Alliance Spoils Tigers’ Hopes For Undefeated Season
Inspired Aviators Beat Locals To Charge And Roll Up 14-0 Victory
By LUTHER EMERY
The Alliance Aviators are flying high today. After 15 consecutive defeats at the hands of Washington high school, the boys of Mel Knowlton were dining on Tiger meat, just as they said they would at the beginning of the week. And the fat of their 14-0 slaughter of the Massillon Bengal Friday evening should be enough to get them a high ranking in the Ohio scholastic football ratings next week.
It is an unhealthy place to be at the top of the football heap in mid-season. The Tigers were for for one week last year when knocked off. So was Chuck Mather’s Hamilton team, and the local boys lasted just one week again this year.
But you can’t lay the blame for last night’s defeat on a jinx. You must give credit where credit is due, and that’s to the Alliance football team that played a heads up, inspired game.
The Aviators, buoyed by a wave of football hysteria that had swept Alliance all week, entered the game with a determination to win last night’s contest, out charged the Tigers and got higher and better the longer the game progressed.
They scored their first touchdown the last minute of the first half after a penalty had set back a similar effort by the Tigers, and they scored a second in the third period. There was no beating them thereafter. The Tigers threw everything they had at them but ‘twas not enough and you could sense the tension increasing among the Alliance spectators as each second of the game brought victory nearer.
When the final gun was sounded the red and blue went delirious with joy. They had waited 16 years for this particular evening and it took a former Massillon man, Mel Knowlton, to present them with it. While members of the team were carrying Mel on their shoulders off the field, fans swarmed to the south goal posts which soon began to quiver, bend and come down.
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A SMALL GROUP ran to the north end, but was driven off by the cops. The retreat was only a signal for another charge however, and this time it was the law that retreated. The goal posts came down with a thud, pen knives were produced, and splinters sold for five cents each.
Thus did Alliance make merry. The same spirit of joy prevailed in the team’s dressing room where fans rushed in to shake the hand of Coach Knowlton so hard, we wouldn’t be surprised if we heard it was wrapped in a cast today.
The scene in the Tiger dressing room was just the opposite. Where great joy has prevailed the past four weeks, the boys sat around in their dirty football clothes not caring to take them off. There were words of “forget it.” “Start all over next week”, but no one seemed to hear them.
Coach Mather made no attempt to discredit the Alliance victory. He could have moaned the three penalties that set his team back on three touchdown efforts, but he didn’t. “Alliance just gave us more leather,” he said. “They are a good football team.”
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THERE’S NO doubt that Knowlton had his boys well charged. They were out to win and win they did despite the fact that the Tigers gained more net yards from scrimmage and made more first downs.
The locals couldn’t sustain their attacks long enough for touchdowns. They made four bids. Penalties forced them back on three and Alliance nearly threw them out of the ball park on the fourth. Alliance on the other hand threatened twice and scored both times.
Late in the first quarter the locals marched the ball to the Alliance 19-yard line where a five yard penalty for being in motion made it third down and nine instead of third and four. They lost the ball on downs. Again late in the first half they moved the leather from their own 24 to a first down on the Alliance 24, and were rolling right along when a 15-yard penalty for clipping sent them back to midfield. They gambled on fourth down with only two minutes to go, elected to pass and lost the ball on downs. Alliance took over and Jerry Thorpe swept his left end for a first down on the Tiger 40. A pass from John Borton to Dick Davidson advanced the leather to the 22, and Thorpe immediately swept his left end again for a touchdown.
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ALLIANCE second touchdown came late in the third period after the Aviators got the ball through a punt on their own 43. Again it was Thorpe running hard, first for eight yards, then for 34 to put the leather on the Tiger 15. Another short toss, Borton to Davidson advanced the ball to the one-yard line from which point Borton bucked it over.
The Tigers threatened twice in the last period. Immediately after the Alliance kickoff, the locals through an eight-yard effort by Crable, seven yards by Clarence Johnson and a pass, Jack Hill, to Crable, gained a first down on the Alliance 20. Johnson smashed through for what would have been another first on the eight, but once more a 15-yard clipping penalty was slapped on the Tigers and they were forced to punt.
Their last bid started from their own 44. Two passes, one to Ben Roderick and a long one, Hill to Crable, produced a first down on the 12. This time Alliance had a good aroma of victory and tossed Hill for a 13-yard loss on a double reverse. Brown made eight yards and another pass near the goal line was grounded. Don Slicker made a great effort to dive for the falling ball but just touched it with his finger tips. Another attempt at the double reverse cost five more yards and the last scoring opportunity was snuffed out.
It was the Alliance defense that beat the Tigers. Local fans had expected the Aviators to score a couple of touchdowns but had likewise figured on the Tigers getting three or four, since offense has been the Massillon team’s strong point all season.
The Aviators’ defensive play revealed how thoroughly Coach Knowlton’s men have scouted the Tigers in recent weeks. A double reverse that has been fooling opponents this year never gained a yard. In fact most of the yards lost by the Tigers were the result of its use. A pitch-out to Clarence Johnson to get him in position for passing always found his receivers thoroughly covered. In fact the Aviators seemed to be set for almost every move made by the local team, and yet through some hard running by Al Brown and Clarence Johnson in particular, the locals were able to finish with more net yards gained than the Aviators.
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THORPE’S running and Borton’s passing proved the undoing of the local team. Jerry ran right out of the arms of Massillon tacklers on several occasions, but for the most part had nothing to do but run on his left end sweeps as the Tiger defenders were sucked out of position. Chuck Reese played an outstanding defensive game for the winners.
The Tigers completely outplayed Alliance the first half, rolling up eight first downs to Alliance’s three and gaining 151 yards from scrimmage to Alliance’s 83 – but the Aviators had seven points for their efforts. The second half was the other way around with Alliance making six first downs to the Tigers’ three and 171 yards to the Tigers’ 99.
The Tigers lost the ball once on a fumble. Alliance recovered its only fumble. The locals were penalized 45 yards to 20 yards for Alliance.
Knowlton will be Mr. Football in Alliance this week as a result of the victory, his first in four games with Massillon teams. When Mel Knowlton quit an assistant coaching job in Washington high in the spring of 1941, he transferred to Steubenville where his green team was given a sound whipping by a more experienced Massillon eleven. Mel had but one team in Steubenville before the war came along and he got into the navy. While in the service he accepted the offer of a job in Alliance and produced his first there in 1946. The Tigers beat him that year and again in 1947 but both games were hard fought to the end and victories were not by a big margin.
Knowlton’s players were wired for action last night. They held their feet, and Tiger blockers found them hard to cut down, thereby making it difficult to free the ball carrier.
Both teams emerged from the contest none the worse for their efforts. A few players on both sides were touched up with bruises but none was considered of a serious nature.
Happiest guy on the Tiger team, and he wasn’t smiling because of defeat, was Dick Jacobs, veteran halfback, who saw action for the first time this season. Dick, who has been laid up with a back injury got in to punt and did a fine job of it, averaging 30 yards for his efforts which included a little 18-yarder, the net gain of a kick over the goal line.
Sad But True
ENDS – RODERICK, HOUSTON, Slicker.
TACKLES – KRISHER, TAKACS, Jones, Schumacher.
GUARDS – MORROW, REICHENBACH, Paul.
CENTER – McVEY.
QUARTERBACK – HILL, James.
HALFBACKS – CRABLE, JOHNSON, Jacobs, Crone, Roderick, Shine.
FULLBACK – BROWN, Lane.
ENDS – DAVIDSON, N. FOGOROS, D. Campbell, Kintz.
TACKLES – SCHLOSSER, OWENS, Young, Proffitt, Jack.
GUARDS – REESE, G. NICHOLSON, L. Nicholson.
CENTER – ADDISON.
QUARTERBACK – BORTON.
HALFBACKS – FUDOLI, SHELLS, Gray, Reynolds, Swinnerton.
FULLBACK – THORPE, Carroll.
Score by periods:
Alliance 0 7 7 0 14
Touchdowns: Alliance – Thorpe, Borton.
Points after touchdown: Alliance – Campbell 2 (placements).
Referee – C.W. Rupp.
Umpire – Earl Gross.
Head Linesman – Clayton Schlemmer.
Field Judge – John Russ.
Sideline Judge – Sim Earich.
First downs 11 9
Passes attempted 10 7
Passes completed 2 3
Had passes intercepted 1 1
Yards gained passing 60 43
Yards gained rushing 190 311
Total yards gained 250 254
Yards lost 25 37
Net yards gained 225 217
Times punted 5 6
Average punt (yards) 30 28
Returned opponents punts (yards) 7 27
Times kicked off 1 3
Average kickoff (yards) 53 31
Returned opponents kickoffs 35 15
Times penalized 5 2
Yards penalized 45 20
Fumbles 3 1
Lost ball on fumble 1 0