Tigers Beat Akron South 33-0
Massillon Defense Outshines Offense In Football Opener
By CHARLIE POWELL
The jitters…missed…tackles…missed blocking assignments…fumbles…off-the-beam passes…he zigged when he should’ve zagged…all were evident as the Massillon Tigers blew the lid on a new football season at the stadium Friday night.
Very, very conspicuous also was a Tiger victory – their 11th straight opening triumph – with the count being 33-0 over an out-manned but scrappy Akron South team.
The better part of over 10,000 fans (9,621 paid) toasted the Tigers after they completely outplayed the enemy.
But the orange and black had to work, work, work every inch of the way in a maiden gridiron voyage that was just about as typical as any of them.
Despite the fact that they hit for five touchdowns, three of them by hurryin’ Ivory Benjamin, the home town boys were not too impressive. They simply were not a good offensive football team. Their longest sustained drive of the night was only 35 yards and they never made more than three first downs in any one series of plays but a mixture of long-distance strikes and a fairly soft South defense let them come home without being subject to too much pressure.
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COACH LEE TRESSEL, whose team some time ago indicated that it was far better fixed defensively, had little to say about the offense.
“A look at the statistics reveals quite a difference but it really didn’t seem like we moved the ball that much,” he said.
To this we add that the statistics were deceiving. Before subtracting losses, the Tigers made 305 yards by rushing. But two runs by Benjamin accounted for half of that total.
Tressel was not satisfied with the quarterbacking and it looks like there will be a lot of work ahead for the trio which took their turns guiding the club last night. Starter Bob Getz, Mark Anthony and Joe Sparma had looked like fine passers in pre-season scrimmages but weren’t consistent in their first real test. Tressel found fault in the blocking department and answered “could be” when somebody reasoned that the offense might have been sharper had not injuries and sickness kept the team from practicing as a unit more often.
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THE TIGER TUTOR smiled when the talk shifted to defense.
Anchored by the line-backing of Chuck Beiter and Roger Reese, the Tigers limited the Cavaliers to two first downs over land and a net total of 38 yards.
“We’ll know who did the jobs after we see the movies,” Tressel said.
It might be said, too, that the Bengals appeared to let down after clicking for two quick touchdowns…both gifts after South fumbled the ball away deep in its own back yard.
With only about two minutes gone, Benjamin scored the first of his three TDs. It came three plays after Reese recovered a fumble at the Cavalier nine.
Beiter, limited to light work because his asthma took the wind out of his sails early in the evening, tallied the second touchdown with just two seconds remaining in the first
period – eight plays after he had recovered a South bobble at the enemy 35.
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THE SCOREBOARD timer showed only six seconds left in the first half when Benjamin winged his way 74 yards and clinching touchdowns were added in the third and fourth quarters – by Benjamin on a 10-yard run midway in the third frame and by Ron Williams, the big right end, on a 37yard pass play with Halfback Gene Stewart on the gunning end on the first play of the final stanza.
The final quarter was a real comedy of errors. Massillon had two passes intercepted but hauled in four South forwards.
Another look at the figures and we find that Benjamin gained 153 yards in 15 carries while Stewart lugged 10 times for 55 yards and Beiter seven for 54.
Corky Pledgure, who has been waging a battle with Stewart for the right half job, came up with the second longest jaunt of the evening when he raced 50 yards to the South 30 in the last quarter. However, the nice run was wiped off the books by an in motion penalty against the locals.
South was not the worst team ever to appear here. The Cavaliers got themselves in hot water right off the bat and never completely recovered. Otherwise, the battle that was predicted might have materialized.
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ON THE THIRD play of the game Halfback Willie Gray fumbled, Reese recovered, and the Tigers had possession on the South nine. After Benjamin lost a yard on a sweep, Stewart came back with six at the middle and then on third down, Benjamin found a hole at right tackle and followed Beiter through and into pay dirt. Sophomore Hase McKey tried the extra point but the ball hit the left upright and bounced back.
South received again and made one first down before wingback Henry Adams, the team’s hardest runner, fumbled on a double reverse attempt. McKey covered the oval this time but after four plays picked up 19 yards, the Tigers lost the ball on an interception.
Bob Getz’s toss was short at the South nine and Rudy Bell, defensive halfback, grabbed the pigskin and returned to the South 34. Adams recovered his own fumble at the line of scrimmage before Quarterback Bill McFrey’s fumble was recovered by Beiter at the Invader 35.
Beiter made 21 yards on two runs and Stewart got four before a three-yard loss put the ball on the 13. Then Mark Anthony went to the air. With South converging on a short man, end Clyde Childers went deep and snagged the ball, fighting his way to the one from which point Beiter smashed over right guard for a score with only two seconds left in the quarter. McKey’s placement this time was low and to the right.
Massillon indicated that it was going to get tougher the first time the Tigers had possession in the second canto. From the 26 Benjamin got six and Stewart three before the slippery Ivory, helped by Tom Heine’s fine block, rambled for 27 to the South 38. But after Benjamin came back with two and Beiter lost four on a sweep, the ball went over to the blue and white clad forces again.
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GETZ HIT Williams down the middle but after pulling a juggling act, Williams fumbled (after a 15-yard gain) and South recovered. South couldn’t move the Orange forward-wall and had to punt but the local lads relinquished possession again on another pass interception.
Then came Massillon’s best defensive performance of the night. As a pass, Johnny Williams to Adams, was good for 25 yards the visitors moved to a first and 10 goal situation at the five. Adams was held for no gain and Gray got three on a dive play, then the same lad was stopped at the line of scrimmage two more times and the Tigers assumed command at the two.
They moved out, with Beiter making 10 on a trap and Stewart nine on an off-tackle slant, and were on the 26 when Benjamin took it off the right side. Given nifty blocking, he hit the jackpot – twisting away from one defender and then giving another a hip. One Akron boy appeared to be catching up around the Cavalier 30 but Ivory just shifted into overdrive and went in unmolested. There were only six seconds remaining in the half when McKey booted the extra point to make it 19-0.
The Tresselman received the third period kickoff and advanced from their own 17 to the 47 but were forced to punt. During this effort Benjamin raced for 11 on an option play, for 10 off tackle and Beiter got 10 up the middle.
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CHILDER’S PUNTED 41 yards to the South 12 and the Cavaliers got back to the 33 before fumbling again. This time Leaman Williamson, the defensive left end, recovered at the South 27.
Steward whizzed for 17 before Benjamin followed his blockers beautifully for 10 yards and his third six-pointer. At 4:33 Jim Hershberger, another sophomore kicker, came in to convert.
On the last play of the quarter Bill Woodard’s punt was grounded on the South 37.
On the first play of the final session the Stewart-Williams combination wound up the scoring. Stewart took the ball on a reverse and as he was hit, threw far into the right corner. Williams made a nonchalant catch at the two and stepped past the final stripe at 11:52. Hershberger again converted.
A lot could be said about the rest of the game but all the action was meaningless. Neither side could work up anything resembling a sustained drive. It was in this period that the Tigers intercepted four South passes – two by safety man Cornelius Clark, one by middle guard Noan Taylor, and the other by big Bill Zorn after Taylor had batted the ball.
Second and third stringers played most of the quarter.
ENDS – Childers, Williams, Snavely, Zorn, Hagan, Pierce, Mitchell, Dean.
TACKLES – Slabaugh, A. Slicker, Donat, Karrenbauer, Brownlee, Bordner.
GUARDS – Haine, Heimann, McKey, Taylor, J. Kasunick, Cook.
CENTERS – Swartz, Williamson, Shilling, Reese.
QUARTERBACKS – Getz, Anthony, Sparma.
HALFBACKS – Benjamin, Stewart, Pledgure, Snively, Clark, Garcia,
FULLBACKS – Beiter, Kanney.
ENDS – Toomer, Wims, Scott, Bell.
TACKLES – Woodard, Bioniarz, Slater, Ivey.
GUARDS – Green, Pearson, Burrell, Spencer.
CENTERS – Power, Nicolinio.
QUARTERBACKS – McFrye, Campbell, Williams, Carruthers.
HALFBACKS – Haynes, Owens, Stradwick, Smith, Gsellman, Bell, Gray.
FULLBACK – Adams.
Score by quarters:
Massillon 12 7 7 7 – 33
Akron South 0 0 0 0 – 0
Referee – Leo Less, Youngstown.
Umpire – John Russ, Youngstown.
Head Linesman – Ed Corsi, Shaker Heights.
Field Judge – Andy Moran – Berea
Scoring plays: Massillon
First period – Benjamin, 4-yard run; Beiter 1-yard plunge.
Second period – Benjamin 74-yard run.
Third period – Benjamin 10-yard run.
Fourth period – Williams (pass from Stewart), 37 yards.
Extra Points: Massillon – McKey (placement); Hershberger 2 (placements)
Mass. Ak. South
First downs, rushing 11 2
First downs, passing 3 4
First downs, penalties 1 1
First downs, total 15 7
Plays 57 49
Rushing yardage 305 45
Yards lost, rushing 24 7
Net yards, rushing 281 38
Passing yardage 76 82
Total yardage 356 120
Passes Attempted 12 23
Passes Completed 4 5
Passes had intercepted 4 4
Fumbles 5 10
Own fumbles recovered 3 5
Punts 1 2
Punts, average 41 20
Penalties 7 2
Yards penalized 55 10