Tigers Smash Barberton’s State Championship Hopes
Local Team Tightens Hold On Ohio Crown By Trouncing Magics 35-6
By LUTHER EMERY
If a lot of Massillon football fans have heart aliments today, blame it on the Washington high school Tigers who last night spotted Barberton a six-point lead, then rose in all their power to score 35 points the last two periods to whip the Magics 35-6 before a capacity crowd of 22,000 in Tiger stadium.
It was Barberton’s first loss of the season, its last game of the season, and knocked it out of any chance of claiming the Ohio high school football title and left Massillon without a good challenger for the crown.
The Tigers have one game yet to play, that the traditional battle with Canton McKinley next Saturday afternoon, preparations for which already started with a little pre-game rally in the stadium immediately after the Barberton victory.
The throng that turned out to see the state’s two titans battle it out last night was one of the largest ever to attend a game in the Massillon stadium, and was treated to one of the best games ever played here.
For two periods Barberton had a grasp on the state championship as the Magics scored a second period touchdown on a 25-yard pass from Dick Hunter that Bob Harris caught brilliantly in the end zone. It was the fist time the Tigers had trailed this season and when they went to the dressing room at half-time the game was very much in doubt.
They won it there. Coach Chuck Mather and his assistants showed them what was wrong – how they should spread their defense more to combat the Barberton offense and how to take out a tackle who had been playing in the Massillon backfield most of the first half.
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WHEN THEY came out for the second half the only likeness of the two first half teams was their uniforms. Where Barberton Magic had practically matched the Tigers yard for yard the first half, it failed to dismay anyone the last two periods. The locals were complete masters of the situation. Where Barberton had scored six points the first half and rolled up 115 net yards, it was held scoreless the last two periods with the net gain of six yards. The Tigers on the other hand shoved their offense in high gear to score five touchdowns, kick as many points and roll up 168 net yards from scrimmage compared with 115 yards the first half.
The Tigers second half attack came like a bolt out of the blue. Massillon fans were hoping but few expected the avalanche of 35 points to pour over the Barberton goal the last two quarters when the locals were able to score none the first half.
But they struck quickly, pushing over a T.D. the first time they got the ball with only two minutes and nine seconds of the period having expired.
It came when Harris’ punt was blocked by Allen Murray and Cliff Streeter picked up the ball and ran it back to the 15-yard line. It took four plays to get it over, Bob Howe finally lugging it across the last 10 on a lateral sweep around left end. Jerry Krisher kicked the extra point that made the score 7-6 and punt the Tigers in front to stay.
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AS IT TURNED out, that would have been enough, but the point hungry Tigers struck back later on in the third period with a 43-yard march that ended with Freddie Waikem going over on fourth down from the two-yard line.
The fourth quarter had hardly gotten under way until the Tigers struck again, to finish a drive they had started in the third period. It began on the Barberton 42 and ended with Waikem going over from the one-yard line.
With only three minutes and 48 seconds of the game left to play, the locals scored their fourth touchdown. It began with Bruce Brenner covering Hunter’s fumble on the Barberton 42 and ended with Howe smashing over the goal line from three yards out.
Only seconds remained when the final touchdown was scored. A 50-yard punt return by Bill Stoner put the ball on the Barberton 23. Freddie Close’s pass to Wilfred Brenner moved it up to the four-yard line and Howe went over for the six points. The game ended on the next kickoff.
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THAT’S THE WAY the touchdowns were made and while it reads easy in the summary, it was far from that.
The Magics, wired to top pitch, didn’t come to Massillon just for the ride. They were convinced in their own minds they could beat the Tigers and they played superb ball until the power and weight of the local team began taking its toll as the game progressed.
The visitors were literally brilliant at times, particularly Harris who intercepted two passes the first half with almost impossible catches and scored the Magics’ touchdown with a leap high in the air to take the ball away from two Massillon defenders who were in just as good a position to block it.
Both teams got bad breaks, but the devil seemed more unkind to Massillon than Barberton the first half.
The Tigers, for instance were well on their way to tie the score in the second period when Howe lost the ball on a fumble on the five-yard line which probably would have been a first down coming up had he held on to it.
A fumble and two intercepted passes mean throwing away three opportunities to advance the ball.
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THE STREAK of hard luck and the apparent inability of the Tigers to rally their forces had local fans wondering the first half if this was going to be a repetition of the 1949 Mansfield game, which was the last game lost by the Tigers.
Probably every fan in the stands thought Tiger Coach Chuck Mather got up his dander between halves, but he says he didn’t, and took the time to try to correct his team’s mistakes.
“The boys just decided they had to win this one,” he said, “so they did.”
It was evident from the first tackle on the kickoff opening the second half that the Massillon gridders were charged for greater action. They tackled more viciously and Barberton’s attempts to advance the ball gained but three yards on three plays and when they tried to punt out, Massillon linemen broke through to bat down the leather, which made it possible for Streeter to scoop it up and get down to the 15-yard line and pave the way for the locals first T.D.
The locals threw a scare at Barberton several times in the first half but always the Magics managed to wiggle out of it. After experiencing their first bad break when Ernie Russell slipped on the four-yard line with the kickoff, Freddie Waikem on the first play from scrimmage broke through the entire Barberton team, had a lead of six feet but couldn’t hold it and was hauled down from behind on his 47. A five-yard penalty on a pass play that would have netted a first down in Barberton territory ended that particular threat. A punting duel ensured and when Harris intercepted Close’s pass on the Barberton seven he started the Magics on a drive that went 93 yards to score. There was no luck involved – just good, hard running by Charlie Mitchell and Hunter combined with two passes, thrown by Hunter to Harris, one of 17 yards and another of 25 that produced the Barberton touchdown. It was registered on the third play of the second period. Hunter’s attempted kick was wide of the posts.
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THE TIGERS charged back with the ball after the kickoff, Howe getting away for a
39-yard run to the Barberton 25 that was called back when the Tigers were charged with offside.
With the help of a 15-yard penalty for roughing the kicker, the Tigers got back to a first down on the Barberton 24 but there they faded and the visitors took over the ball.
The Tigers forced Barberton to punt, and the Massillon eleven once again moved the ball well and was apparently headed for a touchdown when Howe’s fumble was recovered by the alert Dick Stefanic on the five-yard line.
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MASSILLON FANS would much rather have received the kickoff at the start of the second half than booted the ball to Barberton, but as it was it turned out better the latter way when Streeter ran Harris’ blocked punt back to the 15-yard line. Four plays netted but five yards, so the ball was pitched out to Howe who ran hard to his left for the touchdown while his teammates did a good job of taking out the Magic secondary.
Howe did most of the lugging on the second touchdown drive after Harris had kicked out on his own 43. On the first play big Bob ran around left end for 19 yards and a first on the Barberton 24. He went for eight more, Waikem for 10 and How for four more. On another pitch-out, Howe got down to the four-yard line where Waikem knifed through tackle for the score.
The Tigers started their third touchdown in the last minute of the third period after Harris had punted out on his 42. Waikem went around right end for 10 before the period ended. He took it two more times for five and 23 yards, dribbling the ball the second time, but recovering. Howe moved it to the one where Waikem went over.
The boys did a lot of hammering to get their fourth touchdown after Bruce Brenner recovered Hunter’s fumble on the 42. Howe got down to the 23 in two tries, Russell hit for eight and Waikem for two and a first down on the 13. Waikem in two tries got a first down on the three where Howe went over.
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BARBERTON got its first, first down of the second half on the next series but the forward motion was throttled and Stoner took Harris’ long punt and raced brilliantly 50 yards up the sideline to a first on the 23. It only took three plays to get it over from there, Close passing to Wilfred Brenner for eight and 11 yards and Howe taking the ball over on a right end sweep.
The Tigers won the game not only on the scoreboard but in the statistical column as well. Only in the art of forward passing were they beaten. They had a hard time passing, and didn’t complete a throw until the last series of the game.
They made 13 first downs to Barberton’s seven and gained 293 net yards from scrimmage to Barberton’s 121.
In one department, punting, the Tigers had a terrific advantage, Jim Reichenbach kicking a charmed ball that bounced right for him for a 43,6 average, while Harris, always, rushed by the Tiger line, had one punt blocked, and kicked another straight up in the air for a 25.8 average.
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EVERYBODY had their favorite players, but offensively from this department we thought the hard running of Bob Howe stood out for the Tigers. He big boy is just beginning to come in to his own as he demonstrated on one occasion when he rammed for five yards with five Barberton players on his back.
Defensively the whole Tiger team played great ball, but the line backing of Joe Gleason and Ray Lane, particularly in stopping Barberton’s end sweeps and reverses, had plenty of sparkle. On one occasion in particular, Lane knocked out three blockers and got a hunk of the ball carrier. That is desire.
Barberton’s Hunter, Harris and Mitchell played well on offense, while Tackle Ed Balash stood up well defensively.
Coach Junie Ferrall of the Magics came over to the Tiger dressing room after the game, congratulated Coach Chuck Mather and was told by the latter, “We had a good bit of weight on you, June.”
“I was afraid we couldn’t stand up the whole game,” the Barberton coach replied, “You have a great team.”
First downs 13 7
Passes attempted 8 13
Passes completed 2 6
Had passes intercepted 3 0
Yards gained passing 19 52
Yards gained rushing 287 97
Total yards gained 306 149
Yards lost 13 26
Net yards gained 293 121
Times punted 3 10
Average punt (yards) 43 25
Yards punts returned by 71 0
Times kicked off 6 2
Average kickoff (yards) 43 47
Yards kickoffs returned by 3 86
Times fumbled 3 2
Lost ball on fumbles 1 1
Times penalized 6 2
Yards penalized 80 20