Powerful Cathedral Latin Lions Trounce Tigers 6-0
TOUCHDOWN COMES IN FOURTH PERIOD
Massillon Winning Streak Snapped By Speedy Hard Driving Cleveland Team; Third Orange And Black Loss In 92 Games
By FRED J. BECKER
When the other fellow packs more of a wallop than you do, you generally wind up on the losing end and that’s what happened out at Tiger stadium Friday night when the husky, hard driving Lions of Cleveland Cathedral Latin high school invaded Massillon and planted a convincing 6-0 kayo on the Washington high school Tigers. A near capacity audience of about 17,000 spectators sat in on the kill.
Cathedral Latin’s one touchdown margin of victory, however, does not begin to tell the story of how thoroughly the boys from Ohio’s metropolis on Lake Erie mauled the daylights out of the Tiger. The cold statistics of what actually happened out there on the gridiron last night reveal just how thorough a job the Lions did in tearing into bits the hitherto formidable Massillon Tiger.
Huge Crowd Sees Tiger Downfall
Of course the more than 16,000 fans who were jammed into the stands saw what happened with their own eyes. They need no statistics to tell them the story. They witnessed the overthrow of the famed orange and black football juggernaut and they came away from the scene of carnage convinced that Cathedral Latin’s team Friday night was just about the greatest to ever appear against any Washington high school aggregation at Tiger stadium.
The Lions scored the touchdown that brought them the most cherished victory in the school’s history in the fourth quarter after an uninterrupted march of 34 yards in which they tore and slashed their way through the Massillon defense almost with the ease a hot knife slips through butter. They threatened 3 times prior to that victory march and twice breaks of the game – fumbles recovered by the Tigers – halted them and on the third occasion an intercepted pass kept them away from pay dirt.
Fumble Hurts Tigers
A fumble also robbed Massillon of its best scoring chance, the Tigers taking the leather to Latin’s 16-yard line in the second quarter only to lose the ball and see its best scoring opportunity blown away on the breeze when Vic Turkall fumbled and Bill Eline, Cleveland center pounced on the ball.
The victory Cathedral Latin scored over Washington high last night was not an upset. It was too convincing for that. The Lions won because they were by far the better ball club. They won because they had the stuff that brings victories. They overpowered the Tigers both offensively and defensively throughout most of the game. They had what it takes to win. The Tigers last night did not.
There was nothing flakey about Latin’s triumph. It could have been a victory by a margin of 3 or 4 touchdowns. Why it wasn’t is a glowing testimonial to the gameness and intestinal fortitude of a bunch of kids who, although almost hopelessly outclassed, never for a minute gave up and battled with everything they had to the last second.
It was a case of experience against inexperience and Latin had the experience – a veteran ball club that knew what it was all about and had the strength and power to make the most of its superior experience and ability.
Cathedral Latin had been waiting a long time – 6 years – for the opportunity which came its way last night and when the opportunity presented itself the Lions made the most of it. They won the Cleveland scholastic championship last season by knocking off Cleveland Lincoln 18-12 after Lincoln had won 29 straight games.
They looked the part of champions last night as they knocked off the Tigers and brought to an abrupt end a Massillon winning streak that had mounted to 11 straight – 10 in 1943 and a 60-7 triumph over Akron West a week ago to open the 1944 campaign.
In 4 contests prior to Friday night’s shindig the Cathedral Latin Lions had been duck soup for the Tigers, being on the short end of lopsided scores in 1939, 1940, 1941 and 1942. The teams did not meet on the gridiron last season.
Lions Have Poise And Power
But last night the Lions had what it takes, a great team with poise and power, and as a reward gained a great victory. Their victory was richly deserved and if they continue to play the remainder of the campaign as they did here the Lions are going to finish up next November as one of Ohio’s outstanding schoolboy aggregations.
The defeat the invading Clevelanders plastered on the Tigers Friday night was the third a Massillon team has soaked up in 92 contests, dating back as far as 1935. Other teams to turn back the orange and black were New Castle, Pa., 7-0 in 1937 and Canton McKinley 35-0 in 1942. During all those years only one other team came close to
up-setting the Bengals. That was Mansfield high which gained ties with the Tigers in 1937 and 1941, both battles ending in 6-6 scores.
This leaves the Tigers a record of 87 victories, 3 losses and 2 ties over more than a
9-year stretch. There’s hardly another school anywhere that can point to that kind of an achievement but last night’s defeat, however, puts quite a dent into the 1944 championship aspirations of the Tigers and only the future will tell how good a team the Tigers are this year.
Coming contests will prove if Coach Kammer’s boys, after tasting defeat, can bounce back and, profiting by experience, become a better ball club. There’s still plenty of time between now and November for the orange and black to wipe out the stain of that reverse last night and to again establish themselves as a power in Ohio scholastic circles.
To the victor belongs the spoils and to Cathedral Latin goes all the plaudits and superlatives for the great game it played. No one can say anything that would take away from the Clevelanders any of the honor due them for the almost flawless performance they put on tap last night as they crushed the Tigers and swept on to a rich reward and well deserved victory. To attempt it would be unsportsmanlike, to say the least.
But in justice to the Massillon lads it must be said that the Tiger team which went out to do battle with Cathedral Latin last night was not the team which romped so merrily over Akron West a week ago. The orange and black had none of the fire and dash which characterized its performance in the opening game. Lacking was the precision and team play, both on offense and defense, which made Akron West look so poor and the Tigers so great.
All during this week Coach Kammer and his assistants tried to snap the Tigers out of an apparent sluggishness which made its appearance last Monday. They didn’t succeed and it’s hard to tell how Friday night’s game might have ended had the Tigers been the same team they were a week ago.
In their first game the Tigers turned loose a dazzling offense that had Akron West running around in circles. They displayed a defense that smothered every Akron attempt to gain ground. Last night, with the exception of a few brief instances, the Tigers offense looked woefully weak and their defense must have been locked up in the club house, so dismally did it fail in its efforts to halt the beautifully executed Cathedral Latin offense, powered by a smooth working backfield that plunged through and ran around the Tigers behind a line that performed in truly brilliant fashion.
True the masterful performance staged by the Clevelanders was bound to make the Tigers look bad but we still believe the Tigers are a better ball club than they looked last night.
Coach Kammer told his team and local fans all week that Cathedral Latin had a big, powerful ball club and the Lions proved it last night. Speed was expected to play a prominent role in the outcome of the game and it did – Latin in addition to having the power and experience, also had the speed and how they used it as they ran the orange and black right into the ground.
Depending almost entirely on a ground offense, Latin operating from a “T” during most of the game and then in the later stages shifting to a single wing, put on tap an offense that was beautiful to watch. Seldom did the Tigers stop it. The powerful Latin line manhandled the Tiger forward wall and tore great, gaping holes in it time after time. Only some great work by the Massillon secondary checked the Latin ball toters and kept them away from scoring territory until that fatal fourth quarter when the inspired Lions no longer could be denied their share of glory.
Offensively, the Tigers were stopped cold. Their running attack which looked so sharp a week ago, was just not there last night. As a matter of fact the fast changing Cleveland forwards roared through the Tiger line like a cyclone and clipped the Massillon offense before it could get under way. Only in the aerial game did the Tigers display any superiority over the visitors, completing 3 of 7 attempts for 64 yards while Latin failed to connect in 7 tries and had one pass intercepted.
Tigers Badly Outplayed
The statistics show just how wide a margin the invaders held on the Tigers. The Lions made 18 first downs to 5 for Massillon. The Clevelanders roamed over the gridiron almost at will every time they gained the ball. In yards gained the Lions had a net yardage of 282 as compared to 130 for the Tigers. The visitors fumbled 6 times and recovered the ball twice. Massillon fumbled 4 times and failed to recover on any of the miscues. Those figures tell the story – they show without any doubt why the Tigers finished on the short end of the score.
Outstanding in the Cleveland backfield were 2 boys – Cliff Oliver, the lad who scored Latin’s winning touchdown – and Leo Hyland, a pair of big, rangy lads who had speed and power to burn. They made life miserable for Coach Kammer’s boys all night and it generally took a flock of orange and black tacklers to bring them to earth and for the most part they were brought to earth only after clipping off good sized gains. Seldom were they stopped without picking up yardage. Bill Feldkircher was another Cleveland back whose performance was not far behind that shown by Oliver and Hyland.
The entire Cathedral Latin forward wall played a superb game, outclassing the Massillon line throughout most of the contest. Performing in yeoman like fashion for the Lions were such stalwarts as Capt. Bill McKeen and Frank Gaul at the tackles, and Bill Eline at center.
Its offense stopped dead in its tracks Massillon showed little in the way of individual offensive ability but shining like a beacon light in a defensive role was little Bert Webb, Negro halfback, who in his position in the Massillon secondary, tackled like a demon and more than once brought to earth Cleveland ball toters who had flashed through the Massillon line and seemed headed for extensive gains until stopped by the midget Tiger halfback. Co-Captain Bill Gable, also stood out prominently in a defensive role. It took a lot of hard, sharp tackling to stop the pile driving Cleveland backs and the Tigers did not have that kind of tackling last night.
Massillon received and right from the start the surging Lions began to smother the Tiger’s offensive attempts in a very emphatic manner. Early in the game the locals were backed up to their 11-yard line on a Latin quick kick but Turkall kicked the Massillonians out of danger with the game’s most beautiful kick – a punt that traveled well over 50 yards and put the ball on Latin’s 27.
After another exchange of punts the Cathedral Latin offense began to roll and one began to get a glimpse of what was in store for the Tigers.
Turkall punted to Feldkircher who signaled for a fair catch near midfield. Gable, apparently not seeing the signal, crashed into the Clevelander and the Tigers drew a
15-yard penalty putting the ball on their 29. Oliver made 6 on a slash through the line but what looked like a Cleveland touchdown drive was halted when Hyland fumbled on the next play and Webb covered for Massillon on his 21-yard line. Hyland was hit hard by Jim Gibson and the ball slipped from his grasp.
But not in the least daunted by this break, the Lions smothered Massillon’s attempts to gain and again Turkall punted, this time to the Latin 34. Once again the Cleveland machine began to clip off yardage in a steady march toward the Tiger goal. The Lions reeled off a 3 first downs and were on Massillon’s 27 yard line when once again they fumbled, this time Feldkircher dropping the leather and Wilmer Luke and Don Sedjo covering for Massillon on the Tiger 19.
Now came the Tigers only real bid for a touchdown during the entire game. Turkall and Keller found the Latin line like a stonewall and picked up a yard in 2 tried but Sedjo battered his way through on the third attempt for 8 and then plunged again to give the Tigers a first down, their first of the game, on Massillon’s 30. Keller picked up 2 around left end and then Webb tossed a pass to Luke which netted 17 yards and took the ball to Massillon’s 49.
Sedjo hit for 2 and then took a lateral from Webb and picked up 5 more. Once again the Webb-Luke aerial team went into action and Luke made a beautiful catch of Webb’s pass, almost getting into the clear. The Tiger end stumbled as he turned after taking the ball and before he could get on an even keel again he was mowed down by Latin tacklers. The play, however, netted 23 yards and took the ball to Cleveland’s 19. Turkall tried a pass to Luke, which failed and then Massillon’s best and only bid for a touchdown went glimmering when Turkall fumbled on the next play and Eline pounced on the ball for Latin on his 16 yard line.
Again the Cleveland machine went into high gear and the Latin backs drove their way down the field to the Massillon 21 before the Tigers succeeded in slowing the advance. Then Joe Petkovic, unlimbered his passing arm and tossed a long one toward the Tiger goal but the ball never reached its intended receiver. Turkall intercepted the pass deep in Massillon territory. He stepped out of bounds on the 5 yard line and here the Tigers put the ball in play, once again halting a threatened Latin touchdown march.
But Latin was not getting all the bad breaks. After making 9 yards in 2 plays Turkall broke through on a plunge off right tackle and streaked down the field to his 36 where he again fumbled when hit hard and Eline again covered for Latin. The half ended, however, before Latin could get its offensive machine into motion again.
But the Clevelanders had just too much power to be kept away from pay dirt all night.
Near the end of the third quarter Turkall punted to Hyland who was tackled on Massillon’s 34 by Webb. Here the Latin machine really began to travel in high gear. Feldkircher smashed off right tackle for 8 before being stopped by Gable. Oliver cracked the line and made it a Latin first down on the Tiger 22. Feldkircher was nailed for a 2 yard loss by Glenn Keller but Oliver picked up that loss and more on a sweep around left end to the 14. He then hit the line for a first down to the Tiger 10. Feldkircher picked up 4 on a dash at right end as time expired.
Oliver Goes Over
Play began in the fourth period with the ball on Massillon’s 6. On the first play in the quarter Oliver again crashed through the line to the 3 yard line and on the next play hammered his way through the Tiger forwards and across the goal line for the points that were to decide the battle. Hyland tried to plunge the ball over but failed. The Lions marched 34 yards in 8 plays.
The Tigers made a desperate last-ditch fight of it but Latin, now out in front, put a damper on every Massillon effort and kept play, for the most part, in Tiger territory. The Tigers had one chance to go places but again a fumble robbed them of their opportunity. This break came when Luke fumbled on Latin’s 46 after taking a pass from Webb. And once again Bill Eline came up with the ball for Latin.
The Clevelanders had driven deep into Massillon territory and were just 6 yards from the Tiger goal in the closing seconds. But they lost their chance to score again when a bad pass from center got away from Feldkircher and rolled back to the 17 before he recovered it. Just one more play followed before the game ended.
Total first downs 5 18
Yards gained by rushing 76 305
Yards lost by rushing 10 23
Net yards gained by rushing 66 282
Forward passes attempted 7 7
Forward passes completed 3 0
Yards gained by passing 64 0
Total net yardage,
Rushing and passing 130 282
Passes had intercepted 0 1
Number of punts 5 4
Average distance of yards 38 34
Number of kickoffs 1 2
Average distance of kickoffs 25 37
Number of fumbles 4 6
Times ball lost on fumbles 4 4
Number of penalties against 3 3
Yards lost by penalties 25 25