On that night, Shaw’s Niles McKinley Red Dragons erased a late 12-0 deficit en route to a 20-12 win over Massillon. Niles eventually went on to post a 10-0 record.
This past Friday — exactly 44 years to the day of the that memorable clash — Shaw returned to Bo Rein Stadium. Prior to the game between Girard and Niles, Shaw was introduced as a 2010 inductee of the Niles McKinley High Hall of Fame.
During Shaw’s days at Niles McKinley, both as an assistant under Tony Mason and as a head coach, the Red Dragons compiled an overall record of 101-15-10. Shaw served as the Niles head coach in 1965 and 1966, then coached two years at the University of Michigan. He returned to guide the Red Dragons from 1969 through 1972. Under Shaw, the Red Dragons never lost more than two games in a season.
In 1973, Shaw returned to the college ranks, where he served as an assistant coach at Cincinnati. Assistant coaching jobs followed at Arizona, Southern Illinois, Arkansas, Akron and West Virginia. In 1988, Shaw was the defensive coordinator for the Mountaineers when they played Notre Dame in the national title game.
Shaw also coached in the United States Football League.
So, what was it about Niles’ win over Massillon that stands the test of time?
“Unless you were a part of Niles football at that time, it’s hard to explain,” Shaw said. “The high school football atmosphere during that era was incredible. Communities lived and died with their teams. Beating Massillon meant everything to the people of Niles.
“Plus, the game itself was one of the best I’ve seen at any level. Just when it seemed like we had no chance, we made one big play after another, all in front of a wild sellout crowd.”
Now retired, Shaw resides in Texas.
• ON THE WAR PATH: In 1994, Brookfield went 10-2, advancing to the second round of the playoffs. No other Warriors team has been able to finish above .500 since.
Three weeks ago, it appeared as though another season of struggle was in the works.
Today, the Warriors are thinking playoffs.
After starting off the season 1-3, Brookfield has won three straight to lift its record to 4-3. On Friday, the Warriors host 7-0 Ledgemont. With a win over the Redskins, the Warriors will become legitimate playoff contenders for the first time in 16 years.
“We all have noticed the rankings, but it’s not something we’re even talking about right now,” Brookfield coach Randy Clark said. “We know that our schedule is sufficient enough to get us in if we win, but we never look past the next opponent. This team’s ability to focus on the task at hand is one of the reasons we’re winning.”
Regardless of where it finishes this season, Brookfield’s future looks bright. Last year, 15 freshmen earned varsity letters. The current roster lists just five seniors, including two who are first-year players. In a 13-man rotation, Clark noted that his offensive unit is void of seniors more than 50 percent of the time it is on the field.
“It has been a total team effort to this point,” Clark said. “Every week, there are three or four different kids who step forward to make a difference. We never have just one guy who is a difference-maker.”
Following its game with Ledgemont, Brookfield closes the season with tilts against Champion and Beaver Local.
• CONFERENCE CALL: After sharing the All-American Conference Red Division title with Poland and Canfield the past two seasons, Howland is on the verge of claiming the league championship outright. The Tigers (7-0, 3-0) can seal the title Friday with a home win over Niles (3-4, 1-1).
The AAC White will be decided Oct. 22 when Lakeview (5-2, 3-0) visits Salem (6-1, 2-1). A win by the Bulldogs would give them the title outright. A win by the Quakers will result in a two or three-way tie.
Girard (5-2, 2-0) and Campbell (6-1, 2-0) share the lead in the AAC Blue Division. Meanwhile, the other three teams all have a pair conference losses. The Indians and Red Devils will meet Friday in Campbell to determine which team will control the lower division of the AAC.
While the Inter Tri-County League Upper Tier has a long way to go before a winner is decided, a great deal will be determined this week when South Range (6-1, 4-0) visits Crestview (6-1, 4-0). Also, the two teams with one conference loss will meet when United (5-2, 3-1) visits Mineral Ridge (4-3, 3-1).
The ITCL Lower Tier has a pair of teams unbeaten in league play. McDonald (5-2, 4-0) visits Sebring (3-4, 1-3) while Western Reserve (7-0, 4-0) travels to Jackson-Milton (1-6, 1-3). A week later, Western Reserve hosts McDonald.
Ledgemont (7-0, 3-0) sits alone atop the Northeastern Athletic Conference. It has already clinched at least a share of the title, but must wait three weeks before it can attempt to claim the title outright. The Redskins play a pair of non-conference games before closing the season with Mathews.
After struggling in the Federal League in the past, it appears as thought Austintown Fitch (7-0, 4-0) and Boardman (5-2, 3-1) will both have a say in determining this year’s title winner. The two rivals play in Austintown in the regular-season finale.
• NOTES FROM THE SIDELINES: In East Canton’s 64-12 win over Windham, eight different Hornets scored touchdowns ... Ledgemont scored seven touchdowns on plays of 44 yards or more in its 69-8 win over Southington. Jim Marsic caught just two passes in the game, but he had 149 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns ... Through seven games, Southington has been outscored 323-30 ... Dan Skiba rushed for 284 yards on just 15 carries in Mineral Ridge’s 42-14 win over Springfield. For the season, Skiba has rushed for 1,009 yards on just 91 attempts — an 11.1 yards-per-carry average ... Eleven different McDonald players carried the ball in the Blue Devils’ 46-0 win over Jackson-Milton ... In LaBrae’s 21-17 win over Newton Falls, all 38 of the game’s points were scored during the first 17 minutes of the contest ... Liberty gained 316 total yards against Lakeview, but scored just six points thanks in large part to four turnovers ... In Garfield’s 67-24 win over Woodridge, Bobby Bright scored five touchdowns while Sabastian Neikirk completed 13 of 25 passes for 352 yards ... Girard’s Dan Graziano threw for 366 yards against Niles — the most passing yards ever surrendered by the Red Dragons in a single game. Graziano gained all 56 of the Indians’ rushing yards, meaning he accounted for all of Girard’s offense.
Tribune Chronicle / Steve Ruman
Former Niles coach Bob Shaw was inducted into the NIles Hall of Fame on Friday night.