Tigers Win Thriller From Alliance
Massillon Gridders Triumph 13-0; Erase Old Jinx For Coach
By CHARLIE POWELL
It was another heap big scare, m’am, and Massillon was mighty glad it won.
There was good reason for rejoicing in the Tiger camp; the Tigers could point to their third victory in a row, the Alliance jinx was something of the past and Coach Lee Tressel’s personal winning skein had reached 37 games.
The Aviators, mainly on their longest sustained drive of the night, which came late in the third period and fizzled out on the first play of the final quarter, were like so many previous Alliance combines. They simply gave all they had before bowing 13-0 before 7,819 paid fans at Mt. Union College stadium.
But what they had wasn’t enough, thank goodness.
Massillon parlayed first and fourth period marches into its 28th win in 33 meetings with Alliance clubs. Fancy prancing Ivory Benjamin dashed into pay dirt twice and teamed with hard-nosed Mike Hershberger and the two line-busters, Chet Brown and “Chuck” Beiter, to give the Tigers the advantage when it came to moving that pigskin.
That the ground attack was the big difference was evident in that for the second time this season Massillon enjoyed a statistical edge. Just take a look.
Massillon, 13 first downs to Alliance’s 10, 270 net yards gained to 173. One Tiger aerial connection made 14 yards while the vaunted Aviator air game went ker-plunk.
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ALLIANCE TRIED eight passes and not one settled into the arms of the intended receiver. But four times it was not fault of the passer, sophomore Walt Zingg.
This boy Zingg really threw the oval around but his efforts were in vain.
For instance, in that third quarter march Zingg’s flings could have put the host club back in the old ball game. Twice his receivers raced behind the Tiger secondary and were practically all by their lonesome when the pass arrived. But on both occasions the aerials were dropped.
Then after the drive ended, the Tigers had to punt and early in the spine-tingling final frame the Aviators went to work again. After Mike Hershberger got off one of his fine punts, this one 53 yards to the Aviator 10, the Mel Knowlton-coached crew advanced to their own 43 and once again one of their receivers dashed behind the secondary. Again the ball was right there but again Zingg’s toss was missed.
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THE ORANGEMEN then applied the clincher. A march of 81 yards, featuring Beiter’s
35-yard caper up the middle, was capped when Benjamin whizzed around the right side for the final 13 yards.
The goalposts came down and the thumping in Massillon hearts eased considerably. What happened after that, except for the celebrating, was anti-climatic – even the fact that end Clyde Childers was required to kickoff three times.
Thus the Alliance jinx which made Paul Brown, Chuck Mather and Tom Harp its victims, went down the drain. And responsible was a green gang of fighters who licked a scrappy band of veterans.
Coach Tressel, enjoying one of his happiest hours, wouldn’t try to pick out any standouts.
“We are improving, our tackling was better and our downfield blocking looked good again. However, we have some more tough ones coming up. They are all rough…I mean it…but I believe we can hold our own if we continue to improve,” he said.
Tressel was a little peeved because of a second quarter let down but he explained the boys may have been tiring. However, apparently they got their second breath after stopping Alliance’s one big push of the night and as the last drive that iced the verdict was marked by crisp blocking and some hard running.
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THE TIGER COACH was high on the Alliance team. He singled out halfbacks Timmy Johnson and Gary Wilson, who were particular thorns on inside running plays, and also paid a tribute to Zingg, a passer of “real promise.”
Johnson and Wilson accounted for 167 yards between them but their fast and shifty dashes failed to overshadow those of the four lads who carried the brunt of the Orange attack.
Benjamin zipped 92 yards in 14 carries with his touchdown coming on nifty runs of 25 and 14 yards, Hershberger made 76 in 16 trips, the improving Beiter gained 70 in five carries and Brown toted seven times for 31 yards.
Their runs were made possible by a mobile line that handled its job mighty fine. There were no standouts – everybody played hard and smart.
The game was less than two minutes old when guard Tom Meldrum jumped on a fumble at the enemy 49 – and Massillon was on its way to its first touchdown.
Hershberger and Benjamin gained three and five, respectively, before the former, twisting away from two would-be tacklers on a sweep to the left, picked up 14 yards to the 27. Brown got a yard, Benjamin fought for five and Hershberger fumbled and recovered for a four-yard deficit before Benjamin got on his horse.
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THE WHIRLING dervish who plays left half for the Bengals took the ball on a double reverse – which caught the Aviators with their defenses down – and veered to the right. Blocking was near perfect and Ivory had it comparatively easy the last 15 yards of his
15-yard gallop. He was knocked for a loop but in the end zone and with six and a half minutes remaining in the panel, the Tigers were in front 6-0.
It was still six to zero after Davie Richardson’s placekick hit the crossbar and bounced back.
The rest of the quarter was meaningless other than Johnson’s 18-yard run but the hosts made two more first downs as the second round got under way. However, the Tigers knuckled down and finally end Attlilo Giovanatto had to punt from the Massillon 48.
The Tigers moved to their own 49 before Hershberger got off another terrific punt and another exchange of punts followed. The last time Alliance had possession in the first half Zingg tried three passes. One was almost intercepted by Benjamin, and two others were too far for the intended receiver.
Tressel’s halftime talk must have been a honey.
The Tigers came out loaded for Aviators. Except for a 15-yard foray by Beiter the yards were ripped off in short chunks as the Orangemen took the kickoff and moved from their own 16 to the 39.
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BOB RINEHART the smooth quarterback, then hit on his only completion with Benjamin the catcher. The play was good for 14 and the fourth first down of the march but then the boys ran out of gas. On a delay, Hershberger was nailed for a five-yard loss by linebacker Bob Miller and Beiter was held for no gain before Rinehart took to the airlanes again.
The first went to Benjamin at the 25 but it looked like Ivory tried to run before he made the catch. On fourth down Rinehart twirled into the end zone and the throw was just a shade too far for Dick Brenner to reach.
Alliance was fired-up again. It was Johnson, then Wilson to the Tiger 43 before an end dropped a Zingg aerial in the clear at the 20. The host team went to the ground again and Wilson on two smashes gained 23 to the 20. Alliance stands were roaring but another Zingg pass was dropped and Johnson got only two and Wilson three. Then on fourth down Zingg couldn’t find a receiver in the open and ran to his right. Chet Brown got a firm grip on Zingg’s jersey, wouldn’t let go and Massillon took over at its own 13.
Chet and Ivory picked up a first down but in three more plays the Bengals gained nine and Hershberger punted. This time his kick sailed 53 yards and dead on the 10.
And man, the Aviators had Tiger fans on the edge of their seats once again.
That same pair, Johnson and Wilson, carried the mail to the 32 and after the next two plays made eight, a Zingg pass was dropped for the fourth time.
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THEN EVERYBODY was expecting the Red and Blue to go for the first down. It was fourth and about a yard and a half at the 43 but the Aviators punted.
Giovanatto lofted one 38 yards to the Massillon 19 and the Tresselmen got sharp to apply the clincher.
Chet Brown twice wriggled loose for 12-yard pick-ups as the invaders moved to the Aviator 43 before Beiter came through with his 35-yard jaunt. Beiter cracked the middle and almost went the distance but was brought down from behind at the eight. A Rinehart toss was short but Benjamin skirted right-end, smartly cut away from a couple defenders, and went into the end zone standing up. Richardson’s placement at 1:02 made Massillonians real happy.
Childers had to kickoff three times after the field was cleared of fans who walked off with the goalposts. Massillon was offside on the first; the second went out of bounds. Then kicking from his own 35, the lanky flanker sent one clear down to the Alliance five. Johnson ran it out to the 27 and on the second play from scrimmage guard John Heimann intercepted a Zingg pass and two plays later the final gun sounded.
First downs rushing 12 10
First downs passing 1 0
First downs by penalties 0 0
Total first downs 13 10
Yards gained rushing 278 180
Yards lost rushing 22 7
Passes attempted 6 8
Passes completed 1 0
Passes had intercepted 0 1
Yards gained passing 14 0
Net yards gained 270 173
Times kicked off 3 1
Average kickoff return -5 16
Yards kickoff returned by -5 49
Times punted 4 5
Average punt (yards) 42.5 36
Yards punts returned by 0 9
Had punts blocked 0 0
Total fumbles 2 3
Times lost ball on fumbles 0 2
Penalties 5 2
Yards penalties 35 20