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BLOCKED PUNTS WIN HARD GAME

Massillon Gridders Score Touchdowns In First Second and Fourth Periods To Win Important Game Before 10,000 Rain-Soaked Fans

By Luther Emery

The films are undeveloped and so is the Warren football team when it comes to matching the skill of the Washington high Tigers. They went over the Hill on a muddy road to a 21-0 victory Friday evening before 10,000 rain soaked, thrill choked fans in Warren Harding stadium and thereby surmounted one of the big obstacles in their bid for a seventh consecutive state championship.

It was Massillon’s 40th game without a defeat, and it was earned the hard way – by making breaks and taking full advantage of them. It was Warren’s first loss of the season.

Warren Had Drive and Power

Playing on a slippery field that after a few minutes made it practically impossible to identify players unless you could pick them out from their positions, the Tigers found themselves pitted against a spirited Warren team that had drive and power.

Don’t take anything away from Pierre Hill’s Presidents. In the rain and mud, they looked the best eleven the Tiger have faced this season and they were out to win.

Both teams had their minds set on victory. So high were they keyed that they literally jumped at each other the first quarter, leaping offside so often that the officials twice had to call them together and urge the captains to take it just a little easier to so as not to delay the game.

A Thrilling Game

To the folks who sat at home and followed the game by radio and special wire it must have been a thriller; to the fans whose faces were washed with rain all evening it was a killer-diller.

The boys played for keeps on both sides, but there was none of the episode of flying fists that so many fans had anticipated.

In fact fans who didn’t get tickets, were probably only too glad to stay home, while those who did, were so drenched and cooled off by the rain that they kept their hands in their pockets. There was no reason for anything otherwise and more grumbling was heard among Warren general admission patrons who paid 83 cents to stand ankle deep in mud at the ends of the field, than was voiced by anyone else.

It was a football game from start to finish, just as so many other Massillon-Warren games have been. The Tigers looked the smoother team and had more speed, but they couldn’t use it on the sloppy gridiron, fumbled frequently and had a hard time moving their heavier opponents who ganged them on the line of scrimmage because they knew a wet ball made passing practically prohibitive.

It was more of a game than the score would indicate. Only twice all evening did the Tigers actually carry the ball over the middle stripe – they got it in Warren territory on other occasions, through three blocked punts and punt exchanges. Likewise they were in the hold the greater part of the second period with their backs twice against the goal as a result of fumbles.

Tigers Seize Opportunities

The difference in the two teams was that the Tigers took advantage of their scoring opportunities while Warren lacked the power to shove across a touchdown and on one occasion showed poor judgment in accepting a penalty when a decline would have left them in possession of the ball on Massillon’s one and one half yard line.

Two blocked punts and a brilliant 80-yard run by Capt. Fred Blunt produced the Tigers three touchdowns.

The game was only a few minutes old when on the first exchange of punts, big Joe De Mando got his carcass in front of Charley Scarpaci’s punt on the 80-yard line and blocked the ball so hard that it bounded across the goal line. De Mando dove for the ball lost it, but Karl Paulik stretched himself across the leather for the touchdown. As offside penalty on the attempted point for touchdown put the ball on the one yard line where Chuck Holt banged through for the extra point.

The Tigers were fighting hard to hold their seven-point lead and Bob Graber had twice punted them out of danger when Fred Blunt suddenly electrified the fans with the feature touchdown run of the evening, midway in the second period that saw him shake himself loose from Don Byrnes, who almost nailed him for a five-yard loss, he ran 80 yards up the sidelines behind fine blocking, without another hand being laid on him. This time Graber rammed the extra point over to make the score 14-0.

The thrills weren’t over with yet, for the Tigers developed a bad case of butterfingers and Warren recovered two fumbles on the nine and 10-yard lines. Both times the vaunted Tiger line bristled like a Halloween cat and smashed the attempts of the Presidents to legislate a touchdown.

They were helped by a bit of poor judgment on Warren’s part on the second effort when Capt. Scarpaci preferred a second down on the five yard-line to a third down on the yard and a half line. He wound up by losing the ball, and it was Warren’s last serious bid.

Blocked Punt Again

A blocked punt by Bob Wallace in the fourth quarter that Massillon recovered on the Warren 16-yard line paved the way for the last touchdown. Blunt ripped around his left wing for eight yards and hit a man for a first on the three-yard line. Graber turned loose a power play at right tackle and carried the ball himself for the touchdown. He struck for the extra point.

That in brief describes the scoring plays but it only touches on the performance of a few of the players. Though mud and rain games usually result in two teams locking themselves in a grunt and groan match in the middle of the field, nothing of the sort took place last night and there were thrills every minute.

Never will you see a better punting duel than that put up in the second period between Scarpaci and Graber and there wasn’t a Massillon fan who wouldn’t have taken his shirt off his back and given it to Graber were it not for the fact that Graber had no need for two wet shirts.

Once Scarpaci punted dead to the one-yard line. The Tigers were battling to hold a seven-point lead then, and the seven looked small enough. In the fact of a hard charging Warren line, Graber fell back into the end zone and kicked the ball out to the 45-yard line where Larry Larson scooped it up and came back to the 34. The Tigers held, and Scarpaci again pointed his toe at the coffin corner and angled the ball out on the two-yard line. Once, more Graber dropped back and sent the ball spiraling from behind his goal to the 45-yard line, this time with no return. The next time Scarpaci kicked into the end zone, the Tigers got the ball on their 20, and Blunt came though for his 80-yard touchdown dash. After having seen their team in such deep trouble its no wonder the Massillon fans went nearly hysterical and drank large portions of raindrops as they shouted in glee.

Then there followed the brilliant goal line stands by the Tiger forward wall in which every man from one flank to the other had to do his everlasting best.

In Trouble Often

It seemed as though the local team would never get out of trouble. The first setback came when Blunt fumbled a none too good pass on the 33-yard line and the ball rolled back to the nine where Bill Lahto recovered for Warren. Tony Marcarello and Mike Georges wound up two attempts with exactly nothing gained and Don Armour and Blunt batted down passes behind the goal on the third and fourth downs to take possession of the ball.

Less than a minute remained to play, and the Tigers elected to carry the ball and not make any effort to gain ground, hoping to stall out the half. On the second play, however, Dallas Power, who was sent in as a substitute, lost control of the greased pigskin and Frank Superak recovered for Warren on the 10-yard line.

Scarpaci’s pass was grounded but Marcarello ran hard to the one and one-half yard line. Massillon was offside on the play, and Scarpaci took the penalty in preference to the ball which left him possession of the leather on the five-yard line. He picked up one yard at right tackle, but the Tiger linesmen stopped Marcarello in his tracks and knocked down his pass on fourth down. The half ended one play later.

For the most part, play in the third quarter was confined to the back yard of each team. Late in the period, however, Graber made a brilliant 25-yard return of Scarpaci’s punt to lug the leather past midfield to the Warren 38. Here the Presidents held, and for some reason or other the Tigers tried to run for seven yards on fourth down, and lost the ball on the Warren 43. Then it was the President’s turn to invade Tiger territory and they came over the midfield stripe to the Massillon 41, where Wallace broke through and partially blocked Scarpaci’s kick to take the ball on the Massillon 24.

At the outset of the fourth quarter the Tigers threatened when Blunt intercepted one of the eight passes attempted by Warren and raced from his 45 to the Warren 25. He fumbled on second down, Georges recovered for Warren to end the threat.

It’s Wallace again

On the following sequence of plays, Wallace broke through to block Scarpaci’s punt and set the stage for the Tigers third and final touchdown.

Statistically, the difference between the two teams wasn’t as great as the 21 points. Were it not for Blunt’s 80-yard dash, the number of yards gained from scrimmage would have been almost the same. The Tigers gained a net total of 167 to Warren’s net total of 81. Each team made three first downs, a penalty helping Warren to one of its trio.

Neither team tried a whole lot in the way of passing. Warren tossed eight and completed one for a loss of two yards, while Massillon’s two passing attempts were unsuccessful.

Warren held on to the ball far better than the Tigers and as a result did not get itself into difficulty because of fumbles. The Tigers had seven bobbles and lost the ball four times, while Warren had but one fumble and recovered.

With the exception of Don Armour, the Massillon gridders emerged from the game in good condition. He injured a knee early in the fourth quarter after having played a good defensive game. The extent of the injury could not be determined last night but it appears as though it might be serious.

Many Massillon fans are of the opinion that the Tigers would have run away with Warren on a dry field. Hazarding a guess at such a score would be second guessing and it must be remembered that a wet field also hampered the Warren offense, especially in the department of forward passing.

Warren packed a good wallop in its power plays and usually had men ahead of the ball carrier.

Joe De Mando who entered the game with a severe cold was brought home and placed in the city hospital, just to make certain that he would receive careful attention.

Well, the films will be mailed back to Warren again. The two rolls of movie film taken from Warren scouts when they attended the Cathedral Latin game here last month will be returned to Warren shortly.

The films were given back to Warren 10 days ago, but Warren mailed them back to Massillon again. L.F. Kemp principal of Washington high has them in his possession but will return them shortly.

Sweet Victory

Massillon Pos. Warren
Bray LE Georges
Paulik LT Superak
Wallace LG Byrnes
Fuchs C Kujala
Hill RG Kelson
Weisgarber RT M. Graham
De Mando RE Lehto
Cardinal QB McKinney
Graber LH Larson
Blunt RH Scarpaci
Holt FB Marcarello

Scores by period.
Massillon 7 7 0 7 – 21

Substitutions – Massillon: Adams, lh, White, rh; Dolmos, rt; Miller, lg; Armour, le; Kanney, rg; Jasinski, lt.
Warren: Palchik, le; Meholik, lt; Slak, rg; Ludwick, le.

Touchdowns – Paulik, Blunt, Graber

Points after touchdown – Holt three plunges

Referee – Brubaker
Umpire – Lobach
Headlinesman – Richardson
Field Judge – Allison

Pokey Blunt