Tag: <span>Rudy Sharkey</span>

Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1982: Massillon 43, Barberton 0

‘Not so sharp’ Tigers grind out 265 yards rushing in 43‑0 rout

Independent Sports Editor

So how good are the Massillon Tigers?

“We really weren’t very sharp tonight,” said Tiger head coach Mike Currence. “We were sharp last week against Newark, and its hard to be real sharp two weeks in a row.”

“Even the crowd was flat,” chipped in grizzled offensive coordinator Nick Vrotsos. “The fans didn’t get aroused until that bad penalty call late in the third quarter, and then they went flat again.”

The final score? The Tigers 43, Barberton 0, the proverbial “sweet revenge” for last years 26‑24 upset at the hands of the Magics.

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The game itself wasn’t very exciting – the Tigers dominated from start to literally the finish. From a reporter’s standpoint, the highlight came afterwards in the Barberton lockerroom, when an ‘upset’ Magic head coach Rudy Sharkey seemed convinced that the Tigers had tried to run up the score. (The Tigers did score on the final play of the game, a seven‑yard sweep by junior Kirk Ivan.)

“No, this loss didn’t hurt,” he fumed. “Some other year, Currence will get his. If the guy needs points that bad, fine. Like I said, another year, and that’s all I have to say.”

But you can’t really blame the guy for being grumpy ‑ he entered this season with a .718 winning percentage in 10 years at the helm of the Magics, and this year’s 1‑5 start is bound to be a blow to even the strongest ego.

But Currence disavowed running up the score. In fact, it was only earlier this week that he told a luncheon audience that he always tried to refrain from doing so; it only hurt the opponent’s confidence for future games, valuable for computer points, plus aroused the victims for the next rematch.

(A final memory of the Barberton lockerroom: Sharkey’s devastated troops gathered around him; the coach bellowing the answers to reporters’ questions. “There’ll be another year, ” Sharkey grits his teeth. “RIGHT, TEAM?” “RIGHT COACH, ” scream the players back.)

“In the first place, the players called that final timeout late in the game, not me. Two, as far as I’m concerned, we tried to run out the clock. We ran the exact same sweep four times in a row, and they didn’t defend against it right once, which isn’t our fault. In fact, I was surprised that they stayed in the exact same defense all night; I don’t think they shut down one of our sweeps the entire game,” Currence said.

There was a final mitigating factor to the late score, incidentally. The player who scored on the jaunt, Ivan, just happened to be celebrating his birthday ‑ and as his teammates knew, what better time to score your first touchdown as a Tiger!

Neither team scored on its first possession. But the Tigers kept Barberton backed up in the shadow of its goal on their second possession, forcing the first of many short punts which kept the Tigers in great field position the entire night.

The Tigers began possession on the Magic 25 and scored in five plays. Bushe, who led Tiger rushers with 97 yards in 13 carries, had gallops of nine and 10 yards en route to the end zone. He then plunged over from the one with 4:40 left in the quarter, followed by a Bronc Pfisterer conversion kick.

Massillon didn’t score again until 3:51 remained in the half. Another short punt after being penned deep gave the Tigers possession on the Barberton 39. The first play from scrimmage saw quarterback Brian DeWitz hit receiver Jim Geiser with a 21‑yard pass to the 18. Four plays later Chris Spielman pounded over from the one, with the kick no good.
Tigers see five backs tally
The ensuing kick went into the end zone and on the first play from scrimmage, junior Ken Rector’s pass was picked off by Marcell Stephens, giving the Tigers possession at the Magic 41.

This time it took the Tigers six plays to score. Fullback Tim Sampsel did final honors on a one‑yard plunge with 1:02 remaining, following a nine‑yard scramble by DeWitz. Pfisterer’s kick was good for a 20‑0 halftime lead.

The Tigers made it 26‑0 with their second possession after intermission. A 73‑yard drive began when DeWitz underthrew a wide‑open Geiser, who retreated for the ball for a 38‑yard gain, with a late hit moving the ball down to the Magic 20. Six plays later, DeWitz, dropping straight back for one of the few times all evening, found Bushe wide open over the middle for a nine-yard scoring pass. The kick failed, but the Tigers led 26‑0 with 4:57 left in the third period.

Massillon went on to score 17 points in the final period ‑ all following the contest’s most controversial moment.

Typically, Barberton was forced to punt, and the short boot sailed towards the Tigers’ Stephens, who plainly signaled for a fair coach. The Barberton defender ran right through the signal and smashed into Stephens while the ball was still in the air, an obvious infraction. But the official call was a fumble, with Barberton recovering the ball! The home crowd let out a long chorus of boos, followed by Massillon’s defense regaining the ball 22 yards the other direction following a 10‑yard sack on fourth down registered by middle guard John Franke!

The Tigers didn’t score with that possession, but the next time they touched the ball it was at Barberton’s 30, following, you guessed it, another short, wobbly punt out of the end zone!

It took the Tigers three plays to score this time, with fullback Tom Gruno rambling in from ten yards out with 8:33 left in the game, followed by a successful boot.

Barberton tried again, but its next effort resulted in a Bill Davis interception, and the Tigers had the ball on the Magics’ 30. This time the Tigers settled for a 27‑yard field goal off the foot of Pfisterer for a 36‑zip lead with 3:35 left.

But the Tigers weren’t through yet. This time Mike Galant picked off a pass, the Tigers fourth theft of the evening, setting up Ivan’s final score as the Tiger reserves pushed the Magics all over the field.

The key to the game was reflected in the final rushing totals ‑ the Tigers racked up 265 yards on the ground, Barberton a mere 54.

After the game, all the Tiger running backs pointed to the dominance of the Tiger offensive line, consisting of the likes of Ty Beadle, Darrell Strickling, Tim Sweterlistch, Charles Calhoun, Rick Hamit, and others.

“They just kept opening hole after hole,” said Bushe, the Tigers’ game rushing leader. “If anyone should get the credit tonight, it’s those guys.”

Now, it’s on to next week, when the 6‑0 Tigers will take on the invaders from Pennsylvania, a team from Sharon shameless enough to bill themselves as the Tigers!

M 0
First downs rushing 16 3
First downs passing 3 4
First downs by penalty 1 3
Totals first downs 20 10
Yards gained rushing 270 76
Yards lost rushing 5 22
Net yards rushing 265 54
Net yards passing 78 59
Total yards gained 343 113
Passes attempted 10 22
Passes completed 4 9
Passes int. by 4 1
Yardage on pass int. 36 0
Times kicked 7 1
Kickoff average 53.1 34.2
Kickoff return yards 0 74
Punts 2 6
Punting average 35.0 25.0
Punt return yards 3 0
Punts blocked by 0 0
Fumbles 2 1
Fumbles lost 2 0
Penalties 3 4
Yards penalized 45 51
Touchdowns rushing 5 0
Touchdowns passing 1 0
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Number of plays 55 51
Time of Possession 23:26 24:34
Attendance 9,096

Massillon 7 13 6 17 43
Barberton 0 0 0 0 0

M ‑ Bushe 1‑yard run. (Pfisterer kick).

Jeff Boerner
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1981: Massillon 24, Barberton 26

Magics’ Johnson, Breitenstein star
Mistakes hurt Tigers in 26‑24 defeat

Independent Sports Editor

“God bless Melvin Johnson,” said a Barberton football player in the jubilant Magic lockerroom after their 26‑24 win over the Massillon Tigers Saturday night in the Akron Rubber Bowl.

Johnson had just erased a 24‑20 Massillon lead by returning a kickoff 75 yards for his third touchdown of the game with 2:48 remaining, sending the Tigers down to defeat for the second time in six games before approximately 15,000 fans. Barberton is now 5‑1.

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But Johnson wasn’t the only Barberton player who seemed blessed Saturday night. Quarterback Bryan Breitenstein hit 14 of 18 passes for 295 yards and three scores ‑ two to Johnson and one to Randy Usko.

Despite Barberton’s inspired play, the Tigers were their own worst enemy. Their numerous mistakes kept them from putting the game away early, and even aided Johnson on his kickoff return that won the game.

Twice the Tigers moved inside the Barberton five and failed to score, missing a field goal one time and losing the ball on downs the other time.

And a penalty on the Massillon bench for charging onto the field after Gary Conley caught a 56‑yard touchdown pass from quarterback Rick Spielman to put the Tigers ahead 24‑20 hurt plenty. It forced Tim Manion to kick off from his own 25, and that’s the kickoff Johnson turned into the game‑winner.

All in all, it was a wild and exciting game, with three touchdowns being scored within a 49‑second span late in the game. It was a game that left Barberton coach Rudy Sharkey ecstatic and Tiger coach Mike Currence numb and pale.

“It’s a fantastic win, a great effort,” Sharkey said. “It was a great ball game, I suppose the fans went nuts with that ball game.”

“I don’t know what to tell you guys,” Currence said to the reporters after the game. “We just got beat. That’s all I can comment on. I have no other comments I can make on this team.

“I thought if we had the ball with two minutes to go we could score again. But we put it in the air and it got picked off,” he said.

That was following Johnson’s TD when Barberton’s kickoff went out of bounds and the Tigers got the ball at their own 40 with 2:46 to play.

Spielman went back to pass, scrambled to the left and threw long down field where Scott Murphy intercepted the ball at the 21 yard line. Murphy is the player Conley had beaten on his game‑tying TD play.

“It was a hard game to lose, we had it won three or four times,” Currence said. “We could have won the game, let’s just leave it at that.”

When told by a reporter that it was an exciting game, Currence said: “We’re always a good show, unfortunately we didn’t win tonight. I hope I never see this place again until the playoffs,” he added.

With a 4‑2 record, the Tigers’ playoff hopes are almost nil. And with undefeated Akron St. Vincent coming to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Saturday, the Tigers stand a chance of losing two straight games for the first time since Currence’s first two games as Tiger coach in 1976.

It didn’t start out looking like the Tigers would lose this game, as they took the opening kickoff and marched 78 yards in 17 plays ‑ all running plays ‑ and scored on a three‑yard run by fullback Greg Grimsley with 7:56 gone in the quarter. Manion’s extra point kick was wide right.

But the Magics struck back on the accurate arm of Breitenstein who kept finding wide open receivers all over the Rubber Bowl’s artificial surface.

The Magics traveled 62 yards in five plays with Breitenstein hitting Johnson with a 23‑yard scoring strike. Jeff Sharkey’s kick was wide left and it was 6‑6 with 1:48 to play in the quarter.

A key play in that drive was a 16‑yard pass from Breitenstein to Josh Ferguson. The Magic tailback had leaped high into the air to catch the pass and was hit hard by a Tiger defender from behind almost as soon as he caught the ball. He seemed to lose control of the ball on the way down, but the officials ruled it neither an incomplete pass or a fumble (a Massillon player recovered the ball). They called it a completion, and two plays later Barberton scored.

Massillon got a break when Johnson fumbled a Manion punt at his own 14 early in the second period. The Tigers drove to the Magic three yard when Spielman bootlegged for a first down on a fourth‑and‑two play.

But he was stopped for no gain on a keeper on the next play, and a high pitch to halfback George Roknich resulted in a fumble and an eight‑yard loss. The Tigers ended up trying for a 33‑yard field goal, but Greg Radtka’s kick was wide left with 7:28 on the clock.

Barberton then drove 80 yards in 12 plays with Breitenstein hitting Randy Usko with a two‑yard TD toss at 1:52, Johnson swept left end for two points and a 14‑6 Magic lead.

That drive was aided early on when Massillon’s Sam Clark was called for a personal foul on a dead ball penalty. It gave Barberton 15 yards following a 13‑yard pass completion game. Clark was ejected from the game.

Massillon put together a drive of its own before halftime, as Spielman came out throwing and found halfback Larry Newman for 18 yards and 19 yards. The Tigers had the ball first‑and‑10 at the Barberton 34 with one minute left.

A long pass down the middle to a wide‑open Bob Catlin was slightly underthrown. Catlin slid to make the catch but the ball bounced off his chest, incomplete at the three-yard line.

The Tigers finally settled for a 29‑yard field goal by Manion with 11 seconds on the clock, cutting Barberton’s lead to 14‑9.

Murphy got off a 19‑yard punt the first time the Magics got the ball in the second half, and the Tigers took over at Barberton’s 48.

This time the Tigers struck like lightning, as Roknich followed some great blocking around right end and hotfooted it all the way for the TD with 9:30 to play in the third quarter. Spielman bootlegged left for the conversion and a 17-14 Tiger lead.

Another Magic punt gave the Tigers the ball at the Barberton 45 and they drove to a first down at the Magic four with 4: 10 to play in the quarter.

Grimsley gained three yards to inside the one and it looked like the Tigers might be ready to apply the KO punch.

But Grimsley was stopped for no gain and Spielman got nothing on a third‑down carry. On fourth down, Spielman started moving before he got the snap, and his one‑yard sneak for a TD was negated by a five‑yard penalty.

On fourth‑and‑goal from the six, Newman was stopped after a two‑yard gain.

Following an exchange of punts, Johnson hauled in a 24 yard scoring pass from Breitenstein with 3:37 to play in the game. Sharkey’s PAT kick was short and Barberton led 20‑14.

Newman returned the kickoff 31 yards to his own 44 and Spielman hit Conley with a 56‑yard touchdown pass on the next play with 3:00 remaining. That’s when the Massillon players illegally ran onto the field. After Jim Bushe booted the conversion, the Tigers had to kick off from their own 25.

That’s when Johnson did his thing.

Following Spielman’s interception, the Tigers looked as though they would get the ball back one last time, albeit with 18 seconds remaining and no timeouts left.

In an effort to block the Barberton punt, the Tigers sent in all their fastest players. However, they sent in one player too many, and Newman’s return to the Tiger 40 was negated by a penalty that gave Barberton the ball back and a first down and insured their second upset of the Tigers in four years. They defeated Massillon 9‑7 in the season opener in 1977 in the Rubber Bowl.

Tim Manion
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1980: Massillon 37, Barberton 14

Interceptions help Massillon roll 37‑14
Tigers’ defense keys win over Magics!

Independent Sports Editor

Massillon Tigers did a little tinkering with their defense Friday night, and it paid off with a 37‑14 win over Barberton in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Switching to what Tiger coach Mike Currence called a “4-stack” or “over-shifted 5” defense. Massillon didn’t allow Barberton a first down through first half, then came up with the big play at the right time in the second half to thwart a Magic rally.

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“Massillon made some major adjustments defensively that helped them.” Magic coach Rudy Sharkey said, “They were in a “4‑4” most of the time, and we weren’t really prepared for that.”

Whatever kind of defense it was, Sharkey said his team made it look good because of numerous offensive mistakes.

“We continue to give away the ball every time we’re on the football field Sharkey said, “Of course, you have to give credit to Massillon, they’re tough. But I’ve never seen a team that gives so many games away.” he explained.

“In the first half, we had receivers open all over the field, but they either missed the ball or the quarterback Brian Breitenstein) overthrew them

“I just get so damn frustrated with us giving the ball away and not executing.” Sharkey said.

“I think our defense played a great first halt,” Currence said. “I really felt we upset their tempo and kept them off balance.

“We intercepted them three times and that was a factor.” Currence pointed out. “It was a great morale booster for us.”

Mike Spicer had the first interception, and it set up the Tigers’ first score. Paul Turner, intercepted a pass in the second quarter which Massillon failed to capitalize on, but the Tigers allowed Barberton only 23 total first‑half yards en route to a 21-0 lead.

Barberton rallied, cutting tile lead to 24-14 and appeared ready to get back in the game when Joe Peto recovered a Mike Jones fumble at the Tiger 18 yard line with just over eight minutes to play in the game.

Two plays later, however, junior linebacker Tim Manion picked off a Breitenstein pass at the nine yard line and almost returned it all the way, getting caught from behind at the 33. Six plays later the Tigers added a touchdown to quell the Magic threat.

“Tim Manion has a nose for the ball,” Currence said.

Massillon opened the scoring by capitalizing on Spicer’s interception. They drove 27 yards in six plays with quarterback Dave Eberhart going over from the one with 8:13 showing on the first-quarter clock. Eberhart added the point after for a 7‑0 lead.

The Tigers then drove 56 yards in 12 plays with halfback Mike Jones making a nice catch on a five yard scoring pass from Eberhart. Eberhart booted the point after for a 14‑0 lead with :42 left in the first quarter.

Eberhart missed a 35‑yard field goal try in the second period, but scored on another one yard sneak with 1:25 left in the half. He added the PAT kick for a 21-0 lead.

The TD was set up by a 14-yard point return by Jeff Spicer to the Barberton 38. The Tigers took 10 plays to score with Eberhart hitting halfback Robert Oliver with 17-yard pass on third-and-15 to the Magic 21. Jones also had a fine 10-yard run to the one to set up Eberhart’s scoring run.

When the Tiger offensive attack bogged down in the third quarter. Barberton responded with a 21-yard TD run by fullback John Jones. Massillon was penalized on the ensuing conversion kick, and Barberton elected to go for two from a yard and a half out. But Mike Loretto nailed Jones short of the goal line, and Massillon led 21-6 with 3:31 left in the third quarter.

The Tigers finally got a drive going, and moved from their own 36 to the Magic 25, where a third-down incompletion brought up a fourth-and-seven.

Sophomore Jun Bushe come on to try a 41‑yard field goal, and his line-drive kick was good, making it 24-6 with 11:19 to play. The kick seemed to bring the Tiger bench to life as players ran out on the field to congratulate Bushe, who was making his first appearance in a varsity game.

Barberton hung tough, however, and drove 55 yards in nine plays with Marty Potter hauling in a seven-yard TD toss from Breitenstein with 8:31 to play. Breitenstein then passed to tight end John Trew for the conversion and the Magics trailed 24-14.

The ensuing kickoff sailed into the end zone, and the Tigers took over on the 20. Jones was hit hard and fumbled, with Peto recovering at the 18.

Manion and middle guard Jeff Grove nailed Jones for a two-yard loss, and then Manion picked off Breitenstein’s throw on the next play.

“We had a man wide open and he threw an interception,” Sharkey lamented. “That’s was the big giveaway there.”

Manion returned the hall to the Barberton 33 and the Tigers scored six plays later when halfback Dave Huth ran three yards to paydirt. Eberhart’s kick was good and the Tigers had a safe 31‑14 lead with 3:12 to play.

Barberton took the ensuing kickoff and got a first down on a Breitenstein pass, but then gave up the ball on four straight incompletions from the Tiger 47.

Four plays later, George Roknich dashed 37 yards for the Tigers’ final TD with only :46 left in the game.

The win brings Massillon’s record to 6‑0‑1 and extends the Tigers’ regular‑season unbeaten string to 29 games Barberton falls to 3‑3‑1.

“Massillon has a fine football team, Sharkey said. “You can’t take anything away from them. They can score on anybody. and their defensive adjustments helped them tonight. But I don’t know if it will be enough to help them go all the way or not.”

Currence isn’t worrying about that right now. The game he’s concerned about is next Saturday’s visit to Niles, which has a surprising 3-2‑1 record under former Tiger assistant coach Frank Thomas. The Red Dragons will host Warren Howland tonight.



First downs rushing 14 4
First down passing 3 3
First downs by penalty 1 1
Total first downs 18 8
Yards gained rushing 263 80
Yards lost rushing 11 13
Net yards gained rushing 252 67
Net yards gained passing 57 96
Total yards gained 309 163
Passes attempted 15 27
Passes completed 4 8
Passes intercepted by 3 0
Yardage on passes intercepted 78 0
Times kicked off 7 3
Kickoff average 46.4 52.7
Kickoff return yardage 29 81
Punts 4 6
Punting average 36.3 37.2
Punt return yardage 10 23
Punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 3 0
Fumbles lost 1 1
Penalties 7 6
Yards penalized 64 41
Touchdowns rushing 4 1
Touchdowns passing 1 1
Touchdowns by interception 0 0
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Total number of plays 73 54
Total time of possession 28:06 18:54
Attendance 10,706

BARBERTON 0 0 6 8 – 14
MASSILLON 14 7 0 16 – 37

MASS – Dave Eberhart 1-yard run (Eberhart kick)
MASS – Mike Jones 5-yard pass from Eberhart (Eberhart kick)
MASS – Eberhart 1-yard run (Eberhart kick)
BARB – John Jones 21-yard run (run failed)
MASS – Jim Bushe 41-yard FG
BARB – Marty Potter 7-yard pass from Brian Breitenstein John Trew pass from Breitenstein)
MASS – Dave Huth 3-yard run (Eberhart kick)
MASS – George Roknich 37-yard run (kick failed)

Dave Eberhardt
Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo History

1977: Massillon 7, Barberton 9

‘Breaks, ‘Magics’ ball control stop Tigers
Barberton wins opener 9-7

Independent Sports Editor
“I think we have as good a ball club as they do, but I just don’t think we got the breaks.”

That statement by Massillon Tiger head coach Mike Currence pretty well summed up his team’s 9‑7 loss to the Barberton Magics in the Akron Rubber Bowl Saturday night before an estimated crowd of 18,000.

THE MAGICS used a ball control offense and a stiff defense to avenge a 21-0 defeat to the Tigers last season.

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The Tigers suffered a couple of letdowns in their kicking game and fumbled the ball away, though one fumble was a very questionable call on the officials’ part that stopped the Tigers’ deepest drive of the second half.

Currence said he thought it was a bad call because the pass, to Curtis Strawder at Barberton’s 25 yard line, “touched his hands twice,” meaning he didn’t have possession.

Strawder was hit and the ball bounced away, with Barberton’s Stinker Webb recovering at the Magics’ 28 yard line.

“That was our best penetration of the second half,” Currence said. The play occurred with just over five ‘minutes left in the game.

“THE BREAKS weren’t with us tonight,” Currence said after the game. “We had the chances. We missed a field goal, we fumbled when we weren’t supposed to.You’ve got to give Barberton credit though, they hit us and hit us and hit us again. I didn’t think they could control the ball on us but they did. I was surprised,” Currence said.

The Magics had the ball for 18 of 24 minutes in the first half when they took a 9-7 lead. Final times of possession were 29:58 for Barberton and 18:02 for Massillon.

“We don’t think plays win football games, players do,” Barberton head coach Rudy Sharkey said when asked about the Magics’ offensive performance.

Referring to the Magics’ ball control offense, Sharkey said that hadn’t been his game plan.

“We have a slogan in our lockeroom that says ‘Whatever It Take,’ We were prepared to do what we had to, pass or run. But that defense of Massillon’s was tough,” Sharkey said.

“I FELT very good tonight about our running and passing balance,” he added. The Magics gained 146 yards rushing – 94 by Larry Ricks – and 65 yards passing. Most of the Magics’ passing yards came in key situations, and Barberton’s only score of the night came on a pass to wingback Terry Cameron.

The Tigers scored first in the game, getting the ball for the first time at Barberton’s 38 yard line after a 21-yard punt.

Following an incomplete pass, Richard Cleveland gained nine yards through a big hole up the middle Mike Grove swept left end for 24 yards and a first down at Barberton’s five yard line.

Cleveland carried over left guard to the three and Greg Carpenter went up the middle to the one yard line. Quarterback Brent Offenbecher then scored on a sneak.

Mark Westover booted the extra point and Massillon led 7-0 with 7:35 to go in the first quarter. The six‑play drive took only 1:50.

“I THINK we got a false sense of security,” Currence said, referring to the drive. “We scored so easily, the kids might have thought it was going to be an easy night. It wasn’t.”

Following an exchange of punts, Barberton took over at its 20 yard line with 2:55 to go in the first quarter.

They then drove 80 yards in 16 plays, using up 8:26 on the clock, as Cameron took a pass from quarterback Jeff Finley that was good for 16 yards and the score. Dennis Sellers was wide with the extra point and Massillon led 7-6 with 6:29 to go in the half.

During the drive, the Magics converted first downs three times on third down and once on fourth down.

Following a touchdown on the kickoff, Massillon. took over on their own 20. Offenbecher lost five yards attempting to pass and Cleveland lost a yard.

ON THIRD down and 16. Cleveland gained two yards on a draw but the Magics were called for a late hit and were assessed a 15‑yard penalty.

However, despite the fact that it was a dead ball foul and the Tigers’ did not get the down over, the officials stepped off the penalty from the line of scrimmage and did not count the two yards gained by Cleveland.

This proved crucial because it because it put the ball on the Massillon 29 and made it fourth and one. Had the Tigers been given credit for the two‑yard gain, it would have been a first down.

The Tigers elected to punt, and Westover kicked the ball off the side of his foot out of bounds for a net three‑yard punt.

Barberton took over at Massillon’s 32 and drove to the 23. On a fourth and one play, the Magics were called for offsides and they faced a fourth and six from the Massillon 28.

FINLEY THEN bit Dave Peters with a 12‑yard sideline pass to give the Magics a first down at the Massillon 16. Three plays later. Barberton called time out with 50 seconds left in the half. They faced a fourth and three situation at the nine yard line.

Sellers entered the game and split the uprights with a field goal from 27 yards out to give Barberton a 9 7 lead with :46 showing on the clock.

Following an 18-yard kickoff return by Tom Gehring the Tigers took over on their own 40.

Offenbecher hit Strawder with a 14-yard pass on second down to give Massillon a first down at Barberton’s 46 with :28 left. After a pair of incomplete passes, Offenbecher found Bob Grizzard at the Barberton five yard line and the Tigers called time out with three seconds to go in the half.

Westover attempted a field goal from the 12 yard line, but the kick was blocked.

BARBERTON’S ball-control offense and hard hitting defense made the 9-7 lead stand for thr rest of the game.

The Tigers did play the game without the services of Mark Pringle, their top receiver.


“But we should be able to have depth enough to fill in,” Currence said.

“It was just a damn good ball club we played, You can’t expect to run over a team like Barberton.” he added.

Statistically. Barberton only outgained the Tigers 211-202 in total yardage and the Tigers had 12 first downs to 11 for the Magics.

HOWEVER, Barberton controlled the ball and made no turnovers, while Massillon lost two fumble, and one interception.

Ricks carried the ball 22 times for the Magics for a net total of 94 yards to take game rushing honors. That was 34 yards more than the entire Massillon team gained.

The Tigers will open their home season Friday night against Gahanna Lincoln at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

First downs rushing 5 8
First downs passing 7 3
First downs penalties 0 0
Total first downs 12 11
Yard, gained rushing 96 155
Yards lost rusting 38 9
Net yards gained rushing 60 146
Net Yards gained passing 142 65
Total yards gained 202 211
Passes attempted 16 9
Passes completed 10 5
Passes intercepted by 1 0
Yardage on passes intercepted 0 0
Times kicked off 2 3
Kickoff average (yards) 45.5 42.3
Kickoff returns (yards) 26 0
Times punted 4 4
Punt average (yards) 36.5 25.8
Punt return (yards) 0 0
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 5 2
Lost fumbled ball 2 0
Penalties 4 9
Yards penalized 38 73
Touchdowns rushing 1 0
Touchdowns passing 0 1
Touchdowns by interception 0 0
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Total number of plays 42 55
Total time of possession 18:02 29:58

Bengals stumble 9-7

Repository Sports Writer
AKRON – “We got a slogan up in our locker room,” Barberton head football coach Rudy Sharkey said Saturday night.

“It just says, ‘Whatever it takes.’”

All it took against Massillon was a ball-control drive and a 27 yard field goal as the Magics pulled a 9-7 win out of their hats before 20,000 Rubber Bowl onlookers.

Asked what his team had in its arsenal to offensively combat Massillon’s “run and shoot” attack, Sharkey said, “We don’t think plays win games, players do and the players won tonight.”

Barberton controlled the ball for 29:56 of the contest, including 18 minutes in the first half when all 16 tallies were put on the scoreboard.

The Magics did it with a little bit of everything, outgaining the heralded .Tigers 146-60 and adding 65 more yards passing for a 211-202 total offense advantage.

Tailback Larry Ricks led all ground gainers with 94 yards in 22 carries, while Massillon’s Mike Grove gained 47 yards in six trips.

“I didn’t think Barberton could control the ball on us, I really didn’t,” Massillon Coach Mike Currence said.

“I was surprised.”

“We did so well in our scrimmages that it probably hurt us,” Currence added. “We got a false sense of security in our abilities.”

Poor punting accentuated first half play. Barberton received the opening kickoff and was stopped on downs by the Tigers. The Magics Ken Bates then lofted a 21-yard punt which Massillon’s John Letcavits caught at the Barberton 38.

After an uncompleted pass, Richard Cleveland bolted for nine yards and Mike Grove raced 24 yards to the Barberton five. Three plays later Brent Offenbecher vaulted in from one yard out for the initial score. Mark Westovers’ conversion kick made it 7-0.

The Magics showed great ball control in a 16 play, 80-yard drive that consumed 8:26 with qua, rterback Jeff Finley passing to Terry Cameron 16 yards to cut the margin to 7-6 as Dennis Sellers’ point after try was wide to the left.


Sellers redeemed himself only after Westover shanked a three-yard punt off the side of his foot, landing out of bound on the Massillon 32. Seven plays later, Sellers booted a 27-yarder through the uprights for a 9-7 lead with 46 seconds left in the half.

But Offenbecher, who completed only one of 11 passes in part time duty as a sophomore last season, bettered his 1976 totals with a pair of passes for 55 yards that took the Tigers to the Barberton five with three seconds remaining.

But Westover’s 22-yard three point attempt was blocked and things remained as status quo.

In the second half, the Tigers advanced as far as the Barberton 38-yard line with 5:10 left when Offenbecher hit Curtis Strawder with a 10-yard pass reception. Hit hard, Strawder caughed up the football and it was covered by Booker Webb at the 38.

Massillon got a final opportunity with 2:35 remaining starting at its own 14.

Three completions by Offenbecher moved the ball to the Tigers’ 47. But on the third completion Grove fumbled and Karl Niehaus fell on the pigskin to douse the Tigers’ hopes of avoiding a second straight season-opening loss.

“The breaks weren’t with us tonight,” Currence remarked. “We had a call go against us on the pass to Strawder.

“It touched big hands twice, but the officials called it a fumble.”

Currence noted that the failure of the Tigers’ kicking game and pointed out the pregame loss of Mark Pringle affected the Tigers, “Although we should have had enough depth to fill in.”

“You have to give Barberton credit-they hit us and hit us again.” Currence stated. “We just got the jitters out there.”

Did the Tigers sustain any other injuries that would affect next week’s home game against Granaha Lincoln?

“Yes, our feelings are hurt,” Currence said solemnly. “We’ll have trouble trouble coming back next week,”

Tigers, Magics lineups

Quarterback: 14 Brent Offenbecher (Jr, 6 0, 167);
fullback: 28 Richard Cleveland (Jr., 5 11, 185);
halfbacks: 44 Mike Grove (Sr., 5 9, 175), 33 Greg Carpenter (Sr., 6 0, 208), 45 Jeff Beitel (Jr., 5 7, 150);
ends: 20 Mark Pringle (Sr., 6 1, 182 ), 86 Bob Grizzard (Sr., 5 5, 150), 80 Curtis Strawder (Jr., 5 10, 147), 87 Eric Clendening (Sr., 5 10, 174);
tackles: 75 Tim Daniels (Sr., 6 8, 260), 78 Mark Namany (Sr., 6 4, 210), 73 Bob Kovacsiss (Sr., 5 11, 246);
guards: 65 Bob Berquist (Sr., 5 10, 195), 61 Toby Leonard (Sr., 5 8, 183);
center 50 Dick Lutz (Sr., 6 1, 212).

Ends: 85 David Engler (Sr., 5 9, 190), 52 Frank Sweterlitsch (Sr., 6 1, 193);
Tackles: 68 Tony Matie (Sr., 6 1, 218), 39 Jerry Shafrath (Sr., 6 1, 214);
Middle guard: 59 Carl Dorsey (Sr., 5 10, 192);
Linebackers: 62 Kurt Walterhouse (Sr., 5 11, 187), 47 Steve Dottavio (Sr., 5 9, 212);
monster back: 27 John Letcavits (Sr., 6 1, 172);
safety: 21 Marc Longshore (Sr., 6 1, 182);
halfbacks: 22 Mike Hickey (Sr., 5 10, 171), 11 Darren Longshore (Jr., 6 0, 165)
Kicker; 15 Mark Westover (Sr., 6 1, 218).

Quarterbacks: 7 Jeff Finley (Jr., 5 10, 168);
fullback: 42 Ron Gable (Jr., 5 10, 198);
Wingback: 48 Terry Cameron (Sr., 6 2, 167);
Tailback: 47 Larry Ricks (Jr., 5 10, 190);
Ends: 25 Dave Peters (Jr., 5 11, 158), 1 Booker Webb (Jr., 5 8, 144), 84 Brian Sutton (Jr., 6 0, 178);
tackles: 51 Tim Phillips (Sr., 6 2, 210), 74 Chuck Rowland (Sr., 6 6, 260);
guards: 69 Gary Bradford (Jr., 5 10, 172), 68 Joel Campbell (Sr., 6 1, 178), 67 Mark Friedman (Jr., 5 10, 185);
center: 50 Dan Ozbolt (Jr., 5 11, 182).

Ends: 44 Dave Wood (Sr., 5 11, 174), 80 Bob Genet (Jr., 5 11, 174);
tackles: 72 Mike Jones (Jr., 6 0, 205), 71 Bob Hill (Sr., 6 2, 197);
middle guard: 96 Robert Delaney (Sr., 5 8, 156);
linebackers: 61 Dan Baker (Jr., 5 11, 174) 43 Karl Niehaus (Sr., 6 2, 195);
free safety: 1 Webb;
strong safety: 48 Cameron;
defensive halfbacks: 37 Marcus McKinnie (Sr., 6 2, 182), 22 Tim Scott (Sr., 5 10, 158).
Kickers: 88 Dennis Sellers (Sr., 6 2, 195), 47 Ricks, 89 Ken Bates (Sr., 6 2, 182).

33rd meeting, Massillon holds series edge with 26-5-1 record.

Tim Daniels