Tigers Defeat Toledo Central 35-0
Long Runs By Bengal Backs Startle Foe
By CHARLIE POWELL
If the outcome of all the rest are like the one last night there will be a lot of happy people in Massillon – and Coach Lee Tressel will be able to toss his aspirins into the nearest trash can.
But before the 1956 edition of the Washington high Tigers had applied the finishing touches to their one-sided 35-0 conquest of an out-manned but stubborn Toledo Central Catholic grid team those who root for the good old Orange and Black were starting to think about the more troublesome obstacles which lie ahead.
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CANTON LINCOLN is next and the Lions will be a different story. That’s what they were saying and apparently no truer words have ever been spoken.
Toledo Central had a spunky, hard-hitting outfit, one that probably kept the score down by controlling the swineskin. Those 35 points looked awfully good but they fail to tell the story. Only once did the Tigers put on a sustained drive, they were out-first-downed and without a couple of long gainers they would have been on the short end of total yardage.
The blocking stands improvement and we think it will be better. Ditto for the defense, which was somewhat off color in the tackling department. But there were some outstanding overtures played by the Tigers, who made it a romp before a goodly-sized turnout (10,257) considering a good many things.
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BIGGEST THING in Massillon’s favor was its explosiveness. The three regulars operating out of the “hands” of Quarterback Bob Rinehart – Halfbacks Ivory Benjamin and Mike Hershberger and Fullback Chet Brown, with one big assist from sub fullback Chuck
Beiter – were the difference. Perhaps the energetic Benjamin came up with the more spectacular jaunts but the three others did man-sized jobs and although the Fighting Irish really acted tough on occasions, the mixture of speed and power put them on the
ropes – then knocked them off.
Hershberger, righthalf and co-captain, tallied two touchdowns on runs of seven and 20 yards, caught a pass for 10 more and in 11 trips with the mail averaged over seven yards per try. Benjamin carted nine times for an average of seven yards per and it was his
58-yard scamper, longest run of the night, which went for another Tiger TD. He also caught an aerial for a gain of 36 yards. Line-bucking Brown averaged over six yards in nine carries and Chet got into the scoring act on a six-yard smash. Beiter, impressive in his brief role as a line buster, scored the other touchdown on a 21-yard sock up the middle.
OUT FRONT of these lads was a line, which blew “hot and cold.” The opener staged in near-perfect football weather probably helped them a great deal and undoubtedly they will get better with each game. After all, the fact that none of them had ever before started a varsity scuffle must be considered.
Incidentally, the same holds true for the backfield – including Hershberger who sat out the 1955 season because of an injury.
Benjamin got the Orangemen headed goal ward midway in the first quarter when after an exchange of punts he grabbed another Toledo kick on his own 32. Cutting to the east sidelines he moved in the clear at the 40 and apparently was going all the way but the last defender standing a chance to stop him did just that. However, Massillon was in business at the Central 27 and in short order the Tigers’ first touchdown of the year was flashed on the scoreboard.
HERSHBERGER lost three at the left side and a Rinehart pass was incomplete but Bob, showing considerable poise, twirled again and this time Hershberger made a leaping catch at the 24 and toted four more yards. On the next play the same Hershberger, on a
quick-hitter, hit pay dirt after tearing away from one Toledo player, then outrunning two more.
Little Dave Richardson, who doubles as a student manager and place-kicker, came in and calmly split the uprights. And he did the same after each touchdown that followed.
Only two minutes, 32 seconds remained in the quarter and Massillon didn’t reach touchdownland again but the speedy, shifty Benjamin brought the crowd to its collective feet and got the Bengals knocking at touchdown door again.
The Centralites stalled and Quarterback Bob Stearns punted from the 17 to Ivory, who grabbed the leather on the 48 and zoomed to the Irish 38. The Tigers were on the prowl after being held at bay the last two plays of the period.
On the first play of the second quarter Rinehart ran to his left, fired the ball to Benjamin on the 42 and the Tiger righthalf made it to the 11 after neatly reversing his field in front of the Central bench. Ivory was bounced for a loss of two but Hershberger got six before taking a pitch out, wheeling left and fighting his way to the end zone. Richardson converted at 10:07.
Before the half it was 21-0.
BENJAMIN HAULED in a pass by Pete Kessler, sub for Stearns, and rambled from the Tiger 44 to the Central 42. It required the hosts six plays to make their third six-pointer. It was sub halfback Larry Washington for six, Benjamin three, Hershberger for the first down at the 32, Brown to the 21 and then Beiter, finding a big hole at center, buzz-sawing his way the last 21 yards. At 5:04 Richardson kicked the point. That’s the way it stood at intermission which arrived shortly after Hershberger halted a Central bid which reached the Tiger 23. Mike intercepted a throw at the three, cut back to within inches of his own goal line, and raced to the 35. With a couple of good blocks he might have gone the distance. It wouldn’t have counted through, as Massillon was penalized back to the 20 for clipping. Two plunges netted seven, two passes failed and the teams took a rest.
A poor kick which squirted off End Bill Compton’s foot and went out of bounds 15 yards away at the 35, paved the way for the Tresselmen’s third period touchdown.
After Brown got two and Beiter churned for five, Benjamin got on his “horse” once again. Hitting off the right side, he quickly burst into the clear and without a hand touching him, hot-footed it 58 yards to the Promised Land. Needless to say, Richardson booted it through to make it 28-0 with 8:45 remaining in the session.
THE IRISH of Tom McHugh followed with their best effort, which went from their own 44 to the Orange six. Two runs, two passes made it third and six at the six when Stearns unleashed an aerial intended for Halfback Dick Courturier. Instead Benjamin was the catcher. From the six-inch line he scooted up field and with Tackle Jim Mercer throwing the key block, reached midfield. For a moment the play spelled touchdown but two Toledo boys had an angle on him.
Apparently, the back-fire took the wind out of the visitors and the Tigers got rambunctious again. On the last play of the quarter Hershberger gained three and as the final round got under way the drive kept moving.
Cutting away from one enemy and stiff-arming another, Hershberger raced 12 and came back for 18 after Benjamin picked up four following a Rinehart pass, which was bent for End Don Elavsky, but broken up by Irish Halfback Ron Bueter. End Bob Brubaker nailed Rinehart before Bob could get his bearings, for a deficit of seven, back to the 20 but Brown barreled to the nine and Benjamin got six and with fourth and three on the board, the husky Brown hit over the left side and was hit by a brace of Irish at the two. But they failed to stop him and Chet just made it past the final stripe. At 8:39 Richardson’s kick wound up the scoring.
TRESSEL began to make more frequent use of his reserves and the Scarlet got the chance to advance the pigskin once more. Martin Grosjean, Bob Vetter and Kessler ran to the 19 and a pass, deflected by sub tackle Gary Ortiz, was caught by halfback Charley Miller who reached the 10. Two plunges got only a yard and on the last play of the encounter Kessler passed again. His throw sailed into the end zone and Fournier was set and waiting but defensive halfback “Corky” Pledgure came out of nowhere and batted the ball away.
Tressel was a very happy coach, “It’s always nice to win your opener,” he smiled.
Pointing out that Central controlled the ball a considerable amount of time (over five minutes at one stretch) the new Tiger tutor went on to say that this might not have been if his team’s tackling had been sharper. “Out-standing, I thought, was the fact that we didn’t fumble and were penalized only once.”
The coach emphasized that the attempted to keep his first unit intact over three quarters “because we need the work.”
First downs rushing 8 10
First downs passing 1 4
First downs by penalties 0 0
Total first downs 9 14
Yards gained rushing 227 152
Yards lost rushing 35 11
Passes attempted 7 8
Passes completed 2 4
Passes intercepted 2 0
Yards gained passing 46 47
Net yards gained 231 188
Times kicked off 6 1
Average kickoff return 14 12
Yards kickoffs returned by 14 82
Times punted 1 3
Average punt (yards) 40 28
Yards punts returned by 55 0
Had punts blocked 0 0
Total fumbles 0 2
Times lost ball on fumbles 0 1
Penalties 1 0
Yards penalties 15 0