McKinley Has Too Many Guns For Tigers
Martin Ball Of Fire Against Tresselman

By CHARLIE POWELL

A COMBINATION OF the irresistible force and the immovable object.

That would be an apropo description for Canton McKinley’s Bulldogs who, before over 23,000 fans at Tiger stadium Saturday afternoon, provided proof that they are worthy of the title, “1956 Oho state football champions.”

The best ball club to face a Massillon team in many a year and probably the best of all McKinley arrays without a doubt played its best game of the season and proceeded to paddle the out-manned but always-fighting Tigers by a stunning 34-7 count.

Let’s give McKinley credit. It had the horses as it:
1. Went undefeated for a second straight year and extended the school record to 20 triumphs in a row.
2. Beat Massillon for a second season in a row, the first time this trick has been pulled since 1933.
3. Handed the Tigers their first loss on home sod for the first time since Mansfield turned the tide in 1949.
4. Gave a Massillon team its worst beating since the 35-0 thrashing of 1942.
5. Registered 34 points to hike its school record to a season total of 490 points in 10 games. The old mark was 487 points in 11 contests.
6. And captured the state title for a second straight year, another first for a Bulldog team.

Program Cover

According the Bulldogs the championship and the Rutgers Hall of Fame trophy that goes with it is only a matter of formality.

The loss for the Tigers was the sixth over the last 10 campaigns and it marked the first time since 1947 the Bengals dropped two in one year. The Tiger record of eight wins, two setbacks, is the school’s worst since the 6-4 mark of 1947.

McKinley thus scored as many points in one game as it did against the Bengals in the seven previous years combined. And the win was the Bulldogs’ 27th in the ancient and colorful rivalry. Massillon, which has been the victor 29 times (five battles ended in ties) now has won 22, lost 12 and tied three over the last 36 years.

It was the ninth straight year the Tigers and Bulldogs had met with the state title riding on the outcome. Up until last season the locals had grabbed the brass ring seven consecutive years.

And now let us give credit to the local team, the more inexperienced and immature of the two.
* * *
LEE TRESSEL’S aggregation might have folded after being hit so hard early in the game but the Tigers never gave up trying. And when they realized they were a beaten ball club they fought back even harder.

But some bad breaks, their own mistakes and the stout McKinley defense left them a cropper.

Coach Tressel said the fumble on the first play after the kickoff following McKinley’s initial touchdown hurt his team immensely and who is there to disagree? There was another fumble after the second Bulldog TD and the Tigers were in a hole they were never able to get out of.

Three fumbles lost to the enemy and two pass interceptions stalled the Tiger attack and Tressel attributed the local defense to a “good McKinley offense.”

“They were a great ball club Saturday but I felt we were better than we showed. We certainly could have done a better job,” he said.

That sterling McKinley offense was centered around Quarterback Ron “Ike” Grimsley, the magician who directed the Bulldogs in his usual fine fashion; All-Ohio Bob Williams, who was simply great on defense and plucked two Massillon passes out of the air and also pounced on a Tiger fumble, all in the third period; little Phil Martin, a will-o-wisp who wrecked the Tigers with his sensational running in the first half; and Wayne Fontes, his running mate at halfback who ran equally as well inside as he did outside.

The mercury-footed Martin tallied on runs of five, 57 and 77 yards in that order and finished up the day with 191 yards in 15 carries – an average of 12.7 yards per trip. Fontes made 95 in 16 runs and Grimsley gained 81 in 14. The latter’s passing wasn’t anything to brag about but the Bulldogs were hardly pressed into going to the sky.

Mike Hershberger, the boy with a man-sized heart, led the Tiger attack despite the fact he was hampered by his bad knee. He carried 13 times for 68 yards, blocked with abandon and turned in an outstanding defensive game. Speedy Ivory Benjamin collected 74 yards in 15 carries and “Chuck” Beiter, took over for Chester Brown at fullback and picked up 43 yards in eight trips. Even for a losing cause, there were other Tiger stats.
* * *
THE BULLDOGS, who did very little wrong, went on the prowl after they won the toss of the coin and elected to receive. They pounded off the tackles and skirted the end like demons for 14 plays.

Fontes too Tim Krier’s kickoff on the 22 and got back to the McKinley 35 from which point Grimsley went on the air. Big Williams got behind the defenders at the Tiger 35 but the pass sailed over his head and the invaders then decided to hoof it.

Fontes had a hole at the left side for 10 yards and four plays later, on a fourth and two situation, blasted through center for four yards as he kept his team rolling at the Tiger 43. Only Hershberger kept Grimsley from going all the way and after Ike’s 16-yarder the Bulldogs chopped off short yardage to reach the five. At 6:01 Martin, with the aid of a nice block by Fontes, raced around the right flank for the first Bulldog TD and Grimsley followed with the first of his three conversions.

This had happened to the Tigers on many other occasions in the past and usually the Orangemen retaliated with a bang. But after Brown returned Williams’ kickoff 13 yards to the Massillon 38, Benjamin fumbled after dashing eight-yards.

Linebacker Jesse Chenault covered the pigskin at the Bulldog 38 and McKinley was in business again. After Fontes and Fullback Arnold Lewis made two a piece, Martin wowed the crowd and stunned the Tigers again. He got off a 56-yard pay dirt jaunt by going off right tackle, working himself loose from three would-be tacklers and cutting away from two more. In the clear at the Orange 40, he raced to the end zone without too much effort. Grimsley again converted with (text unreadable) the period.

Less than a minute later Rinehart fumbled and McKinley had a break again, this time at the Tiger 18. After a 15-yard holding penalty, Grimsley tossed to End Bob Burchfield for 15 yards and from the 13, Grimsley threw again. Martin made a beautiful catch as he fought off two defenders but he was out of the end zone and the Bulldogs were stymied, temporarily anyway.
* * *
IN THE SECOND period, following a punt exchange, Benjamin recovered his own fumble on a punt and from their own 19 the Orangemen picked up steam. They made one first down on the ground and another via the airlanes as a reverse pass, Gene Stewart to End Don Elavsky, netted 19. But from the Bulldog 40 the Tigers had to kick. Hershberger’s kick was taken by Fontes, hit immediately by Benjamin and the ball was on the eight.

Mr. Martin made it 20-0 in a jiffy. After he lost two, Fontes picked his way for 17 yards to the 23 to set the stage for Martin’s third touchdown dash of the half. On a 77-yarder, the scatback went to his right, faked two defenders out of the way and sped to the end zone.

The Tigers came up with their first real thrust after Washington returned the kickoff to the Bengal 36. Benjamin did a neat bit of running for 19 and Hershberger spun and fought his way for 20 and a first down at the Bulldog 26. Tiger fans were yelling for a score but Massillonians were to be denied this time. Hershberger made three and Benjamin five to make it third and about two at the 18.

Then the Tigers, trying to catch the enemy by surprise, decided to take to the air. Rinehart intended to slip the oval to lanky Clyde Childers but Childers slipped and fell and the smooth Tiger quarterback was forced to “eat it.”

Coach Tressel later explained that the coaches had noticed the McKinley halfbacks coming up fast as the Tigers stayed on the ground. The strategy called for a long throw to Childers but things went haywire as Childers fell and the other eligible receiver, Benjamin, was covered. On the next play Tackle Harry Sylvester knifed in to throw Beiter for a six-yard deficit and the locals’ bid was stopped.

Williams was the fly in the Massillon ointment during the third period. The Tigers had possession four times but twice Williams intercepted a pass and on anther occasion be recovered a fumble.

At the outset of the canto he hauled in a Rinehart pitch and ran back to the Massillon 32. In just six plays the Bulldogs tallied again. Fontes started the drive with a 17-yard sprint and from the four he bulled over to make it
27-0 at 7:41.
* * *
THREE PLAYS after the kickoff Williams covered the Tiger fumble at the Bengal 18 and soon McKinley hit the jackpot for the fifth time. From the 13 Grimsley went back to pass, decided he had to run with it, and run he did. He ran to the left, then cut back toward the west sidelines and wasn’t hit until he crossed the final stripe.

Near the end of the period Fontes punted into the west stands and the Tigers began to percolate from their own 48. Hershberger made eight, Beiter seven and Benjamin made 11 yards on the last play of the session.

Benjamin sandwiched five yards between five by Hershberger for a first down at the 16 and the Tigers weren’t to be shutout even though they lost four on a fumble. Hershberger came back with five before Beiter tallied from the 15. The junior fullback ploughed through right tackle and had good blocking as he scored at 9:40. Davie Richardson converted for the 21st time this season – his 11th one in a row.

After an exchange of punts the Bulldogs began to move again. Hershberger punted, with his beauty going out of bounds at the eight, and the McKinley lads advanced to the Tiger 30 before the game came to a close.

The 22,993 paid admissions brought Massillon’s total attendance for seven home games to 98,159. This was the third largest number to see Tiger teams play at home in modern history.

It was the last football game in a Tiger uniform for 16 boys – Elavsky, Krier, Rinehart, Hershberger, Richardson, Washington, Chester Brown, Bob Brown, Dick Brenner, Joe Wells, Tom Mays, Dick Whitfield, Jim Mercer, Bruce Bixler, Tom Meldrum and Bob Kiplinger. McKinley will lose 12 by graduation, including such boys as Grimsley, Fontes, Bob Williams, Phil Martin, Dick Martins, Dick Roknich, and Burchfield, plus Guard John Ifantides, who will be too old for scholastic competition next fall.

The summary:
MASSILLON – 7
ENDS – Elavsky, Brenner, Hagan, Childers, Wells, Mays.
TACKLES – Mercer, Whitfield, Halter, Bixler, Brownlee.
GUARDS – Meldrum, B. Brown, Heine, Herimann.
CENTERS – Krier, Kiplinger.
QUARTERBACKS – Rinehart, Stewart.
HALFBACKS – Hershberger, Benjamin, Bivings, Washington, Richardson.
FULLBACKS – C. Brown, Beiter, Reese.

McKINLEY – 34
ENDS – B. Williams, Burchfield, Reeves.
TACKLES – Roknich, Paul Martin, Koeliner, Sylvester, S. Williams, Patterson.
GUARDS – Ifantides, Bender, Chenault.
QUARTERBACK – Grimsley.
HALFBACKS – Phil Martin, Fontes.
FULLBACKS – Lewis, D. Martins.

McKinley 14 7 13 0 34
Massillon 0 0 0 7 7

McKinley scoring:
Touchdowns – Phil Martin 3; Fontes, Grimsley.
Extra points – Grimsley 3 (placements).

Massillon scoring:
Touchdown – Beiter.
Extra point – Richardson (placement).

STATISTICS
Massillon McKinley
First downs, rushing 10 17
First downs, passing 1 1
First downs, penalties 0 0
Total first downs 11 18
Yards gained rushing 207 396
Yards lost rushing 32 6
Net yards gained rushing 175 392
Yards gained passing 19 28
Total yards gained 192 420
Passes attempted 4 9
Passes completed 1 2
Passes intercepted by 0 2
Times kicked off 2 6
Kickoff average (yards) 35.0 43.3
Kickoff returns (yards) 86 29
Times punted 2 2
Punt average (yards) 31.7 18.5
Punt returns 9yards) 1 -2
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 6 2
Lost fumbled ball 3 0
Penalties 2 6
Yards penalized 6 60

Mike Hershberger