Tigers Smash Canton McKinley 48-7
MASSILLON AWAITS OUTCOME OF FINAL FOOTBALL POLL
Victory Should Bring Sixth Consecutive Ohio Title To Local School
By LUTHER EMERY
Massillon today awaited the outcome of the final Associated Press poll which is expected to name the Washington high school Tigers state champions for the sixth consecutive year.
Writers among the 16,500 people who saw the Massillon gridders slash Canton McKinley to pieces in the first half of their traditional game in Fawcett stadium Saturday afternoon and win 48-7 are convinced the local team deserves the state crown.
The triumph was the Tigers 23rd in a row and completed two consecutive undefeated seasons. It was the 57th victory for Coach Chuck Mather and his staff since they took charge of Tiger football in 1948. They have lost but three games, one each in the 1948, 1949 and 1951 seasons. They also were undefeated in 1950. The win over McKinley likewise was Massillon’s 28th of the 58-game series that started in 1894. McKinley won 25 and five ended in tie scores.
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THE TIGERS were terrific.
Their first half offense was the most devastating, most perfect we have ever seen.
You have probably heard and read most of the figures by now, but they are worth repeating here.
In the first four plays from scrimmage the Tigers got three touchdowns. It took them six plays to get their fourth, two their fifth and one their sixth. In other words, their remarkable offense produced six touchdowns in 13 plays from scrimmage. Anyone want to dispute their claim to state champions.
They rolled up a 42-0 lead in one and one-half periods, after which Coach Chuck Mather opened the gates of mercy and began giving his senior substitutes as much action as possible in their final high school game.
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McKINLEY recovered a fumble inside the 15-yard line in the last two minutes of the second period and scored in the last second to produce its only points of the game. There wasn’t even time left for a kickoff.
Mather kept a flow of senior subs in his lineup throughout the last half. This and an improved Bulldog defense, coupled with fumbles and three penalties, held the Tigers to one touchdown the last half, that coming on a blocked McKinley punt.
The Tigers devastating play is revealed in their long runs and long passes for touchdowns and a vicious defense that kept Bulldog ball carriers nailed to the turf throughout most of the first half.
Offensively, there was an 80-yard T.D. run by Homer Floyd, three passes, all for touchdowns, (that’s all he threw the first half) by Dick Crescenze and some remarkable catches by Jim Letcavits, Tom Boone and John Traylor, good for 44 yards, 51 yards and 73 yards respectively. We can still see Wade Watts, Canton McKinley coach, bury his head in his hands after the last one that hoisted the score to 42-0.
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IT TOOK just 32 seconds to get the first T.D. and perhaps we had better take time out right here to account for the six in 13 feature.
Massillon fans were the most surprised lot in the place to see the Tigers win the toss and then elect to kickoff. They always receive when they win the toss. But Saturday at Canton it was different. Coach Chuck Mather informed his Co-Captains, John Traylor and Bruce Schram that if they won the toss they should kickoff because he figured McKinley was better defensively than offensively and he would rather meet them in their weakest department.
It was the right decision.
Ron Boekel gave the ball its hardest boot of the season right into the hands of Nat Harris, the Bulldogs’ ball carrying ace. But Nat was hit so viciously he fumbled and Traylor pounced on the ball on the four. McKinley jumped offside before a play could get under way from scrimmage and the Bulldogs were penalized to the one-yard line. On the first play Crescenze sneaked through from his quarterback spot for six points and Tom Boone kicked the seventh.
The Tigers next got the ball through a punt that rolled dead on the 15. John Francisco put it on the 20 in a slash at right tackle. On the second play of the series, Homer Floyd broke through on a trap play, cut to his right and raced 80 yards down the sideline to score. That made two touchdowns in three plays.
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THE TIGERS kicked off, then took the ball away from the Bulldogs on downs on the Canton 44. On the first play Crescenze shot the leather to Letcavits who made a brilliant catch, almost fell down, but steadied himself with one hand to keep on his feet and race the rest of the distance with Tom Boone removing the first Canton tackler from his path. That made three touchdowns in four plays.
It took a little longer to get the fourth. The Tigers started from their own 25 where they got the ball on a punt.
Traylor made three at left end, and Floyd ran for a first down but a 15-yard penalty was assessed for clipping. Traylor went for 13, Francisco for 10 and Crescenze made it a first down on his 48. Francisco got a yard and Crescenze whipped the ball 51 yards to Boone for the touchdown. That and the point that followed made it 28-0.
Only two plays were needed to get the fifth T.D. Joe Holloway crashed through to block Ken Bandi’s punt and Boone pounced on the ball on the six-yard line. Traylor carried it to the one, going over, but his knee touched a yard short before he laid his arms across the goal. Francisco smashed through with the score and it was 35-0.
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ONE PLAY was needed to get the sixth. A quick kick by Harris rolled to the Tiger 27. Crescenze immediately winged the ball to Traylor who never broke stride as he caught up with it in midfield and raced the rest of the distance to give his team a 42-0 lead.
That just about wraps up the Massillon tale of victory.
In it you have all four backs and the two ends, scoring a touchdown each and with five minutes and 20 seconds of the period still remaining to be played.
Mather began pouring in substitutes, seniors and some juniors. Roy Johnson, a senior, who hasn’t gotten in a whole lot this year, took over the quarterbacking of the team, replacing Crescenze who did not return to the game until the last four minutes of the fourth quarter.
The Tigers fumbled the ball away to the Bulldogs the next time they got it, Canton covering inside the 15. With Sophomore Horace Harris doing most of the running, the Bulldogs marched to the one yard line where Harris went over just was the half ended. John Kompara kicked the extra point and that ended Canton’s scoring for the day.
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THE TIGERS got one more touchdown when Ron Gardner blocked a McKinley punt late in the third period on the 16-yard line. He picked it up and ran across for the six points to end his football career in a blaze of glory. Ronnie has played mostly on defense. The touchdown, the only one he has scored, was just about the biggest thing that could happen to him.
The Tigers had other chances in the third and fourth quarter but penalties, substitutions and an improved Canton defense locked them out.
They were well on their way the first time they got the ball in the third period when McKinley covered a fumble on second down on the 14-yard line. They had what would have been a first down on the 15 had not the ball been called back because of a clipping penalty called against the Tigers and a personal foul against McKinley. The two nullified each other. Then Traylor ran to a first down on the five, but back came the ball again and another 15-yard penalty for clipping that necessitated the only Massillon punt of the afternoon.
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THE TIGERS lost the ball to the Bulldogs on a fumble on the 38 early in the fourth quarter to end another drive. Then again they drove to what would have been third down on the four-yard line with a yard to go for a first down, but the ball was called back and a five-yard penalty slapped on for offside. That put it on the 18 and they lost it on downs on the eight. It was their last effort, for Canton held the pigskin the rest of the way.
So you can see where penalties and fumbles helped throttle the Tiger offense the last half.
The Tigers were just as impressive in the statistics as on the scoreboard. First downs were 13-10 in their favor and they gained 447 net yards to McKinley’s 114 net yards. They completed five of 10 passes for 205 yards. McKinley completed 8 of 13 passes for 49 yards.
The game had its heroes – plenty of them we would say – the 11 offensive starters and those who jumped in for defensive chores – all were in the contest up to their necks. The backfield boys have already been mentioned, but without the line in front of them they could not have shown so brightly. The Tiger forward wall literally tore the Bulldogs to pieces the first half. Give credit to a pair of great ends, Letcavits and Boone; to Bruce Schram and Ronnie Dean, the tackles; to Joe Eaglowski and Russ Maier, who filled in for the injured Ronnie Agnes at guard; and to Tom Fisher, center. And don’t forget Willie Longshore, Gardner, Joe Holloway, Bob Williams, Eddie Fletcher, Chuck Lentz, Ken Lorch, Andy Stavroff, Bill Stone, Carl Porter, Johnson, Jerry Yoder, Ray Byrd, Boekel, Dick Fromholtz, Al Shilling, Jim Woolley, Chuck Hill and Joe Lopez, all of whom had a part in the victory.
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LIGHTS BURNED late in Massillon Saturday night as citizens and students celebrated the victory. The students held a victory dance at the school, citizens celebrated at parties about town and at country clubs.
Everywhere credit was given the team and Coach Mather and his assistants; Carl Schroeder, Paul Schofer, Lauri Wartiainen, Elwood Kammer and Dave Putts.
The questions most asked of them were why they didn’t pour it on; what was the argument over the ball; and was this your best team.
You have Mather’s answer to the first question – he wanted to give all seniors as much action as possible.
His face was red on the second. Crescenze came out of the game shouting, “They are using a rubber ball in there.”
Mather bristled: “They can’t do that,” and shouted to the referee, “Let me see that ball.”
He was shown the ball.
“It was leather,” said Chuck, telling of the incident. “There wasn’t much I could say.”
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WE AGREE with Mather’s answer to the third question that it is difficult to say any team is the best in high school history, but we also agree that this year’s eleven certainly ranks with the greatest on the basis of its 10 straight victories. And we hasten to point out that its opposition has likewise been unusually good as a whole.
It you want to look at it this way, six of Massillon’s opponents only dropped a combined total of five games to teams other than Massillon during the season.
Fremont Ross was beaten only by the Tigers: Warren was beaten only by Massillon and Hamilton; Alliance by Massillon and Youngstown Urusline; Mansfield by Massillon and Warren; Steubenville by Massillon and Warren; and Toledo Waite by Massillon and DeVilbiss. Canton Lincoln lost but two other games in addition to that to Massillon. It was beaten by Alliance and Barberton.
Certainly, the Tiger eleven was one of the most poplar with Massillon fans. The ability of Floyd, Francisco and Traylor to break loose for a touchdown at any moment and the constant threat of Crescenze tossing a touchdown pass provided fireworks every night.
The team is in every sense of the word, a deserving champion.
The line-up and summary:
MASSILLON — 48
ENDS – Letcavits, Boone, Lorch, Lentz, Lopez.
TACKLES – Schram, Dean, Williams, Hill, Woolley.
GUARDS – Eaglowski, Maier, Holloway, Gardner, Shilling.
CENTERS – Fisher, Fletcher.
QUARTERBACKS – Crescenze, Johnson, Porter.
HALFBACKS – Traylor, Francisco, Longshore, Yoder, Stavroff, Fromholtz, Byrd.
FULLBACKS – Floyd, Stone, Boekel.
ENDS – Roman, Carter, Jackson.
TACKLES – Kompara, Crawford, Cerwinsky.
GUARDS – Wilds, Patrick, Graham.
CENTER – Perdue.
QUARTERBACKS – Dreher, Killians.
HALFBACKS – Bandi, Garman, Matthews, H. Harris
FULLBACKS – N. Harris.
Score by periods:
Massillon 21 21 6 0 48
McKinley 0 7 0 0 7
Massillon – Crescenze, Floyd, Letcavits, Boone, Francisco, Traylor, Gardner.
McKinley – H. Harris.
Points after touchdown:
Massillon – Boone 6 (placekicks).
McKinley – Kompara (placekick).
First downs 13 10
Passes attempted 10 13
Passes completed 5 8
Had passes intercepted 0 0
Yards gained passing 205 49
Yards gained rushing 244 122
Total yards gained 440 171
Yards lost 2 57
Net yards gained 447 114
Times kicked off 9 0
Average kickoff (yards) 42 —
Yards kickoffs returned by — 82
Times punted 1 8
Average punt (yards) 30 30
Yards punts returned by 7 3
Had punts blocked 0 2
Times Fumbled 3 3
Lost ball on fumbles 3 2
Times penalized 5 5
Yards penalized 65 22