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Tigers ‘Owned” Lion Defense In 34-18 Win

Altoona Coach Lauds Massillon’s Blocking


A few years ago when the Green Bay Packers ruled the professional football roost, Coach Vince Lombardi made it a point to play to the opponent’s strength, beat him at his own game.

The Massillon Tigers played to the Altoona, Pa., strength, a tough defensive line, and overpowered the Mountain Lions on the ground for a 34-18 victory Saturday night in as an exciting a ball game as the 16,109 fans present at the weekend’s colorful inter-state game will see this season.

Not since 1954 has anyone scored 34 points on the Mountain Lions and the bulk of the credit belongs to the center of the Tiger offensive line, guards Larry Larsuel and Tom Whitfield and center John Muhlbach.

“THEY OWNED US down the middle in the second half,” said Altoona Coach Earl Strohm, headman of the Lions now in his 11th year at the Pennsylvania football
power house. The veteran coach was especially impressed with Larsuel, terming the senior all-county and all-state guard “a real good football player.”

Trapping the Altoona defensive line, the Tiger trio opened up holes for halfbacks Brock Herring and Bob Hewitt and fullback Jim Lawrence who played one of the best games of his career. Herring scored 4 touchdowns one of them a 37-yard run where he bolted through a hole and past the Altoona secondary before it realized what was happening.


Lawrence scored once, but the 186-pound senior was the Tigers’ bread-and-butter man getting yardage in crucial situations and faking beautifully when he wasn’t carrying the ball. Lawrence carried 22 times for 166 yards averaging 7 yards per carry. All told the Tigers rolled up 340 yards on the ground, with Herring carrying 19 times for 137 yards and a 7-yard average.

While the Tigers ground out the winning score, Altoona hit a porous Tiger pass defense with 9 completions in 19 attempts for 216 yards including 2 touchdowns of 62 and 42 yards.

Lion quarterback Dick Frasca connected on 8 of those to show Massillon fans one of the best high school passers seen this year. He also turned receiver on the last scoring effort taking a pass from halfback Buddy Geis, his best receiver, and stumbling into the end zone from 15 yards out for the final Altoona score. It was a 42-yard play. Frasca will be back next year when the Tigers go to Mansion Park in Altoona for a return match.


MASSILLON SCORED its first touchdown with 2:01 left to play in the first quarter when Herring went over from the 6 to cap a 56-yard drive in 8 plays.

The Tigers took a 12-0 lead in the second quarter when Herring went 9 yards to climax a 10-play, 64-yard drive highlighted by a Herring 14-yard gain and one of 13 yards by Hewitt. There were 7 minutes and 12 seconds left to play when Herring scored as Lawrence faked into the line, complementing quarterback Steve Kanner’s deft ball handling.

Altoona got back into the game as Frasca hit end Dave Thompson with an 11-yard pass and Geis with a 42-yard pass play up the middle, the shifty Geis lugging to the 14. Mike Reid, the Altoona 225-pound fullback just returning to offensive action and still slowed by a knee injury picked up 2 yards and halfback Dick Beard 5. On the following play Reid fumbled after being hit about the one, the ball squirting into the end zone where Mike Grove, the Altoona center, recovered for the touchdown.

Altoona tied it up with 4:51 left in the 3rd quarter when Frasca hit Geis with a 24-yard pass at the Massillon 38. Geis went down the east sideline the 38 yards for the score on a play covering 62 yards, bringing the better than 2,700 Altoona fans, who accompanied the Lions to their feet.

The score was set up when Altoona drove from its own 24 to its own 45 where with 3rd and 10 the Lions were called for holding. Massillon chose to accept the penalty making it 3rd and 25 instead of 4th and 10 and a punting situation coming up. With 3rd and 25 Frasca hit Geis with the 62-yard pass play.


MASSILLON BOUNCED back, starting a 74-yard drive with Lawrence going over from the 3 with 11:19 left to play in the fourth quarter. The Tigers picked up the extra points when quarterback Dave Sheegog lateraled to Herring just as he was about to hit the ground. The score put the Tigers ahead 20-12.

Altoona couldn’t move the ball past the 47 on the next series and lost 2 yards on a 4th and 3 situation with the Tigers taking over on the 45. Lawrence made 11 to the 37 on the second play and on the 3rd play Herring bolted out of a quick opener up the middle for the score.

The Tigers drove 58-yard in 11 plays featuring a 24-yard run by Herring to score from the 7 with Herring cutting over center for the TD. Kanner’s pass to end Rick Paige for the extra points made it 34-12 with 1:26 remaining.

On the following kickoff, Paul Marks tipped the ball, which rolled only 2 yards and the Lions had it on the 42 since it did not travel the necessary 10 yards.

On the next play, Geis got the ball started around his right end, stopped and hit Frasca who had gone down the west side with a pass at the 15. Frasca was almost tripped up but stumbled to the 2 where he lunged into the end zone for the score. A kick by Reid failed and the game ended 34-18.


COACH EARLE BRUCE called the Mountain Lions, “a tough ball club, with the best passer we’ve seen, and a good receiver in Geis.” While happy with the victory, Bruce said the outcome would call for some “real analyzation” of the Tigers pass defense.

Based on the game movies, fullback Lawrence was named player of the week for his running and faking. Lineman of the week was guard Tom Whitfield with Larsuel the runner-up. Back of the week was Herring, followed by Lawrence and Paul Marks who made 9 tackles and 10 assists on defense.

Ends – thompson, Ellis, Steinbugl, Williams.
Tackles – Kaltenbrunner, Ebersole, Showalter.
Guards – Hobson, Jeffco, Phillips, R. Geis, Nedimeyer, Brenner.
Center – Grove.
Backs – Frasca, B. Geis, Andros, Lepore, Beard, Reid, Noonan, Russo.

Ends – Franklin, Gilmore, Williams, Paige, Goodnough, D. Whitfield, Garcia.
Tackles – Morgan, Binge, Rambaud, Croop.
Guards – Larsuel, T. Whitifield, Richards.
Center – Muhlbach.
Backs – Kanner, Sheegog, Pribich, Frieg, Hewitt, Herring, Manson, Conti,
Foster, Shanor, Marks.

Massillon ……………… 6 6 0 22 – 34
Altoona ……………….. 0 6 6 6 – 18

Touchdowns – Massillon: Herring 4 (runs of 6, 9, 37 and 7 yards);
Lawrence (3-yard run).

Altoona: Grove (covered fumble in end zone); B. Geis (62-yard
pass-run) from Frasca; Frasca (42-yard pass-run from B. Geis).

Extra Points – Herring 2 (run); Paige 2 (pass from Kanner).

Referee – Harvey Hodgson (Massillon).
Umpire – Joe Romano (Mansfield).
Field Judge – Tony Pianowski (Cleveland).
Head linesman – Jack McLain (Columbus).

Mass. Altoona
First downs—rushing 18 6
First downs—passing 0 8
First downs—penalties 0 0
Total first downs 18 14
Yards gained rushing 340 102
Yards lost rushing 0 2
Net yards gained rushing 340 100
Net yards gained passing 11 216
Total yards gained 351 316
Passes attempted 3 19
Passes completed 2 9
Passes intercepted by 0 0
Yardage, passes intercepted 0 0
Times kicked off 6 4
Kickoff average (yards) 36.6 48.75
Kickoff returns (yards) 82 85
Times punted 3 2
Punt average (yards) 41.3 33
Punt returns (yards) 9 0
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 1 4
Lost fumbled ball 0 1
Penalties 3 2
Yards penalized 15 20
Touchdowns rushing 5 1
Touchdowns passing 0 2
Touchdowns by interception 0 0
Miscellaneous 0 0
Total number of plays 55 51

John Mulbach