Moeller topples Massillon 35-19 Tigers unable to come back in second half;
By TODD PORTER Repository sports writer
MASSILLON ‑ It was throwback night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Saturday night. A lot of old memories were brought back, but they left after the halftime show.
Including the way a Massillon High School football team is supposed to play the game they cherish here. At least for two quarters, the Tigers played their best half of the season.
The Massillon Tigers were kicked into gear to start the game, but Cincinnati Moeller came out in the second half and kicked them in the teeth.
The Crusaders handed Massillon its fifth loss of the season in winning 35‑19 in front of’ an inflated crowd announced at 11,518.
There were members of’ Chuck Mather’s 1948‑54 teams on the field before the game. They even formed a tunnel for the Tigers to run through.
The Tiger Swing Band took on the look of George “Red” Bird’s bands, the famed band leader while Paul Brown coached here.
That was enough to inspire Massillon for a half; unfortunately, there are two halves in a football game.
“We made a few adjustments, nothing major, but we started running to our trips because they walked off their (weakside) linebacker to that side,” Moeller head coach Steve Klonne said of’ his team’s second‑half effort.
Massillon gained less than 100 total yards in the second half, while Moeller ran off 266 and outscored the Tigers 27‑12.
The Tigers took points off the board on the opening drive of’ the game. Massillon took the ball to the Moeller 15, where Brett Marshall made a 32‑yard field goal. However, the Crusaders were called for roughing the kicker and the Tigers had the first‑and‑goal at the 7. Two plays later, though, Massillon fumbled the ball on a bad handoff and Moeller recovered.
That was not doom.
The Massillon defense forced Moeller to punt. The real Tigers came out this time.
Jason Jarvis returned the punt 17 yards to the Massillon 46. Running back Marc Cleveland was split right in a slot position, went in motion to the left, and took the handoff from junior quarterback Dave Irwin. Cleveland gained 39 yards and the Tigers had the ball inside the Moeller 20 at the 14.
Fullback Ron Lynn took a trap play, broke a tackle at the line, and scored from 14 yards out to give Massillon a 7‑0 lead with 2:04 left in the first quarter.
As good as Irwin was in his first varsity start, he was not perfect. He was sacked on a third‑and‑18 play from the Massillon 20 and Moeller’s John Oscar recovered at the 27.
But Irwin turned in perhaps the best performance of the year for a Massillon QB. He has spent the entire season as the starting junior varsity QB and running the scout team offense.
Massillon had a slim chance to take the lead before halftime. Defensive back Jamie Allman intercepted a Moeller pass inside the Tigers’ 10 and returned it to midfield. However, Massillon was out of timeouts and had less than a minute to score.
A sack and delay of’ game penalty ‑ after Massillon stopped the clock by spiking the ball on third down ‑ squashed any chances of’ a late first‑half touchdown.
Moeller set the tone in the second half when sophomore Marcus Blanks took most of the snaps at tailback. The Crusaders needed eight plays to go 65 yards and score after the second‑half kickoff. On four of’ those plays. Blanks gained 10 yards or more. He had runs of 14, 22, 16 and 10.
Brian Reisert scored on a keeper from a yard out and Moeller led 15‑7.
The Crusaders tacked on another TD in the third quarter. while Massillon could not respond.
“I think the first touchdown took a little wind away from them” Klonne said. “I think the second score is what put them away.
“Massillon’s offense got better from last week, and their defense has always been good. I think if you look at what (head coach Rick Shepas) is working with, and what he’s trying to do … you just need to be patient with them.”
How do you coach heart and effort when the game is on the line?
More than 40 minutes after the game. Massillon head coach Rick Shepas, whose team is 3‑5 for the first time since 1931, was not made available for comment.
Moeller 0 8 14 14 35 Massillon 7 0 0 12 19
MAS ‑ Lynn 14 run (Marshall kick) MOE ‑ Hughes 3 run (Hughes run) MOE ‑ Reisert 1 run (Murphy kick) MOE ‑ Reisert 16 run (Seuberling kick) MAS ‑ Irwin 8 run (pass failed) MOE ‑ Jackson 10 pass from Reisert (Seuberling kick) MOE ‑ Ryan 25 pass from Reisert (kick failed) MAS ‑ Miller 77 kickoff return (pass failed)
Team statistics Rushing: Moeller 47‑281, Massillon 27-115.
When it was gut‑check time, the Tigers laid it on the line against Cincinnati Moeller Saturday night in The Repository Game of the Week.
The unlikeliest of heros ‑ a second‑string fullback ‑ led the top‑ranked Tigers to a 20‑15 win over perennial pain‑in‑the‑neck Moeller.
Junior fullback Dave Hodgson broke a 74‑yard trap play that hit Moeller like a sledgehammer as the Tigers defeated the Crusaders for the second year in a row in front of 13,102.
“I never would have expected (Hodgson) would be the guy that decided this game,” Massillon head coach Jack Rose said. “Dave has some speed. It was an unbelievable run.”
Beating Moeller finally gave Massillon the “L” it has been searching for: Legitimacy.
“It seems like we haven’t gotten a lot of respect lately,” said Rose, whose players noticed they were 6‑3 underdogs in The Repository.
“I think they deserve it,” Moeller head coach Steve Klonne said. “Rankings are rankings and they don’t mean a thing unless you play like the No. 1 team in the state come the playoffs.”
The win against No. 7 Moeller will assure Massillon of keeping its No. 1 ranking by the Associated Press. Depending how Massillon’s opponents did over the weekend, the win should help the Tigers in their quest to break Cleveland St. Ignatius’ computer‑point record of 450.45 last year. The Tigers should have close to 300 with two weeks left to play.
The victory all but assures Massillon of a playoff spot, too. It didn’t come easy, though.
It was a game of momentum swings and emotional highs and lows.
When it looked like Massillon fans would have to sit through the final two minutes of torture and possibly watch one of those famous Moeller comebacks, the Crusaders ended that nightmare.
Massillon’s Eric Lightfoot punted to the Crusaders with less than three minutes to play. However, Moeller’s Tony Hamilton had already fumbled away one punt in the first half.
He did it again when the gamer mattered most.
“I really feel sorry for the play,” Klonne said. “It happened to him twice. We win as a team and we lose as a team. We had a lot of mistakes.”
Moeller fumbled the ball five times and lost three of those. The two teams combined for eight fumbles in a constant mist.
Not rain, snow, nor a brick wall could have brought down the 5‑foot‑8, 180‑pound Hodgson.
Hodgson took the trap handoff, which had been very successful against Moeller all night, broke three tackles near line of scrimmage, and outran Moeller to the end zone.
“I’m the second‑string fullback,” Hodgson said, “there wasn’t anything or anyone that was going to stop me once I got going. I really had myself believing I could run through a brick wall.”
Massillon didn’t do itself any favors as soon as the game started. On the first play from scrimmage, Tigers’ tailback Christian Morgan fumbled at the Massillon 14.
Moeller took a 6‑0 lead when Tom Pucke scored from a yard out. The PAT was blocked.
“That’s not the kind of start we had in mind,” Rose said.
Massillon then put together an 11~play‑drive that stalled at the Moeller 49. After a Massillon punt, the Crusaders had the ball in their own 5. Three plays later, Massillon defensive back Josh Kreider picked off a Ryan Cooper pass at the. seven and took it in for the first Massillon score. Josh Hose’s PAT gave Massillon a 7‑6 lead.
Massillon took a 13‑9 lead when the Tigers silenced a gambling Moeller defense that sent defensive ends almost every play. Massillon quarterback Ben Hymes, sprinted to his left, and handed off to tailback Elijah Blake, who took the sprint draw play 35 yards for the Tigers’ TD. That drive took Massillon all of 28 seconds to go 73 yards.
Moeller’s Pucke also had field goals of 32 and 45 yards that made the score 13‑12 Massillon at halftime. He nailed a 46 yarder that had plenty of distance in the fourth.
“I have to give our defense a lot of credit,” Rose said. “They won this one.”
The Massillon defense held Moeller to 240 total yards, 96 in the second half.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a lot,” Klonne said. “Massillon deserves credit. They were opportunistic.”
at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Cincinnati Moeller 6 6 0 3 15 Massillon 7 6 0 7 20
Mo ‑ Price 1 run (kick failed) Ma ‑ Kreider 10 interception return (Hose kick) Mo ‑ FG Pucke 32 Ma ‑ Blake 35 run (run failed) Mo ‑ FG Pucke 45 Ma ‑ Hodgson 74 run (Hose kick) Mo ‑ FG Pucke 46
Jack Rose has removed other monkey from the back of the Massillon Tigers.
A year ago, the Tigers traveled to Austintown and defeated the Fitch Falcons at Fitch for the first time in Massillon football history.
Then, in November, Rose had the weight of the world lifted from his shoulders by notching its first win over storied rival Canton McKinley.
On Saturday, the Tigers did what no Massillon team had ever done before by dealing Cincinnati Moeller a 21‑18 defeat in front of 15,394 frenzied fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
But an exhausted Rose didn’t want to talk about jinxes or hexes after the Moeller victory.
“All we’re going to do now is worry about Garfield,” Rose said of this Friday’s opponent. “They’re an awfully good football team, so we’ve got to get our feet back on the ground and get ready for them.”
Tiger tailback Vinny Turner who rushed for 196 yards and all three Massillon touchdowns in just 25 carries, shared some of his coach’s sentiments.
“This is a big monkey off our backs,” Turner said. “This win helps us out a lot. It shows us where we’re at.
“Now we’ve got to get ready for Garfield. We’ve got to get our minds on Garfield.”
Turner was absolutely magnificent against Moeller. He accounted for more than 75 percent of the Tigers’ total offensive yardage.
Moeller let field position slip away early when a punt returner failed to field a kick midway through the first quarter. It rolled dead at the Crusaders’ 15. Three plays later the visitors punted and the Tigers were in business at the Moeller 42‑yard line.
On third and six from the 38, Turner took the ball on a draw play, broke a tackle on the left side of his line and went the distance. Josh Hose’s PAT made it 7‑0 Massillon with 2:42 left in the first quarter.
Moeller’s special teams betrayed the Crusaders again as the Tigers’ Nate Wonsick fell on a fumbled punt at the visitors’ 29‑yard line with 6:43 1eft in the first half.
Turner was open deep down the left sideline on first down, but the pass was overthrown. The senior came right back on second down, breaking four tackles on a draw play for a 14yard pickup to the Moeller 15.
Five plays later, Turner followed Tim Mendenhall, Ben Mast and Randy Weiford over the right side and into the end zone from a yard out. Hose’s conversion made it 14‑0 with 3:43 left in the half.
“Special team mistakes hurt us and then we couldn’t stop them when we had to stop them,” lamented head coach Steve Klonne.
“We got quick scores both times they made mistakes on special teams,” Rose agreed. “Good teams get a turnover and convert it into points. We did that well tonight.”
A disputed field goal ‑ after it appeared time had run out in the first half ‑ made it a 14‑3 game. Moeller came out of the locker room after halftime, stopped the Tigers’ initial second‑half drive, and then marched 80 yards in 11 plays. Quarterback Pat McLaughlin ran the option keeper around left end for the touchdown with 3:32 remaining in the third quarter. He hit Ted Fitz for the two‑point conversion and suddenly Mo was back in it at 14‑11.
That’s when Turner and the Tigers turned it up a notch.
Taking over at the Massillon 34 after the kickoff, Turner bulled for 10 yards off right guard and tackle on first down. On the next snap he burst off left guard, shedding several tacklers at the line, and sprinted 40 yards to the Moeller 16.
One play later, Turner got the ball on a delayed handoff, found a seam in the middle of the line, then broke tackles at the 5‑ and 3‑yard lines before crossing the goal line. Hose’s boot made it 21‑11 Massillon with 1:33 left in the third period.
But Turner was nearly the goat, fumbling the ball away at the Moeller 44 after a nifty 19-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.
Six plays later, the Crusaders scored on Jim Higgins dive from three yards out. The kick by Jim Siciliano made it 21‑18, with 3: 00 to play.
It appeared Moeller would get another shot at it when the Tigers failed to complete a third‑and‑six pass play at their own 28. But a roughing the passer penalty on the Crusaders – a call Klonne did not dispute – gave Massillon’s offense new life and the hosts ran out the clock.
“I felt it would have been a great injustice if they would’ve won the game on that fumble,” Rose said. “When he fumbled it there at the end, Vinny felt terrible.
“But he is only going to get better. He is a tailback who can break tackles and we haven’t had one of those around here in a while.
“My heart just about stopped when I lost that fumble,” Turner said. “I’m glad the defense did what it did when it had to.”
Although Moeller had more total yards than the Tigers (281-268), Klonne had praise for the Massillon defense.
“I thought they played very well, very sound,” he said. “They didn’t beat themselves by giving up the big play. They made us earn everything and they stopped our rushing game pretty good tonight.”
Massillon averaged 6.7 yards per running play to Moeller’s 4.2.
Our defensive front seven played a lot tougher and stronger this week,” Rose said. “We start eight underclassmen on defense and I thought they did a pretty good job against a really sophisticated offense.
“I’d like to see our underneath coverage get better. On the plus side, I was happy to see our defensive line flash their hands and bat down some passes out there.”
MASSILLON 21 MOELLER 18 M C First downs rushing 12 8 First downs passing 2 9 First downs penalty 1 0 Total first downs 15 17 Net yards rushing 222 146 Net yards passing 46 135 Total yards gained 268 281 Passes attempted 9 18 Passes completed 4 14 Passes int. 0 0 Times kicked off 4 3 Kickoff average 36.0 46.3 Kickoff return yards 38 28 Punts 3 4 Punting average 40.3 34.2 Punt return yards 5 0 Fumbles 2 1 Fumbles lost 1 1 Penalties 1 4 Yards penalized 1 31 Number of plays 42 54 Time of possession 20:08 27:57 Attendance 15,394
Massillon bows, Rose vows comeback Moeller sinks Tigers to 2-2; tough test at Fitch up next
By STEVE DOERSCHUK Independent Sports Editor
A trace of blood tinged the top of the “4” on Andre Collins’ Cincinnati Moeller football jersey. Collins’ team had just overcome the Massillon Tigers 24-14 in front of 16,762 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Saturday night. In the process, the big junior running back became a walking symbol of his team’s series against the Massillon Tigers.
The outcome gave Moeller four victories over the Tigers in the last four years. The blood? Well, Moeller has extracted a pint or two from Tigertown. The Crusaders lead the all-time series seven games to none. A Collins has faced the Tigers in each of the last four games. In 1989 and ’90, Moeller’s hero was Andre’s brother, Carlos. Andre has suited up the last two years.
Andre hasn’t had the same impact as his brother. But the games have had a big impact on him. “This game means a lot,” said Andre, his brother rooms with ex-Tiger Eric Wright at the University of Kentucky. “I feel sad that it’s the last game between our teams. I enjoy playing here. Massillon has the greatest fans … probably in the nation.”
In the 1970s, Moeller may well have had the greatest high school teams in the nation. That is no longer the case. But the Crusaders of the ’90s are still a playoff-style team, if not an actual qualifier, every year.
Jack Rose’s Tigers are 2-2 heading into a Friday night game at Austintown, where Massillon has lost three straight times. Rose’s response to losing is anger and resolution. “We’re going to come back,” he told a large gathering of alumni late Saturday night at AMVETS Post 6.
Earlier, in the locker room after the loss, he vowed he and his staff will “get things to where we want them,” which wasn’t where they were Saturday. Yet, Rose conceded Moeller is an excellent team, well coached, more than adequately talented, and very smart.
If there were technical aspects of the game he could fault, he could not criticize his team’s effort. “We played hard,” Rose said, emphasizing the last word. “Our kids were really playing hard.”
In terms of having a shot at Moeller in the final moments of the fourth quarter, this was the Tigers’ second-best game of the series. In the 1990 game, Moeller won on a last-second touchdown reception by Carlos Collins. In the ’91 game, the Tigers led by a point at halftime but faded down the stretch.
In Saturday’s battle, the Tigers put together a touchdown drive’ that turned a 10-point deficit into a precarious 17-14 Moeller lead with 6:19 left in the game.
Moeller clinched the win on a toss to tailback Brian Balsly, who raced 44 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown. Balsly, who finished with 126 rushing yards, hobbled off the field earlier in the half. “It was back cramps,” he said. “I just played through them when I got back in.”
Moeller was coming off a loss to Covington Catholic. “That was a shame,” said Moeller head coach Steve Klonne, still tortured by a phantom (he thought) roughing-the-kicker call set up Covington’s go-ahead touchdown. “This gets us back in the right frame of mind.” “I think this will get us going,” added Balsly. “I think we can go as far as we want to go”
The Tigers stopped Moeller in ‘the early going Saturday. Massillon had the first possession and punted, then Moeller did the same thing. The Tigers then used eight plays to cover 67 yards for a touchdown.
The big plays were a third-and-eight scramble for a first down by quarterback Mike Danzy, and a 49-yard Danzy-to-Alonzo Simpson pass play. On this series, safety Dan Hackenbracht joined Andre Stinson to form the Tiger backfield. It was Hackenbracht who scored from two yards out on third adown, following blocks by Matt Orr and Mark Miller.
Jason Brown’s kick made it 7-0 with 6:09 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers wound up with a 179-135 advantage in total offense in the first half. In the end, Moeller led 360-285.
The Crusaders began making inroads on their second possession, on a drive consisting of runs of 8, 4, 3, 7, 5, 4, 6, 3 and 7 yards. There was only one pass in the mix, an incompletion that helped allow the Tigers to stop Moeller on fourth-and-one from the 18. Linebacker Jake Reed made the penetration that led to Andre Collins getting stopped.
The Tigers had a chance to take charge midway through the second quarter. A 35-yard run by Stinson gave them a first down on the 25. The chance passed when Moeller held the Tigers right there on downs.
And, from there, Moeller created the field position that led to a tie at halftime. Moeller had perhaps its poorest passing night in the Massillon series, but the Crusaders did get a key 21-yard catch from 6-7 1/2-inch tight end Bob Brannen before having to punt deep into Massillon territory.
Following a Tiger punt, the Crusaders needed two plays to score from 54 yards out. Quarterback Dan Feichtner found his favorite target, senior flanker Brad Hronek, for a 53-yard gain to the 1. Feichtner scored on the next play, and Brian Huston’s kick made it 7-7 with two minutes left in the half.
The Tigers missed another opportunity with a fumble near the Moeller 20 in the closing seconds of the half.
“We thought we were in field goal range one play before that,” Rose said. “We were trying to take one shot at the end zone before the kick. Obviously, it didn’t work out.”
Moeller went to work at the start of the third quarter, driving 80 yards in nine plays – all runs. Feichtner again scored from a yard out. Huston’s kick made it 14-7 with 6:52 left in the third quarter.
“They were real methodical,” Rose said. “They were just taking it right at us, as we thought they would. Stopping them can be difficult. They’re big, they move well, and they execute well.”
Huston kicked a 20-yard field goal with 10:20 left in the game to make it 17-7.
The Tigers’ next possession got life on a 22-yard scramble by Danzy to the Moeller 46. A 19-yard completion to Todd Peters took the Tigers into scoring territory.
Simpson almost made a spectacular, comeback catch at the 2 on a ball ruled incomplete. But on fourth-and-five, Simpson cut from left to right, underneath the secondary, and caught a Danzy pass which he carried to the 2. “We put that play (the pass to Simpson) in for this game,” Rose said.
Stinson scored from a yard out, Brown made the kick, and it was 17-14 with 6:19 left.
Moeller answered by moving 75 yards in six plays, the last of which was Balsly’s game clinching 44-yard TD run.
Now the Tigers will try to rebound against Fitch, which improved to 3-1 Saturday with a 33-25 win over Lakewood St. Edward. Fitch was upset in its opener, 14-10 by Youngstown Chaney, but bounced back to defeat Mentor 17-0 and Erie Prep 13-0.
MOELLER 24 MASSILLON 12
MA MO First downs rushing 6 14 First downs passing 6 3 First downs by penalty 2 1 Totals first downs 14 18 Net yards rushing 157 257 Net yards passing 128 103 Total yards gained 285 360 Passes attempted 26 1 Passes completed 9 4 Passes int. by 0 0 Kickoff average 48.0 56.8 Kickoff return yards 70 50 Punts 4 3 Punting average 35.8 29.7 Punt return yards 12 14 Fumbles 2 1 Fumbles lost 1 0 Penalties 3 4 Yards penalized 35 40 Number of plays 63 57 Time of possession 22:14 25:46
Moeller 0 7 7 10 24 Massillon 7 0 0 7 14
MA – Hackenbracht 2 run (Brown kick) MO – Feichtner 1 run (Huston kick) MO – Feichtner 1 run (Huston kick) MO – FG Huston 20 MA – Stinson 1 run (Brown kick) MO – Balsly 44 run (Huston kick)
MASON ‑ Steve Klonne couldn’t get what he wanted, so he took what he could get.
“We wanted to run the ball but we couldn’t,” the 10th‑year Cincinnati Moeller High head coach said. “Massillon has a lot of good players, and they were stuffing us.
So Klonne, noting Massillon’s two‑deep, zone coverage in the secondary, took what he could get.
He scrapped the run and watched quarterback Shawn Brennan pass the Crusaders to a 27‑13 high school football victory in front of a standing‑room‑only crowd of 10,600 on a crisp, clear Saturday night at Galbreath Field.
“We’ve never had a quarterback who can run the way Shawn can,” said Klonne. “He made all the right moves.”
Klonne, a St. Xavier High graduate, noted that Brennan, who transferred from St. Xavier High last year, needed time to adjust to Moeller’s system.
“You definitely could say he came of age today;” Klonne said.
Brennan, who completed 8‑of‑15 passes for 106 yards the previous week, when he had emerged as the starter for a game against Trotwood‑Madison, exploded for 20 completions in 31 throws for three touchdowns against the Tigers.
It was Brennan, more than anyone, who pulled out a victory against a Massillon team that spent 32:39 of the game’s 48 minutes with a lead.
The Tigers had grabbed the lead on a 42‑yard touchdown run by Travis McGuire on the sixth play of the game.
Moeller trailed until Brennan rainbowed a 43‑yard touchdown bomb to senior Jeff Raussen with 35 seconds left in the third quarter.
Raussen and cornerback John Harpring, whose diving interception set up the TD bomb, competed with Brennan for the quarterbacking job in the early part of the season.
After the game, Moeller players and fans romped through a giddy celebration during which they chanted, “State! State! State! ” It is abundantly clear Brennan is the quarterback they will try to ride into the playoffs.
“With the schedule we play,” said Klonne, whose team is 3‑1, “a 7‑3 record would probably get us there ‑ at 8‑2, we’d be a lock.”
The Tigers, also 3‑1, might have to continue their bid for a third straight playoff appearance without quarterback Nick Mossides, who was injured late in the game while trying to stage a last‑ditch comeback.
“It’s a sprained or a strained knee, whatever you want to call it,” Owens said back in Massillon Sunday afternoon. “Dr. (Robert) Erickson will examine him again Monday. He’s scheduled for an M.R.I. (magnetic resonance imaging) Tuesday. He’s not been able to walk on it yet. Right now it doesn’t look real good in terms of Nick being able to play this week.”
Owens said Troy Burick would step in as the starter, with sophomore Mike Danzy working as the No. 1 backup this week in practice. The Tigers will play a Friday night home game against Austintown-Fitch, which has won its last two games after an 0‑2 start. Fitch beat Lakewood St. Edward this past weekend.
Mossides had completed 11 of 17 passes for 81 yards against Moeller when he was hit while throwing the ball with 4:23 left in the game and Moeller leading 27‑13. Burick replaced him on the next play.
In his four games as a starter, Mossides has completed 37 of 65 passes for 5l2 yards, with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Owens said he talked to Burick Sunday.
“Troy is ready to do whatever it takes,” he said.
The Tigers are wondering what it takes to get rid of that giant toothache called Moeller. Moeller won the first four games in the series convincingly but had to come back for victories in the 1990 and ’91 games.
Owens shouldered a share of the blame for the latest loss.
“We made some calls I wish we had back,” he said. “We didn’t make some of the coaching adjustments as well as we should have.”
The Tigers led 13‑6 late in the first half and had the ball in Moeller territory when Owens elected to try for more points rather than running out the clock.
Things were looking up when Falando Ashcraft bulled for six yards to the Massillon 40 on a first‑down carry with 1:52 left in the half.
The next two plays were pass calls. Both became incompletions. It was fourth down when the clock was stopped with 1:16 left in the half. Punter Jason Woullard caught the snap but seemed to rush and dropped the ball. A big pileup left Moeller with the ball on the Massillon 35.
With 12 seconds left in the half, Brennan sprinted to his left until Raussen worked his way open over the middle. The two hooked up on a 10‑yard touchdown pass. Senior Erik Bryant’s point‑after kick smashed into the left upright and bounded wildly toward I‑71 ‑ no good. The Tigers managed to keep the lead, 13‑12, but the turnover had Moeller to get close.
The Tigers had made it look easy on their first possession, roaring 71 yards in six plays. A third‑down Mossides‑to‑Marc Stafford pass went for eight yards and a first down to the Moeller 45. After a two‑yard surge up the middle by Ashcraft, Mossides took advantage of an aggressive rush by Moeller, gave the ball to McGuire on a counter, and watched the running back sprint into a gaping hole over the right side en route to a 42yard touchdown run. Jason Brown’s kick was good to make it 7‑0, Massillon, with 9:14 left in the first quarter.
Moeller had tried to make a statement by winning the coin toss, yet, electing to kick off to the Tigers. Massillon stuck that strategy in Moeller’s ear.
The Crusaders, though, scored on their next possession, consuming seven minutes and 71 yards. Brennan scored from five yards out on a scramble, but Bryant’s kick was no good and the Tigers kept the lead, 7‑6, with 2:09 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers scored again the second time they had the ball, driving 72 yards in 10 plays. Mossides completed four passes in four attempts to help the Tigers reach the Moeller 15 on first down. McGuire gained four yards to the 11 then, second down, got the ball on a delay. Moeller;s rush had already blown by, giving McGuire room to sprint 11 yards up the middle for a touchdown. Brown’s kick misfired and the Tigers settled for a 13-6 edge with 9:47 left in the half.
The Tigers might have had Moeller in real trouble in the first half, but, as Klonne noted, “We got a lot of key plays on third downs.”
The Tiger defense was rugged on first and second down, but Moeller gained 57 yards on four third-down conversions. The Crusaders needed 26 plays to gain 87 yards on their remaining first-half plays.
In the second half, with No. 1 running back Kelly Davis hobbled, the Crusaders began passing on first and second down, with much success.
Still, the Tigers had a chance to take control of the game until late in the third quarter.
Moeller began the period with an impressive drive into Massillon territory. Again, big third‑down plays were the key.
Brennan was getting plenty of time to throw, as was the case most of the night. When he did begin to feel a rush, he regularly escaped via the scramble.
But with the ball on Massillon’s 23‑yard line with 4:30 left in the third quarter, Tiger tackle Jonathon Jones was breathing in Brennan’s face. The pressure influenced Brennan’s pass, intended for Raussen, but picked off by Tiger defensive back Ron Roberson at the 12. Roberson returned the ball nearly to midfield.
The Tigers had escaped a serious Moeller scoring threat, and now had good field position. It lasted only a few moments. With the ball on Moeller’s 42 on third‑and‑nine, Mossides tried to find Stafford on the right flat, Instead, Harpring knifed in to make an acrobatic interception.
By then, Moeller had grown used to playing without its bluechip tight end, 6‑5, 245‑pound Max LangenKamp, who had strained a knee in the first half. On first down, Brennan found backup tight end Chris Kent on the left side for a 19‑yard pickup.
Passing again on first down, Brennan turned to the left side of the field ‑ and the bomb. Massillon defensive back Dana Wofford had a bead on the ball, but seemed mesmerized by the high‑arcing throw for a split second. That allowed Raussen to get behind him by a step. Raussen took the ball in stride and went in for the touchdown. The play covered 43 yards.
A two‑point conversion pass gave Moeller a 20‑13 lead with 35 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Tigers had lost their offensive flow and soon had to punt. But with 9:30 left in the fourth quarter, Moeller went for the block. Woullard, the punter, saw that he had no chance to‑kick, the ball and began to run. He lost the ball on his escape attempt and Moeller took over at the Tiger 32.
The Tigers kept Moeller from scoring on that possession, taking over at the 2. The Tigers’ hopes soared and crashed all at once, on the next play. Ashcraft made an impressive run up the middle for nearly 10 yards, but fumbled while trying for an extra yard and Moeller took over at the 12.
MOELLER 27 MASSILLON 13 MA MO First downs rushing 7 5 First downs passing 5 12 First downs by penalty 1 1 Totals first downs 13 18 Yards gained rushing 134 83 Yards lost rushing 17 3 Net yards rushing 117 80 Net yards passing 102 256 Total yards gained 219 336 Passes attempted 18 31 Passes completed 12 20 Passes int. by 1 1 Times kicked off 3 5 Kickoff average 45.3 54.6 Kickoff return yards 80 49 Punts 1 2 Punting average 27.0 31.5 Punt return yards 10 0 Fumbles 2 0 Fumbles lost 2 0 Penalties 2 5 Yards penalized 18 52 Number of plays 44 62 Time of possession 18.55 29.05
Massillon 7 6 0 0 13 Moeller 6 6 8 7 27
MAS ‑ McGuire 42 run (Brown kick) MOE ‑ Brennan 5 run (kick failed) MAS ‑ McGuire 11 run (kick failed) MOE ‑ Raussen 10 pass from Brennan (kick failed) MOE ‑ Raussen 43 pass from Brennan (Brown pass from Brennan) MOE ‑ Carlberg 10 pass from Brennan (Lucke kick)
Individual statistics Rushing
(Massillon) McGuire 12‑94, Ashcraft 11‑34. (Moeller) Davis 23‑66, Brennan 3‑9, Jackson 4‑4. Passing
Owens. Forget and move on Moeller wins on pass with seconds left
By STEVE DOERSCHUK Independent Sports Editor
The Browns were on live Sunday but the Massillon Tigers watched reruns.
The game they watched was better than the Browns vs. the Jets, too.
It was, of course, the game film of the previous night’s 24‑23 loss to Cincinnati Moeller before 16,764 in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. You could give it the title: “The Ecstasy and the Agony.”
But head coach Lee Owens preferred another: “History.”
“We’ve officially closed the book on Cincinnati Moeller,” Owens said at 3:45 p.m., just after the team film viewing ended.
“It was a great game to coach in. It was one big chess match … there were literally adjustments made by both sides on every play.
“It was also an extremely difficult game to lose. But it’s over. It’s time to prepare for another tough challenge.”
The Tigers, whose 3‑1 record is the same as Moeller’s, will play Friday at Austintown‑Fitch. Fitch is off to a 4‑0 start, including a dominating performance against a Mentor team that thought this might be a playoff year. The Falcons have won their only two games against the Tigers in Austintown.
In fact, the most recent loss at Fitch was quite like Saturday’s setback to Moeller.
At Fitch in 1988, Jeff Wilkens kicked a 43‑yard field goal on the last play of the game to reverse a Tiger lead.
At Tiger Stadium Saturday, with the Tigers leading 23‑17 in the closing seconds, Carlos Collins streaked open over the middle and caught a perfectly thrown 39‑yard touchdown pass from Moeller quarterback Neil Dougherty.
The play ended with 14 seconds left to tie the game at 23‑all. Senior Terry Knecht, who has the same thunder in his right leg as Wilkens, easily boomed the extra point through the uprights.
It was a crushing moment for Tigertown.
Prior to Moeller’s final possession, which began with 2:55 left in the game and 67 yards away from the Massillon goal line, the Tigers had clearly played well enough to end their 10‑year jinx during which the Cincinnati powerhouse had won the only four games ever played between the teams.
Prior to the final possession, the Tigers led 234‑198 in total offense…and looked good doing it.
Dougherty, however, led Moeller downfield and came up with a couple big plays. He converted twice on crucial fourth downs, including a fourth‑and‑10 one play before Collins’ dramatic catch.
Yet, wrenching as it was, one of the elements that makes Massillon Tigertown was exposed even as Collins danced back to the sidelines.
Spontaneous applause broke out among the Tiger fans.
“I thought the boys played a good game,” explained one woman who was applauding.
No question about that. This was by far the best of the Massillon‑Moeller games. It also was the first one in which the Tigers had the lead.
The Tigers took the lead by ramming the ball 69 yards on the first possession of the second half. They got the second‑half kickoff following a little bit of macho ‑ they had deferred after winning the opening coin toss, choosing to kick off to Moeller.
Knecht’s 33‑yard field goal on’ Moeller’s first possession of the second half made it 21‑17. The Tigers took a 23‑17 lead on the fourth play of the fourth quarter when Knecht, serving as Moeller’s punter, couldn’t reach a high snap that squirmed out of the end zone for a safety.
The Tigers couldn’t capitalize on good field position off the ensuing ‘fee kick, nor on similarly good field position after a Moeller punt.
Scott Karrenbauer’s fair catch of that punt gave Massillon possession on its own 29 with 6:46 left. Two players who had their finest games advanced the ball downfield. Tight end Chris Roth caught a Barry Shertzer pass for 14 yards. Later, running back Travis McGuire twisted and churned for a 17‑yard gain for a first down on the Moeller 32.
On fourth‑and‑one from the 23, as the clock wound near 3:00, the Tigers decided to go for a first down.
“I thought they’d try to kick a field goal there,” Moeller coach Steve Klonne said. “If they’d have made a field goal, we’d have been dead.”
Owens said a field goal was not a realistic option, the coaches having determined from practice kicks that their range is 30 to 35 yards. The field goal would have been around 40 yards.
Instead, the give went to Falando Ashcraft, who had a touch of daylight inside but seemed to spot a bigger opening to the outside. He bounced outside but was stopped by Moeller’s best defensive player, linebacker Jason Knecht.
Moeller proceeded to move the ball despite sacks by Massillon linemen Mark Murphy and Jermaine Hinton. Dougherty came up with the big completions when his team needed them the most. None was bigger than the fourth‑and‑10 pass to senior Jon Hess to the Massillon 39.
The play was somewhat controversial. Replays suggested Hess may have caught the sideline pass on a short hop. The spot of the ball seemed generous. Klonne seemed in agony on the sideline, apparently fearing it was over.
But when the measurement was made, Massillon coach Jim Letcavits observed with quiet resolve on the sideline, “They got it by half the ball.”
Collins then scored on the next play, The big one had slipped away, leaving the Tigers hoping for better things in the next big one, this week.
MOELLER 24 MASSILLON 23 MA MO First downs rushing 9 4 First downs passing 4 8 First downs Penalty 0 0 Total first down 13 12 Net yards rushing 156 151 Net yards passing 92 160 Total net yards 234 265 Passes attempted 15 23 Passes completed 9 12 Passes intercepted 0 1 Fumbles/lost 2‑1 1‑1 Punts 4 5 Punting average 42.0 38.0 Penalties 0 5 Yards penalized 0 40
Moeller 7 7 3 7 24 Massillon 7 7 7 2 23
MOE – Langenkamp 11 pass from Dougherty (Knecht kick) MAS ‑ Ashcraft 1 run (John kick) MOE ‑ Collins 4 run (Kncecht kick) MAS ‑ McGuire 9 run (John kick) MAS ‑ Ashcraft 1 run (John kick) MOE ‑ FG Knecht 34 MAS ‑ Safety, Punt snapped out of end zone MOE – Collins 39 pass from Dougherty (Knecht kick)
Moeller rallies to stun Massillon
By MARK CRAIG Repository sports writer
MASSILLON ‑ It was a simple play, but not an easy one to execute unless you have an athlete with composure, good hands and 4.4 speed.
Unfortunately for an estimated crowd of just over 18,000 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, the Cincinnati Moeller High School football team has just that type of athlete, senior running back Carlos Collins.
Collins, who last year stabbed the hearts of Massillon Washington football fans with 322 yards rushing in a 41‑7 rout of the Tigers, did it again Saturday night. His 39‑yard TD reception with 14 seconds left in the game lifted Moeller (3‑1) to a 24‑23 victory over the Tigers.
Lined up as the inside receiver in the trips formation on fourthand‑10, Collins blew past the outside linebacker, streaked by the free safety and snared a perfectly thrown pass by quarterback Neil Dougherty. Terry Knecht’s PAT gave Moeller the one‑point win and raised the Crusaders’ lifetime record against the Tigers to 6‑0.
“The play is nothing fancy,” said Moeller head coach Steve Klonne. “Carlos just streaks ‑zoom! Right down the field. We knew there was nobody on the field who could stay with Carlos.
Not many high school kids can.”
Massillon defensive coordinator Greg Gillum said he knew the game‑winning formation was trouble, even though the Crusaders had lined up in it earlier and not thrown to Collins.
“They’ve hit that play for big yardage in all the games they’ve played,” Gillum said. “We knew they’d be looking for Carlos. We had a guy play about five yards off to try and give them the underneath stuff, but Carlos just blew by everyone.”
Collins, who finished with a game‑high 131 yards rushing on 23 carries, knew he was going to score as soon as he lined up.
“After about six steps, I saw the whole thing develop,” said the 6foot‑1, 187‑pound Collins. “This was a thing of beauty, much more exciting than last year.”
The game also was a thing of beauty for the Tigers ‑ until the final drive, that is. But on that drive, which started at the Moeller 22 with 2:39 left to play, Moeller converted a third‑and‑ 10 situation at the Moeller 37, a fourth‑and‑seven at the Moeller 40 and the final fourth‑and‑10 situation that crushed the Massillon faithful.
Massillon’s offense gave the Tigers a 21‑14 lead by taking the second‑half kickoff and going 69 yards on 14 plays. Junior Falando Ashcraft finished the drive 5:54 after it began by driving into the end zone from a yard out. Ryan John added the PAT.
Massillon’s defense then held Moeller to a 34‑yard field goal by Knecht at the 1:51 mark of the third.
Massillon punter Chris Roth had a big hand in the next score for Massillon ‑ a safety with 9:52 left in the game that gave Massillon a 23‑17 lead.
Roth boomed a 56‑yarder that backed the Crusaders up on their own 8. Four plays later, a high snap went through punter Knecht’s hands and out of the end zone.
What would have been Massillon’s game‑winning drive was stopped on fourth‑and‑1 at the Crusader 22. With 3:13 to go in the game and after Massillon had driven 49 yards in eight plays, Ashcraft plowed into the line, but was stopped for no gain.
Moeller out gained the Tigers in total yards, 265‑234. Moeller had one turnover, while Massillon had none.
Ashcraft led Massillon in rushing with 48 yards on 20 carries. He scored two TDs, the first coming on a 1‑yard run that tied the score at 7‑7 in the first quarter.
Massillon running back Travis McGuire, who had some big gains off the draw play, set up Ashcraft’s second TD with a 23‑yard burst to the 1. He also scored on a 9‑yard draw up the middle to knot the score at two TDs apiece with 1:17 left in the first half.
Moeller 7 7 3 7 24 Massillon 7 7 7 2 23
MO ‑ Lagenkamp 8 pass from Dougherty (Knecht kick) MA ‑ Ashcraft 1 run (John kick) MO – Collins 4 run (Knecht kick) MA ‑ McGuire 9 run (John kick) MA ‑ Ashcraft 1 run (John kick) MO ‑ FG Knecht 34 MA ‑ Safety. Punt snap out of end zone MO ‑ Collins 39 pass from Dougherty (Knecht kick)