16, Dixon 1-8.
McKinley: Moore 4‑52, Gardner 2‑30, Szerokman 1-32, Katusin 1‑15, Irvin 1-5.

‘Dogs down;
Tigers stalk Walsh
Owens: Massillon’s back, you can’t keep us down

Independent Sports Editor

It’s a something old, something new, something borrowed kind of Monday for the Massillon Tigers.

* The old (even ancient) ‑ The Tigers beat up the McKinley Bulldogs 24‑7 Saturday at Fawcett Stadium to take a 52‑38‑5 lead in a series that started six years before the Canton school’s namesake became a U.S. president in 1900.

* The new ‑ Massillon and Walsh Jesuit have never played each other. They will collide at 7 p.m. Saturday in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in a first‑round Division I playoff game.

* The borrowed ‑ Sonny Spielman, whose son Chris was a junior the last time the Tigers made the playoffs, in 1982, declared, “The title will ride on Tiger pride.” Didn’t somebody say that somewhere along the line?

It all adds up to this: Sun’s up in Tigertown after a second straight victory over the Dastardly ‘Dogs.

What’s it all mean?

“The focus,” said 33‑year‑old Massillon head coach Lee Owens, who is 2‑0 against McKinley and 15-5 as the top Tiger, “is Massillon.

“I was proud of our school. I was proud of our city. I was proud of our players. I was proud of our coaches.

“Massillon is back. You can’t keep us down. The first year we were eligible to be back in the playoffs, we made it back.

“We aren’t satisfied with just being back in the playoffs, either. As hard as it is to get emotionally up for another game after beating McKinley, we will find a way to do that. We will find a way to establish the consistency needed to advance in the playoffs.”

Who’s going to argue with the man?

His team founds way to dominate potent Austintown‑Fitch a week after losing 41‑7 to Cincinnati Moeller (which, incidentally, will take on unbeaten Cincinnati Elder in another Saturday playoff battle). It found a way to dominate favored – just ask 90 percent of the out‑of‑town media – McKinley a week after a stunning defeat to Cleveland St. Joseph.

Saturday’s game, played on an August‑meets‑October afternoon with temperatures in the 70s, came at the end of a hair‑raising week.

Lose and the Tigers’ season would end bitterly. Win and they would make the playoffs.

The Tigers struck early and let their thousands of followers let their hair bang down.

Massillon led 14‑0 with less than five minutes gone in the game. They stormed into the fourth quarter on top by the 24‑7 final score.

Midway through the fourth quarter, with half the Massillon crowd chanting “T‑I‑G” and the other half roaring back “E‑R‑S,” red rivers of Bulldog boosters streamed toward the exits.

Massillon got it done with a complete package: offense, defense, special teams and crowd support.

The offense scored on the game’s first series and amassed 335 yards against a ballyhooed defense.

The defense was both lucky (McKinley dropped several passes) and good, making numerous crunching hits and keeping the Bulldogs from getting outside. McKinley finished with just 179 total yards.

The special teams got along kick return from Donnie Blake to start the game and a big fumble recovery by David Whitfield minutes later.

The coaching staff came up with an offensive blocking scheme that took McKinley by surprise.

The crowd was large enough and loud enough to negate McKinley’s home‑field advantage ‑ an estimated 8,000 of the crowd of 20,000 ‑ official figure remained unavailable this morning ‑ rooted for the Tigers.

The offense used an unbalanced line in which the two biggest Tigers, Tom Menches and Ray Kovacsiss, lined up side by side.

”We recognized it as coaches,” said McKinley mentor Thom McDaniels. “But coaches recognizing it and adjusting to it and players doing so can be two different things.

They hadn’t done that in anything we’d seen in scouting them.”

Owens said his staff agreed the unbalanced look would throw McKinley’s angle defense off stride.

“We’ve used it during the season in goal‑line situations, but not all over the field as we did today,” he said.

Added Tiger tackle Tom Menches, “I think we had McKinley fooled.”

Senior running back Ryan Sparkman benefited from the well executed plan. He scored two touchdowns and rushed 25 times for 105 yards.

Quarterback Lee Hurst and split end Rameir Martin also had particularly outstanding games.

Hurst completed 12 of 22 passes for 166 yards. Martin caught six passes for 110 yards, including a leaping 12-yard touchdown catch with four seconds left in the first half in which he outwrestled three McKinley defenders for position and landed on his back clutching the ball.

The hard‑hitting contest left the physical status of a few Tigers in doubt heading into the Walsh Jesuit game.

Senior lineman Tom Menches suffered a badly sprained left ankle during a third‑quarter drive in which the Tigers scored the only points of the second half on a field goal.

Senior defensive back Eddie Williams suffered a knee injury in the first half. Stacy said the injury probably won’t require immediate surgery but that Williams won’t play Saturday.

Sparkman aggravated a hamstring injury that has cost him playing time this season but he probably will play Saturday, Stacy said.

Defensive lineman Mark McGeorge, bothered by nagging injuries late in the year, had to be helped off the field during the McKinley game. His status is uncertain.


Me Mc
First downs rushing 3 2
First downs passing 7 2
First downs penalty 1 1
Total first down 11 5
Net Yards rushing 39 30
Net Yards Passing 166 52
Total net Yards 205 82
Passes attempted 21 12
Passes completed 12 3
Passes intercepted 0 0
Fumbles/lost 0‑0 1‑1
Punts 3 4
Punting average 30.7 36.3
Penalties 3 3
Yards penalized 31 22

First downs rushing 12 4
First downs passing 7 6
First downs penalty 1 1
Total first 20 11
Net Yards rushing 169 45
Net Yards passing 166 134
Total net yards 335 179
Passes attempted 23 23
Passes completed 72 9
Passes intercepted 0 2
Fumbles/lost 1‑0 3‑2
Punts 5 6
Punting average 31.0 36.7
Penalties 3 3
Yards penalized 31 22

Individual Statistics
(Mas) Sparkman 25‑1 5, Dixon 13‑ 50, Ashcraft 5‑23, Hurst 7‑minus 9.
(McK) Clark rMj19, Irvin 4‑25, Henry 4‑10, Richards 2‑1.

(Mas) Hurst 12‑22‑0 166, Manion 0‑1‑0 0. 1.
(McK) Henry 9‑23‑2 134.

(Mas) Martin 9‑110, Harig 1.32, Manion 1‑ 6, Dixon 1‑8.
(McK) Moore are 4‑52, Gardner 2‑3 Szerokman 1‑32, Katusin 1‑15, Irvin 1‑5.

Kickoff returns ‑ (Mas) Blake 1‑40, Dixon 1‑13.
(McK) ‑ Moore 2‑47, Clark 2‑18.

Punt returns ‑ (Mas) Manion 3‑8, Blake 2‑13.
(McK) ‑ Codispoti 1.0.

Massillon 14 7 3 0 24
McKinley 7 0 0 0 7

Ma ‑ Sparkman 6 run. Miller kick
Ma ‑ Sparkman 2 run. Miller kick
Mc ‑ Szerokman 32 pass from Henry. Wojcik kick
Ma ‑ Martin 12 pass from Hurst. Miller kick
Ma ‑ Miller 27 field goal.

Here is a drive‑by‑drive account of Saturday’s Massillon-McKinley game, won 24‑7 by the Tigers.
MAS ‑ Donnie Blake returns opening kickoff 37 yards to McKinley 47 Ryan Sparkman scores on 7‑yard run on seventh play, Key play: 16‑yard Lee Hurst to Troy Manion completion to 32 on first down. Gary Miller’s P.A.T. kick good at 9:39 of first quarter.
Tigers 7, McKinley
McK ‑ Kirk Moore fumbles during kickoff return. David Whitfield, recovers for Massillon.
MAS ‑ Start on McKinley 18. Score in six plays on 2‑yard run by Sparkman. Key play: 7‑yard Hurst to Rameir Martin pass to 11 on first down. Miller P.A.T. kick good at 7:20 of first quarter.
Tigers 14, McKinley 0
McK ‑ Start on own 20 after touchback. Drive to Tiger 49. Punt.
MAS ‑ Start on own 16. Three plays. Punt.
McK ‑ Start on Tiger 49. Score on third play, a 32‑yard pass from Ryan Henry to Ron Szerokman. Wojcik kick good at 1:38 of first quarter.
Tigers 14, McKinley 7
MAS ‑ Start on own 23 after kickoff. Drive nine plays to 20 Hurst’s 38‑yard field goal attempt wide right at 9:42 of second quarter. Key play: 36‑yard Hurst to Martin sideline pass.
McK ‑ Start on own 20. Four plays to 37. Punt.
MAS ‑ Start on own 11. Six plays to own 48, including 30‑yard sideline pass to Doug Harig. Punt.
Mck ‑Start on own 25 with 3:13 left in first half. Three plays. Punt.,
MAS ‑ Start on own 36 with 2:00 left in half. Drive 64 yards in 10 plays for TD, 12‑yard pass from Hurst to Martin in left corner of end zone. Key plays: 9‑yard run to 45 by Sparkman on first down; 8‑yard reception by Martin followed by late hit penalty to 12. Miller’s P.A.T. kick good at 0:04 of first half.
First half expires on ensuing kickoff return.
Tigers 21, McKinley 7
McK ‑ Start on own 6 after bobble of kickoff return. Three plays. Punt.
MAS ‑ Start on McKinley 40. Six plays to 12. Hurst’s 38‑yard field goal attempt wide right at 6:36 of third quarter.
McK ‑ Start on own 20, Three plays. Punt.
MAS ‑ Start on own 47. Seven plays to 8‑yard line. 27‑yard field goal by Miller good at 1:27 of third quarter.
Tigers 24, McKinley 7

McK ‑ Start on own 45 after kickoff return. Seven plays to Tiger 3. Keith Rabbitt rips ball away from Bulldog pass receiver Dorey Irven
MAS ‑ Start on own 3. Seven plays to 43. Punt.
McK‑ Start on own 25 with 5:53 left in game. Drive inside Massillon territory but lose ball on interception by Chad Buckland that virtually ends game.

Rameir Martin

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1989: Massillon 7, Cleveland St. Joseph 14

Wind, snow, St. Joe add up to Tiger woe
Massillon looking ahead in 14‑7 loss?

Independent Sports Editor

Bill Gutbrod was in pigskin paradise.

Lee Owens was in parochial pain.

So it went for the opposing head coaches in the wake of Cleveland St. Joseph’s 14‑7 high school football victory over the Massillon Tigers in a wind‑driven snow Friday night in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Program Cover

“There was one thing I wanted to do before I retire, and that was to win a game down here,” said Gotbrod, 64, St. Joseph’s head coach since the school opened in 1950.

“It’s so hard to win in Massillon,” added Gutbrod, whose team beat the Tigers in a 1987 mud bath at Euclid but dropped the only four other games in the series. “They do all these things to pysche you out.”

As for that parochial pain, Owens’ team is 6‑0 against public schools and 1‑2 against private ones this year.

Even the win was murder, an overtime sweat job against Akron St. Vincent‑St. Mary.

Overtime was a possibility again Friday when the Tigers tied St. Joseph at 7‑all on a convincing drive ending early in the fourth quarter.

The Vikings seized back the momentum, however, and swallowed seven minutes on an 80‑yard drive ending on Sam Woodfolk’s 6‑yard yard touchdown run with 53 seconds left.

Afterward, Owens looked like a man whose million‑dollar lottery ticket had blown away with the snow.

“I could see it in practice. I could see it in team meetings. We just couldn’t get the full attention of the players for this game, and I have to take responsibility for that,” said Owens.

Misdirected focus on next Saturday’s McKinley game was “the problem,” Owens said.

The Bulldogs also had their equilibrium jarred, losing to Youngstown Cardinal Mooney at Fawcett Stadium.

“It’s still going to be a classic matchup between two great teams,” Owens said, “but I was hoping we’d both win. The great teams win the big games and we didn’t win a big one tonight.”

All is hardly lost. The Tigers still figure to be in first place in Region 3 of the Division I playoff standings, with about 125.3 points. A win over McKinley would guarantee a playoff spot.

A loss, however, would put Massillon in a mad scramble among six contenders for four berths. The other contenders: Jackson, McKinley Akron Garfield (a 14‑0 conqueror of Buchtel Friday), Grove City and Walsh Jesuit.

The week 10 schedule: Massillon vs. McKinley, Jackson vs. Hoover, Walsh Jesuit vs. St. Vincent‑St. Mary, Garfield vs. Ellet, and Grove City vs. Westerville South.

A win over St. Joseph would have clinched a playoff spot.

Two turning points kept it from happening.

The first was early in the game. The Tigers seemed bent on making a statement, driving 46 yards to the St. Joseph 12‑yard line on second and five.
The drive stalled. The Vikings regrouped to lead 102‑92 in first‑half yardage. The halftime score was 0-0.
Turning point No. 2 came after the Tigers tied the game at 7.

A St. Joseph scoring drive that produced a 7‑0 lead in the third quarter clearly aroused the Tigers, who converted a third‑and‑16 screen pass to the 31 then rip‑roared 69 yards on the ground for the game‑tying score.

The Tiger defense held St. Joseph to three plays and a punt. But the offense couldn’t keep its edge and in turn had to punt. When Chris Roth’s punt bounced inside the 5 and Joe Pierce couldn’t quite trap the ball at the 1, the Vikings got the ball on the 20 on a touchback and launched their winning drive.

Viking quarterback Tony Miller kept the Tigers mindful of the outside option game and had the volume level where he liked it.

“We had the crowd out of the game, which is something we wanted to do in this big stadium,” the 5‑11 junior said.

St. Joseph fullback Steve Clark hammered away on the inside.

“Our big boys started clicking,” Clark, a 5‑7, 200‑pound senior wound up with 118 rushing yards.

The Tigers still had a chance to send the game to overtime when St. Joseph had the ball at the 23 with two minutes left. The Vikings lack a strong kicking game and a field goal into a nasty wind would have been unlikely from there or even 10 yards closer. But on first down Clark rumbled 14 yards to the 9. It was getting away.

On second‑and‑goal from the 6, Miller took off on an option run around left end. He was met at the 5 but at the last split second flicked a crazy pitch to halfback Sam Woodfolk, who caught it cleanly at the 6 and dashed into the corner of the end zone.

It was 14‑7 with 53 seconds left.

The Tigers made a last‑ditch drive. A pass from Lee Hurst to Rameir Martin would have given them a first down at the St. Joseph 30 with time for one more play but the ace receiver lost the football as he was hit, and St. Joseph recovered to end any Tiger hopes.

This isn’t how the Tigers wanted to go into the McKinley game but then, the Bulldogs are in the same boat.

“We’re set back now”, Owens said. “We feel some real anger in our meeting after the game. I was glad to see that our players snapped out of it right away. There’s only one thing to do … put this behind us.

St. Joseph, 6‑2, used the victory to clinch a Division II playoff berth.

Gutbrod called it “one of the top three” of his 259 coaching victories at St. Joseph.

Clark had it at No. 1.

“This means everything,” he said.

It’s different for the Tigers. The pain of this loss will fade if they connect on their “everything” one week from today.

A drive‑by‑drive summary of Friday’s game:

JOE ‑ Start with opening kickoff on own 25 after 90‑yard TD return by Brian Brown is called back by clipping penalty. Drive nine plays to Tiger 40. Stall on downs on fourth down hit by Craig Turkalj.

MAS ‑ Start on own 40. Drive 12 plays to 12. Miss 34‑yard field goal.

JOE ‑ Start on own 20. Drive six plays to 40. Punt.

MAS ‑ Take over on Viking 35 on punt of minus‑five yards. Lose ball on fumble on second play.

JOE ‑ Start on own 32. Lose yardage to 21. Punt.

MAS ‑ Start on own 49. Three plays and punt.

JOE ‑ Start on own 24. Eight plays and clipping penalty to Tiger 30. Lose ball on Keith Rabbitt interception one play after St. Joe receiver drops would‑be TD pass near goal line.

MAS ‑ Start on own 25. Three plays and punt.

JOE ‑ Start at midfield Six plays, Miss 37‑yard field goal attempt with 51 seconds left in first half.

Halftime score:
Tigers 0, St. Joe 0

MAS ‑ Start on own 12 after successful St. Joe squib kickoff. Three plays and punt.

JOE ‑ Start on own 43. Three plays and punt.

MAS ‑ Start on own 15. Lose yardage to 13 and punt.

JOE ‑ Start on Tiger 35 after nearly blocking Chris Roth’s punt. Clark carries seven times for 32 yards and goes over from 1 on fourth down. Chris Stevers kick good at 3:22 of third quarter.

St. Joe 7, Tigers 0

MAS Start on own 18 after another squib kick. Drive 82 yards for TD, 6‑yard run by Ryan Sparkman. Key plays: 16‑yard Hurst‑to‑Manion screen pass, 22‑yard Lamonte Dixon run, Sparkman rushes of 13 and 14 yards. Gary Miller kick good at 11:56 of fourth quarter.

Tigers 7, St. Joe 7

JOE ‑ Start on own 20 after kickoff and touchback. Three plays and punt.

MAS ‑ Start at midfield. Three plays and punt.

JOE ‑ Start at own 20 on touchback. Drive 80 yards in 16 plays, Woodfolk scores on six‑yard run. Key plays: 13‑yard completion (only one of game for Vikings) on second and 12, followed by 13‑yard Clark run to Massillon 46. Stevers kick good at 0:52 of fourth quarter.

St. Joe 14, Tigers 7

MASS ‑ Start on own 32 after kickoff. Drive to 30 with 10 seconds left, lose ball on fumble with seconds left.

St. JOSEPH 14­

First downs rushing 8 13
First downs passing 3 1
First downs by penalty 1 1
Totals first downs 12 15
Yards gained rushing 159 225
Yards lost rushing 10 10
Net yards rushing 149 215
Net yards passing 71 13
Total yards gained 220 228
Passes attempted 18 4
Passes completed 7 1
Passes int. by 1 1
Times kicked off 2 3
Kickoff average 55.5 43.1
Kickoff return yards 13 31
Punts 5 4
Punting average 30.0 24.8
Punt return yards 4 0
Fumbles 2 1
Fumbles lost 2 0
Penalties 6 6
Yards penalized 40 49
Number of plays 50 63
Time of possession 17:12 30:48
Attendance 9,000 (est.)

Individual statistics
(Mas) Dixon 11‑59, Ashcraft 8‑33 Dixon 7‑42, Hurst 5‑15.
(Joe) Clark 27‑118, Miller 17‑48, Woodfolk 8‑23, Bardner 5‑21, Splete 1‑5.

(Mas) Hurst 7‑18‑1 71.
(Joe) Miller 1‑4‑1 13.

(Mas) Martin 3‑41, Manion 3‑13 Sparkman 1‑17.
(Joe) Stevers 1‑13.

St. Joseph 0 0 7 7 14
Massillon 0 0 0 7 7

SJ ‑ Clark 1 run (Stevers kick)
M ‑ Sparkman 6 run (Miller kick)
SJ ‑ Woodfolk 6 run (Stevers kick)

Rameir Martin
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1989: Massillon 54, Warren Harding 2

The final chapter: ‘a massacre’
Everything works as Tigers pound shell-shocked Warren 54‑2

Independent Sports Editor

In this, the 50th anniversary of The House that Brown Built, there has been occasion to reflect on many wondrous moments.

One occurred 30 years ago, 17 years before Paul Brown’s name was added to Tiger Stadium.

What, pray tell, did the Tigers’ 90‑0 victory over Barberton the eighth week of the season look like?

Program Cover

Those too young to remember received some clues Friday night in the eighth week of the 1989 campaign ‑ in graphic display via a 54‑2 victory against shellshocked Warren Harding before 9,125 onlookers.

Had the Tigers been bent on making it 90‑0 (some wondered if they might be in light of a bitter 1988 loss at Warren) they probably could have done it.

As it was, Massillon’s first unit scored the first five times it had the ball. The No. 2 offense scored on its first three possessions. Alas, the No. 3 offense, unlike the third string that beat the bejabbers out of Barberton back when, could not score.

But who’s going to get picky about winning by 52 points in a game that may have clinched a playoff berth?

How bad was it?

In the words of one Warren writer, “It was the Massillon Massacre on Friday the 13th, the final chapter.”

This was, in part, reference to the end of the 68‑year‑old football series between the schools.

Tiger coach Lee Owens called a halt to it after he thought his team was ripped off by officials in a 25‑22 loss at Warren last year. This year’s game was played to honor a previously signed contract.

A decision to consolidate Harding and Western Reserve into one Warren high school next year was made after Owens’ pronouncement.

Any way you slice it, it’s over between Washington and Harding.

Any hard feelings?

Harding head coach Frank Thomas who spent five years in Tigertown as a varsity assistant, gave Owens the brush after Friday ‘s game.

The coach concedes, however, that it will probably take only 120 points to make the playoffs, and that his team is a cinch to surpass that barrier even if it loses to St. Joseph and the following week against McKinley.

The Tigers aren’t looking like or talking like a team that will lose.

“We put it together on offense and defense,” said Hurst, who completed nine of 11 passes for 184 yards and four touchdowns. “We clicked.”

“We’ve come a long way since we lost to Moeller,” said senior linebacker Joe Pierce, who helped the Tigers limit Harding to 8 first‑half yards while the Massillon offense was amassing 308.

“We prepared for their defense as if it was stronger than it really was,” added Rameir Martin, who caught four passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns. “We just took what was there and did what we had to do.”

“They were clogging up the middle and it was pretty easy to get outside,” said sophomore running back Falando Ashcraft, who rushed 13 times for 90 yards while pinchhitting for season team rushing leader Ryan Sparkman. Sparkman was resting a hamstring injury and is expected to play against St. Joseph.

Speaking of injuries, the Tigers didn’t pull one key man in the late going and it cost them. Kick returner Donnie Blake whose 94‑yard return of the third‑quarter kickoff turned around last week’s Indianapolis North Central game, was injured while bringing back a punt in the fourth quarter.

It is feared Blake suffered a leg fracture when he was tackled near the Tiger bench. X‑rays were to have been taken this morning.

“Most of the first‑string players were out at that point because an injury is exactly what you don’t want to happen,” Owens said. “It was a freak thing with Donnie. The Warren player made a real late hit and kind of rolled up his leg. We’re not sure what Donnie’s injury is. It may just be a muscle between his knee and ankle. It may be something more than that.”

Pressed to explain what was said when they crossed paths amid the postgame interteam mingle, Owens said:

“I went to shake Frank’s hand, and he said, ‘No, I don’t want to shake your hand.’ I didn’t realize he felt that way.”

Was Thomas upset because the Tigers “ran up the score?” He shouldn’t have been. The final series of the first half was directed by backup Massillon quarterback Barry Shertzer. Massillon’s firststring offense and first‑string defense each played one series in the third quarter, then called it a night.

Owens said he received word from a messenger that “a Warren athletic official” was upset that the Tigers continued to pass in the second half. The Tigers tried 11 passes in the first half, after which they led 41‑0, and threw seven more in the second half.

“I developed a reputation in some corners in past years for running up some scores,” said Owens. “With our offense, it’s hard to just stop throwing the football. Our intention tonight was certainly not to run up the score. We could have scored a lot more points if that’s what we’d wanted to do.”

Thomas steered clear of controversy.

“Just say they’re a good football team and I wish them luck … congratulations. That’s about all I have to say,” he said as he walked off the field.

The Tigers emerged with a 7‑1 record and their fourth straight victory. The victory, coupled with wins by previously conquered opponents GlenOak, Fitch, St. Vincent‑St. Mary and Indianapolis North Central, left them with approximately 115 computer points, good for the lead in Region 3 of Division I.

“The way we’ll sell next week’s game against Cleveland St. Joseph is that we need it to wrap up a playoff spot,” Owens said.

Also hurting after the game was Tiger defensive starter Mark McGeorge.

Meanwhile, the Tigers not only dominated the game. They practically dominated every play.

Everything seemed to go right. An example was a spectacular 33‑yard TD catch by Desmond Carpenter on a pass from Shertzer eight seconds before halftime.

One of the few things that didn’t go right was a diving try for a 21‑yard yard TD catch by Martin in the third quarter. Martin, who accumulated all of his yardage in the first half, would have broke Curtis Strawder’s single‑game record for receiving yardage by one yard with a catch.

Here’s the blow‑by‑blow description of each possession:

WH ‑ Start on own 24 with opening kick. Three plays, punt.

MAS ‑ Start on own 31, drive 69 yards in four play, including 20 pass to Martin and 36‑yard TD run by Lamonte Dixon on sprint counter draw. P.A.T. kick wide right at 7:54 of first quarter.

Massillon 6, Harding 0

WH ‑ Start on own 12, punt from own 23.

MAS ‑ Start on Harding 46, score on first play on deep pass from Hurst to Martin. Hurst to Doug Harig conversion pass good at 4:22 of first quarter.

Massillon 14, Harding 0

WH ‑ Start on own 23, three plays and punt.

MAS ‑ Start on Harding 48, score in seven plays, including 16‑yard Kevin McCue to Pierce pass on fake punt. Hurst hits Harig for 11‑yard TD. Miller kick good at 1:30 of first quarter.

Tigers 21, Harding 0

WH ‑ Start on own 20. Pierce intercepts Chauncey Coleman pass on first play.

MAS ‑ Start on Harding 32. Score on third play, 26‑yard Hurst‑to‑Martin pass. Kick wide at 10:03 of second quarter.
Tigers 27, Harding 0

WH ‑ Start on own 20. Three plays and punt.

MAS ‑ Start on own 38. Drive 62 yards in six plays for TD, 11‑yard run by Ashcraft. March includes 21‑yard catches by Troy Manion and Martin. Miller kick good at 5:31 of second quarter.

Massillon 34, Harding 0

WH ‑ Start on own 17. Punt from own 16.

MAS ‑ Start on Harding 46. Drive for TD in five plays, capped by 33‑yard Shertzer to Ashcraft play. Ryan John kick good at 0:08 of first half.

Massillon 41, Harding 0

MAS ‑ Start on own 27 with third‑quarter kickoff. Drive 73 yards for TD in 10 plays, capped by 21‑yard Hurst‑to‑Harig TD. Kick wide at 7:40 of third quarter.

Massillon 47, Harding 0

WH ‑ Start on own 20. Mike Martin sack causes fumble recovered by Craig Turkalj

MAS ‑ Start on Harding 12, Ashcraft scores on first play. Miller kick good at 5:46 of third quarter.

Massillon 54, Harding 0

WH ‑ Start on own 27. Three plays and punt.

MAS ‑ Start on own 43. Lose yardage on penalties to 19. Ball snapped over punter’s head and recovered by punter in end zone at 0:28 of third quarter to conclude scoring.

Massillon 54, Harding 2


First downs rushing 7 4
First downs passing 11 0
First downs by penalty 2 0
Totals first downs 20 4
Yards gained rushing 194 74
Yards lost rushing 27 44
Net yards rushing 167 30
Net yards passing 268 0
Total yards gained 435 30
Passes attempted 18 5
Passes completed 14 0
Passes int. by 0 1
Times kicked off 9 1
Kickoff average 56.3 35.0
Kickoff return yards 0 113
Punts 1 8
Punting average 25.0 39.3
Punt return yards 52 0
Fumbles 0 2
Fumbles lost 0 1
Penalties 5 2
Yards penalized 50 10
Number of plays 53 41
Time of possession 23:10 24:50
Attendance 9,125

Individual statistics

(Mas) Ashcraft 13‑90, Dixon 8­-66, Slicker 8‑15, Shertzer 2‑11, Shell 2‑5, Wofford 1‑1.
(WH) Sparks 13‑14, Threats 6‑7, Sweetman 2‑(minus)3, Jordan 2‑8, Bagby 4‑20.

(MAS) Hurst 9‑11‑0 184, McCue 1‑1 ‑0 16, Shertzer 4‑6‑0 67.
(WH) Coleman 0‑5-1 0.

(Mas) Martin 4‑113, Carpenter 2‑40, Pierce 1‑16, Harig 2‑32, Manion 2‑32, Slicker 1‑8, Brown 1‑31.

Harding 0 0 2 0 2
Massillon 14 27 13 0 54

M ‑ Dixon 36 run (kick failed)
M ‑ Martin 46 pass from Hurst (Harig pass from Hurst)
M ‑ Harig 11 pass from Hurst (Miller kick)
M ‑ Martin 26 pass from Hurst (kick failed)
M ‑ Ashcraft 11 run (Miller kick)
M ‑ Carpenter 33 pass from Shertzer (John kick)
M ‑ Harig 21 pass from Hurst (run failed),
M ‑ Ashcraft 12 run (Miller kick)
WH – Safety

Rameir Martin
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1989: Massillon 37, Indianapolis North Central, IN 14

Tigers rack up points
Beating Indiana team enhances playoff chances

Independent Sports Editor

Coach George Pappas went back to Indiana with stars in his eyes.

His countenance was downright peaceful Saturday night despite his Indianapolis North Central team’s 37-14 loss to the Massillon Tigers.

Most of the 9,179 spectators had cleared the dust bowl/parking lot outside Paul Brown Tiger Stadium when Pappas swung by the Massillon locker room to thank – yes, thank – Tiger head coach Lee Owens.

“You have something great here,” said Pappas, who started at guard for the Purdue Boilermakers in 1964. “We’d love to come back. We’ll come back any time. Call me.”

Program Cover

Pappas told Owens of the great football that was played back when he was a schoolboy in the Chicago area.

“This was like the old days,” he said. “It took me back.”

The victory put some Tiger fans in mind of the old days, for that matter.

At 6-1, the Tigers moved closer to their first regular-season finish of 8-2 or better since 1983, when the team went 9-1.

It also put them in a spot where they can probably clinch their first playoff berth since 1982 by beating Warren Harding Friday night and Cleveland St. Joseph the following week.

Beating North Central (5-2), combined with victories for previously conquered Massillon opponents Youngstown East, Middletown and Austintown-Fitch, provided a whopping
25-5 computer playoff points, bringing the season total to 90.7.

Beating Harding on Friday would probably swell the total beyond 115. Knocking off Cleveland St. Joseph the following week would send the sum into the 140 range with the McKinley game still left to play.

The Tigers are one of 36 teams trying to earn on of four playoff spots in Division I, Region 3. Last year’s top four were Westerville North (163.0), Warren Western Reserve (145.5), Upper Arlington (134.5) and Groveport Madison (133.0). The moral of the story – 140 points should be plenty.

Cincinnati Princeton led Ohio last year with 180.5 playoff points. If the Tigers win their last three games, there is a good chance they would exceed that sum.

For the moment, McKinley will retain the No. 1 spot in Region 3 following its 21-7 win over GlenOak on Saturday. Projected standings, with approximate point totals, in Region 3 this week are McKinley 95, Massillon 90, Walsh Jesuit 73, Gahanna Lincoln 67 and Upper Arlington 64.

We’re in good shape in the playoff race,” Owens said. “A win this week would take us past McKinley and into first place, since McKinley is playing a winless team (Youngstown South).

“But while it’s a big goal of ours to make the playoffs, we still have to focus on winning each week.”

The Tigers won Saturday after trailing 14-7 at half time.

The terror of trailing was over 15 seconds into the second half, thanks to Don Blake’s
94-yard kickoff return.

Blake estimates he has come close to breaking six returns for touchdowns this season. He couldn’t have picked a better time to finally do it.

The Tigers got more than the usual pep talk at half time. Spirited would be one way to describe a speech delivered by assistant coach Gary Wells to buttress Owens’ talk.

What was running through Blake’s mind at the time?

“I was thinkin’ about bringin’ me one back,” he said.

Owens discounted the impact of the half time lectures. He said the first-half deficit hadn’t been a matter of the Tigers underestimating North Central, but the result of improper execution.

“Everyone seems to be crediting the half time talks,” Owens said. “I give more credit to the kickoff return team.”

Blake said he got a key block from Don Relford before cutting to the left sideline and blowing by 6-foot-6 kicker Kirby Bradford, who had seemed to have a good tackling angle.

Other members of the unit were Doug Harig, Lou LoCoco, Steve Brown, Duane Scott, Jim Goff, Tom Menches, Gary Miller, Scott Slicker and Falando Ashcraft.

The crowd came to life and the Tigers poured it on.

On the ensuing kickoff, North Central return man William Nelson slipped inside the
1-yard line. On the next play, sophomore linebacker Eric Wright penetrated a pile of bodies and wrestled down quarterback John Hale for a safety.

The Tigers started at their own 39 after a free kick and marched 61 yards for a touchdown. Playing like a man possessed was senior running back Ryan Sparkman, who carried four times for 40 yards and caught a pass for 25 yards on the drive. His 2-yard TD run and Gary Miller’s PAT boot made it 23-14, Tigers, with just 3:38 gone in the second half.

Sparkman later was injured during a run on a fake punt. It was the first fake punt the Tigers failed to convert into a first down after six successful tries during Owens’ two years in Massillon.

“It’s a slight muscle strain,” Owens said this morning. “We expect Ryan to be 100 percent for Friday’s game against Warren.”

Sparkman was replaced by sophomore Falando Ashcraft, who carried four times for 30 yards on a subsequent touchdown drive, including five yards for the score.

North Central’s lead was based on a near-interception by Massillon’s Chad Buckland that wound up as a tip to the Panthers’ Harvey Kelley, who turned it into a 68-yard TD play with 29 seconds left in the half. Early in the second half, Buckland intercepted a similar throw.

The Tigers were out-gained 233-112 in the first-half yardage.

“They came out in a gimmick defense we hadn’t seen before,” said Tiger offensive tackle Ray Kovacsiss. “We recognized what we had to do after making the adjustments, and we did it.”

“They were twisting their big guys around on defense,” added Tiger tight end Doug Harig. “We went back to our basic offense and we were successful.”

Harig said he was “confident the Tigers could come back while resting in the locker room at intermission.”

“But I felt a lot better after Blake brought back that kick,” he said.

Wright had a big game from his line-backing spot. At one point, he made a sack on one play and an interception on the next.

“It was probably the best game of the season for two of our linebackers, Eric Wright and Joe Pierce,” Owend\s said.

Grid lineups
Here are the probable starting lineups for Saturday’s game between the Massillon Tigers and the Indianapolis North Central Panthers. Kickoff time is 8 p.m. in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium

Quarterback – No .15, Lee Hurst, 6-3, 180, Sr.
A-back – No. 44, Lamonte Dixon, 5-9, 185, Sr.
B-back – No 34, Ryan Sparkman, 5-8, 175, Sr.
Flanker – No 8, Troy Manion, 6-0, 180, Sr.
Wide receiver – No. 21, Rameir Martin, 6-4, 170, Sr.
Tight end – No. 83, Dough Harig, 6-2, 195, Sr.;
No. 87, Steve Brown, 6-5, 195, Jr.
Center – No. 57, Nick Hill, 5-10, 165, Sr.
Guards – No. 65, Mike Silverthorn, 6-1, 230, Sr.;
No. 60, Jim Goff, 6-0, 180, Sr.; No. 77
Brent Bach, 6-1, 225, Jr.
Tackles – No. 74, Ray Kovacsiss, 6-4, 265, Sr.;
No. 66, Tom Menches 6-0, 240, Sr.

Tackles – No. 55, Mark McGeorge, 5-8, 205, Jr.;
No. 54, Scott Sirgo, 5-9, 185. Sr.
Ends – No. 94, Jeff Perry, 6-1, 180, Jr.; No. 95, Mike
Martin, 6-1, 185, Jr.
Inside linebackers – No. 37, Craig Turkalj, 6-2, 206, Sr.;
No. 45, Eric Wright, 5-9, 185. So.
Outside linebackers – No. 9, Joe Pierce, 6-2, 190, Sr.;
No. 22, Kevin McCue, 6-3, 167, Sr.
Backs – No. 20, Keith Rabbitt, 6-4, 170, Sr.; No 5, Chad
Buckland, 6-0, 185, Jr.; Eddie Williams, Sr.;
No. 23, Don Blake, 6-1, 165, Jr.

Quarterback – No. 12, John Hale, 6-1, 185, Sr.
Running backs – No. 47, Kevin Wood, 5-10, 175, Sr.;
No. 40, Tony Nibbs, 6-1, 185, Jr.
Center – No. 51, David Cavorsi, 6-1, 220, Sr.
Guards – No. 54, Ryan Bruce, 6-1, 235, Jr.; No. 61,
John Reed, 5-10, 175, Sr.
Tackles – No. 77, Mark Tarowsky, 6-3, 220, Jr.; No. 72,
Tony Henderson, 6-2, 280, Sr.
Tight end – No. 87, John Conway, 6-1, 180, Jr.
Split end – No. 23, Harvey Kelly, 6-1, 165, Sr.

Nose guard – No. 72, Henderson.
Tackles – No. 54, Ryan; No. 74, Charles Hill, 6-0, 236, Jr.
Ends – No. 1, James Reynolds, 5-8, 170, Sr.; No. 92
Bobby Keith, 6-0, 191, Jr.
Linebackers – No. 58, Woodrow Palk, 6-0, 190, Jr.;
No. 56, Brandon Jones, 6-1, 204, Sr.
Backs – No. 4, Williams Nelson, 6-1, 155, Sr.; No. 16,
Jason Venturi, 5-10, 172, Jr.; No. 10, Greg Black,
5-11, 170, Jr.; No. 8 Walter Nelson, 6-0, 158, Sr.

Here’s a look at each possession in Saturday’s game.

INC – Start with opening kickoff on own 14. Three plays and punt.
MAS – Start on own 48. Three plays and punt. Troy Manion recovers North
Central fumble on 19. Three more plays, 36-yard field goal
attempt wide.
INC – Start on own 20. Five plays to own 38 and punt.
MAS – Start on own 22. March 78 yards in 14 plays capped by Lamonte
Dixon’s 8-yard run on sprint counter draw-play. Big play,
22-yard Lee Hurst to Rameir Martin pass. Gary Miller’s
P.A.T. kick comes at 1:37 of first quarter

Tigers 7, North Central 0
INC – Start on own 20 after kickoff. Lose a yard, then score on 81-yard
bomb from Hale to Monte Bailey. Josh Nelson’s kick good
at 0:19 of first quarter.

Tigers 7, North Central 7
MAS – Start on own 36 after kickoff. Three plays and punt.
INC – Start on own 21. Drive to Tiger 21. Hale throws interception
to Wright.
MAS – Start on own 22. Lose ball on Greg Black interception.
INC – Start on own 28. Score on fourth play, 68-yard Hale to
Kelley pass. Nelson’s kick good at 0:29 of first half.

North Central 14, Tigers 7
MAS – Blake returns second-half kickoff 94 yards for TD.
Miller kick good at 11:45 of third quarter.

Tigers 14, North Central 14
INC – Start on own 1 after kickoff. Eric Wright Hale in end
zone for safety on first play.

Tigers 16, North Central 14
MAS – Start on own 39 after free kick. Drive 61 yards in nine
plays, scoring on Sparkman’s 2-yard run. Miller’s
Kick good at 8:22 of third quarter.

Tigers 23, North Central 14
INC – Start on Tiger 48 after kickoff. Buckland intercepts
Hale’s bomb on second play.
MAS – Start on own 9. Ten plays to INC 31, lose ball on downs.
INC – Start on own 31. Five plays to 42, punt.
MAS – Start on own 19. Fall on fake punt attempt on fourth
INC – Start on Tiger 47. Fail to make first down on four plays.
MAS – Start on INC 46. Score on 10th play. Ashcraft’s
5-yard run. Miller’s kick good at 3:26 of fourth quarter.
INC – Fumble at 7 shortly after ensuing kickoff. Tigers’ Mark
Murphy recovers.
MAS – Drive 7 yards for touchdown. Scott Slicker goes in
from 4 yards out. Miller’s kick good at 1:15 of
fourth quarter.


First downs rushing 15 2
First downs passing 4 9
First downs by penalty 1 0
Totals first downs 20 11
Yards gained rushing 264 39
Yards lost rushing 15 43
Net yards rushing 249 -4
Net yards passing 80 295
Total yards gained 329 291
Passes attempted 18 24
Passes completed 6 14
Passes int. by 1 2
Times kicked off 6 3
Kickoff average 57.5 51.0
Kickoff return yards 142 92
Punts 2 3
Punting average 35.5 41.3
Punt return yards 0 2
Fumbles 0 2
Fumbles lost 0 2
Penalties 6 8
Yards penalized 50 61
Number of plays 67 47
Time of possession 25:09 22:51

Individual statistics
(Mas) Ashcraft 6-39, Dixon 15-62, Hurst 5-18, Sparkman 20-123.
(NC) Hale 5-minus 42, Nibbs 4-8, Wood 13-30.

(Mas) Hurst 6-18-1, 80
(NC) Hale 14-24-2, 295.

(Mas) Harig 1-3, Martin 2-36, Manion 2-15, Sparkman 1-26.
(NC) Bailey 3-119, Kelly 3-84, Mayes 1-19, Minor 1-6, Nelson 3-64, Nibbs 1-6, Woods 2-minus 3.

N. CENTRAL 7 7 0 0 14
MASSILLON 7 0 16 14 37

Mas – Dixon 8 run (Miller kick)
NCI – Bailey 81 pass from Hale (Nelson kick)
NCI – Kelly 67 pass from Hale (Nelson kick)
Mas – Blake 94 kickoff return (Miller kick)
Mas – Safety (Hale tackled in end zone)
Mas – Sparkman 2 run (Miller kick)
Mas – Ashcraft 5 run (Miller run)
Mas – Slicker 4 run (Miller kick)

Tigers zip back
to triumph 37-14

Repository sports writer

MASSILLON – Not to be outdone by their opponents from Indianapolis, the Massillon Washington High School football team scored 16 points in the opening 3:38 of the third quarter Saturday night to beat North Central High School 37-14 in front of 9,179 fans at Paul Brown Tigers Stadium.

North Central got the Tigers all riled up by taking a 14-7 half time lead on John Hale touchdown passes of 81 yards to Monte Bailey and 68 yards to Harvey Kelley.

However, after one of Lee Owens’ more heated half time chats, Massillon junior Don Blake quickly erased whatever momentum the Panthers had when he took the second half kickoff and raced 95 yards for a touchdown.

“Coach said we needed a spark, and I knew it was time I take one back,” Blake said. “I’ve been close so many times this year. I just knew I’d get the TD tonight.”

The Tigers didn’t have to wait long for their next score. On the kickoff following Blake’s TD return. North Central’s deep man slipped and downed the ball inside the Panther 1.

On the first play from scrimmage. Hale tried to dive forward for some breathing room, but was smothered in the end zone by the entire interior line of the Tigers.

After receiving the punt following the safety. Massillon drove 61 yards in seven plays and scored with 8:22 left in the third. Ryan Sparkman, who led all rushers with 123 yards on 20 carries, went the final two yards, and Gary Miller tacked on the extra point.

Massillon added two more scores in the fourth quarter to complete the rout. Meanwhile, the defense, as junior defensive end Mike Martin phrased it, played like “controlled maniacs” in the second half. It limited the Panthers to 68 total yards offense in the second half, after giving up 233 in the first half.

“The way we played that entire second half seemed to be sparked by Don’s runback on the kickoff,” said Owens, whose team is 6-1. “We were so down at the half that I yelled as loud at the half as I have in a long, long time. I said things in there that can’t be printed in a family newspaper.”

Owens should have screamed at the beginning of the game.

After Massillon scored the first TD of the game on an eight-yard run by Lamonte Dixon (62 yards on 15 carries), North Central (5-2) quickly answered with Hale’s bomb to Bailey.

The Tiger defense was caught napping, which allowed Bailey to slip by the defenders, catch the ball at the Panther 40 and run untouched the rest of the way.
With less than a minute left in the half, the Panthers struck again on Hale’s bomb to Kelley. Three plays after Massillon quarterback Lee Hurst threw an interception, Hale launched a pass to Kelley that was tipped by Massillon defensive back Chad Buckland.

While Buckland was bobbling the ball at mid field, Kelley raced in, grabbed the ball and ran the rest of the way untouched for a TD with 29 seconds left in the half.

That, however, is where Massillon’s defense stopped getting hammered.

“We really didn’t do anything differently technique-wise in the second half,” said Massillon defensive coordinator Dan Boarman. “We just went after them a little bit more.”

Massillon’s defense held the Panthers to minus-4 yards rushing. Hale finished with six completions in 12 attempts for 295 yards.

Offensively, Massillon gained 329 yards total offense. The Tigers rushed the ball 48 times in 249 yards. Hurst completed 6-of-18 passes for 80 yards. Rameir Martin caught two passes for 36 yards.

North Central 7 7 0 0 14
Massillon 7 0 16 14 37

M – Dixon 8 run (Miller kick)
N – Bailey 81 pass from Hale (Josh Nelson kick)
N – Kelley 68 pass from Hale (Josh Nelson kick)
M – Blake 95 kickoff return (Miller kick)
M – Safety, Hale tackled in end zone.
M – Sparkman 2 run (Miller kick)
M – Ashcraft 3 run (Miller kick)
M – Slicker 4 run (Miller kick)

Massillon runs over
North Central, 37-14

The Indianapolis Star

Massillon, Ohio – They take their football seriously in Ohio, particularly in Massillon, a town of about 35,000, located 50 miles south of Cleveland.

A crowd of 9,179 spectators showed up Saturday night at 20,000-seat Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, named after Massillon’s former coach and most-famous alumnus, the Cincinnati Bengals owner.

The football-crazy people of Ohio were curious to see the 5-1 and eighth-ranked North Central Panthers from Indianapolis.

And Coach George Pappas’ boys showed the Buckeye folks some fancy football,

That is, before the Tigers kicked the door in for a 37-14 victory.

Massillon, a Division I (big school) team, blitzed North Central with a 16-point third quarter and added 14 more in the fourth period to improve its record to 6-1.

Massillon kicked in the door on the Panthers at the outset of the second half.

Don Blake ignited the Tigers’ 16-point third-quarter scoring blitz with a 94-yard return for a touchdown of the opening kickoff.

Then, on Massillon’s subsequent kickoff, North Central’s Greg Black fielded the ball inside the 1 – and slipped down to his knee on the artificial surface before he could go anywhere.

On North Central’s first play from scrimmage inside the 1, quarterback John Hale failed to get out of the end zone for a Massillon safety.

Suddenly, North Central was staring at a 16-14 deficit and Massillon fans were literally rocking and rolling I nthe stands to the tune of the pop rock song, “Shout.”

“That momentum shift was just tremendous,” acknowledged Pappas. “A momentum shift like that was just insurmountable.”

“It’s been an enjoyable trip over here, but to come out on the short end of a 37-14 score is not really too enjoyable.”

“Massillon is a great team and program. I mean, during the momentum shift the crowd reaction from down on the field was just tremendous…phenomenal.”

But that wasn’t the end of the misery for North Central.
At 8:22 of the third period, Ryan Sparkman capped a 61-yard Massillon drive with a
2-yard touchdown run to make it 23-14.

In the fourth quarter the Tigers struck twice more – Falando Ashcraft’s 3-yard run at 5:12 and Scott Slicker’s 4-yard trot at 3:26.

Massillon’s initial score came on Lamonte Dixon’s 8-yard touchdown run at 1:37 of the first quarter.

But North Central was not without its shining moments. As a matter of fact, the Panthers, now 5-2, led at half time 14-7.

Senior quarterback John Hale helped provide the fireworks for the Panthers, hitting Monte Bailey with an 81-yard scoring dart at :19 of the first quarter, and then Harvey Kelley with a 69-yarder with just :29 left before half time.

Hale finished the game on 14-of-24 passing for 295 yards.

Bailey topped North Central receivers with three catches for 119 yards and a touchdown.

Kelley and Tony Henderson had brilliant efforts for the Panthers.

All in all, it was a real eye-opener for the North Central program.

“All things considered, I think the kids played well,” praised Pappas. “I mean, we left Indianapolis at 5 a.m., got here at noon and practiced.”

“We were beaten by an excellent football team. But the kids will benefit from it all. And I think we came out a better football team because of it.”

North Central 7 7 0 0 14
Massillon 7 0 16 14 37

M – Dixon 8 run (Miller kick)
NC – Bailey 81 pass from Hale (J. Nelson kick)
NC – Kelley 67 pass from Hale (J. Nelson kick)
M – Blake 94 kickoff return (Miller kick)
M – Massillon safety (Hale tackled in end zone)
M – Sparkman 2 run (Miller kick)
M – Ashcraft 3 run (Miller kick)
M – Slicker 4 run (Miller kick)

Attendance: 9, 179

NC Mass
First downs 11 20
Rushes-yards 23-43 48-249
Passing yardage 295 80
Passes 14-24-2 6-18-1
Punts-avg. 3-41 2-35
Fumbles-lost 2-2 0-0
Penalties-yards 8-61 6-50

NC: Nibbs 4-8, Wood 13-30, Hale 5-minus 42.
Massillon: Dixon 15-62, Hurst 5-18, Sparkman 20-123, Ashcraft 6-39, Slicker 2-7.

NC: Hale 14-24-2.
Massillon: 6-18-1.

NC: Kelley 3-84, Bailey 3-119, Mayes 1-19, Wood 2-minus 3, Nibbs 1-6, Nelson 3-64, Minor 1-6.
Massillon: Martin 2-36, Manion 2-15, Sparkman 1-26, Harig 1-3.

Rameir Martin
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

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

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

Independent Sports Editor

The clock quit. The Massillon Tigers didn’t

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

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

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

Program Cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So it went to overtime.

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

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

And maybe some good play-calling.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gary Miller’s PAT kick made it 28-21.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Tigers’ QB
takes game in own hands

Repository sports writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His kick was long enough, but wide left.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rameir Martin
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1989: Massillon 7, Cincinnati Moeller 41

Tigers’ 7-year itch turns ouch vs. Mo
Fitch next after 41-7 loss to Crusaders

Independent Sports Editor

Most of Ohio will only have seen the ugly numbers. Cincinnati Moeller 41, Massillon 7.

They won’t know that this was the first time in four trips the Tigers gave Mighty Mo a run at it deep into the fourth quarter.

In the end it looked worse than any of the previous Moeller victories over Massillon: 30-7 in 1980, 24-6 in 1981, 35-14 in 1982.

Yes, the last time these teams met was 1982. The Tigers had a chance to soothe their seven-year itch.

Alas, this wound up like a barefoot stroll through a poison-ivy farm.

Program Cover

As Massillon head coach Lee Owens put it after Saturday’s battle witnessed by 16,764 in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Someone said the score was not indicative of the game. I totally disagree. They dominated us on both lines of scrimmage.”

That certainly was true, even as the fourth quarter began with the Tigers trailing 21-7.

Yet, the fact remained that Massillon linebacker Craig Turkalj recovered a Carlos Collins fumble at the Moeller 42-yard line with 11:24 left in the game.

And moments later, there was tight end Doug Harig rambling past the Moeller bench on a 13-yard gain on a Lee Hurst pass.

There was hope. There was time to make up the 14-point deficit.

Moments earlier, the Tigers had gambled on fourth-and-inches at mid-field by calling a pass instead of a run. Split end Rameir Martin broke into the clear, poised to score a relatively easy touchdown. Hurst’s arm was hit as he threw, though, and Moeller came up with an interception.

But now the Tigers had the ball back on the Moeller 27. They could make the score respectable, maybe even have a chance to win.

Hurst, however, suffered his fifth sack of the night on first down. The Tigers eventually lost the ball on downs with 6:45 left.

Up to that point, Collins, a junior tailback, was having a big night, with 187 rushing yards but with no gains longer than 14 yards.

That changed quickly. With six minutes left, he finished off a 52-yard touchdown sprint and it was 27-7. With 2:30 left, he broke loose for an 83-yard TD run and it was 34-7. With 1:19 left, after the Tigers fumbled deep in their own territory, Moeller inflicted the final pain with a 2-yard TD run.

The 6-foot-1, 187-pound Collins ,who says he runs 100 meters in 10.9 seconds (.3 slower than Euclid’s Robert “Mr. Football” Smith, who gained 358 yards against Jackson recently), finished with 35 carries for 322 yards.

“I thought it would be a very difficult game and as a matter of fact it was,” said Collins. “We just pulled away at the end.”

It wasn’t the way Tiger fans had hoped to prolong the 50th anniversary celebration of The House That Brown Built.

It was, in fact:
<Massillon’s most lopsided home defeat since a 42-3 loss to Toledo Scott in 1920, when
“home” was Agathon Park.
<The worst Massillon defeat ever at Tiger Stadium. It tied the 34-point margin by which
the Tigers fell 40-6 to Toledo Waite in 1946, three years before Tiger Stadium opened.
<The Tigers’ most one-sided setback since 1962, when they bowed 46-0 at Alliance.

The outcome left Moeller with a 4-0 record and the Tigers with a 3-1 mark. Massillon will try to rebound Friday at home against Austintown-Fitch, 4-0 following a 46-12 win over Glenville Friday. Take note of the fact Glenville opened its season by defeating a Wooster team that is 3-0 since then.

“It doesn’t get any easier at all,” Owens said. “I believe Fitch is even more dominant on the offensive line than the Moeller team whose line dominated us tonight.”

“We have o put this game behind us as soon as we can. We’re going to find out how much resiliency we have.”

Moeller wound up with a 368-74 advantage over the Tigers in rushing yards and a 485-239 edge in total offense.

“We thought we’d line it up and run and see if they could stop us,” said Moeller coach Steve Klonne, who runs a one-back offense similar to the one GlenOak deployed against the Tigers recently, except GlenOak had nobody like Carlos Collins.

“Carlos doesn’t have the swivel-hipped style of the classic dominant back. He’s more of a loper…but all of a sudden, he’s in the secondary. I think we hit Massillon with more traps and counter plays than they’d seen us use.”

Collins said his job was easy.

I just followed the tackles all night,” he said.

Moeller’s lines are smaller than usual but the tackles – Paul Barkey (6-3, 270) and Keith Fulmer (6-2, 246) are big enough.

Moeller punted after three plays on its opening series but was unstoppable after that.

During one stretch of the first half, Collins had consecutive gains of 14,7, 8, 8, 2, 9, 4, 10, 6, 2, 3, 9 and 10 yards.

The one-back offense spread the Tiger defense and kept it spread because quarterback Adam Hyzdu was effective when he did pass. Hyzdu showed by far the strongest and most accurate arm of any quarterback the Tigers have seen – probably any they will see – in completing seven of 13 passes for 117 yards.

“I think Adam was the key to the whole game,” Klonne said.

The 6-foot-3 Hyzdu will attract major football scouts, Klonne said.

“He’s firmly committed to playing baseball,” Klonne said. “He won’t be playing college football.”

The Tigers counted on bating Moeller’s disciplined defense into biting on fake keys. It worked on shovel passes and draw plays until late in the game.

Running back Ryan Sparkman was credited with seven receptions for 62 yards, mostly on shovel passes flicked to behind the line of scrimmage by Hurst.

Leading 14-0, Moeller bit hard on fakes, allowing Lamonte Dixon to hit wide-open territory on a draw play that sent the ball to the 4. Sparkman scored from a yard out and the Tigers trailed 14-7 with 5:20 left in the first half.

Moeller regained control by taking the ensuing kickoff and driving inside the 10 before missing a 26-yard field goal attempt at the end of the half.

Owens said the Tigers threw the kitchen sink at Moeller in the way of stunts and blitzes and gambling with extra men on the line of scrimmage.

But whatever the Tigers did, Moeller kept blocking it.

“They were trying to mix us up,” said Moeller split end Matt Birrell, who caught four passes. “We just had it going tonight.”

It was going so well, in fact, that it’s hard to imagine anybody slowing Moeller down.

Tiger-Moeller grid lineups
Here are the probable starting lineups for Saturday’s game between the Massillon Tigers and Cincinnati Moeller Fighting Crusaders. Kickoff time is 8 p.m. in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Quarterback – No. 15, Lee Hurst, 6-3, 180, Sr.
A-back – No 44, Lamonte Dixon, 5-9, 185, Sr.
B-back – No. 34, Ryan Sparkman, 5-8, 175, Sr.
Flanker – No. 8, Troy Manion, 6-0, 180, Sr.
Wide receiver – No. 21, Rameir Martin, 6-4, 170, Sr.
Tight end – No. 83, Doug Harig, 6-2, 195, Sr.; No. 87, Steve Brown, 6-5, 195, Jr.
Center – No 57, Nick Hill, 5-10, 165, Sr.
Guards – No. 65, Mike Silverthorn, 6-1, 230, Sr.; No. 60, Jim Goff, 6-0, 180, Sr.
Tackles – No. 74, Ray Kovacsiss, 6-4, 265, Sr.; No 66, Tom Menches, 6-0, 240, Sr.

Tackles – No. 80, Chris Roth, 6-6, 225, Jr.; No. 77, Brent Bach, 6-1, 225, Jr.
Ends – No. 94, Jeff Perry, 6-1, 180, Jr.; No. 95, Mike Martin, 6-1, 185, Jr.
Inside linebackers – No. 37, Craig Turkalj, 6-2, 206, Sr.; No 55, Mark McGeorge, 5-8, 205, Jr.; No. 45, Eric Wright, 5-9, 185, So.
Outside linebackers – No. 9, Joe Pierce, 6-2, 190, Sr.; No 22, Kevin McCue, 6-3, 167, Sr.
Backs – No. 20, Keith Rabbitt, 6-4, 170, Sr.; No. 5, Chad Buckland, 6-0, 185, Jr.; Eddie Williams, Sr.; No. 23, Don Blake, 6-1, 165, Jr.

Quarterback – No. 9, Adam Hyzdu, 6-3, 211, Sr.
Running backs – No. 21, Carlos Collins, 6-1, 187, Jr.; No. 32, Jody Smith, 5-11, 201, Jr.
Center – No. 76, Todd Shaffer, 6-2, 235, Sr.
Guards – No. 66, Matt Baer, 6-1, 195, Sr.; No. 65, Rob Steltenpohl, 5-11, 217, Sr.
Tackles – No. 77, Paul Barkey, 6-3, 272, Jr.; No. 63, Keith Fulmer, 6-2, 246, Sr.
Tight ends – No. 87, Joe Currin, 6-5, 200, Sr.; No. 84, Chris Ashbrook, 6-4, 193, Sr.
Split end – No. 18, Matt Birrell, 5-10, 170, Sr.

Tackles – No. 90, Brad Hindersman, 6-0, 188, Sr.; No. 75, Chad Whitaker, 6-2, 230, Sr.
Ends – No. 80, Todd Ille, 5-11, 160, Sr.; No. 98, Dan Buckley, 5-11, 165, Jr.
Inside linebackers – No. 51, Jeff Poore, 6-0, 195, Sr.; No. 59, Jeff Crable, 6-3, 193, Sr.
Outside linebackers – No. 56, Jason Knecht, 6-1, 175, Jr.; No. 33, Brian Zelina, 6-0, 195, Sr.
Backs – No. 37, Ken Darby, 5-10, 147, Sr.; No. 34, Tony Walker, 5-10, 166, Sr.; No. 43, Chris Woycke, 5-10, 150, Sr.


First downs rushing 5 15
First downs passing 9 6
First downs by penalty 1 0
Totals first downs 15 21
Yards gained rushing 118 374
Yards lost rushing 44 6
Net yards rushing 74 368
Net yards passing 165 117
Total yards gained 239 485
Passes attempted 30 13
Passes completed 14 7
Passes int. by 0 1
Times kicked off 2 7
Kickoff average 45.5 50.7
Kickoff return yards 139 29
Punts 3 2
Punting average 41.7 39.5
Punt return yards 0 19
Fumbles 2 1
Fumbles lost 2 1
Penalties 0 6
Yards penalized 0 66
Number of plays 57 63
Time of possession 19:11 29:49
Attendance 16,764

Individual stats

(Mas) Dixon 12-81, Sparkman 6-26, Manion 1-2, Hurst 8 –(minus) 35.
(Moe) Collins 35-322, Hyzdu 10-32, Smith 2-7, Adkins 2-7.

(Mas) Hurst 14-30-1 165.
(Moe) 7-13-0 117.

(Moe) Birrell 4-70, Collins 1-15, Valerius 2-32.

Moeller 7 7 7 20 41
Massillon 0 7 0 0 7

MO – Hyzdu 1 run (Hyzdu kick)
MO – Smith 1 run (Hyzdu kick)
MA – Sparkman 1 run (Miller kick)
MO – Collins 12 run (Hyzdu kick)
MO – Collins 52 run (kick failed)
MO – Collins 83 run (Hyzdu kick)
MO – Adkins 2 run (Knecht kick)

Massillon mauled

Repository sports writer

MASSILLON – Massillon Washington High School, which knows just about everything there is to know about power football, learned a little more Saturday night.

No. Make that a lot.

The Tigers, playing host to the master of power football in Ohio, Cincinnati Moeller, were hammered by the Crusaders 41-7 in front of 16,764 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. It was the worst beating a Massillon football team had rece3ived and the most points the Tigers have given up since Alliance beat the Tigers 46-0 in 1962.

If you like power football, then hang on for these stats.

Carlos Collins, a 6-foot-1, 187-pound junior All-Ohio candidate, broke two Moeller school records, rushing the ball 35 times for 322 of 368 yards rushing. He also scored on runs of 12, 52 and 83 yards in the second half as Moeller scored 27 unanswered second-half points in the rout.

“This is the greatest day “I’ve ever had running the ball,” said Collins, who also caught one pass for 15 yards and returned two punts for 28 more yards. “I never really seen anything in Massillon’s defense that made me think I could do this. It was just a matter of my linemen going out and kicking some butt.”

Moeller’s line certianly did kick some, especially guards Keith Fulmer and Rob Steltenpohl and center Todd Shaffer. They blasted the inside of the line wide open so Collins could run for 123 first-half yards to lead Moeller to a 14-7 lead.

“We were dominated on the line of scrimmage from start to finish,” said Masillon head coach Lee Owens, whose team is 3-1 and hosts Austintown Fitch next Friday. “I felt very lucky to be down 14-7 at the half. We’re a better team than we showed, but you have to give them credit for the way the handled the line of scrimmage.”

Overall, Moeller piled up 485 yards total offense while holding Massillon to 239. The Crusaders also had 21 first downs and held onto the ball for 29 of the game’s 48 minutes.

Moeller quarterback Adam Hyzdu completed 7-of-13 passes and ran the ball 10 times for 32 yards and one TD.

When Collins wasn’t running the ball, Hyzdu was throwing the ball to wide receiver Matt Birrell. Birrell caught four balls for 70 yards, with a long reception of 22.

“We originally planned to throw the ball a lot more than we did, but we got in here in front of this big crowd and got afraid of making a mistake,” said Moeller coach Steve Klonne, whose 4-0 team was ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press Division I poll, just ahead of the Tigers. “Then we started giving the ball to Carlos, and he was getting eight and nine yards a crack, so we let him run. That eventually opened up the passing.”

Moeller’s defense didn’t do badly either. The Crusaders sacked Hurst eight times for 35 yards. Hurst also had no time to throw the ball, leading to a 14-of-30 performance with one interception.

Hurst also didn’t get the ball much, especially in the first half when Moeller kept the ball 16 minutes. They scored twice, once going 72 yards in 10 plays and the other time going 64 yards in nine plays.

Moeller opened the scoring in the first quarter with a one-yard scoring run by Hyzdu. Hyzdu was held up by Joe Pierce and Keith Rabbitt at the goal line on third-and-inches, but Hyzdu, who stands 6-3 and weighs 215 pounds, still fought his way in for the score.

Moeller stretched its lead to 14-0 after holding the Tigers’ offense to three plays and a punt.

Taking the ball on their own 28, the Crusaders took 10 plays to go 72 yards in 7:08. Jody Smith walked the final yard untouched, and Hyzdu added the PAT.

Massillon refused to be embarrassed by the visitors, at least in the first half. The Tigers took the ensuing kickoff and drove 64 yards in nine plays to score a touchdown at the 5:20 mark.

Ryan Sparkman scored from the 1, and Gary Miller added the point after. The key plays in the drive were a 22-yard shuttle pass to Sparkman and a 26-yard draw play to Lamonte Dixon down to the Moeller 3.

Cincinnati Moeller 7 7 7 20 41
Massillon 0 7 0 0 7

MO – Hyzdu 1 run (Hyzdu kick)
MO – Smith 1 run (Hyzdu kick)
MA – Sparkman 1 run (Miller kick)
MO – Collins 12 run (kick failed)
MO – Collins 52 run (Hyzdu kick)
MO – Collins 83 run (Hyzdu kick)
MO – Adkins 2 run (Knecht kick)

Collins helps Moeller
rush by Massillon 41-7

By Bill Lilley
Beacon Journal staff writer

Cincinnati Moeller junior running back Carlos Collins left a lasting impression Saturday night on the crowd of 16,764 at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium as he rushed for a school-record 324 yards and scored three touchdowns.

But it was the Crusaders’ offensive and defensive lines that left a permanent dent in the Tigers’ pride – and unbeaten record – as Moeller dominated on both sides of the line.

The two factors were more than enough to lift the unbeaten Crusaders to a 41-7 victory over the Tigers.

Things didn’t start badly for Massillon as Moeller was forced to punt after three runs left the Crusaders 1 yard shy of a first down on their first possession.

The next two times, however, Moeller’s offensive line opened huge holes in the front wall of the Tigers’ 4-4 defense.

Collins took full advantage of the situation.

The 6-foot-1, 187-pounder used a combination of traps and counters to pick up 38 yards on the Crusaders’ next possession.

That sparked a 9-play, 63-yard drive that was culminated by quarterback Adam Hyzdu’s 1-inch sneak on third down. Hyzdu’s kick gave Moeller a 7-0 lead with 1:46 left in the first period.

The Crusaders went right back to Collins after they forced Massillon, which was held to 15 yards in the first quarter, to punt after three plays.

Collins netted 35 yards and Hyzdu hit senior Matt Birrell for gains of 14 and 20 to move the ball to the Tigers’ 1-yard line.

The Tigers figured Collins was an automatic to get his number called at this point.

Instead, Crusader coach Steve Klonne went from a 1-back to a 3-back offense and Collins, who gained 123 yards in the first half, was used as a decoy off left tackle.

The Tigers bit. That enabled senior Jody Smith to go off right tackle untouched into the end zone and up Moeller’s lead to 14-0 with 8:07 left in the first half.

The Massillon offense, on the other hand, showed very little sign of life in the first quarter.

Quarterback Lee Hurst was harried on his passing attempts by a ferocious rush. Running backs Lamonte Dixon and Ryan Sparkman were forced to run without the aid of progressive blocking – aka getting stuffed at the line.

Massillon offensive coordinator Tom Stacy went to a variety of misdirection, including shuffle passes, on the Tigers’ first possession of the second quarter.

Massillon, which had gained 15 yards in the first 16 minutes, used two shuffle passes to Sparkman for 29 yards and a 25-yard draw play to Dixon to drive 62 yards to the Crusaders’ 1.

Sparkman scored on second down and Gary Miller’s kick brought Massillon to 14-7 with 5:20 left in the half.

The Crusaders, who amassed 217 yards in the first half, drove to the Massillon 15, but Hyzdu’s 32-yard field goal attempt with 12 seconds left was wide to the left.

That spared the Tigers, but it was only temporary.

The Crusaders took the second-half kickoff and, again, used Collins’ running and Hyzdu’s passing to pierce the Tiger D. Collins finished off the 71-yard march with a 12-yard run.

Massillon had two chances early in the fourth quarter to cut into the 14-point deficit, but a fourth-down pass from mid-field was intercepted and a fourth-down pass from the Crusaders’ 30 fell incomplete.

Collins then put the game away for all practical purposes when he raced 52 yards for a touchdown that gave Moeller a 21-point margin with six minutes to play.

Rameir Martin
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1989: Massillon 17, Middletown 7

Madcap night in Middletown

Steve Doerschuk
Independent Sports Editor

MIDDLETOWN – The Massillon Tigers spent Saturday night at the Holiday Inn, but first they went to the funhouse.

When the park closed they had a souvenir, a 17-7 high school football win over the Middletown Middies. That was very nice, since it put their record at 3-0, but it was almost incidental to the numerous sideshows that put nearby Kings Island to shame.

Among them:

The jungle beast – Massillon’s Ed Annen held one end of the leash as Obie XX, the live Tiger mascot, playfully wrapped his paws around the knee of those whistle-toting zebras.

The chopper – The game ball arrived in a TV news helicopter that buzzed Barnitz Stadium then touched down at the 20-yard line. Massillon head coach Lee Owens screamed (although no one could hear him) to get the bird back in the air because his players could not come out on the field.

“We’d hoped to have Paul Brown (the ex-Massillon coach now living in nearby Cincinnati) in the helicopter,” Middletown head coach Jim Place said. “Unfortunately, he was tied up with the Bengals.”

The roller coaster – On fourth and nine in the second quarter, Tiger quarterback Lee Hurst hurled a bomb toward the left corner of the end zone. Receiver Troy Manion maneuvered through two defenders, ran as fast as he could, reached as far as he could, and fingertip snagged the ball for a 31-yard touchdown and a 17-0 lead. On the next play from scrimmage, Middletown tailback Jeff Cothran raced 68 yards for a touchdown.

Zebras on parade – After Cothran’s run, the Tigers roared back. Ryan Sparkman’s strong run put the ball on the Middletown 30. But wait. Clipping! But wait again! Unsportsmanlike conduct for an editorial comment on the clipping. Fifteen more yards. Next play, holding, Tiger. Instead of a first down on the Middie 30. It’s third and 45 on the Tiger 15. You know any good plays?

The male cheerleader – Usually, only college football has them, but Middletown featured a strapping fellow dressed in purple pants, who after Cothran’s long TD run, leaped and bounded along the sideline, wildly gyrating as he exhorted the Middie faithful to stand up and cheer. The cheerleader was Place, the Middie coach.

“It’s that way every game down here,” Place said. “All of our games are wild and crazy.”

The light show – It was 83 degrees and sunny at kickoff time. By halftime, it was dark, except for streaks of lightning, and a fierce wind kicked up.

Something flashed behind the home grandstand. Two stands of lights went dark, one on each side of the field. Few among the 8,000 spectators noticed, but a transformer had caught on fire.

The great debate – Wait for the lights to come back on? Or keep playing under the four stands of lights still shining? The game stopped for 10 minutes as a debate raged. The verdict: Play on, but only on the half of the better lit field. Play resumed with 2:50 left in the half. The Tigers got the ball back and Ryan Sparkman rushed nine yards to midfield. Had he kept going, he’d have run into the dark side of the field. After the play, officials pointed the Tigers the other way, as if the quarter had changed.

“The situation was to our disadvantage,” Owens said later. “If we’re driving into the darkness, the wind is at our backs and that helps our passing game. But we have to drive into the light. Middletown is a running team, and it’s no big deal for them to have to drive into the wind, into the light.

“I didn’t want to go along with it. But I didn’t have much choice in the matter.”

Band on the run – With lightning came rain. It started shortly after band No 1, the one that plays Tiger Rag, strutted. It got wet and juicy at the end of the “Marching Middies” turn. It rained so hard that band No. 2 disdained decorum, running helter-skelter off the field.

The lock-up rooms – A regular in the Middletown press box eyed the lightning and shook his head.

“Two football players died in the country within the last couple of weeks because of lightning strikes,” he said.

“Football people are being awfully careful.” The Tigers were back on the field only seconds when Owens, having surveyed the skies, herded them back to the locker room. Halftime wound up lasting an hour. Massillon had nearly as many fans as Middletown at the start. Most Middletown rooters didn’t return for the second half, when Tiger fans outnumbered their hosts. They hadn’t driven 4 ½ hours to spend the second half at Taco Bell.

The scare – Ambulance lights flashed behind the Massillon grandstand throughout the intermission. The rumor mill went to work. Middletown radio station WPFB reported that two fans apparently had been struck by lightning. It was a false report. Paramedics actually were treating fans who had suffered heat exhaustion. Despite the fact the “fall sport” was into its third week, the temperature at kickoff was 83 degrees.

In the end, they got the lights fixed and played another half of football.

It was an uneventful second half, but all that transpired earlier made you wonder. The Barnitz fellow wose name is on the stadium. Is there a Barnitz and Bailey circus, too?


First downs rushing 4 10
First downs passing 9 1
First downs by penalty 4 3
Totals first downs 17 14
Yards gained rushing 119 244
Yards lost rushing 20 16
Net yards rushing 99 228
Net yards passing 199 29
Total yards gained 298 249
Passes attempted 27 12
Passes completed 16 3
Passes int. by 0 1
Times kicked off 4 2
Kickoff average 50.0 47.5
Kickoff return yards 43 54
Punts 4 5
Punting average 38.0 28.6
Punt return yards 0 20
Fumbles 2 1
Fumbles lost 4 3
Penalties 10 10
Yards penalized 136 88
Number of plays 67 47
Time of possession 26:01 21:59
Attendance 8,000

Individual Statistics
(Mas) Dixon 18-76, Sparkman 11-31.
(Mid) Calhoun 15-11, Cothran 14-112, Gerguson 4-11.

(Mas) Hurst 16-27-0, 189.
(Mid) Ferguson 2-10-1, minus – 3. Calhoun 1-2-0 20.

(Mas) Manion 6-67, Martin 5-39, Carpenter 1-25, Dixon 1-8, Harig 1-28, Brown 1-21, Sparkman 1-1.
(Mid) Mason 1-24.

Middletown 0 7 0 0 7
Massillon 10 7 0 0 17

Mas – FG Miller 24
Mas – Manion 7 pass from Hurst (Miller kick)
Mas – Manion 31 pass from Hurst (Miller kick)
Mid – Cothran 68 run (Caldwell kick)

Rameir Martin