Tigers Dump Lions 32-14 In Opener
By CHUCK HESS, JR.
Charles Dickens would have felt right at home at Tiger stadium Friday night. As he once said, ‘It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”
Massillon’s Tigers got off on the right foot in quest of a third straight state championship even if the step was a little shaky. The Bengals stopped Canton Lincoln’s Lions 32-14 before one of the largest opening night crowds ever, 13,431.
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THE BATTLE of the felines was the second game of the first double bill ever presented at the stadium. Marion Catholic and Dover St. Joseph, 1965 state Class A powers, battled in the opener with Marion winning 8-6.
Massillon played turnabout ball, jumping ahead 20-0 at the half, and was outscored 14-12 in the second. Total yardage also went in the opposite direction: from 228-66 in Massillon’s favor before the intermission to 120-92 in Lincoln’s favor afterwards, as did the number of plays, 30-28 to 26-16.
Tiger Coach Bob Seaman making his debut as the Bengals stretched their win streak to 29, thought complacency might have had a great deal to do with the poor second half. “When you put points on the board with 4 seconds to go in the first half, you’re bound to relax a bit in the second.”
Lou Venditti, who might have his finest team in his 6 years at Lincoln, was “proud of the kids coming back after being down 20-0.”
Venditti thought his team was hurt by 2 bad mental errors and a fumble at the wrong time. There was one mental error and 3 bad breaks which hurt the Tigers, to say nothing of numerous penalties.
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MASSILLON SCORED first when junior halfback Greg Evans went off left tackle from
33 yards out on second and 8 with 9:35remaining in the welcome quarter. The drive covered 74 yards in 5 plays after the opening kickoff. It featured 2 first downs and a big run by Evans over right tackle off a pitch, which carried from the Tiger 29 to the Lincoln 35.
Senior Craig Maurer, quarterback, missed on a rollout for the conversion.
The next time Massillon had the ball a 40-yard run by Evans was nullified by a clipping penalty.
Midway in the first quarter, Lincoln threatened following Jim Krenzer’s punt from the end zone after the Obiemen were put into reverse gear by motion and clipping penalties, 2 of 16 on the night for 115 yards.
On the first play following the punt, Lincoln’s senior signal-caller Tom Smith, who was to have a great second half, rolled out, scampered from the Tigers’ 34 to the 21 and fumbled. Gigantic Mike Sherrett, Massillon’s 6-7, 251-pound senior tackle, recovered, or as Venditti said, the game might have been different.
As the second quarter got underway, it appeared the Orange and Black were on the way for a second score. With second and
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Massillon 37 to the Lincoln 47 with the next punt and the Washington high eleven was on the way to its second score. Seven plays and 3 first downs later, senior fullback Will Foster went over left tackle from the 7 with 3:41 left. Foster made it 14-0 on the same play.
The Tigers scored again just as time ran out in the first half. Maurer threw the “bomb” to Evans on second and 5 from the 50 with 4 seconds remaining. The little jackrabbit grabbed the pigskin on the 5 and went in on the first of the Lion mental errors. Foster found the center too tough for the conversion.
Lincoln started on its comeback rampage immediately after the second half kickoff. Smith started to run wild on the keeper, spelled at intervals by junior halfback John Franzone and junior fullback Greg Wentz. The drive started on the Lions’ 33, carried for 67 yards and 5 first downs.
Franzone got the score with 7:17 left in the third canto. He shot off left tackle on first and 10 from the Tigers’ 28. Smith hit junior end Bruce Fowler in the left side of the end zone to make it 20-8.
As the quarter was about to come to an end, Krenzer dropped back from the Tigers’ 19 to punt and found his attempted boot blocked, giving Lincoln the ball on the 14. In 6 plays Bengal fans were starting to squirm.
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WITH FOURTH and 2 on the 6, Smith hit senior end Scott Ricketts in the right section of the end zone with 10:03 ;left in the goodbye chapter. Seaman said a linebacker incorrectly heard the coverage call. Junior linebacker Hoyt Skelton, junior tackle Bill Ricker and senior middle Earle (Stump) Beiter brought Smith crashing to the turf short of the conversion.
A wounded Tiger is dangerous and the Obiemen poured on the steam. Evans ran back 33 yards. Tommy (Scooter) James, senior halfback, rode the wave of excellent blocking on power sweeps off the pitch on almost every play in the ensuing 6-play, 4-first down, 57-yard scoring drive.
“Tailspin Tommy” tallied from the 23 on second and 4. He took 2 steps to the right, shot back over left guard and it was “TJ for the TD.” Evans failed to get the conversion on a pitchout.
A once-in-a-lifetime occurrence cropped up next. Foster kicked off out of bounds on the one. His repeat boot after 5-yard penalty sailed into the end zone. A Lion back forgot to recover the ball and sophomore Marc Malinowski, up from Lorin Andrews junior high, pounced on the swinehide for a score.
Maurer missed the conversion on the keeper for the second time during the night.
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BUT LINCOLN wasn’t through driving from the Massillon 43, after a short kickoff by Mike Gipp, to the Tigers’ 5, a distance of 52 yards.
There junior linebacker Ron Ertle brought Smith down on a fake pass and run on fourth and 6 to halt the scoring attempt. Franzone and Wentz were the big boys on the 3-first down drives.
A freak play cropped up along the way. Fowler caught a pass from Smith after it bounced around off several hands including those of at least 3 Tiger defenders. The play carried from the Lincoln 49 to the Massillon 26.
Massillon will play host to Cleveland Benedictine next Saturday.
LINCOLN – 14
Ends – Ricketts, Fowler, Sanderson.
Tackles – Christy, Hastings, Predisik.
Guards – Myers, McVehfl.
Center – Wernecke.
Quarterbacks – Smith, Best.
Halfbacks – Flinn, Franzone, Breslin, McCoul.
Fullbacks – Wentz, Behm.
MASSILLON – 32
Ends – Moyer, Smith, Sterling, Gallion, Griffin, Richards.
Tackles – Houser, Snowball, Ricker, Turley, Sherrett, Martin.
Guards – Hausenstein, Russell, Ertle, Beiter, Porrini, White.
Centers – Senften, Skelton, Kraft.
Quarterbacks – Maurer, Young, Henderson, Malinowski.
Halfbacks – James, Evans, Hannon, Fenton, McFadden, Muhlbach.
Fullbacks – Foster, Gipp.
Punter – Krenzer.
Lincoln 0 0 8 6 14
Massillon 6 14 0 12 32
Massillon – Evans (33-yard run and 35- yard pass from Maurer),
Foster (7-yard run),
James (23-yard run),
Malinowski (recovered kickoff in end zone).
Lincoln – Franzone (28-yard run), Smith (6-yard pass from Ricketts).
Massillon – Foster 2 (run).
Lincoln – Fowler 2 (pass from Smith).
Referee – Jack McLain (Columbus).
Umpire – Bill Holzwarth (Louisville).
Head Linesman – Bud Shopbell (Canton).
Field Judge – John Dalrymple (Akron).
First downs – rushing 13 6
First downs – passing 1 3
First downs – penalties 0 2
Total first downs 14 11
Yards gained rushing 286 144
Yards lost rushing 1 6
Net yards gained rushing 285 138
Net yards gained passing 35 48
Total yards gained 320 186
Passes attempted 1 12
Passes completed 1 5
Passes intercepted by 0 0
Yardage on passes intercepted 0 0
Times kicked off 5 3
Kickoff average (yards) 47.0 41.0
Kickoff returns (yards) 41 58
Times punted 5 4
Punt average (yards) 26.5 37.5
Punt return (yards) 29 2
Had punts blocked 1 0
Fumbles 1 1
Lost fumbled ball 0 1
Penalties 16 3
Yards penalized 115 18
Touchdowns rushing 3 1
Touchdowns passing 1 1
Touchdowns by interception 0 0
Miscellaneous 0 0
Number of plays 46 54