TIGERS STUMBLE Mistakes costly in loss to D-IV No. 1 Big Red
By Chris Easterling Independent Sports Editor
STEUBENVILLE You can’t make mistakes and expect to beat most teams. Make mistakes against a very good team, and you’re giving yourself no chance to win.
Massillon made mistake after mistake Friday night at Steubenville. The result was exactly what one would expect it to be, as the Tigers were beaten 48-21 by Big Red – the No. 1-ranked Division IV team – in front of a near-capacity crowd at Harding Stadium.
“We just couldn’t get out of our own way tonight,” said Massillon coach Nate Moore, whose team falls to 1-3 with a home game against Toledo Bowsher on Friday. “We just couldn’t do it.”
The Tigers turned the ball over five times on the night, including four in the first half alone.
The last of those first-half giveaways was a 58-yard interception return by Steubenville’s Jeremy Blue that gave Big Red a 35-7 halftime lead.
It’s the largest halftime deficit for Massillon since it trailed St. Ignatius 49-0 in Week Six of the 2008 season.
That was one of two pick-6s for Steubenville. Dujuan Jones had a 67-yard return that made it 42-7 Big Red with 1:07 left in the third quarter.
“Everybody’s making mistakes,” Moore said. “Attention to detail has to be better.”
In the last three games, the Tigers have turned the football over 13 times. In the last two games, Massillon has seen five of its turnovers turned into opposing points. The interesting thing was, it was a 14-7 Big Red lead midway through the second quarter after Keyshawn Watson took a pass and outran the defense for a 59-yard catch-and-run from Seth Blankenship. That score was set up when Jeff Koch stepped in front of a Steubenville pass in the end zone for an interception.
That was one of the few big plays Massillon’s offense could muster. The Tigers, after posting 548 yards on 90 plays in a 48-41 loss to Warren Harding last week, finished with 366 yards on 61 plays Friday night.
Watson also had an 18-yard touchdown run with 10:19 left to make it 42-14. Austin Jasinski also caught a 70-yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth to make it 42-21.
Big Red responded after the Tigers pulled within seven in the second quarter with a quick four play drive, the final 46 of those coming on a Dimitri Collaros-to-Niko Petrides touchdown pass to make it 21-7 with 6:28 left in the ‘half. Petrides got behind the Tiger secondary and ran essentially untouched into the end zone.
It was one of two such scoring catches for Petrides in the first half. He scored Steubenville’s first touchdown on a 20-yard catch on post pass on its first drive, Petrides had all six of his catches for 124 yards in the first half.
Collaros hooked up Charles Reeves for a 53-yard touchdown to make it 28-7 Big Red with 1:17 remaining in the half. That score was set up after Steubenville recovered a Tiger fumble at the Big Red 18.
Collaros finished the first half with 253 passing yards, completing 15-of-25 attempts. For the game, he was 16-of-26 for 264 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.
Steubenville finished with 436 total yards. Johnnie Blue, who had a 5-yard touchdown run in the first quarter for a 14-0 Big Red lead, finished with 167 rushing yards on 21 carries.
“They were close to 50-50 (run-pass coming into the game),” Moore said. “I thought we were a little better in the run game than we have been in the past. That was probably a factor.”
Steubenville also recovered a squib kick that hit the back of a Massillon player after Reeves’ touchdown. That drive was stopped on downs at the Tiger 37, but Big Red would get the pick-6 to change the scoreboard right before half.
Massillon gets physical, stays unbeaten with win over Steubenville
Chris Easterling Chris.Easterling@IndeOnline.com
MASSILLON It’s not how you start, but how you finish. Or, if you were Massillon on Friday night, it’s both how you start and how you finish.
The Tigers jumped out on visiting Steubenville to a two-touchdown first-quarter lead. Then after Big Red had threatened in the second half, Massillon came up with the necessary drives — and points – to keep them at bay in a 26-13 win at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
“Everybody knows we both play physical football,” Massillon coach Jason Hall said after the state’s No. 1-ranked Division II team improved to 5-0. “You expect momentum shifts in this game. I thought we put a drive together when it counted. … Our kids, when it counts in the fourth quarter, they come through.”
When it counted most, the Tigers hitched their wagon to their running game. Specifically, they hitched it to running back J.D. Crabtree.
Crabtree took over in the fourth quarter, which started with Massillon nursing a 23-13 lead.
That’s when the senior battering ram gained 48 – on 10 carries – of his game-high 127 yards.
It may not have resulted in any touchdown drives, but it took time off the clock.
“Coach Hall came out and said that they said we were the less-physical team here and they were going to come out and be too physical for us,” Crabtree said. “I think we all took that to heart. Our goal was to come out strong in the first quarter and hit them hard.”
Massillon had 90 rushing yards in the fourth quarter, and finished with 201 net yards on the ground. Austin Jasinski also had a big 44-yard run on the Tigers’ next-to-last drive that moved the ball from the Tiger 12 to the Big Red 43.
That drive, the final scoring drive of the game, ended with an Andrew David 26-yard field goal with 2:45 remaining. It was one of two second-half field goals by David, who also hit a 42- yarder with 1:21 left in the third quarter to provide Massillon with a 23-13 advantage.
Those were the Tigers’ only two scores of the second half. They had started it with a 20-7 lead.
“It’s the biggest weapon, if not the country, then the state,” Hall said of David.
Massillon set itself up for a big finish by flying out of the gates with its best start of any of its four games against American competition. After a first-possession three-and-out, the Tigers put the ball in the end zone on both of their next two drives.
The first one was set up by their defense, when Malek Jackson picked off a Steubenville pass and returned it inside the Big Red 15. Three plays later, Danny Robinson caught a 9-yard screen pass from Danny Clark to give Massillon a 7-0 lead with 8:20 left in the first quarter.
A nice punt return by Jasinski – plus a Big Red penalty – put the Tigers in business on their next drive at the Steubenville 16. This time, it took four plays to reach the end zone, with Crabtree scoring from 12 yards out for a 14-0 lead with 5:27 left in the quarter.
Steubenville (4-1) finally cracked the scoreboard when Niko Petrides caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Dimitri Collaros with 8:19 left in the half to cut it to 14-7. It was one of two scoring strikes for Collaros, who finished 17-of-30 with 225 yards.
The other Steubenville score came on the first drive of the second half, a 15-play, 80-yard march that milked 5:17 off the clock. It ended on a 30-yard pass from Collaros to Charles Reeves.
Robinson had Massillon’s other touchdown, a 6-yard run with 5:48 left in the first half. It came on the drive immediately following Steubenville’s first score.
“The one thing about these guys, they like to compete,” Hall said. “They don’t get worked up; I get more worked up than they do. They adjust, they keep working.”
Steubenville did have a couple of chances to add points to its total. Big Red drove to the Tiger 10 – trailing by 10 – early in the fourth quarter, but was stopped on downs.
After Massillon pushed its lead to 13 late in the fourth, Steubenville drove to the Tiger 20. That possession ended on three incomplete passes into the end zone with under 1:50 remaining.
STILL PERFECT Tigers handle adversity to escape Death Valley
By CHRIS EASTERLING Independent sports editor
STEUBENVILLE Massillon had plenty of reason to feel like things weren’t going to go its way in Friday’s visit to Steubenville’s Harding Stadium.
The Tigers battled turnovers. They battled a rugged Big Red team. They fought the flags.
Yet, when push came to shove, Massillon shoved the hardest. And that’s why the Tigers picked up their first win at Steubenville since 1977 – with a 29-year hiatus in there – with a 37-21 win over Big Red to improve to 5-0 on the season.
“It’s crazy; it’s a beautiful thing,” Massillon running back Lyron Wilson said. “We’re the first team to beat them in how long? … It was a great game for us.”
And that great game for the Tigers was in large part because of Wilson’s running. The senior rushed for 234 yards on 24 carries, and scored three times, the last with 3:54 remaining after a crazy a sequence.
“We handled adversity,” said Wilson, who also credited fellow running back J.D. Crabtree, who ran for 55 yards and a score on eight carries. “We scored down there three times, and they called all but one of the touchdowns back. We just fought and kept running; the line blocked their tail off. I just ran for everything.”
That third score came after the Tigers had two other scores or near scores called back by penalty. After the second, it sent head coach Jason Hall into near-hysterics on the sideline, as he rushed at the officials.
Hall’s frustration arose from a night where the Tigers had 14 penalties for 92 yards. Five of those came on that final scoring drive.
“I just told our kids to keep playing,” Hall said. “We had to handle some adversity. They just kept playing. I may have lost my cool a little bit.”
The Tigers found themselves in a dogfight until the fourth quarter because of those flags, which self-destructed several drives. They also turned the ball over three times. Massillon only led 16-14 at halftime, and just 23-21 entering the fourth quarter.
Steubenville also helped, with three turnovers of its own. Both teams also gave the other team good field position with bad punt snaps.
Massillon, which had first-half leads of 2-0, 9-0 and 16-7 before a late first-half score by Steubenville, took control of the game on the first play of the fourth quarter. Facing fourth-and 1 from the Big Red 4, freshman Danny Clark play-faked and then spun around to the left and hit Beau Huffman for a four-yard touchdown and a 30-21 lead.
The Tigers scored on three of its four meaningful second-half possessions, prior to three kneeldowns at the end of the game. Crabtree had a 5-yard scoring run on the first drive of the second half for a 23-14 lead, a five-play, 45-yard march that was all runs by the Tiger running back.
“That’s just how we do it,” Wilson said. “That’s how we do it. That’s exactly how we do it.”
Steubenville, which scored on a 1-yard Robert Hayden run and a 10-yard Mandela Lawrence Burke to Kair McClurg pass in the first half, scored its final touchdown on a 10-yard Dimitri Collaros-to-Lucas Herrington pass to make it 23-21 with just over four minutes remaining in the third quarter.
MASSILLON Jason Hall wanted to see his Massillon Tigers do something Friday night they really hadn’t done since the season opener – come flying out of the gates to start a game.
Hall got his wish, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Tigers scored three first-quarter touchdowns to establish the momentum early in a 24-7 win over previously-undefeated Steubenville at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
“Our kids came out ready to go,” Hall said after his team improved to 4-1. “We sputtered a little bit in that game. Our defense played really well in that game. My hat’s off to them; I’m proud of them. We just kept coming.”
Three weeks earlier, in the Tigers’ first “really big game” of the season against GlenOak, they came out flat. The result was a 20-3 deficit in the fourth quarter that ultimately resulted in a 26-24 loss to the Golden Eagles.
There was no such flat start on this night. In fact, Massillon could not have scripted a better start in its second “really big game” of the season.
“GlenOak, we came in and everybody was pumping us up and we just got big-headed,” Tiger running back/linebacker Kentrell Taylor said. “Ever since that loss, it hit us hard. We told ourselves we haven’t done anything yet; we have to prove ourselves. Anybody can beat us when we don’t play our game.”
The Tigers scored on the game’s first possession, with Kyle Kempt hitting Gareon Conley for a 21-yard touchdown pass just 1:36 into the contest. Kempt was 4-for-4 on the drive for 71 yards, with two passes going to Conley for 51 yards.
Massillon’s defense made its first stop of the night on Big Red’s first possession. Marcus Whitfield initially bobbled the ensuing punt around the Massillon 19, but recovered, made a pair of initial defenders miss and then raced 81 yards for the touchdown as the Tigers went up 14-0 with 7:08 remaining in the first quarter.
“I was looking at the ball, and I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, it’s my first punt return,’ ” said Whitfield, who scored his first varsity touchdown on the play. “I dropped the ball, then picked it up and just started running and was trying to figure out what I was going to do. I just saw a hole and I started running and my teammates all just started blocking for me. The next thing you know, I was in the end zone.”
Kempt hit Tonn for a 24-yard touchdown pass with 3:52 left in the first quarter to make it 21-0.
A play earlier, Tonn kept the drive alive when he hit Ryan Rambo for a 31-yard completion on a fake punt, setting Massillon up with a first down at the Big Red 24.
Asked how long he had been waiting to run the fake, Hall said, “I don’t know; a couple of weeks.”
Massillon’s final points came with 10:42 remaining when Anthony McCarthy – handling all the kicking chores due to an injury to Andrew David – booted a career-long 42-yard field goal to make it 24-7.
“At first I thought I missed it; I thought it was short,” McCarthy said. “Next thing I know, Brody’s jumping on me. … I couldn’t believe that ever happened to me.”
The lone Steubenville score came on a one-play, 9-yard scoring drive – a touchdown run by Dashon Redman. A bad snap on a Massillon punt, and the subsequent shanked kick and return set up Big Red with the short field.
A recovered pooch kick by Steubenville after the score gave Big Red the ball at Massillon’s 37.
But that drive ended with no points, as Steubenville finished with just 143 total yards of offense.
STEUBENVILLE The last time the Massillon Tigers ventured into Steubenville’s infamous Death Valley, they struggled to match Big Red’s physicalness in a 10-point loss. Friday night, they traveled back down to the Ohio River looking to show things were going to be much different on this trip.
Instead, it was Steubenville that once again proved to be the aggressor for much of the game, sending the Tigers home with a 24-7 defeat in front of a sellout crowd in Death Valley.
“They outplayed us on the offensive and defensive line,” said Tiger coach Jason Hall after his team saw its six-game win streak snapped as they fell to 7-2.
“They hit some big plays, which affected us. It seemed like every time we did something, we would do something to shoot ourselves in the foot. We didn’t play a consistent football game. Offensively, we didn’t do anything tonight.”
The Tigers held to just 106 total yards on 39 plays, and just five first downs for the night. Where it was even more pronounced was in the running game, where Massillon was held to just eight yards on 18 carries.
“To beat somebody who’s as tough as you, you have to come out and fight them,” said Steubenville coach Reno Saccoccia, whose team improved to 9-0 as he picked up his 300th career win. “That’s what I tell our kids. You have to be able to go toe-to-toe, nose-to-nose with them. We couldn’t out-athlete them tonight. We couldn’t do that. … Our game plan against a team better than us is we have to be tough.”
BIG RED PULLS AWAY That showed itself most dramatically in the fourth quarter, when Steubenville turned a 10-7 lead into a 24-7 advantage with a pair of long scoring drives. The first drive, a 14-play, 78-yard drive, was capped with JoJo Pierro’s 2-yard plunge at the 5:50 mark of the fourth quarter.
On the subsequent kickoff, Big Red recovered the kickoff at the Tiger 47. This time, it took seven plays to grind out the score, with Pierro’s 3-yard scoring burst making it a 17-point Steubenville edge with 2:27 remaining.
Massillon would run just five plays in the fourth quarter, and none until the 2:26 mark of the quarter.
A year ago, Steubenville’s six turnovers helped give Massillon a big 21-point win. In Friday’s rematch, an early Tiger turnover helped put Massillon in an early hole.
On the third play of the game, Big Red’s William Houst bull-rushed his way in to wrap up the quarterback. As he was making the tackle, he managed to strip the ball away as well to give Steubenville the ball at the Massillon 31.
“He didn’t have a lot of big plays, but he had a lot of pressure plays,” Saccoccia said of Houst.
Six plays later, Big Red had the lead as Marcus Prather hit Najee Murray perfectly in stride on a slant pattern for a 15-yard scoring strike. The point-after try gave Steubenville a 7-0 lead about four minutes into the game.
BIG REDS PRESSURE The ability to keep the Big Red defenders out of the backfield played a huge role in why the Tigers were unable to get a consistent offense going, especially in the first half. Massillon’s first two possessions were derailed by sacks, while even when it was able to get a pass play off, its quarterbacks endured a pounding.
“They got consistent pressure on us, and we didn’t capitalize on any of it,” Hall said. “They had a gameplan to put pressure on us. They were successful.”
On the Tigers’ lone scoring play, Kyle Kempt was hit as he delivered a 13-yard touchdown pass with 1:32 left in the half. Harrison had to make a slight adjustment against the defender in the end zone in order to come back for the football and the catch.
Harrison’s scoring catch, though, only put Massillon in a 10-7 deficit. Big Red had taken a 10-0 lead just about two minutes into the second quarter on a 28-yard Luke Smith field goal.
Massillon’s ability to force turnovers in the first half helped it to keep the Big Red offense from adding to its lead. The Tigers managed to record a pair of fumble recoveries prior to the half, once at the Massillon 11 and another at the Tiger 43 after a reception.
For the game, Steubenville would finish with 367 total yards. Of that, 176 would come on the ground.
Now, Massillon must turn its attention right away to another team clad in red and black, archrival McKinley. And all that game may hold is the Tigers’ playoff chances.
“We’ve got to refocus and get ready for a big game next week,” Hall said.
MASSILLON, OH — For almost a year, the Massillon Tigers lived with the memory of their trip to Steubenville. They remembered the way Big Red pushed them around the field and exerted their will in handing them as crushing a loss the Tigers would experience in 2009.
On Friday night, in the confines of their own home stadium, the Tigers got their chance to rid themselves of those painful memories of a rainy night on the river. And exorcise those memories they did as the Tigers rolled to a 28-7 win over previously-undefeated Steubenville in front of a raucous crowd of 11,540 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
“We had this one circled since we lost to them last year,” said Tiger receiver Devin Smith, who had 121 yards on four catches with a pair of touchdowns.
“We wanted redemption back from them. That was the biggest thing this week, getting our redemption back. We wanted to show them what Massillon football was all about.”
A year ago, it was Big Red who was the aggressor, the one who was the bully taking the lunch money. On Friday night, Massillon was the one to establish the tone of the game.
The Tigers did so from the very first play as Anthony McCormick – wearing Alex Winters’ jersey number – took a lateral and hit Smith for a 76-yard touchdown pass. All of 14 seconds into the game and Massillon had a lead it would never relinquish.
“I didn’t even let him (McCormick) know he was wearing that (Winters’ number) until about an hour before the game,” Tiger coach Jason Hall said. “It was just a situation where we were able to catch them off guard with it and we were able to take advantage of it.”
Steubenville would try to follow the same blueprint it used in beating Massillon last year – and has used for years against various opponents. Big Red took up 12 plays on their first possession, then another 16 yards on the second.
And ended up with nothing to show for either.
The first ended in a quick kick at the Tiger 44. The second ended on a Tyler Allman interception at the Massillon 1.
Allman’s pick would be one of six Big Red turnovers on the night, including three straight in the second quarter. Massillon turned those turnovers into 14 points – the first a 13-yard touchdown run by Kentrell Taylor, who finished with 99 yards on 20 carries, for a 14-0 Tiger lead late in the second quarter.
The other came on a 42-yard Seth Nalbach interception return for a score in the third quarter.
“It’s backbreaking, because I’ve been on the other side,” Hall said of the turnovers. “Offensively, it’s hard to get momentum if you’re turning the ball over every time you get going. Our defense really put them in position where they really couldn’t get rolling tonight. They couldn’t establish a rhythm because of the things we were doing.”
Steubenville finished with 321 yards of offense, 278 of those on the ground. But Big Red could only convert 5-of-16 third-down tries, while going for it seven times on fourth down, converting four.
“We set the tone defensively,” Hall said. “I can’t praise our kids and our coaches defensively enough. Our kids just never gave up. We forced some turnovers, punishing them when they had the ball. That’s Massillon football. That’s what we expect.”
Big Red would put their only points of the game on the board when JoJo Pierro ran for a 24-yard touchdown 1:15 into the second half to cut it to 14-7. Pierro finished with 193 yards on 33 carries.
While Steubenville owned the first possession of the third quarter, the Tigers owned the rest of the quarter. Massillon struck on a 36-yard scoring pass from Kyle Kempt to Smith and then on Nalbach’s pick-six.
“It really felt good, just getting back at them and having them get that feeling that we had last year,” Smith said.
Steubenville rules first meeting with Massillon since 1978
CHRIS EASTERLING The Independent
It was the irresistible force against the immovable object on a soggy Friday night in Steubenville.
On one hand, you had the Massillon Tigers, who were looking to bounce back from last week’s loss at St. Ignatius. On the other hand, you had the Steubenville Big Red, who were looking to extend their regular-season win streak to 67 games and their home win streak to 59 games.
And when push came to shove in front of an overflow crowd approaching 11,000 inside Harding Stadium, it was Big Red who shoved the hardest, handing Massillon a 13-3 defeat in the first game between the two programs since 1978.
The difference in the game came on the ground, where Steubenville outrushed Massillon 208-35, led by Dwight Macon’s 81 yards rushing. That helped Big Red put together drives of 17, 13, 13 and 11 plays on four of their seven possessions.
“Obviously, they have some athletes and we wanted them to march the field, and they did,” said Tiger coach Jason Hall, whose team will take a 5-2 record and a two-game losing streak into next week’s home game against Warren Harding. “They had success. Their third-down conversion rate, it had to be up there. It seemed like every time they needed seven yards, they got sevenand-a-half yards. Their kids executed tonight.”
It marked the first win for Big Red over Massillon since 1962. It was also just the fourth win ever for Steubenville over the Tigers, who hold a 37-4-2 edge in the series.
“It was a beautiful night,” said Steubenville coach Reno Saccoccia, whose team is 7-0. “The win made it beautiful, but it was a great night other than that. … (Massillon is) a good football team.”
Steubenville controlled the line of scrimmage throughout the first half – a precursor for things to come – and a big reason why Big Red took a 7-3 lead into the locker room. Big Red was able to amass 135 yards of offense to Massillon’s 72 in the initial 12, and a big portion of those yards – 108, to be exact – came on the ground.
The first 26 plays Steubenville ran were running plays, with six different Big Red players carrying the ball.
“I felt that our kids played physical and they were persistent,” Saccoccia said. “Not everything went our way, but we were persistent. In a game like this, a three-yard gain isn’t bad.”
Massillon’s defense continued its recent struggles to stop the run, which helped Steubenville – after an initial three-and-out – put together a pair of double-digit-play drives. The initial one, which started at the Big Red 36, took 17 plays.
However, with the Massillon defense backed up on its own 1, facing third down, the Tigers managed to get a push up front, disrupting a handoff and causing a fumble, which Massillon recovered in the end zone for a touchback two plays into the second quarter.
The next time Steubenville got the ball, Massillon wasn’t so fortunate. Starting from their own 44, Big Red marched 13 plays down and after 26-straight runs to start the game, Steubenville All-Ohio quarterback Dwight Macon showed off his arm. He completed 4-of-6 passes over the final seven plays of the drive for 28 yards. The final play was a 7-yard strike to Trey Wiggins, who walked into the end zone untouched with 3:15 left in the half and a 7-0 Big Red lead after the point after.
“You have to read your keys,” Hall said. “I guess every kid is trying to get up there to make a big play. They had some playaction stuff. They did a good job.”
Massillon’s offense, meanwhile, struggled to get any sort of consistency going. After getting 12 yards on their first two plays, the Tigers would net 16 yards on their next two possessions – both three-and-outs.
The Tigers, however, got some life on their final drive of the half after Big Red’s pooch kick went out of bounds, giving them the ball at their own 46. Massillon would pick up a fourth-and-1 play when Clayton Mattox rumbled for four yards, and Robert Partridge hit Bo Grunder on a sliding 19-yard grab down to the Big Red 4.
But Massillon – which was called for a false start with just over three seconds remaining – would have to settle for a 26- yard Jeremy Geier field goal as the first half expired to cut the deficit to 7-3.
“Anytime you have to settle for a field goal instead of a touchdown, it’s disappointing,” Hall said. “It is huge. One thing I can promise, we’re going to work on our red-zone offense this week.”
Steubenville’s control of the game’s pace continued after thebreak. Big Red marc hed 62 yards in 13 plays, with Macon hitting Anthony Pierro for an 11-yard touchdown and a 13-3 lead with 1:37 left in the third.
Massillon would have one final try to get back into the game as the Tigers drove to the Big Red 1 with just over six minutes left. But Steubenville’s Anthony Pierro intercepted a pass on third down in the end zone to seal the Big Red victory.
“We don’t score on the 1-yard line,” Hall said. “It’s the little things like that that we just have to get back to work on.”
Jeff Beitel ad Brent Offenbecher accounted for all four Massillon touchdowns as the Tigers overcame a tortoise‑like Steubenville offense and downed the Big Red 27‑0 Friday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
It was the Tigers’ third straight All‑American Conference win and raised their overall record to 6‑0 while the Big Red fell to 2‑4 (1‑2), Beitel scored touchdowns in the first and third quarters and Offenbecher scored a TD in the second period and passed to Marty Guzzetta for a score in the final quarter.
Beitel gained 102 yards on 14 carries and Offenbecher completed 11 of 15 passes for 114 yards.
“They controlled the ball on us,” Tiger head coach Mike Currence said after the game. The Big Red had the ball for 27:24 while the Tigers had it for 20:36.
“But they were taking so much time on every play that I got nervous. I couldn’t believe what the count was on, he (Big Red quarterback Craig Klein) had a long cadence,” Currence explained.
“I wasn’t pleased with not having the ball, I felt like they were keeping our offense on the sideline and that’s what they wanted to do,” he added.
The Big Red managed six first down in the first half and that allowed them to maintain possessions of 5:10, 4:08 and 6:23 despite penetrating no farther than the 49-yard line.
Meanwhile, the Tigers scored the first time they had the ball and added their second TD just before the half on only their third Possession of the game.
Despite the Big Red’s ability to control the ball, Currence couldn’t fault his defense, which recorded its second straight shutout.
“When the defense had to do it they did it,” he said.
The Tiger defense allowed nine first downs ‑ all rushing ‑ and while they gave a up 133 yards on the ground, they held the Big Red to zero yards passing on four attempts and Darren Longshore intercepted one a those.
Longshore’s interception came on the second play of the fourth quarter. It was also the second play of the Big Red’s shotgun formation which saw Roger Robinson in at quarterback.
Neither team lost a turn a fumble, but the Tigers allowed the Big Red into their territory for only one play, and that was called back by a penalty.
Steubenville coach Jerry Harris was not displeased with his team’s performance.
“It was just a matter of Massillon playing a better game,” he said. “Considering the athletic ability of our kids, I thought we played a good game.
“And Massillon is very impressive. The only way you’re going to beat Massillon is for Offenbecher and his receivers to have a bad night. But it’s not just Offenbecher, he gets good protection from his offensive line.
“And they’re a well coached team. I’ve seen bigger teams this year that won’t do as well as Massillon. I’m impressed,” Harris repeated, “but we’re pleased with or kids.”
“They took some thinks away from us,” Currence elaborated. “They took the throw cut away but they gave us the out. It was just a matter of us taking down the defensive end of executing. He was hoping we wouldn’t be able to do that.”
Unfortunately for the Big Red, the Tigers did manage to execute that play. Offenbecher’s 11 pass completions were also spread around to five receivers. Curtis Strawder caught four passes for 52 yards, Guzzetta caught three for 23, Ron Wright hauled in two for 18, Jeff Beitel caught one for six and his brother Bill had one for 15. Beitel, Offenbecher key 6th straight win Steubenville took the opening kickoff, picked up two first downs rushing and punted.
Starting at their own 28 yard line, the Tigers drove 72 yards in seven plays with Jeff Beitel breaking a trap play up the middle for 20 yards and the score. He made a nice cut to the left after breaking through the line and scampered into the end zone untouched. Once there, however, a Big Red player was called for a late hit and the 15‑yard penalty was assessed on the following kickoff, putting the Big Red in the hole.
Ron Wright’s kick had given the Tigers a 7‑0 lead and Mike Hodgson’s kickoff (from Steubenville’s 45) was a knuckleball that was downed by the Big Red at their own eight.
They managed one first down and punted to the Tiger 44.
After a first down, Offenbecher was sacked for an eight‑yard loss. The Tigers then tried a shotgun of their own, with Offenbecher hitting Jeff Beitel with a six-yard pass on third down. It wasn’t enough for the first down, however, and the Tigers punted.
Steubenville drove from its own eight out to the 49, and Tom Gardner’s punt on fourth down squirted off the side of his foot and went out of bounds at the Tiger 42 with only 3:25 left in the half.
Offenbecher hit Wright for 10 yards and a first down, Strawder for eight and Beitel rushed 17 yards for a first down at the Big Red 23.
A pass to Strawder netted 11 yards. Offenbecher kept right for four and Jeff Beitel was stopped for a one‑yard gain.
On third and five at the seven, Offenbecher hit Guzzetta at the one yard line. He sneaked over on the next play for a score with 45 second left in the half. Wright’s kick gave the Tigers a 14‑0 halftime lead.
The Tigers took the kickoff to open the second half and drove to the Steubenville three yard line where they lost the ball on downs.
Following a Steubenville punt, the Tigers drove 56 yards in seven plays with Jeff Beitel sweeping right end for the last seven yards. He dove over Big Red defender Dale Taylor at the goal line and landed in the end zone. Wright’s kick was good and the Tigers led 21‑0 with 1:04 to go in the third period.
Following Longshore’s interception ‑ his fourth of the season ‑ the Tigers took over at the Steubenville 33 and drove to paydirt in eight plays.
Offenbecher hit Guzzetta with a six‑yard pass on a down and out pattern in the right corner of the end zone with 7:41 to go in the game. Guzzetta made nice diving catch of the third down pass. Wright’s kick was blocked and Massillon ended the night with 27 points as Currence went to his bench for the final minutes.
The Tigers totaled 18 first downs, and despite not being able to control the ball they ran 53 plays to 47 for Steubenville.
The Tigers will host Jackson next Friday at 8 P.M. in Tiger Stadium and Steubenville will entertain Columbus Eastmoor.
Mass. Opp. First downs – rushing 11 9 First downs – passing 6 0 First downs – penalties 1 0 Total first downs 18 9 Yards gained rushing 179 159 Yards lost rushing 12 26 Net yards gained rushng 167 133 Net yards gained passing 117 0 Total yards gained 284 133 Passes attempted 12 4 Passes completed 12 0 Passes intercepted by 1 1 Yards on passes intercepted 0 2 Times kicked off 5 1 Kickoff average (yards) 45.0 40.0 Kickoff returns (yards) 19 53 Times punted 1 5 Punting average (yards) 46.0 24.6 Punt returns (yards) 8 0 Had punts blocked 0 0 Fumbles 1 1 Lost fumbled ball 0 0 Penalties 3 8 Yards penalized 35 90 Touchdowns rushing 3 0 Touchdowns passing 1 0 Touchdowns by interception 0 0 Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0 Total number of plays 53 47 Total time of possession 20:36 27:24 Attendance: 10,281
Steubenville 0 0 0 0 0 Massillon 7 7 7 6 27
M ‑ Jeff Beitel 20 run (Run Wright kick); M ‑ Brent Of Offenbecher 1 run (Wright kick); M ‑ J. Beitel 7 run (Wright kick); M ‑ Marty Guzzetta 6 pass from Offenbecher (kick blocked).
Tigers crush Steubenville 41-22 Big Red scores on two blocked punts
By DENNY J. HIGHBEN The Tigers blasted Steubenville out of its own stadium Friday, 41-22, in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicates.
The Massillon air commandoes combined for 237 yards on 12 completions and two touchdowns and the ground attack accounted for 162 yards. Steubenville had a scant 15 net yards rushing and 99 passing – 64 of which came on a fourth-quarter touchdown pass that gave the Big Red its only offensive points of the game.
STEUBENVILLE’S two other touchdown came in the fourth period on runbacks of blocked punts.
Tiger coach Mike Currence was so pleased with the team’s performance even the blocked punts didn’t bother him to any noticeable degree. Only one thing got to Currence – a third-quarter brawl that eventually contributed to the blocked punts.
We did everything well except we didn’t hold our tempers well. That ruined my whole night,” he said, and added that he didn’t feel the fight was the fault of the Tigers but it still shouldn’t have occurred.
The brawl took place on the Tigers’ second possession of the third quarter. On the first play, from Massillon’s 27 yard line, quarterback Ron Wright threw an incomplete pass to end Mark Pringle and Pringle was roughed up out of bounds. The Big Red was tagged for a personal foul and on the next play, from the 32, halfback Mike Grove took a reverse ran to the left and a battle erupted on the right. Steubenville ‘s middle guard, Jerome Holmes, started some “unsportsmanlike conduct” with Tiger center Dick Lutz: Lutz retaliated and for a few moments many of the players and several officials were knotted up around Massillon’s 40 yard line.
The end result was that both Lutz and Holmes were ejected from the game and each team was called for a personal foul.
“HAVING LUTZ ejected definitely hurt us, and I thick Steubenville was offsides on both of the blocked punts,” Currence said.
The Big Red defenders were extremely fast in getting to the punter and the snaps from junior center Scott Kasunick were not as accurate as Lutz’s, slowing up the punter. The first punt, by Wright, was blocked with 9:18 left in the final period and Steubenville defensive back Buzz Bell scooped up the ball at Massillon’s 22 and ran it in. Quarterback Greg Taylor pitched to Chris Mills and he scored the two-point conversion, making the score 35-8.
Steve Michalak, Big Red’s kicker, put the ball in the end zone on the ensuing kickoff and the Tigers were stalled on their 29 after a penalty and two incomplete passes. Mark Westover attempted to punt but it was blocked and linebacker Selmond Johnson picked the ball up as it bounced backwards and trotted five yards for the TD. Taylor tried to run in for the conversion but was stopped short and the score was 35-14 with 7:04 left.
Grove then took the kickoff at Massillon’s nine and ran past the 25. As he was being tackled an enthusiastic teammate grabbed him and dragged him to the 32, and the Tiger were flagged for illegally advancing a runner.
Wingback Greg Carpenter and fullback Richard Cleveland ran the ball from the 17 to the 28 yard line. Wright passed to end Curtis Strawder for 13 yards but the play was wiped out by a procedure penalty.
WRIGHT THREW a pass over the middle on the next play to Grove. The pass was a bit too high but Grove made a fantastic one-handed catch to give the Tigers a first down on their 42 yard line.
Two plays later Wright found Carpenter open in the same area and connected on a pass that Carpenter carried down to Steubenville’s 19. Wright followed that up with a touchdown pass to Strawder in the deep left corner of the end zone. Wright’s pass for the conversion was no good and the Tigers were on top 41-14 with 3:14 left.
Big Red ended the scoring when Taylor, on third-and-four at the Steubenville 36, couldn’t find anyone open downfield and passed to running back Terry McKinney at the line of scrimmage. McKinney weaved his way through Tiger tacklers and went the distance. Bernard Stevenson ran a sweep to score two points, making it 41-22.
Steubenville coach Bill Bohren said of the blocked punts. “We go after them all the time and we do it as good as anyone in the league. We’ve blocked four so far this year and had 13 last season.” He added that his charges were penalized six times for roughing the kicker in one game while trying to block punts. Assessing the entire game, he said, “it gave us a lift.”
The Tigers built a 35-0 lead before the fourth quarter fireworks. They got on the board before some Tiger fans had found parking spots around the stadium.
THE FIRST score came on a 60-yard drive that was highlighted by a 27-yard pass from Brent Offenbecher to Strawder and a 20-yard pass from Offenbecher to Grove. Five plays later Cleveland punched in from the three. Westover kicked the conversion and the Tigers were on top 7-0 with 8:27 left in the first period.
Stevenson ran the kick-off back to his 40 and the Big Red marched to the Tiger 27. On first down Stevenson was tackled for a two-yard loss, and Big Red was called for clipping. That put the ball on the 44 and Stevenson and Taylor were thrown for losses on the next two plays, which killed the only semblance of a drive Steubenville had all night.
The Tigers started from their 20 on the next series and after four plays and two penalties, were staring at a second-and-23 at their 12 yard line. Cleveland took the ball on a draw and rambled 29 yards and Offenbecher followed up with a 13-yard pass to Mark Pringle. Two plays later the junior quarterback hit Grove for a 43-yard scoring strike and Cleveland ran in the two- point conversion with 11:18 left in the second quarter.
Fifty-four seconds later, the Steubenville quarterback was hit as he pitched wide and defender Mike Hickey grabbed the ball and ran 22 yards for a touchdown. Westover’s kick made it 21-0.
The Tigers started their last scoring drive of the half on their own 32. They moved to the Big Red two yard line in seven plays, with Offenbecher hitting Pringle with two passes, Strawder with one, and Grove charging 26 yards on a double reverse. Carpenter took the ball in from the one with 2:23 left and Westover’s kick made it 28-0. The 28 points equaled the amount Steubenville’s defense had surrendered in the first live games of the season combined.
THE TIGER faithful got a scare on Massillon’s first possession of the first period when Offenbecher pitched to Cleveland and was flattened. He lay motionless for a few moments, then peeled himself off the turf and walked to the sidelines. Wright went in and handed off to Carpenter over right tackle and he went 26 yards for the score. Westover added the kick and with 7:11 left in the third and the score at 35-0, the stage was set for the wild fourth period.
Currence said Offenbecher appeared to be alright after a few moments but the coach decided to keep him out and Wright did a great job for the rest of the game. Offenbecher finished the night with eight completions on 12 attempts, 153 yards and a touchdown. Wright completed four of eight for 84 yards and a touchdown. Pringle and Grove each caught four passes, Strawder pulled in three and Carpenter caught one.
Currence also applauded the defense for an out standing job. “Our defense stopped them on that first drive and that gave us a psychological boost.”
And after that first drive, there were none. The Tiger defenders nailed Big Red runners for 50 yards in losses, Dan Venables intercepted a pass, Hickey returned a wayward pitch for a score and he also intercepted a pass, but the play was wiped out by a penalty.
Coach Brunei was impressed by the Tiger defense but he was overwhelmed by the offense. “That’s a super offense. If you don’t get to Offenbecher you’re done because he is a very skilled athlete and he has great receivers. I’d say Massillon has the best offensive football team in the state.”
MASSILLON, now sporting a 5-1 record, Bonds powerful Columbus Eastmoor next Friday night for the WHS homecoming. Steubenville 2-4 hosts city rival Steubenville Central next Saturday.
Friday’s contest was the second All-American Conference game for both teams. Massillon is 2-0 in the league and the Big Red is 0-2.
GRIDSTICK M S First downs rushing 10 3 First downs passing 10 1 First downs penalties 1 2 Total first downs 21 6 Yards gained rushing 178 65 Net yards gained rushing 162 15 Net yards gained passing 237 99 Total yards gained 399 114 Passes attempted 20 8 Passes completed 12 3 Passes intercepted by 1 0 Yardage on passes inter. 0 0 Times kicked off 7 4 Kickoff average (yards) 48.3 49.5 Kickoff returns (yards) 45 122
TIGERS Offense 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), 80 – Curtis Strawder (Jr., 5 10, 147), 86 – Bobby Grizzard (Sr., 5 5. 150), 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), 66 – Ken Nagle (Sr., 5 10, 191); center: 50 – Dick Lutz (Sr., 6 1, 212).
Defense Ends: 85 – David Engler (Sr., 5 9, 190), 51 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, 173); safety: 21 – Marc Longshore (Sr., 6 1, 182); halfback: 22 – Mike Hickey (Sr., 5 10, 171), 11 – Darren Longshore (Jr., 6 0, 165). Kicker: 75 – Mark Westover (Sr., 6 1, 218).
BIG RED Offense Quarterback: 9 – Greg Taylor (Sr., 5 11,185); fullback 25 – Lennoe Brown (Jr., 6 0, 180); halfbacks: 31 ‑ Bob Rush (Sr., 5 11, 190), 32 – Bernard Stevenson (Jr., 5 11, 170); ends: 80 – Dan Constanitine (Sr., 5 11, 150), 81 – Mike Lockett (Sr., 6 3, 210); tackles: 76 ‑ Mark Vulekic (Sr., 6 1, 230), 78 ‑ Bob Hays (Sr., 6 1, 253); guards: 51 ‑ Rusty Lewis (Sr., 5 10, 180), 62 Sam Petrides (Sr., 5 11, 190); center: 50 ‑ Frank Prolago (Sr., 6 0, 165).
Defense Ends: 81 ‑ Lockett, 54 – Ken Wilson (Jr., 5 11, 185); tackles: 78 – Hays, 75 – Bruce Biggio (Sr., 6 0, 220); middle guard: Jerome Holmes (Jr., 5 11, 170); linebackers: 60 – Anthony Baldin (Sr., 5 10, 175), 40 – Selmond Johnson (Jr., 6 0, 185); safeties : 35 – Jimmy DeFrank (Sr., 5 10, 165), 14 – Brian Bell (J r., 5 9, 145); halfback: 22 ‑ Terry Creech (Sr., 5 10, 160), 12 – John Maltese (Sr., 5 10,150)
“Massillon does every everything well,” said Steubenville Football Coach Bill Bohren Thursday. “I don’t think there is a team in the state which could do as well as the Tigers.”
Bohren was asked to evaluate tonight’s All‑American Conference opponent at Harding Stadium. Massillon comes to Steubenville with a 4‑1 log while Big Red is 2‑3. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.
“We’ve had a good chance to look at some films,” added Bohren, “and they don’t really have any weaknesses.”
Big Red has, as usual, been working hard all weak for tonight’s invasion by the Tigers, the rivals meeting for the 41st time with Massillon holding a commanding 35‑3‑2 edge in the series.
“I just look at the difference in that series and it really surprises me,” continued Bohren. “It shouldn’t be like that…but it is.”
The players are apparently looking at this game the same as they did any other this year. “In the past, the week of the game, the boys are usually jabbering away like crazy about the Tigers, but this week it seems to be a low‑key approach. Maybe that’s the way it should be. There’s no reason we can’t beat this team.”
There will be a few lineup changes for Big Red tonight, Dave LaRue, a 180‑pound junior, moves in as fullback for Lennie Brown while junior Terry Mckinney starts at one of the halfback slots opposite Chris Mills.
Asked if he planned anything different for tonight’s game , Bohren said no, “but, we would like to get a little more balance in our offense. We’ve got to make their defense respect us.”
As for Big Red’s defense, Bohren voiced pleasure with that group’s effort. “Our defense has been playing as well as we expected it to play,” continued Bohren. “They haven’t given up that many points. We’ll have to be alert tonight, though, to stop Massillon’s big play offense.”
“Our offense was expected to do great things this year,” said the Big Red mentor, “but it just hasn’t materialized. We need better performances from our line so that we can shake our backs loose.”
The usual large crowd is expected for tonight’s game. The only tickets available are general admission in the end zone for $3.
One only has to spend a few minutes answering my phone here on Tuesdays to find out things are getting fairly difficult in making these selections.
Just when it’s felt we’ve got everything figured out, there’s a few surprises along the way. However, we’re strugging now at a .723 percentage with 94 correct and 29 wrong. There’s been a few ties thrown in.
Just hoping to keep above the dreaded .700 level, here we go again.
MASSILLON AT BIG RED ‑ Look for a hard‑hitting defensive battle between these rivals. I’d like nothing better than to see Big Red turn the trick here, but everything points to the Tigers. MASSILLON 14, Big Red 6.
Big Red No. Wgt. POS. 80 Dan Costantini 145 SE 76 Mark Vukelic 230 LT 61 Kevin King 240 LG 50 Frank Prolago 165 C 62 Sam Ferrules 190 RG 78 Bob Hay 250 RT 81 Mike Lockett 210 TE 9 Gret Taylor 190 QB 21 Chris Mills 165 LH 10 Terry McKinney 170 RH 33 Dave LaRue 180 FB
DEFENSE E –Luckett, 81, Wilson 54. T ‑ Hays, 78, Pearce 74. NG – Holmes, 66, LB ‑ Johnson, 41, Baldwin, 60. DB ‑ Bell, 14, Maltese, 12, DeFrank, 35, Creech, 22.
Massillon Wgt. No. 150 Curt Strawder 80 210 Mark Namanny 78 180 Toby Leonard 61 212 Dick Lutz 51 195 Bob Berquist 65 260 Tim Daniels 75 196 Mark Pringle 20 170 B. Offenbecher 14 208 Greg Carpenter 33 176 Mike Grove 44 185 D. Cleveland 28
DEFENSE E ‑ Sweterlitsch, 52, Engler, 85. T ‑ Shofroth, 39, Matie 68. NG – Dorsey, 59. LB ‑ Dottavio, 47, Walterhouse, 62. DB ‑ Letcavits, 27, Longshore, 11. M.- Longshore, 21, Hickey, 22.
“The best Steubenville team in many years will be coming here tonight,” Washington High School’s popular football skipper said.
A crowd of about 10,000 is expected to watch the Big Red (4-1, 1-0) and the Tigers (3-2, 1-0) battled in an All-American Conference game at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Plenty of good tickets are still available, according to WHS ticket officials. Windows at the stadium will open at 6:30.
ALSO IN action tonight will be Alliance (4-1, 1-0), tied with the Tigers and Big Red for first, hosting Warren (3-2, 0-1). Canton McKinley (2-3, 0-1) will be at Niles McKinley (4-1, 0-1) on Saturday night.
When told that the Steubers haven’t scored on the Tigers in seven of the last eight games, Currence replied, “That’s very unusual. I think this Steubenville team is going to be a different kind of a ball club.”
The last time the Big Red came here 4-1 was in 1974. Last year they were 3-2. Both times Massillon won.
The 1972 team came in 5-0 but the Tigers won 12-0.
“Steubenville was seventh ranked this week in the Associated Press Poll,” Currence said. “This is another in a series of high ranked teams coming in – the fourth in six weeks.
The Big Red was not ranked in the Top Ten in the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s Region 3 computer poll released Thursday. Massillon was in the 10th spot.
“THE STRENGTH of the Big Red is their defense,” Currence said. “They have eight players returning. In one film I watched their defense get a touchdown. They literally took the ball away and scored.”
“Bill Bohren has put a lot of his good kids on defense and plays three kid both ways. We’re hitting a year when everybody has a lot of players back.”
Currence picked middle guard Darrell Soloman (5-9, 205), linebacker Dave Medich (6-2, 225), tackle Mark Fahey (6-1, 230) and end Tony Zatta (6-0, 190), all seniors, as the toughies. The key to stopping the offense appears to be halting junior fullback Bob Rush (5-11, 175), the AAC’s leading ground gainer.
“He is very quick in hitting the holes and he does well on the quick pitch,” Currence said. “I watched him on film tear Youngstown North apart. He’s like Cleveland Benedictine’s Bob Conwell.”
CONWELL AVERAGED 2.4 yards, picking up 77. Rush has averaged 5.2 yards, picking up 516.
“Steubenville has not thrown much – only 19 times – Currence expects the Big Red to put the ball into the sky only if they are forced to. Power control is their game.
“They have some good play action passes and the quarterback (Sam Baldwin) puts the ball right on receivers’ chests,” Currence said. “They have dropped some good passes.”
But the Tigers have worked hard on pass defense this week because of misreading tendencies that have shown up. The skipper doesn’t want to get beat by one pass thrown at the right time.
The specialty teams have come in for some hard work too.
“I WAS disappointed with those units last week,” he said. “They weren’t real sharp and ready to field the ball.”
One change will be made in the Tigers’ starting defensive alignment. Junior Tony Matie (6-0, 210) will get his chance because of an outstanding performance against Cleveland Benedictine last week.
At stake in this game is the Mayor’s Bucket Trophy. If the Tigers win, the prize will stay here because the Orange and Black will have won it three straight times.
Tigers beat Big Red 10-0 for first shutout
By CHUCK HESS, JR. Independent Sports Editor
To borrow a trick of the old TV show, “The Wild, Wild, West,” it was “The Night of the Pass” Friday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
Before 13,891 fans, the largest crowd to see the Tigers play this season, the Tigers combined their best passing performance with a sixth straight week of outstanding defense and downed the Steubenville Big Red 10-0.
THE WIN gave the Tigers undisputed possession of first place in the All-American Conference with a 2-0 mark. Alliance’s loss to Warren Harding Friday night gave the Aviators, Black Panthers and Steubenville 1-1 marks. Canton McKinley and Niles McKinley, both with 0-1 slates, play at Niles tonight.
Friday’s win was the fourth straight for Washington High School after the Orange and Black lost its first two games. Steubenville dropped to 4-2, had a two-game win streak scissored and was shut out for the first time this season.
Tiger quarterback Bret Traylor, improving with every game, completed nine of 16 passes – his best effort – for 117 yards. One went for an 11-yard first quarter touchdown to end Bob Grizzard.
The Tigers rushed for 100 yards against a huge Steubenville defense.
The “Tiger Claw Defense” meanwhile held the Big Red to 76 yards on the ground and 54 in the air. Steubenville quarterback Sam Baldwin was able to complete only two of eight attempts as the Big Red lost their seventh straight game to the Tigers and their 12th in the last 13 years.
The 1969 contest, played at Steubenville, ended in a scoreless deadlock.
BY WINNING Friday night, the Tigers retired the Mayor’s Bucket Trophy with three wins.
Even though the Orange and Black’s passing game was a key to winning, Coach Mike Currence was not ecstatic about it. He was, however, very pleased again with the “Tiger Claw Defense.”
“It was the best passing we’ve done, but we dropped some we should have caught,” Currence said. “When Bret (Traylor) gets the ball to them, the least they ought to do is catch it. And then when we caught it we fell down with it. The kids could have walked into the end zone a couple of times.”
Because Steubenville was giving the Tigers the perimeter game and preventing them from running there, Currrence felt the game would have been a lot closer had the passing side of it not gone as well as it did.
About the defense, Currence enthused, “It was great! It was the best we’ve played! I thought they put some pressure on us from the ends.”
CURRENCE WAS unhappy that the Tigers had drives stopped at the Steubenville 30, 32 and nine-yard lines.
“I don’t know whether they tightened up or we didn’t execute,” Currence said. “We’ll have to analyze it and see what happened.”
On a second quarter drive which was cut short, Steubenville linebacker John Adams batted down a fourth down pass intended for halfback Mike Grove, thus negating a 44-yard pass-run from Traylor to end Mark Pringle. On an aborted third quarter drive 12 and 16-yard Traylor to Grove pass-run went out the window. And then Traylor was tossed for a one-yard loss on fourth and one.
In the fourth quarter a 35-yard Traylor to Grove pass-run went down the drain when Traylor was thrown for a five-yard loss on fourth and eight. The first drive followed a touchback from a punt, the second, a Steubenville fourth down try which was short by inches, and the third a punt.
THE TIGERS’ only touchdown came with 4:26 left in the first quarter and was their first welcome canto score of the season. Steubenville was called for roughing Westover on his third down punt from the end zone. The Tigers rolled for 82 yards after the 15-yard penalty for the score and Mike Hardwick booted the conversion.
A 27-yard Traylor to Grove pass-run, with Grove running 19 yards and a 25-yard Traylor to Jay Harper pass-run, with “The Jaybird” flying 23 of those yards, were keys in the drive as was Rich Cleveland’s 11-yard run.
“My player told me we had a piece of that punted ball,” said Steubenville Coach Bill Bohren. “Therefore, it’s not roughing.”
The Tigers got what Currence called a big break on the drive which resulted in a field goal. Steubenville punter Steve Michalak kicked from his end zone, Tiger halfback Anthony Grizzard muffed the ball and the Big Red’s Bernard Stevenson recovered it on his 39.
But back judge Bill Kalapodis inadvertently blew his whistle. By a rule change this year the ball had to go back to the previous spot for a re-kick.
“I KNEW he had blown the whistle and he wasn’t going to call it but the other guy heard it,” Currence said.
Bohren said, “It took the ball away from us and gave it to Massillon on our 30.”
On the second punt Grizzard made a fair catch and seven plays later Hardwick kicked his 20-yard field goal from an angle to the right with 10:10 left. Cleveland’s eight-yard run and Grove’s 13-yarder helped set the boot up.
Steubenville threatened twice in the second stanza, the first time going 52 yards following Randy Laase’s kickoff. Tweetie Brown ran back 15 yards and quarterback Sam Baldwin and end Dan Constantini added a 44-yard pass-run to the effort.
Dave Medich tried a 41-yard field goal kick. It fell short.
Defensive end Tony Zatta blocked Westover’s punt from the Massillon 31 later in the period. Bohren wanted to try a field goal with time running out but Medich broke a shoe lace, the Big Red was out of time outs and Baldwin was unable to throw the ball out of bounds off a sprint to stop the clock.
THE BIG Red got to the Tigers’ 32 in the third quarter but tailback Billy Ware failed, by inches, to make three yards on fourth down.
“He tried an option and got ahead of the stick but they brought the ball back,” Bohren said. “He got knocked down parallel to the line of scrimmage.”
Currrence said, “I thought he hit and bounced ahead.”
After a punt late in the fourth quarter Steubenville started a drive which was aborted when Randy Lash intercepted a pass and ran back 29 yards to the Massillon 49. The Tigers got to the Big Red 31 before the clock ran out.
Bohren thought his Steubenville team played well enough on defense to win but did not play well enough offensively.
Steubenville fullback Bob Rush, the leading ball carrier in the All-American Conference, was held to 67 yards in 16 carries, his third lowest total of the season. Massillon’s Rich Cleveland, the No. 2 man, was held to 42 yards in 15 carries, his lowest total.
Steubenville 0 0 0 0 0 Massillon 7 3 0 0 10 SCORING SUMMARY M – Bob Grizzard, 11 pass from Bret Traylor (Mike Hardwick kick); M – Hardwick, 20 field goal.
OFFICIALS Referee – Al Francesconi. Umpire – Nick Frascella. Head Linesman – Milo Lukity. Field Judge – Frank Wahl. Back Judge – Bill Kalapodis.
ATTENDANCE – 13,891.
GRIDSTICK M S First downs rushing 5 6 First downs passing 7 1 First downs penalties 1 2 Total first downs 13 9 Yards gained rushing 128 121 Yards lost rushing 28 45 Net yards gained rushing 100 76 Net yards gained passing 177 54 Total yards gained 277 130 Passes completed 9-16 2-8 Passes intercepted by 1 0 Yards on passes Intercepted 31 0 Kickoff average (yards) 3-42.3 1-40.0 Kickoff returns (yards) 0 49 Punt average (yards) 2-39.0 4-31.0 Punt returns (yards) 1 0 Had punts blocked 1 0 Fumbles 2-5 5-1 Yards penalized 4-47 6-43 Touchdowns passing 1 0 Total number of plays 52 56 Total time of possession 20:27 27:33