Tigers Great Comeback Whips Steubenville 13-12
Massillon Team Scores Twice In Last Half After Trailing 12-0
By LUTHER EMERY
A fighting Washington high Tiger that wouldn’t be beaten, clawed its way to a 13-12 victory at Steubenville Friday evening to the amazement of an overflow crowd of 10,000 spectators.
Hopelessly outclassed, out-charged, outplayed and out-scored 12-0 the first two periods, the Tiger team made a gallant comeback the second half to score a touchdown the third period and another in the fourth on a sensational 65-yard pass from Clarence Johnson to Ben Roderick.
Victory rode the pigskin on that toss, as the ball nestled into Roderick’s arms on the
15-yard line with nothing but the goal posts ahead of him.
It was Massillon’s third straight victory and crushed Steubenville’s hopes for an undefeated season, the decision hanging on one slim point, a goal from placement after touchdown kicked by Gene Schludecker.
Had you not known the players and their numbers you actually would have thought the game was one of those pre-season exhibition affairs in which a bevy of teams are trotted out to play a quarter or so with each other. Neither team looked the same in the second half as it did the first two periods.
The first half was all Steubenville and the last two periods all Massillon.
After the Big Red had rolled to two touchdowns in the first 14 minutes of play and the local team had shown a preference for running backward instead of forward, Massillon fans eased back in their seats and murmured to themselves “this is the demise of the Tigers.”
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THE SECOND PERIOD was closing rapidly before the Massillonians showed any kind of an offense where they had spent most of their efforts up to that time trying to pass for yardage – all to no avail – they suddenly found that the Big Red was vulnerable to a ground attack; and began to roll. Time beat them to the goal line which was only 12 yards away with first down coming up when the half ended. Though disappointed at not having scored, they went in for the rest period, encouraged with the knowledge that they could push Steubenville around too.
Whatever Coach “Bud” Houghton charged the team with during that brief intermission period we would recommend as a sure cure for rheumatics, for you would never have known it was the same Massillon team that came out for the second half.
The Tiger coach said he spent most of the time between halves going over his defense, making corrections in the secondary which had been fooled repeatedly by Steubenville’s reverses.
The defense stiffened, the offense moved and the Big Red was out of the ball game entirely the last two quarters as the Tiger gridders found themselves and put on the kind of performance which Massillonians have learned to expect through their heritage of football.
They took the kickoff and passed and marched their way to the six-yard line before Steubenville stopped them. They roared right back for a 41-yard march that ended with Al Brown bolting his way through the Steubenville forward wall for the last three yards and the first Tiger score. With Jack Hill holding the ball, Schludecker booted a perfect goal from placement.
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ANOTHER touchdown was needed for victory, and the Tigers went right after it. They were well on their way when Bob Stratton intercepted Hill’s pass on the goal line and scampered back to his 30 before being downed. But the Tigers braced, got the ball on a punt on their own 35 and then it happened. On first down, John Bardarnza tossed a lateral to Clarence Johnson who ran wide to his left, reversed his field and fired the ball straight down the center. Ben Roderick and Earl Johnson had already passed the Steubenville secondary when the ball began to fall. It nestled into the former’s arms on the 15-yard line after a flight of 60 yards and Earl blocked out the only possible Steubenville tackler as Ben romped over the goal with the pigskin. Massillon fans as well as Steubenville fans gasped with amazement at the sudden turn of events for the Big Red supporters after turning back the one touchdown threat had felt a sense of security when their team forced the Tigers into their own territory.
Steubenville was aware that the Tigers had such a play. Their coach Howard Brinker, a former junior high coach here, saw the Massillon team in spring practice and as late as Thursday had warned members of his team to be on the lookout for a long pass anytime Johnson had the ball. The Tigers pulled it at the opportune moment, Coach Houghton sending Bardarnza into the game to call the play and catch the Big Red asleep as they ganged up on the scrimmage line to halt the Massillon running attack.
The touchdown came with six and one-half minutes of the fourth quarter remaining to be played and the Tigers nearly got another after Brown and Jacobs covered a Steubenville fumble on the 33-yard line. They knocked each other out diving for the ball. Jacobs recovered to run the ball back to the three before being forced out of bounds. Steubenville’s recovery of a fumbled lateral to Clarence Johnson ended this threat with three minutes and 10 seconds to go and the game ended with the Big Red trying desperately to pass their way to a touchdown, in possession of the ball on a first down on the Tiger 30-yard line. It was the only time they had the ball in Massillon territory the second half.
In defeating Steubenville the Tigers gained more yards than in the Revere and Canton Lincoln games put together and four-fifths of the gains were rolled up in the second half.
First downs were 13 to 10 in the local team’s favor and they rolled up 326 yards to Steubenville’s 237. Ninety of the 326 were scored on two forward passes, Johnson’s
65-yarder to Roderick and an earlier 25-yarder to brother Earl that figured in the first fruitless touchdown drive.
Steubenville was keyed for the game and there’s no denying the Big Red has a fine team. With the exception of a few plays at the end of the game, the team operated from a single wing offense and gained most of its ground on tricky reverses that caused the Tiger secondary to take after the faker, leaving the ball carrier to run at liberty around the opposite flank.
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SUCH WAS the case when Robinson scored his first touchdown after six minutes and five seconds of the first period had expired. Nary a hand was laid on him as he sped around his own left end to score from 14 yards out. On the previous play Pete Polovina had advanced the ball 48 yards on a reverse around the opposite end.
The Tigers still permitted themselves to be fooled in the second period as the Big Red drove from its own 29-yard line to the two-yard line where Polovina plunged over for his team’s second touchdown. He missed both attempts for the extra point and Steubenville fans groaned for the points were the first he has failed to kick this season.
Up to this time the Tigers’ had a net loss of three yards for their offensive efforts.
They came back with the kickoff, however and marked up three first downs in a march from their 37 to the Steubenville 32 where an intercepted pass ended the threat. Their next effort stopped when Wittmann, an illegal receiver caught a pass from Jacobs, giving Steubenville a first down on Massillon’s 31. The Big Red was penalized 15 for holding and Jones pounced on Robinson’s fumble on the Big Red 47 to set the Tigers in motion again. Jack Hill was tossed for a 14-yard loss trying to pass but Clarence Johnson reeled off 18 yards around right end and Brown raced to the 12-yard line in the last seconds of the half. Coach Houghton sent in a substitute to stop the clock but it was too late. The period was over. Then came the rousing second half, and here are the plays that led to Massillon’s first touchdown.
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GETTING the ball on a fumble on the Big Red 41, Clarence Johnson hit right tackle for six yards and Bardarnza sneaked through to a first down on the 27. Bardarnza tried it again and gained but two yards. Brown shot through tackle to a first down on the 14. Hill made two at right tackle and Johnson hit through left for six more. Bardarnza went through center for a yard and Johnson made it first down on the three-yard line. Brown went over on first down for the score.
Massillon’s defense showed the same reversal of form the second half as did its offense. The Tigers tackled viciously and never permitted their goal line to be threatened.
Whereas the Steubenville line ripped the Massillon forward wall to pieces the first half, the Tiger linemen piled the Big Red up in the second. They stopped Steubenville’s ace runners Robinson and Polovina in most of their second half ball carrying efforts and slowed them down considerably. Both of the Big Red players are good runners and dangerous at all times.
Fumbles hurt Steubenville. It lost the ball four times on loose handling of the pigskin, while the Tigers recovered all but one of their own fumbles.
The Tigers emerged from the game in apparently good condition. Both Jacobs and Brown were removed because of injuries but both reentered the contest before it was over and appeared well enough in the locker room after the game.
The victory stretched Massillon’s record to 10 victories and one tie with Steubenville in games played the last 11 years. The Big Red won the only other two games played between the teams in 1930 and 1931.
A Great Finish
MASSILLON Pos. STEUBENVILLE
Johnson LE Hess
Eberhardt LT Dobbs
Williams LG Ossio
Olenick C De Leonardis
Houston RG Wells
Wittmann RT Morates
Roderick RE Wheeler
Hill QB Lelli
Jacobs LH Polovina
Brown RH Robinson
C. Johnson FB Stratton
Score by quarter:
Massillon 0 0 7 6 13
Steubenville 6 6 0 0 12
Massillon – Schludecker, c; Morrow, lg; Farris, rg; Jones, rt; Takacs, fb; Edie, rt; Badarnza, fb; Grier, rh, Resh, lh.
Steubenville – Snyder, fb; Tuerentine, le; Fraley, le; Nelson, re.
Massillon – Brown; Roderick.
Steubenville – Robinson; Polovina.
Point after touchdown:
Massillon – Schludecker (placekick).
Referee – Rupp.
Umpire – Schill.
Head Linesman – Russ.
Field Judge – Gross.
First downs 13 10
Yards gained rushing 236 187
Passes attempted 13 5
Passes completed 2 4
Passes had intercepted 2 0
Yards gained passing 90 50
Total yards gained 326 237
Yards lost 30 15
Total net yardage 296 222
Times kicked 3 3
Average kicks (yards) 41 48
Times punted 3 4
Average puts (yards) 23 35
Average return of kicks 19 4
Average return of punts 11 4
Fumbles 3 5
Fumbles (recovered) 2 1
Fumbles lost 1 4
Times penalized 4 3
Yards penalized 30 25