Tigers Wallop Bulldogs 21-0 For Undefeated Season
SPECTACULAR WIN GIVES MASSILLON 8TH STATE TITLE
Bulldogs Put Up Good Fight But Are Outclassed By Massillon’s Great Defensive Performance And Brilliant Offensive Plays
By FRED J. BECKER
Independent Sports Editor
Fame IS fleeting, is it not?
Well, yes, if you do not possess the necessary qualifications to keep your name in the headlines. No one hangs around at the top of any endeavor very long unless they are the best and can convince the rest of the universe that they are. And in this day and age it takes a lot of convincing, brother.
Now take “Football City” or should we simply say Canton, for instance. Canton and its McKinley high school accomplished a feat a year ago that carried the name of Canton around the world. And just less than a week ago our neighbor to the east found a place in the sun though an article published in a magazine of national circulation. But “Football City” held its place in the sun just four days. Today what is left of the ruins has been quietly interred in Fawcett stadium, Canton, turned in the space of two short hours last Saturday afternoon, from a gridiron to a graveyard.
Tigers Regain State Honors
The snows will fall and the winds will howl this winter over the final resting place of “Football City.” The interment might have been quiet but the thing that led up to it was anything but.
And so today Massillon and the rest of the universe proudly hail the mighty Tigers of Washington high, undisputed schoolboy football champions of Ohio for the eighth time in nine years and without an equal anywhere in the country. A happy city pays tribute to a group of boys, champions every one of them, who had what it takes to make good, who came though with flying colors when the chips were down.
Great Football Team
An overflow crowd of more than 22,000 spectators in Fawcett stadium Saturday afternoon saw a truly great Tiger football team administer a 21 to 0 lacing to the Bulldogs of Canton McKinley in a remarkable demonstration of football power.
It was Massillon’s 10th straight victory of the 1943 campaign and its first undefeated or untied season in three years.
There might have been some in that great crowd who doubted the Tigers’ ability to whip the sturdy Bulldogs before the game began, but there was not one in that gathering who was not convinced when it was over that they had just sat through a performance by a football team that through its brilliant display of power, courage and ability had very amply proved its right to lay claim to a mythical Ohio scholastic championship, or even a national title.
Once would have to hunt far and wide to find a team that could come close, let alone equal, the Washington high school Tigers of 1943. There was something else in that Tiger team this season beside power, courage and ability. It was spirit – Massillon football spirit – and that can’t be matched anywhere.
Last year Canton McKinley came to Massillon and defeated an injury riddled Tiger team 35 to 0 for its first victory over the orange and black in eight years. Saturday the Tigers of 1943 gained revenged for that reverse of a year ago. They proved once again that Massillon football is just a little different than any other football and they did it in a very convincing manner.
It was a great battle Saturday that clash between two undefeated schoolboy aggregations in an atmosphere of rivalry that has existed and grown steadily over a period of nearly 50 years. The Tigers entered that all important fracas with a string of nine straight victories. The Bulldogs came up to their final 1943 struggle with eight triumphs and one tie.
First downs, rushing 4 8
First downs, passing 5 3
First downs total 9 11
Yards gained, rushing 99 150
Yards gained, passing 99 101
Yards gained, total 198 251
Yards lost 15 21
Yards gained, net total 183 230
Passes attempted 14 14
Passes completed 7 5
Passes incompleted 6 7
Passes intercepted by 2 1
Punts 7 6
Punts, average yardage 25 37
Penalties, yardage 0 30
Fumbles 1 1
Own fumbles recovered 1 1
It was truly a battle of gridiron Goliaths. It was a stirring contest from start to finish, jammed with almost as many thrills as there were persons jammed into Fawcett stadium. It kept the spectators on the edge of their seats throughout and many a heart worked harder Saturday than it ever has before. Nerves were strained to the breaking point and it was not until the game was almost over that Massillon supporters became certain of a victory and Canton adherents gave up their hopes for a second straight triumph over the Tigers.
Credit must be given to the Bulldogs for the great battle they made of it. Coach Herman (Bup) Rearick’s boys played and fought their hearts out but they just couldn’t match the fighting spirit and playing ability of Coach Elwood Kammer’s orange and black clad kids. The Bulldogs need not feel too badly about that because no one could have matched that old Tiger spirit last Saturday. You either have it or you don’t. Massillon had it, large gobs of it, and Canton simply couldn’t match it.
While Massillon rolled up 21 points on the red and black through three touchdowns, one in the third quarter and two in the fourth, the score hardly indicates the intense battle waged out there on the Fawcett stadium gridiron. The statistics show that the game was a much closer affair than the point total would lead one to believe.
It was a whale of a ball game with Canton always a distinct threat until after the Tigers had scored their second touchdown early in the fourth quarter. From there on Canton’s spirits began to droop and the Bulldogs became a thoroughly beaten outfit.
Both teams possess great offensive ability. Canton with a fine backfield composed of Joe Pujazon, Hank Smith, Tony Rotunno and Dick Kempthorn, was always a threat, loaded with offensive dynamite that might have exploded at any time. The only reason it didn’t was because the Tigers pulled the fuses and rendered the Canton dynamite harmless long before it had a chance to reach the explosive stage.
The Tiger backfield and ends put on an offensive display that was beautiful to watch and so daring at times that it simply stunned the pop-eyed spectators.
Tigers Shoot the Works
The Tigers knew before they went into the ballgame that Coach Kammer’s strategy called for them to gamble for points. They were instructed to shoot the works, to forget about playing a conservative game, to go all out for a convincing victory and haul out of their bag of tricks everything that was in it.
This they did. Massillon’s great backfield, and every one should be convinced by now that is a truly great backfield, of Captain Bob Wallace, Romeo Pellegrini, Henry Mastriann and Glenn Keller, gave a brilliant demonstration of offensive power. Wallace and Pellegrini slashed off tackle or around the ends in spectacular fashion. Keller blocked, ran interference and caught passes like a demon. And Mastriann – what a full back he is. There was nothing Canton possessed that could stop that boy Saturday. You can let your money ride on him anytime.
Out on the flanks Tom Jasinski and Don Willmot helped the Massillon offensive picture by some spectacular catching of passes thrown by Pellegrini who never gave a better demonstration of passing accuracy than he did Saturday. Canton went quite nutty over the passing ability of Pujazon and he is quite an adept thrower but good as he was Saturday, Pujazon was overshadowed by the remarkable performance given by Massillon’s swarthy, little backfield star.
And now we get right down to the meat of things, right down to where that ballgame was won by Massillon and where it was lost by Canton. Right down there, boys and girls, on the line, on that forward wall where we had a hunch, and so expressed it last week, the decision would be rendered.
Say what you want but you can’t get away from this one thing – that ball game was won by Massillon because its defensive performance so completely smothered the Bulldogs that they really never had a chance to get rolling. Their vaunted speed availed them but little because most of the time they were smacked and smacked hard by some energetic Tiger before they could really get under way.
Defensive Efforts Won Game
Massillon’s great defensive efforts won that football game, won it because the first two Tiger touchdowns resulted from Massillon’s great defensive playing and both touchdowns were scored by linemen. The first set of Tiger counters came on a blocked punt, the second on a pass interception behind the Canton line of scrimmage on a pass interception right in Canton’s own backfield.
There’s no disputing the fact that Massillon’s great line blasted the Bulldogs apart. The line, backed up by a secondary defense that never missed an opportunity to nail a Bulldog if he got that far, bottled up so completely every Canton offensive thrust that the Bulldogs didn’t have a ghost of a chance. The red and black never got inside Massillon’s 20 yard line.
All of the defensive qualities of Massillon’s team stood out prominently. Only two touchdowns were scored against the Tigers all fall. It did not take an expert to see that Massillon’s chances to climb back to the football throne rested largely upon its ability to stop opposing teams through its great defensive qualities and then hammer those same opponents into the dust through the assistance of a fine and dependable line.
All season we have watched two great linemen perform efficiently and spectacularly for the Tigers. They were Bob Williams and R.D. (Dick) Arrington. They are a great pair of football players and they proved it quite convincingly Saturday.
Arrington Is Star
It was Arrington who smashed his powerful and rugged body though the Canton line to block Joe Pujazon’s punt in the third quarter and gave Massillon it’s first touchdown. It was Arrington who smashed through into the Canton backfield to grab the ball when it was knocked from Pujazon’s hands as he was about to pass and then race 61 yards far in advance of every Bulldog pursuer for Massillon’s second touchdown. If that doesn’t make him one of Massillon’s greatest all time tackles then nothing will.
And who was it who smeared Canton ball toters all over the lot all afternoon, in as brilliant a display of defensive playing it has ever been any one’s privilege to see? No one else but Bob Williams, big tall husky Bob, another great football player, if there ever was one.
From the vicious manner in which he tackled and the speed with which he raced through Canton’s line one would never have known that on the very first play of the game he sustained a painful knee injury and that it bothered him continually, one time forcing him to take time out. You can put his name right up there with the rest of the Tiger immortals.
And then there was tow-headed quiet Bill Gable. He was in that ball game up to his neck all afternoon. It was Gable who was through the line when Arrington blocked Pujazon’s punt and grabbed up the ball and lugged it across the goal line. Put him on your list of heroes.
Then there was Julius Tonges. He was very much in that ball game too, and it was Tonges who hit Pujazon so hard when he attempted to pass, the ball popped right out of his fingers into the waiting mitts of “never-miss-an-opportunity” Arrington who a second later was scampering away for a touchdown.
And don’t forget Larry Berger and Dick Belch, who replaced him for a short time. They were in there all the way, ripping Canton’s line to shreds and tackling with real Tiger viciousness.
Secondary Plays Well
Wallace, Keller, Pellegrini, Mastriann, Willmot and Jasinski also covered themselves with glory, for their defensive performances. Those boys in the secondary had a big job on their hands. They knew Canton had speed and they knew Canton had a first class passing attack. It was their job to nail Canton’s speedsters if they got by the line and they did a few times. It also was their task to stop Canton’s aerial attack. They handled both assignments and handled them well.
Cantons’ backs, particularly Hank Smith and Joe Pujazon, were fast and shifty but never fast enough to get through the Tiger secondary. Pujazon and Gordon Cook, Bulldog right end, made a fine passing combination but Cook, who made some spectacular catches, seldom moved very far from where he caught the ball before being nailed by a Tiger and that Tiger most of the time was Pellegrini. Had Romeo missed, Cook several times might have been off on touchdown gallops but Romeo never missed. When he hit Mr. Cook the Bulldog pass receiver hit the gridiron with a thud.
The Tigers were that kind of a team Saturday. Heroes every one of them. And before we forget, wasn’t that some punting exhibition big, affable Tom Jasinski put on? He really laid the leather to the old pigskin Saturday and his punting was beautiful to behold, long, high, boots, several of which sailed over the head of the Bulldog safety-man. And don’t forget the artistic kicking performance of Mastriann who three times added points to the Tiger total by brilliant place kicks following touchdowns.
The statistics show that the Tigers excelled the Bulldogs in all departments of the game. The Tigers made 11 first downs to nine for Canton, not a wide margin but enough to show their superiority. Eight Tiger first downs came on rushing, three on passes. Canton made four on rushing and five on passes, holding a 6-5 edge on the Bengals at half time.
Each team tried 14 passes, Massillon completing five for 101 yards and Canton seven for 99 yards. The Bulldogs intercepted two Massillon passes, the Tigers intercepted one Canton pass. Seven of Pellegrini’s heaves failed while Pujazon missed on six of his.
Tigers Hold Edge
The Tigers made 150 yards on rushing to 99 for Canton. The Tigers lost 21 yards on rushing to 15 for Canton and Massillon had a net gain for all types of plays of 230 yards while Canton had 183. Each team fumbled once and recovered its own fumble. Jasinski’s six punts averaged 37 yards, giving him a wide margin over Pujazon who punted seven times for an average of only 25 yards a kick.
Massillon was penalized 30 yards, most of the penalties coming because of backs in motion. The game was very well handled by Dr. David B. Reese of Dayton as referee. Earl Gross of New Philadelphia, as umpire, and A.B. Long of Newark as headlinesman, and T.B. Lobach of Akron as field judge.
Neither team was able to hit pay dirt in the first half, Canton because it did not have the offensive power to get within striking distance, Massillon because luck was riding against it rather than with the Tigers. If breaks had gone the right way on three first half passes the local lads attempted and they most certainly all would have been good for touchdowns. Despite this the Tigers late in the second quarter stormed right inside Canton’s 10-yard line but failed to score because of a pass interception.
The breaks of the game decided the battle in Massillon’s favor but the breaks were well earned and were made by an inspired Tiger team that was always on its toes and never missed a chance to smear the Bulldogs. The breaks came through Massillon’s great defensive performance and were responsible for two touchdowns.
Then just to prove that they also had it in an offensive way the Tigers took the ball on their 18 and in 11 plays marched 82 yards without a stop for their third touchdown. That should convince Canton fans that the Tigers were just too good for their Bulldogs defensively or offensively.
Canton received and worked the ball from its 35 to Massillon’s 39 before the Tigers checked them. A 20 yard pass from Pujazon to Cook was responsible for most of the yardage.
The Tigers got the ball on their 20 following Pujazon’s punt but were held and then Jasinski booted the ball way down to Canton’s 22 on a beautiful kick. Canton made two first downs in a row on runs and plunges by Pujazon and Smith before the Tigers again checked them.
Pellegrini took Pujazon’s punt and was downed on Massillon’s 12. Wallace, Mastriann and Pellegrini made Massillon’s first down of the game in three plays, going to the 26. Wallace on a reverse reeled off another first down to the 37. And then Massillon lost its first chance for a touchdown. Pellegrini dropped back to pass, was hit by a Canton tackler but got away from him and then cut loose for a long heave. Down the field, in the clear, was Don Willmot, but Don had slowed up just a trifle when he saw Pellegrini hit and the ball sailed over his head. Had he been just a few feet farther on he would have snagged the leather and it would have been a certain touchdown because no Bulldog was near.
Jasinski then punted and the Bulldogs came storming back on an 18-yard gain on a pass from Pujazon to Cook. Their spurt, however, was shortlived and Pujazon punted to Willmot who returned from his 22 to the 31 as the quarter ended.
The Bulldogs once again checked the Tigers and Jasinski punted to Canton and once again a Pujazon-Cook pass was good for 16 yards. Smith and Pujazon made another first down in three plays to Massillon’s 29 but this time the Bulldogs couldn’t do it, and they had to surrender the ball to the Tigers on Massillon’s 26.
Then another Tiger scoring opportunity was lost. Pellegrini on second down dropped back and heaved a long one down the center of the field. Ahead of the Canton safety man raced Jasinski and the ball nestled into his outstretched hands but Tom, generally a sure fire pass receiver, muffed this one. The ball dropped out of his hands and another touchdown chance went glimmering.
But this didn’t discourage the Tigers, particularly Pellegrini. On the next play he faded back and pitched a strike to Keller out in the flat. This one worked and it was good for 15 yards, taking the ball to Massillon’s 39. Once again Pellegrini faded back and once again he shot the ball to Keller out in the flat and this time it was good for 11 yards.
Pellegrini’s next one, a long heave to Jasinski, was incomplete. But Mr. Pellegrini is a hardy little soul who never gives up. Not in the least daunted he faded back on the next play, running far to his right. Racing down the left side of the field was Don Willmot. Pellegrini turned and heaved a long one, 27 yards it was to Willmot, who snatched the ball and raced 31 yards more before being brought to earth on Canton’s nine yard line by Pujazon. It was an overall gain of 58 yards.
Tigers Checked Again
This time it looked as if the Tigers couldn’t miss on a touchdown – but they did. Mastriann cracked right tackle for three to the six. Then the Tigers decided to gamble on another pass. Pellegrini threw a perfect pass, intended for Willmot out in the flat, but the ball never reached Don. Bob Swan, Canton guard, came from nowhere to spear the leather and race it back 16 yards to Canton’s 18 before being downed.
Pujazon punted after three plays had failed and Massillon took the ball on its 37 after an out-of-bounds kick. On the first play Willmot came around from his end to heave a long pass that was knocked down by Pujazon. Then Pellegrini went into action again and this time connected with Bob Wallace for a gain of 22 yards, taking the ball to the Canton 15. Pellegrini passed again, this time to Keller for four but his next attempt was intercepted by Pujazon on the Canton five. Canton attempted one line thrust before the quarter ended.
It didn’t take the Tigers long to convince everyone at the start of the third quarter that they were really going to town. Wallace took Pujazon’s opening kickoff on his 11 and raced it back 31 yards to the Tigers 42. He almost broke into the clear. A Massillon first down took the ball to Canton’s 31 but here the Tiger attack went into reverse for a bit, Wallace losing 11 at left end and Pellegrini being tossed for a five yard loss at right end. Then after a pass from Pellegrini intended to Wallace had been knocked down by Pujazon, Jasinski punted to Pujazon who dropped the ball but recovered it and was tackled on Canton’s 15. Williams and Keller halted Pujazon after a three-yard gain and Berger smacked down Smith for a loss of two.
Then it happened. With the ball on Canton’s 14 Pujazon dropped back to punt. As the ball was passed a flock of snarling Tigers tore through the Canton line. At least three of them bore down on the startled Pujazon who quickly tried to punt but the ball never got over the Canton line. Dick Arrington’s broad chest got in front of the ball and it hit him with a thud. Bounding off to Arrington’s right and toward the Canton goal. Like a hawk Bill Gable swooped down on it, picked it up and taking about three steps was over the goal line for the game’s first touchdown. Bedlam broke loose in the stands but Mastriann calmly kicked the ball between the uprights to add the extra point.
An amusing episode occurred a few minutes later. The officials asked Canton if it would grant a time out while Bob Wallace changed his pants. They just wouldn’t stay up any longer and the Massillon captain decided he had better have another pair. So while his teammates gathered around him on the sideline. Bob switched pants with another teammate.
Neither team threatened during the remainder of the third quarter and the fourth period opened with Massillon in possession of the ball on its 27 with second down coming up. Jasinski two plays later punted to Pujazon who returned eight from his 30 to his 38. Pellegrini knocked down a pass from Pujazon intended for Cook and then Arrington tossed Pujazon for a loss of five but this was nullified when Massillon was penalized five for being offside. Pujazon passed to Cook who caught the ball, then fumbled it. Keller fell on the leather but it slide out from under his body and Canton recovered on Massillon’s 40. Pujazon made five yards in two plays and then lightning again struck.
Mr. Arrington Again
Pujazon dropped back for another pass. As he lifted his arm he was hit hard by Julius Tonges. The ball flew out of his grasp and up into the air. When it came down there stood Mr. Arrington all ready to take it and set sail and he did just that. The Tiger colored star grabbed the ball and never hesitating set out at full speed for Canton’s goal line, 61 yards away. And he made it, leaving his pursuers far behind.
Once again Mastriann came through with a perfect place kick. Well, if Canton didn’t know they were beaten before that second touchdown they certainly did after it was recorded on the board.
After the kickoff the Bulldogs launched a desperate attack that took them from their 42 to Massillon’s 23 before they were checked and forced to surrender the ball to the Tigers.
Then it was that the local boys decided to show the east enders they could score through their own offensive powers and opened up with a march that did not end until the ball was planted back of the Canton goal. It took 11 plays and the march was good for 82 yards.
Highlighting the advance was a brilliant 43-yard dash off left tackle. Mastriann roared through again for a first down on Canton’s 23. Wallace skirted left end for two and Pellegrini passed to Jasinski for five. Wallace then raced around left end to the Canton 13 for another first down. Mastriann hit through right tackle for three and on the next play bucked and squirmed his way for 40 yards and a touchdown. He kicked his third goal from placement to give him a perfect day in this department.
Coach Kammer, his face wreathed in smiles, then waved his regulars off the field where they had done a swell job. The only substitution up to that time had been Dick Belch for Berger.
The second team went in and kicked off and the game ended before the Bulldogs could run off a play.
After it was over a group of Massillon fans and players hosted Kammer on their shoulders and carried him to the Tiger dressing room entrance. It was a fine tribute to a coach who has come a long way since he saw his first Tiger team smeared by the Bulldogs 35 to 0 a year ago.
Tigers – 21 Pos. Bulldogs – 0
Willmot LE Herdlicka
Arrington LT Tucci
Tonges LG Swan
Williams C Infantiedes
Gable RG Kurzinsky
Berger RT Belding
Jasinski RE Cook
Keller QB Kempthorn
Pellegrini LHB Smith
Wallace RHB Rotunno
Mastriann FB Pujazon
Score by quarters:
Massillon 0 0 7 14 – 21
Touchdowns – Gable, Arrington, Mastriann
Points after touchdowns: Mastriann 3 (placekick).
Substitutions: Massillon – Belch, Sedjo, Profant, Pedrotty, Webb, Clark, Richards, Luke, Turkall, Heltzel, Ielsch.
Canton – Korosedes, J. Corbett, Harting, Parks, Bundy, Kistler.
Referee: Reese (Dayton).
Umpire: Gross (New Philadelphia)
Headlinesman: Long (Newark)
Field judge: Lobach (Akron).
Tiger Boosters To Honor Coach
Massillon football fans celebrated that 21-0 Tiger conquest of Canton McKinley far into the night Saturday but all the celebrating is not yet over.
There’ll be more tonight when the Tiger Booster club holds its final Monday night meeting of the season in the Washington high school auditorium at 8 o’clock. It will be an open meeting and all fans are invited.
Tonight it will be coach Elwood Kammer’s night and the Boosters will pay tribute to the Tiger mentor who has just closed his second year at the helm of the orange and black with a record of 19 wins in 20 games, 10 of them in a row this fall to again make the Tigers state scholastic champions.
“Kam” has done a great job and will be deserving of all the tribute paid him tonight.
George Bird also will have his Tiger swing band at the meeting.