MASSILLON Five weeks ago, Willtrell Hartson wasn’t even starting for Massillon. Five weeks and four games later, Hartson has helped carry the Tigers back into the regional championship game — breaking a school record in the process.
Hartson set Massillon’s single-game rushing record with 324 yards on Friday night. That helped the Tigers run to a 45-36 Division II, Region 7 semifinal win over previously-undefeated Westerville South at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
The sophomore’s rushing total, which included three touchdowns on 27 carries, broke Travis McGuire’s old record which he set in 1991 against McKinley. McGuire rushed for 302 yards in that game, the only back to top the 300-yard plateau in Massillon history.
Until Hartson joined him Friday night. In doing so, he helped the 8-1 Tigers advance to next Friday night’s regional final at No 1-seed and undefeated Perry.
“Where he really separates himself is once he gets to that third level,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said of Hartson, who has rushed for 773 yards on 68 carries over the last four games since replacing the injured Raekwon Venson. “How he’s able to both break tackles and accelerate and choose to correct angles and cuts to finish runs through that third level. That’s where he’s been outstanding.”
The win also provided Moore with his 100th career head-coaching win. He is 100-37 in 11 years as a coach, including 58-16 in six years at Massillon.
More important, though, to Moore was the fact his team is making its fourth consecutive regional final appearance.
“It really doesn’t matter what they mean to me,” Moore said. “This football team’s been working hard to get to the point that they’re at right now. We’re 8-1 heading into the regional championship. We don’t really sit around and think about that. We have a tall task at hand and have to have a great week of preparation this week.”
The first of Hartson’s three TD runs, a 53-yarder with 7:50 remaining in the second quarter, gave the Tigers the lead for good at 14-9. Hartson’s last two scoring runs, of 54 and 25 yards, gave Massillon a 42-9 lead with 1:33 remaining in the third quarter.
As good as the middle quarter-and-a-half were for the Tigers, the first quarter-and-a-half and the final quarter were enough to give Moore plenty to work with over the next week. Westerville South led 6-0 after Kaden Saunders’s 4-yard touchdown catch from Peter Pedrozo on its first drive, and 9-7 with 8:52 remaining in the second quarter on Matthew Bame’s 32-yard field goal.
After Massillon forced the running clock on Hartson’s third scoring run, Westerville South scored 27 points and rolled up 219 total yards in the fourth quarter. Pedrozo, who completed 25 of 48 passes for 337 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, threw and caught scoring passes in the final 9:07 of the game.
“You just have to give all the credit in the world to Westerville South,” said Moore, whose team’s previous season-high in points allowed was 24 Week 1 against St. Edward and yards allowed was 361 last week against Hoover. “They played well, played hard. Fought back into it. Congratulations to them.”
Saunders, the junior Penn State commit, finished with 169 receiving yards on nine catches. He had two TDs, including one off of a deflected pass with four seconds remaining in the game to provide the final margin.
Massillon forced a pair of turnovers, both interceptions by Isaiah Clark. The biggest of those came late in the second quarter when Clark outfought Bame for the ball in the end zone to preserve a 21-9 Tiger halftime lead.
“The first half, I think we missed a couple of opportunities for scores,” Westerville South coach Matthew Christ said after his team falls to 7-1. “Put it on my shoulders at the end of the day for the clock management at the end of the half. We probably should’ve just kicked the field goal. I thought that was a touchdown, but interception, it is what it is.”
Late autumn. Orange‑and-black vs. Orangemen. Two good running teams. Too cold to pass.
It was a perfect night for some smash‑pumpkin football.
And that is what the Massillon Tigers played Saturday night in carving out a 28‑6 football playoff victory over the Akron Ellet Orangemen in front of 11,000 frozen customers at Fawcett Stadium.
Massillon advanced to the Region 2 (of Division 1) championship game Saturday night at 7 against Toledo St. John’s at the Akron Rubber Bowl. Ellet finished the year with a 9‑2 record.
The Tigers ripped open a 21‑0 halftime lead and had no trouble riding out the victory even though starting quarterback Nick Mossides spent the second half in the locker room after his head bounced off the hard turf after a hit late in the first half.
It was so clear Massillon was the better team that Ellet head coach Joe Yost didn’t bother moping.
“They’re the best we’ve seen, he said. “We didn’t play our best game, but let’s face it. They’re an outstanding team.”
Massillon, 9‑2, was mightier on both lines of scrimmage against an Ellet team billed as a big bunch of bruisers.
“They looked bigger on film than they actually were ” Massillon head coach Lee Owens said. “They did, in fact, have good size. But Walsh Jesuit, Cincinnati Moeller and Akron St. V all had bigger teams.
“They were very aggressive. The only team that’s played more physical than Ellet was probably St. V.”
The Tigers got back their one-two running punch, with fullback Falando Ashcraft, who sat out most of a 42‑13 win over McKinley with a sprained ankle, rushing for 102 yards.
‘G.A.’ to apply at Rubber Bowl All tickets for Saturday’s 7 p.m. Massillon‑Toledo St. John’s playoff game at the Akron Rubber Bowl will be general admission, Washington High ticket official Josie Rollstin said Sunday. Tickets, $5 apiece, will go on sale Tuesday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Hours that day will be 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Tiger Stadium. The sale will shift to Washington High School Thursday (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and Friday (7 a.m. to noon). There will be no special hours for season ticket holders, and no limit on the number of tickets one can buy.
Travis McGuire stayed on fire with a 19‑carry, 198‑yard, two‑touchdown night.
Ellet wound up with a 48‑21 lead in passing yards, but it was the smash‑pumpkin stats that mattered: Massillon led 318‑124 in rushing yards.
McGuire expanded his school‑record, single‑season rushing total to 1,612 yards (8.1 per carry). Ashcraft moved nearer second place on the Massillon career rushing yards list. He has rushed for 1,106 yards this year after totals of 195 as a sophomore and 1,182 as a junior. That adds up to 2,483, just short of Bill Harmon’s second‑place total of 2,505 (1973-75). Tops on the list is Art Hastings (3,090 yards, 1958‑60). In Saturday’s game, Ashcraft exploded over the right side on a trap play for a 49‑yard touchdown run that gave the Tigers a 21‑0 lead with 7:25 left in the second quarter.
“I wasn’t 100 percent … probably in the late 80s,” Ashcraft said. “I was still a little sore. This was like a little test. I’ll definitely be back close to 100 percent next week.”
The Tigers advanced to the Region 2 championship game against Toledo St. John’s Saturday night at the Akron Rubber Bowl. St. John’s nipped Barberton 10‑7 in another playoff opener.
Ellet, also 9‑2, gave the Tigers a dose of Jackson deja vu on the first play from scrimmage.
A year ago, Jackson scored early in a playoff game against Massillon at Fawcett on a long run by Jaiye Murdock. On Saturday, Ellet would have scored on a broken play had not one of the Orangemen been caught clipping. Ellet tailback Bobby Clark picked up a bad pitch deep in his own territory, retreated to his own goal line, and wound up running at least 150 yards to the opposite end zone. The clip was nowhere close to the streaking Clark; Yet, it brought the ball all the way back to the Ellet 26‑yard line.
Ellet punted after three plays, then the Tigers tried three passes and had to punt themselves.
Thanks to its defense, Massillon had the ball back on a punt in good field position moments later. McGuire traveled 33 yards on a counter play for a touchdown. Jason Brown’s P.A.T. kick made it 7‑0 with 5: 27 left in the first quarter.
Ellet’s next possession ended when a pass from quarterback Ryan George hit an official and ricocheted to Massillon’s Wayne Gallion. Two plays later, McGuire exploded for a 28-yard touchdown run, but the play was called back by a holding penalty. The possession ended with a punt.
Another Ellet possession became another three‑and‑out. This time, a 25‑yard punt return by Troy Burick gave the Tigers possession on the Ellet 31‑yard line. By this point, the Tigers were relying almost exclusively on the run. It took eight running plays to create another touchdown ‑ McGuire’s one-yard run. Brown’s kick made it 14‑0 with 9:16 left in the second quarter.
Ellet again had to punt after three plays. This time the Tigers took over on their own 43. Mossides hit McGuire for a seven‑yard gain on first down. On second down, Ashcraft exploded for his 49‑yard touchdown run. Brown’s kick made it 21‑0 with 7:25 left in the half.
“Falando’s touchdown was on a trap away from (the strong side of) our unbalanced line,” Owens said. “It was a great play call.”
Owens said offensive players recommended the play, which was in turn endorsed by offensive line coach Joe Studer.
“That touchdown was a key play,” Owens said. “Another big key was our defense stopping their scoring threat late in the first half. If they find a way to score, that gives them something to build on in the second half.”
Ellet had driven to the Massillon 27 with just over a minute left in the half before a sack by Massillon’s Jason Woullard and Brandon Turley snuffed out the threat.
Sophomore Mike Danzy took over at quarterback for the Tigers in the second half.
Neither team mounted a scoring threat until early in the fourth quarter, when Danzy engineered an all‑running, 59-yard touchdown drive. Gains of 21 yards by Ashcraft and 25 yards by McGuire set up an eight‑yard touchdown run by Eric Wright.
Brown’s P.A.T. kick gave the Tigers a 28‑0 lead with 8:36 left in the game.
Ellet salvaged some pride with a touchdown with 1:07 left, a two‑yard run by 6‑foot‑4, 215pound fullback Danny Crookston.
The point‑after pass attempt failed, and the final score stood at 28‑6.
“We played hard and with a lot of effort,” Owens said. “We really played well on defense. We played hard on offense, but not as well. Our continuity was not that good.”
“Still, we had some nice explosiveness on offense, at times. Ellet had only given up 48 points all season and we scored 21 in the first half.”
On defense, the Tigers forced Ellet to pass, and the Orangemen were ineffective. George, who likes running the ball out of an option attack, completed only three of 17 passes, with two interceptions. Eric Woods made his third interception in the last two games.
As for the Jackson deja vu factor, it fizzled quickly,
Clark, the tailback whose long touchdown run was called back by the clip, disappeared.
MASSILLON 28 AKRON ELLET 6 M E First downs rushing 10 8 First downs passing 0 1 First downs by penalty 1 1 Totals first downs 11 10 Yards gained rushing 326 268 Yards lost rushing 8 44 Net yards rushing 318 124 Net yards passing 21 48 Total yards gained 339 172 Passes attempted 12 17 Passes completed 5 3 Passes int. by 0 2 Times kicked off 5 2 Kickoff average 49.2 24.0 Kickoff return yards 12 80 Punts 4 7 Punting average 33.8 36.0 Punt return yards 68 6 Fumbles 2 2 Fumbles lost 2 0 Penalties 9 3 Yards penalized 87 45 Number of plays 49 56 Time of possession 20:17 27:43 Attendance 11,000
When the final gun sounded, it seemed as if Steve Studer was shot out of it.
Within seconds of the finish of Saturday’s 42‑13 Massillon victory over McKinley, Studer, the Tigers’ strength coach had sprinted across the field and seized the victory bell that goes to the winner.
He and a pack of cheerleaders wheeled the bell across the Fawcett Stadium grass, to the Massillon side. It took the cheerleaders about 30 seconds to paint the bell orange and black.
“Let’s haul that baby home,” exclaimed Jeff Thornberry, president of the Tiger Sideliners amid general approval of a celebrating Massillon mob.
Thornberry had been in charge of the “Beat McKinley” parade Friday night. He said it drew a record number of entries. He heaved a sigh of relief after the parade was over. It had taken a lot of work.
Beating McKinley and making the state playoffs pumped a big second wind into him.
“I’ll have another parade,” he said.
The Tigers rained down a parade of points on the Bulldogs.
It was the biggest point spread in the classic battle in 31 years, dating to Massillon’s 42‑0 victory in 1960.
Even Paul Brown’s six Massillon teams that beat McKinley never did so by as many as the 29 points that separated the Tigers and Bulldogs Saturday.
Saturday’s game was a page out of the Chuck Mather playbook. Mather, who attended Saturday’s game, was head coach of the Tigers when they beat McKinley 33‑0 in 1950, 40‑0 in 1951, 41‑8 in 1952 and 48‑7 in 1953.
The effort of Massillon’s offensive line and running back Travis McGuire was second to none.
McGuire scored five touchdowns and rushed for a school record 302 yards. Tiger statistician Richie Cunningham turned in the figure at 299 yards at the end of the game, then went home to review the videotape. He found three more yards and adjusted the figure. It is 302 that will go into the official record books, surpassing the previous record of 263 by Homer Floyd in 1954 ‑ against McKinley.
Tiger head coach Lee Owens improved his record against McKinley to 3‑1.
“Not as good as 4‑0,” he said.
But not too shabby, either.
McKinley’s Thom McDaniels now is 5‑5 against Massillon.
Massillon linebacker Eric Wright, in his third
year as a starter, is 2‑0 against McKinley at Fawcett Stadium. Afterward, he demonstrated a quality that has made him a team captain the last two years. He did not pat himself on the back for another smashing game. Asked to identify the turning point of the game, he credited a teammate.
“The two interceptions by that man right there,” he said, pointing to junior defensive
back Eric Woods, back in Massillon, in the Tiger locker room.
Season holders get first shot at tickets Akron Ellet will be the Massillon Tigers’ opponent in the first round of the Ohio high school football playoffs.
Ellet, 9‑1, will take on Massillon, 8‑2, at 7 p.m. Saturday in Fawcett Stadium, where the Tigers mauled McKinley 42‑13 two days ago.
Game manager Dan Brooks of Canton City Schools said Sunday that the only tickets sold early in the week will be reserved seats.
“Last year, when Massillon played Jackson (in a Division I playoff tilt at Fawcett), we gave both schools 11,000 tickets,” Brooks said. “I can’t imagine that Ellet will need that many.”
All tickets will be $5, Brooks said, adding there will be no discount for students.
Tickets will go on sale Tuesday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium for season ticket holders who display their green card only. Hours will be 7:30 a.m. through 9 p.m.
Woods helped render McKinley’s passing game almost harmless.
“We were a little surprised by how little they passed,” he said. “We thought they would pass most of the time.”
Instead, McKinley’s junior quarterback Joe Pukansky completed just six of 13 passes for 40 yards.
“Give credit to our line” for putting some heat on Pukansky, Woods said.
Woods’ first interception stopped McKinley’s first possession of the third quarter and led to a Tiger touchdown that broke open a 21‑13 game. Woods made the pickoff after teammate Jason Woullard tipped a Pukansky pass headed for tight end Paul Popko.
McKinley had looked like a serious threat to the Tigers early in the game, scoring on its first possession.
“We were too aggressive on their first series,” Woullard said. “We were over‑running the tackles.”
The Bulldogs gained 80 yards on their first possession. They picked up just 87 more yards the rest‑of the game.
“We played our base coverages most of the game,” Woullard said. “We just played it well.”
Woullard played a full game at “Rob” defensive end after missing most of the previous week’s contest with a bruised shoulder.
“Beating McKinley beats a little pain any time,” he said.
Massillon’s offensive line gave the Bulldogs a beating.
“I think everyone on the line had his best game today,” said Ryan Orr, a card‑carrying member of “The Wrecking Crew,” as the line calls itself. “We stayed low and did a good job executing.”
Orr hopes the Tigers can blow a few more teams out of the water.
“It’s just one game at a time, and everybody pulling together, trying for a four‑game winning streak,” he said.
Four more wins would make the Tigers state champions.
The Tiger Booster Club will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Washington High gym, and not in the school auditorium where the meetings usually are held.
Studer boys give line a lift, get kick out of pounding of McKinley
By STEVE DOERSCHUK Independent Sports Editor
Nobody enjoyed Saturday’s 42‑13 Massillon victory over McKinley more than Joe Studer.
“It was as great a win as any I’ve ever been a part of as a coach,” said Studer, who gave up the head coaching job at Triway High after the 1990 season to become offensive line coach of the Massillon Tigers.
Triway was 8‑2 in Studer’s last year there, but trading in status as a successful boss for a job as an assistant made sense to him. He was a senior on the 1974 Massillon team and he bleeds Tiger orange.
Now he knows what it’s like to beat McKinley as a Tiger player, and as a Tiger coach. What’s more fun?
“That’s a tough one,” Studer said. “My senior year McKinley was 9‑0 and we beat them on a last‑second pass from Greg Wood to Eddie Bell. That was the McKinley team with Jap Jeter and Jonathon Moore. That’s a good memory.”
Outstanding play by the Massillon offensive line will be a memory that will last for many who saw the 1991 win over McKinley.
“It was a nice game for the line,” Studer allowed. “We came off the ball well and we were able to move their line. My hat is off to the young men.
“Of course, there’s always room for improvement.”
In what areas?
“There was one play for minus yardage against McKinley,” Studer said.
Another good game by the line would come in handy Saturday when the Tigers face Akron Ellet in the first round of the playoffs Saturday.
Ellet has one of the best defensive fronts the Tigers will have seen.
“Their tackles are real big so we have to make sure we play low and come off the ball low and gets under their pads,” Studer said.
How does Ellet’s defensive front wall stack up to the best the Tigers have seen?
“In terms of overall scheme, talent and quickness, Moeller was the best,” Studer said. “For flat‑out physical size, Walsh was No. 1. Of course, Akron St V was real strong, too.”
Studer took a quick look at the Massillon unit that calls itself “The Wrecking Crew.”
Center Scott Chariton (5‑10 215, Sr.) ‑ “His biggest asset is balance. He keeps a low center of gravity.”
Strong guard Ryan Orr (S‑10, 250, Sr.) ‑ “A great down blocker, and very consistent … a lot of hip strength.”
Strong tackles Brandon Jackson (6‑4, 300, Jr.) and Mark Miller (6‑0, 245, Jr.) ‑ “Both of them have come a long way since having to step in for Chris (Dottavio). It left us with a big hole when Chris got hurt and these guys have done the job.”
Quick guard Matt Williams (6‑1, 215, Sr.) and quick tackle Steve Miller (6‑0, 215, Sr.) ‑”Both have overcome the fact they aren’t the size of someone you’d visualize as an offensive lineman. Both have come a long way. They have quick feet and they’re technicians with good football sense.”
Tight end Greg Paul (6‑3, 215, Sr.) ‑ “When Travis (McGuire) has run the counter Greg has been at the point of attack putting a good block on a guy who’s usually bigger than him.”
Senior Dan Sciury (6‑2, 250, Sr.), an all‑county performer on defense, started on the offensive line last year. Sciury still plays some on offense. He was in there against McKinley when the Tigers used an unusual three‑tackle set.
“Dan means so much to our defense that we’ve used him sparingly on offense,” Studer said. “He’s a great student of the game.”
Two other seniors have been part of the line’s success, behind the scenes.
“Seth Aegerter has backed up at tight end and he’s on the kickoff return team,” Studer said. “Jason Crites backs up at guard and he’s also on the kickoff return team. Both of them have put in a lot of hard work.”
Studer has received more than a little help from assistant coach Tim Daniels and strength coach Steve Studer.
The Studers, who are brothers, and Daniels all were offensive line starters in college. Steve and Joe hogged the starting center position at Bowling Green for six straight years during the 1970s. Daniels was a big tackle for the Tennessee Volunteers in the early 1980s.
“The strength program has been real important in what we’ve done on the line,” Joe Studer said. “Steve put these guys through a lot of hard work in the off‑season.”
“The training techniques I used at Triway I got from Steve,” Joe Studer said. “When I came back to Massillon to coach Steve and I were pretty much on the same page right from the start.
“One thing we’ve done this year that has helped has been maintain and even build our strength as this season has progressed. A lot of times, a football player will lose strength during the season.”
Studer said the key to his unit’s progress this year has been quite simple: hard work.
“The way these guys apply themselves as a group is impressive,” he said. “They’ve been so consistent in their effort. They also have a lot of football sense. You don’t have to tell them a lot of things twice.
MASSILLON 42 McKINLEY 13 MA Mc First downs rushing 22 6 First downs passing 0 2 First downs by penalty 0 0 Total first downs 22 8 Yards gained rushing 408 140 Yards lost rushing 4 13 Net yards rushing 404 127 Net yards passing 3 40 Total yards gained 407 167 Passes attempted 3 13 Passes completed 1 6 Passes int. by 2 0 Times kicked off 7 3 Kickoff average 41.3 48.0 Kickoff return yards 78 132 Punts 1 4 Punting average 32.0 26.0 Punt return yards 16 5 Fumbles 1 1 Fumbles lost 1 1 Penalties 3 5 Yards penalized 11 40 Number of plays 63 43 Time of possession 23:17 24:43
MASSILLON 14 7 14 7 42 McKINLEY 7 6 0 0 13
SCORING SUMMARY M ‑ Eric Wright 18 run (Jason Brown kick) Mc ‑ Don Martin 1 run (Jack Vincenzio kick) M ‑ Travis McGuire 14 run (Brown kick) M ‑ McGuire 11 run (Brown kick) Mc ‑ Ron Burr 3 pass from Joe Pukansky (kick failed) M ‑ McGuire 6 run (Brown kick) M ‑ McGuire 1 run (Brown kick) W ‑ McGuire 79 run (Brown kick)
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING (Massillon) McGuire 36‑302, Wright 6‑46, Mike Danzy 5‑18, Dan Seimetz 3‑10, Falando Ashcraft 3‑7, Nick Moasides 1‑6, Eugene Copeland 3‑5, Marc Stafford 1‑3; (McKinley) Pukansky 6‑45, Martin 7‑35, Che Bryant 6‑27, Bruce Richards 9‑24, Tremaine McElroy 1‑1.
There were some thorns on the other side of Jack Rose’s cartwheel that capped the Massillon Tigers’ 41‑0 victory over Indianapolis North Central Saturday night.
After the Massillon defense knocked another opponent head over heels, Rose turned acrobat to celebrate his first shutout as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator.
Head coach Lee Owens, though, wasn’t waving a pinwheel over the play of the offense.
“We’re very lucky that our defense played as well as it did,” Owens said. “I’m really upset with the play of our offense.”
“We had turnovers, penalties and missed assignments that should not have been there. We’d play one good series with a lot of emotion and then the next three series would be horrible.”
North Central’s offense consisted of wide receiver Derrick Mayes (six catches, 78 yards).
“He’s not that fast.” said Massillon’s Travis McGuire, who shadowed Mayes at cornerback, while also gaining 99 yards as a running back. “But he’s big and athletic and he has good hands.”
“He’s a great kid,” added Owens. “He’s the kind of kid who could go to Notre Dame and do well.”
Notre Dame and everybody else are after Mayes, a 6‑2, 190-pound senior.
North Central has another superb athlete in junior split end/defensive back Eric Allen, whom the Tigers will see next year when they take on the Panthers in the Indianapolis Hoosierdome.
North Central’s top running back Saturday was Adam Evans, who finished the night with seven carries for eight yards. That’s 24 feet, for you track and field fans, and happens to be almost exactly what Adam cleared this past spring in winning the Indiana state long jumping championship.
The Panthers’ rushing attack went 47 yards ahead and 28 yards in reverse for a grand total of 19 yards.
“We swarmed to the ball and everybody did his job,” said Tiger defensive end Joey Lococo. “They reminded me of Moeller in a way, because they had big offensive linemen. But we used speed to get the advantage.”
Massillon’s run defense has probably been the most consistent bright spot on the team. Nose guard Carl Hye offered a reason why the Tigers have been sharp against the run all year.
“We get ready to play our best every game,” Hye said. “After we played Moeller and lost, we put the game behind us. Now we have to do the same thing. We won. We played a pretty good game. But it’s over. We have to treat the next game, and every game, like it’s for the state championship.”
Youngstown East, a 21‑0 loser to undefeated Youngstown Chaney (7‑0) Saturday, will visit Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Friday.
Massillon’s offense was hardly a washout Saturday. Falando Ashcraft rushed for 143 yards and now has 798 through seven games. McGuire’s 99 rushing yards (he also caught four passes for 28 yards) lifted his season total to 821.
Quarterback Nick Mossides, in his second week back after missing the Fitch game with a sprained knee, threw almost twice as many passes as the previous week. He completed seven of 19 for 69 yards and no interceptions.
But it was things like a first half sequence ‑ when the Tigers scored on their first possession, then punted, fumbled, and punted on the next three possessions ‑ that disturbed Owens.
The Tigers used an eight‑play (all runs), 63‑yard drive to take a 7‑0 lead. Ashcraft’s six‑yard run around the right side produced the touchdown and Jason Brown’s P.A.T. boot was good with 9:25 left in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, a Jason Woullard punt buried the Panthers at the 5. Senior quarterback Jason Jacobs dropped back to pass on the next play. Tiger linebacker Eric Wright shot through on a blitz so quickly that Jacobs never had a chance to react as he was dropped for a safety.
The ensuing free kick enabled the Tigers to drive to the 4 before settling for a 21‑yard field goal by Brown, who seemed to put more oomph behind the ball than usual all night.
It was 12‑0, Tigers, with 6:01 left in the half.
Wright’s linebacking partner, Brandon Turley, set up Massillon’s next score. With the Panthers in punt formation, Turley broke through the line and smothered booter Tom Hadley so closely that he seemed to blocked the boot with his belly button. Massillon took over on the Panthers’ 22 and scored in two runs by Ashcraft, covering 9 and 13 yards.
Brown’s kick made it 19‑0 with 3:18 left in the half. That became the halftime score.
Early in the second half, the Tigers made it to the 6‑yard line on a 20‑yard pass play from Mossides to McGuire out of a bizarre formation Owens called a 10‑man shift. Ashcraft fumbled on the next play, but North Central wasn’t off the hook. Weird play spices victory over squad from Indiana
By STEVE DOERSCHUK Independent Sports Editor
One if by land, two if by sea, and I on the opposite sideline will be.
No, it wasn’t Paul Revere’s famous ride. It was Travis McGuire’s 20‑yard romp on one of the weirdest plays in Massillon football history. It spiced a 41‑0 victory Saturday night before 10,869 amused onlookers Saturday night in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
“I don’t think I ever did that before,” Massillon head coach Lee Owens said. “We just call it the 10‑man shift.”
Early in the second quarter, the Tigers broke huddle and approached the line of scrimmage on first down from the North Central 26. The whole house was shocked when half the Tiger line jogged to the west sideline, and the other half jogged to the east sideline. North Central’s defense played along and were lined up over the Massillon linemen as they assumed their three‑point stances. Center Scott Chariton and quarterback Nick Mossides (in shotgun formation) had the middle of the field all to themselves.
Charlton snapped the ball, and Mossides fired a pass to Travis McGuire, who was lined up near the east sideline.
“We thought there might be a lane for Travis down that sideline,” Owens said.
There wasn’t. North Central had jammed up the play, but the crafty McGuire saw an opening back the other way and cut across the right side of the field, nearly breaking free for a touchdown before he was caught at the 6‑yard line.
“I was looking for a little wrinkle, a little something to add some fun to practice during the week,” Owens said. “When we drew up the play a couple of our coaches looked at me like I’d flipped.”
Word leaked out of the practice field that the Tigers might be cooking up a strange, new trick play to use on North Central.
“You can’t keep a secret in this town,” Owens said. “Somebody asked me at a gas station what we were up to.”
Team doctor Robert Erickson, Owens said, was questioned about the rumored trickery during surgery this week.
“I wasn’t sure what was going to come of the play,” Owens said. “The guess was that we’d force them to take a timeout, and that would have burned a timeout they didn’t want to burn. But the play went off.”
What’s in store for this week Is foe, Youngstown East. A double fleafficker, triple‑reverse with two‑and‑a‑half twists?
“I think that will be the last you see of the 10‑man shift,” Owens said.
During the second half, Dr. Erickson was happy to note from the sideline that safety Dan Hackenbracht had entered the game. It was Hackenbracht’s first game action in nearly two months. he suffered a broken leg two days after a preseason scrimmage against Cleveland St. Ignatius.
“Hack is back! ” Erickson crowed.
Hackenbracht, who started last year as a sophomore, said he’s not sure if he’ll be able to regain all his speed by the end of the season.
“Right now, I’m getting my timing back,” he said. “But I feel good … real good.” *** Derrick Mayes, North Central’s star senior receiver, said the Tigers were in the same class as Ben Davis, last year’s Indiana state champion and the favorite to win the title in ’91.
“Massillon had all the ingredients you see in a very good team,” Mayes said. “They’re one of the best teams I’ve seen.” *** Nick Vrotsos and Ducky Schroeder, both of whom served for many years as Tiger assistant coaches, each drew a warm standing ovation when they were recognized at half-time for their contributions. *** North Central head coach George Pappas was dis-appointed in his team’s offensive line play.
“We have good size on the line, but not much quickness,” Pappas said. “Still, our people should be able to do the kind of things we’re asking them to do. We had a second and one (near midfield with Massillon leading 7‑0) and failed to make a first down’ That hurt.
“They forced us to pass, and you can’t throw the ball all stinking night. You just can’t do it.
“Of course, you can’t overtook the fact we did play a pretty good team.”
Pappas was fairly happy with his team’s ability to throw the Tigers’ offense out of rhythm.
“They had a great defensive scheme and that made it a challenge,” Owens said. “They played a lot of man to man and a lot of sets we seldom see.”
Pappas praised the Tigers’ defense and running game.
“They don’t do a whole heckuva lot of things with their defense and they don’t have to,” he said. “They’re fundamentally sound, and they buckle up the old chinstrap and come at you.
“On offense, they run some very basic plays … the buck, the cross, the belly, the boot. But when you execute them well and in the proper sequence they can be really quite devastating. ”
Jacobs was carried off the field at the end of the first half with a sprained ankle but was back in at quarterback, and again dropping back to pass in the end zone. This time, he was pressured by Woullard and tackled by Jonathon Jones for another safety. It was 14‑0 with 9:13 left in the third quarter.
McGuire returned the ensuing free kick 44 yards to set up his own 12‑yard touchdown run. The kick was no good but Massillon’s lead had swelled to 27‑0 just 63 seconds after the safety.
The Tigers drove 56 yards for a TD, McGuire going in from the 2, and Brown’s kick made it 34‑0 with 1:06 left in the third‑quarter.
Mike Danzy came on at quarterback and directed an 84‑yard scoring drive capped by Dan Seimetz’s 16‑yard TD romp. Brown’s kick made it 41‑0 with 6:36 left in the game.
The contest ended with North Central on the march and the Panthers trying to lob the ball to Mayes in the end zone. Dana Wofford leaped high to break up the last attempt and preserve the shutout.
MASSILLON 41 NORTH CENTRAL 0 M NC First downs rushing 17 3 First downs passing 6 7 First downs by penalty 2 1 Totals first downs 25 11 Yards gained rushing 330 47 Yards lost rushing 10 28 Net yards rushing 320 19 Net yards passing 103 150 Total yards gained 423 169 Passes attempted 19 31 Passes completed 10 10 Passes int. by 0 1 Times kicked off 7 1 Kickoff average 52.9 32.0 Kickoff return yards 67 136 Punts 4 7 Punting average 43.0 27.7 Punt return yards 27 14 Fumbles 2 3 Fumbles lost 2 1 Penalties 5 4 Yards penalized 35 44 Number of plays 69 56 Time of possession 24:31 23:29 Attendance 10,869
North Central 0 0 0 0 0 Massillon 7 12 15 7 41
M ‑ Ashcraft 6 run (Brown kick) 11 M ‑ Safety, Wright tackles Jacobs in end zone M ‑ FG Brown 21 M ‑ Ashcraft 13 run (Brown kick) M ‑ Safety, Jones tackles Jacobs in end zone M ‑ McGuire 12 run (kick failed) M ‑ McGuire 2 run (Brown kick) M ‑ Seimetz 16 run (Brown kick)
On a stuffy night dedicated to the late Paul Brown, in front of 11,365 in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, the Washington High football team played inspired, hard‑hitting football in mugging the Alliance Aviators 35‑6.
Massillon’s powerhouse one-two running punch of Travis McGuire (13 carries for 96 yards) and Falando Ashcraft (16 for 68) each delivered two touchdowns. Defensive coordinator Jack Rose’s tricked‑up (to key on lightning‑legged quarterback Tremayne Banks) 50 defense held Alliance to no first downs in the first quarter and 38 yards in the first half en route to a solid performance.
It was a solid season opener, the kind Paul would have liked.
“Paul Brown was football,” Alliance head coach Fred Thomas said. “Naturally, we didn’t like the outcome, but it was an honor to be here on a night like this.”
Thomas apologized for his team being in the end zone loosening up before the game when an announcement honoring Paul Brown was greeted with a warm, prolonged standing ovation.
“No way we would have been on the field if we’d have known that was coming,” Thomas said. “We meant no disrespect. We would have stayed in the locker room.”
No apology was needed. The Aviators meant no harm and turned in an effort equal to their abilities.
“I’ll say the same thing I said last year when we beat Stow (51‑0) in the opener,” said Massillon head coach Lee Owens. “I said they were a good team that would win some ball games. They won eight. Alliance is a year away from being a real good team. But they’re going to be good this year. They’ll win some games.”
Paul Brown won 79 games over nine years, turning Massillon into the biggest name in high school football. Owens focused on the Hall of Fame coach who died recently during his pre-game team speech.
“The man who wrote the letter to the editor pretty much wrote my pre‑game speech for me,” Owens said. “I made the same points he did.”
The letter to The Independent, penned by Ed Voshall, essentially said the players and the coaches of today are charged with carrying on the traditions launched by Paul Brown in the 1930s.
The player charged with the responsibility of quarterbacking the Tigers on Friday was Nick Mossides, a 6‑foot, I55‑pound senior getting his first varsity start.
Owens kept it a secret all week as to whether Mossides or senior Troy Burick, who started at safety, would be the QB.
“I was told, the team was told, on Monday,” Mossides said. “I was excited about it. I’ve been working hard for a long time to get ready for the chance to do this.”
Mossides’ inexperience showed at times when he was pressured and threw the ball into traffic; however, when he got good protection, which was most of the night, most of his tosses were zipped with precision. He completed 7‑of‑15 passes for 88 yards and one interception.
“I think I threw the ball fairly well to (Marc) Stafford, (Geoff) Merchant and (Mark) Hawkins,” Mossides said. “I’ve got to throw the ball a little better. I missed a couple of throws.”
Mossides said his heart was jumping a bit when he ran out onto the field amid the big crowd, but he felt calm after he took the field. He focused on reading the defense first, then checking to see if a blitz might be on.
“I felt pretty comfortable,” he said.
Stafford, a speedy senior, caught three passes for 51 yards.
“Nick did real well,” Stafford said. “I thought the whole team played well. On offense, the line did an excellent job.
“We made a lot of mistakes, but we played hard as a team. We’ve been working real hard.”
The Tigers built a 35‑0 lead when second‑team running back Dan Seimetz scored on the first play of the fourth quarter and Jason Brown booted his third extra point (he was 3‑for‑4 on the night).
The first‑stringers played briefly in the fourth quarter before the second unit was summoned. Alliance’s second‑year starting quarterback Tremayne Banks scored on a 51yard run with 3:12 left in the game. Dana Wofford blocked the P.A.T. kick attempt to remove some of the sting.
“I thought our defense did a real good job dealing with their option,” Owens said. “You’ve got to give Jack Rose a lot of credit for coming up with a good plan, and our players for executing it.”
The Tigers wound up with a 332‑172 edge in net offensive yards.
“We played pretty well but not as well as we should have,” observed senior defensive end Jason Woullard. “We need to work on our pass coverage … reading keys.”
Woullard said he agreed with coaches’ comments during training camp that tackling needed to get better.
“The hard work paid off, I think,” Woullard said. “We did a better job wrapping up tonight. We worked hard on tackling every day. The first thing we did in practice was the gauntlet drill.”
The Tigers capitalized on two Alliance turnovers to take a 21‑0 lead. But their first touchdown came on a prolonged drive on their first possession after and Alliance punt.
Mossides got things going by completing a third‑and‑16 pass for 17 yards to Stafford. Ashcraft powered in from a yard out at 6:50 of the first quarter, Brown made the point‑after kick, and it was 7‑0.
The drive consumed 67 yards and covered nine plays.
There was no further scoring until midway through the third quarter. Alliance running back Gerard Hawkins (who gained 700 yards last season but held to minus‑4 yards Friday) was smashed by Turley, and Burick recovered the subsequent fumble at the Alliance 5‑yard line. Ashcraft scored from two yards out two plays later, the point-after kick was wide, and the Tigers led 13‑0 with 6:19 left in the half.
Alliance had the ball near midfield when an option pitch got loose and was recovered by Tiger linebacker Eric Wright. The Tigers punted a few plays later but the fumble established the field position that led to a Tiger TD.
Burick’s 33‑yard punt return gave Massillon possession on the Alliance 22‑yard line. On the next play, the line created a wide avenue on a draw play through which McGuire neatly stepped for a 22‑yard touchdown run. Ashcraft ran for a two‑point conversion and it was 21‑0 with 1:08 left in the half.
The Tigers blew open the game with an impressive scoring march on the opening possession of the third quarter. It was fourth‑and‑goal from the 4 when the draw play worked again, with McGuire again doing the scoring honors. Brown’s kick made it 28‑0 with 6:23 left in the third quarter.
The drive consumed 13 plays and covered 62 yards.
Jerry May relieved Mossides at quarterback and conducted a nine‑play, 61‑yard scoring drive capped by Seimetz’s touchdown ‘
“The two turnovers in the first half gave Massillon a short field to work with, and you can’t give a short field to a team as good as Massillon,” Alliance’s Thomas said. “I take nothing away from Massillon. Up front, they hit us really hard. We’re a little banged up. I hope we can bounce back.”
Alliance’s 280‑pound senior tackle Rod Shedrick was motionless on the field for several minutes late in the game.
“He had a twinge in his neck,” Thomas said. “We didn’t want him to move and played it safe.”
Shedrick is apparently OK. He was treated and released at Massillon Community Hospital.
The Tigers will be back home next Friday to take on Walsh Jesuit. Alliance will play its home opener against Jackson, whose last game was a 1990 playoff loss to Massillon.
MASSILLON 35 ALLIANCE 6 M V First downs rushing 13 5 First downs passing 7 2 First downs by penalty 0 0 Totals first downs 20 7 Net yards rushing 229 137 Net yards passing 103 35 Total yards gained 332 172 Passes attempted 17 17 Passes completed 8 4 Passes int. by 0 1 Kickoff average 50.7 27.5 Kickoff return yards 20 120 Punts 3 6 Punting average 34.3 35.7 Punt return yards 41 0 Fumbles 3 3 Fumbles lost 0 3 Penalties 3 3 Time of possession 28:24 19:36