Cathedral Latin Knocks Tigers Out Of Title Race
Massillon Gridders Defeated 16-12 With 90 Seconds To Play
By LUTHER EMERY
Cathedral Latin high school kicked the Washington high school Tigers right out of the race for the Ohio high school championship before 25,255 fans in Cleveland’s lakefront stadium Friday evening, scoring all of their points in the 16-12 verdict in the final period.
The Tigers had it in the bag until Latin scored its winning touchdown with a minute and 10 seconds to go when Quarterback Bill Petersen bucked the ball over the goal from the one-yard line.
It was a game of mistakes and errors with the locals capitalizing on a blocked punt and intercepted pass to score their two touchdowns, and in turn dropping a possible pass interception that could have preserved victory for Massillon.
Despite its close escape from defeat, there’s no denying Latin deserved the victory on a basis of performance. First downs were 13-3 in its favor and it out gained the Tigers both on the ground and in the air for a net total of 231 yards to Massillon’s 82.
The Tigers twice had victory within their grasp but permitted it to slip away in a wild fourth quarter, in which 22 of the game’s 28 points were scored.
The locals possibly erred at the end of the third period when with a 6-0 lead time expired, forcing them to punt against the wind on the first play of the fourth quarter. The wind would have been at their backs had they kicked the ball on third down on the last play of the third period.
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AS IT WAS, Dick Jacobs’ punt was low and short and the ball struck Halfback Joe Raggets who bobbled it and then cut loose on a 45-yard run over the goal. It was only the second time during the night that Latin was able to return one of Jacob’s punts and the first was only a nine-yard effort. The touchdown followed by Substitute Al Habinak’s point from placement put the Lions ahead 7-6, but they didn’t stay there long.
The next time they got the ball, Morrie Eberhardt broke through to smear Petersen’s attempt to pass and the ball flew into the arms of Guard Red Williams who raced 62 yards for a touchdown. Gene Schludecker sent the ball between the uprights on his attempted placekick for the extra point but it didn’t count because Ben Roderick was caught holding. Penalized 15 yards, Schludecker tried it again and missed but the Tigers were still ahead 12-7 with eight and one-half minutes to play.
The Tigers tried to kill time while Latin directed its efforts toward scoring another touchdown. Petersen’s good punt backed the locals up to their seven-yard line and on third down Al Brown was tossed behind his own goal for a safety when the locals tried a deep reverse. That brought the score to 12-9 with six minutes to go.
The Tigers kicked to the Lions who got the ball in midfield and began the final drive that spelled Massillon’s doom.
Petersen tossed to Tom Behm for a first down on the 36. Earl Gentile made four at left end, and Petersen’s pass was grounded. The latter picked out Gentile for his next toss, however, and connected for a first on the 24.
Petersen again tried to pass but was thrown for a six-yard loss. He came right back, however, to hit them for a first on the 13-yard line. Another pass was almost intercepted by Olenick, but he dropped the ball. The Lions on the next play crossed up the Tigers and sent Joe Pilla crashing through center for a first down on the one-yard line. It looked as though Pilla went over before an orange wave bent him back. Petersen took it on the next play, was stopped momentarily a yard behind the line of scrimmage but had the drive to propel himself over the goal. Again Habinak placekicked the extra point, and the game ended three plays later with the Tigers making a first down on their 40 on a pass; Jack Hill to Roderick and Brown gaining three yards on a reverse.
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THE DEFEAT was the second in a row for the local team which last week was bumped
20-13 at Warren. Latin’s record now reads six victories and one loss, the lone defeat being an upset by Cleveland Holy Name.
Latin presented a strong forward wall which the Tigers were unable to penetrate. Their only sizeable gain on the ground was a 36-yard run by Al Brown in the closing seconds of the first period which put the ball on the Latin 40. He was ahead of the pack, but was hauled down from behind.
Deduct that 36-yarder off the statistics and you have the Tigers gaining but 58 yards the rest of the ball game.
Latin strong armed the locals for the most part with a seven-man line when playing in Tiger territory. In the open field they used a six-man line with five men covering the secondary for passes. The Tigers had pinned their offensive hopes on the forward pass, but they only tossed six and completed two, one on the next to the last play of the game. Receivers frequently got into the open but the passer overthrew them.
The first half of the game was a defensive battle for the most part with neither team threatening as Jacobs and Petersen staged a punting duel to keep the elevens bottled up in their own back yards.
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BOTH ELEVENS have been known all season as second-half ball clubs, but the third quarter was well along before anything sensational happened.
The Tigers who on several occasions came close to blocking Petersen’s punts, finally succeeded as he attempted to boot the ball from his 40-yard line. The ball bounced back to the 20 where Early Johnson scooped it up and raced for a touchdown. Schludecker missed the attempted kick for the extra point.
Based on the Tigers’ defensive showing up to this stage of the game, the six points looked good, for they had succeeded in stopping Gentile most of the time and had so rushed Petersen that he was unable to get the ball to receivers.
What happened, however, you already know but Massillon fans will replay the remainder of the game a good many times this weekend pointing out where a few “ifs: might have changed the final result.
Knocked from their state championship ambitions, about all the Tigers have left to do is to play the role of the spoiler with Barberton and Canton McKinley, each of which represents a sizeable object on anybody’s schedule.
Fortunately the local team escaped without injuries and remained in Cleveland last night where it will view the Notre Dame-Navy game today.
Sad But True
MASSILLON POS. LATIN
E. Johnson LE Saunders
Eberhardt LT Calto
Williams LG Zeller
McVay C O’Day
Houston RG Riousi
Wittmann RT Campanelli
Roderick RE Behm
Badarnza QB Petersen
Jacobs LH Raggets
Brown RH Pilla
C. Johnson FB Gentile
Score by quarters:
Massillon 0 0 6 6 12
Latin 0 0 0 16 16
Massillon – Olenick, c; Farris, rg; Schludecker, re; Resh, lh; Jones, lt; Morrow, lg; Hill, qb.
Latin – Zieler, lg; Maruna, lg; Cooney, lt; Putka, lt; Wise, qb; Mullin, fb; Habinak, hb.
Massillon – E. Johnson; Williams.
Latin – Raggets; Petersen.
Point after touchdown:
Latin – Habinak 2 (placement).
Safety – Latin.
Referee – Brubaker.
Umpire – Brown.
Head Linesman – Wisecup.
Field Judge – Calhoun.
First downs 3 13
Yards gained rushing 94 189
Yards gained passing 19 58
Total yards gained 113 247
Yards lost 31 16
Net yards gained 82 231
Passes attempted 6 15
Passes completed 2 5
Had passes intercepted 0 1
Times punted 7 9
Average punt (yards) 32 31
Had punts blocked 0 1
Punts returned by (yards) 37 54
Fumbles 4 1
Lost ball on fumbles 1 1
Yards penalized 20 20
Times penalized 2 2