Latin Hands Tigers First Opening Game Loss Since 1930
Clevelanders Ride To 14-7 Victory On Strong Arm Of Bill Petersen
By LUTHER EMERY
Washington high school’s bid for the Ohio scholastic football championship ended where it started here Friday evening as a powerful Cathedral Latin Lion subdued the ambitious Tiger by a score of 14-7 before 22,000 fans, the largest opening night crowd in the history of Massillon football.
The Lions rode to victory on the arm of stellar Bill Petersen, quarterback and passer deluxe of the Cleveland team, whose rifle-like pegs scored the first Latin touchdown and so opened the Tiger defenses that they dropped into a five-man line, the first five-man line a Massillon team has used in a good many years.
Petersen’s passing and Massillon’s lack of a defense to successfully combat it, just about tells the story of the Tigers’ defeat, the first opening game loss since Akron East whipped Massillon 6-0 Sept. 20, 1930.
Chalk that achievement up to Latin and also give the Clevelanders’ credit for being the only team to go undefeated with Massillon three consecutive years since Canton McKinley drubbed the locals in 1932-33-34. The Latin record is now two victories and a tie since the war interruption of 1943.
Lions Had Better Team
There was nothing lucky about Latin’s victory and there’s no room for an alibi. The Lions outplayed the Tigers most of the way and their advantage is found not only in the score but also in the statistics. That should be sufficient to establish their superiority.
They made seven first downs, four on passes, to Massillon’s three, and gained 253 yards from scrimmage to the Tigers’ 121 yards. The only place in the entire column of statistics where Massillon looked better than the visitors was in the lost yardage summary. Latin was thrown back for 38 yards, while the Tigers lost 13, from scrimmage.
Coach William G. “Bud” Houghton was not entirely downhearted because he knew this his team had lost to a good eleven, but he did criticize parts of the performance. He was disappointed over some of the defensive work, and felt his team was not as much on edge as it should have been. The breaks as a whole went to Latin, and the visitors capitalized on them. They followed the ball more closely than the Tigers and were alert to fumbles.
Because Latin linemen sifted through the Tiger forward wall on T formations, the local team ran most of its offense from single wing. It tried to pass a couple of times from the T but was smothered before the ball carrier could find a receiver. The only pass that did hit its mark was a 32-yard touchdown peg from Dan Byelene to Gene Zorger for the Tigers’ only score in the fourth quarter.
Herb Eisele, Latin coach, was naturally jubilant over the triumph of his team but felt a little shaky in the fourth period when the Massillon eleven appeared to grow stronger as the game progressed. The victory helped to erase from his memory some of the terrific beatings his Lions sustained at the hands of the Tigers here in the years 1939-42; and likewise established his team as a leading contender for the Ohio high school championship, a title it has rightfully claimed a share of the past two seasons. The triumph extended the Lions’ undefeated string to 27 games.
The Tiger team at intervals showed flashes of offense, but was unable to coordinate its attack successfully for any extended drives. The Latin wall smote down most attempts to run between the tackles, and though end sweeps worked best for the local team, only a few were tried. The passers were so rushed that they had little time to throw the ball. Ten times they tried for overhead gains but only Zorger’s touchdown did they connect.
Latin on the other hand, completed six of 10 for 95 yards and had none intercepted while two of Massillon’s throws were gathered in by visiting players.
After Latin’s first period touchdown which took the Lions’ 10 minutes to get, the local team dropped back to a 5-3-3 defense in an effort to cover the receivers. It has been a long time since the Tigers have faced a thrower accurate enough to force a Massillon team into a five-man line, but Petersen did it after his touchdown toss to Hasselo. A five-man line naturally opens the way to the opponents’ running attack, but Latin found it difficult to gain yards even on a five-man Massillon line.
Petersen’s accurate pegs not only produced the first touchdown but paced the 76-yard drive that led to it.
Lions Open Drive
The first period was more than half over and the Lions had already shown one offensive burst when Byelene got off a nice punt that went to the Latin 24-yard line. Jerry Beckrest’s running advanced the pigskin to a first down by inches on his 34 and a 21-yard toss. Petersen to Beckrest, put the leather on the Massillon 45. Just when it appeared the Latin attack would bog down, Petersen up and rifled the ball 27 yards to Beckrest for a first down on the Tiger 10-yard line. Once again the local team looked as though it surely would be equal to the occasion. Three tries ended with Latin a yard back from where it had started. Then Petersen called for another pass. The Tigers were in an eight-man line and when using this defense, the ends are expected to hem in the ends of the opposing team. Al Hasselo, however, was only brushed and he got into the clear to snare the ball from Petersen and score on fourth down. George Raggetts kicked the extra point from placement and it was 7-0 in Latin’s favor and that’s the way the first half ended.
Massillon fans who had hoped the Tigers would come out stronger and more alert in the second half, uttered a big moan ere the fourth period was four minutes old when the Tigers, after fumbling the kickoff, had a punt blocked which Latin covered on the 19-yard line. On second down, George Werling slipped through left guard with a couple of timely blocks and went over for the Lion’s second and last touchdown, a run of 17 yards. Again Raggetts placekicked the extra point.
Latin played cautiously with a 14-point lead as the Tigers tried vainly to score in the third period. They had a first down in the making in Latin territory on the first series of plays after the kickoff when a fumble by Giloff, was recovered by Latin on the latter’s 45, and they never got into Latin territory again until the fourth period was half gone. Then it was that Jack Zeller pounced on Beckrest’s fumble on the Latin 35. On second down, Byelene pitched to Zorger for the Tigers’ only touchdown of the game. They had two chances for the extra point. Paul Cary tried to kick it the first time but the boot was blocked. However, Latin was offside on the play. Given a second chance, Cary tucked the leather under his arm and plunged it over.
The seven points stimulated Massillon spirit, but not for long. The Tigers kicked off to Latin and forced the Lions to punt on their second series of plays. Houghton sent in his sophomore flash, Al Brown, hoping he might get away with a good punt return. He was downed on his 37, and on the next play Massillon’s last chance to tie the score was snuffed out when O’Day intercepted Zorger’s pass. The game ended a minute later with Latin on the Massillon 17-yard line.
The Tigers displayed little in the way of offense. In fact they had little opportunity to open up for they were backed up deep in their own territory most of game.
They got few breaks, and while they scored a touchdown after one of them, they passed up a golden opportunity in the second period after Jim Young had recovered a Latin punt blocked by Jim Bishop on the Cleveland 20-yard line. The Tigers fumbled on the very next play and Latin recovered to take possession of the ball.
As a result of the defeat, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see a few shakeups in the Tiger lineup this coming week. “It took this one to tell us for sure just where we are weak,” Houghton said after the game. “Maybe we can correct some of the faults. At least we now know who will play the best competitive ball for us.”
The Massillon eleven will meet its second opponent in Fawcett stadium, Canton, next Friday evening when it tackles Canton Lincoln high school.
As has been its custom the past several years, the Tiger Booster club entertained local and
out-of-town newspaper and radio men at a press party at the Massillon club before the game.
Those present were addressed briefly by Coach “Bud” Houghton and Band Director Ford and several took part in a 15-minute radio broadcast over station WHBC of Canton.
Wives of members of the working press sat with their hubbies in the press box during the game while the other guests at the party were assigned to a special section near the box.
Among those present were newspapermen from Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Niles, Wooster, Alliance, Dover and St. Clairsville.
Last night was just the beginning of what still looks like one of the big seasons of Massillon football. There are still nine shows left and it is a safe bet that a lot of enjoyment will be provided for Massillon fans by both the Tiger team and band before the 1946 campaign passes into history.
Just wait until next Friday night and see.
A Poor Start
Massillon Pos. Cathedral L.
Zeller LE Saunders
Young LT Campanella
Uliveto LG Kiousis
Darrah C Bohn
Brooks RG J. Raggetts
Krisher RT Beletic
Schludecker RE Hasselo
Byelene QB Petersen
Giloff LH Werling
Zorger RH Beckrest
Yost FB Csizma
Score by periods
Latin 7 0 7 0 14
Massillon 0 0 0 7 7
Massillon – Bishop, re; Pedrotty, fb; Cary, qb; Brown, qb; Eberhardt, re.
Latin – Gentile, rh; Slogar, lg; O’Day, c; Petricig, qb.
Massillon – Zorger.
Latin – Hasselo; Werling.
Points after touchdown:
Massillon – Cary.
Latin – C. Raggetts 2.
Referee – Gross.
Umpire – Russ Finsterwald.
Head Linesman – Honus Graf.
Field Judge – Verlin Jenkins.
Of The Game
First downs 3 7
Passes attempted 10 10
Passes completed 1 6
Had passes intercepted 2 0
Yards gained passing 32 95
Yards gained rushing 89 104
Total yards gained 121 253
Yards lost 13 38
Net yards gained 108 215
Times punted 7 8
Punts blocked 1 1
Average punt (yards) 26.5 30.7
Punts returned (yards) 52 21
Kickoffs 2 3
Average kickoff (yards) 47 46
Kickoffs returned (yards) 60 36
Times fumbled 3 2
Lost ball on fumble 2 1
Times penalized 3 4
Yards penalized 25 49