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Tigers Prove Themselves Better Team in Midfield, But Mansfield Defense Is Tough Inside the 25-Yard Line

By Luther Emery

All good things must come to an end and they did at Tiger Stadium Friday evening when an inspired Mansfield high school team beat the statistics to tie the Washington high school Tigers 6-6 and thereby halt the Massillon consecutive victory streak at 38 games.

It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, for the score could just was well read 7-6 either way, but neither team could make the extra point. So Mansfield for the second time in seven seasons puts an end to the Massillon streak with a tie score.

Ended Streak in 1937

The Tygers stopped a 21-game string in 1937 with a 6-6 tie and still have the distinction of being the only Ohio high school team to successfully tie a Massillon eleven since Canton McKinley twisted the Bengal’s tail in the finale of the 1934 season.

Twenty-two thousand fans and 3,000 others who mounted the hilltops after being turned away at the gate, saw each team score its touchdown in the second quarter, Mansfield first, then Massillon. They too, saw an infuriated Mansfield team hurl back threat after threat in the last half to maintain the tie with brilliant goal line stands.

Massillon hammered in Mansfield territory throughout the entire second half, losing the ball once on the 17-yard line, again on the nine, again on the one, again on the 29, again on the 24, and still again on the 22. Once in the second quarter the ball was surrendered on the Mansfield 16.

The Tigers moved easily enough in midfield, but once inside the 25-yard line, it was like banging into a stone wall. Two big ends, Joe Romano and Bob Winbigler, and a hard tackling secondary led by Bill Doolittle made life miserable for Massillon ball carriers, when they tried to gain ground in pay dirt.

Statistics and Points Differ

The local team complied an impressive quantity of yardage, 273 yards to Mansfield’s 58 and 16 and first downs to one, but statistics tell one story and points another. The Tigers offensive efforts were confined principally to territory between the 20-yard lines. They were stopped all but once by the withering Mansfield defense when they got inside the 10, and although it seemed as though they would just have to score a second time, they didn’t.

Mansfield too found the Massillon defense hard to penetrate. Only once did the Tygers work the ball into Tiger territory, but they got it there two other times on breaks. They could still be hammering away without denting the forward wall, but they called the right play at the right time in the second period and a screen pass, from Ken Krupp to Bill Doolittle that caught the Massillon line completely off guard, was good for 27 yards and a touchdown. Even then Bob Graber might have successfully made the tackle, had he not run over an official and thereby got blocked out of the play.

When the ball was snapped to Krupp, the Mansfield linemen moved forward, then stepped aside and allowed the Tiger linemen to charge through. Doolittle caught the pass only a few feet past the line of scrimmage, cut sharply to his right and headed down the sidelines with practically no one to stop him.

Doolittle tired to placekick the extra point and by a few scant feet the Tigers missed defeat. The ball was bar high, but too far to the right.

The Tigers charged back with a grim determination that made Massillon hearts swell with pride. Graber returned Duke Weber’s kickoff to his 37, and in three plays he and Holt took the leather to midfield. Fred Blunt on a deep weak side reverse raced to the 31-yard line and Holt smashed to another first on the 19 in three plays.

Adams Scores

A three-yard loss on a sweep by Adams was nullified when he tossed a pass to Joe
De Mando for a first down on the nine-yard line. A five-yard penalty against Mansfield for offside advanced the ball to the four-yard line when Adams on the first play circled the right end for the touchdown. He too, tried to kick the extra point from placement but he topped the ball and it bounded under the uprights.

That’s all the scoring there was. Mansfield never threatened in the second half, and only once worked the ball into Tiger territory when Doolittle on a bootleg play, took the leather to the Massillon 45 for a gain of 10 yards and the visitors’ only first down of the evening. A pass interception ended the threat the very next play and the Tigers charged back with their final effort of the game that netted three first downs and took the ball to the 22 where a 15-yard penalty for intentionally grounding a pass ended any further hopes for victory. Mansfield wasted the last minute, consuming as many seconds as possible to keep the Tigers from getting another shot at the goal.

It just wasn’t a Massillon night and though Mansfield did not win the game, visiting fans took the score with the same enthusiasm as a victory and celebrated long into the morning.

The Tigers seem to like to get themselves into a hole at the start.

A poor pass from center on fourth down when Adams dropped back to punt gave Mansfield the ball on the Massillon five-yard line the second minute of play. Here the Tiger forward wall rose up with all of its might and the visitors were pushed back 10 yards to the 15 where Massillon took the ball on downs.

Clipping Penalty Helps Visitors

The teams exchanged punts, and Vernon Weisgarber broke through to smear one of the Mansfield efforts and gain Massillon the ball on the 25-yard line. The visitors stopped the threat on the 16 and when they punted out safely, a Massillon player clipped a Mansfield tackler before Graber could pick up the punt and the ball was given to Mansfield on the Tiger 27-yard line, the point where the clipping occurred. Doolittle tried a pass that failed, and then came the successful screen pass that produced the Mansfield touchdown and put the Tigers’ behind for the first time this season.

Mansfield prepared to attempt a field goal after the Tigers had tied the score at 6-6, but never was able to get into position for it. Prior to the game, a member of the visiting team spent his entire warm-up session practicing field goal kicking, and he got quite a few between the uprights.

Now and then you see a team defeated where the statistics were so overwhelmingly in its favor. That could easily have occurred last night. Seldom will a team outplay another by such a wide margin offensively and still salvage nothing more than a tie score.

The Tigers gained 250 yards by rushing to Mansfield’s 56 and lost 24 for a net total of 226 to Mansfield’s net total of 31. Forty-seven yards were gained by Massillon with the forward pass, through six completions in 12 attempts, while Mansfield completed none but its touchdown pass in seven attempts. The Tigers average 51 yards in punts to Mansfield’s 42 yards and had an edge in the kickoffs.

Scouted Thoroughly

It was evident the visitors had the Tigers thoroughly scouted. Their line was strong enough to permit good protection for the secondary and they apparently did not fear any reverses to the weak side. When the Tigers shifted to the left, Mansfield over shifted to stop the long dashes by Blunt and were fairly successful in doing so. Only a couple of times did he get away for substantial gains, the longest of these coming on a deep weak side reverse, a
19-yard run, when the Tigers were staging their only successful touchdown march.

Mansfield’s ace, Lightning Jones, didn’t do anything at all. He carried the ball but four times, lost 12 yards and gained three, for a net loss of nine yards for his evening’s work.

The nearest the Massillon team came to scoring a second time was in the third period when they took the leather 69 yards to the one yard line, where Adams was thrown for a loss when the whole Tyger team jammed up to stop his smash at right tackle.

Massillon looked impressive when they came out for the second half and marched the kickoff back to the Mansfield 17 before losing it on downs by a yard, but as has been said before in this writing, the goal line punch that would puncture the Mansfield defense just couldn’t be found.

Because of the record rolled up by Tiger teams the last four years, one almost loses sight of a couple of things the Tigers can be proud of. While Mansfield is rejoicing over tieing Massillon, the Tigers can boast being the first team to cross the Mansfield goal this season, as well as write a new record in the books for themselves – 39 consecutive games without a defeat more than 10 years ago. The Mansfield record, however, included several tie scores.

The tie score will serve to take a great amount of pressure off the Tigers who have been struggling to weld more links in the victory chain. They can start all over next week – and Warren should be an excellent place to do it.

Start All Over

Massillon Pos Mansfield
Armour LE Romano
Dolmos LT Arlin
Wallace LG Weber
Fuchs C Dietzel
Hill RG K. Smith
Weisgarber RT Butler
De Mando RE Winbigler
Cardinal QB Doolittle
Adams LH Krupp
Blunt RH Jones
Holt FB A. Brandt

Score by periods.

Massillon 0 6 0 0 – 6
Mansfield 0 6 0 0 – 6

Massillon: Graber, lh; White, rh; Jasinski, le.
Mansfield: Timmons, lg; Coudon, lh; Frankel, lh.

Touchdowns – Doolittle, Adams.

Referee – Jenkins.
Umpire – Wallace.
Headlinesman – Howell.
Field judge – Lobach.

Pokey Blunt