Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo

Tigers Open Season With 40-6 Victory Over Latin
Massillon Team Displays Ability In Registering Win Before 13,257 Fans


Any team that can score six touchdowns in 21 plays is all right with Massillon football fans so local grid enthusiasts should be and undoubtedly are well satisfied with Coach Charles Mather’s 1949 Tiger varsity which did just that at Tiger stadium Friday night in defeating a respectable Cleveland Cathedral Latin eleven by a 40-6 score in its season’s debut.

Displaying an ability common with the great Tiger teams of the past to explode for long touchdowns on almost any offensive thrust, the new Orange and Black eleven last night before 13,257 fans drove to two touchdowns in each of the first two quarters and one in each of the two concluding periods while allowing the visitors to tally their lone marker in the third stanza.

Program Cover

On a basis of its play in its first game of the season, the 1949 Tiger team isn’t going to be content to do its gaining a few yards at a time but is going for the distance on every attempt.

Certainly, that is indicated by the fact that only one of last night’s six touchdown plays was for less than 13 yards and that one short gain, a one-yard smash by Clarence Johnson for touchdown No. 6 late in the third quarter, was preceded by two end runs which totaled 36 yards.

To score their first touchdown the Tigers moved 45 yards in exactly two plays and on their next drive to the Latin goal line they traveled 72 yards in seven thrusts.

Then came the prize play of the session, a 68-yard return of a punt by Irvin Crable, and shortly thereafter the crowd was thrilled by one of the neatest aerial advances of the contest, a pass from Don James to Dick Jacobs good for 42 yards and the marker which, after Jerry Krisher made his second successful kick of the evening, gave the home team a 26-0 edge at the half.
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JOHNSON’S one-yard plunge through the center of the Latin line ended a drive of 45 yards which required seven plays and to wind things up the Tigers in the concluding period moved 38 yards in three thrusts with Crable being broken lose for the last 27 yards.

Almost the only satisfaction the Latin players got out of the game was the fact that they scored against the Tiger first stringers even though the marker was set up against substitutes.
With all the Tiger starters on the bench, the Latins late in the third stanza started a drive which advanced the ball from their own 16 to the Massillon 19 in six plays.

At that point the first stringers went back into the game and one the very first play against them Quarterback Pete Ghirla shot a short pass to Fullback John Nieser who outraced several potential tacklers on a run around left end and scampered over for the visitors’ lone touchdown.

Dick Shine hit Nieser as he reached the goal line but both fell into the end zone and it was a touchdown for Latin.
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UNFORTUNATELY the prettiest play of the game and possibly of the entire season will never go into the record books because it was nullified by a penalty.

It was a pass by Johnson to Don Slicker which traveled 55 yards in the air, from the Massillon 15 to the Latin 30, before Slicker pulled in the ball, tucked it under his arm and carried it over.

All that went for naught, however, because the play was called back and the Tigers penalized 15 yards for holding.

The way the Tigers started the first time they gained possession of the ball a lot of fans undoubtedly figured they were going to see a replica of last year’s Massillon-Latin game in which the Orange and Black gridders scored four touchdowns in five plays from scrimmage in the first quarter.

Latin’s initial offensive bid netted a total of five yards in three plays so Left Half Tom Marko punted with Crable receiving on his own 47 and moving to the Latin 45.

The ball was handed to Johnson on the first play and he raced far around left end and straight down the sideline to the Latin 13 before being stopped. He shook off several potential tacklers but finally was grounded by three opponents.
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DICK JACOBS was the ball carrier on the next play and he went right into the Latin line, found himself a hole and moved goal ward. He was hit as he went over and the ball rolled away but right there to fall on it was Don Studer and fall on it he did, thereby receiving credit for the touchdown. Krisher’s kick was unsuccessful so it was Massillon 6, Latin 0.

Any similarity between last night’s game and that of a year ago ended for the time being a short line later as the Tigers suffered a short-lived case of fumbleitis which twice lost them the ball fairly deep in their own territory.

Those two fumbles gave Latin a pair of golden scoring opportunities to take advantage of them. The first time Nieser was hit so hard that he lost seven yards and fumbled himself and the next time, after the visitors went through the right side of the Massillon line to move from the Tiger 31 to the 12, Nieser again was tossed for a loss after which Ghirla tried a southpaw pass into the end zone which was incomplete with the Tigers taking over on their own 18.

It was from that point that they moved to their second touchdown with the drive featuring a 31-yard run by Jacobs and a couple of (rest of paragraph missing)
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TO START THE second period Quarterback Don Buynak shot a pass to Nieser which was good for 30 yards and that apparently made the Tigers somewhat peeved because on the next three plays Ronald Patt, Johnson, Ray Lane and Jim Schumacher tossed the Latin ball carriers for successive losses totaling 17 yards and one of those plays was a successful pass which, believe it or not, lost three yards.

The worst, however, from a Latin standpoint was still to come and it came as Marko punted to Crable on his own 32. The fleet-footed Tiger fullback started down the west sideline at full speed and he didn’t stop until he was over the goal line.

Joe Gleason deserves an assist on that touchdown because he came to Crable’s rescue as he appeared to be boxed in one the Latin 25 and sent two enemy players sprawling with a mighty block which left nothing but thin air between Irvin and pay dirt. Krisher’s kick was blocked and the score stood at 19-0.

Shortly thereafter came the Johnson to Slicker pass which didn’t count and only seconds were left in the half when Massillon took the ball on downs on the Latin 42.

Apparently figuring that there wasn’t much time to be lost, James dropped back on the first play and lofted the ball to Jacobs who took it on the 15 and went over unmolested. Krisher’s kick made the score 26-0 and 17 seconds later the half ended.
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THE OPENING kick of the second half was taken by Crable on his own 10 and returned to the Latin 45 from where the Tigers drove to their next touchdown. They didn’t do so good on their first few plays but with the ball on the Latin 37 Johnson sped around left end to the 14, on the next play Crable went around the other end and was run out on the one-yard line, and then Johnson cracked the center of the Latin line for the marker. Krisher’s boot was good and the Tigers led by 33-0.

An exchange of punts with the Tigers seconds in the game resulted in Latin getting the ball on its own 16 from where the visitors drove for their touchdown, the important plays being a pass from Ghirla to Nieser good for an even 50 yards and an aerial from Ghirla to Sub Right Half Bill Tighe good for 13.

That latter play put the ball on the Massillon 19 and after an incompleted pass the Tiger first stringers went back into the game only to have Ghirla toss to Nieser for the touchdown play.

The final touchdown was scored about midway in the final period Crable setting it up by returning a Latin punt from midfield to the visitors’ 38.

Crable gained six yards around end, Jacobs carried to a first down on the 27 and then Crable moved quickly through the Latin line, cut sharply to the left and went the distance. Krisher’s kick made the Tiger total an even 40.

During the remaining time a couple of losses put Latin back on its own 10-from where Ghirla punted to Ernest Russell who returned from the Cleveland team’s 45 to the 22. A couple of offside penalties stopped a scoring bid by the Tigers and Left Half Steve Horvath finally intercepted a pass by Fred Close just before the game ended.
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COACH MATHER was pleased by the Tigers’ victory and was particularly happy about the hard playing of his gridders but, “we still have a lot of rough edges to smooth out.”

The fact that the Tigers registered only nine first downs isn’t particularly surprising because most of the ground they gained was on long advances and, of course, all their long touchdown runs didn’t count in the first down total. At that, they got four more first downs than their opponents.

A gross yardage of 292 and a loss of 36 yards gave the Tigers a net of 256 yards. A fast charging Tiger line and exceptionally good work by the players backing up the line limited Latin to a gross of 166 yards and a net of 101.

Although they didn’t do much in the way of passing except for that one James to Jacobs touchdown aerial, the Tigers showed potentialities of developing a devastating passing attack with several boys able to toss the ball through the air with the greatest of ease.

The Orange and Black gridders blocked and tackled well with some of their blocks and tackles being so vicious that the spectators cringed in sympathy for the Latin boys on the receiving end.

All in all, the playing of the Tigers foretold of greater things to come in the future as the Massillon team goes up against opponents which likely will be somewhat tougher than was the Latin eleven.

The summary:
ENDS – SLICKER, STUDER, Gleason, Brenner, Houston.
TACKLES – KRISHER, SCHUMACHER, Takacs, Roderick Gibson,
Duke, Stanford.
GUARDS – SHINE, REICHENBACH, Laps, Grunder, Turkal.
CENTERS – PATT, Dowd, Vilet.
HALFBACKS – JACOBS, JOHNSON, Lane, Russell, Waikem, Tunning.

TACKLES – KOREN, CLARK, Gravette, Kant.
CENTERS – PINTO, Donnelly.
HALFBACKS – MARKO, TIGHE, Engeman, Horvath, Fink, Tighe.

Score by quarters:
Massillon 13 26 33 40
Latin 0 0 6 6

Massillon – Studer; Jacobs 2; Crable 2; Johnson.
Latin – Nieser.

Points after touchdown:
Massillon – Krisher 4 (kicks).

Referee – McPhee (Youngstown).
Umpire – Williams (Youngstown).
Head Linesman – Hamill (Weirton, W. Va.)
Field Judge – Morbito (Kent).

Massillon Latin
First downs 9 5
Passes attempted 7 18
Passes completed 1 7
Had passes intercepted 2 2
Yards gained passing 42 116
Yards gained rushing 250 50
Total yards gained 292 166
Yards lost 36 65
Net yards gained 256 101
Punts 4 7
Punts blocked 0 1
Average punts (yards) 46 32
Average punt returns (yards) 22 12
Kickoffs 7 2
Average kickoffs (yards) 48 23
Average kickoff returns (yards) 21 17
Penalties 8 4
Yards penalized 60 30
Fumbles 4 4
Lost ball on fumbles 2 1

C.J. Johnson