Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo

11,735 See Tigers Smash Akron South 54-0
Massillon Team Begins Defense Of State Title With Display Of Power


One down and nine to go and the road to the state high school football championship is still long and rough. And you are probably still dripping with perspiration from the baking you received in Tiger stadium Friday evening while watching the Washington high school Tigers begin defense of their four-year state title reign by whaling Akron South 54-0.

The Massillon gridders had little difficulty hurdling their first obstacle but nine other teams still remain to be beaten before the rocky path that leads to the state throne can be turned into a glory road.

“We will meet better teams.”

That was the warning Coach Chuck Mather sounded to his jubilant players as they undressed in puddles of perspiration after their first triumph.
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Program Cover

THE TIGERS looked good as they passed and ran through South for eight touchdowns, but South admittedly is down this year and as a result Massillon remains untested. All nine future opponents rank considerably higher than South in ability according to pre-season estimates. Next comes Cincinnati Elder.

Unless your collar is wilted – unless your sweaty clothes lifted some of the paint from the stadium seats, unless you were one of the 11,735 fans, you cannot appreciate this story or the conditions under which the young Massillon gridders played last night.

Coach Mather used 47 players in the game to give his boys as much rest as possible. Coach Gordon Larson of South didn’t have that many on the bench.

But the players emerged from the oven-like temperatures in good condition and even Center Jim Clark, of Akron South could hardly be considered a casualty, even though he suffered a shoulder dislocation. He has had it many times before. Massillon’s team physician snapped it back in and he was ready to continue play.
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COACH MATHER, obviously pleased but desiring that no one get too excited over the defeat of South, said he thought the “boys played pretty good ball.”

And so did most of the fans who were able to see the game through sweated glasses and the perspiration tears.

The Tigers were complete masters of South and could have run up a higher score had Mather not elected to spray the field with substitutes.

The locals came out with a versatile running and passing attack that exploded for eight touchdowns, three on forward passes and five on running plays.
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ANYBODY who had any doubts as to the speed of Lee Nussbaum had them removed when he raced 83 yards for one touchdown, running away from the South secondary. His stride is so long he just doesn’t look like he’s running fast. And there was little Bob Misere, firing the ball 40 yards. South didn’t think he could throw that far and his receivers got behind the Cavaliers’ secondary. That should have been enough to scare a whole row full of visiting scouts who were watching the game from the east side of the field.

Big Jim Geiser played a fine game on the line and Capt. Bob Khoenle backed it up viciously in addition to scoring a touchdown. Sam Williams came into his own on pass receiving, pulling in several including a touchdown toss from Misere in which he gave the South secondary a free ride on his back over the goal line.

And when you are looking for bright spots in the game, don’t overlook a cut back run by Clarence Stewart, who chugged 28 yards for what would have been a T.D. had not Massillon been penalized for a rule infraction. Chug ran around all through the South team. Nobody could find him.

Defensively, the Tigers looked better than they did last year. When the regulars were in the game, they threw up a virtual iron wall against South’s offense, and they put on a couple of goal line stands, shades of last year’s Barberton nightmare in stopping South’s only touchdown bid in the second period. Twice they turned back the Cavaliers after the latter had registered first downs inside the three-yard line.

Otherwise South never threatened, nor even got a look at the Massillon goal line.
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STATISTICALLY the Tigers were superior in every way. They made nine first downs to South’s seven and gained 334 yards from scrimmage to South’s 96. The visitors’ only really long gain was a 65-yard second period pass from Quarterback John Williams to End Bob Spicer that set up the only touchdown threat.

Only once were the Tigers forced to punt.

Mather thought South was better defensively through the middle than last year’s team which was defeated 53-13 by the local eleven. The Tigers had a hard time freeing Halfbacks John Francisco and John Traylor. The latter’s nicest run was the return of an intercepted pass in which he scooted 45 yards down the sidelines for a touchdown.

South fumbles also helped the Tigers to score. The visitors were guilty of eight bobbles and four times Massillon gridders wound up on the ball.

The Tigers scored the first time they got the ball but they had to overcome four, five-yard penalties in the march that began 42 yards from the goal. A quick pass over the line of scrimmage, Misere to Khoenle, produced the first score.

A 46-yard pass, Misere to Williams, in which Sam carried two of the South secondary on his back the last 10 yards produced the second T.D.
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SOUTH practically gave the Tigers their third touchdown. The South punter got a poor pass from center on fourth down that rolled back to the one-yard line where the Tigers took over. A five-yard offside penalty set the locals back temporarily but Traylor eventually went over standing up.

South’s only flurry came in the second period after it had stopped a Tiger touchdown bid on the 10-yard line. Gordon Dokes went 16 yards around end for the visitors’ initial first down. In two more plays, Cavalier runners were thrown back six yards but Williams got away his long pass to Spicer who went all the way to the Tiger 15 before he was hobbled.

Williams skirted his left end for a first down inside the three where the Tigers braced and threw back four thrusts at the line. Then on the next play the Tigers fumbled trying to carry out and Dokes covered for South on the two and one-half yard line. Here the Tigers again braced and threw the visitors back to the 17.

On first down Nussbaum took the ball on a pitchout and running hard and fast went 83 yards to score. The half ended 26-0.
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TRAYLOR’S 42-yard touchdown return of Williams’ pass produced the first points of the second half and the only points of the third period.

A 41-yard pass from Misere to Williams put the ball on the three-yard line and set the stage for an early fourth period score. Nussbaum legged it the rest of the way.

A South fumble covered by Nussbaum on the seven got the locals in position for their second score the fourth period. Stewart went over from four yards out.

Final points of the game were produced by the second team after covering a South fumble on the 31. Stewart ran 28 yards for what appeared to be a touchdown which only resulted in another five-yard penalty against Massillon. The Tigers struck right back, however, and John Mlincek and Homer Floyd lugged the leather to the five where Roy Johnson pitched behind the line to Jim Letcavits for the score.


ENDS – Williams, Khoenle, R. Francisco, Gardner, Crone, Speck, Letcavits, Lentz.
TACKLES – Younkers, Geiser, Woolley, Lopez, Schram, Dean, Gumpp, Rubio, Williams.
GUARDS – Fabianich, Kraus, Yoder, Eaglowski, Clinage, Agnes, Shilling.
CENTERS – Corral, Jones, Allison, Kimmins.
QUARTERBACKS – Misere, Roy Johnson, Frmholtz, Crescenze, Porter.
HALFBACKS – J. Francisco, Traylor, Tasseff, Mlincek, Floyd, Boekel, Longshore, Miller, Climo, Boone.
FULLBACKS – Nussbaum, Stewart, Lorch, Stone.

ENDS – Beasley, Spicer, Tarr.
TACKLES – Carson, Litz.
GUARDS – Bittle, Markwood.
CENTERS – Clark, Sues.
QUARTERBACKS – Williams, Foster.
HALFBACKS – Vukich, Williams, Jones, Browning.
FULLBACKS – Dokes, Monroe.

Score by periods:
Massillon 13 13 7 21 54

Massillon – Khoenle; Nussbaum 2; Stewart; Traylor 2; Lecavits; Williams.

Points after touchdown: Massillon – Boone 6 (placekicks).

Referee – Rupp, Shaker Heights.
Umpire – McPhee, Poland.
Head Linesman – Less, Youngstown.
Field Judge – Lobach, Akron.

Mass. South
First downs 9 7
Passes attempted 13 6
Passes completed 5 1
Had passes intercepted 0 1
Yards gained passing 120 65
Yards gained rushing 229 80
Total yards gained 349 145
Yards lost 15 49
Net yards gained 334 96
Times punted 1 2
Average punt (yards) 31 29
Yards punts returned by 0 0
Times kicked off 9 1
Average kickoff (yards) 43 47
Yards kickoffs returned by 21 94
Times fumbled 4 8
Lost ball on fumble 1 4
Times penalized 10 7
Yards penalized 60 45

Bob Khoenle