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Tigers Fade Badly In Second Half But Trim West 13-6


Henry Mastriann And Romeo Pellegrini Shine Offensively As Local Team Scores Second Victory Of Season Over Rugged Foe

By Fred J. Becker
Independent Sports Editor

Whenever a task looks too easy beware!

That apparently was the case Friday night when the Washington high school Tigers stacked up against Akron West in their second engagement of the 1943 gridiron campaign at Tiger stadium. A crowd of nearly 10,000 saw the orange and black score its second straight victory of the season but the Massillon gridders were decidedly lucky to pull through with flying colors. They had a mighty close shave, one of those shaves that leaves the skin broken in many places and the only reason they are hailed as victors today is due to the fact that they played some real football in the first half when they tallied the points that brought them their margin of triumph.

For years there apparently has been no comparison between the type of scholastic football played in Massillon and that put on display in Akron. For years an Akron school has not been able to find a place on a Tiger schedule. This year because of wartime conditions and travel restrictions two Rubber City schools were given spots on the Massillon schedule and unless the Tigers are very careful they may regret it for a long, long time.

Real Test Comes Next Friday

And because of the narrow margin by which the Tigers conquered the West high Cowboys last night, an Akron school next Friday night will come to Massillon with better than an even chance of taking a fall out of the nationally famous Tiger football machine. That school will be Akron St. Vincent’s.

One of these days the public, in general, and the members of the Tiger team, in particular, are going to believe Coach Elwood Kammer when he makes the statement that his squad is going to face a formidable foe. A week before the opening game of the season against Canton Lincoln, the Massillon mentor declared that the Lions would give his ball club a whale of a fight. They did just that before succumbing to a second half Massillon drive that netted two touchdowns and a safety for a 15-0 triumph.??????

Kammer Calls Turn

All this week Kammer has been warning both fans and players that Akron West’s big, rugged outfit would be hard to beat. And once again he called the turn but this time it seems the Tigers very nearly beat themselves. Plenty of credit must be given the Cowboys for the game and spirited battle they waged against the Tigers but to this sideline observer it looked very much as if Tiger over-confidence in the second half, rather than Akron West ability, nearly proved the undoing of the Massillon gladiators.

Twice in the first half the Tigers smashed their way through the beefy Akronites to touchdowns. In those two periods the Tigers had accomplished what it took Akron St. Vincent’s an entire ball game to do last Saturday night when the Irish whipped the Cowboys 12 to 0. The touchdowns came without too much exertion on the part of the Tigers and when they entered the second half of the ball game they must have figured that they were facing something easy and turned off the steam.

Something happened at any rate for the Tigers put up a rather miserable performance during the last two quarters while Akron West came out fighting mad and displayed a determination that gave them the upper hand and enabled them to decisively outplay the Tigers, giving them the honor of being the first team in 1943 to score on the Massillonians, their touchdown coming on a short forward pass in the fourth period which found the Tigers grimly trying to hang on to the margin they had built up in the early stages of the battle.

The Tigers had an awfully close shave last night and they should learn quite a lesson from their experience. At least they should know now that it never pays to take an opponent too lightly. Over confidence has wrecked many a team on the threshold of victory and the Tigers, unless they profit by last night’s game, are going to lead once too often with their chin – and boom, they won’t have any chin left to lead with anymore.

Kammer all week apparently foresaw just what happened Friday night. His players were none to alert during practice sessions and try as they would, Kammer and his assistants could not snap them out of it. As late as Thursday afternoon the Tiger boss told his charges in no uncertain language what they were likely to face last night. It had some effect on the team in general during the first half for the Tigers looked like a much improved ball club in the opening two periods but the ease with which they gathered their two touchdowns must have done something to their mental attitude because their showing in the last half was just the reverse of the type of ball they had played in the opening chapters.

Watch Our For Irish

On the strength of their showing last night Akron West must have been a way-off form a week ago as Akron St. Vincent’s has a mighty powerful team. Probably a little of both is true and the Tigers had better be convinced right now that they are in for something more than a pink tea party next Friday night when Eddie Wentz leads his fighting Irish to Massillon. They are going to have to fight all the way without any letup, if they hope to conquer the Irish.

Although greatly outweighed, the Tigers possessed enough offensive ability in the first half to run around and through the hefty Cowboys for two touchdowns. Defensively they effectively checked all of Akron West’s offensive thrusts, even though the visitors’ offense was sparked by a pair of pretty fair ball toters – Jim Hamm and Chet Hayth. Sitting on the Akron bench out of the game with a twisted knee, was Wes Wassity, Akron’s ace backfielder, a fine passer and runner. Also out of the lineup was Bill Mohler, 240 pound tackle. One shudders to think what might have happened to the Tigers had Wassity been in the ball game, particularly in the second half when the Cowboys were high and the Tigers coasting along on the laurels they had amassed in the first half.

It required but six plays to register Massillon’s first touchdown in the opening period. The Tigers received and marched right down the field for 65 yards and their first points. It took only four plays to make the second touchdown in the second period after Massillon had gained possession of the ball on Akron’s 23 through a punt. Easy wasn’t it? – yes, almost too easy, thought the Tigers and then the roof fell in on them during the second period.

Fullback Henry Mastriann was the Tiger who scored both Massillon touchdowns. Halfback Romeo Pellegrini was the lad who set the stage for both sets of counters by a continuation of the brilliant open field running he displayed against Canton Lincoln a week ago. Mastriann did a splendid job of battering his way through the big Cowboy line for the two Massillon touchdowns and Pellegrin had just too much speed for the Akronites. But that, however, was in the first half. Neither boy could be shaken loose for any consistent gains in the second half and Pellegini finally was forced to leave the game with a gash under his right eye.

Dick Arrington who had played a whale of a game at tackle, also had to leave the contest when injured and neither Pellegrini or Arrington were in the battle when the Cowboys launched their successful touchdown thrust in the fourth quarter. Had they been, West might not have scored. But that’s wishful thinking now. The fact remains West did score and darn near upset the Massillon applecart because a none too alert Tiger team was not functioning anywhere like it did in the first half.

Pellegini Steps Off 47 Yards

Massillon received and Tom Jasinski took Jim Hamm’s opening kickoff and lugged it back to his 35 yard line before being stopped. Wallace smashed through left tackle for nine and Mastriann cracked open the left side of Akron’s line for five more and a first down in midfield, Wallace fumbled, recovered but lost five yards.

Then Pellegrini on a weak side reverse scampered wide around Akron’s left end and sailed down the east side of the field for 47 yards to the Cowboys’ two yard line before being brought to earth. It was a beautiful run with some fine blocking and interference on the part of Romeo’s teammates. Wallace smashed into the line, being stopped a half yard from pay dirt. On the next play Mastriann lugged the leather through his right tackle and into the promised land for the first Massillon touchdown. Arrington’s place kick was good and the Tiger machine was running in high, seven point to the good in a little over three minutes of play.

That the Cowboys were going to depend a lot on passes became apparent soon after they received the ball on the kickoff. One aerial attempt failed and they were stopped on the ground and Jack Wigley punted but Pellegrini fumbled —another bad trait which the Tigers were guilty of often during the game – and Jim Hamm covered for the Cowboys on Akron’s 46. Hayth tried a pass to Jim Hamm that was incomplete and Wigley made three at the line. In trying to get another aerial under way, Hayth failed to find a receiver open and was tossed for a 16 yard loss by Williams, Arrington and Tonges. Wigley then punted to Willmot who was tackled on his 42. Pellegrini tried a pass to Jasinski which was promptly intercepted by Jim Hamm who ran it back 20 yards to the Massillon 35 before being grounded by Richards and Keller.

Akron completed on pass for no gain and had another knocked down by Jasinski but when Wigley attempted another long heave to Jim Dew, the officials ruled Jasinski guilty of interference and the Cowboys were given the ball on the Tiger 15. West, in position to score, saw its passing attack flutter away along with a chance to tally points when Dew muffed a pretty pass from Hayth that would have given the Cowboys a substantial gain. Instead it cost them the ball on downs and they surrendered it on the Massillon 15. Massillon advanced the ball to its 48 yard line before the quarter ended, making two first downs along with a pretty 17-yard run by Mastriann.

West, however, checked the Massillon advance early in the second quarter and Jasinski punted to Akron’s 14 yard line. Arrington put a damper on West’s ground gaining hopes by crashing through and flooring Wigley for a 12 yard loss and Wigley then punted to his 23 yard line where the ball was downed.

Once again the Tiger offense set out in high gear and in four plays the Tigers had their second touchdown. Mastriann going over from the one yard line. Pellegrini made 17 yards in two thrusts through tackle. Mastriann cracked the line for five and then went over on the next play. Arrington missed the attempted conversion and the Tigers were ahead 13-0, sailing smoothly ahead on a calm and unruffled sea – so they thought! My, but what a storm blew up in the second half.

Tigers First Good Pass

Nothing much happened during the remainder of this quarter, except that it saw the Tigers connect for their first successful forward pass of the season. After Turkall, who had replaced Pellegrini, fumbled and recovered an Akron punt, Mastriann tossed a pass over the line to Willmot that was good for a first down. It was the only one the Tigers completed all evening.

Two fumbles, one by each team marked play early in the third quarter. Akron received and on the second play Jack Hamm, the little Hamm of the Hamm brother combination, fumbled and Arrington covered on Akron’s 38. But on the first Massillon play Mastriann fumbled when tackled, after a gain of 10, and Jim Dew covered on his 31 for Akron. That fumble was costly as it might have halted another Tiger touchdown march and from that point on the Tigers were never very ferocious. Another Massillon thrust was checked a bit later when after taking an Akron punt and reeling off a first down the Tigers were rudely stopped when Pellegrini was tossed for a 17 yard loss while trying to uncork a forward pass. It was on this play that he sustained the gash under his right eye and was forced to leave the battle.

The stage was set for Akron’s lone touchdown late in the third quarter. The Cowboys were forced to punt and Vic Turkall was in the safety spot. The ball struck the ground in front of him and bounced against his leg before he could grab it. Rice, Cowboy end, promply fell on it on Massillon’s 49 and the inspired Cowboys opened the drive that was to bring them their points.

Wallace knocked down a pass from Wigley, intended for Jim Hamm but Hayth connected on one to Jim Dew that was good for a first down, taking the ball to the Tiger 30. It was a short pass over the line but a beauty. Arrington was hurt on this play and was replaced by Belch. Then a series of line smashes gave West another first down when Jim Hamm dove over the center of the line on the fourth play to take the ball to the Massillon 19 as the quarter ended.

Massillon rallied at the start of the fourth and checked the Cowboys, taking the ball on downs on its 13. Jasinski, however, was forced to punt and Akron got the ball on the Tiger 46. A Wigley to Jim Hamm pass was good for nine and again Jim Hamm dove over the Massillon line for another Akron first down on the 34. Hayth had to leave the game a short time later because of a leg injury, being replaced by Prinkey. Wigley finding no Cowboy pass receiver open, tucked the ball under his arm and sailed around Massillon’s right end to the 20 before being nailed by Bob Williams on one of the best and hardest tackles on the game. The big Massillon center came from nowhere like a shot to stop Wigley.

Pass Brings Akron Score

After two line plays a Wigley to Jack Hamm pass filed but then Wigley heaved the ball to Stafford who took it on the Tiger five yard line where he was forced out of bounds. Jim Hamm plunged for two and then Wigley neatly flipped the ball over the Tiger line into Jim Hamm’s arms and Hamm was over for Akron’s touchdown. Wigley’s attempted place kick was blocked.

With the clock running out, Massillon received and this time held on to the ball long enough to make a first down to Akron’s 47. But then Mastriann fumbled but recovered with a loss of two but another Tiger first down to Akron’s 36 was recorded as the ball game ended.

Massillon made nine first downs, Akron seven. The Cowboys held a distinct edge in the second half, registering five first downs to three for the Tigers. Massillon punted four times, Akron kicked seven times.

Massillon completed one pass out of four for 13 yards and had one intercepted. The Cowboys tried 17 aerial heaves, completed five for 47 yards. The rest were incomplete. Massillon gained a total of 214 yards from all types of plays and lost 32 for a net gain of 182 yards. Akron gained 148 yards but had a loss of 55 for a net gain of 83.

Showing well on defense for Massillon were Arrington, who tackled hard until hurt, Richards, the little lad who replaced Bob Gable, benched by illness, Mastriann , Tonges and Williams. Berger also got into his share of plays. F. Azar, McCombs and George played strong defensive games for the Cowboys.

A Close Shave

Massillon Pos. Akron West
Willmot L.E. Dew
Arrington L.T. Knowlton
Tonges L.G. Gustely
Williams C F. Azar
Richards R.G. George
Berger R.T. McCombs
Jasinski R.E. Stafford
Keller Q.B. Jack Hamm
Pellegrini H.B. Wigley
Wallace H.B. Jim Hamm
Mastriann F.B. Hayth

Score by quarters:
Akron 0 0 0 6 – 6
Massillon 7 6 0 0 – 13

Touchdowns: Mastriann 2; Jim Hamm.

Points after: Arrington (place kick).

Referee – Russell Rupp. Umpire – Boone.
Headlinesman – C.J. Graff. Field Judge – C.W. Rupp.

Substitutes: Massillon – Belch, Luke, Turkall, Profant,
Cicchinelli, Webb.
West – Rice, Bivington, Stafford, Prinkey.

Tigers West
Total first downs 9 7
Yards gained by rushing 201 101
Yards lost by rushing 32 55
Net yards gained by rushing 169 46
Forward passes attempted 4 17
Forward passes completed 1 5
Yards gained by passing 18 47
Total net yardage rushing
and passing 182 93
Passes had intercepted 1 0
Number of punts 4 7
Average distance of punts 35 30
Number of kickoffs 3 2
Average distance of kicks 39 37
Number of fumbles 5 2
Times ball lost on fumbles 3 2
Number of penalties against 2 1
Yards lost by penalties 10 5

R.C. Arrington