Tigers In High Gear Defeat Mansfield 54-0
Defense Shares Honors With Offense As Local Team Wins 20th In Row
By LUTHER EMERY
It had to come!
The Washington high school offense which has sputtered frequently this fall, rolled into high gear Friday evening in Tiger stadium before 16,127 fans and crushed the challenge of Mansfield high 54-0.
It was the Tigers’ sixth straight triumph of the season, their 20th victory in a row and their 13th in the 16-game series with Mansfield that began in 1936. Two games in the series ended in tie scores and Mansfield won once.
It was the first time this season that the Tigers revealed their potential strength. They spit the bit from their mouths and unbridled by a flock of substitutions, ran almost as they pleased against the visiting Richland county team.
Their defense was on a par with the offense and maybe more so, for it was the vicious tackling of members of the defensive platoon, that caused Mansfield backs to fumble the ball that set the Tigers off to their first three touchdown marches.
It was a big night for the defensive platoon, which gave a far better performance than at any time this season.
The backs were running too, with Bobby Grier coming into his own for the first time this season and playing the kind of game that had been expected of him. He scored three of the Tigers’ touchdown. Bruce Brenner, who is rapidly developing into one of the best ends turned out at Washington high, snared three touchdown passes, and Ace Grooms scored two on long runs.
Whatever hopes Mansfield had of winning last night’s game were crushed under the drive of the Massillon linemen who limited Mansfield to 56 net yards from scrimmage on the ground and 117 through the air.
The visitors tried to pass their way to victory, but did not have the kind of attack unleashed by Alliance last week and likewise faced a better Massillon defense. Bob Khoenle, back at the halfback, made a couple of interceptions, batted down several others, and the boys on the line continually tormented the Mansfield passer.
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IN SCORING 54 points, the Tigers gained more ground than at anytime this year and their net total was among the highest in years. They gained 165 yards by passing and 405 carrying the ball for a total of 570 yards gained. Deducting 33 yards lost from scrimmage left them with a net of 537 for the evening. And that’s over a quarter of a mile.
With Mansfield’s 5,000 fans providing the first air of rivalry in the stadium this season, a tension gripped the stands the first period and a half of the game. By the time the Tigers had scored their third touchdown, however, it was evident that Mansfield was in for a bad evening and that victory for the visiting team was out of the question. Fans by half-time were asking themselves how big would the score be. The answer was “double,” for the local team scored 27 points in each half.
Mansfield lost the ball four times on fumbles, had two passes intercepted and handed the leather over to the Tigers on a couple of other occasions when it was unable to pick up the necessary yardage on fourth down. You can’t give the ball away that many times without losing the game.
While the Tigers asserted their superiority early in the game they were unable to score until near the end of the first period. The winning touchdown followed an earlier frustration when Mansfield’s defense rose to the occasion to stop a Massillon drive that had reached the 10.
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JOHNNY TRAYLOR covered a Mansfield fumble on his own 47 to touch off the works. In their march goalward the Tigers had to overcome a five-yard penalty for delay of the game. Aided by a fancy jump pass from Paul Francisco to Dave Gable and some good runs by Grooms and Tom Straughn, they got the ball to the three where Grier took it over for the six points.
Before the quarter was over, Grier was on the spot to gather in another fumble on the Mansfield 46. Francisco hurled a 35-yard beauty to Brenner for a first down on the 11 and on the first play of the second period, Grooms went for a touchdown with Frank Gibson throwing the key block.
The third Massillon touchdown came the next time the Tigers got their hands on the ball. It was Traylor who got the pigskin for them by covering a Mansfield fumble on the Tygers’ 41-yard line. That set the stage for Francisco to shoot the works to Brenner and he did it with a 41-yard toss.
Bobby Grier provided the spark for the fourth touchdown and what a pretty run it was down the sidelines as he threw off four tacklers, then came to the fore where Grooms tossed in a bock that set him free for the last few of the 35 yards traveled.
Those who attached the luck of the breaks to the Tigers’ first half touchdowns, had a rude awakening after intermission when the local eleven went to work with a methodical offense that ground up yards and chewed turf until it had gone 80 yards for a touchdown, overcoming a 15-yard penalty for clipping enroute. Tommy Straughn and Greier did most of the ground gaining until the Tigers reached the visitors’ 30. They were then within gunshot of the goal and Francisco fired a bulls-eye to Brenner for the six points.
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THE TIGERS had to score two touchdowns to get one before they could get credit for another six points. It came late in the third period when Khoenle snared a Mansfield pass and went 60 yards for a T.D. that was not allowed because of a quick whistle off his 49. The bugle blew when it appeared that he would be stopped, but he burst right out of the arms of two Mansfield tacklers and continued on his way. On the scoreboard it made no difference except that the six points were credited to Grooms who on the next play galloped 51 yards to score. The third period expired while he was on his way.
The Tigers scored the next time they got the ball and on the first play at that when Francsico rifled the leather to Brenner for 52 yards.
The locals likewise had to score twice to get their last touchdown of the game. Bobby Grier went 62 yards for the first one but a disputed clipping penalty was called which pushed the Tigers back 15 yards. It made no difference as Grooms wheeled end for 54 yards and a first down on the 15. Grier was given the opportunity to take it the rest of the way. He did!
Mansfield never seriously threatened to score. Only a couple of times did the visitors get into Tiger territory and then no nearer than the 35-yard line, until the very end of the game when they got down to the six.
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CHUCK VILET and big Jim Geiser were two of the reasons why Mansfield never got close to the Tiger goal. They were smacking the opposition all night. Bob Kraus likewise got in on some good tackles.
Leading ground gainer was Grooms who carried the ball 13 times and gained a net of 184 yards. Grier gained 85 yards in five trips with the ball and Lee Nussbaum gained a net of 18 in three attempts. Straughn gained a net of 36 in nine carries, a 13-yard loss on a reverse cutting down his average. John Francisco carried nine times and gained 54 yards.
Massillon fans saw the Tigers in a new alignment for the first time last night. Coach Mather experimented with Nussbaum at right halfback. With the latter, Grier and Grooms in the game, he had three 190-pound backs to carry the ball.
The Tigers emerged from the contest in good condition even though the game did get rough in spots.
Joe Sapia was knocked out in the third period but was O.K. at the end of the game. He caught a foot while blocking.
Tonight the sophomores play at Carrollton high school, and the Tiger swing band is going along to help furnish the entertainment.
The line-up and summary:
ENDS – Tasseff, Keen, Gable, Brenner, Sweasey.
TACKLES – Chapman, Geiser, Bigson, Strobel, Rubio.
GUARDS – Kraus, Climo, Snyder, Tunning, Grunder, Moyer, Sapia.
CENTERS – Roderick, Fabian.
QUARTERBACKS – P. Francisco, Dommer.
HALFBACKS – Khoenle, Traylor, J. Francisco, Straughn, Nussbaum, Grier, Williams, Milneck.
FULLBACKS – Vilet, Grooms, Stewart.
ENDS – Luckle, J. Diemer, Truax, Ackerman, Rimblert, Frye, Yoha.
TACKLES – Gouge, Kleer, R. Diemer, Guy, Steele, Ford.
GUARDS – Wilson, Welker, Esbenshade, Eliot.
CENTERS — Yarger, Armstrong.
QUARTERBACKS – Carbetta, Mathews.
HALFBACKS – Shesky, Auer, Glover, Shaluder, Jones, Huber.
FULLBACKS – Brickley, Zeigler, Kline.
Score by periods
Massillon 7 20 14 13 54
Massillon – Grier 3; Grooms 2; Brenner 3.
Points after touchdown:
Massillon – Grooms 6 (plackekicks).
Referee – Brubaker.
Umpire – Schill.
Head Linesman – Jenkins.
Field Judge – Lobach.
First downs 10 10
Passes attempted 12 25
Passes completed 5 10
Had passes intercepted 0 2
Yards gained passing 165 117
Yards gained rushing 405 79
Total yards gained 570 196
Yards lost 33 23
Net yards gained 537 173
Times punted 2 5
Average punt (yards) 36 35
Yards punts returned by 36 6
Times kicked off 9 1
Average kickoff (yards) 39 40
Yards kickoffs returned by 0 95
Times fumbled 2 7
Lost ball on fumbles 1 4
Times penalized 9 3
Yards penalized 115 35