Nordonia plays Tigers to 6-6 standstill
By DENNY HIGHBEN
The next time someone quips “Nordonia who?” no Massillon football fan will laugh.
Over 11,000 spectators at Tiger Stadium found out exactly who Nordonia was. Some of them already knew, but most didn’t.
THE NORDONIA Fighting Knights came to Tigertown Friday night and made the “Tiger” look like it had four left paws. The contest ended in a 6-6 tie, but the statistics proved Nordonia outplayed the Tigers from the opening kickoff until the final gun.
Nordonia’s points came on field goals of 30 and 34 yards kicked by quarterback Dwight Bungo. Bungo was one of many Knights who never lost poise or coolness throughout the full 48 minutes of action.
Play after play Bungo performed like football was his profession instead of an after school game, hitting on eight of 14 passes. Two of his passes were intercepted, but his confidence remained intact. Teammate Dave Swift made some remarkable runs and Nordonia’s running-passing combination kept the Massillon defense loose all night.
“I feel super,” Nordonia Coach Tom Dorman exclaimed after the game. Earlier in the week Dorman talked like his players would be lucky not to get knocked right out of their equipment and after the game he still sounded disbelieving.
“That’s the best we’ve ever looked and we didn’t do anything unusual. We told the kids they had to run what they knew and if it wasn’t good enough the heck with it,” Dorman said.
The Nordonia mentor said he knew what the Tigers would do and Chuck Shuff knew what Nordonia would do. Dorman served under Shuff as an assistant for five years at Fremont Ross.
Dorman couldn’t credit any particular players with outstanding work. “They were all great,” he said.
Shuff will attest to that.
“They beat us everywhere but on the scoreboard and they darn near beat us there,” Shuff said in the Tiger locker room following the game.
“We tried to tell them (the Tigers) and the community all week that this was a good,
well-coached team,” he added.
THE KNIGHTS were just that – well disciplined, well coached and determined. By no stretch of the imagination were they intimidated by the Massillon reputation.
After exchanging punts, Nordonia took possession on its own 18 and junior fullback Mark Dennison charged straight up the middle for 13 yards. Two plays later Bungo, a junior, hit end George Westrich with a pass for 12 more yards.
Tailback Swift lost one of the four yards that were subtracted from his rushing total on the next play and then Bungo dropped back and connected with wingback Mike Brown in Tiger territory. Brown was on his way to a TD when he was caught from behind by the Tigers Don Stewart on the 20.
The going became difficult through the Tiger line, so on fourth-and-two Bungo booted the ball through the uprights from the Tiger 20, making it 3-0 with 3:53 left in the opening quarter.
The Tigers got the ball, ran three plays and punted on a fourth-and-one situation. Nordonia took over at its own 25 and passed and ran its way to a first down on the Massillon three-yard-line. The Tigers rose to the occasion, with Bill Harmon leading a charge that tackled Bungo on the six-yard line on second down and then at the 16 on third down.
Dennison took the snap for Nordonia, put the ball down on the24 and Bungo kicked it through the uprights for another three points with 6:46 left in the second quarter.
NORDONIA kicked off and Massillon’s Willie Conley fumbled the ball and the Knights recovered at the Tiger 35. Bungo threw a pass on the next play and defensive back Todd Ellis intercepted the ball on the 26. Runs by Harmon, Jay Harper and Keller took the ball down to Nordonia’s 18, where wingback Jeff Lab took the handoff and charged into the end zone, only to have the touchdown nullified by an illegal procedure penalty.
The ball went back to Nordonia’s 23 and on fourth down, 6-2 Bammerlin and 5-8 Chris Maduri battled for a Keller pass and it was knocked down by the defender.
On the second play of the third quarter the ball w as knocked out of Harmon’s arms and Nordonia recovered. The Knights got to the Massillon 18 when Willie Conley took what would have been a sure six points away from Nordonia receiver Mike Brown at the goal line and ran the interception back to the Massillon 40.
The Tigers drove to the enemy nine-yard stripe, where Tom Grizzard turned a
fourth-and-four into a first-and-goal at the five. Grizzard got the call on the next four plays but couldn’t punch through the Knights defense and Massillon lost possession inside the one-yard line.
Nordonia gained 35 yards before punting the ball away, with the Tigers getting it at their 39. Two yards were lost on two plays and on third-and-twelve Keller rolled in his right and hit Lab for a first down on Nordonia’s 45.
THE TIGERS gained four yards and on fourth down, Bammerlin got open at the 15 and took Keller’s pass, cut in and out ran his pursuers for a Tiger TD with 7:59 left in the game.
Keith Harmon was set to kick the conversion, but the snap was a snafu and by the time Harmon got to kick the ball he was staring at Nordonia face masks.
The Knights took the kickoff and combined good passing and running to get to the Tiger 18. Their drive was stalled there when Bill Harmon tackled Swift (who netted 97 yards rushing during the night) behind the line of scrimmage.
Conley and Harold Dorsey made game-saving plays during that drive. Conley batted down a pass that was right on Brown’s number 15 and a few plays later Brown took off a reverse from the Tiger 47 and Dorsey caught up with him at the 19.
On fourth down with 2:30 left Bungo was to kick a field goal but the holder, Dennison, couldn’t handle the snap and the Tiger defense swarmed him at the 28.
MASSILLON couldn’t get going and had to punt. Nordonia did its best to get into field goal position again but time ran out as Bungo scrambled while looking for a receiver and the last pass fell incomplete.
“Our problem was mental – in capital letters,” Shuff said. “We weren’t ready to play a tough team,” he added.
Nordonia 3 3 0 0 6
Massillon 0 0 0 6 6
Nord. – Bungo, 30-yard field goal;
Nord. – Bungo, 34-yard field goal.
Mass. – Bammerlin, 41-yard pass from Keller (conversion kick failed).
NORDONIA – 6
Ends – Kynkor, Benton, Shull, Westrich, Maduri, Misenick, Batton.
Tackles – Corp, Griffith, Forepaugh, Chorba.
Guards – Archer, Lewandowski.
Center – Dorman.
Quarterbacks – Bungo, Lingo.
Running backs – Brown, Shirkman, Swift, Jeggers, Dennison, Prenslow.
MASSILLON – 6
Ends – Arner, Conley, Chovan, Matie, Bammerlin.
Tackles – Mark Lauber, Genet, Drobney, Easter, Mike Lauber.
Guards – Brand, Schumacher, Ramsey, Christoff.
Centers – Nagle, Border.
Quarterbacks – Keller, Traylor.
Running backs – Stewart, Warthen, Harper, B. Harmon, K. Harmon, Lab, Ellis, T. Grizzard, A. Grizzard, Dorsey, Toles.
Referee – Arthur Cirelli.
Umpire – Robert Steward.
Head Linesman – Henry Mastriann.
Field Judge – J. Donald Miller.
Back Judge – Clyde Shankle.
PAID ATTENDANCE – 11,021.
First downs-rushing 7 9
First downs-passing 2 5
First downs-penalties 0 0
Total first downs 9 14
Yards gained rushing 149 154
Yards lost rushing 8 18
Net yards gained rushing 141 136
Net yards gained passing 61 129
Total yards gained 202 265
Passes attempted 6 14
Passes completed 3 8
Passes intercepted by 2 0
Yardage on passes Intercepted 40 0
Times kicked off 2 3
Kickoff average (yards) 53.5 34.6
Kickoff returns 9yards) 38 19
Times punted 3 2
Punt average (yards) 30.3 37.0
Punt returns (yards) 0 7
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 2 0
Lost fumbled ball 2 0
Penalties 2 2
Yards penalized 10 20
Touchdowns rushing 0 0
Touchdowns passing 1 0
Touchdowns by interception 0 0
Miscellaneous touchdowns 0 0
Total number of plays 42 60
Total time of possession 19:55 28:05