Select Page

Strang Admits He Called ‘Poor’ Contest At Akron
Tigers To Practice On Running Game

By CHUCK HESS, JR.

It takes a big man to admit he made a mistake. Washington high Coach Leo Strang can be put into that category today.

After viewing movies Sunday of his charges 13-6 loss to Akron Garfield Saturday night at the Akron Rubber Bowl before 19,598 fans, the skipper said, “There’s no doubt about it, I called a poor game. There were too many wrong calls. We should have run more, that’s for sure.”

He said the Bengals will do a lot of work on their running game this week in preparation for the invasion of the Mansfield Tygers Friday, in an effort to boost their season’s record to 2-1.

Program Cover

Strang listed two other factors as important in the loss. “Our passing was not up to par,” he said. “The timing was off. We missed come completions by inches. Garfield was tremendously high. They pointed more towards the game than we did. We did not underestimate them, however. They were able to put special emphasis on their ‘big game of the year.’ We cannot put special emphasis on every game. They have a good team. It will take a good team to beat them.”

Strang was pleased with his defense. Except for a disastrous fumble and a bad breakdown on one play, the Tigers did a good job in this respect. “I would be tickled to death if our defense played that way all the time,” Strang said. “We did make a few mistakes that have to be corrected, however.”

Garfield Coach Dan (Babe) Flossie had a plan after watching the Tigers in action the preceding week and it paid off. Athletic Director Harry Kidder spoke for Flossie who took off rapidly with his team after the game – the Rams dress at their school rather than at the Rubber Bowl.

“Massillon’s whole offense is their passing,” Kidder said. “We planned to give them their running game and take away their passing threat and we did it.”

The Rams dropped back five and six pass defenders and double and sometimes triple teamed ends Will Perry and Floyd Pierce and wingback Bill Blunt. Blunt, the team’s leading receiver was able to catch only one pass.

“He caught that one,” Kidder said, “because one of our halfbacks thought he was on the other side of the field and didn’t cover properly.”

The Orange and Black completed only seven of 22 passes for 106 yards to add to 65 net rushing for a 171 total. Only 10 of the aerial yards came in the second half and only 15 of the ground total. The Tigers lost 37 yards rushing.

Garfield, on the other hand, lost only 8 and gained 224 total yards, 188 rushing. Only 36 yards came through the air. But the Rams completed two of the three passes they threw, one on a touchdown drive.

Massillon led in first downs 9-7. That was the only other department in which the Tigers bettered the Rams.

All this was a hard pill for the Tigers to swallow. The first loss to an Akron school since South turned the trick 7-6 in 1931 could prove disastrous to Massillon’s hopes for a comeback state championship this season.

The Tigers were the first to get an offensive going early in the second stanza. After a Garfield punt was run back 10 yards by Bill Blunt, the Bengals scored in four plays, picking up a first down in the process.

On third down from the 50-yard line, quarterback Ron Swartz connected with Blunt on a play that covered to the Garfield 23. On the next play Swartz hit Perry for the remainder of the distance with 9:07 remaining in the quarter. Swartz tried another aerial to Perry for the conversion, but it failed.

Floyd Pierce hauled in a Garfield aerial on his 45 after Bender’s 36-yard runback of the kickoff and it looked as if the Orange and Black was ready to roll again. But they lost the ball on downs.

After a Garfield punt, the Tigers got to the Rams 26 on two nice runs of 11 and 18 yards up the center by Jim Lawrence and a reverse by Blunt. There the Rams held.

On the next play Ed Bender broke off tackle and streaked 74 yards for the tying touchdown, with 1:49 remaining completely outdistancing the WHS secondary which was playing in close. All of Steve Kanner’s fine punting – three times behind the 10-yard line – had gone for naught. Bender booted the tie-breaking point.

Blunt made a fine runback of 31 yards on which he was temporarily put out of action by a jarring tackle. Then the Bengals drove to the Garfield nine near the end of the half but were stymied again. The Tigers moved 56 yards from their own 35 in six plays with four first downs.

There was some more fine running by Lawrence4 – one 15-yard distance – and a 28-yard pass from Swartz to Pierce from the Garfield 37 to the nine.

The second half was strictly Garfield’s. Halfbacks Bender, John Butash and fullback Cliff Watson started churning up the Rubber Bowl turf. They continued to drape themselves with glory because of their work in the defensive secondary. The Garfield line completely stymied the Bengals except for one stretch in the last quarter.

So well did Bender, Butash and Watson run the ball that the Rams hung on to it for practically all of the third canto. The Tigers got only two series of plays – six straight downs – at about the midway point.

Near the end of the period Blunt fumbled a punt and guard Bob Sine recovered for Garfield on the Tigers’ 21. By the time the 11:24 mark of the last stanza had arrived, the Rams had put the winning margin on the score board. Butash went over from the one after five plays and two first downs but missed the conversion.

The Orange and Black had its last big drive right after the kickoff. Tom Gatsios came up with a 24-yard runback to put the ball on the Tiger 39.

With Jim Lawrence doing most of the running through the center as the Bengals tried to get their ground game going, Massillon managed to get to the Rams’ 25 after 10 plays and three first downs. But linebacker Marion Della Serra broke through on fourth and three and tossed Lawrence for an eight-yard loss. The Tigers never threatened again.

MASSILLON – 6
Ends – Pierce, Perry, Hose, Jones, Goodnough and McAllister.
Tackles – Tarle, Miller, Binge and Morgan.
Guards – Castile, Larsuel, Paflas, Swisher, Rivera, Paul, Mulhbach and Whitfield.
Centers – Scassa and Frank.
Quarterbacks – Swartz, Gatsios and Kanner.
Halfbacks – Blunt, Getz, Eckard, Rink Schenkenberger and Shanor.
Fullbacks – Lawrence and Hewitt.

GARFIELD – 13
Ends – Young, Wright and Malone.
Tackles – Hamric, Nemith and Apley.
Guards – Cianociola, Puckett, Vance and Sine.
Center – Brockett.
Quarterback – Hannig.
Halfbacks – Bender, Butash, Adam and Della Serra.
Fullback – Watson.

Massillon 0 6 0 0 6
Garfield 0 7 0 6 13

Touchdowns:
Massillon – Perry (23-yard pass from Swartz).
Garfield – Bender (74-yard run); Butash (one-yard run).

Points after touchdowns: Bender (placement).

Officials
Referee – George Ellis (Akron).
Umpire – Tony Pianowski (Cleveland).
Head Linesman – John Cseh (Akron).
Field Judge – Harvey Hodgson, Jr. (Massillon)

GAME STATISTICS
Mass. Opp.
First downs, rushing 5 5
First downs, passing 4 2
First downs, penalties 0 0
Total first downs 9 7
Yards gained rushing 102 196
Yards lost rushing 37 8
Net yards gained rushing 65 188
Yards gained passing 106 36
Total yards gained 171 224
Passes attempted 22 3
Passes completed 7 2
Passes intercepted by 1 1
Times kicked off 2 3
Kickoff average (yards) 51.0 50.0
Kickoff returns (yards) 79 46
Times punted 5 6
Punt average (yards) 39.6 44.0
Punt returns (yards) 6 0
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 2 2
Lost fumbled ball 1 1
Penalties 2 5
Yards penalized. 20 25

Junie Studer – Earl O’Leary – Massillon Statisticians

Bill Blunt