Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo

Tigers And Alliance Battle To 8-8 Tie
Massillon Gridders Knot Score On Second Play Of Fourth Period


The 35th Massillon-Alliance football battle will be entered in the history books as the first tie game in modern day rivalry.

It also will be known as one of the most “iffy” issues of all time. The controversy attributed to that 8-8 deadlock at Mt. Union College stadium Friday night will last for a long, long time.

The game will be replayed many times over by the 10,000 – plus fans, including 9,510 paid, who were there when “if” this or “if” that had happened – or hadn’t happened – their favorites would have grabbed the spoils. But all the “ifs” and “buts” will not change the story – the story of an underdog Alliance team emerging with a moral victory over a Tiger team hounded by some sort of a jinx.
* * *
THE JINX affected Coach Leo Strang just as it affected two of the last three Tiger mentors, Chuck Mather and Tom Harp. However, Strang was a little more fortunate, the first blemish on his slate being a tie while the first time Massillon lost under Mather and Harp it was to the Aviators at the Alliance field.

Program Cover

The Tigers, in most previous trips to Alliance, had their troubles and last night was no exception as penalties, injuries and mistakes that can happen to anyone went against them.

But the one crucial play that will be remembered for many a moon will be the pass interception which would have given the Tigers possession shortly after their tying touchdown and conversion had it not been for a penalty.

As the final period got under way the Bengals climaxed a 68-yard march by sending Fullback Dave Dean in for a TD and then sub Back Jim Snively across for the tying points.

The timepiece showed 7:51 remaining on the play that broke Massillon’s back.
* * *
ON A SECOND and nine situation, Walt Zingg, the fine Alliance quarterback, tossed a pass into the right flat and after it was deflected twice, the ball landed in the arms of Ted Radtke, defensive corner back for the Tigers, and from his own 30 Ted got back to the 48.

For a few seconds bedlam reigned among Tiger fans but it was Alliance’s turn to roar after the referee stepped off a 15-yard roughing – the – passer penalty against the Bengals.

The Aviators finally reached the Tiger 18 before giving up the pigskin but Massillon was in its own backyard, not to get out.

They had to kick, then the defense stopped the host club shy of a first down at the 38 before getting possession again. On the next play End Larry Shinn pounced on a fumble and two plays later it was all over.
* * *
COACH STRANG, while having his doubts about some of the calls made by the officials, did not question the pass interference ruling at length. He showed mild dissatisfaction, figuring the best thing to do was to wait until he could study the game movies.

Somewhat stunned after seeing a team of his finish in a tie for the first time in his coaching experience. Strang elaborated on Alliance’s first play from scrimmage of the night.

Gene Venables, the flashy running fullback who made 89 yards in 18 carries for the red and blue, headed around the left side from his own 31 – and was apparently trapped for a 12-yard loss. But he managed to slip away from his would-be tacklers and wasn’t downed until after he had picked up 21 yards.

That kept the Aviators going. In 11-more plays, including a 12-yard jaunt by pocket-sized Lee Woolf, they hit pay dirt with Halfback Bob Brown tallying from the four. Venables scored the extra points on a sweep at 3:20 and it was 8-0 despite Massillon cries that the Alliance boy did not cross the final stripe.
* * *
THE TIGER mentor also thought a dropped pass coming just before halftime also hurt his team’s chances. Had the ball been caught the Bengals would have had a first down at about the Aviator 30 with a minute remaining in the second period.

This play occurred shortly after Jerry Allen, playing his first game of the season, sped for 17 yards and Quarterback Joe Sparma, unable to find a receiver open, ran for 10.

The Massillon cause certainly was handicapped by injuries, most of them minor, but enough to slow the boys down for a few minutes. In the case of Dean who received a leg injury on the fifth play of the game, it was more serious because the line-blasting co-captain was never quite the same after that.

Between injuries, bad breaks and players left virtually wilted by the humidity, the Tigers simply had it.

“Inexperience proved costly too,” was a reminder from Strang.

“We had a tough time making the right adjustments and it was only because of the lack of varsity game experience,” he said.

“Alliance kept changing its defense but we lacked the ability to make the necessary adjustments on the field.”
* * *
TOUCHING on the Tiger offense, Strang said he was very pleased with the running of Allen, who clicked off 71 yards in 16 trips; Sparma, who ran more than ever before, seven times for 21 yards; and sophomore Art Hastings who supplied the spark in the Tigers’ only big drive of the night.

Hastings, hitting quickly off tackle and up the middle, gained 24 yards during the thrust as he and Snively went into the lineup following injuries to Dean and Allen.

Allen had contributed 26 yards to help move the ball 68 yards. With the oval at the one as the final quarter started, Dean returned to action and on his second dive over center, made the touchdown at 11:13. Snively ripped off left tackle for the extra points.

Then came the much-discussed pass interference call and the Alliance effort, which came to a stop at the Orange 18. After an in-motion penalty, Sparma legged for 10, Dean for six and Hastings for one before a sweep lost two and Sparma was swarmed under for an
11-yard deficit as he tried to pass. The Tigers had to punt and in the remaining two and a half minutes both teams tried their best to break the deadlock. It wasn’t in the book.

It was the first tie game for Massillon since 1955. That year Mansfield and the Tigers played a 12-12 stalemate. The Massillon-Alliance modern day series now stands at 29 wins for Massillon, five wins for Alliance and the one tie.

Massillon and Alliance also waged a 19-19 tie in 1918.

The tie interrupted Massillon’s modest six-game winning streak, which started after the locals lost to Benedictine last year.

First Downs – Rushing 12 7
First Downs – Passing 0 2
First Downs – Penalties 1 1
Total First Downs 13 10
Number of Rushing Plays 50 44
Yards Gained – Rushing Plays 170 53
Yards Lost – Running Plays 18 11
Net Yardage – Running 152 142
Passes Attempted 6 4
Passes Completed 1 2
Passes Had Intercepted 1 0
Yards Returned –
Intercepted Passes 0 7
Yards Gained – Passing 7 43
Total Net Yardage –
Running and Passing 159 185
Number of Kickoff Returns 2 2
Yardage – Kickoff Returns 18 21
Average Length of Kickoff
Returns 9 10.5
Number of Punt Returns 1 1
Yardage – Punt Returns 10 2
Average Length of Punt Return 10 2
Number of Punts 2 2
Total Yardage on Punts 64 67
Average length of Punts 31 33.5
Number of Penalties 4 3
Yards Lost on Penalties 40 45
Number of Fumbles 2 0
Own Fumbles Recovered 1 0
Ball Lost on Fumbles 1 0

Bob Vogel