Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo



As sure as Jack and Jill went up the hill the Washington high school gridders climbed the pinnacle of fame Friday evening on Massillon Field when they attained the distinction of handing Cleveland Heights high school its first defeat in two and one half seasons by a 2-0 score. A safety in the second period did it, but those two points were as good as a million as far as returning the Tigers victors was concerned and now, out of the blackness of the night, the Massillon team has risen from a mediocre football team into one that other schools must reckon with in their quest for football achievements.

For three years Cleveland Heights has sat on the crest of gridiron glory, but the Hilltoppers were knocked from their supreme position last night and took their fall harder than Humpty Dumpty.

First Defeat in 25 Games
Heights had a reason to go home a mourning band of rooters, for since the middle of the season of 1927 the Hilltoppers have had the pleasure of seeing fans from opposing teams take the beating and only once during the intervening period had their goal line been crossed. That was in the middle of the 1928 season, for the 1929 grid outfit battled through the season without being scored upon. If records are accurate, Heights up to last night had played 25 consecutive games with some of the best teams in northeastern Ohio, without defeat.

There was nothing lucky about the Massillon victory last night. The local gridders did get the breaks but they made them as a result of hard consistent playing on the part of every member of the team, and their points came as a result of good football rather than a chance fluke.

It was the superior punting of John Kester, sturdy Massillon quarterback that gave the Tigers their margin of victory. Standing in midfield early in the second period, Kester directed a beautiful punt to the northeast corner of the field that rolled out on the one-yard line.

Willison Blocks Kick
Heights immediately dropped back into punting formation with Ryan stationing himself near the back fence to make the kick. Taking advantage of the Hilltopper’s position, big Bob Willison off with the snap of the ball, broke through the line and threw himself against the pigskin just as it left Ryan’s toe. The ball bounded into the crowd at the end of the field, automatically awarding the Tigers a safety and two points.

Two points looked like a slim margin at that stage of the game, for the Hilltoppers had already demonstrated their ability at carrying the ball away for three first downs in the opening period of play. With the advantage in their favor, however, the Massillon boys playing like the Tigers of old set out to retain their lead with the greatest exhibition of fighting spirit seen on a local gridiron in several years. Heights tried and tried hard but could not pierce the strong defense thrown up by the gallant orange and black boys.

Yield Ground Stubbornly
The Massillonions slowly yielded ground when playing in the Cleveland portion of the field, but once the visitors advanced beyond the 50-yard mark they had to fight for every yard they made. Though the Hilltoppers gained much more ground from scrimmage, rolling up 10 first downs to the local team’s four, Kester’s punting on each occasion sent the invaders back to the starting point and thus made up for the lost ground.

So tight was the Tiger defense last night that the visitors on only two occasions succeeded in threatening the orange and black goal line. That was in the first and middle of the fourth quarter when a series of forward passes in the latter attempt carried the ball to the 30-yard line where the Tigers held for downs.

Heights Attack Versatile
While the local team played purely a defensive game and was able to do little against the visitors, Heights showed a very versatile attack that two weeks ago would have swept the locals off their feet. With Ippolitto carrying the ball most of the time, the Clevelanders rushed the ends for several long gains, the ball carrier always being protected by a strong wave of interference. To meet this running attack, a change was made in the Tigers’ defense in the second half that worked successfully. The Hilltopper’s also uncorked the deadly passing attack that has carried them to so many victories and pulled them out of more than one tight pinch in their triumphant march of the past three seasons. But the Tigers were prepared to combat the aerial game, intercepting three passes, knocking down or grounding eight others, while only three were completed for a total of 46 yards. Ippolitto was given plenty of protection in throwing the ball, but with two Massillon men hanging back in a safety position he had the hardest kind of a time picking out a member of his team who was not covered on the play.

Tigers Threaten
The Tigers did not show a whole lot on the offense although they did register four first downs, three in the closing minutes of the game, when after absorbing all the battering the Hilltoppers could hand out they set out to score a touchdown for themselves in a drive that ended on the 20-yard line.

The running attack of the local team was broken up with injury of Clendening in the first period when he was kicked in the back of the head while tackling a Heights runner. With Clendening put out of the game the Tigers could not mix up their off tackle and line bucks with end runs and passes and as a result depended almost entirely upon straight football.

Singer Shows Dash
Singer, however, who replaced the colored flash, played a whale of a game and with Williams, stocky fullback, bore the brunt of the attack. Several times these boys smashed through the visitors’ line for good gains, their touchdown attempt in the closing minutes of the game ending on the 20-yard line where the ball was forfeited to Cleveland by the margin of a foot. Not one forward pass was attempted by the local team, the Tigers not taking any chances of throwing the ball into the arms of a Cleveland player when they had the lead. The locals lost 15 yards from scrimmage as a result of penalties, while the Hilltoppers were set back a total of 20 yards.

Getz Shines on End
Considerable credit for stopping the dashes around the Massillon ends must be given to Getz who refused to be taken out of the play and who invariably succeeded in turning in the ball carrier where he could be dropped by one of the secondary men. His play on the wing of the line was one of the outstanding individual performances of the game.

While the Clevelanders never seriously threatened the Massillon goal line the local team on two occasions tossed a scare into the Hilltoppers’ bench. Late in the first period Don Hess intercepted one of Ippolitto’s passes on the latter’s 40-yard line and dashed back to the
16-yard mark before being downed. Four plays gained nine yards, the locals losing the ball seven yards from the Cleveland goal.

Large Crowd at Game
The largest crowd since the game with Canton McKinley in 1928 attended the Friday evening encounter. The gate receipts were swelled considerably by a large rooting section from Cleveland, 300 of whom purchased reserve seats. The local students cheered lustily and gave the best demonstration of support from the bleachers heard in many a game.

First Period
Kester kicked off to the 36-yard line after Ryan had negotiated a first down, the Tigers stopped the visitors who punted over the goal line. Gaining possession of the ball on their own 20, the locals found themselves stopped in their tracks, a muffed pass from center resulting in the loss of 10 yards. Kester’s punt went out of bounds in midfield. Ippolitto got away for a dash to the 26-yard line but the Tigers braced and the Cleveland threat was frustrated when Clendening intercepted a pass on the 16-yard line. Failing to gain, Kester got off a beautiful punt that traveled 71 yards sending the Hilltoppers back to their 24-yard line. Hess placed the Tigers in a position to score by intercepting a pass on the Cleveland 40 and dashing back to the 16-yard line, but four attempts to pierce the line gained little more than nine yards and the Tigers forfeited the ball to Cleveland, seven yards from the scoring stripe. The ball was returned by a punt to the local team when the first period ended on the Cleveland 44-yard line.

Second Period
Williams made five yards in two plays and Kester dropped back on the fourth down and sent a punt out of bounds on the Cleveland one-yard line. Ryan backed up against the fence to return the kick but Willison crashed through and blocked the punt, the ball going into the crowd for a safety. Cleveland kicked from the 20-yard line to the Tigers who after failing to gain, returned the boot to the Hilltopper’s 13-yard line, thus gaining seven yards on the exchange. Failing to make a first down in three plays the visitors booted the ball back to midfield. Three plays netted the locals a first down on the 39-yard line, but they later lost the ball on downs on the 30-yard line. Ippolitto got away for a dash to the
47-yard line, but a lateral pass was short and Price covered the ball for the locals. Failing to gain, Kester punted over the goal line and the half ended two plays later.

Third Period
Soon after the kickoff the visitors began a drive that for a time scared the Massillon fans. Getting the ball on their own 20-yard line, they carried it back to the Massillon 45-yard lines where the orange and black braced and forced the Hilltoppers to punt. The locals after gaining but six yards in two plays returned the kick to the Cleveland 35-yard line. Ippolitto got away for a first down in midfield but again the Massillon boys braced and forced the visitors to punt.

Fourth Period
A return kick by Kester sent Cleveland back to its own 27-yard line. After they had negotiated a first down the Clevelanders were stopped three times with little gain and punted wide and outside on their own 47-yard line. A 15-yard penalty set the Tigers back a bit and Kester punted to the Cleveland 34-yard line. Cleveland then negotiated two long passes, one gaining a first down in midfield and the other carrying the ball to the 39-yard line where the visitors were stopped by the Tigers who took the ball on their own 33-yard stripe. With Singer and Williams carrying the ball and a five-yard penalty helping some, the locals marched up the field to the Cleveland 20-yard stripe where they were held for downs, losing the ball by a foot. Cleveland took the pigskin and tried a long pass which fell inches beyond the reach of the intended receiver who had an unmolested path ahead of him to the goal. Another attempt to score by the air route only led to the pass being intercepted by a Massillon player and the locals were on the visitors’ 33-yard line when the game ended.

Line up and summary:
Massillon Pos Cleveland
Getz LE Banko
Willison LT Hemingway
Monroe LG Chesnutt
Schott C Thom
Worthington RG Gordon
Price RT Axtel
Hess RE Mathewson
Kester QB Curfman
Foster LH Truman
Clendening RH Ippolitto
Willison FB Hemingway

Score by periods:
Massillon 0 2 0 0 2

Massillon – Singer, rh; Bordner, lh.
Cleveland Heights – Lenz, re; Mehring, fb.

Safety – Massillon.

Referee – Calhoun (Denison).
Umpire – Ave (Baldwin-Wallace).
Field Judge – Henderson (Pomona).
Head Linesman – Watkins (Harvard).

Periods – 12 minutes.

Massillon’s Boys Deliver

Independent Sports Editor

A pat on the back – and a good resounding one – for those fighting and courageous orange and black warriors of Washington high school who Friday night, completely kicked over the dope bucket and smeared a 2 to 0 defeat upon a powerful and skillful Cleveland Heights eleven in one of the most dramatic high school football games ever staged in Massillon.

It was an inspired Washington high school team that took the field Friday night to battle for the honor of their school. But they were fighting for more than their school. They were fighting for their coach Elmer McGrew, who was called to Beaver Falls, Pa., early in the week by the death of his father and who was unable to watch his boys in action last night.

They were fighting for victory over a powerful and highly rated foe because they felt that a triumph would, in some small measure at least, show to their grief stricken and absent coach that they were with him to a man and would do what they could to lighten, if possible, the mantle of sorrow which had been cast about his shoulders by the death of his parent.
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Never has a Washington high school football team fought harder and more magnificently than did that orange and black squad last night. From the opening whistle to the bark of the final gun they were in there fighting – fighting as only boys with the heart of a lion and a never-say-die spirit know how.

There was Johnny Kester whose brilliant punting on more than one occasion carried his team out of the danger zone. There was Bob Willison, a stalwart and powerful tackle who hurled himself through the Cleveland Heights line and blocked the punt that gave his team a safety and eventually victory. There was little Don Hess who grabbed a Cleveland forward pass out of the air and streaked almost to the goal line. There was stocky Glen Williams whose powerful thrusts tore gaping holes into the Cleveland line. And there were eight or nine other boys who fought with all their might and main and saw their efforts crowned with victory – as sweet a victory as ever a Massillon high school team achieved.
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For thrilling moments and dramatic tenseness last night’s game ranked with that memorable and never-to-be-forgotten classic with Cleveland Shaw high in 1922 which Massillon won 7 to 6 in a brilliant final period spurt.

Given only an outside chance of defeating the powerful Cleveland Heights aggregation, one of the greatest scholastic teams in Ohio, Washington high’s gridders never quit trying. They had to fight hard. They had to be on their toes all the time for the visitors were strong. They were liable to break loose at any time. They possessed a splendid running attack and a deadly forward passing machine but they never scored. Great as they were they simply could not pierce that snarling wall of orange and black. It was tougher than steel last night.

Because they chalked up such a splendid victory over such a worthy foe; because they showed a fighting spirit that won the acclaim of the fans and because they played the best game of football a Washington high school team has displayed in a long time, they deserve a great big pat on the back.

So let’s give it to them!