Defense Stops Barberton As Tigers Win 6-0
Great Goal Line Stands Thwart Five Magic Bids Inside Five-Yard Line
By LUTHER EMERY
The Washington high school Tigers gave Barberton a lesson in goal line defense Friday evening and only for that reason are they still a leading contender today for the Ohio high school football championship.
Seldom has a team won a ball game that has been whipped so badly in the middle of the field. The Tigers were the victors 6-0, and the touchdown represents their only threat of the evening. On only one other occasion were they ever in Barberton territory, that coming on the first play of the game, when Gene Kapish fumbled the initial kickoff and the Tigers covered on the 33. But the local gridders gave it back to Barberton on a fumble on the very next play and, save for their touchdown drive, were shut up in their own back yard for most of the remainder of the game.
Barberton on the other hand was knocking – knocking – knocking all night at the Tiger goal. Five times the Magics were inside the five-yard line, only to lose the ball. The Tigers stopped them on four occasions, the timekeeper’s first half gun on the fifth. Once they were over the goal, but a five-yard penalty for backfield in motion ruined the bid.
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NEVER HAVE we seen so many scoring thrusts turned back in one game. Two were stopped after the Magics had made first downs on the two-yard line, another was turned back after a first down on the four, and another ended inches short of the goal after a first down on the nine.
The heroic goal line stands of the Tigers were hardly understandable considering the way the same players yielded ground in the middle of the field. Their gallantry was the opposite of the offensive showing of the local team which was beaten at every turn save for the one touchdown effort. The difference was that the Tigers had sufficient punch to push over the score, while Barberton, lacking men fast enough to go to the outside had to rely on inside plays and didn’t have t he power inside the shadow of its goal when it faced an eight-man line with a secondary virtually piled in on top of it.
The Tigers’ winning touchdown drive began with the interception of a Barberton pass by Bob Khoenle in midfield and raced back to the Magics’ 22 before they caught him.
Ace Grooms, who had offense trouble all evening, got two yards at left tackle and Lee Nussbaum rammed the same spot for five. Bob Grier missed a first down by a yard but Nussbaum got it by inches on the 11 when he hit off tackle again.
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IT WAS Bobby Grier’s turn to lug the leather. He was sent through right tackle on two consecutive plays. The first time he hit for two, the second for nine and a touchdown. He went over with room to spare. Grooms’ attempted kick for the extra point was low of the cross bar.
That’s the ball game as far as the scoring goes, but there’s a lot more to the story of how the Tigers eventually beat the Magics at their own specialty – defense.
It was Barberton’s first loss of the season. The Magics had previously beaten eight
teams – none by impressive scores, but the eleven was appraised after the game by its coach. Junie Ferrall, as “the most underrated team in Ohio.”
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KEENLY disappointed over the loss, Ferrall said the Barberton team was one that would not roll up a score on opponents. “The boys would get a couple of touchdowns and be satisfied with the score. They liked to play football so well, they didn’t want anybody taking their places in the lineup, so they just kept the score down themselves, so I wouldn’t substitute,” he said.
Ferrall and his team had their eyes set on winning the game and with it the Ohio high school championship. They came so close several times, but missed out by inches. They had pointed for the contest all season. It was the last game, the big game on their schedule and they wound up their final week of practice by eating and sleeping football together and rehearsing in secrecy.
They had scouted the Tigers thoroughly all season and we learned that they had also been given some tips on how to stop Massillon by another rival.
They succeeded so well that they beat the Tigers in every department of the statistics except points and loss of the ball on fumbles.
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THE MAGICS ran up 15 first downs to the local team’s five, and gained 262 net yards to the Tigers’ 104. They completed 11 of 23 passes to the local team’s one pass in six attempts. But the Tigers scored the six points on the scoreboard despite giving the ball away four times on fumbles while Barberton had two muffs covered by Massillon.
The visitors had Ace Grooms, the local team’s leading ground gainer, stopped most of the evening. None of the other backs had any better success.
Coach Chuck Mather visibly worn and pale after the game paid respects to the goal line stands made by his team, but said he was disappointed with its offensive showing. He had expected it to do better.
So had most fans, who should share the blame for the near tie or loss because of their complacent attitude this fall. The general pep and spirit that has helped build championships in this city has been lacking this season, possibly brought on by the fact that the collapse of Canton McKinley has taken away the climatic touch of a goal to shoot for in the crucial finals of the year.
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COACHES have found it difficult to fire their Tiger team for 48 minutes of solid football and it took goal line stands to bring out the best that was in the boys last night.
The first of these came in the opening quarter after Barberton had covered a Massillon fumble on the Tiger 48. With Ed Zalar and Gene Neely driving hard, the Magics hammered the Tiger line until they smashed to a first down on the 16. Here the Tigers took time out, talked it over then braced, finally taking the leather away from the Magics on the nine.
Early in the second period Barberton got the ball on a punt on the Tiger 47.
Running from single wing, the Magics banged and banged at the Massillon line, not for long gains but for three and four at a time, enough to make three consecutive first downs to take the ball to the 13. Here the Tigers stood firm and gave but one yard on three downs, but on fourth, Tom George flicked a pass to Gene Kapish who was tackled as he caught the ball inches short of a first down on the three and one-half-yard line.
The Tigers fumbled on the first play, however and big Bob Carbaugh covered for Barberton on the two. Time was fleeting. The Magics ran two plays with Zalar carrying the ball both times, gained a total of one-half yard and the gun cracked with third down coming up and the pigskin a yard and half short of the Tiger goal.
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ONCE in the third period Barberton got to Massillon’s 20-yard line but here the Tigers took over and stopped the threat.
The fourth period was a nerve tingler all the way, as Barberton always knocking, found the door shut to the Tiger goal.
The Magics’ first effort in the final period followed the covering of a Tiger fumble on the 50. The Magics unleashed a passing attack that had the locals dizzy and wound up with George throwing 12 yards to Bob Newell for a first down on the nine. Zalar took the ball three straight times and was only a foot short of the goal on his third attempt. Neely was given the leather on fourth down and the Tiger line rose up and smote him down.
The Magics didn’t yield yardage to the Tigers who had to punt out to their 33. George again began throwing. One found the arms of Neely for nine yards. Two more were broken up, and just when it appeared the Tigers had the series stopped, interference was called on a fourth down pass on the two-yard line. Paul Walker, field judge, said a Massillon player had shoved the intended receiver on the back.
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THE HARRIED Tiger team dug in again. Zalar was given the ball. He wound up under a pile without gain. He tried to hammer his way through again but got only a yard. A third straight time Zalar was given the leather. He got half the (REST OF ARTICLE IS MISSING).
First downs 5 15
Passes attempted 6 23
Passes completed 1 11
Had passes intercepted 0 2
Yards gained passing 9 145
Yards gained rushing 101 130
Total yards gained 110 275
Yards Lost 6 13
Net yards gained 104 262
Times kicked off 2 1
Average kickoffs (yards) 34 49
Yards kickoffs returned by 16 8
Times punted 7 4
Average punt (yards) 39 36
Yards punts returned by 0 47
Times fumbled 4 3
Lost ball on fumble 4 2
Times penalized 2 7
Yards penalized 10 35