Tigers Lambast Weirton 24 To 6 In Gridiron Thriller
18,000 Watch Massillon Lads Conquer Tough Foe In Spectacular Finish
By FRED J. BECKER
The Tiger is on the prowl again.
He’s tough, courageous and fights his best when the chips are down. He’s never learned the meaning of the word defeat – and doesn’t intend to. He’ll bear a lot of watching between now and the end of next November, will this Massillon jungle king. Take a look at him and memory flashes back to other days. Yes sir, the Tigers has come of age again.
It you’ve had any doubts about Augie Morninstar’s 1945 Washington high school football tam they must have been dispelled like mist before a hot sun Friday night if you were among the 18,000 or more wildly shouting fans who jammed Tiger stadium to watch the orange and black sink the Red Riders of Weir high, Weirton, W. Va., 24 to 6 in one of the greatest football battles ever staged on the Tiger stadium gridiron where some memorable conflicts have taken place in years gone by.
Tigers Deliver When Chips Are Down
Two great, finely-coached and hard fighting schoolboy aggregations, who pulled out all the stops and played for keeps battled it out to a finish in one of the most sensation-packed contests ever witnessed here.
The final score was 24 to 6 with the Tigers holding a three touchdown edge but the score doesn’t begin to tell the true story of that shindig or the raw courage and intestinal fortitude those lads displayed or – and this is what is all important – how those Massillon Tigers turned on the steam and went to town once the chips were down and they had to score points if they were going to win or keep a vicious, never-say-die aggregation of warriors from the West Virginia banks of the Ohio river from going back home with a victory over the orange and black – their most cherished dream and something they had failed to accomplish in three previous Massillon visits but something they believed they had a chance to do last night.
A Flock of Heroes
There were a lot of heroes out at Tiger stadium Friday evening. Carl Hamill, veteran Weirton coach, brought to Massillon what is probably his greatest team in 17 years of coaching at Weir high school. It was big. It was fast and it was smart in football strategy. It never quit trying and it might have won had it been able to match the skill and fighting spirit Augie Morningstar’s lads uncovered last night.
Heroes? Yes, a lot of them. Weirton had a flock of them – and so did Massillon. If you’re looking for Red Rider heroes, how about Bill Paclisso, Ken Bricker, Dominic Brown, Joe Enrich, Ed Gretchen, Joe Herman, and James Mauley? They can play on anybody’s football team.
And then if you’re looking for heroes wearing the orange and black take everyone of those Tigers who got into last night’s ball game. Ever last one of them earned a niche in Massillon’s football Hall of Fame but if you want to nominate a lad who really gave an outstanding exhibition of playing, pick Jack Zeller, that dark haired Tiger end.
He played a lot of football last night – and how! But so did Captain Fred Bonk, Gene Krisher, Tom Brooks, Merle Darrah, Bob Waltz, Tony Uliveto, Jim Young, Bill Ceckler, Virgil Edie, Bert Webb, Bob Richards, Gene Zorger, Alex Giloff, Mickey McGuire, Dan Byelene and Gene Yost.
Bernie Green also was playing a lot of football until the officials ruled he got into more or less of a fistic argument with Bill Herman of Weirton and chased them both to the bench early in the second quarter. And then the Tiger reserves who finished out the argument also proved they had something that is going to make them quite valuable before the season is over.
Sensational Fourth Quarter
Considering only the score one might think the Tigers had things pretty much their own way but the opposite is true. Until the Tigers unleashed a sensational scoring spree in the fourth quarter to tally three touchdowns in less than five minutes the game was a ding dong battle with neither team holding a decisive edge and the ultimate outcome very much in doubt.
Scoring a touchdown in the opening period when the nimble-footed Bert Webb tore off a nifty romp of 42 yards, the Tigers held a 6-0 lead until near the close of the third period when the Red Riders finally executed a brilliant forward pass and an equally brilliant lateral for an overall gain of 45 yards and the touchdown that knotted the score at six all.
Then it was that the Tigers really dug their cleats into the sod and went to work and the opening of the fourth period saw Massillon touchdowns come so rapidly the fans were still gasping for breath hours after the game was ended. The first Tiger set of counters in that spectacular scoring spree came on an unbroken march of 66 yards. That was the clincher – the touchdown that won the game.
But just to make it a certain Massillon victory the orange and black nailed two more scores to their victory banner – one on a brilliant piece of grand larceny by Gene Zorger and the other on a spectacular pass interception, and run of 65 yards by Jack Zeller with his teammates bowling over Red Riders as if they were match sticks.
Zorger had better stay away from Wierton. If he ever gets into that town they are sure to slap a warrant on him for highway robbery. And his theft of the ball right from a Weirton players hands and a 35-yard romp for a touchdown was something beautiful to behold and will be talked about for a long time to come.
Rivals Evenly Matched
The statistics show you just what kind of a ball game it was and what tough battling took place. If the statistics don’t convince you, take a look at the Tigers. You’ll see a few black eyes, cut lips, skinned faces and other marks of battle. It was that kind of a game, tough, rough and no quarter asked. Some of the Weirton boys, too, may be carrying around a few reminders of last night’s duel. At least they’ll be a long time forgetting about the kind of tackling and blocking the Massillon lads showed them. That Tiger tackling and blocking was really something to feast your eyes on.
Both teams made 12 first downs. The Tigers tried 12 passes and completed five for 64 yards. They had two intercepted. The aerial-minded Red Riders with Dominic Brown doing most of the tossing and Ken Bricker, brilliant end, most of the catching, attempted 23 passes. They completed nine for 110 yards and had two intercepted, one bringing a Tiger score.
The Tigers had a gross yardage from all plays of 286, and a loss of 20 for a net gain of 266.
Weirton had a gross yardage of 303, and a loss of 65 for a net gain of 238, giving the Tigers the edge in net yardage. The Tigers were set back 89 yards on penalties, once late in the game for half the distance to the goal, amounting to 34 yards, when the officials tagged Bill Piper for unnecessary roughness. Weirton lost 50 yards on penalties.
A picture of things to come was unfolded early in the game when Richards and Webb cut loose on two beautiful reverses for substantial gains after Massillon had received. But Weirton plugged the holes in its line and stopped the Tigers on the 11.
But the Red Riders couldn’t move either and Bill Paolisso punted to Webb who was downed on Weirton’s 42. On the first play the clever little Negro ace dashed through a hole at right tackle on a reverse after taking the ball from Gene Zorger and then cutting back sharply to his left raced 42 yards and across the goal line for Massillon’s first touchdown. It was a corking good run and not a Weirton player laid a hand on Webb, so well did his interference and blocking function. Virgil Cocklin missed the try for extra point from placement.
Those six points looked mighty big but Weirton began to threaten soon after and took the ball on the kickoff and marched it right down into Massillon territory. A Paolisso to McClelland pass put the pigskin on Massillon’s 10 but McClelland fumbled when tackled and Bernie Green covered for the Tigers. Morningstar’s lads had to fight with everything they had but they succeeded in keeping the Red Riders bottled up the rest of the quarter.
The visitors were still punching away in the second period but Zeller halted their march by intercepting a pass and running it back to the Weirton 37. That stopped the invaders for a few minutes but they never quit trying and they lost a touchdown late in the period when Brown heaved a perfect toss into Gretchen’s hands but Gretchen, with a clear field ahead, couldn’t hold the ball. Weirton lost some of its offensive strength when Bricker was forced out because of an injury.
But he came back in the game in the third period and the Hamill crew went all out in a desperate and what proved to be a successful bid for a touchdown.
Pass And Lateral Bring Score
Brown intercepted a pass thrown by Bob Richards on Weirton’s 47. On the first play Zorger dumped Brown for a three yard loss but Brown gained his revenge quickly. On the next play he faded back and heaved a nifty pass right into Bricker’s waiting arms. It was good for 15 yards and then as Bricker was tackled he lateralled to Joe Herman, Weirton substitute center, and Mr. Herman quite speedily galloped over the remaining 30 yards and across the Massillon goal for Weirton’s touchdown and the first points tallied against the Tigers this season.
It was a perfectly executed bit of football strategy and caught the Tigers with their guard down. Bricker’s attempted place kick was wide and the game was all tied up at 6-6 and ready for its flaming and dramatic conclusion.
It was not long in coming.
The Tigers received. Bricker kicked off to Webb who returned to the Massillon 34 behind some good blocking.
It was now or never for the orange and black and they proved their mettle by turning loose an offensive display that rocked the Red Riders to their heels as they clipped off 66 yards without a break.
Zorger was stopped without gain. Webb lost one and was hurt, giving way to Mickey McGuire. McGuire immediately hurled a perfect strike into Captain Fred Bonk’s arms for 15 yards and a first down on Massillon’s 48. Then Mickey raced wide around left end for four more. On the next play McGuire faded back to pass. He had trouble locating a receiver and it looked as if he was going to be tossed for a sizeable loss. But Mickey ducked a Weirton tackler and then spied Jack Zeller out in the clear. He rifled the ball to Jack and when the Red Riders caught up with Jack and nailed him he had covered 18 yards and lugged the leather to the Weirton 29. McGuire fumbled but covered for a gain of five. Richards rammed through left tackle for four. Edie on a quarterback sneak made it first down on Weirton’s 13 as the quarter ended.
On the opening play of the fourth quarter McGuire again unlimbered his pitching arm and tossed a strike to Bob Richards and the ball was on Weirton’s three yard line, six inches from another first down. Edie tried another quarterback sneak but they nailed him without gain. Then McGuire plunged through a hole at left tackle and smashed across the goal line for the second touchdown to put Massillon back into the lead. Cocklin again failed in his placement attempt.
That, touchdown started things off in a big way.
Weirton received and McClelland was dumped on his 35. The Red Riders were supposed to be quite adept with the T formation and had used both it and a single wing during the evening. This time they went into their T and it brought them a big headache – it also gave Zorger his chance to play burglar – legitimately.
Brown took the ball from center and dropped back. As he did so Zorger smashed through the center of the Weirton line and bore down on Brown. The next instant Brown was without the ball. Zorger had it and was streaking like lightning for the Weirton goal 35 yards away. He made it as an amazed Weirton team tried to comprehend what had happened. Zorger’s feat proved that alertness pays off in football. Zorger saw the ball in Brown’s out-stretched hands and simply took it away from the stunned Red Rider. Richards was stopped in an attempt to plunge through the line for the extra point but the Tigers were on pretty solid ground with a lead of 12 points.
Zeller in 65 Yard Romp
The fireworks, however, were not yet over. Once again Weirton received. Brown began to toss passes. His first one fizzled, the next one went to Bricker for six yards. And then the next one went to Jack Zeller. That wasn’t part of the Weirton strategy but young Mr. Zeller just happened to be at the right spot at the right time. He was that way all night. Well, the ball nestled into Zeller’s arms on Massillon’s 35 yard line and Jack took off from there in a hurry. He darted down the west sideline and as he did so his teammates ganged up on Red Rider players with a vengeance. Red jerseyed lads from West Virginia could be seen sailing in all directions as the Tigers cut a path for Zeller who gathered speed as the way was opened for him.
He was 65 yards away from Weirton’s goal when he intercepted the pass and when he finally stopped he had covered those 65 yards and planted the ball back of Weirton’s goal line for Massillon’s fourth touchdown. Quite a run and what blocking! Once again Cocklin failed to kick the extra point.
The steam was pretty well taken out of the Red Riders by this time but they battled gamely in a desperate attempt to score again. They were held well in check, however, and with several minutes remaining Coach Morningstar shoved in his reserves and they shellacked the Red Riders with the same slam bang tactics the varsity used.
With seconds remaining the Red Riders were still trying to score and Brown uncorked another long pass to Bricker but Dave Dowd, hit Bricker so hard he dropped the ball on the Massillon 30 where the Tigers recovered it and then were in possession of the leather when time expired.
A Story Book Thriller
MASSILLON 24 Position WEIRTON 6
ZELLER left end WALASZCYK
GREEN left tackle GAIN
WALTZ left guard LEWIS
DARRAH center KAMENSKY
BROOKS right guard OVINGTON
KRISHER right tackle MAULEY
BONK right end BRICKER
EDIE quarterback D. BROWN
WEBB left halfback PAOLISSO
RICHARDS right halfback HEILMAN
ZORGER fullback GARAN
Score by quarters:
MASSILLON 6 0 0 18 24
WEIRTON 0 0 6 0 6
Massillon – Webb; McGuire; Zorger; Zeller.
Weirton – Herman.
Massillon – McGuire, rh; Cocklin, rh; Uliveto, lg; Giloff, fb; Ceckler, lt; Byelene, lh; Yost, qb; Bishop, re; Young, rt; Johnson, let; Dowd, c; Piper, lg; Gotshall, fb; Chovan, lh; Tomasevich, rt; Schumacher, lg; Angstadt, rg.
Weirton – Herman, c; Enrich, fb; McClelland, le; Gretchen, re; Cleslak; rh; Ferrart, c; Morton re; (last line of names unreadable).
Total first downs 12 12
Yards gained by rushing 322 193
Yards lost by rushing 20 65
Net yards gained by rushing 202 128
Forward passes attempted 12 23
Forward passes completed 5 9
Yards gained by passes 64 110
Total net yardage 266 288
Passes had intercepted 2 2
Number of punts 5 5
Average distance of punts 27 33
Number of kickoffs 5 2
Average distance of kickoffs 36 42
Number of fumbles 5 3
Times ball lost on fumbles 2 3
Number of penalties against 6 6
Yards lost by penalties 89 50