Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo

Tigers Defeat Akron Garfield 27-20


The Tigers squeaked by Akron Garfield 27-20 in Tiger stadium Friday evening before a surprising crowd of 9,444 and now let’s BEAT McKINLEY!

The BEAT McKINLEY cry went up immediately after the game as a banner was unfurled at one end of the field as the team and the band and students joined in a rally on the field.

But in the Tiger dressing room the BEAT McKINLEY spirit had not yet caught on, for the young Massillon athletes were a bit glum over their close shave with the Akron gridders.

Evidently they figured they hadn’t put up their best game against the gallant Akron team, which at the same time must have been wondering what you have to do to win a ball game.

Of course, the answer is “score more points,” and that the Tigers did, with the help of a fumbled Garfield punt that Ken Fisher covered on the Garfield six that led to the third Massillon touchdown.

The game was a close repetition of the 1954 Massillon-Garfield game which saw the Tigers trail 6-0 at the half and finally win 21-13 in the last quarter. It was the kind of a game you can expect a team to play when everyone is talking about the game a week away with Canton McKinley instead of concentrating on the job at hand.

The Tigers might well have lost last night’s encounter just as they could have lost the Garfield game a year ago.

Now it is up to the Massillon gridders to bounce back as they did a year ago and BEAT McKINLEY!

The Bulldog foes who they will meet next Saturday afternoon in Fawcett stadium, Canton, were witnesses at last night’s game.

Wade Watts, their coach, said Friday afternoon he ordinarily doesn’t permit his team to watch an opponent before a game. However, he waived the ruling Friday, feeling he had made a mistake last year by not permitting his team to see the Tigers play Garfield the week before the Massillon-Bulldog game.

“I felt that had my boys seen Massillon against Garfield last year, they might have come over with more confidence.”

As you know, the local gridders whipped the Bulldogs last year, 26-6.

What reaction last night’s Massillon-Garfield game will have on the Canton team remains to be seen.
* * *
CERTAINLY the Tigers were anything but sharp, while Garfield, playing with all of its might, was denied an upset or at least a tie by the narrowest of margins.

The Tigers for instance, scored their first touchdown after Garfield had lost the ball on downs on its own 34. Then the fumbled punt set up the third.

Garfield on the other hand was well on its way to a touchdown in the second period and had the ball on the eight-yard line when set back by a 15-yard clipping penalty.

Of course the Presidents got some breaks too. They covered three Massillon fumbles, a couple of them deep in Massillon territory, but were unable to cash in on them.

Garfield’s main weapon was the same as that of Barberton – the forward pass. Tiger opponents have sensed a weakness in Massillon’s pass defense and are throwing the ball. The Presidents completed nine of 18 passes for 177 net yards.

Two of their touchdowns were the direct result of passes and a long throw led to the other.

For the most part the receivers were fairly well defensed by the Massillon secondary but they caught the ball over the Tigers’ heads.
* * *
DAVE CHRIS, the slick little Garfield quarterback, eluded Tiger tacklers most of the evening when they attempted to rush him and worked from a good pocket of protection thrown up by his teammates. This gave him a lot of time to pick out his receivers.

He had a fine assortment of passes too, and the visitors gained on all of them, including a pass off a buck lateral.

The Tigers froze up in their passing game, tried three and completed one, a 16-yard toss to Jim Houston.

They gained a net total of 278 yards on the ground to 103 for Garfield, but the net sum of both running and passing was 294 for the Tigers to 280 for Garfield. First downs were
17-13 in the local team’s favor.

Leader in the ground gaining department for Massillon was Don Duke with 118 yards in 47 carries. Dave Archibald gained 72 in 14 carries and Charlie Brown 68 in 10. Christ, who gained 77 and lost 19, was the top runner for Garfield.

The first half, as has been the habit so many times this season, found the Tigers battling for their lives.
* * *
GARFIELD came on to score first as it took the opening kickoff on its 38. A 33-yard run by Chris and two passes, an eight-yarder from Chris to Gene Zuravel and one of 12 yards off a buck lateral to Sterling Shepherd who tossed to Manzie Winters, were included in the 62-yard march. The peg to Winters put the ball on the one and Chris took it over on second down. Mobley scored the extra point and made it 7-0.

Don Duke almost got away with the kickoff that followed, returning 61 yards to his 28 where he was bumped just enough to knock him off stride.

Garfield bristled and threw back the challenge, however to take the ball away from the locals on the 25.

But the Tigers also braced and stopped Garfield when, with fourth down and less than a yard to go, it tried for a first down. The locals took the ball on the 34 and from there moved quickly to score. Duke hit for 10, James one, Archibald six and Duke for the last 17 to score the first of his three touchdowns. John Kasunick kicked the extra point to tie the score at 7-7.

But that didn’t discourage Garfield.

Welcher booted the ball straight into the hands of a Garfield player on the 50. On the first play Chris fired to Zuravel for a touchdown, a gain of 50 yards. The attempt at the extra point was lost and the score stood at 13-7.

The second period was almost two-thirds gone when the Tigers managed to tie it up. Garfield had succeeded in getting down to the eight and was penalized back to the 23 for clipping. Earl Radtke ended the threat by intercepting for the Tigers on the 11. From this point the local team marched 89 yards to score. Duke and Archibald alternated carrying the ball and made six first downs on the four. Archibald took it over in two attempts to tie it up at 13-13.
* * *
THE TIGERS who received to start the second half fumbled to Garfield on the first play of the period on the 32, but the visitors were unable to take advantage of the break and were forced to punt, the ball going over the goal and the Tigers getting it on their 20. A 15-yard penalty against Garfield for unnecessary roughness moved the ball up field and the Presidents forced the locals to punt.

Archibald got off a good one but the Akron safety man fumbled it on the six and Fisher pounced on the pigskin for the Tigers. Duke shot over on the first play to score and also plunged the extra point over to put the locals ahead 20-13.

The Tigers forced Garfie4ld to punt after the kickoff, and they got the ball on their 35. Brown got 19 yards and the locals only successful pass of the evening, a 16-yard effort to Houston, brought a first on the 30.

Archibald made two and Brown ran to a first on the 11. Duke took it over from there and Kasunick kicked the extra point that made the score 27-13.

That ended the Tigers’ scoring efforts, but Garfield still had another up its sleeve.

It took the kickoff on the 30 and never stopped until it reached the Promised Land. Chris passed 21 yards to Winters to start the proceedings and a pass to Winters off a buck lateral to Shepherd gained 29 more and a first down on the 23. Mobley picked up four and Chris hit John Lampley for the touchdown, a gain of 19 yards.

The Tigers made one more effort to score but fumbled the opportunity away on the 26-yard line.

The line-up and summary:
ENDS – Houston, Canary, Welcher.
TACKLES – Graber, Maier, Schumacher, Kreiger, Hofacre, Meldrum.
GUARDS – Fisher, Roan, Kasunick, Tracy, Ertle, Harrison.
CENTERS – Spicer, Dowd, Gentzler.
QUARTERBACKS – James, Brenner.
HALFBACKS – Duke, Brown, Long, Radtke, Butcher, Cocklin, Benjamin, Herring, Washington.
FULLBACK – Archibald.

ENDS – Lampley, Winters.
TACKLES – Parker, Genda.
GUARDS – Suggett, Parks, Prim, Stevens.
CENTERS – Gay, Grecni.
HALFBACKS – Shepherd, Zuravel, Miller, Miskar, Arshinkoff, Taylor.
FULLBACK – Mobley.

Score by periods:
Massillon 7 6 14 0 27
Garfield 13 0 0 7 20

Massillon – Duke 3, Archibald.
Garfield – Chris, Zuravel, Lampley.

Points after touchdown:
Massillon – Kasunick 2 (placekicks); Duke (carried).
Garfield – Mobley (carried); Winters (placekick).

Referee – Lobach.
Umpire – Gryska.
Head Linesman – Holzbach.
Field Judge – Sweitzer.

Mass. Akron
First downs 17 13
Passes attempted 3 18
Passes completed 1 9
Yards gained passing 16 183
Yards lost passing 0 6
Net gain passing 16 177
Yards gained rushing 290 130
Yards lost rushing 12 27
Net gain rushing 276 103
Net gain rushing and passing 294 280
Times kicked off 5 4
Average kickoff (yards) 38 44
Yards kickoffs returned by 94 65
Times punted 2 2
Average punt (yards) 37 22
Yards punts returned by 0 0
Times fumbled 4 3
Lost ball on fumbles 3 1
Times penalized 4 4
Yards penalized 27 27

Jim Houston