Massillon Dazzles Bulldogs With Air, Ground Attack And Herculean Defense
Tigers Boast Lots of Stars As They Get Revenge Before 22,000 Fans
By CHARLIE POWELL
Desire plus blocking plus tackling.
That was the formula for success – the sweetest victory of the 1957-football season. The formulators were those supercharged peerless Massillon Tigers.
That 25-7 triumph they ran up over old rival Canton McKinley Saturday afternoon was the salt of the earth. Scrumptious…fetching…masterful…sensational…terrific…great.
These and many more superlatives are needed to tell the story of the lion-hearted lads who beat McKinley. And how they beat them!
They ran through, over and around the erstwhile state champs. They kept the Bulldogs gasping with a whale of a passing attack. And they added insult to injury with a rugged defense that on only three occasions allowed more than nine yards.
* * *
YES, IT’S OUR turn to howl and rightfully so today the city of champions is living it up.
Getting revenge for those last two setbacks, the Tigers struck for four touchdowns and one extra point.
Something like 22,000 fans saw an awesome offense which powered to 234 yards on the ground and 125 in the air; a net of 359. McKinley made 212 yards on the ground with an 83-yard gainer on an end-around giving the Bulldogs, who failed in their only two aerial attempts, their biggest lift. The Tigers hit on nine of 14 passes and carved out 16 first downs to McKinley’s seven.
And it could easily have been more than an 18-point difference at the finish.
Leading by 18-0 late in the first half, the Tigers saw an electrifying 26-yard pay dirt prance by Ivory Benjamin erased by a penalty. Late in the third period, with the score at 18-7, the blazing Bengals were pounding at the touchdown door when a fumble cost them the ball at the Bulldog 10.
Outside of the 83-yard gallop by End Charley Reeves, the closest the host team got to the Tiger goal was the 23. The first time they had the ball the Bulldogs went on the march from their own 40 and they got down to the 23 before a field goal attempt failed. Consider it a break that they got past the Tiger 43.
From that point, with fourth down and four yards to go, sub Dave Sitzman went back to punt. It was a low pass from center and Sitzman dropped the ball but picked it up and was able to move 21 yards before being grassed.
* * *
BEFORE BENJAMIN’S second period jaunt was called back it looked like the Tigers were headed for a fourth touchdown of the half. End Clyde Childers got behind the McKinley secondary at the 21 but the pass was thrown short and Reeves, racing toward his own goal, leaped high into the air for an eye opening interception that momentarily slowed up the orange and black express.
A mental lapse cost the Tigers a shutout as Reeves, finding a hole off the right side, simply outran would be tacklers. After he got past the line of scrimmage there was nobody in front of him as the defenders on the left side were “suckered” to the opposite side of the field.
So there you have it. Massillon had a big statistical advantage and with a break here and there might have punched out a six or seven touchdown margin.
But nobody is beefing. Beating McKinley by one or 41 doesn’t make much difference.
We would have settled for even a one-point win Saturday.
McKinley was no slouch. Some coaches, players and fans rate them on a par with Cleveland Benedictine, only team to up-end the Tigers this year. That the Bulldogs were a bunch of hard-hitters will be attested by the Tigers.
The Canton club, whose only previous loss was inflicted by Warren, gave ground begrudgingly. They were in there battling all the way. But the odds were too great.
* * *
COACH LEE TRESSEL moved his backs like chessman. Halfbacks ran from both left and right posts and fullbacks ran from halfback slots. Five different boys threw passes with one of them, Halfback Corky Pledgure, getting off the first of his scholastic career.
Defensively, the Tresselman certainly lived up to their reputation. Offensively, a major factor was the blocking by the linemen.
The coaches knew the weak points of the Bulldogs and the Tigers concentrated on those spots.
The highly cherished victory was the eighth in nine games for the Tigers and No. 30 for Massillon in the long, colorful series. McKinley has won 27 but only twice in the last 10 meetings. The win snapped a 25-game win string for the Bulldogs at friendly Fawcett stadium.
Still very much alive and kicking are Massillon hopes for a state championship.
The official Associated Press poll will include Thanksgiving Day games – meaning the local boys could get a big assist from Cleveland St. Ignatius.
If Benedictine loses to St. Ignatius in the senate championship fray Nov. 28, Massillon apparently would have the inside track on the gonfalon.
The Tigers really played like kings Saturday. They virtually ran the Bulldogs off the premises.
One big reason was the whirling dervish named Ivory Lee Benjamin.
* * *
THE BULLDOGS found out why Massillon thinks so much of the mercury-footed
He scored the first touchdown of the game, capping an 80-yard drive with a 17-yard foray that really was a beaut. He sparked the drive with runs of 11, 3 and 20 in that order.
In the second stanza he ran for 11 and Gene Stewart passed to Ronnie Williams for
22 yards to help put the pigskin on the McKinley 26. From that point Ivory came up with the best individual effort of the sunny afternoon.
He hit off left tackle and turned on the gas, spinning away from three red-shirted defenders and the last 10 yards he was strictly on his own. He began dragging tacklers with him at the 10 and the last five yards it looked like practically the whole McKinley team was trying to pull him down. He fought his way in but a clipping penalty was called at the 15.
His other long run was for 23 yards in the third quarter. On that one he was aided by Dave Dean’s fine fake.
Benjamin again led the Tiger leather-luggers as he racked up his 17th touchdown of the year and made 96 yards in 14 carries. That’s an average of 6.1 yards per try.
* * *
FOR THE ENTIRE season Ivory accounted for 1,564 yards with 1,138 of that total coming on 146 trips with the mail.
Scott Kanney averaged 6.4 yards in seven tries while Anthony and Dean, who will be back next year, averaged 5 yards each.
Co-Captain Chuck Beiter was slowed by a leg injury but the Tigers got a hard- nosed effort from the senior fullback. He averaged 3.5 yards a try.
In the passing department the Bengals staged on of their better productions.
The nine completions were good for 125 yards and two touchdowns. The receivers worked their way into the clear and the passers, Anthony, Joe Sparma and Gene Stewart, threw the ball on target – and at the right time.
McKinley had Tiger fans on edge shortly after the tussle got under way. Massillon received, gained eight yards in three plays, and had to punt with Sparma’s short, wobbly boot going out of bounds at the Bulldog 40.
After making one first down the hosts got to the 43 before going into punt formation. It was at this point that Sitzman picked up the low pass from center and ran right for 21 yards to the Tiger 22.
* * *
THE MASSILLON defense got tough and three plays later McKinley had lost a yard.
With the ball on the 23, McKinley tried a field goal at 5:40.
Guard Jesse Chenault’s boot from the 32 just missed. The ball struck the crossbar and fell harmlessly to the turf in front of the goalpost.
Apparently all this served as a shot in the arm to Massillon’s spirit.
The Tigers showed class and precision as they marched 80 yards. Benjamin started the ball rolling with an 11-yard sweep and then winged off 20 yards after he picked up three and Scott Kanney churned for five.
A sideline pass, Anthony to lanky Clyde Childers, was good for 20 yards and Tiger followers were blowing their top as the ball moved to the 17.
Then Benjamin, tearing out of the grasp of tacklers twice, showed his heels and went into the end zone standing up at 2:40. Sophomore Jim Hershberger’s placement on the extra point try sailed to the left but everybody from Tigertown was happy indeed.
And it wasn’t long until the Tresselmen again had their rooters raving.
Hase McKey kicked off twice. His first went out of bounds and on the second, the twisting leather hit at the 27 and as a couple of McKinley players watched helplessly, end Al Pierce came in to cover.
* * *
IT WAS MASSILLON’S ball on the Bulldog 25 and the Tigers were off to the races.
Benjamin fumbled and recovered for a gain of one, Beiter picked up three, Anthony hit Benjamin on a short running pass for three, Benjamin got some sharp blocking and went for five, Anthony rammed for six and Beiter came back with two as the first period ended.
On the first play of the second canto Dean got three and a first down before Sparma, on an option play to the left, just had room to get over the final stripe. At 11:16 Hershberger’s kick was wide but few fans were worrying. It was 12-0.
After the kickoff McKinley made one first down as Bob Kettlewell and Bob Cook collaborated for 12 yards but at the 43 the red and black was forced to punt.
Defensive end Leaman Williamson, a tower of strength for the Tigers all season, barreled in to block Sitzman’s kick and second string defensive tackle John Donat pounced on the pighide at the McKinley 40.
Another touchdown play was pulled off by the Bengals as Sparma, given beautiful protection, threw down the middle to Anthony, all alone at the 23. Mark chugged in at 7:08 and still it was 18-0 as a bad pass from center ruined the extra point try.
There was no further scoring the first half but late in the second chapter the Tigers were pounding hard.
* * *
STEWART THREW like a pro to Williams for 22 yards and Benjamin, cutting back off the left side, fought his way for 11 yards before the same kid zipped 26 yards – but to no avail.
McKinley’s score in the third period came after an exchange of punts. On the first Massillon series Kanney got off a 20-yarder but at the McKinley 40 Sparma had to punt with Jordon Fronimo being smeared at the 13.
Cook gained two and Fronimo two before Reeves carried on an end-around. He had just enough room to get through the right side and was gone. Sub back John Fontes made it
18-7 at 4:20.
That was McKinley’s last chance to stand up and cheer.
After the kickoff Benjamin got loose for 23 yards and Dean, on a dive play off the right side, blasted for 13 before a fumble gave the Bulldogs possession at their 10.
After an exchange of punts in the final round the Tigers added another clincher. They used air and ground maneuvers to go 65 yards with the choice bits being a 15-yard pass from Anthony to Childers, an 11-yard pass from Anthony to Benjamin and a 12-yard jaunt by Kanney.
* * *
THE DRIVE WAS climaxed at 2:20 when Williams made a terrific catch of a Sparma pass in the end zone. This time McKey tried the extra point and made it. Five plays later Massillon’s revenge victory entered the record books.
Jubilant Massillon players and fans cut loose as soon as it was over. Coach Tressel was carried from the field and the Tiger locker room, close to 30 minutes afterward, was a mass of hysterically happy humanity.
Besides Childers, Beiter, Williamson, Williams, Getz, Benjamin, Stewart, Anthony and Kanney, the seniors are Harold Slabuagh, Joe Brownlee, Tom Heine, Pete Heimann, Al Slicker, Paul Lawson, Noah Taylor, Jesse Steele, Dan Swartz, Maury Snavely, Jim Cook, Bobo Hagan, Roger Reese, and John Halter.
ENDS – Childers, Williams, Hagan, Zorn, Mitchell, Wood, Steele, Pierce, Snavely.
TACKLES – Slabaugh, Slicker, Brownlee, Halter, Donat, Karrenbauer.
GUARDS – Heine, Heimann, McKey, Bendar, Taylor, Cook.
CENTERS – Williamson, Swartz.
QUARTERBACKS – Getz, Sparma.
HALFBACKS – Benjamin, Pledgure, Anthony, Allen, Snively, Lawson, Clark, Stewart, Hershberger.
FULLBACKS – Kanney, Beiter, Dean, Reese.
ENDS – Reeves, Bowes, Tolson.
TACKLES – Swimmer, Patterson, Guedel.
GUARDS – Chenault, Bender, Connor, Rossetti.
CENTERS – Bridges, Hodge.
QUARTERBACKS – Cook, Sitzman.
HALFBACKS – Fronimo, Kettlewell, Fontes.
FULLBACKS – Martin, Turner.
Massillon 6 12 0 7 25
McKinley 0 0 7 0 7
Touchdowns – Benjamin (17-run), Sparma (2-run); Anthony (40-pass); Williams (10-pass).
Extra points – McKey (placement).
Touchdown – Reeves (83-run).
Extra point – Fontes (placesment).
First downs, rushing 11 7
First downs, passing 5 0
First downs, penalties 0 0
First downs, total 16 1
Yards gained, running plays 254 235
Yards lost, running plays. 20 23
Net yardage, running plays 234 212
Passes attempted 14 2
Passes completed 9 0
Passes had intercepted 1 0
Yards gained passing 125 0
Total yardage, running, passing 359 212
Number of kickoff returns 2 4
Yardage, kickoff returns 24 77
Average length of kickoff returns 12 19
Number of punt returns 1 0
Yardage, punt returns 19 0
Average length of punt returns 19 0
Number of punts 4 5
Total yardage on punts 100 137
Average length of punts 25 27
Number of penalties 4 2
Yards lost on penalties 50 10
Number of fumbles 4 1
Own fumbles recovered 2 0
Ball lost on fumbles 2 1