The task: Pick five of Stark County’s best high school players — all-time.
The experts: Craig Eoff and Todd Porter, both members of the Stark County High School Hall of Fame Committee. Here’s who they select
Porter’s TOP Five:
CHRIS SPIELMAN, Massillon. Any discussion about the county’s best football player begins here, regardless of the time period. Spielman was the kind of player that opposing teams didn’t even bother to game plan for, at least not the smart ones. Why? Who was gonna stop him? He was that good at linebacker, and don’t forget, he was a load in the backfield at Massillon.
MARION MOTLEY, McKinley. Obviously, I didn’t see him play. But ask anyone who remembers Motley playing football at McKinley and later in the NFL. Rare is the player who could be taken out of his era, placed in today’s game and still excel.
BOB GLADIEUX, Louisville. What Gladieux did in the 1960s was sick. And he did it at Louisville, which wasn’t exactly a perennial football power as it is today. In three seasons, he rushed for 3,469 yards and scored 60 touchdowns. Those numbers still are among the county’s best ever.
MIKE DOSS, McKinley. I’ve never seen a better high school football player with my eyes. Doss had it all. He was a leader. He was a difference maker. I still remember Doss blasting a Cleveland St. Ignatius wide receiver out of bounds just shy of a touchdown on the last play at a Division I state semifinal game. McKinley went on to win a state title that year.
BOBBY WILLIAMS, McKinley. I wonder what would have come of Bobby Williams if he hadn’t been killed in an accident before his college years. He might have been the best player on the Bulldogs’ state title teams in 1955 and ‘56. He was so good, he was signed to an NFL contract out of high school. In 1957, he was killed in an automobile accident before he had a chance to head to Baltimore and make the Colts’ team. Ike Grimsley, who played football at every level, said he was the greatest player he’s ever seen, regardless of level. That’s good enough for me.
Eoff’s TOP FIVE:
MARION MOTLEY, Canton McKinley High School. Motley played with a style and toughness before his time. A great ball carrier who would run over anyone in his path, he was an equally great blocker, which endeared him to his quarterbacks. He played with the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers. Motley is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
BOB GLADIEUX, Louisville High School. Gladieux has been described by many as maybe the single best athlete to play high school football in Stark County. That is saying something, and that is why Gladieux found himself playing at Notre Dame. Gladieux was a running back and defensive back for the Leopards from 1961-1965. He was a first-team All-Ohioan and an honorable mention All-American his senior year at Louisville, compiling a 10-yards-per-carry average.
CHRIS SPIELMAN, Massillon Washington High School. Spielman makes the list because, in my mind, he embodies what football in Stark County is all about. His tenaciousness and toughness are one with the blue-collar spirit that is Stark County, and it is what we as Stark County football fans want to see from our gladiators of the gridiron. Spielman was All-Stark County in 1982 and 1983, the WHBC Player of the Year in 1983 and was an All-Ohio first-team selection in 1982 and 1983.
ALAN PAGE, Central Catholic High School. Page was fearless, and he was practically unblockable during his time at Central Catholic (1959-1962). During his career at Central Catholic, his teams put up 16 shutouts in 31 games of opposing offenses, and Page was the primary reason. He went on to star at Notre Dame and to play with the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Page was selected as an All-Ohioan in 1962 along with being named a first team all-Stark County. He was an offensive tackle and defensive end.
MIKE DOSS, Canton McKinley High School. Doss now plays in the NFL, and who will ever forget his stellar play at Ohio State. In high school, Doss was a fierce competitor and hit opposing ball carriers with such force that you could see them looking for the exit as the game went on. He was an All-County selection in 1996, 1997 and 1998, helping the Bulldogs to two state championships. He was The Repository Player of the Year in 1998 as well as a first-team All-Ohio.