Warren Snaps Tiger Victory Streak
Panthers Come From Behind Three Times To Edge Bengals 19-18
By LUTHER EMERY
A team that won’t be beat can’t be beat and Warren’s Panthers was that team Friday night.
By the slim margin of one point the Panthers edged Washington high school’s first place Tigers 19-18 before a roaring crowd of 13,000 at Warren and great was the thunder thereof.
It will reverberate in next week’s state scholastic ranking and where the Tigers will land in the standings nobody knows. Perhaps not too far down, because the margin of defeat was as small as it could possibly be.
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KEYED UP to play by far its best game of the season, Warren had what it took last night. The Panthers beat the Tigers in statistics right down the line except in fumbles and penalties. Here Massillon had the edge, losing more yards in penalties and fumbling more.
But with smarter football Warren might have had one more touchdown and the Tigers one less, so there’s no denying the Panthers their hour of glory.
Yet, Massillon could have won the game, save for a fourth period penalty that kept Warren in possession of the ball which it otherwise would have turned over to the Tigers.
Everybody, the Warren press included, called this the key play of the game.
It happened after the Tigers had rammed over their third touchdown to break a 12-12 tie and go into an 18-12 lead with seven minutes and 10 seconds remaining to be played.
Warren took the following kickoff and the Tigers, bristling to defend their lead, stopped the Panthers who were forced to punt on fourth down…but here a Massillon player in his anxiety to block the punt, and he only missed by inches, brushed the Warren kicker. The officials immediately called roughing the kicker, and the Warren punter took a dive but apparently was not hurt. The 15-yard penalty for roughing the kicker gave the Panthers a first down, so instead of Massillon having the ball on its 35, Warren was given the ball on the Tiger 45.
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SAY THIS FOR the Panthers, they knew what to do from there. They slashed and banged their way to two first downs and with only a minute and 34 seconds left to play and the ball on the Tiger 18, Quarterback Bart Wilson, tossed a lateral to halfback Fred Harris who beat a path around his left end to go into the end zone for six points that tied the score at 18-18.
That set the stage for the dramatic finish.
Fred Caldwell, who had twice missed attempts to placekick the extra point, booted this one high and between the uprights for the deciding point of the game. It was the first placekick for an extra point we have seen since the option of running or passing for extra points was written into the rule-book two years ago – but this time victory rode on the booted ball.
The Tigers tried and tried hard in the last minute and 34 seconds to score again. Warren attempted an onside kickoff but the ball didn’t go the necessary distance to become a free ball and the Tigers took over on the Panther 48. The Tigers, in three plays got a first down on the Panthers 29 but on the next play Quarterback John Larson’s pass was intercepted by End Walter Brooks of Warren and that all but wrapped it up for the Panthers who stalled it out while the Warren student body counted the seconds as they were ticked off to zero.
Pandemonium broke loose.
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WHILE THE TIGERS walked dejectedly off the field, having their first loss after 20 consecutive victories, the Warren fans emptied the stands and turned the turf into a swirling mass of humanity, that engulfed the Panthers players. And while all this was going on the rocket man emptied his arsenal of bombs that must have told all Trumbull County that the Panthers had upset the first-place Tigers.
And long after the game was over, the fine Warren band was still giving out with music while fans and students leaped about and screamed in delight.
The Massillon dressing room was a sad place. The Tigers had been beaten, state championship hopes crushed – at least for the time being – and the victory skein broken.
Players and some of the coaches sobbed while fans attempted to offer some consolation.
Head Coach Leo Strang had little to say. “What can you say,” he asked, “Warren was fired up. The roughing the kicker call was the key play. We probably could have held them off were it not for that.”
The Warren dressing room was a scene of rejoicing and even some tear-shedding – the hysterical kind that comes with the accomplishment of a great effort.
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COACH BEN WILSON, who was an applicant for the Massillon coaching job when Leo Strang got it, was quite happy. He gave all credit to the players. “We came from nothing,” he said. “They won’t be beaten, they won’t quit. They want to play football.”
It was the Panther’s fourth win after a dismal start in which they did not chalk up a victory until their fourth game of the season. They lost to Collinwood 8-6, to Canton McKinley
14-0 and tied Steubenville 12-12.
But Wilson’s ears must have burned from the criticism leveled at him from the stands for decisions he made in the first and fourth periods, both of which led to Massillon touchdowns.
His dramatic victory shows how quickly a fickle crowd can change in its attitude toward the coach.
In the first quarter the Panthers hammered to the Tigers’ two-yard line with third down coming up. They were gaining every time they carried the ball. But on third down the Panthers elected a pass into the flat that Charlie Brown, Massillon defender, picked out of the air and raced the distance of the field for the first score of the game.
Wilson was called everything that isn’t intellectual for that play. Joe Heflin, trying to run over the extra point, fumbled and the Tigers missed the bonus.
A fumble by Art Hastings that Wilson recovered on the Tiger 30 paved the way for Warren’s first touchdown with three minutes and 23 seconds left of the second period.
Fullback Dave Jackson, the workhorse for the Panthers, lugged the ball four straight times for nine, 12, eight yards and then the final yard to pay dirt. Caldwell’s kick went wide and the score was tied 6-6.
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BUT IN THOSE last three minutes the Tigers took the ball from where they were downed on their 36 with the kickoff and marched to the Warren 26. There Larson scooted out and hit End Larry Ehmer in the end zone for a touchdown. Ehmer had just come into the game as a substitute for Charles Royer, who was injured. Art Hastings just barely missed running in for the bonus points but the Tigers led 12-6 with only 30 seconds of the half remaining.
The Tigers started strong in the second half, reeled off a first down but were set back on the next series by a five-yard penalty which was followed by a fumble that Warren recovered on its 39.
There the Panthers ground out yardage by twos and threes. Three times they faced fourth down and one situations. They made their scanty yards by inches the first two times and the third, time with the ball on the Tiger 30 and the Massillon forward wall drawn in, they sent Caldwell scooting to his right and around end for a touchdown that knotted the score at 12-12. Ken Dean and Ed Radel broke though to block Caldwell’s attempted kick for the extra points, and four minutes and 41 seconds remained of the period.
Warren stopped the Tigers’ next march and as the game went into the fourth quarter Warren had the ball on its own 48 with another of those fourth and one situations. Here again, Coach Wilson was the object of criticism from many fans as he sought to try for the first down and failed when Royer broke through and tossed Halfback Wilson for a loss.
The Tigers took over on the Panthers’ 46 and launched a march that took them into the Promised Land. Key plays in the drive were a keeper by Larson good for 22 yards, a
nine-yard pass, Larson to Hastings, and a savage wedge play with Hastings carrying the ball. He scored from four yards out on a wedge.
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AGAIN THE TIGERS failed for the third time to collect their bonus points when Larson was tackled as he attempted to run for the goal line.
You know what happened after that. The locals kicked off and Warren roared back, aided by the roughing the kicker penalty to tie the score and then kick the extra point that won the game.
The Tigers ran into a lot of other hard luck in the game. They played over three-quarters without their No.1 defensive lineman, Lawson White, who was tossed out by the officials late in the first period for unsportsmanlike conduct. They claimed he kicked at a Warren player. (Coach Strang is going to reserve judgment until he sees the films.) Then the outstanding wingman, Jim Houston, was forced out early in the second half with injuries.
Other injured Tigers saw very limited service, Bob Herring. Martin Gugov and Virgil Bukuts, the latter getting in for a few plays in the third touchdown march for the first time this season. Bob Baker, first string defensive man, didn’t play at all.
If you look over the statistics you will see where Warren gained 225 yards rushing to Massillon’s 176 and had 221 net yards gained to Massillon’s 190. First downs were 12-11 in Warren’s favor.
ENDS – Bodiford, Royer, Anzalone, Ehmer, Ivan.
TACKLES – Spees, Garman, White, Crenshaw, Herbst,
GUARDS – Houston, Willey, Radel, Wells, Whitfield, Poole.
CENTER – Demis.
QUARTERBACKS – Larson, Null.
HALFBACKS – Herring, Brown, Dean, Snively, Schenkenberger,
Kurzen, Gugov, Heflin.
FULLBACK – Hastings.
ENDS – Keifer, Brooks, Marlotti, Franklin, Plevyak, Shannon, Auble.
TACKLES – Smith, Angelo, Chicernee, Jamison, Zamaria.
GUARDS – Peterson, Rogers, Elkins.
CENTERS – Sanfrey, Baker.
QUARTERBACK – Wilson.
HALFBACKS – Harris, Caldwell, Pannucci, Simoni, Getsay.
FULLBACKS – Jackson, Mink.
SCORE BY PERIODS
Massillon 6 6 0 6 18
Warren 0 6 6 7 19
Massillon – Brown (intercepted pass 100 yards), Ehmer (pass 26 yards),
Hastings (plunge four yards).
Warren – Jackson (plunge 2 feet); Caldwell (30 yards end run),
Harris (18 yards, lateral from Wilson).
Point after touchdown – Caldwell (placekick).
First downs – rushing 9 10
First downs – passing 2 0
First downs – penalties 0 2
Total first downs 11 12
Yards gained rushing 176 225
Yards lost rushing 21 4
Net yards gained rushing 155 221
Yards gained passing 35 0
Total yards gained 190 221
Passes attempted 6 2
Passes completed 2 0
Passes intercepted by 2 1
Times kicked off 4 2
Kickoff average (yards) 35.7 33.2
Kickoff returns (yards) 51 54
Times punted 2 3
Punt average (yards) 29.5 41.2
Punt return (yards) 2 0
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 4 2
Lost fumbled ball 2 2
Penalties 4 2
Yards penalized 40 5