Tigers Were Just That In 38-16 Win
Massillon Clobbers Bulldogs After Trailing Twice In Opening Period
By CHARLIE POWELL
His trousers soaked and hinging limp, his white shirt dotted with mud, his brow furrowed, Jimmy Robinson fought his way through the snowstorm of back-slapping in the Massillon Tiger dressing room until he found the boy he was looking for – Tiger defensive star Hase McKey.
He grabbed McKey’s hand, sized him up and said, “You played the greatest game I’ve ever seen in high school football. And I mean that.”
It was quite a compliment coming from a man in his 36th year of coaching. Maybe Robinson was right, maybe McKey was the greatest of the galaxy of stars on the turf and for that matter, some of the losing McKinley Bulldogs, were not far behind.
The names of McKey, Bill Zorn, Bob Vogel, Joe Sparma, “Sluggo” Bednar, Jerry Mitchell and Dave Dean were prominent as the “Comeback Kids” of Tigertown shot down their arch-rivals 38-16, before over 22,000 fans, most of whom took a good drenching from the elements.
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HOWEVER, FOR fairness sake, it was truly a team effort, including some determined, gritty, old-college-try performances by a bunch of semi-anonymous battlers that upset the equilibrium of the scrappy Bulldogs and left the howling crowd with a hangover of excitement.
Except for one brief sortie in the third quarter, the charged-up invaders met a stonewall when they tried to move the pigskin overland. Two passes were responsible for the jolting McKinley touchdown at 8:18 of the initial quarter and after a pass interception, the Tigers went ahead. On the ensuing kickoff, McKinley’s Gene “Sonny” Mastin, a slight-built boy playing his first year of football, went 89 yards and the Bulldogs again “shook up” the Massillonians.
It takes a real football team to stage a comeback twice within a short space of time. Another team might have folded but not the Tigers. They roared back with gusto.
A 63-yard drive, initiated near the end of the first panel, was climaxed at 10:50 of the second chapter and before halftime, the Bengals legged it 44 yards to go ahead to stay.
The defense, which was a Tiger trademark all season long, brought about still another second period score that drove the nail in the Bulldog coffin. Vogel blocked Dave Sitzman’s punt at the McKinley 15 and two Tigers, linebackers Bednar and Frank Midure, covered the pigskin at the two before Co-Captain Dean plunged across with only five second left in the half.
The third stanza was void of any serious action but a 34-yard drive by the orange and black, culminated midway in the final session, gave Massillon additional spirit of joi de vivre.
When it was all over Coach Leo Strang had been carried off the field on the shoulders of joyous players and he and his assistants took the traditional trip to the showers, the Tigers had checked in their eighth victory against one loss and a tie.
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IT WAS MASSILLON’S second straight win over the Bulldogs, who finished with a 5-5 mark, and provided the Tigers with a 31-27-5 edge in the colorful series.
Massillon now has been the winner in eight of the last 10 Tiger-Bulldog encounters and its modern era advantage stands at 34 victories, 12 losses and three ties. The difference was the biggest since the Bulldogs were pummeled 48-7 in 1953.
The triumph, coming in the only game the Tigers had to play on a soggy field all season, improved on the Massillon record of either going unbeaten or not having lost more than one decision during any campaign but once since 1947.
Massillon’s prestige in the Ohio scholastic poll may be enhanced. Whether Strang’s gang move up to second or third, of course, is only hypothetical. One thing is virtually
certain – another Stark county school, Alliance, will rule the roost.
Strange, whose team jelled offensively after several changes in the personnel were made, had nothing but the kindest words for the players, his assistants and others who played a hand in the successful season. He pointed out that the Tigers had looked better in several other games but quickly added that McKinley was a fighting team “and any time you run up against a ball club like that, you’re in for trouble.”
Nevertheless, the Bengals out did the red and black in the statistical department. First downs were 14-11, rusing yardage 216-135 and passing yardage 107-43.
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A FEW PENALTIES bogged the Tigers down but strange as it may seem , there was only one fumble, and the Tigers recovered their one bobble. The punters, Sitzman and Sparma, did well and the latter, who finished the year with 33 completions in 74 attempts for 556 yards, passed nine times and hit on six of them for 106 yards and two TDs.
Dean pulled a football “hat trick” with three scores, all on short plunges, and he set up one himself via a sensational 56-yard jaunt in the opening period.
Defensively, the Tigers were mighty tough after McKinley’s power plays called for some early adjustments. The type of Bulldog plays and treacherous footing hampered the defenders who had limited nine previous opponents to an average of 97 yards per game.
However, they maintained their record of having given up only one touchdown all season through the line.
Zorn and Vogel, terrors throughout the game, each blocked a punt and Mitchell and McKey helped take the starch out of the Bulldogs with timely pass interceptions. One of Mitchell’s interceptions was a terrific over-the-shoulder catch.
Outside of the touchdowns, there were “big” plays which played vital roles.
One resulted in the officials getting a “booing serenade” from the McKinley fans who didn’t like a pass interference call at the Bulldog one-yard line early in the second period. With the ball at the McKinley 24, Sparma sent a pass into the right hand corner of the end zone and both the intended receiver, Charley Royer, and the defender went crashing to the ground. Massillon was given possession at the one and on his second thrust, Dean cracked through right guard. Jim Snively’s slice off right tackle made it 16-16 at 10:50.
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BOTH OF MITCHELL’S interceptions led to Tiger scores and of course the blocked kick set the stage for another.
Let’s get down to brass tacks.
Massillon won the toss of the coin and after receiving, made not a yard before Sparma kicked on third down. Tiger fans got the shocker in short order.
After Chester Warren, their top runner made four yards, the Bulldogs took to the skyways with Sitzman connecting with end Bill Babics, thanks to an assist by Midure who partially deflected the ball, and the ball was planted at the Tiger 25. Two running plays netted nine and Warren got a first down at the 14. Sitzman threw again, this time incomplete, but on the next play he hit Babics for a touchdown that put new life in the team and new hope in the McKinley fans.
Babics made the catch over his shoulder and the other end, Larry Tolson, took a Sitzman pass on an identical snag for two more points.
After the kickoff, the Bengals started from their own 30. Dean in his first carry of the day, hit off right tackle on a ride play, got a good blocking and was off and running. He went 56 yards before Leroy Shipp brought him down from behind at the McKinley 14. However, the Orangemen couldn’t uncover the necessary punch and turned the ball over to the enemy at the nine.
Four plays later Mitchell made a tremendous interception at the Bulldog 30 and raced all the way to the McKinley three. Dean got two at center before he dived off right guard for a touchdown at 3:12. Art Hastings cracked left tackle and it was all tied up.
Not for long, though, as McKey’s kickoff was taken by Mastin at his own 11. The
nimble-footed end-halfback, got behind a wall of blockers along the east sidelines, sped past the last potential tackler at the Massillon 40, and was off to the races. After his 89-yard gallop, Sitzman passed to Babics to put McKinley ahead once again.
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THE TIGERS seemed to let down the second half. There was nothing to “write home about” in the third frame and in the final quarter there were two punts, one by each team, before the home side added another clincher.
Sitzman, kicking from his own 17, had his punt almost blocked and Mitchell returned it 15 yards to the Bulldog 34. Snively and Hastings carried to the 15 and from that point, Sparma twirled to Zorn, again covered at the goal line. But Bill put his “meathooks” around the leather for another TD, and Sparma passed to Hastings for two more markers.
With the help of a Sitzman to Kettlewell pass for 21 yards, McKinley moved to the Tiger 17 before the Bengals forced a turnover. Allen ran for 13, Sparma for seven and passed to Vogel for 11 as the action came to a halt – and the Tiger wafted about on Cloud Nine.
A Grand Climax
Ends – Vogel, Zorn, Mitchell, Barkman, F. Pierce, Oliver, Zumbrunn.
Tackles – Donat, Bukuts, Bordner, Haines, Paul, Snyder, Garman, Appleby, Snodgrass.
Guards – Karrenbauer, Slicker, Perry, Midure, Placevk, Bednar, Willey, J. Kasuncik.
Centers – Shilling, Cooley.
Quarterbacks – Sparma, Finney.
Halfbacks – Snively, Wood, A. Pierce, Allen, Hastings, Spencer, Gugov, Royer, Clark Radtka.
Fullbacks – Dean, McKey, Morrow, Hershberger, Toles.
Ends – Tolson, Babics, Wilder, Mabry, Mastin.
Tackles – Swimmer, Shipp, Rausch, Averette, Guedel.
Guards – Rossetti, Mussulin, Conner, Kroh.
Centers – Stevenson, Straughn.
Quarterbacks – Sitzman.
Halfbacks – Warren, Fontes, Cook, Carter, Kettlewell, Schnoke, Mathieu, Wilcoxen.
Fullbacks – Ball, Cook.
Scoring by quarters:
Massillon 8 22 0 8 38
McKinley 16 0 0 0 16
Touchdowns – Dean 3, (runs , 1, 1, 2); Zorn 2, (Passes, 20, 15).
Extra Points – Hastings 2 (1 pass, 1 run); Snively (run); Allen (run).
Touchdowns – Babics (pass, 13); Mastin (kickoff return, 89).
Extra Points – Toles (pass); Babics (pass).
Referee – Dan Tehan.
Umpire – Mack Schaffer.
Head Linesman – F.G. Skibbie.
Field Judge – Don Malone.
First downs, rushing 9 8
First downs, passing 4 2
First downs, penalties 1 0
Total first downs 14 11
Number of rushing plays 56 47
Yards gained, running plays 218 145
Yards lost, running plays 2 10
Net yardage, running 216 135
Passes attempted 11 10
Passes completed 7 3
Passes had intercepted 0 3
Intercepted passes 58 0
Yards gained, passing 107 43
running and passing 323 178
Number of kick-off returns 3 5
Yardage, kickoff returns 57 124
Average length of kickoff
Returns 19.0 24.8
Number of punt returns 3 3
Yardage, punt returns 24 7
Average length of punt return 8.0 2.3
Number of punts 4 4
Total yardage on punts 117 122
Average length of punts 29.2 30.5
Number of penalties 5 2
Yards lost on penalties 45 28
Number of fumbles 1 0
Own fumbles recovered 1 0
Ball lost on fumbles 0 0