Massillon 28, Alliance 7
By LUTHER EMERY
Yes, that’s the way it ended folks and Alliance’s “Beat Massillon” and “Remember ‘48’” campaign was buried in the turf of Mount Union stadium by a gallant Tiger team that was wired to top pitch by Coach Chuck Mather.
Lucky for Alliance the score was not higher, and lucky for Coach Mather he made an impromptu speech to his team a moment before the kickoff, when he said, “If you fumble or get a bad break, and forget it. Just set your mind on getting the ball back and doing better next time.”
Chuck must have sensed what was going to happen last night for his team received one bad break after another, lost the ball four times on fumbles, enough to have discouraged many a high keyed eleven, but roared right back and vanquished the foe.
It was not an easy victory. “This was our hardest game,” Coach Mather said after the contest. He can say that again. Alliance was stubborn, always dangerous with the forward pass and only because of a bad break, in which Candy Carroll dropped a pass with a clean field ahead, would have scored two touchdowns instead of one.
Because his team was up against its strongest opponent by far this year, Mather relied almost entirely on his starting offensive and defensive platoons, making few substitutions during the evening except a continual change of halfbacks to carry in plays.
The Tigers scored in every quarter, but they only got two points in the first when big John Borton was slammed down behind his goal line while trying to pass, seven in the second, seven in the third and 13 in the fourth. Alliance scored its one T.D. in the third period.
Save for bad breaks, Massillon might have scored two or three more touchdowns and Alliance one.
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THE GAME, which most folks had expected to be a battle of offenses from the start, turned out to be very much a defensive contest much of the time with the Tigers punting four times and Alliance six.
Give the Massillon line most of the credit for the victory. The Tiger forwards out-charged their opponents, battered down much of Alliance’s ground work, and bothered Quarterback Borton so much that he had a hard time passing and several times was thrown for big losses when he couldn’t get the ball away before the Massillon linemen came banging through.
It is hard to pick a standout in this type of ball game, but the guy who pulled down the most praise from impartial observes was Capt. Jim Reichenbach for his great offensive and defensive line work. With Jim Schumacher out with injuries, Reichenbach went into the slot on defense. What a man! Don’t overlook Sophomore Jim Geiser, either, whose long arms were continually weaving around Alliance ball carriers, and throwing them for losses.
Jerry Krisher got in his share of licks, and then there was Tom Zellers chasing Borton back of the goal line for the safety, getting a hold on him while Krisher, Ray Lane, Chuck Vliet and Geiser all came crashing in to put him on the bottom of a big pileup. Allen Murray was in there several times to spill runners for losses and Joe Gleason and Jack Strobel got their share of tackles.
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THE AVIATORS tested the line in the very early minutes of the game when they recovered a fumble deep in Tiger territory, but found themselves wanting for strength to puncture the goal line and lost the ball on downs.
That should have been the tip off but most fans so respected the offensive power of the Alliance team they believed the Aviators could still muster the strength for a sustained ground attack. They didn’t have it. They only gained 104 yards rushing and lost 65 leaving them with a net gain of 39 for their evening’s work.
The Tigers had the Alliance ball carrying aces, Candy Carroll and Henry Nicholson so bottled up that they seldom were able to advance the ball beyond the line of scrimmage and many times found themselves tumbling backward for losses. Candy got away for only two good gains, one for 15 yards and one for 27.
The Tiger offensive line on the other hand, so beat down the Alliance linemen that only one player was thrown for a loss all evening, and that for a yard. The Tigers on the other hand gained 280 yards on the ground.
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LEADING Massillon ball carrying parade were Bob Howe, Freddie Waikem and Ray Lane. They ran hard right down their opponents’ throats – so to speak, for that’s the way the Tiger coaching staff had planned the attack. They gambled victory on a hard running attack to get their first scores and saved any passing or fancy dan stuff for the later stages.
Ernie Russell played the whole game though nursing a couple of injuries including a lame arm which might have been partially responsible for him fumbling a punt in the first minute of the game that gave Alliance a scoring opportunity.
Mather was glad for the words he had spoken about forgetting the breaks when this first minute bobble occurred. The Tigers had kicked off to Alliance to start the game and had thrown Alliance back three yards in as many ball carrying efforts. Borton got off a booming punt that Russell misjudged but tried to catch on his 25-yard line. The ball squirted from his arms and Ted Bates recovered for the Aviators. Carroll shook himself loose for one of his two good runs of the game as he circled right end to a first down on the eight.
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THE TIGERS took time out to talk the situation over and then settled down to show Alliance which was the better football team. Four downs netted the Aviators but five yards and the Tigers took over on the three.
The local team was magnificent as it charged down the field from its own three-yard line as Russell went for 31 yards, Howe 14, and Waikem 15. Then hard luck again dogged the team. Howe broke through to the Alliance 11 where he fumbled the ball when tackled and Harold Gray recovered it for the Aviators.
The attack wasn’t entirely for naught, however, for on second down Borton dropped back to pass, found Zellers in his way and eventually was thrown behind his own goal line for a safety that gave the Tigers two points. And that’s the way the first period ended with Massillon leading 2-0.
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THE SECOND QUARTER had a good start when Borton punted to Russell who returned a few yards to his 36. It set off a 64-yard touchdown drive. Russell and Fred Close made it first down on their 47. Waikem almost got away on a quick opener as he wormed his way to the Alliance 35 before he was downed. Russell and Howe picked up six yards and Waikem on another quick went to the Aviators’ 20. He hit for five more and with the ball on the 15, How was called on to run down the alley. He went over standing up for the touchdown and Krisher kicked the extra point, his 14th in a row.
Cliff Streeter intercepted a Borton pass immediately after the following kickoff and got back to the Alliance 46. The Tigers worked the ball to a first down on the 35 where they began fooling with passes and lost it on downs. Alliance rallied after stopping the threat and with a 27-yard run by Carroll and a pass that Russell trying to block tipped into the arms of Joe Zelasko, took the ball deep into Tiger territory. The half ended on third down with 13 yards to go and Massillon ahead 9-0.
It took an exchange of punts after the second half kickoff to get the Tigers going again. The half started as Bill Stoner brought Borton’s punt back nicely to his 39. Waikem and How took turns carrying the ball until they got it to the Alliance 27. There Close whipped the leather to Wilfred Brenner for a first down on the eight-yard line. Waikem came within a yard of going over and Lane took it for that yard and six points. Krisher’s placekick for the extra point made the score 16-0.
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A SHORT TIME later, a 38-yard punt return by Stoner which saw him do some fancy sideline running got the ball deep into Alliance territory again. The locals moved it to the 15 where Russell fumbled, Alliance covering Borton’s punt and a 15-yard penalty imposed on the Tigers for clipping put the ball back on the Massillon 26 where after failing to gain they were forced to punt. Reichenbach got away a short kick that went to the Tigers 47 and on second down, Borton pitched a strike to Carroll for a touchdown. Nekites kicked the extra point. Score Massillon 16, Alliance 7.
Alliance took on new hope, but it was short lived for early in the fourth quarter the Tigers drove to the Aviators’ 22, fumbled and lost the ball. But Borton also fumbled on a handoff and Reichenbach pounced on the leather for Massillon on the Alliance 16. On the very first play, Waikem went over for a touchdown. Krisher missed the attempted placekick ending his string of 15 without a miss.
The fourth period was in the final five minutes of competition when the Tigers got their last score. Russell started the effort by intercepting Borton’s pass on the Alliance 40. Waikem and Russell ran for a first down on the 27 and Howe went to the eight on a draw play. It only took Lane one play to go over form that spot and he did it with a lot of hard running. Krisher started what may be another string of points by kicking the extra marker from placement.
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ALLIANCE’S outstanding players were Borton, Warren Scholosser and Paul Jack. All three looked good on defense, Borton, it seemed getting a hand in almost every tackle, despite the bumping around he was given by Tiger blockers. He also booted some hefty punts for an average of 38.1 yards, the first of which virtually disappeared for a time in the darkness of the not too well lighted stadium. It was against the wind too and traveled approximately 60 yards in the air.
Had you been able to see across the field, you would have noticed Alliance was a badly beaten team at the end of the game. The contest was clean, but the Aviators were worn down by the hard charging of the Massillon line and were a tired lot at the end of the game.
No Massillon player was seriously injured. Streeter and Russell took a good bumping but appeared all right in a physical checkup after the game.
First downs 15 8
Passes attempted 10 16
Passes completed 3 5
Had passes intercepted 0 2
Yards gained passing 46 88
Yards gained rushing 280 140
Total yards gained 326 192
Yards lost 1 65
Net yards gained 325 127
Times punted 4 6
Average punt (yards) 28.5 38.1
Yards punts returned by 84 13
Times kicked off 5 3
Average kickoff (yards) 41.6 44.3
Yards kickoffs returned by 41 57
Times fumbled 3 2
Lost ball on fumble 3 1
Times penalized 4 0
Yards penalized 30 0