Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo

Tigers Defeat Struthers 68-0
Massillon Gridders Get Off To Fast Start In Defense Of Title


Tom Harp made his debut with the Tiger football symphony Friday evening and 9,593 fans applauded the scoring crescendo that buried Struthers high under an avalanche of points, 68-0.

It was an impressive start for the 27-yard-old coach who is now at the helm of Massillon football after but three years of understudy work at Carrollton high.

He was happy after the game, so were the fans, and more important, the boys who helped start the 1954 season with a bang whose import was being discussed long after the echo of the bombs that were shot off after the 10 touchdowns had faded.

Program Cover

The victory got the Tigers off to a good start in defense of the state title they have won the last six years, and 49 players had a hand in fashioning it. Harp tossed that many into the melee and the more he substituted the more the score grew. The youngsters often looked smoother than the first team that had worn down Struthers during the first two periods.

Harp, in fact kept his first team on the bench after the first few minutes of the third quarter and permitted the second, third, fourth and some of the fifth team to carry on. It prompted the prize remark of the night in the press box when one reporter chirped, “I wouldn’t want to be a member of Massillon’s first team – you don’t get to play.”
* * *
WHILE HARP was pleased after the game and was willing to be quoted so, he also followed his remarks with a note of caution that Struthers wasn’t very strong and that there are a lot tougher teams to be faced in the future, including Canton Lincoln, next Friday’s opponent in Tiger stadium.

He saw plenty of signs of improvement for his team too. He even saw them between halves of the game, when his squad took a quick look at motion pictures of the first quarter which were processed during the second period and made ready for showing when the team trotted into the locker house at intermission.

They probably didn’t contribute much “to last night’s victory because of the one-sided opposition – a Mickey Mouse film would have been just as good – but they did prove that Harold Kiplinger, the team’s photographer can get’em out on time and in a tight game may provide the squeeze that will get the Tigers through.

The locals were most effective on their sweeps and in their passing game. They scored a few gains up the middle, including the first TD, but as Harp says, they can still stand a lot of polishing.
The Tigers got off to a flashy start as though to show fans they know what this game of football is all about.

On the fourth play from scrimmage, stocky Ronald Boekel exploded up the middle for a 78-yard touchdown run, and on the very first play after the Tigers next came into possession of the ball, Homer Floyd went 79 yards to score.
* * *
THAT STARTED the parade which saw still another touchdown scored in the first period, two in the second, three and a safety in the third and two more in the fourth.

To get them the Tigers rolled up the tremendous total of 630 net yards from scrimmage to 83 net yards for Struthers. Thus the one-sided score is carried right on into the statistics. What is more, only once did Struthers get into Massillon territory. A 10-yard screen pass helped to carry the visitors to Massillon’s 38 where they were forced to punt.

Thereafter, Harp’s boys kept them shut up in their own back yard.

Fumbles and intercepted passes also helped throttle what little offense Struthers had to offer. Joe Holloway was a ball hawk as he covered at least three Struthers fumbles, and intercepted a pass.

The Tigers made 17 first downs to Struthers’ four and gained 138 yards through completion of six passes. The visitors completed five of seven passes good for 28 yards.

The Tigers punted but once, Tom Stephens booting the ball over the goal on a short kick. A shift employed for punt formation pulled Struthers offside three times. Twice they were penalized but once got back before the ball was put in play.
* * *
THE FIRST two touchdowns by Boekel and Floyd helped the yardage summary considerably. The third came late in the opening quarter after Holloway had intercepted a pass and got to the Struthers’ 40. A 15-yard clipping penalty set the locals back but Crescenze got off a peg to Floyd who went all the way to the 16. The drive wound up with Boekel ramming through for the last eight yards.

Two passes produced the fourth touchdown of the game. The first, Crescenze to Andy Stavroff was good for 17 and the second – the payoff – Crescenze to Floyd netted 38 yards…and Homer did a swell job of running on it.

A Crescenze to Bob Williams pass produced the fifth TD on a 17-yard gain with only 20 seconds of the half left to play.

Jerry Yoder started the second half of flopping Sam Williams behind his goal on a 10-yard loss for a safety. Struthers kicked off from the 20 and on the first play from scrimmage, substitute Dick Fromholtz went 35 yards with a lateral for the sixth touchdown.

The Tigers started from the Struthers’ 41 for their seventh and had to make up a 15-yard penalty en route. It was slam, band most of the way, and set up by a 25-yard toss from Quarterback Don Humes to Fromholtz. Fromholtz finally knifed over for the score from one yard out.
* * *
BOB TRACY set the locals in motion for their eighth when he hauled in a Struthers pass on the 45 and raced back 30 yards to the 15 before being downed. They boys ground out the rest of the distance. Halfback Don Duke taking it over from the three.

It took a march of 78 yards to get the ninth. Johnny James tossed 13 yards to Bob Jones to start the waltz and Duke finished it up with two long runs, one to the 27 and the next for the rest of the distance.

Time expired while the Tigers were scoring their last touchdown. Jerry Yoder skirting his left end for 33 yards.

Big Bob Williams, who was kicking wide of the goal at first, booted four of the five points he attempted the last half. The one missed point was blocked. He only kicked two of five the first half.

Only player injured last night was Cameron Speck, a linebacker, who was taken to the Massillon city hospital for X-rays. He sustained a contusion on the back. His condition was reported good by the hospital this morning.

The line-ups and summaries:
ENDS – Canary, Lorch, McConnell, Nagle, Francisco, Jones, Houston, Wallace, Bob Williams.
TACKLES – Big Bob Williams, Hill, Schumacher, Graber, Kreiger, Hofacre, Blocher, D. Maier, Moore, D.K. Maier.
GUARDS – R. Maier, Holloway, Tracy, Fisher, Ertle, Kasunich, Barrett.
CENTERS – Spicer, Rohrbaugh, Morrow, Gentzler, Dowd, Roan.
QUARTERBACKS – Crescenze, James, Humes, Speck.
HALFBACKS – Floyd, Stavroff, Yoder, Fromholtz, Duke, Radtke, Copeland, Chengery. Stephens.
FULLBACKS – Boekle, Archibald, Cocklin, Chet Brown.

ENDS – Rauch, Nugen, Walters.
TACKLES – Jacubec, Yurko, Johns.
GUARDS – Dodson, Repasky, Dandgraff, Echman, Carlucci.
CENTER – McComish.
HALFBACKS – Wilson, Williams, Stricklin, Morocco, Smrek, Aey, Sam Williams.
FULLBACK – Pavianansky.

Score by quarters:
Massillon 19 13 23 13 68

Touchdowns – Boekel 2; Floyd 2; Bob Williams; Fromholtz 2; Duke 2; Yoder.

Points after touchdown – Big Bob Williams 6.

Safety – Massillon

Referee – McPhee (Polant).
Umpire – Dickens (Alliance).
Head Linesman – Less (Youngstown).
Field Judge – Lindsay (Youngstown).

Mass. Stru’s.
First downs 17 4
Passes attempted 14 7
Passes completed 6 5
Had passes intercepted 1 2
Yards gained passing 138 28
Yards gained rushing 496 87
Total yards gained 634 115
Yards lost 4 32
Net yards gained 630 83
Times punted 1 7
Average punt (yards) 15 24
Yards punts returned by 5 0
Times kicked off 10 1
Average kickoff (yards) 47 39
Yards kickoffs returned by 13 165
Fumbles 1 9
Lost ball on fumbles 0 4
Times penalized 7 8
Yards penalized 95 40

Homer Floyd