Tigers Have Scare But Beat Alliance 24-12
Pass First Test For Title-Comeback
By CHUCK HESS, JR.
The most irritating thing to a feline is a thorn in the paw. And for the Massillon Tiger there’s no thorn sharper than a Mel Knowlton-coached Alliance high grid team.
But as their namesake will work incessantly to rid himself of a thorn, so the Massillon Tigers kept at it at rain-soaked Harshorn stadium in Alliance Friday night until they had clawed out a 24-12 victory. The Bengals’ third win in a 4-game slate, marred only by a tie, meant the first step on the road back towards a third straight state title.
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WITH THE MEAT of their schedule coming up in the 6 remaining weeks, the Bengals must not falter now. A loss coupled with the tie would lessen their chances.
Friday’s contest was typical of Knowlton, the former Tiger quarterback. He put the Bengals’ pass defense to a tough test before the 8,000 fans despite the constant rain.
And the Bengal secondary had its troubles against the tricky play-action passes. However, most of the aerials completed were of the short flat variety. None-the-less, they helped Alliance out-gain Massillon 263 yards to 243 and loosened up the Obiemen to help the Aviators’ running game.
However, Massillon had the best of it on the ground 233-79. Co-captains Tommy James, playing both halfback slots, and fullback Will Foster did some great off tackle and trap running with the help of good blocking. The Bengals got only 10 yards in the air to the Aviators’ 184.
The Bengals were helped in their victory by a big break in the fourth quarter. Midway through, punter, Harley Dickinson was roughed on fourth down. That, coupled with another 15-yarder for unsportsmanlike conduct on Knowlton following a hotly debated encroachment penalty on Alliance, gave Massillon first and 10 on the Alliance 30.
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MASSILLON was temporarily set back by a 15-yard illegal use of the hands penalty. Two plays later junior halfback Bill Simon took a pitchout on second and 16, started right, found his way clogged and cut back to the left behind fine blocking and went 35 yards to end the night’s scoring with 2:49 left. A pass to sophomore end Jim Smith on the conversion attempt failed.
“The penalties helped put the icing on the cake,” Tiger Coach Bob Seaman said. “Our kids held-up to a tough challenge well. The roughing penalty hurt us,” Knowlton said. “There was no reason for it. That killed us because they had to punt.”
Alliance opened the scoring at 5:13 of the first quarter. The Tigers had moved from the Aviator 31 to the 24-yard line following a punt snap, but lost the ball on downs.
Five plays later Zupanic faked a handoff and jumped a second and 9 pass from his 35 to end Finis Dailey who scampered 60 yards straight through Massillon’s secondary for the score. Zupanic couldn’t get another jumper off on the conversion try.
Massillon had a drive fizzle at the Alliance 27 after a pass interception by Cliff Banks. Punter Jim Krenzer’s daring 2-yard sneak on fourth down at the Alliance 46 had kept the foray going.
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THE ORANGE and Black got the equalizer with 5:06 left in the first half when Foster went over left guard from the one on third and 5 after an 11-play, 61-yard drive featuring the running of Foster and James. A Craig Maurer to James pitchout failed for the conversion.
The Tigers’ made it 12-6 when safety John McFadden returned the second half kickoff 85 yards up the center and cut it to the left side. James missed the conversion on a pitchout to the left.
A 14-yard runback by Dale Gallion gave Massillon the ball on its 34 after Alliance was stopped on the Massillon 49. The Tigers marched the distance in 8 plays with Foster and James doing most of the advancing. On first down from the 17, Maurer faked inside and handed to James who swept left for the tally at 4:32. Maurer tried to pass to Simon for the conversion with no success.
Alliance used up the remaining time in the third period and a couple of minutes in the fourth getting to the Massillon 3 where the Bengals stiffened and held them. Twice in the series, Zupanic got off fourth down passes on long yardage plays for first downs. One aerial went to halfback Bob Ramsey, the other to end Al Thigpen.
But disaster stuck in the next series. Kenzer had to punt from the end zone with a bad snap. Halfback Ray Muniz fell on the loose ball at the Tigers’ 21.
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FIVE PLAYS later Ramsey went through the middle on second and 7 from the 8 with 6:39 remaining. A pass to end Emerson Young for the conversion backfired.
Then came the last score for the Bengals.
But Alliance wasn’t through. A Tiger fumble on their 40 recovered by junior Tom Ickes gave Alliance the ball on Massillon’s 45. Three plays later the clock ran out.
Knowlton thought his team was getting better each game. Their performance against the Tigers brought Alliance the most yardage gained by the Aviators this season. They had gained only 53 yards in the air previously.
Seaman said there were not drastic changes made at halftime. “We just blocked a little better and ran a little harder in the second half,” he said. “And that run of McFadden’s really kicked us off. He did a real good job. He’s got guts.
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HE CONTINUED “Simon got off a nice run on his touchdown. He cut back beautifully and got by the pursuit.”
Both coaches thought the other had a fine football team.
The Tigers journey to Riverside stadium in Niles next Saturday, where the Red Dragons have been undefeated for 7 years. Massillon puts its 31 game unbeaten streak on the line in an All-American league contest.
MASSILLON – 24
Ends – Liggett, Smith, Sterling, Kraft, Gallion, Griffin, Moyer, Richards.
Tackles – Houser, Sherrett, Campbell, Snowball, Ricker, Turley.
Guards – Neago, Russell, Porrini, Beiter, Hauenstein, White, Somogy.
Centers – Senften, Kraft, Skelton.
Quarterbacks – Maurer, Henderson, Young, Malinowski.
Halfbacks – James, Simon, Fenton, McFadden, Muhlbach.
Punters – Krenzer, Dickinson.
Fullback – Foster.
ALLIANCE – 12
Ends – Dailey, E. Young, Thigpen.
Tackles – R. Young, Johnson, Harshman, Andreani.
Guards –Gaul, Thomas, McCoy.
Center – Koch.
Quarterbacks – Zupanic, Libis, Utterback.
Halfbacks – Ramsey, Lear, Muniz.
Punter – Sucacui.
Massillon 0 6 12 6 24
Alliance 6 0 0 6 12
Massillon – Foster (one-yard run);
McFadden (85-yard second half kickoff return);
James (17-yard run);
Simon (30-yard run).
Alliance – Dailey (65-yard pass-run play from Zupanic); Ramsey (8-yard run).
Referee – Octavio Sirgo (Canton).
Umpire – Carl Spennard (Cuyahoga Falls).
Head Linesman – John Cseh (Akron).
Field Judge – Carl Emmerich (Cuyahoga Falls).
First downs – rushing 11 8
First downs – passing 1 5
First downs – penalties 2 0
Total first downs 14 13
Yards gained rushing 233 114
Yards lost rushing 0 35
Net yards gained rushing 233 79
Net yards gained passing 10 184
Total yards gained 343 263
Passes attempted 3 18
Passes completed 1 10
Passes intercepted by 0 1
Times kicked off 5 3
Kickoff average (yards) 54.5 42.3
Kickoff returns (yards) 107 160
Times punted 1 3
Punt average (yards) 12.0 32.3
Punt return (yards) 45 0
Fumbles 2 0
Lost fumbled ball 1 0
Penalties 5 8
Yards penalized 45 60
Touchdowns rushing 3 0
Touchdowns passing 0 1
Miscellaneous touchdowns 1 0
Total number of plays 49 59