Tigers Beat Scrappy Alliance Team 34-21
Massillon Gridders Win But Are Given Scare By Fine Passing Aviators
By LUTHER EMERY
Pride cometh before a fall, they say, and it wouldn’t have taken much Friday evening for the Washington high school Tigers to have tumbled from the ranks of the undefeated.
The Massillon gridders teetered and tottered, but they had a little bit more of everything than Alliance, and came out on top 34-21.
It was one of those nights when the impossible could have happened and might easily have occurred when you look back over the game.
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ONE OF THE scrappiest teams we have seen in years, the Alliance players, several of them with injured legs, ran around on the “stumps” to the very gun, scoring the last touchdown of the game and always threatening with a high-powered aerial attack.
The largest crowd of the season, 13,158 fans followed the proceedings with mixed emotions. Many Massillon fans though wanting their Tigers to win, applauded the Aviators’ gallant efforts and even pulled for them on their scoring opportunities. They were pleased with the score because they prefer the tighter type of game. Others criticized the Massillon team for what they considered a shoddy performance.
Coach Chuck Mather was not at all pleased and was in a more serious mood after the game than we have seen him in a couple of years.
“Things didn’t go right defensively,” he said, and most everyone agreed that the Massillon eleven has been watching the scores of opponents too closely and has become too self-satisfied with its own position. Unknowingly so, because the squad has worked hard in practice.
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AS ONE OF the officials said after the game, “You need one like this to awaken you.” If so, it’s time for the awakening, for five games remain to be played and all should be just as tough if not tougher than Alliance.
Statistically, the Tigers were superior in the matter of gaining ground, because most of their touchdowns came on long drives – but their defense didn’t get them the ball enough. Alliance in fact had the pigskin many more plays, which accounts largely for Massillon’s low score and Alliance’s three-touchdown total.
The Tigers in fact only had the ball three times the first quarter. They scored the first time they got it and fumbled it away on second down on each of the other two occasions, allowing the Aviators to monopolize the ball practically the entire first period.
Though the Tigers rolled up 427 net yards to Alliance’s 239, it was one of those games which could easily have resulted in an upset. With Leonard Dawson throwing strikes at his receivers, the Aviators were always dangerous and once in the first and again in the second period lost the ball on downs inside the 10-yard line largely because of being set back by penalties for offside.
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HAD THE Aviators scored on either or both of those occasions we shudder to think what might have happened.
As it was the visitors scrapped until they had little left to fight with and were wore down at the end of the game, with several of their members extending themselves to the limit of their physical endurance.
The defeat did not come at all as a disappointment to Alliance fans. They, in fact, were proud of the performance of their team and were happy to have scored more points against Massillon than any other opponent has scored since Chuck Mather began coaching here in 1948.
As expected the game was a test of ground forces against the air and the Tigers’ running attack proved superior in point making to Alliance’s aerial game.
The visitors’ air raid did not come as a surprise to the Tigers but the latter were never able to assemble a network of defense to stop the assault.
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FOR ONE THING, Dawson has an extremely good arm – and he had all night to throw the ball and Massillon didn’t have big Jim Geiser to rush him. Jim was side-lined with injuries.
Dawson threw every conceivable pass at the Tigers, completing 17 of 30 tosses for 195 yards. Only once did he fail to get the ball away. His best weapons were short pitches between the linebackers and secondary and a screen pass into the flat which worked consistently all night.
Passes paved the way for two of Alliance’s touchdowns, advancing the ball to where Dawson could buck it over from the one yard line. The third Alliance touchdown and the last score of the game, was a 71-yard kickoff return by Homer Young, an end, who first fumbled the ball, then picked it up and broke through the middle of a group of Massillon tacklers to out-distance everyone in the race for the goal line.
Massillon’s best weapon was Henry “Ace” Grooms who started off to have a bad night by fumbling the ball to Alliance the first two times he got his hands on it. He made up for the muffs, however by racing 84 yards for the Tigers’ second touchdown and rolling up 185 yards in 13 carries.
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THE OTHER BACKS did not carry as often. Lee Nussbaum, carried but once and got 18 yards on the play. Bobby Joe Johnson gained 41 yards in three attempts. Bob Grier 28 yards in three, Tom Straughn 26 yards in five, John Francisco 42 yards in four, John Mlincek 21 yards in two, John Traylor three yards in one and Paul Francisco seven yards in three.
Alliance only gained 51 yards and lost seven, carrying the ball. The visitors missed the services of their big tackle, Ferdinand Maccioli, on whom they depend for a lot of blocking and tackling. He didn’t dress for the game because of a broken bone in his right foot.
It was evident on the first play after the opening kickoff that the Tigers were in for an air bombardment. Dawson tossed to Burwell Baddely for a gain of nine yards, but a fumble gave the Tigers the ball on the 28 and John Francisco went the last 24 on a right end sweep for the first score of the game before three minutes of the contest had expired.
Dawson came right back pitching but the Aviators were forced to punt and Kintz booted the ball out on the Tiger 32.
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A 24-YARD PASS to Dave Gable advanced the ball to the Aviator 45 but Grooms fumbled and Alliance recovered on it 48. Dawson’s passes found receivers and he finally hit Kintz for what would have been first down on the two had not Alliance been offside on the play. The penalty helped the Tigers stop the drive on the 11. On the second play Grooms, again fumbled and Alliance covered on the Tiger 13.
The visitors plunged to what would have been a first down on the one yard line but were again offside on the play and again the penalty helped the Tigers stop them on the nine.
Grooms advanced the ball seven yards and then tore loose on an 84-yard dash around his right for the second touchdown of the game. He was supported by fine blocking but made a run of it the last 15 yards.
Neither team threatened the rest of the second period until toward the close of the half Bob Johnson aided by a key block by Jack Strobel got away on a 31-yard run that took the ball deep into Alliance territory. The Aviators tightened their defense, however and held for downs on the seven-yard line.
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ALLIANCE traveled 33 yards to score the first time it got the ball in the second half. The flight started when William Burger intercepted Paul Francisco’s pass on the Tiger 33. Dawon tossed to Gray for seven and Burger and Gray made it first down on the six. Burger lugged the ball up to within a yard and half of the goal and Dawson nudged it over in two attempts.
The Tigers showed their own courage by taking the kickoff on the 21 and marching it right back 79 yards to score. Straughn carried twice and made a first down on his 42 and Bob Grier carried twice and got down to the Alliance 40. A five-yard penalty and a seven-yard run by Bob Johnson put the ball on the 28. Then Grooms took over to lug the ball twice for gains of 21 yards and a first down on the seven. Grier went over for the T.D. and the Tigers led 20-7.
Alliance struck back to complete three passes for 40 yards and gain a first down on the Tiger 15, but here Gray fumbled and the Tigers recovered. The locals fumbled right back, however, and Alliance got the ball on the Tiger 22. Weldon Younkers intercepted Dawson’s pass and got back to his 29 before being downed. Grooms was set loose on another excursion. In two attempts he lugged the leather to the Alliance 42. Straughn got a couple of yards and Grooms moved the ball down to the 20, where John Mlincek broke through the left side of his line to score his first touchdown of the season.
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THE TOUCHDOWN brought the score to 27-7 but in no way discouraged the Alliance players. A 13-yard pass to Young, a 12-yarder to Gray, an eight-yard peg to Kintz and a 10-yard toss to Young gained a first down on the nine. It took three plays to get it over, Dawson pushing the ball across.
The Tigers followed it by scoring another T.D. in a couple of minutes. On the first play after the kickoff, Grooms tossed 37 yards to Brenner for a first on the 25. Nussbaum, carrying for the first time in the game went 18-yards to the seven. John Francisco put the ball on the one and brother Paul nosed it over.
Alliance still was not finished. Though tiring badly, the Aviators had one surprise package left and Young pulled it out as he picked the kickoff off the ground, fumbled the ball, picked it up again and headed for the goal. The fumble seemed just enough to divert the attention of the Massillon tacklers and Young was through them again before they knew what had happened. Bob Khoenle tried to give chase but Young had position and beat him to the goal after a run of 71 yards.
Brenner almost got away on the following kickoff. Gray bumping him out of bounds after he had gotten all the way back to the Alliance 30.
First downs 12 14
Passes attempted 8 30
Passes completed 2 17
Had passes intercepted 1 3
Yards gained passing 61 195
Yards gained rushing 371 51
Total yards gained 432 246
Yards lost 5 7
Net yards gained 427 239
Times kicked off 6 4
Average kickoff (yards) 37 42
Yards kickoffs returned by 96 118
Times punted 1 1
Average punt (yards) 39 31
Yards punts returned by 0 7
Times fumbled 3 4
Lost ball on fumbles 3 3
Times penalized 4 5
Yards penalized 30 25