22,000 See Tigers Smash McKinley Bulldogs 33-0
Massillon Gridders Win Third Consecutive Ohio Football Championship

By LUTHER EMERY

The ambitions of a coach and football team were realized in Tiger stadium Saturday afternoon as 22,000 fans saw the Washington high school Tigers beat down the challenge of Canton McKinley’s Bulldogs by the impressive score of 33-0 to win their third consecutive state championship and their first Ohio conference crown.

Today Coach Chuck Mather was in possession of his first untied and undefeated seasons in his coaching career and the Tigers were able to boast that they had defeated Canton McKinley by more points than any other Massillon team had been able to measure the Bulldogs in the 55 games that have been played between the two teams since they first met in 1894.

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Then too, the Tigers can have the additional honor of being the team that caught up with Canton McKinley. The series is all even now, each school having won 25 games, while five resulted in tie scores. There was a bit of personal pride for the 20 senior members of the squad too – they closed their football careers by having played on three state championship teams.

Not many boys in Ohio have been able to make that kind of boast. In fact only in Massillon have boys played on championship teams during their three years in high school. No other school has been able to win three in a row but Washington high since the Associated Press originated its organized football poll. The Tigers won seven in a row from the season of 1935 through 1941.

While the Tigers will not be officially crowned champions until the Associated Press announces the final standings in its poll this week – there’s no doubt as to how it will turn out – and the Tigers should be a unanimous choice for the title. Anyone voting otherwise will be voting sentiment and not sense for the Massillon team has been on top in the pool from the very first week of the football season.

It is the only time in the history of the poll, according to Fritz Howell, the originator, that one team has held the top rung every week of balloting.

In winning the Ohio Scholastic conference crown the Tigers beat all other teams in the conference.
* * *
THE TIGERS were magnificent in victory – the Bulldogs game in defeat.

There was no question as to the local team’s superiority. It is shown not only in the score but throughout the statistics, and while the Tigers could easily have won by several more touchdowns (they lost the ball three times on fumbles inside the 20-yard line) there also were anxious moments, particularly early in the third quarter when McKinley moved the ball deep into Tiger territory, only to lose it on the 22 when Tom Zeller pounced on Sam Parks’ fumble. It was one of two times the red and black were able to penetrate the danger zone.

The other was in the final period when Lou Mariano uncorked the most brilliant run of the game as he traveled some 100 yards in moving forward 41, ran out of steam and out of bounds on the Tigers 29.

Bill Stoner ended that threat on the next play when he made a brilliant interception of George Ramsayer’s pass on the 18. These two maneuvers accounted for 83 yards of Canton’s 165 net yardage.

The Tigers on the other hand rolled up 432 net yards, all but 54 through rushing. The 54 were made by the completion of two of 11 forward passes. McKinley made all but four of its yards by rushing, completing only one of nine passes for four yards. First downs were 14 to 7 in Massillon’s favor.
* * *
THE GAME ran true to form, and Canton’s hopes of overcoming Massillon power with spirit failed. The Bulldogs though still fighting as the game ended, were as badly a beaten team as ever limped off the field in a Massillon-Canton engagement.

With many of them called upon to play defensive and offensive football in contrast to the two-platoon system used by the Tigers, hardly a play was run off the last seven minutes without time being taken out for one or more exhausted McKinley players. Two of them, Ronald Wilds, who played a great game and who was virtually walking on his knees throughout the second half, and Chuck Gelal were taken to Mercy hospital Canton after the game for observation but were found not to be seriously hurt.

It was Wilds who caused the Tigers most of their trouble. They never knew where he would be – over the center or off to the side and as a result were unable to trap him successfully. Because of his wandering tactics he messed up many a Tiger play. After the game Coach Chuck Mather paid him the tribute of being among the best linemen the Tigers have faced all season.
* * *
THE LOCAL gridders escaped without a serious injury – in fact they haven’t had one all season – and it was their gratitude for this, that before they began celebrating the fruits of victory, they locked themselves in their squad room and before Coach Mather or assistants knew what was going on, were on their knees with one of their number, Ray Lane, leading them in a prayer of Thanksgiving. Voluntary, unrehearsed and coming from the heart, it goes down as a red letter page in their championship history.

You can name your own individual starts. We’ll take both platoons as our champions and not single out anyone for special honors. Fred Waikem, Bob Howe, Lane and Ernie Russell made the touchdowns. Waikem two of them, but without the assistance of the big Tiger line, the blocking of their teammates and the ability of the defensive platoon to throw back McKinley’s challenge to gain ground, the glories of victory might not have been attained.

Every player made his contribution to seeing that the Tigers won the title. Tom Zeller flopped on a couple of Canton fumbles at the right time, Stoner and Bob Khoenle pulled down Bulldog passes to regain the ball for the Tigers, Jerry Krisher booted three points from placement after touchdown, Wilfred Brenner caught one pass and Russell another with Fred Close doing the pitching as well as handling the ball like a magician from his
T-quarterback position. Frank Gibson, Glenn Tunning, Jim Reichenbach, Jim Schumacher and Cliff Streeter beat down the McKinley line time and again to open touchdown avenues for the ball carriers, and always there was that fine defensive line of Allen Murray, Jim Geiser, Rudy Grunder, Dick Woolbert, Tom Zeller, and Jack Strobel to smash the charge of the Bulldogs so that the line backers Chuck Vliet, Joe Gleason and Lane could lower the boom with head-on tackles. There are three line backers Coach Mather and Elwood Kammer, his secretary of defense, wouldn’t trade for any other three boys in the state.
* * *
THE BRUNT of the ball carrying was shared by Howe, Russell and Waikem. Big Bob lugged it 21 times for a net of 126 yards, while Russell and Waikem each had it 13 times for net gains of 139 and 100 yards respectively.

Mariano’s long run of 41 yards gave him the edge over parks in the ball carrying department for the Bulldogs. Each carried 17 times, Mariano gaining 83 net yards and Parks 45. Leuby Popoff plunged for 33 in six carries.

Seldom has a Massillon-Canton game been played under a more favorable setting. Sunshine and a temperature that was not too cold made it pleasant for both fans and teams.

Only a strong breeze interfered with the game, passers having difficulty throwing against it and receivers misjudging the carry of the ball as it rode the wind right out of reach of their outstretched arms.
* * *
THE TIGERS had set as their point objective – to beat McKinley by a greater score than any other Massillon team. They succeeded by a point but failed by two points from reaching the greatest point difference of 35, set by the Canton McKinley team of 1942 which shellacked the Tigers 35-0.

The Massillon team the following year, 1943 was undefeated and untied and this season is the first perfect one since that time. The 1945 eleven was undefeated, but was tied five times.

Ever since he began coaching at Brilliant in 1937, Chuck Mather has never had a perfect season. He has been undefeated on several occasions but always there was a tie to spoil the mark of perfection. He wound up with a perfect record at Leetonia one year, but stuck his neck out in a post-season game with Salem which ended in a tie.
* * *
THE TIGERS had hoped to score a touchdown the first time they got the ball against the Bulldogs but failed to do so and had to await a second chance. Then they marched 68 yards for the marker and crossed the Bulldog goal after seven minutes and 36 seconds of the first period had expired.

They score again in the second quarter after Zeller covered a Canton fumble on the Bulldog 39, and wound up the game in grand fashion by pushing over three T.D.’s in the final period on drives of 42 yards, 47 yards and 71 yards.

Seldom have seen a ballgame in which the ball was lost so many times on fumbles. The Tigers fumbled four times and lost the ball on three of them, while Canton lost the ball on all of its five fumbles. In other words one of nine fumbles made by the two teams was recovered and that by Massillon.
* * *
UNFORTUNATELY the game got a bit rough in the last period which resulted in two players being ejected by the officials. Had the officials asserted their authority earlier they might have prevented some of the punches that preceded the expulsion.

The hardest any ball carrier hit a player here this season occurred late in the game when Bob Howe ran over Mariano. The latter gamely picked himself off the ground shaken but uninjured.

The Tigers lost the toss and McKinley elected to receive. The Bulldogs gained nine yards and advanced the ball to the 28 in three attempts from which spot Ramsayer punted to Stoner who caught the ball on the 50 but was dropped in his tracks. Waikem went for two yards and Howe 11 for a first down on the 37. McKinley drew an offside penalty, putting the ball on the 32. Russell added a yard. Two passes went for naught and Howe stumbled and lost a yard.

Canton took over the ball on its 32, Mariano and Parks gained eight yards on three attempts and Stoner returned Ramsayer’s punt two yards to his 32. The Tigers broke Howe loose for a 45-yard run. Out in the clear, he was caught in a diving, desperation tackle by Parks who managed to snag one heel, enough to throw Howe off balance on the 23. Howe went for six more to move the ball to the 17. Close picked up a Tiger fumble, eluded two Bulldog tacklers, then sped around left end for a first down on the seven. Howe put it on the three and Waikem went the last three on a quick opener. Krisher’s attempted kick was wide of the uprights and the Tigers led 6-0.
* * *
NEITHER TEAM was able to gain an appreciable amount of ground in the remainder of the first period and in the first half of the second quarter until Zeller pounced on Parks’ fumble on the Bulldog 39. Howe and Russell gained but three yards in two attempts and the Tigers drew a five-yard penalty after Waikem had gone for what would have been a first down. He struck right back, however and in two plays took the leather to the 27. Close was tossed for a loss of three but Waikem was running hard and picked up 13 for a first down on the 17. He went for another eight to the nine and Howe exploded through his left guard from that point for the touchdown to give the Tigers a 13-0 lead.

The Tigers made two more bids for touchdowns in the same period. After Khoenle had gotten the ball for the Tigers by intercepting a McKinley pass, Waikem missed a first down by inches on the 19 and Canton took over.

The longest pass of the game, a 45-yard peg to Russell produced a first down on the 16 but Waikem fumbled on third down and the Bulldogs covered the ball on their 14 to end the threat.

The Tigers received at the start of the second half and got seven yards over the midfield stripe before stopped by Canton which forced Reichenbach to punt. He got off a good kick but it bounced back 15 yards to the McKinley 34.

The McKinley offense, which gained but one first down the first half, flashed for the first time during the afternoon and the Canton stands had good reason to shout with joy. It was Mariano for 11 yards, Parks for 12, Mariano and Parks for a first down on the Tiger 29. Mariano for four more and then a fumble by Parks that the Tigers covered on their own 22. The fumble was one of many bad breaks received by the Bulldogs throughout the day. It stopped what looked like a sure touchdown drive.
* * *
THE TEAMS took turns punting and fumbling the rest of the period. Zeller covered one Canton fumble on the Bulldog 22, but the Tigers obliged when Howe fumbled on the 13 and Canton covered. On the next to the last play of the quarter Stoner covered Parks’ fumble on the Canton 42. Howe reeled off 13 yards to end the period and set the Tigers in forward motion.

Waikem ran for 12 more and a first on the 17 but the drive petered out when Wilds bounded in to cause Close to fumble a hand off, Gelal covering for McKinley. Stopped with a net gain of three yards on as many plays, Ramsayer punted poorly to the Tiger 29. On the first play Russell went through left tackle for a touchdown and Krisher’s extra point made the score 20-0.

The Tigers fourth touchdown came soon after Mariano’s brilliant 41-yard run to the Massillon 29. Almost every Tiger player got a hand on him it seemed, some of them taking two shots at him as he headed for the west sidelines then reversed his field and shook off tacklers until he went out of bounds.

On the next play Ramsayer fired a long pass that Bill Stoner knocked down with one hand and grabbed with the other on the 18. It was mostly Waikem the rest of the way down the field. He ran 27 yards to his 45, and after Russell had moved it over the midfield stripe, too off on a 47-yard jaunt to the Promised Land.

The final touchdown came after Ramsayer had punted out on the Tiger 29. Close’s pass to Brenner gained nine yards and Waikem ambled for nine more. Howe went for four, Russell eight, and a 15-yard penalty inflicted on Canton for unnecessary roughness put the ball on the 26. Howe cut the distance by 19 yards on a jaunt around right end and lane went the last seven through the left side of the line.

State Champions

MASSILLON
ENDS – Murray, Zeller, W. Brenner, Streeter, B. Brenner.
TACKLES – Geiser, Grunder, Gibson, Schumacher, Strobel, Mitchell.
GUARDS – Gleason, Woolbert, Tunning Reichenbach, J. Howe.
CENTERS – Krisher, Dowd, Martin.
QUARTERBACKS – Stoner, Close, Francisco.
HALFBACKS – Khoenle, Russell, Waikem, Grier, Lane.
FULLBACKS – Vliet, Howe, Stewart.

McKINLEY
ENDS – Killins, Gelal, Zander, Singleterry, Poole.
TACKLES – Dempsey, Ruble, Winderl.
GUARDS – Wilds, Price, Edwards, Shaffer.
CENTER – Dividio.
QUARTERBACKS – Ramsayer, Schrade.
HALFBACKS – Parks, Mariano, Horner, Prophet.
FULLBACKS – Popoff, Cast.

Score by periods:
Massillon 6 7 0 20 33

Statistics
Mass. Canton
First downs 14 7
Passes attempted 11 9
Passes completed 2 1
Had passes intercepted 1 2
Yards gained passing 54 4
Yards gained rushing 414 181
Total yards gained 464 185
Yards lost 32 20
Net yards gained 432 165
Times punted 4 7
Average punt (yards) 22 28
Yards punts returned by 44 8
Times kicked off 6 1
Average kickoff (yards) 44 35
Yards kickoffs returned by 12 66
Times fumbled 4 5
Lost ball on fumbles 3 5
Times penalized 4 3
Yards penalized 40 25

Jim Reichenbach