Fired up Tigers Annihilate Aviators Ground game clicks in 44-0 win
By ROLAND A. DREUSSI Independent Sports Editor “When them Tigers get mad they hit people,” head coach Mike Currence said after his Washington High gridders demolished Alliance 44-0 Friday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
The Tigers used a bone-crunching ground game and a few timely passes as they rolled up 13 first downs and 244 total yards in the first half, scoring the first four times they had the ball to take a 28-0 lead into the locker-room at halftime.
“THAT WAS the first time we played four quarters of good football all year,” Currence said. “The way we were coming off the ball tonight nobody could have beat us.”
The Tigers’ offensive line opened gaping holes in the Aviator defense, and Alliance coach Julius Tonges said that was his team’s downfall.
“We expected our defense to be better,” Tonges said following the game. “We’re disappointed. We didn’t penetrate the way we had expected.
“Offensively, when we got behind we tried to throw. We threw a couple on the money but we didn’t catch them. The big thing was the defense. We just didn’t have it,” Tonges said.
‘They had to control the ball on us to win,” Currence pointed out, “and our defense kept giving the ball to us.”
ASKED IF the game planned called for more running, Currence said: “We planned on doing everything we could to win. The fact that we were blocking well is why we stayed on the ground. Also, Julius Tonges is a great coach and they took the pass away from us. They were on us like glue.”
When the Tigers did pass, it was reserve quarterback Ron Wright who did most of the throwing. Wright came in when Offenbecher was shaken up late in the second quarter and threw one touchdown pass and set up another TD with a pass.
He finished the night with five out of eight for 78 yards. Offenbecher, the leading passer in the All‑American Conference, finished ‘with two of seven for 31 yards.
“Ron did a super job,” Currence said. “I’ve been telling everybody all year that we have two great quarterbacks.”
Currence said Offenbecher got the wind knocked out of him when he was hit just after he released the ball.
“I JUST didn’t think he was as effective after that,” Currence said.
The Tigers took the opening kickoff and marched 77 yards in 12 plays with Richard Cleveland scoring on a seven-yard run with 6:58 left in the first quarter. Cleveland, who gained 39 yards in the drive, ran for the extra points and an 8-0 Tiger lead. Massillon rolled up four first downs in the drive.
Alliance then started a drive that carried into Massillon territory, but on a second and six at the Tiger 33, Tiger defensive tackle Tony Matie nailed Willie McCray in the backfield for a five-yard loss.
Following a 19-yard punt, the Tigers took over at their own 19 and marched 81 yards in nine plays with Greg Carpenter plunging one yard for the score with 11:30 to go in the second quarter.
CARPENTER HAD opened the series with a fine 24-yard run. On third and 12 at the Alliance 34, Wright threw down the middle to Tom Gehring. The pass was deflected by an Aviator defender and Gehring bobbled the ball but hung on for a remarkable catch and a first down at the Alliance one. Carpenter scored on the next play. Mark Westover’s kick was wide and the Tigers led 14-0.
Following another short Alliance punt, the Tigers took the ball at their own 40 and Carpenter scored his second TD of the game seven plays later on a five-yard run with 6:40 left in the half.
Westover hooted the point after and the Tigers led 21-0.
Yet another bad punt by Alliance gave the Tigers the ball at their own 40 and once again they used seven plays to score. On a fourth and three from the Alliance 10, Wright found Mike Grove open in the end zone for a touchdown. Westover made good on the conversion kick and the Tigers led 28-0 with 2:01 to go in me the half.
The Tigers almost scored again before the half when defensive tackle Jerry Shafrath recovered an Alliance fumble at the Aviator nine yard line with just over a minute showing on the clock. A halfback pass by Jeff Beitel on fourth down was batted down at the linem however, and Alliance ran out the clock.
IN THE second half, the Tigers stopped the Aviators cold following the kickoff, and took over at their own 42 yard line following a punt.
Massillon then drove to the Alliance 22 in 11 plays when the drive stalled. Westover came in and kicked a 40 yard field goal that cleared the crossbar with room to spare, giving the Tigers a 31-0 lead with 4:49 left in the third quarter.
Following an Alliance punt, the Tigers drove from their own 32 to paydirt in eight plays with Beitel making a slick run on a right sweep from nine yards out for the score. Westover split the uprights with his conversion kick add the Tigers led 38-0 with :08 left in the third period.
The big play in the drive was a 22-yard pass from Offenbecher to Eric Clendening. Clendening took a quick pass over the middle and made a good run, giving the Tigers a first down at the Alliance 12. Beitel’s score came two plays later.
The Tigers final tally of the night came after Kevin Gowins intercepted a pass at midfield and raced down the right sideline all the way to the Alliance three, carrying several tacklers along the last five or 10 yards.
JOHN WILKERSON scored off left tackle on the next play, despite a penalty against the Aviators, and Massillon led 44-0 with 52 seconds left in the game.
Wright, who had the only Tiger punt of the night, booted the extra point, but a holding penalty forced him to try it over from 35 yards out and the kick was wide.
The Tigers ground game accounted for 272 of 379 yards and 18 of 24 first downs. Cleveland led a balanced attack with 84 yards in 13 carries, while Grove added 77 on 12 carries and Carpenter had 69 on 12 carries.
This win, witnessed by 10,566 faithful, should give the Tigers some momentum for the grand finale next week against Canton McKinley. A win by the Tigers next Saturday will give them a share of the All-American Conference title they won outright last season.
GRIDSTICK M A First downs rushing 18 3 First downs passing 6 0 First downs penalties 0 0 Total first downs 24 3 Yards gained rushing 300 73 Yards lost rushing 28 31 Net yards gained rushing 272 42 Net yards gained passing 107 0 Total yards gained 379 42 Passes attempted 15 1 Passes completed 7 0 Passes intercepted by 1 1 Yardage on passes intercepted 48 7 Times kicked off 8 1 Kickoff average 55.6 45.0 Kickoff returns (yards) 9 67 Times punted 1 7 Punt average (yards) 38.0 28 0 Punt returns (yards) 5 0 Had punts blocked 0 0 Fumbles 3 1 Lost fumbled ball 0 1 Penalties 2 1 Yards penalized 20 15 Touchdowns rushing 5 0 Touchdowns passing 1 0 Touchdowns by interception 0 0 Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0 Total number of plays 72 40 Total time of possession 30:05 17:55
Massillon 8 20 10 6 44 Alliance 0 0 0 0 0
M – Richard Cleveland 7 run (Cleveland run) M – Greg Carpenter 1 run (kick failed) M – Carpenter 5 run (Mark Westover kick) M – Mike Grove 10 pass from Ron Wright (kick Westover) M – Westover 40 FG M – Jeff Beitel 9 run (Westover kick) M John Wilkerson 1 run (kick fail).
Panther QB ‘shotguns’ Tigers Warren edges Tigers With fourth-period TD
By DENNY J HIGHBEN
“Maurice didn’t know the game was lost.”
That’s how Tiger coach Mike Currence summed up the surprising 22‑21 victory by the Warren Harding Panthers Friday night in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
IN A phenomenal fourth quarter, Panther guarterback Maurice Hall pulled out the shotgun and blew the Tigers away. Out of that formation he directed two scoring drives that brought Warren from a 21-7 deficit to a spectacular victory.
The first drive covered 96 yards and Hall accounted for 70 of them yards running and passing. The winning drive went 64 yards and Hall passed or ran for 54 of them.
In all, he rushed 15 times for 102 yards and completed nine of 16 passes for 110 yards. He also scored two of Warren’s three touchdowns, passed for a two‑point conversion and kicked the other two. The final and winning point came with 37 seconds left on the clock.
“It was a nighmare,” a frustrated Currence said after the game. “I’ve never lost one like that before.”
Outside the visitors lockerroom, Warren coach Tom Ross said, “Maurice is a great kid … Boys state, National Honor Society … just great. He’s the kind of kid you want playing quarterback.”
And Hall proved why.
THE FOURTH quarter began with Warren 96 yards away from Massillon’s goal line and trailing by 14 points. Harding gained possession after Tiger quarterback Brent Offenbecher passed to Mike Grove for 34 yards, but Grove fumbled as he was tackled at the four and Harding’s Joe Varley recovered.
The Panthers sputtered on the first two plays and, after an illegal procedure penalty, were facing a third-and-eight from the six. Hall threw a pass that fell incomplete but the Tiger defensive back covering the intended receiver was flagged for holding. That gave Warren a first-and‑ten at the 21 yard line.
Tailback Don Henderson was dropped for a three-yard loss and, on second down, the shotgun appeared. That pass fell incomplete but on third-and‑13 Hall end cocked the shotgun and fired to Sherman Golden for 13 yards on the nose and a first down. Hall repeated the play for another 12 yards and then ran for 12 yards and a first down.
On second‑and‑10 he hit Golden for five yards, then ran for six and another first down. That put the ball at the Tiger 34 and Hall passed to his tight end, Stephan Smith, for 18 yards. Massillon was flagged for a personal foul and the ball went to the seven. Two plays later fullback Ralph Goliday crashed in from three yards out. Hall rolled right on the conversion attempt and hit his tight end for the two points, making the score 21‑15 with 6:13 left in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers started at their 19 after the kickoff, threw two incomplete passes, got penalized for illegal procedure and Offenbecher recovered his own fumble on third down at the seven yard line.
PUNTER MARK Westover had to kick from his own endzone and Warren went for the block. Westover ignored the pressure and came through with a remarkable 57‑yard punt that put Harding on its own 36.
But Hall was not to be stopped. He ran out of the shotgun three of the next four plays and got the ball all the way down to the Massillon 25. The Partners went into an “I” formation on third-and-four and Henderson ran six yards for the first down.
That set the stage for the dramatic finish.
0n first down Henderson was stopped for no gain. On second down Hall’s pass was almost intercepted . On third down Hall threw to Smith in the end zone but the ball was batted away by a Tiger defender.
Fourth down … 10 yards to go … 1:25 remaining…
HALL TOOK the snap in the shotgun, hesitated for a moment, then threw to Golden at the Massillon five for a first down. Henderson ran to the one and Hall kept the ball on the next play and went in for the touchdown to tie the score.
He kicked the ball through the uprights for the 22-21 lead with 37 seconds left.
The Tigers got the ball at their 35 after the kickoff and Offenbecher threw deep to Curtis Strawder, but Strawder had plenty of company and the pass was knocked away. With 20 seconds left Offenbecher threw again but the ball was intercepted by ‑ who else? ‑ Maurice Hall. He returned the ball to the Massillon 30 before being stopped and that play ended the game.
“Hall is so quick in the open field.” Currence said. “We had to drop people back into the pass patterns and the defenders left up front just couldn’t catch him.
“That was the first time they had used me shotgun all year. It was out of desperation. I’m sure they thought the game was lost except for Maurice.”
The teams went into the lockerrooms at the half tied 7‑7.
Massillon’s initial score came in the first period after Hall fumbled on his own 49 yard line and Marc Longshore recovered for the Tigers. Massillon advanced to the Warren 37 and from there Offenbecher completed a 12-yard pass to end Mark Pringle.
(THAT PASS completion made Offenbecher the second Tiger quarterback since passing stats have been kept to pass for over 1,000 yards in a season. He passed for a total of 180 yards in the game, which puts him on top of all quarterbacks with 1,177 yards.)
Five Plays later halfback Greg Carpenter charged in from three yards out. Westover made the conversion version and the Tigers led 7‑0 with 6:37 left to the first quarter.
Warren started a drive at the Panther 31 later in the first period and drove downfield only to have Goliday fumble and Tiger Gene Miller recover at the Massillon 16. But on the Tigers’ first play the ball got away from Grove and Varley recovered – the first of two fumble recoveries for him that would lead to TDs.
Varley recovered the ball on the 12 and Hall immediately rolled to his left and whizzed through the Tigers defense like lightning for a touchdown. He added the extra point to knot the score at 7-7.
Warren had one other scoring shot in the second quarter. Hall tried to kick a 47‑yard field goal but the kick was a bit too wide.
THE TIGERS came out roaring in the third period, marched for touchdowns on their first two possessions and by the end of the quarter it appeared the game was decided.
Offenbecher capped an 86‑yard drive with a 12-yard pass to Grove and Westover ‘s kick made it 14‑7 with 8:05 left in the third.
Warren was shipped cold after the kick‑off punted to Massillon and Marc Longshore made a fair catch at the Tiger 28. With a good mixture of passing and running the Tigers got to Warren’s three in seven plays. Grove ran wide left, got a tremendous double-team block on the Warren defensive end by fullback Richard Cleveland and guard Ken Nagle, and went in for the score. Westover added the conversion and it was 21‑7 with 3:04 to go in the third.
On the first play after the kick‑off, Henderson took off on a 26‑yard run, but two plays later Goliday fumbled and Massillon’s Jeff David recovered at the Tiger 37. That was the beginning of the end for Massillon, for seven plays later Varley recovered Grove’s fumble at the four Hall went to work.
“It’s great to win when you’re a decided underdog,” Ross said after the game. “Now the kids know they can beat a tough team.”
HE SAID the Panthers went to the shotgun to better utilize their talent. “But plays and formations don’t win ball games. It was our players that got it into the end zone,” Ross added.
“We’ve got two real big ones left and we’re going to regroup.” Currence said. “The Tigers will come back.”
Hall appeared injured after running the interception back on the final play. He walked off the field with some assistance after a few moments. When asked if the “man of the evening” was hurt, Ross replied, “No, it was just a case of exhaustion and leg cramps. You know, he did a lot of running in the fourth quarter.”
GRIDSTICK M W First downs rushing 9 14 First downs passing 9 6 First downs penalties 1 1 Total first downs 19 21 Yards gained rushing 122 222 Yards lost rushing 12 13 Net yards gained rushing 90 209 Net yards gained passing 180 110 Total yards gained 270 319 Passes attempted 25 16 Passes Completed 14 9 Passes intercepted by 0 1 Yardage on passes intercepted 0 38 Times kicked off 4 4 Kickoff average (yards) 46.0 46.5 Kickoff returns (yards) 55 82 Times punted 4 4 Punt average (yards) 16.8 45.0 Punt returns (yards) 0 0 Had punts blocked 0 0 Fumbles 3 3 Lost fumbled ball 2 3 Penalties 5 2 Yards penalized 48 10 Touchdowns rushing 2 3 Touchdowns passing 1 0 Touchdowns by interception 0 0 Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0 Total number of plays 54 62 Total time of possession 21:11 26:49
Massillon 7 0 14 0 21 Warren 0 7 0 15 22
M – Greg Carpenter, 3 run, (Mark Westover kick); W – Maurice Hall, 12, run, (Hall kick); M – Mike Grove, 12 pass from Offenbecher, (Westover kick); M – Grove, 3 run, (Westover kick); W – Ralph Goliday, 3 run, (Stephan Smith pass from Hall); W – Hill, 1 run, (Hall kick).
The Tigers gained their first shutout of the season by defeating the Columbus Eastmoor Warriors 30-0 before a homecoming crowd of 9,130.
“They have a good ball club,” Tiger coach Mike Currence said following the game. “Some people don’t believe that a team is good when we win like this, but it took a total team effort. Our defense did a great job containing their running backs, our kicking game was great and our offense did a good job.”
THE DEFENSE allowed Eastmoor only 44 net yards rushing in the first half and only 27 in the second half. Eastmoor’s quarterbacks were sacked three times and completed one of three pass attempts for nine yards.
Keith Griffin, the backbone of Eastmoor’s rushing attack, injured a knee in practice Thursday and didn’t play until the second half. He gained 39 yards on nine carries and both Currence and Warrior coach Bob Stuart commented the sophomore speedster.
“We hit him hard and still couldn’t get him down,” Currence said.
I think he did quite well, considering he was running on one good leg,” Stuart said. He said his team’s morale fell Thursday when Griffin was injured and his limited running hurt the Warrior’s offensive game.
Griffin was hit at or near the line of scrimmage on almost every one of his carries but showed the twisting, darting style of running that gained his brother, Archie, a pair of Heisman awards. His longest run was for 13 yards and he had a 14-yarder nullified by a holding penalty.
EASTMOOR’S defense put a lot of pressure on Tiger quarterback Brent Offenbecher in the first half and he connected on only four of 13 attempts and he was forced to run the ball several times. In the second half he was sacked twice.
“We got a little shook up in tile first half,” Currence said.
The Eastmoor defense was only part of the problem. The phone system between the sidelines and the coaches spotting from the roof failed, leaving the Tiger coaches on the field “blind.”
The Tiger, scored the second time they had the ball, on an 83-yard drive that took only five play.
Gerg Carpenter ran from Massillon’s 17 for nine yards on the first play, then Mike Grove charged through the right side of the line, broke two tackles and got to the Tiger 49 before being pulled down. Offenbecher passed to Grove on the next play for yards yards and Carpenter ran the ball 19 yards, to the Eastmoor 23.
FULLBACK Richard Cleveland got the handoff on the fifth play of the drive, side-stepped a mass of humanity at the line of scrimmage and rambled all 23 yards for the score. Mark Westover kicked the extra point and the Tigers led 7-0 with 5:41 left in the period.
The teams exchanged the ball for the rest of the first quarter and the Tigers got possession for the first time in the second period at their 20 after Warrior kicker Beros Kosovski punted into the end zone. Westover had to punt when the drive died on the Massillon 48, but the Eastmoor receiver fumbled the ball around the five yard line.
Several Tigers went for it as it bounded into the end, where center Dick Lutz recovered it for a touchdown. Westover was on target again and it was 14-0 with 4:36 left in the second period.
Ron Wright replaced Offenbecher at quarterback later in the second quarter and marched the team from the Tiger 35 to the Eastmoor 23 before the drive ran out of steam. Westover then kicked the ball from the 30 and it sailed through the uprights for a 40-yard field goal, making it 17-0.
Eastmoor started the second half on its own 11 and gained only four yards before punting. Massillon got the ball at the Warrior 45 after the punt and marched to the 11 yard line in seven plays.
OFFENBECHER found end Curtis Strawder open in the end zone on the next play and passed to him for score.
On the conversion attempt the snap from center was high and holder Jeff David was tackled trying to run for the extra points, so with 6:30 in the third period the Tigers had a comfortable 23-0 lead.
It looked like Eastmoor might get moving on the next series but Griffin’s 14-yard run was nullified by the holding penalty and on the next play defensive end Gene Miller sacked Warrior quarterback Scott Shaw for an eight yard loss.
On third and 34, Shaw got Eastmoor’s only completion but defensive halfback Mike Hickey tackled receiver Scott Williams as soon as he caught the ball and the gain was well short of the needed yardage.
The teams exchanged punts until midway through the fourth period, when the Tigers drove from their 25 to the Eastmoor six, only to be stopped short. Westover tried a 25-yard field goal but the attempt was wide.
WRIGHT CAME in on Massillon’s next possession, at the Eastmoor 41, threw an incomplete pass, then connected with Strawder for 11 yards and Eric Clendenning for seven yards.
Wingback Jeff Beitel ran to the seven yard line two plays later and Wright passed to Beitel on the next play for the final touchdown. Westover came through on the conversion to wrap up the scoring.
Eastmoor’s Coach said after the game, “We’re a little disappointed it wasn’t closer. We came up here thinking we could win and our kids hit and played good defense.”
The Eastmoor linebackers and secondary were exceptional on defense making a number of solo tackles in the open field to thwart plays that would have worked for long yardage.
It was the second defeat for the Warriors and the first time this season they’ve been shut out. Only once did they penetrate Massillon’s 40 yard line. They were on the Tiger 39 when Griffin made the 14 yard run that wiped out by the penalty.
Eastmoor is now 5-2 while the Tiger are 6-1. Massillon will host All-America Conference rival Warren Harding next Friday right.
M E First downs rushing 10 4 First downs passing 8 0 First downs penalties 1 1 Total first downs 19 5 Yards gained rushing 220 109 Yard, lost rushing 32 38 Net yards gained rushing 188 71 Net yard called passing 150 9 Total yards gained 338 80 Passes attempted 25 3 Passes completed 12 1 Passes intercepted by 1 0 Yardage on passes intercepted 0 0 Times kicked off 6 1 Kickoff average (yards) 49.5 52.0 Kickoff returns (yards) 18 60 Times punted 3 7 Punt average (yards) 43.3 30.2 Punt returns (yards) 2 3 Had punts blocked 0 0 Fumbles 0 1 Lost fumbled ball 0 0 Penalties 4 3 Yards penalized 40 32 Touchdowns rushing 1 0 Touchdowns passing 2 0 Touchdowns by interception 0 0 Miscellaneous touchdowns 1 0 Total number of plays 64 45 Total time of possession 24:59 23:01
Massillon 7 10 6 7 30 Eastmoor 0 0 0 0 0
M – Richard Cleveland, 23 run (Mark Westover kick); M – Dick Lutz, recovered fumble in endzone (Westover kick); M – Westover, 40 yard field goal; M – Curtis Strawder, 11 pass from Brent Offenbecher (kick foiled); M – Jeff Beitel, pass from Ron Wright (Westover kick).
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 Massillon Tigers limited the Cleveland Benedictine Bengals to 18 yards in the first half and coasted to a 24-7 victory Friday night before a Dad’s sight crowd of 9,356 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
“Massillon controlled the football and the line of scrimmage and that was the ball game,” Bengal head coach August Bossu saidafter the game.
“THEY’RE VERY good. They were what we expected them to be,” Bossu said.
The Tigers shut down the Bengals in the first half and rand up 17 points, picking up 122 yards rushing.
“We worked hard all week on the running game and we had planned to do more running tonight,” Tiger head coach Mike Currence said.
The Tigers drove inside the Benedictine 10-yard line twice in the first quarter, losing the ball on downs both then times.
“When you’re driving down the field you have to take what they give you.” Currence said, explaining why the Tigers stuck to the ground. “Then we’d get down there in a short yardage situation and we couldn’t get it. You ought to be able to make it. We weren’t pleased at all with those situation plays down inside their 10.”
THE TIGER defense came to the rescue, however, as it recorded its third safety in three games.
After Massillon gave up the ball at the Benedictine seven on downs, the Bengals took over and were promptly assessed a motion penalty that put the ball at the three. On the second down, halfback Bill St. John was hit and downed in the end zone by David Engler, Tony Matie and John Letcavits.
The Tigers got the ball with 1:58 left in the first quarter following a Bengal punt and drove 59 yards in nine plays, with Greg Carpenter running it in from four yards out with 11:07 left in the half. Mark Westover booted the extra point for a 9-0 Tiger lead.
Then, following another Bengal punt, Massillon took over at the Benedictine 39 after an 18 yard return by Darren Longshore.
The Tigers didn’t waste any time as junior quarterback Brent Offenbecher hit wide receiver Curtis Strawder down the left sideline for a touchdown. Dick Cleveland ran in the extra points and the Tigers took a 17-0 lead into the lockerroom at the half.
IN THE second half, the Bengals came out and made a game of it, but it was a little too late.
Their only score against the tough Tiger defense came when James Few recovered a Massillon fumble at the Tiger 44 yard line in the third quarter.
Bengal quarterback Jamie Georgeson kept the drive alive with two key passes for first downs. The first was to Terry Modzelewski for 18 yards and the second to Pete Germano for 13 yards.
Bengal fullback Few punched over far the TD from the one and Frank Szoks added the conversion kick.
Early in the fourth quarter, Massillon drove to the Bengal two only to lose the ball on downs.
HOWEVER, the Bengal punted from their own four and the Tigers’ Mike Hickey caught the ball at the Bennie 32 and scampered untouched down the left sideline for a touchdown. Westover capped the scoring for the night with his extra point and the Tigers went home with a 24 7 win and a 4-1 record.
“They turned out to be a little strong, defensively.” Currence said. “They changed up on us some. They switched Few from inside linebacker to defensive end.
“They had some pretty good people and I think they’ll win a few games for us this year,” he said, referring to the state computer poll.
BOSSU SAID he was disappointed his team didn’t come up with a better first half.
“Our defense was better the second half and I thought we played better offensively as well as defensively the second half. Our only mistake was on the punt coverage.
“We would have liked to pass more,” Bossu explained, “but we didn’t have good enough protection for our quarterback and we had poor field position.”
Benedictine is 3-2 on the season.
The Tigers will play at Steubenville Friday night in their second All-American Conference game of the season.
Offenbecher hit 5 of 10 passes for 98 yards and one TD while Mike Grove gained 93 yards rushing in just seven carries.
GRIDSTICK M B First downs rushing 10 3 First downs passing 5 2 First downs penalties 2 0 Total first downs 17 5 Yards gained rushing 219 82 Yards lost rushing 24 18 Net yards gained rushing 195 64 Net yards gained passing 108 31 Total yards gained 303 95 Passes attempted 14 6 Passes completed 6 2 Passes intercepted by 1 1 Yardage on passes intercepted 0 0 Times kicked off 4 3 Kickoff average (yards) 52.3 49.3 Kickoff returns (yards) 59 81 Times punted 2 7 Punt average (yards) 40.0 30.8 Punt returns (average) 58 4 H ad punts blocked 0 0 Fumbles 1 1 Lost fumbled ball 1 0 Penalties 3 3 Yards penalized 25 24 Touchdowns rushing 1 1 Touchdowns passing 1 0 Touchdowns by interception 0 0 Miscellaneous touchdowns 1 0 Total number of plays 57 45 Total time of possession 27:33 20:27
Benedictine 0 0 7 0 7 Massillon 2 15 0 7 24
M – safety; M – Greg Carpenter 4 run (Mark Westover kick); M – Curtis Strawder 39 pass from Brent Offenbecher (Richard Cleveland run); B – James Few 1 run (Frank Szoks kick); M – Mike Hickey 32 punt return (Westover kick) Attendance: 9,356
lineups 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) end: 20 Mark Pringle (Sr., 6 1, 182), 86 Bob Grizzard (Sr., 5 5, 150), 80 Curtis Strawder (Jr., 5 10, 147), 87 Eric Clendening (Sr., 5 10, 174); tackles: 75 Tim Daniels (Sr., 6 8, 260), 78 Mark Namany (Sr., 6 4, 210), 73 Bob Kovacsiss (Sr., 5 11, 246); guards: 65 Bob Berquist (Sr., 5 10, 195), 61 Toby Leonard (Sr., 5 8, 183); center: 66 Ken Nagle (Sr., 5 10, 191), 50 Dick Lutz (Sr., 6 1, 212).
Defense Ends: 85 David Engler (Sr., 5 9, 190), 52 Frank Sweterlitsch (Sr., 6 1, 193); tackles: 68 Tony Matie (Sr., 6 1, 218), 39 Jerry Shafrath (Sr., 6 1, 214); middle guard: 59 Carl Dorsey (Sr., 5 10, 192); linebackers: 62 Kurt Walterhouse (Sr., 5 11, 187), 47 Steve Dottavio (Sr., 5 9, 212); monster back: 27 John Letcavits (Sr., 6 1, 172); safety: 21 Marc Longshore (Sr., 6 1, 182); defensive halfbacks: 22 Mike Hickey (Sr., 5 10, 171), 11 Darren Longshore (Jr., 6 0, 165) Kicker; 15 Mark Westover (Sr., 6 1, 218).
BENGALS Offense Quarterback: 10 Jamie Georgeson (Sr., 5 7, 155); fullback: 32 James Few (Sr., 6 1, 209); halfbacks: 22 Bill St. John )Sr., 5 10, 176), 81 Terry Modzelewski (Sr., 5 9, 161); ends; 99 Pete Germano (Sr., 6 3, 183), 85 Dave Marshall (Jr., 6 3, 185); tackles: 60 Art Eulinberg (Sr., 6 1, 203), 74 Spencer Stokes (Sr., 5 11, 234); guards: 55 Nick Baucco (Sr., 5 10, 175), 63 Andy Smith (Sr., 6 1, 187); center: 73 Sidney Peterson (Sr., 5 11, 228)
Tony Napolet couldn’t find the right words in English to describe his team’s 34-7 loss to Massillon Friday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
“Buona Serra momentum, buona serra ball game.” Napolet said as he threw up his hands in the visitor’s lockeroom following the game.
Translation: good night momentum, good night ball game.
The Niles McKinley head coach couldn’t have picked a better phrase to describe a game that was closer than the score indicated – or rather COULD have been closer than the score indicated.
Tiger head coach Mike Currence put it this way:
“Neither team beat the other up, it was just a matter of breaks. And we got most of them.”
It was also a matter of junior quarterback Brent Offenbecher riddling the Niles’ defense for 12 completions in 18 attempts for 166 yards and two touchdowns.
The 12 completions is a new post 1958 record, and his four game total of 40 out of 67 for 654 yards already ranks him third on the all-time (post-1958).
Getting back to Napolet, he referred to Niles’ pass interception by Dan Giangardella that was run back for a touchdown, but nullified by a clipping penalty, as the turning point in the ball game.
“We had the momentum when we scored the second touchdown (on the interception.” Napolet said. “We had in the momentum and they have to take it away.”
The play occurred with 5:34 to go in the third quarter with Massillon holding a comfortable 21-7 lead. Offenbecher dropped back to pass and was rushed hard.
He tried to loft the ball over the Niles’ defenders but Giangardella grabbed the ball at the Tigers 48 and rambled un untouched to the end zone. A clipping penalty against the Red Dragons called the play back, however, and Niles took over on the Massillon 45.
Two plays latter, Massillon’s Tony Matie recovered a Red Dragon fumble at his own 48, killing the Niles’ threat.
“With a couple more breaks, it could have gone the other way.” Currence said. “A couple more bad breaks. I think the penalties were there, they’ll see them on the films,” he added.
While Niles committed the most costly penalty of the game, the Tigers were whistled for a lot of infractions themselves. Fourteen for 77 yards to he exact.
“I couldn’t believe we were those mistakes,” Currence said. “I thought it was going to be like the Gahanna game, when they came back. They throw well and the way we were making mistakes the they could have got two (touchdowns) real quick.”
Currence noted that the Tigers defensive line – led by tackle Jerry Shafrath and nose guard Carl Dorsey – put good pressure on Niles’ quarterback Joe Soda all night.
“We were gambling against them,” Currence said. “We set our defense against their strength and they did the same to us.”
Napolet admitted his Red Dragons had a lot of breakdowns.
“We didn’t block well up front. Their nose man, Dorsey, is a good football player,” he said.
“We have a fine quarterback, but how can he throw the ball when he is running for his life?”
“Massillon has a good foot ball team, they’re tough to defense.” Napolet said.
And Offenbecher is fine quarterback. But I still say the turning point in this football game was when that touchdown was called back. God bless Currence, God bless Massillon, God bless everybody, but that was the turning point.”
The Tigers scored the first three touchdowns of the game, and added a safety, all in the second quarter.
With 1:29 to go in the first quarter, Tiger linebacker Steve Dottavio caught a fumble by Niles’ halfback Mike Sylvester in mid-air at the Red Dragon eight yard line and returned it to the five.
On the first play of the second quarter, Greg Carpenter crashed over from a yard out on a fourth and one play for the score. Mark Westover’s extra point kick was wide and Massillon led 6-0.
Niles took the ball and drove to a first down at their own 39 and on second and eight John Letcavits intercepted a Joe Soda pass at the Massillon 47.
Mike Grove gained three yards and Richard Cleveland rushed for a first down on a 14-yard trap play up the middle to the Niles 35.
Offenbecher then threw a beautiful pass down the right sideline to Mark Pringle who caught the ball as he stepped over the goal line. Pringle had his man beaten by two or three steps. Westover split the uprights this time and Massillon was out front 13-0.
Following a Soda punt, Offenbecher took the Tigers to the Niles’ five, hitting four straight passes Grove fumbled, however, and Niles recovered at the three.
However, Marc Longshore intercepted a Soda pass at the Niles’ 38 and ran it back to the three yard line with :26 left before the band show.
Offenbecher found Pringle open in the right corner of the end zone on the next play. Offenbecher was tackled attempting to pass for the extra points and the Tigers had a 19-0 lead.
Niles got the ball at their own 24 with 15 seconds left following the kickoff. Soda dropped back to pass and was chased all the way to his own end zone where here a host of Tigers led by Dorsey and Frank Sweterlitsch tackled him for a safety with three seconds left in the half. The Tigers took a 21 0 lead into the lockeroom at halftime.
Following the second-half kickoff. Soda punted on fourth down but Marc Longshore fumbled at his own 23 and it was recovered by Niles’ Jack Durig.
Five plays (one a penalty) later Soda hit Shawn Boyle in the end zone for the Red Dragons’ only score of the night – that counted. Carmen Butto booted the point after and Niles trailed 21-7.
Then came Giangardella’s interception and the ensuing clip which was followed shortly by Matie’s fumble recovery.
The Tigers then marched 52 yards with Offenbecher going the last one on a keeper for the touchdown. The big play in the drive was an Offenbecher pass to Curtis Strawder for 38 yards and a first down at the Niles 14. It was a big third and 11 play, and was also important because it was Offenbecher’s first pass after the interception He rolled left and hesitated slightly, but his throw was on the money.
The Tigers attempted to kick the point after, but the snap from center was high and Westover tried to pass to Letcavits but was unsuccessful.
Shafrath sacked Soda for a 16-yard loss on a third down play and Marc Longshore returned Soda’s fourth-down punt from his own 48 to the Niles 39.
The Tigers then took 13 plays, including six penalties, to march in for the final score.
Offenbecher went the last two yards himself for the score and Westover’s kick made it 34-7.
Included in the drive was a 42-yard touchdown pass from Grove to Strawder that was called back because Grove stepped across the line of scrimmage before he released the ball. It was a good pass nonetheless.
The Tigers also benefited from a roughing the kicker penalty, a 15-yard run Grove and a 14-yard pass from Offenbecher to Grove for a first down at the Niles’ four.
The Tigers intercepted four passes; with Marc Longshore getting his third of the season and Letcavits, Bill Dodd and Rod Caldwell (who wore number 36) each getting their first.
Pringle caught four passes for 55 yards and a pair of TDs (giving him three for the year), Strawder caught two for. 47 (and had a third catch nullified when the Tigers opted to take a penalty on the play), Carpenter caught two for 25 and Grove hauled in a pair for 25 yards.
Cleveland led all rushers with 46 yards in 10 carries. Grove added 25 in five rushes and Carpenter had 25 in 10 carries.
The Tigers will entertain Cleveland Benedictine Friday night at 8 p.m. at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Tickets are now on sale at the WHS ticket office, all Demmer Hardware stores and Hal’s Sport Shop.
The win was the Tigers third in a now. They are now 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the All-American Conference (it was the AAC opener for both teams). Niles is now 2-2 (0-1).
GRIDSTICK M N First downs rushing 9 4 First downs passing 6 2 First downs penalties 1 1 Total first downs 16 7 Yards gained rushing 156 77 Yards lost rushing 16 86 Net yards gained rushing 140 9 Net yards gained passing 166 72 Total yards gained 306 63 Passes attempted 19 24 Passes completed 12 8 Passes intercepted by 4 2 Yardage on passes intercepted 36 0 Times kicked off 6 3 Kickoff average (yards) 50.7 50.0 Kickoff returns (yards) 80 106 Times punted 3 5 Punt average (yards) 38.0 47.0 Punt returns (yards) 45 0 Had punts blocked 0 0 Fumbles 2 5 Lost fumbled ball 2 2 Penalties 14 6 Yards penalized 77 67 Touchdowns rushing 3 0 Touchdowns passing 2 1 Touchdowns by interception 0 0 Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0 Total number of plays 56 52 Total time of possession 26:46 21:14
Niles 0 0 7 0 7 Massillon 0 21 6 7 34
M – Greg Carpenter 1 run (Rick fall); M – Mark Pringle 35 pass from Brent Offenbecher (Mark Westover kick); M – Pringle 3 pasa from Offenbecher (run fail); M – safety; N – Shawn Boyle 9 pass from Joe Soda (Carmen Butto kick); M – Offenbecher 1 run (pass fail); M – Offenbecher 2 run (Westover kick)
Offenbecher makes up for interception
By ROLAND A. DREUSSI Independent Sports Editor
“At first I thought ‘on, no,’ then I saw the flag and felt relief.”
That was how Tiger junior quarterback Brent Offenbecher said he felt after he saw his wobbly pass intercepted and run back for a touchdown by Niles’ Dan Giangardella in the third quarter.
FORTUNATELY for the Tigers, a clipping penalty brought the play back and Tony Matie recovered a Red Dragon fumble two plays later.
“It was just a bad pass,” Offenbecher said. “I got a lot of pressure and tried to throw it over their heads and it didn’t make it. We got a lucky break,” he added, referring to the clip.
“I knew when I went to the sidelines my dad (quarterback and receiver coach Bill Offenbecher) would yell at me.”
As it turned out, Brent more than made up for his mistake as he set a Tiger record of 12 completions in one game, hitting 12 of 18 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns.
That broke the mark of 11 completions he set two weeks ago against Gahanna Lincoln.
IT ALSO moves him into fourth place on the all-time completions list for a season, with six games left to play.
How does be take his record‑breaking success?
“My dad told me about it first, but I didn’t know whether to believe him or not. Then I read it in the paper,” Brent explained.
“Massillon has just never been known for its passing. Then coach Currence brought it in,” is how he passed off his records.
“I also have super receivers (Mark Pringle, Curtis Strawder, Bobby Grizzard, Mike Grove and Eric Clendening).”
Brent said he missed having Pringle to throw to in the first two games. “We missed him a lot, He’s a big, fast target – he’s just super.”
The Massillon Tigers held Cleveland Glenville to a net total of 12 yards in the first half and coasted to an easy 31-6 victory over the outmanned and confused Tarblooders.
“When you can’t move the ball you’re beat,” Tiger head coach Mike Currence said simply, referring to Glenville’s first-half offensive ineptitude.
THE TIGERS, meanwhile, rang up 24 points in the first half, added seven more on their first possession of the third quarter and then sat back as the subs finished out the game.
The Tigers scoring was evenly spread as Richard Cleveland, Brent Offenbecher, Mark Pringle and Mike Grove all scored touchdowns.
“I thought our game plan held up,” Currence said in the Tiger lockerroom after the game. “We stopped them defensively. Their wide splits (offensive formations) bothered us a little, but I thought we gave them problems most of the game. If they could have the offensively it would have been a different game,” he added.
“We moved people to their strength defensively. We were taking some chances, especially in the secondary, but they were confused. I don’t think they were looking for us to move things around,” Currence explained.
“Our defense worked hard this week and they deserve credit.”
GLENVILLE’S only scare came against the Tiger reserves in the fourth quarter on a 22-yard delayed keeper up the middle by Tarblooder quarterback David Wynne.
Massillon scored the first time it had the ball after taking over at its own 29 following a Glenville punt.
Greg Carpenter and Mike Grove each carried for two yards and Offenbecher hit Grove in the right flat with a seven-yard pass for a first down.
Following an illegal procedure penalty against the Tarblooders, Offenbecher hit Curtis Strawder with a 10-yard pass on the left side for a first down at Glenville’s 45 yard line.
Grove gained four yards off left tackle and Offenbecher came back to him the next play with a 14-yard pass and a first down at Glenville’s 27.
CLEVELAND gained seven yards up the middle with a good second effort and Carpenter gained five yards on a double reverse. A personal foul against Glenville after the play moved the ball to the eight yard line.
Cleveland then ran it into the end zone on a trap play up the middle with 6:16 to go in the quarter. He ran in the extra points off left tackle.
Glenville took the kickoff and on third and 10 Darron Longshore intercepted a Wynne pass at the Glanville 48. Wynne hurled the hall in desperation because of a strong pass rush by the Tigers.
Massillon drove to the five yard line – with the big play being a 21 yard run by Cleveland – where a fourth down pass from Offenbecher to Grove was ruled incomplete in the end zone after Grove tried to make a diving catch.
On third and 13 from the two, Glenville’s Wynne tried to roll right but Massillon’s Carl Dorsey tackled him in the end zpne for a safety and a 10-0 Massillon lead.
Massillon took the ensuing punt at its own 39 and marched 61 yards in six plays with Offenbecher bootlegging it 11 yards around the left end on the first play of the second quarter for the TD. Mark Westover’s conversion kick split the uprights and the Tigers led 17-0.
Later in the quarter, Mark Longshore intercepted a Glenville pass at his own 39 yard line and returned it to the 43.
The Tigers then drove 67 yards in four plays with Offenbecher hitting Mark Pringle in the right corner of the end zone with an 11-yard pass.
The touchdown was set up when Cleveland took a screen pass on a 3rd and 20 play and ran 56 yards down the left sideline to the Glenville 11.
Westover kicked the point after and Massillon took a 24-0 lead into the lockerroom at halftime.
THE TIGERS received the second-half kickoff and drove 63 yards in five plays for their final score of the evening.
After a five-yard penalty against the Tarblooders on first down, Cleveland ran for 15 yards, Carpenter made a good grab of an Offenbecher pass for a six-yard gain and Cleveland ran four yards for the first down to the Glenville 31.
Grove then ran through a big hole up the middle on a trap play, made a nice cut to the left at the 10 yard line and crossed the goal line with 10:20 left in the third quarter.
Westover’s kick was good again and Massillon led 31-0.
The Tigers’s Mark Longshore stopped the next Glenville drive with his second interception of the night, this one in the end zone.
THE TIGERS gave the ball on downs a couple of times before Glenville drove 48 yards in nine plays with Wynne taking it the last 22 yards himself.
The Tigers fumbled the ensuing kickoff, but Terry Whitlock intercepted Wynne’s first pass to kill the Tarblooders’ final threat.
“I thought Cleveland ran well tonight,” Currence said of the junior fullback’s efforts. He gained 77 yards in seven carries.
Grove gained 44 yards in five carries and reserve fullback John Wilkerson had 31 yards in five carries.
Currence was happy to see Mark Pringle in at the wide receive, position. Pringle missed the Tigers’ first two games because of a shoulder bruise. He caught two passes for 18 yards, including the 11-yard TD loss from Offenbecher.
“HE STOOD the test,” Currence commented.
Grove caught two passes for 21 yards and Strawder had one reception for 10 yards. Cleveland had one catch for 56 yards.
Currence had praise for both of his quarterbacks.
“Brent had a real good percentage,” he said Offenbecher connected on seven of 10 aerials (70 percent) for 114 yards.
“And I thought Ronnie (Wright) did real well. He didn’t have the blocking, though, and I thought we dropped a couple of his passes.” Currence pointed out.
“WE HAVE two excellent quarterbacks and in our offense we’ve got to have two good ones.”
Wright finished the night hitting three of eight posses for 25 yards.
“Westover also had a good kicking night, even though we never punted,” Currence said. Westover was three for three on conversion kicks and boomed some long kickoffs (49.8 average).
The Tigers will open the defense of their All-American Conference crown Friday night when Niles McKinley invades Paul Brown Tiger Stadium for an 8 p.m. an. game. Glenville plays Cleveland East.
GRIDSTICK M G First downs rushing 10 5 First downs passing 5 1 First downs penalties 2 1 Total first downs 17 7 Yards gained rushing 198 88 Yards lost rushing 32 30 Net yards gained rushing 166 44 Net yards gained passing 139 37 Total yards gained 305 81 Passes attempted 18 16 Passes completed 10 5 Passes intercepted by 4 0 Yardage on passes intercepted 4 0 Times kicked off 5 3 Kickoff average (yards) 49.8 42.0 Kickoff returns (yards) 58 60 Times punted 1 4 Punt average (yards) 32.0 33.5 Punt returns (yards) 7 0 Had punts blocked 0 0 Fumbles 3 0 Lost fumbled ball 2 0 Penalties 6 10 Yards penalized 50 87 Touchdowns rushing 3 1 Touchdowns passing 1 0 Touchdowns by interception 0 0 Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0 Total number of plays 51 50 Total time of possession 22:24 25:36
Glenville 0 0 0 6 6 Massillon 10 14 7 0 31
M – Richard Cleveland 8 run (Cleveland run); M – safety, Carl Dorsey tackled quarterback David Wynne in end zone; M – Brent Offenbecher 11 run (Mark Westover kick); M – Mark Pringle 11 pass from Offenbecher (Westover kick); M – Mike Grove 31 run (Westover kick); G – David Wynn 22 run (run failed)
In one of the most exciting finishes in Massillon football history, the Tigers pulled out a 28-22 come-from-behind victory in the waning seconds of their home opener against Gahanna Lincoln Friday night.
The passing combination of Brant Offenbecher to Curtis Strawder and a two-yard touchdown by Greg Carpenter with 35 seconds left in the game snatched a sure victory from the Lions’ jaws.
“THAT’S THAT old Tiger spirit,” happy head coach Mike Currence said after the game.
The Tigers seemed doomed after the Lions drove 63 yards in 16 plays to score a touchdown and the go-ahead two-point conversion, making it 22-21 with 2:11 left in the game.
The situation seemed dimmer still when the Tigers faced an impossible fourth down and 19 on their own 30 yard line with 1:11 showing on the clock.
But Offenbecher, a junior went deep and Strawder, also a junior, made a terrific, diving, over-the-shoulder catch at the Gahanna 29 yard line. Three plays later Carpenter crashed off right guard for the winning score.
“They’re tough,” Currence said of the Lions after the game. “I don’t know who is going to beat them.”
THE LIONS had used the power-running of tailback Tim O’Cain and some timely passes by quarterback Fred Henley for their three scores. O’Cain gained 82 yards in 29 carries.
The Tigers filled the air with passes, as Offenbecher completed 11 of 23 for 232 yards and one touchdown. Strawder hauled in six passes for 169 yards and one touchdown.
The Tigers had gone ahead 21-14 on a three-yard touchdown run by Carpenter with 9:51 left in the fourth quarter.
The Lions then took the ball and went on a sustained march, using 19 plays and 7:40 on the clock to march 63 yards for their score.
O’Cain gained 31 of those yards (on nine carries), including two yards on a fourth and two situation to the Massillon 46 yard line with 6:18 left to play.
THE LION drive was aided by two penalties, one an interference call on 3rd and 16 at their own 29 that gave them a first down at the 44, and an unsportsmanslike conduct call against the Tigers for having 12 men on the field that gave Gahanna a first and one at the Massillon nine.
Henley then took the ball on a sneak for four yards and it was first and goal Gahanna from the five with 3:20 to go.
Senior fullback Mark Carter carried to the three, O’Cain picked up another yard around left end and Carter carried to the one-yard line.
On fourth and goal from the one, Carter got the call again and he nudged the ball over the goal line.
Gahanna had the ball placed at the left hash mark for the extra point attempt and Henley rolled far to his right, forcing Tiger defenders to commit themselves, then found senior halfback Ted Hall open in the back of the end zone for a 22-21 Lion lead.
STRAWDER TOOK the ensuing kickoff at the Massillon 27 and returned it to the 39. Offenbecher picked up six yards running when he couldn’t find anyone open.
Offenbecher then found Strawder at the 45 on a sideline pattern but the junior receiver bobbled the ball when he turned to run up field and dropped it. It wouldn’t have mattered because the Tigers were assessed 15 yards for an unsportsmanlike conduct call.
Following an incompleted pass it was fourth and 19 at the Massillon 30 with 1:11 to play. Offenbecher then threw the long pass to Strawder at the Gahanna 29.
An interference call against Gahanna (defensive back Willie Carpenter grabbed Strawder’s shirt and held him at the 16) along with an unsportsmanlike conduct call on the same play gave the Tigers a first down at the eight.
Offenbecher rolled to the left and gained six yards and the clock stopped with 43 seconds when Gahanna’s Carpenter was injured. Massillon’s Carpenter then scored over right guard – the same play he had scored the Tigers’ third TD on.
SECONDS LATER, Tiger defensive back Darron Longshore intercepted a Lion aerial at the Massillon 43 and the Tiger offense ran out the clock.
Gahanna bead coach Neal Billman, who had turned somersaults on the field after the Lion took the lead, was dejected as be talked about the game afterwards in the visitor’s dressing room.
“What can you say?” he asked.
“Our kids had great desire and I’m very, very proud of them. Last week Massillon lost to a great team (9-7 to Barberton) and tonight we lost to a great team.
“But that’s football. That’s why we play the game, because it’s not easy,” Billman said.
“IT WAS A great game to watch, I supposes, if you weren’t in the middle of it,” he said.
“We had a 16-year-old kid a make a mistake (their safety didn’t play back far enough on Strawder’s catch) and they had a 16-year old kid put the ball right over the helmet of another kid. If the ball would have been anywhere else it would have been incomplete.”
Tiger head coach Mike Currence was all smiles in the Massillon lockerroom.
“Our game plan was to throw,” he said. “With Pringle in there we would have had a better night on the right side.”
Tiger senior receiver Mark Pringle has missed both of the opening games with a shoulder injury. Currence said his height (6-1) would have helped counteract Gahanna’s Ted Hall (6-3) at the right defensive halfback slot.
“OUR KIDS came back, Currence noted, “It’s been a real rough week. We were expecting a great year and we’ve just been through agony the last week,” he explained.
Asked how be felt after the Lions went ahead late in the game, Currence said: “I thought the guy upstairs didn’t like me anymore.
“You really have to tax yourself going down the field like that,” he said of the Tigers last-ditch drive.
Strawder, the soft-spoken 5-10, 147-pount wide receiver, said of his catch: “We had to win, you know. I just kept my eye on the ball and it came to me. I felt real good after I caught it.”
Strawder’s ‘miracle catch’ is key
THE GAME, started out with the Lions taking the opening kickoff and marching 80 yards in 13 plays for a TD.
Wide receiver Lawrence Dempsey made a diving catch in the right corner of the end zone on a five yard pass from Henley and John Orkis booted the point after for a 7-0 lead.
The Lions picked up six first downs in that drive, including one on a 15-yard penalty for a personal foul.
The Tigers didn’t wait long to retaliate as Offenbecher found Shrewder wide open down the middle for a 62-yard TD pass on their first play from scrimmage. Offenbecher set up the play with a good fake to Carpenter. Mark Westover’s extra point kick tied the score.
Following a Gahanna punt, the Tigers drove to the Lions’ 19 yard line but an Offenbecher pass was intercepted in the end one by Orkis.
AFTER ANOTHER Gahanna punt a cliping penalty against the Tigers on the return, Massillon took over on its own 15.
The Tigers then drove 85 yards in 14 plays with Jeff Beitel sweeping the right side for the final five yards and the TD. Westover’s PAT kick made it 14-7 and that score stood up until the half.
The Tigers took the second-half kickoff and drove from their own 37 to the Gahanna 12 but the drive died following a pair of incomplete passes on third and fourth downs.
Gahanna couldn’t move the ball and had to punt again, but the Tigers’ Marc Longshore fumbled the punt and the Lions’ Bryan Hicks recovered at the Tiger 25 yard line.
O’Cain carried the ball four straight times for 13 yards. He gained seven yards on the next play and a face mask penalty against Massillon put the ball at the Tiger three.
CARTER THEN carried three yards to paydirt and Orkis’s conversion kick knotted the score at 14.
The Tigers then took the kickoff and went 73 yards to score with 9:51 left in the game.
Carpenter scored on a three-yard run and Westover added the point after kick for a 21-14 lead. Key plays in the drive were passes of 33, 10, 11 and 9 yards from Offenbecher to Strawder.
Gahanna then went on its go-ahead drive add the Tigers pulled out a miracle to even each team’s record at 1-1.
The Tigers will entertain Cleveland Glenville Friday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Tickets are on sale for the 8 p.m. contest at the Washington High School ticket office. Demmer Hardware stores and Hal’s Sport Shop.
GRIDSTICK M G First downs rushing 7 10 First downs passing 9 4 First downs penalties 1 2 Total first downs 17 16 Yards gained rushing 106 153 Yards lost rushing 15 28 Net yards gained rushing 91 135 Net yards gained passing 232 68 Total yards gained 323 193 Passes attempted 23 10 Passes completed 11 6 Passes intercepted by 1 1 Yardage gained on passes intercepted 0 0 Times kicked off 5 4 Kickoff average (yards) 46.6 41.2 Kickoff returns (yards) 65 78 Times punted 1 4 Punt average (yards) 40.0 36.0 Punt returns (yards) 0 0 Had punts blocked 0 0 Fumbles 1 1 Lost tumbled ball 1 0 Penalties 7 7 Yards penalized 87 70 Touchdowns rushing 3 2 Touchdowns passing 1 1 Touchdowns by interception 0 0 Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0 Total number of plays 58 42 Total time of possession 20:36 27:24
Massillon 7 7 0 14 28 Gahanna 7 0 7 8 22
G – Lawrence Dempsey 5 pass from Fred Henley (John Orkis kick); M – Curtis Strawder 62 pass from Brent Offenbecher (Mark Westover kick); M – Jeff Beitel 5 run (Westover kick); G – Mark Carter 3 run (Orkis kick); M – Greg Carpenter 3 run (Westover kick); G – Carter 1 run (Ted Hall pass from Henley); M – Carpenter 2 run (Westover kick).
‘Breaks, ‘Magics’ ball control stop Tigers Barberton wins opener 9-7
By ROLAND A. DREUSSI Independent Sports Editor “I think we have as good a ball club as they do, but I just don’t think we got the breaks.”
That statement by Massillon Tiger head coach Mike Currence pretty well summed up his team’s 9‑7 loss to the Barberton Magics in the Akron Rubber Bowl Saturday night before an estimated crowd of 18,000.
THE MAGICS used a ball control offense and a stiff defense to avenge a 21-0 defeat to the Tigers last season.
The Tigers suffered a couple of letdowns in their kicking game and fumbled the ball away, though one fumble was a very questionable call on the officials’ part that stopped the Tigers’ deepest drive of the second half.
Currence said he thought it was a bad call because the pass, to Curtis Strawder at Barberton’s 25 yard line, “touched his hands twice,” meaning he didn’t have possession.
Strawder was hit and the ball bounced away, with Barberton’s Stinker Webb recovering at the Magics’ 28 yard line.
“That was our best penetration of the second half,” Currence said. The play occurred with just over five ‘minutes left in the game.
“THE BREAKS weren’t with us tonight,” Currence said after the game. “We had the chances. We missed a field goal, we fumbled when we weren’t supposed to.You’ve got to give Barberton credit though, they hit us and hit us and hit us again. I didn’t think they could control the ball on us but they did. I was surprised,” Currence said.
The Magics had the ball for 18 of 24 minutes in the first half when they took a 9-7 lead. Final times of possession were 29:58 for Barberton and 18:02 for Massillon.
“We don’t think plays win football games, players do,” Barberton head coach Rudy Sharkey said when asked about the Magics’ offensive performance.
Referring to the Magics’ ball control offense, Sharkey said that hadn’t been his game plan.
“We have a slogan in our lockeroom that says ‘Whatever It Take,’ We were prepared to do what we had to, pass or run. But that defense of Massillon’s was tough,” Sharkey said.
“I FELT very good tonight about our running and passing balance,” he added. The Magics gained 146 yards rushing – 94 by Larry Ricks – and 65 yards passing. Most of the Magics’ passing yards came in key situations, and Barberton’s only score of the night came on a pass to wingback Terry Cameron.
The Tigers scored first in the game, getting the ball for the first time at Barberton’s 38 yard line after a 21-yard punt.
Following an incomplete pass, Richard Cleveland gained nine yards through a big hole up the middle Mike Grove swept left end for 24 yards and a first down at Barberton’s five yard line.
Cleveland carried over left guard to the three and Greg Carpenter went up the middle to the one yard line. Quarterback Brent Offenbecher then scored on a sneak.
Mark Westover booted the extra point and Massillon led 7-0 with 7:35 to go in the first quarter. The six‑play drive took only 1:50.
“I THINK we got a false sense of security,” Currence said, referring to the drive. “We scored so easily, the kids might have thought it was going to be an easy night. It wasn’t.”
Following an exchange of punts, Barberton took over at its 20 yard line with 2:55 to go in the first quarter.
They then drove 80 yards in 16 plays, using up 8:26 on the clock, as Cameron took a pass from quarterback Jeff Finley that was good for 16 yards and the score. Dennis Sellers was wide with the extra point and Massillon led 7-6 with 6:29 to go in the half.
During the drive, the Magics converted first downs three times on third down and once on fourth down.
Following a touchdown on the kickoff, Massillon. took over on their own 20. Offenbecher lost five yards attempting to pass and Cleveland lost a yard.
ON THIRD down and 16. Cleveland gained two yards on a draw but the Magics were called for a late hit and were assessed a 15‑yard penalty.
However, despite the fact that it was a dead ball foul and the Tigers’ did not get the down over, the officials stepped off the penalty from the line of scrimmage and did not count the two yards gained by Cleveland.
This proved crucial because it because it put the ball on the Massillon 29 and made it fourth and one. Had the Tigers been given credit for the two‑yard gain, it would have been a first down.
The Tigers elected to punt, and Westover kicked the ball off the side of his foot out of bounds for a net three‑yard punt.
Barberton took over at Massillon’s 32 and drove to the 23. On a fourth and one play, the Magics were called for offsides and they faced a fourth and six from the Massillon 28.
FINLEY THEN bit Dave Peters with a 12‑yard sideline pass to give the Magics a first down at the Massillon 16. Three plays later. Barberton called time out with 50 seconds left in the half. They faced a fourth and three situation at the nine yard line.
Sellers entered the game and split the uprights with a field goal from 27 yards out to give Barberton a 9 7 lead with :46 showing on the clock.
Following an 18-yard kickoff return by Tom Gehring the Tigers took over on their own 40.
Offenbecher hit Strawder with a 14-yard pass on second down to give Massillon a first down at Barberton’s 46 with :28 left. After a pair of incomplete passes, Offenbecher found Bob Grizzard at the Barberton five yard line and the Tigers called time out with three seconds to go in the half.
Westover attempted a field goal from the 12 yard line, but the kick was blocked.
BARBERTON’S ball-control offense and hard hitting defense made the 9-7 lead stand for thr rest of the game.
The Tigers did play the game without the services of Mark Pringle, their top receiver.
“But we should be able to have depth enough to fill in,” Currence said.
“It was just a damn good ball club we played, You can’t expect to run over a team like Barberton.” he added.
Statistically. Barberton only outgained the Tigers 211-202 in total yardage and the Tigers had 12 first downs to 11 for the Magics.
HOWEVER, Barberton controlled the ball and made no turnovers, while Massillon lost two fumble, and one interception.
Ricks carried the ball 22 times for the Magics for a net total of 94 yards to take game rushing honors. That was 34 yards more than the entire Massillon team gained.
The Tigers will open their home season Friday night against Gahanna Lincoln at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
M B First downs rushing 5 8 First downs passing 7 3 First downs penalties 0 0 Total first downs 12 11 Yard, gained rushing 96 155 Yards lost rusting 38 9 Net yards gained rushing 60 146 Net Yards gained passing 142 65 Total yards gained 202 211 Passes attempted 16 9 Passes completed 10 5 Passes intercepted by 1 0 Yardage on passes intercepted 0 0 Times kicked off 2 3 Kickoff average (yards) 45.5 42.3 Kickoff returns (yards) 26 0 Times punted 4 4 Punt average (yards) 36.5 25.8 Punt return (yards) 0 0 Had punts blocked 0 0 Fumbles 5 2 Lost fumbled ball 2 0 Penalties 4 9 Yards penalized 38 73 Touchdowns rushing 1 0 Touchdowns passing 0 1 Touchdowns by interception 0 0 Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0 Total number of plays 42 55 Total time of possession 18:02 29:58
Bengals stumble 9-7
By FRED GERLICH Repository Sports Writer AKRON – “We got a slogan up in our locker room,” Barberton head football coach Rudy Sharkey said Saturday night.
“It just says, ‘Whatever it takes.’”
All it took against Massillon was a ball-control drive and a 27 yard field goal as the Magics pulled a 9-7 win out of their hats before 20,000 Rubber Bowl onlookers.
Asked what his team had in its arsenal to offensively combat Massillon’s “run and shoot” attack, Sharkey said, “We don’t think plays win games, players do and the players won tonight.”
Barberton controlled the ball for 29:56 of the contest, including 18 minutes in the first half when all 16 tallies were put on the scoreboard.
The Magics did it with a little bit of everything, outgaining the heralded .Tigers 146-60 and adding 65 more yards passing for a 211-202 total offense advantage.
Tailback Larry Ricks led all ground gainers with 94 yards in 22 carries, while Massillon’s Mike Grove gained 47 yards in six trips.
“I didn’t think Barberton could control the ball on us, I really didn’t,” Massillon Coach Mike Currence said.
“I was surprised.”
“We did so well in our scrimmages that it probably hurt us,” Currence added. “We got a false sense of security in our abilities.”
Poor punting accentuated first half play. Barberton received the opening kickoff and was stopped on downs by the Tigers. The Magics Ken Bates then lofted a 21-yard punt which Massillon’s John Letcavits caught at the Barberton 38.
After an uncompleted pass, Richard Cleveland bolted for nine yards and Mike Grove raced 24 yards to the Barberton five. Three plays later Brent Offenbecher vaulted in from one yard out for the initial score. Mark Westovers’ conversion kick made it 7-0.
The Magics showed great ball control in a 16 play, 80-yard drive that consumed 8:26 with qua, rterback Jeff Finley passing to Terry Cameron 16 yards to cut the margin to 7-6 as Dennis Sellers’ point after try was wide to the left.
Sellers redeemed himself only after Westover shanked a three-yard punt off the side of his foot, landing out of bound on the Massillon 32. Seven plays later, Sellers booted a 27-yarder through the uprights for a 9-7 lead with 46 seconds left in the half.
But Offenbecher, who completed only one of 11 passes in part time duty as a sophomore last season, bettered his 1976 totals with a pair of passes for 55 yards that took the Tigers to the Barberton five with three seconds remaining.
But Westover’s 22-yard three point attempt was blocked and things remained as status quo.
In the second half, the Tigers advanced as far as the Barberton 38-yard line with 5:10 left when Offenbecher hit Curtis Strawder with a 10-yard pass reception. Hit hard, Strawder caughed up the football and it was covered by Booker Webb at the 38.
Massillon got a final opportunity with 2:35 remaining starting at its own 14.
Three completions by Offenbecher moved the ball to the Tigers’ 47. But on the third completion Grove fumbled and Karl Niehaus fell on the pigskin to douse the Tigers’ hopes of avoiding a second straight season-opening loss.
“The breaks weren’t with us tonight,” Currence remarked. “We had a call go against us on the pass to Strawder.
“It touched big hands twice, but the officials called it a fumble.”
Currence noted that the failure of the Tigers’ kicking game and pointed out the pregame loss of Mark Pringle affected the Tigers, “Although we should have had enough depth to fill in.”
“You have to give Barberton credit-they hit us and hit us again.” Currence stated. “We just got the jitters out there.”
Did the Tigers sustain any other injuries that would affect next week’s home game against Granaha Lincoln?
“Yes, our feelings are hurt,” Currence said solemnly. “We’ll have trouble trouble coming back next week,”
Tigers, Magics lineups
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 ), 86 Bob Grizzard (Sr., 5 5, 150), 80 Curtis Strawder (Jr., 5 10, 147), 87 Eric Clendening (Sr., 5 10, 174); tackles: 75 Tim Daniels (Sr., 6 8, 260), 78 Mark Namany (Sr., 6 4, 210), 73 Bob Kovacsiss (Sr., 5 11, 246); guards: 65 Bob Berquist (Sr., 5 10, 195), 61 Toby Leonard (Sr., 5 8, 183); center 50 Dick Lutz (Sr., 6 1, 212).
Defense Ends: 85 David Engler (Sr., 5 9, 190), 52 Frank Sweterlitsch (Sr., 6 1, 193); Tackles: 68 Tony Matie (Sr., 6 1, 218), 39 Jerry Shafrath (Sr., 6 1, 214); Middle guard: 59 Carl Dorsey (Sr., 5 10, 192); Linebackers: 62 Kurt Walterhouse (Sr., 5 11, 187), 47 Steve Dottavio (Sr., 5 9, 212); monster back: 27 John Letcavits (Sr., 6 1, 172); safety: 21 Marc Longshore (Sr., 6 1, 182); halfbacks: 22 Mike Hickey (Sr., 5 10, 171), 11 Darren Longshore (Jr., 6 0, 165) Kicker; 15 Mark Westover (Sr., 6 1, 218).
MAGICS Offense Quarterbacks: 7 Jeff Finley (Jr., 5 10, 168); fullback: 42 Ron Gable (Jr., 5 10, 198); Wingback: 48 Terry Cameron (Sr., 6 2, 167); Tailback: 47 Larry Ricks (Jr., 5 10, 190); Ends: 25 Dave Peters (Jr., 5 11, 158), 1 Booker Webb (Jr., 5 8, 144), 84 Brian Sutton (Jr., 6 0, 178); tackles: 51 Tim Phillips (Sr., 6 2, 210), 74 Chuck Rowland (Sr., 6 6, 260); guards: 69 Gary Bradford (Jr., 5 10, 172), 68 Joel Campbell (Sr., 6 1, 178), 67 Mark Friedman (Jr., 5 10, 185); center: 50 Dan Ozbolt (Jr., 5 11, 182).
Defense Ends: 44 Dave Wood (Sr., 5 11, 174), 80 Bob Genet (Jr., 5 11, 174); tackles: 72 Mike Jones (Jr., 6 0, 205), 71 Bob Hill (Sr., 6 2, 197); middle guard: 96 Robert Delaney (Sr., 5 8, 156); linebackers: 61 Dan Baker (Jr., 5 11, 174) 43 Karl Niehaus (Sr., 6 2, 195); free safety: 1 Webb; strong safety: 48 Cameron; defensive halfbacks: 37 Marcus McKinnie (Sr., 6 2, 182), 22 Tim Scott (Sr., 5 10, 158). Kickers: 88 Dennis Sellers (Sr., 6 2, 195), 47 Ricks, 89 Ken Bates (Sr., 6 2, 182).
Series 33rd meeting, Massillon holds series edge with 26-5-1 record.