Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo

Tigers Crush Warren Panthers 27-6


A gallant band of Tiger football players took everything Warren had to offer for the better part of two periods Friday evening and then struck back with a devastating attack that produced a 27-6 victory, the 20th triumph in a row for the orange and black.

It was convincing proof for an overflow crowd of 22,000 fans that first place is where the Tigers belong in the Ohio high school football standings.

What a terrific first half it was!

Program Cover

The two teams battled to a scoreless tie until the Tigers passed to their first touchdown with only 34 seconds of the half remaining to be played. It was a great effort by Quarterback Rick Crescenze and a fine bit of running by Halfback Johnny Traylor, who caught the ball on about the 30 and stepped around and about the Warren tacklers for the rest of the distance. The entire play was good for 41 yards.

Up to that time Warren had the better of it, for the scoring pass not only produced the lone touchdown of the first two periods but also put Massillon ahead in the yards gained. Up to that time the statistics were in the Panthers’ favor.

As it turned out the six points and the successful conversion by Tom Boone of the extra point on a placekick, turned the tide of battle in favor of Massillon.

The second half of the duel was overwhelmingly dominated by Massillon – in points and in offense and defense. Where the Tigers only made 158 net yards to Warren’s 131 net yards the first half, they rolled up 230 yards to the Panthers’ 59 the last two periods.

Actually it was the turn about in the Tiger defense that helped to swing the tide to Massillon.

A shifting defense the first half was inadequate to contain the Panthers and they dominated the play, running 32 plays to the Tigers’ 19.

The orange and black met them with a seven-man-line much of the second half and virtually stopped the thrusts of the Warren backs, limiting them to 47 yards on the ground. As a result the visitors were unable to control the ball as they did the first half and the Tigers had more opportunities to get their offense rolling.

It still was anybody’s ball game though until the last minute of the third period when Homer Floyd raced around end for the Tigers second touchdown with 30 seconds left in the frame to lead 14-0.

Nobody gave Warren much of a chance after that, though both teams fought tooth and nail right up to the final whistle.

The Tigers chalked up their third midway in the fourth quarter on a 40-yard run by Traylor and Warren got its lone T.D. on a pass following an interception on the Tiger eight, with a minute and 20 seconds of the game left to be played. The Tigers chalked up another on a pretty 42-yard pass play, Roy Johnson to Jim Letcavits with 39 seconds left of the game.

While Massillon was by far the superior team the second half, the game with a few breaks could have been much closer. Knock off the two touchdowns scored right at the end of the second and fourth periods and you would have the Tigers wining by 13-6 and if you want to make Warren look better yet, take into consideration the Panther fumble the Tigers recovered behind the goal line that might have led to another Warren touchdown had it not been for the muff.

Of course the local gridders had their bad breaks too. Warren never would have scored had not the orange and black, in possession of a safe 20-0 lead, gambled on a forward pass deep in their own territory with a minute and a half to go. Bob Maniatis intercepted it and ran back to the eight-yard line before being tackled. On the next play Quarterback Dave Preston passed to End John Smith for the Panther touchdown.
* * *
OUT-OF-TOWN writers in the press box were virtually all agreed that the Tiger team was considerably better than the Panthers over the four periods of play. Perhaps the happiest man in the press box was Bill Levy, sports editor of the International News Service, who had been criticized quite severely in Trumbull County the past week for having Warren far down the line in his football poll. He thought the Tigers’ 27-6 victory vindicated his judgment.

The game was the fastest played contest of the year. But one penalty was stepped off – a five-yarder against the Tigers. The locals refused a motion penalty against Warren and the latter refused a penalty against the Tigers.

A minimum of incompleted passes also hastened things along and there were few timeouts for injuries.

The Tigers had the best of the statistics. They made 15 first downs to Warren’s 12, completed half of their eight passes for 115 yards while Warren completed four of 10 for 37 yards, and gained 278 yards rushing to Warren’s 166. Net yardage, rushing and passing was 381 to 190 in the local teams’ favor.

Even in punting Traylor had the edge, averaging 48.5 yards on his two boots to 41 yards for Warren.
* * *
FIRED by a week of intensive preparations and pep meetings and buoyed by the confidence of some 7,000 fans who followed them to Massillon, the Panthers were keyed up for the contest and put up their best game of the season.

They made it uneasy for every Massillonian the first half and well through the third period, or until the Tigers put over their second touchdown.

“They tackled hard,” the Massillon boys said after the game and the coaches agreed it was a rough go.

Coach Mather took a brief moment to pay compliments to the performance of his team but was quick to say “right now I’m worrying about Toledo Waite. They’re the biggest team our scouts have ever seen in high school uniforms and what worries us most is that everyone is talking about Fremont Ross, and nobody is thinking of Waite. I believe Waite can beat Ross.”

At this stage the conversation someone rushed in to state he had just heard over the radio that Waite had beaten Toledo Central 61-13.

“See, that’s what I mean,” said Mather. “Waite has a ball team. It has lost one game – by a point – and to a team that is still undefeated. We can’t have any letdown this week – or the next – or the next.”

But Mather’s comments were almost drowned out with the hum of talk and rejoicing of fans over the conquest of Warren.
* * *
ALL FOUR of Massillon’s touchdowns came outside the 10-yard line and three of them were for 40 yards or more.

That’s the kind of team the local eleven has been all season – apt to go for the distance at anytime.

Every touchdown had a bit of the razzle dazzle, in it, Traylor’s run for the first, has already been described. It was a pretty piece of footwork on his part. The second made by Floyd was a 12-yard flanker following a pitchout. The third and Traylor’s second was the same perfect play that he worked against Mansfield a week ago, when he ran parallel to his line and then cut around the end to go for the works. Prettiest part of the run was when he took a shoulder away from the only Warren tackler to threaten him.

The last T.D. came out of a clear sky as Johnson went in as substitute and fired the ball to Letcavits who caught it on about the 10 and hastened over the goal. The boys in the dressing room afterward were kidding the bespectacled and smiling Roy as to what kind of jet propulsion he had behind the thrust.
* * *
THE MASSILLON fans booed the officials several times for what they thought were errors of judgment.

They didn’t like the five-yard penalty inflicted after a sucker shift which gave the visitors a first down. Mather thought it illegal. The officials ruled contact had been made by a Massillon player who had jumped offside; hence the penalty.

A boo went up when no penalty was inflicted after Traylor had been knocked down while punting. The officials considered it unavoidable…another when a visitor roughed up Traylor near the north end of the field late in the game.

Considering the stakes – first place in the state standings – the game was played hard and for the most part it was clean.
* * *
WARREN FANS had plenty of opportunities to cheer and rightfully so for their eleven. It undoubtedly gave the Tigers their hardest game of the season and despite the defeat the Panthers still deserve a high spot in the standings. We believe the Panthers could trim most of the 10 leaders in the poll and shall cast our vote accordingly.

Warren has a rugged line and a particularly hard runner in Jim Rogers. He battered the Tigers hard early in the game.

The first quarter was over before most fans got settled in their seats. Each team had the ball twice during the period. Warren kicked off to the Tigers who after making one first down were forced to punt from their 48 to Rogers who was downed on his 17. The visitors reeled off three first downs and got down to the Tiger 39 where they fumbled, Willie Longshore covering for Massillon on the locals’ 47. The Tigers largely on Francisco’s
14-yard effort went to Warren 33, where Traylor fumbled a handoff and Warren recovered on its 35. The visitors made a first down and were back to the Massillon 46 as the quarter ended.
* * *
THE TIGERS held for three downs and with fourth and four coming up, Warren pulled the sucker shift previously referred to that drew the Tigers offside. The five-yard penalty gave the visitors a first down on Massillon’s 37. Incidentally, Warren writers said it was the first time this season the Panthers had used the sucker shift.

Warren moved to a first on the 25 and executed a fine fake handoff to send Giles around right end to a first down on the six. But on the next play Rogers fumbled on the goal line while being tackled and Eddie Fletcher pounced on the ball for a touchback.

A 47-yard run by Francisco helped take the ball to the 19 where Warren braced and held for downs. The visitors struck back with three consecutive first downs that moved the ball to the Massillon 37, where Ron Gardner, Tiger linebacker, intercepted a pass of Preston’s on third down.

That got the Tigers going. Crescenze tossed to Boone for a first on the Warren 47 and Floyd ground out six through the middle of the line.

With the seconds rapidly ticking away, Crescenze faded back, ran far to his right, pursued by two Warren tacklers and just got the ball away in time to Traylor who had planted himself between the visitors’ secondary. Johnny had to do some fancy running to elude Panther tacklers and aided by a couple of superb blocks, went over for the first T.D. with 34 seconds to spare. Boone kicked the extra point.
* * *
THE TIGERS scored the first time they got the ball in the third period – the only time they had it. They first had to stop Warren after the kickoff and force the visitors to punt, Preston getting off a good boot to the Massillon 18. It took nine plays to get the ball to the Warren 12. Homer Floyd got off two dandy runs en route including one of 28 and Crescenze hit Letcavits with a 14-yard pass that put the ball on the 12. A pitchout to Floyd produced the touchdown. Warren was able to run but one play after the following kickoff before the end of the period.

The team exchanged punts in the third quarter and Warren was forced to boot the ball a second time to the Tigers, Floyd running the leather back to his 37. A 22-yard effort by Traylor put the ball on the 40 from which spot he took off for the rest of the distance. Porter tried to run the extra point across but didn’t quite make it and the score stood at

The Tigers kicked off and again forced Warren to punt. Crescenze tried to pass from his own 24 but Maniatis got in front of the ball, intercepted and ran back to the eight before he was knocked out of bounds. On the next play Preston passed to John Smith for the Warren points.

The Tigers took the kickoff and moved rapidly. Ronnie Agnes brought it back to his 42 and Traylor ran to a first down on the Warren 48. Floyd on a pitch out went out of bounds on the 42 and Johnson was sent in to throw for the Tigers. Throw he did and completed his first peg to Letcavits for the last touchdown of the game. Boone kicked this extra point too.

ENDS – Boone, Letcavits, Lentz.
TACKLES – Dean, Schram, Williams, Hill.
GUARDS – Eaglowski, Agnes, Gardner, Maier, Shilling.
CENTERS – Fisher, Fletcher.
QUARTERBACKS – Crescenze, Johnson, Porter.
HALFBACKS – Francisco, Traylor, Longshore, Fromholtz.
FULLBACKS – Floyd, Stoner, Boekel.

ENDS – Sibera, Kelley, Smith, Trice.
TACKLES – Nagy, Riffle, Begalla.
GUARDS – Aurand, Simmons, Mosholder.
CENTER – Principi.
HALFBACKS – Rogers, Giles, Venetta, Angelo, Maniatis, Dowell.
FULLBACK – Hilles.

Score by periods:
Massillon 0 7 7 13 27
Warren 0 0 0 6 6

Massillon – Traylor 2; Floyd; Letcavits.
Warren – Smith.

Points after touchdown:
Massillon – Boone 3 (placekicks).

Referee – McPhee (Poland).
Umpire – Russ (Youngstown).
Head Linesman – Zimmerman (Cuyahoga Falls).
Field Judge – Lobach (Akron).

Mass. Warren
First downs 15 12
Passes attempted 8 10
Passes completed 4 4
Had passes intercepted 1 2
Yards gained passing 115 37
Yards gained rushing 278 166
Total yards gained 393 203
Yards lost 12 13
Net yards gained 381 190
Times kicked off 5 2
Average kickoff (yards) 47 30
Times punted 2 4
Average punt (yards) 48.5 41
Yards kickoffs returned by 20 71
Yards punts returned by 16 19
Times fumbled 1 3
Lost ball on fumbles 1 2
Times penalized 1 0
Yards penalized 5 0

Jim Lectavits