Alliance Handed 12-0 Lacing By Tigers In Muddy Battle
ROLL UP TALLIES IN THIRD QUARTER
Washington High Gridders Establish Themselves As Good Mudders By Winning Fifth Straight Game; Played in Torrent of Rain
By FRED J. BECKER
Independent Sport Editor
And now, ladies and gentlemen, you have every right to say that your 1943 Washington high school Tigers are a pretty fair country ball club.
They proved it Friday night in the mud and water at Tiger stadium when they defeated the Aviators of Alliance high school 12 to 0 for their fifth straight victory of the campaign, conquering not only a first class football opponent but the elements as well. Playing under the most adverse weather and field conditions any Massillon team has been called upon to face in a number of years Coach Elwood Kammer’s youngsters accepted their assignment with gusto and came through with flying colors.
SECOND STARK FOE TURNED BACK
In defeating the Aviators, the orange and black took the measure of a worthy foe that prior to last night had lost but one game in four engagements. The victory advances the Tigers, another milestone in their campaign to regain the Stark county scholastic championship they surrendered to Canton McKinley last November when defeated 35 to 0 the first Massillon reverse in 53 games.
Alliance was the second Stark foe to feel the sting of the Tigers’ attack, Canton Lincoln taking at 15 to 0 lacing in the opening game of the season. Canton Timken and Canton McKinley are the two Stark opponents still remaining on the Massillon schedule.
DOWNPOUR FLOODS FIELD
Very little, if any rain had fallen in Massillon for over a month prior to Friday but yesterday afternoon and night the heavens opened up and rain fell in torrents for at least eight hours, turning the Tiger stadium gridiron into a sea of mud and water. A drenching downpour fell steadily throughout the game.
Because of the weather, what would have been the largest home crowd of the season turned out to be the smallest to see the Tigers in action in five games. Less than 6,000 hardy souls braved the deluge to sit through a soaking downpour and watch the Tigers slosh to their triumph over the Aviators. Had the weather been dry a crowd of at least 18,000 would have been on hand. As it was only the most ardent and enthusiastic Massillon and Alliance supporters braved a thorough soaking and flirted with pneumonia to watch the contest.
Naturally when the heavens opened up Coach Kammer and his assistants were a bit worried as to how their charges would perform on a wet field. Their four previous games had been played under ideal weather conditions and on a dry and solid gridiron. But the Tigers showed their tutors they could deliver the goods in fair weather or foul. They proved themselves a first class aggregation of mudders as they smashed their way to a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter to sew up the ball game.
Because of the slippery condition of the field and the steady downpour the Tiger machine did not function with the smoothness it was expected to show and probably would have displayed had the footing been firm. But battling against the handicap of adverse weather and a stout Alliance team that was tough defensively from start to finish the Tigers recorded a notable achievement and earned the praises, not only of their coaches, but of the fans who sat in on the rain saturated contest.
ALLIANCE NEVER DANGEROUS
Alliance, weakened by the loss of Bill Rodgers, its triple-threat backfield ace, laid up with an injured knee cartilage since the East Liverpool game two weeks ago, was never dangerous in an offensive way, never moving the ball beyond the Massillon 40 and never threatening to get within scoring range. Bill Rodgers entered the game at the start of the fourth quarter but was in only long enough to get off a nice punt for the Aviators. Then Coach Leonard (Dutch) Hoppes called him back to the sidelines.
The Tigers dominated play throughout the game. True their offense did not function as it did against Steubenville or Akron St. Vincent’s but considering the conditions under which they played they did right well in their ground gaining and the poor footing and an unfortunate penalty cost them at least two touchdowns in the first half. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had the battle been staged on a dry field.
The Tigers clear cup superiority over their enemies from the eastern end of Stark county is shown in the statistics. The Massillonians made 10 first downs to one for Alliance, that Aviator first down coming late in the game when the Tigers were ruled guilty of interfering with an Aviator pass receiver. Alliance never came close to moving the chain through its offensive punch.
Despite the steady downpour and the slippery condition of the field the Tigers handled the ball well and few fumbles were made. The Tigers tried nine forward passes and completed two for 39 yards. Alliance, with Jack Robinson taking the injured Bill Rodgers’ place as the passer, tried 10 aerial heaves, most of them to Frank Rodgers, Bill’s brother, and completed but one for five yards that completed pass being the one on which interference was ruled. Massillon intercepted on pass.
In the ground gained department the Tigers greatly excelled the Aviators, having a total gained yardage from scrimmage and passes of 230 with a loss of 30 for a net gain of an even 200. Alliance had a total gain of 27 yards and a net loss of 29, winding up with a minus two.
CENTER OF LINE SHINES
Probably the most outstanding part of the Tigers performance was its work on defense. Alliance has some first rate ball luggers in Jack Robinson, Ray Allcorn and Dick Seidner, who replaced the injured Rodgers, but the orange and black forward wall smothered them quite effectively, doing a thorough job of smashing most of Alliance’s attempts to gain ground through the line or around the ends. The Aviators’ line also distinguished itself, the Tiger backs finding the alert Alliance forwards hard to skirt or knock out of a play. The Tigers, however, did find one weak spot in the Alliance defense and they rammed through it with telling effect in the second half.
The center of Massillon’s line with Bob Williams at center and Julius Tonges and Bill Gable on the guards, played its best game of the season last night. Williams submarined the Alliance backs time after time and his tackling was a bright spot in the battle. Tonges and Gable were in mud and water and the ball game up to their necks. The balance of the line with Belch and Arrington on the tackles and Willmot and Jasinski at the flanks soaked up a lot of water but did a thorough job of stopping the visiting firemen.
Henry Mastriann continued to impress as a steady and excellent line plunger ripping the center of the Aviators’ line apart consistently for good gains. Captain Bob Wallace found the going rather tough but completed a number of nice gains and Romeo Pellegrini got away often enough to keep the Aviators constantly in hot as well as cold water, and his fine running was directly responsible for Massillon’s second touchdown. The muddy field made Glenn Keller’s blocking assignments rather difficult but he was in the ball game all the time and his recovery of an Alliance fumble set up the first Massillon points.
Even the second team, which took over late in the fourth quarter, acquitted itself well in its initial test in mud and water.
ROUGHNESS QUICKLY HALTED
Somewhere along the way the Alliance boys must have gotten the impression that some tactics frowned upon by the rule-book would be necessary to get along with the Tigers. Anyway on the first two plays of the game the Aviators were handed two 15-yard penalties for unnecessary roughness. Frank Rodgers kicked off to Don Willmot to start the watery contest and Don lugged the leather back to his 33 before being stopped. The officials promptly stepped in and marched off 15 more yards because of roughness by Alliance.
Then Wallace skirted left end for 11 yards and some more Alliance high jinks were uncorked with the result that Captain Bob came up with a neat shiner under his left eye and Alliance soaked up another 15 yard penalty for roughness, taking the ball to the Alliance 24. Then Referee Earl (Monk) Gross stepped into the picture and from the stands it looked as if he delivered a short but very pointed lecture to the Alliance boys. From then on and through the remainder of the game they were nice lads, playing football as the
rule-book says it should be played.
The Tigers seemed to be on the way to an early touchdown but a break of the game, and the breaks in such a contest as last night are frequent and both good and bad, halted their march toward the Alliance goal. The break came when Pellegrini got away around his right end and out into the open only to slip and fall on the alliance 25 where the Tigers had to surrender the leather, having failed to make the necessary yardage.
Another Massillon march a few minutes later was sidetracked when the Tigers were set back 15 yards for holding. Late in the first quarter Allcorn got off a quick kick from midfield that turned into a good break for the Tigers. The ball struck one of Allcorn’s teammates and Willmot got it just beyond the line of scrimmage and lugged it back to Alliance’s 36. Mastriann sloshed through the center of the Aviators’ line three times and toted the ball to Alliance’s 23 as the quarter ended.
PENALTY COSTS TOUCHDOWN
Then came a break that really hurt the Tigers. On the first play of the second period Pellegrini tucked the leather under his arm and set sail around his right end, racing 23 yards down the sideline and across the goal only to lose the points when the officials ruled the Tigers guilty of holding, calling the ball back and inflicting a 15-yard penalty on the local boys, putting the ball on the Alliance 38-yard line. A Pellegrini to Jasinski pass made up this penalty and more, taking the ball to Alliance’s 13 but here the Tigers bogged down and Alliance took the ball on its own 10.
Allcorn punted but the ball went straight up in the air and out of bounds on Alliance’s 17. But once again the Tigers could not take advantage of the scoring opportunity and the Aviators stopped them on the 15. From here on until the end of the period play was confined within Alliance’s 40-yard line but the Tigers could not strike hard enough to get within sight of the visitors goal.
The Tigers got their one big break of the ball game at the start of the third quarter and it was the break that paved the way for their first points and victory.
Dick Arrington kicked off to Alliance and he kicked the ball straight down the field. Robinson got his hands on the ball but it slithered out of his fingers and Glenn Keller pounced on it on Alliance’s 15-yard stripe. And six plays later the Tigers hit pay dirt for their first touchdown.
Mastriann ramming through that weak spot in the Alliance line made a first down to the three in two plunges and then came back to make one more on his third attempt. Vic Turkall who had replaced Pellegrini at the start of the third period, picked up another yard to the two and Mastriann sloshed one more to the one. Pellegrini returned to the game and on the next play Captain Wallace lugged the leather over for the first Massillon touchdown. Mastriann didn’t get a chance to try for the point from placement. The ball slipped out of Pellegrini’s hands and Romeo picked it up and tried a forward pass that failed.
A short time later the Tigers were again knocking at the touchdown door and their knocks brought results.
65 YARD MARCH FOR SCORE
Gaining possession of the ball on their 35-yard line after Seidner had punted, the Tigers started a march of 65 yards for their second touchdown, two neat runs by Pellegrini featuring the unbroken advance. Seven plays were required in this 65-yard march.
Mastriann still plugging away at the weak spot in the center of Alliance’s line made 18 yards in two plays. Massillon received a five yard penalty for too much time out in the huddle but Mastriann picked up three of these in another line smash. Then Pellegrini let out all his sails and churned his way through mud and water wide around right end and down the field for 36 yards before Alliance dropped the anchor on him on the Aviators’ 16 yard line. It was one of the prettiest runs of the water-logged battle. Wallace hit off left tackle for six and Mastriann sloshed through the line for two. Then once again Pellegrinni launched another sailing expedition and this time he did all right and largely without any help from his teammates.
Fading far back Romeo nimbly picked his way through the mud, ducking would be Alliance tacklers here and there and finally cutting loose with a burst of speed that carried him by the entire Alliance team and across the goal line for Massillon’s second touchdown. This time Mastriann got a boot at the ball from placement but the attempt was wide.
From here on in Massillon had no more scoring opportunities and in the fourth quarter Kamer began pulling out his soaked regulars and substituting his second team and late in the game the entire second string aggregation was getting a chance to get its uniforms wet. Alliance, thwarted on the ground went to the air in a desperate attempt to score but got exactly nowhere on its aerial attack. It did however, register its only first down of the game late in the third quarter when the officials ruled Massillon interference on a pass play.
Massillon’s second stringers in the game when it ended were Turkall, Wilbert, Pedrotty, Bertrus Webb and Donald Sedjo in the backfield and Wilmer Luke, Dick Ielsch, Bob Richards, John Profant, Francis Cicchinelli, Larry Berger, and Bob Clark on the line.
Total first downs 10 1
Yards gained by rushing 101 22
Yards lost by rushing 20 20
Net yards gained by rushing 161 7
Forward passes attempted 9 10
Forward passes completed 2 1
Yards gained by passing 39 5
Total net yardage rushing
and passing 200 -2
Passes had intercepted 0 1
Number of punts 6 10
Average distance of punts 31 31
Number of kickoffs 2 1
Average distance of kicks 47 48
Number of fumbles 4 3
Times ball lost on fumbles 1 2
Number of penalties against 4 4
Yards lost by penalties 40 40